Sunday, April 10, 2011

pressure cooker


*sigh* I guess there's just no point in vowing to update frequently when we all know how it really goes. Since the last time I wrote, let's see...screenprinting is picking up a bit. We printed shirts for our local sushi place and we have two orders for upcoming Rotary Club events. Still haven't listed the shirts with my artwork in our other Etsy shop because the pictures we took came out blurry. We need to re-take all of them. I don't know what it is that makes us procrastinate so much when these are things that could be bringing in much-needed money.
I'm still hooping like crazy, as you can see. The above picture was taken on Venice Beach last month. Today we're attending a hoop jam in LA that's a benefit for Japan. All donations will go to help the Red Cross effort in Japan. This is my first "big" hoop jam, should be fun. I'm excited that Jim is going with me.
Yesterday we went to a dock party (exactly like a block party but on the dock!) in Ventura to hang out my friend Keith. Keith was one of my best friends in High School. We parted ways after graduation - he joined the Coast Guard, I moved here to California (I grew up in Virginia Beach, VA.) and lost touch for years. We finally found each other again via Facebook last year, and got to see each other when he was in Ventura. His friends Julie and Mike have a boat there, so they (Keith, his wife Amy, Julie and Mike) drive from Arizona to Ventura and spend weekends on the boat pretty often. It was fun to see them again and meet some new people. We got to tour a few of the boats. I'm not a boat person, I get seasick, but it was really cool to see all the different layouts and configurations of the cabins and such. I brought a pile of hoops to the party and those were a hit! Lots of people tried them out. Hoops = instant laughter and happiness.
On a not-so-happy note, our lender has now put a sale date (May 5th!!!!) on our home. If our lawyer doesn't come through, it looks like we'll be losing the house. I don't even want to think about that. The notice was taped to our gate on Friday and of course even though I called the law office about 500 times, no one called me back. I'm trying not to completely freak out. I know they're busy, and their receptionist did acknowledge that they received our fax (of the sale notice) and told us we'd be getting a call back. If I can't talk to someone tomorrow, though, I'm going to start to panic. We've been ripped in the past by a one of those "loan mod assistance" companies. They took our $3,500.00, screwed up our loan mod and then disappeared, leaving us worse off than when we'd started.
This time we're going with a legitimate law firm who has been practicing real estate law for a long, long time. It's all they do. STILL...I'm getting scared. I've read mixed reviews about them online. It seems they've helped a lot of people, but possibly dropped the ball on a lot of other people's cases. I really hope they're not going to bail on us, this is our last hope of keeping our house.
And yeah..this wasn't one of my most eloquent blog entries (not that many of them are) but I needed to just get it written down.
Don't know what the future will bring, but today I'm going to hoop my ass off and hope for the best.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I got the beat, I got the beat, I got the beat, YEAH!



Alright, I've already driven everyone else in my life crazy with this, now I'll annoy my blog readers with it too! There's a hooping move (and the type of hooping itself is often called "poi" hooping, done with two smaller hoops of equal size, using hands rather than body, for the most part) called the three beat weave that I've been obsessed with since last summer. I saw someone doing it in a You Tube video and immediately got myself some poi hoops and started watching every tutorial I could find. NEVER got it! I understood the mechanics of it, and could do the move one-handed with each hand, but as soon as I incorporated the second hoop, chaos ensued.
Last weekend I bought a larger (and thus slower spinning/easier to handle) pair of minis and decided to tackle my obsession again. Yesterday, I got it!!! Soooooo happy! It's a little rough yet (as you can see in the video), but I can do it, so I'll only improve from here! I think aside from stamp carving, hooping is the only "hobby" (or whatever you'd call it) I've stuck with the longest in my life. I haven't gotten the least bit bored with it. I think the fact that there is endless room for improvement and endless new moves to learn and different styles to explore makes it impossible for me to get bored. And the fact that I CAN master a move if I practice enough, even if said practice goes on for months keeps me motivated.
Achieving goals. Yeah, I kinda like it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

