Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Home For Christmas (Almost Only in Our Dreams)

[Allow me to start by saying that I got about 4.5 hours of sleep last night; that might be plenty of sleep for the Energizer Bunny ever-ebullient Katie, but I assure you it is not enough for this redhead. So forgive me any and all errors; I'm sure there will be plenty. But this post has been bouncing around for days and if I don't get it out now it will be the new year (2009! OMG!) and then I never will (and I know at least two kind people want to read it). :) SO. On with the post.]

The Sunday before Christmas Jason and I loaded our bags into the car and headed off to the airport, bound for Portland, Oregon (PDX). As I mentioned in a previous post, it almost never snows at Christmas in Oregon. The few times I remember having a "White Christmas" when I was growing up it was either a dusting or just a few flakes that us kids used to be far too excited about. So although Jason and I heard, from family members as well as actual certified meteorologists, that it was snowing in Oregon--and was going to keep snowing--somehow it didn't quite really sink in. I still planned to pick up Starbucks gift cards at Costco and run a few errands. Saturday Market and Powell's (City of Books--OMG it's heaven) were still not entirely out of the question in my mind.

When we landed in Salt Lake City, they immediately informed us that our flight to PDX was cancelled and we were rescheduled the next morning. They gave us our boarding passes and (upon my request) a hotel voucher. Having never been in this situation before, I asked about our bags. The kind but obviously stupid customer service rep told us that we could pick up our bags in baggage claim, and if we didn't claim them they'd be forwarded to PDX the next morning with our flight. This didn't make a whole lot of sense to us, but we made our way to baggage claim anyway. Obviously, our bags never arrived. The line for the Delta Baggage Office was about 40 people long and there appeared to be one person working. By this point it was around 8 p.m. SLC time, which meant 10 p.m. East Coast time, which meant we were starving. [Usually I'm better about planning our eating schedules but I was fairly crazed and was lucky just to get my bags packed in time to get to the airport--I literally mailed out my last etsy orders on the way to the airport.] So we opted to head for the hotel and grab some dinner, since I had a contact case and lens solution in my carry-on (thank God!).

We actually made the most of our short time in SLC; our hotel gave us a shuttle ride over to another hotel that had a good restaurant, we ate and talked with another couple stuck for the night, and our Bosnian restaurant manager was delightful and very generous with his pours of wine. We heard that a big snowstorm was supposed to be blowing in around 2 a.m., so with hearts and minds full of dread we slept a few hours and were pleased to discover no new snow when we woke up! So we caught the hotel shuttle back to the airport.

Luckily we had our boarding passes, and since we only had our carry-ons we skipped the Delta counter and went straight through security towards our gate. There we realized how lucky we were to have boarding passes; the airport was full of people sleeping on every possible horizontal surface, not because they couldn't afford a hotel, but because they were afraid if they left the terminal without boarding passes they'd never get put on a flight! OUCH!

The Pilot came out a few times and warned us of the weather in Portland, so when they started boarding us just a few minutes late we were all excited and pretty hopeful. By this point Jason has missed his ski day with his cousins and I'd missed my PDX day, which was a bummer, but we were both excited to just get home to Portland.

So it didn't bother us too much when they delayed our takeoff for a half-hour--it was early, after all, let's give the PDX airport guys time to clean up the runway, right? And then another half-hour slipped by fairly quickly, filled with reading and short dozes moments of drifting off into some weird kind of half-sleep. :) By the time they announced the third half-hour delay, most of us were just praying we'd get to Portland, especially when the snowflakes started to fall and we all had visions of being stuck in SLC through Christmas! So when they announced takeoff after 90 minutes of waiting, we were all pretty stoked! We sent our last-minute texts/tweets and made our last-minute phone calls to the people coming to pick us up and then we were in the air. Woo hoo!!

We settled in for the quick two-hour flight and breathed a collective sigh of relief as the plane started to descend over Portland. And then we collectively gasped slightly when we started to ascend again. Huh? The Pilot came on and announced that Portland's long runway was totally icy and wouldn't be cleared for two hours (which makes me wonder why the heck we were ever cleared for takeoff in the first dang place), and the short runways were too short for our plane, so up we went to Seattle. GAH.

Obviously everyone figured we'd head up to Seattle, wait around for two more hours (or an hour and a half by the time we got there), and then head into Portland on a freshly-cleared runway. Right? Doesn't that make sense?

Nearly upon touchdown in Seattle the Pilot jumped back on the horn to say that the plane was heading back to SLC. We could get off in Seattle if we wanted, but the crew and all of our luggage was heading back to SLC. Further, we would be responsible for our own transportation from Seattle; they weren't going to book us through to Portland. And, we had about two minutes to decide what we were doing, because they were refueling and heading straight back.


Decisions, decisions! All of us were immediately on our cell phones--Jason and I were actually each on our phones to different people, which struck me as comical even at the time. Everyone on the plane was trying to figure out if there were any busses or trains running, if small chartered planes could get into the shorter runways at PDX, or if rental car places had any 4-wheel drives still available--all this in about two minutes! Meanwhile we're remembering the snowstorm blowing into SLC even as we sat on the runway and imagining being stuck there for Christmas, and of course wondering if we'd ever see our luggage again if we let it go back to SLC without us! [Especially since I had only two weeks previously laughed by ass butt off at this blog post from comedian Eugene Mirman about his luggage which Delta--the very airline now responsible for our luggage--lost. I spent most of our vacation trying to not think about his post. Which is hilarious, by the way, and you should check it out.]

Jason was on the phone to my Dad, who was at the PDX airport waiting to pick us up, and he told us to call my Mom. I'm unsure of the details but somehow she'd found out that her doctor's son (she's a nurse, she and Dr. Ellerbrook have worked together for almost as long as I can remember) was driving from Portland up to Seattle to pick up his father-in-law, who also was being re-routed to Seattle. So we got Jon's phone number and Jason called him to make sure he'd have room for us. We even managed a moment of levity when Jason said, "Oh, yeah, what about our stuff?" and I said, "Uh, babe, we won't have any stuff!" :) "Oh. Yeah!" :)

So the decision was made. About 75% of the people on the plane ended up getting off anyway, despite not getting any luggage and being unsure of how they'd get to Portland. (Further proof Seattle is a zillion times better than SLC, ha!) I don't understand why we couldn't have our luggage, or why we couldn't just hang out in Seattle for a bit, but at this point whatever, right? At least we were within driving distance of PDX, we had a plan, and at the very least (if Jon couldn't make it up), I know a ton of people in Seattle and I could start calling everyone I know to see who was still in town. :)

We had a crapload of several hours to kill in SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma) airport before Jon arrived (he hadn't even left yet for what is normally a 3+ hour drive in perfect conditions and we all had no idea how long it would take in the ice and snow). So we did the best possible thing in these types of situations: first I cried a bit, and then we found a bar. Luckily we didn't have to go too far, it was just across from the gate we flew into. :) We ordered lunch and two big beers. A suitable time passed and we ordered another round (although I switched to wine since they were out of dark beer--another painful sacrifice due to the weather :)). We sat and made lists of all the good things that happened in 2008 and all our goals for 2009, although truth be told we were feeling pretty sleep-deprived and torqued-off and pitiful not to mention buzzed, so our lists were more hilarious than real (especially the 2009 goals--topping the list was "NO F***ING SNOW"). (Ha!) But it helped us pass the time. :)

Eventually Jon called to say he was arriving, and he really made remarkable time! So good, in fact, that his father-in-law hadn't even arrived yet! But since he was there he swooped us up in his Subaru all-wheel drive; it was remarkably easy to meet him, since I've heard things about him most of my life and he looks incredibly like his dad, so it was sort of like I already knew him a bit. He took us to another tavern near the airport to eat, since it was now dinner time. It was so nice to be out of the airport and it was also nice to not pay crazy airport prices! We ate and got to know each other and killed more time and pretty soon his father-in-law called and we headed back to the airport, and then soon--about 8 p.m.--were on our way back to Portland!