back to normal..whatever that is

Alrighty, splint is off, stitches are out and I'm feeling far more human. I'm so happy the surgery is over. As long as nothing weird happens while I heal (sometimes scar tissue can develop and cause things to deform), that should be the end of that. My nose looks pretty close to what it looked like before the break, finally, and I'm happy. It's never been perfectly straight to begin with - my mouth is actually slightly off-center and my nose sort of curves to follow it, so if the doctor had made it truly straight, it would actually have looked more crooked. But he fixed the damage/assymetry to the cartilage and I feel like my old self again. This surgeon is really amazing - he managed to do all of that (and this surgery was quite invasive) without bruising my face at all. Less than two weeks later, it pretty much looks like nothing happened (except that my nose looks better)!
Not much else to report. Billy got to go home from the hospital with a drain coming out of his back to relieve pressure on his kidney. I think he's supposed to find out today if they're going to go ahead and remove it, so there's probably more hospital time in the near future for him - but at least he's not in pain. He's hoping they just remove the troublesome organ, so I hope so too.
No new news on the will-we-keep-the-house-or-not? situation. We did hear from the law office last week, but there wasn't anything new to report. I'm glad that it seems like they're on top of things, though.
Had a great weekend - went to a party at a friend's house Saturday night. She's someone we both REALLY like but had fallen out of touch with. I'm glad we're back in tough again. I made her a hoop and brought over some of my own hoops, and gave an impromptu indoor (due to rain) hoop class.
She says she's addicted now, so yaaay! I always love bringing someone else into the hoop world. We also met a really cool couple who happen to live right near us. The husband is a professional sculptor..an AMAZING one, it turns out. It's funny how we keep meeting artists and creative types now that we've chosen to point our lives in that direction. A good sign, I guess. I look forward to getting to know them better.
Now I really should get up and make some stamps before heading out for my get-out-of-the-house day. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

VD


Happy Valentine's Day! The picture above is Jim's first stamp design. Pretty cool, huh? Hrmm..is he trying to tell me something?
We spent today in Ventura having a few silkscreens made of some of my designs - finally! Hopefully in the next few days I'll have some t-shirts to list in our other Etsy shop and we can get that part of our business rolling. We had lunch at Brophy Brothers..YUM! Clam chowder, garlic baked clams and blood marys. Then we ran around and did a bunch of errands. Now we're both exhausted and not feeling very Valentine's-ey.

We don't really buy into this particular holiday anyway. It was fun when we were a new couple, but after 13 years together, I think we've pretty much established that we love each other. I'd rather express that in small ways each day than make some big, contrived gesture when Hallmark says we must.

I'm worried about my very good friend Billy. He's had a bad kidney all his life due to a birth defect, but now he's in the hospital about to have it removed. It's been causing him a lot of problems, so it's probably a good thing, but knowing someone I care deeply about is in pain makes me really unhappy. Plus he doesn't have health insurance (a predicament Jim and I are about to be in, actually) and this is going to cost a fortune. He's got an amazing girlfriend and I know she'll be there for him, taking good care of him, but I hate that they're going through this. Billy, by the way, is the guy responsible for most of the artwork on my body. It pretty much impossible for me NOT to think of him at least a little each day. :) I'm praying for his quick recovery. The worst part (for us..obviously the whole thing's much worse for him) is that they live on the East coast and we can't go visit and be there for them.
Sending prayers and reiki your way, my good friend.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

nobody really nose

Alrighty, so, surgery went well. I have to say I have a really amazing plastic surgeon. This is the second surgery he's done for me, and the second time he's managed to do it without giving me black eyes! This surgery was more invasive than the last one, with him having to cut the septum for an "open" procedure, so I was expecting the worst. I woke up surprised to find myself breathing through my nose - no packing!! Usuaully with open procedures, the surgeon will pack the nose full of what are basically tampons, and you spend a week or more breathing through your mouth, totally miserable. He'd warned me he'd have to do it this time, but then he didn't!!! I was quite happy. So..I've got the stitches, splint and a faceful of tape, but at least no black eyes or torturous packing.

The day after the surgery was kind of weird - I woke up with pretty severe pain in my chest and back. It felt like all the muscles were in total spasm, as though I'd been doing crunches the entire day before or something. It was hard to breathe or move and I spent the day knocked out on codeine. It's unusual for me to use painkillers at all. I had major surgery on my spine a few years ago and never took anything stronger than Tylenol. I have no idea what that was all about...did something weird happen while I was under? Ugh, that was a bad day. By Thursday, though, I was up and about, making stamps and getting work done. I still have to take it easy and I've got a ways to go before I look normal again, but I feel much better. SO glad that's over. I hope the results are what I've been hoping for and that this is the last time anything has to be done. It's amazing what a dragged out mess that 30 second second encounter with my dog's head became.

Not much else to report. I've been making and listing quite a few new stamps, the shop is pretty busy. On Monday we should be having some silkscreens made of a few of my designs, and will start making some t-shirts!! Finally! We really, really need to get that end of the business rolling. The shop being busy is all well and good, but it doesn't pay all the bills by a long shot.
So here's to LOTS of new, sucessful business ventures and a totally healed-up, straight nose in the very near future.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hoop, there it is!!


Alrighty, so much for my brief-but-frequent blog post plan. It's been a wild month, capped off with a rather trippy trip to Vegas. I completed the 30/30 hoop challenge, and as you can see above, even hooped in the desert enroute to Vegas. When it comes to hooping, I'm apparently very dilligent and devoted. That photo was taken on top of the post of a burned out (or perhaps just fallen down?) house just off Pearblossom highway. I have a weird obsession with that house. I can't seem to find out anything about it, but I love to see it when we're in that area. There's something really lonely and beautiful about it. It was really fun to hoop there.

The shop is busy busy busy, and it's a pleasure to be able to easily keep up with it. We still don't have much going on in the way of screen printing, but we're getting closer. The house is still in foreclosure and our lawyer is on top of it, in theory.

Tomorrow I will be having surgery number THREE (or is it four..depends on if the break/re-set sessions count) to repair my broken nose. This is going to be a more invasive surgery than last time and I admit I'm a bit more nervous than usual. I'm going to try to keep myself distracted today, between hooping and work, and just generally enjoying the goodness in my life. Hopefully tomorrow will go well and I'll heal up quickly, and the whole dog-induced nasal nightmare will be a thing of the past.
Cross your fingers for me!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

wiggles, jiggles, lumps and bumps


Oops, I haven't been keeping up with my blog the way I intended. I need to go back to short daily entries. Meanwhile, the shop's been busy and the novelty of not having to carve stamps still hasn't worn off. Every sale is a "Yaaaaay!!!" moment instead of "Oh lordy, how will I ever carve all these???"
Today is day 13 of the 30/30 hoop challenge and I have hooped for at least thirty minutes every day. I love it! I think I'm going to try to keep the habit even after the challenge ends. It's just becoming part of my day. I notice I'm always in a better mood after a hoop session. I also just started going to a hoop class on Wednesdays in the park right by our house. It's good to have an instructor and other hoopers there to give feedback - all this time, I've been sort of hooping blind. There really isn't a mirror in my room large enough to see myself when I hoop and I haven't had the courage to film myself yet. Anyway - it's been great fun. I've also lost about 7 pounds, another happy side effect. :)
I'm noticing something else that hooping is doing for me. It DOES change your body if you do it regularly and vigorously, for sure. But what I've noticed has changed even more is just my own view of my body. As I push it to do new things and gain new skills, I look at it differently. The lumps and bumps, dents and flaws that I usually despise don't seem to matter quite as much. My body can do cool stuff, and that's sort of sexy. So yeah...hooping, it's a good thing all around. Ha, get it? All around??
Lots of other things have been going on - we worked the merch booth for Toad again last Friday night. This time we had dinner with them beforehand..another of those forehead smacking moments for me in terms of trying to wrap my head around becoming this familiar with my favorite band.
Okay, this entry is getting disjointed and I have a lot of things to do, so I'll end it now.
Feeling grateful lately for so many things.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

whooooaaaaahhhhh!!!

Wow, so sales have picked up quite a bit and continue to do so as I add new stamps. I've been working at a frenzied pace - the minute Jim prints out a new sheet of negatives for me, I make the stamps and go through all the steps to post them in the shop. Not an easy task when you have as many stamps as I do! And speaking of not-easy tasks, poor Jim! He's pretty much been at his desk all day, every day, scanning my images, cleaning them up in photoshop and converting them to negatives. I could NEVER have made this switch from carved to polymer without him. I'm lucky to have such an excellent business partner. He's an excellent husband, to top it off. I'm feeling pretty grateful in general right now. Life is crazy but quite good.
OH, and speaking of Crazy Life, tomorrow night is the Toad show in LA!!! We're working the merch booth, which always makes me insanely happy.
So yeah, new way of making stamps, sales picking up, hooping every day, great husband, great friends in my life, great kid...and TOAD!!!!
Right this minute, everything is perfect.

Monday, January 10, 2011

gaining momentum

Wow, it's Monday already?? I'm so happy it didn't start out like last Monday with no internet! Instead, sales are slowly picking up as I add more polymer stamps to the shop. It is SO gratifying to see an order come in and know I can ship it immediately, instead of mentally groaning about having another stamp to carve. You know things need to change when instead of being happy about a sale, you're cringing because the workload is almost impossible to handle. Now I can actually get excited again!! C'mon sales, keep rolling in, I need ya!!!
This week (well, it officially started this past Saturday) I committed to the hooping.org 30/30 challenge. I will be hooping for at least 30 minutes a day, every day for 30 days. Today was day three. So far, so good. I really want to complete this challenge and make hooping more of a daily practice. It'll be good for me in so many ways. Not to mention it's just a lot of fun.
Today was my "play date" day. I went to Ventura and attempted to find a letterbox, but it wasn't where the clues said it was. I spent a long time looking because I'm stubborn and I HATE it when I can't find one. Then I went to Salzer's and listened to a bunch of African drum cds, and finally bought one. I came home and hooped it up for 30 minutes and now I feel like a wet noodle. *whew*
Okay....that's all for now. Bring on the sales!!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

in my absence...