I am ashamed to say that in the cozy luxury of the back seat of the Subaru, safely on our way home with most of our worries past and our stomachs full of food and beer, Jason and I fell asleep almost immediately. I woke up about an hour outside of Portland and I think Jason woke up when we were almost in Portland; needless to say we didn't make the best travel companions, although maybe Jon was thankful for the peace and quiet. :)

The worst part of the entire drive was the distance from southern Portland through my parents' exit on the freeway (about 20 miles of pure ice with huge berms in the road). Luckily my parents were able to drive up part way to get us so poor Jon didn't have to drive us all the way down--we're sooooo thankful to him anyway, we were calling him our Knight in Shining Subaru, ha ha! :)

So we arrived at my parents' and fell into bed. The rest of our remaining visit was wonderful and fairly uneventful, at least in comparison, and I will post photos later this week/weekend of all the fun. But the good news is that we were able to get to a store to restock on essentials--I even found a pair of jeans that sufficed!--and we had a renewed sense of what was truly important about the holiday and our visit. Jason and I handled everything well and were a great team, we had a great visit with most of our family (except my sister's family who couldn't make it down from Spokane, which is a major bummer, and I'll work hard to see them soon!), and (thanks to my parents driving up to PDX on Christmas!) we even got our luggage back before we flew home (only by about ten hours due to our schedule at Jason's family's house, but still, what a relief!).

On that note, I will close out my last post for 2008. Tomorrow will be exciting, with a post about my One Word for 2009 and a special necklace offer!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #28--Christmas in Prague

Happy Friday! :)

In 2005 Jason and I flew to Prague for Christmas. Cousin Steve is married to Katka, who's from Prague. They spend Christmas there on odd-numbered years, and since we were in Italy we flew up to see Prague and spend some time with Steve, Katka, and Katka's awesome family.

Steve showed us all over Prague and beyond. We took the train to a town where they make crystal to get it at rock-bottom prices; we saw a church decorated with thousands of bones; we visited Katka's grandma in a gorgous old town with an amazing Christmas market. We ate amazing food and drank amazing (and cheap) beer. Prague is one of my favorite cities in the world.

I'll tell you more about it but for now everyone's ready and we're headed off to the Ladies' Tea at Aunt Dee's. Hooray! Happy Day After Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

From Oregon With Love...

We had quite an ordeal getting here, which I'll write about later when I have more time. But today I went to Burgerville, so now all is right with the world (mostly, anyway). As if I didn't already love them enough, when I ordered my Chocolate Hazelnut milkshake it came in this awesome cup.

I love it! I think I'll use most of these sayings in my jewelry. Maybe I'll make a special "Burgerville Line." Ha! But I really love this cup and these sayings and that makes me love Burgerville even more. Which I didn't think was possible.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Create a Memory, Inspire Hope.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #27

Holy stinkin' heck it's Friday!

I've mentioned before (all the way back in my very first Favorite {Photo} Friday post) that I really love this hat.

And I do. I adore it. I also love this photo and how the snow is piled up on top of my hat. I love how my cheeks get rosy out in the cold--I think I am a cold weather person, I'm much cuter in the cold than sweating in heat and humidity, blech!. :)

And I've also mentioned (very recently) that I love this coat.

Tomorrow I will be packing both of them as we head off on Sunday for the snowy wonderland that is... Oregon. What the heck? Oregon is not exactly the White Christmas capital so it will be weird to arrive there into snow. But I will be loving my cold-weather gear. :)


I am making the COOLEST things lately, but they are Christmas presents so I don't want to show them yet! (Bummer!) I hope everything will be well received. And I'm taking photos so I can post them after all the gift-giving is over. :)

Last night I headed back to the super-cool knitting group I stumbled upon last week and they were just as cool this week. I mentioned that I wasn't sure if the person I was making a gift for would like it or not, one lady said, "Well, if not, bring it back here because I want it!" and another lady interrupted her to say, "You'll have to fight me for it!" Hooray! That's always a good sign, right? :) (I was not knitting, but no one seemed to mind at all.) :)

I had a hair appointment yesterday and we went with a darker red this time to help account for fading (it's a much longer story but who cares?). I love it--I also had all kinds of crazy shades of red in Italy where it's no big deal to have burgundy or fuschia hair. But someone today asked me, "Did you dye your hair darker? I really like the other shade you used to have, it really looked good on you." HA HA. Oh, Lordy. Good thing I am too tired and busy with my mile-long To Do list to worry about that right now, ha ha!