OHMYGODIAMSOFRUSTRATED!!!!! I’m actually writing this entry as a word doc because I haven’t been able to get online for two days. Yesterday morning I awoke to discover the Fios wasn’t working. I knew I was late paying the phone bill (we’re broke, this happens often) and that it was probably suspended pending a payment. I called in and made a payment and was told our service would be restored in 4 hours. That was already bad, because I had several stamps I needed to ship, and with no internet access, I had no access to the orders or to Paypal shipping, so no way to ship them. Frustrating, but worst case scenario was that I’d have to pack them up in the afternoon and drive them to the post office that evening.


I went out and did my Monday getouttathehouseday thing, picked up some graphic supplies and checked out a couple of stamp stores in Ventura, got home at about 3pm……and stillnoservice!! Jim has already been on the phone with Verizon for a half hour and they wouldn’t help him because he didn’t have our account number. I got on the phone the minute I walked in the door..and remained on the phone for two and a half hours. I was sent to about seven different departments, NOBODY knew what they were doing. It turned out that not only did they suspend our service….they cancelled it altogether, as if we’d decided to switch to another phone company. Now a brand new order would have to be written and we’d have to wait, as though we were new customers waiting for an installation. Um…….WTF??? The last person I spoke with last night said she’d send an email to the department that escalates this sort of thing and I should have service by morning, if not that night.

Well….guess what we didn’t have when we woke up this morning??? Yep, still no service. I called in, and of course was transferred around to several people, none of whom knew what was going on. Everyone told me different things. Thankfully Jim has a friend who works in the orders department in another state, and she said she’d be able to expedite it. HOURS later….still no service. Turns out the person who wrote the order last night (the last person I spoke with that night) wrote it WRONG. So our friend had to re-write the order and is now trying to get our service restored.

Meanwhile, all of the orders that I told customers would be shipped on Monday have not, and anything ordered yesterday or today has gone totally unacknowledged (I always send the buyer a message thanking them, and letting them know when their order will ship). Not only that, but anything that has sold is now invisible to other potential buyers because I can’t relist the item. So I’m losing sales and probably have some customers that aren’t very happy with me. PLUS, I made several new stamps today and can’t list them in the shop – more potential sales lost. TWO freaking days of work lost so far. I’m more pissed off than I even have words for (well, words appropriate for a mixed audience, anyway). I’m totally helpless and at the mercy of stupid Verizon. So….let’s see, four years ago Verizon laid me off, thus taking away my job. And NOW…I’ve made my own job, and they’re losing business for me. THANKS, VERIZON, AGAIN!!!!!

Okay….well, I can’t even post this in my blog yet, because I can’t go online……….
(UPDATE: we finally got our internet back at 10pm last night, after yet another hour long call to Fios support, and I spent this morning frantically packing up LOTS of orders for shipping)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

the factory is open


I was busy today! Got several more stamps made and listed in the shop. I had far more successes than failures today, so I'm feeling encouraged. I've had a few sales already, also encouraging! Jim's learning a LOT about photoshop and how to clean up and duplicate my images before creating negatives of them for stampmaking. Go Jim!!
It's been raining all day, which is making me feel sort of down. I hope it clears up tomorrow, I want to go to hoop class - or at least to get out of the house for a while. There's a stamp store I want to check out in Ventura. I need to start figuring out what types of stamps are selling well, how they're packaged, things like that.
Since it's Sunday, there's not much to report in the way of the house situation. I'm sure now that the holidays are over, the upcoming week will bring some sort of nastiness from the lender. I hope I'm wrong about that.
Alright, nothing really exciting to say. I'm totally distracted right now because I've got the new Oprah Winfrey network on in the background and Dr. Oz is giving a really graphic, detailed description of how one's bowel movements should look. I mean reaaaaaally graphic. Yikes. An "S" shape, really? Does that involve some sort of maneuver? A hip circle/belly dance technique of sorts?
Hmmmm..much to ponder.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy Lucky


Wow, first post of the year! I like to think we celebrated it in a manner that welcomes a healthy, happy, successful 2011. We had sushi with friends - complete with lucky black soba noodles, then (after much playing and hooping at home), walked to the labyrinth and made it to the center by midnight. We all sat together, drinking champagne and listening to all the horns and yells and fireworks. I think it was a great way to start off what will be an amazing year.
Now today it's Twilight Zone marathon, the 80th birthday of a dear friend, and hopefully a nap.
Happy New Year.

About Me

Hippieville, CA, United States
This is the story of life after losing the "real" job and the house, trying to find the middle ground between making a living and actually living.