TONS to do in the next day and a half. TONS. I was originally joking when I mentioned that I might have to give my family IOU notes instead of Christmas presents but the closer we get the more realistic that's becoming! Oh, heavens. Wish me luck!

Have a great weekend, everyone! Stay safe out there in the insanity of the last weekend before Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Zoom Zoom Zoom...

I have a friend, Chuck, who hates those old "Zoom-zoom" commercials. That little kid saying "Zoom-zoom" in a kind of whisper used to just set him right on edge. We could all freak poor Chuck the heck out by whispering, "Zoom-zoom" anywhere within his hearing. Anyone even remember which car company those were for? Oh, my trusty Google has revealed it was Mazda, and poor Chuck was not the only Anti-Zoom-Zoom. Those comments are pretty hilarious!

ANYway. Yes. Zoom-zoom-zoom indeed.

I am sort of almost getting a handle on all the custom orders. Today (for part of the day) I sat in my pajamas and hammered 13 rings for my Circle of Love necklaces while watching my DVR'ed episodes of CSI Miami and that pretty much rocked. Relaxation (pajamas) + accomplishing something (hammering rings) + relaxation (watching CSI Miami) + accomplishing something (clearing out the DVR) = super happy Cameron.

I also discovered how many people have named things "Circle of Love" on etsy and it made me want to change the name of my necklaces.

I've been thinking of random things and wanting to blog but we've been in-and-out (mostly out) of internet for the past day+. The super-smart Jason has almost figured it out and so we have internet on two or three (out of four, including John's laptop) computers. And I am super happy about that. 28 hours without internet meant I had 60 something unread messages when I logged back in (not even counting the spam). I am much better at the check-and-delete-often method when it comes to keeping up on the internet; any backlog freaks me out.

ANYway. Here are some random things/thoughts/feelings/emotions/whatever. After reading all my old random Myspace blogs that documented our transition from Italy to America and military to civilian I was really glad I wrote about those random things--the things that made me happy, annoyed, etc, on a daily basis. So here we go again. :)

After dropping my packages at the post office today I swung by Starbucks, thinking I could use their Wi-Fi to catch up on a few things. I am a dummy because I never had a laptop before and didn't know that you have to have an AT&T or T-Mobile membership or pre-paid pass to get to it. Of course I didn't discover that until after I'd already ordered a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (SCHC) and settled into a comfy chair in the corner. The SCHC was okay as far as hot chocolate goes but not nearly as good as I'd thought it would be, and the $4+ I spent on it made me really glad I make my own espresso (cappuccinos, lattes, etc) at home. And you can, too--just buy one of these. (I also learned that Panera, Chick-Fil-A, and McDonald's all have free Wi-Fi. Take that, Starbucks!)

Katie called the other day and I wasn't here but she talked to Jason. They had an ice storm and are out of power and water and a tree had fallen across their long driveway, trapping them. Obviously I want to buy her a chainsaw for Christmas. Helloooooo, Katie? My friends must not be trapped. Give me a heart attack, why don't you? This is Mama Bear you're talking to!

Jen finally signed up for Inspired and I am SO FLIPPIN' BLOODY STINKIN' EXCITED I can barely stand it. I was ready to fly down to Georgia to drag her there myself. Thank you, Brett, Hater of Asparagus, for Jen's multi-occasion present! As if I could adore her any more, she went and posted this. I have no idea why but talk about making my DAY! :)

I adore Trader Joe's and their spectacular selection of super-cheap but super-good wine (not to mention their make-it-quickly foods that don't have high-fructose corn syrup). For real. They have Italian wine practically at prices we actually paid in Italy for them. It is amazing. All of their food is amazing! Yummy and healthy and amazing.

I delivered eight pearl necklaces to bride-to-be Sarah on Monday... she loved them so I'm thrilled! (Especially because I spent many hours on Friday and Saturday driving around to every bead store in a 50-mile radius to buy enough pearls!) She actually chose to have an all-pearl version rather than the Swarovski crystals shown here, but you get the basic idea. I made them 17" with a 2" chain extender; I wore this one tonight over a turtleneck sweater. I ended up liking it so much that I just might make it a normal listing in my etsy shop.

I went to book club last night as the leader of this month's selection, having read only 12 pages of the book. LORDY. Granted, I have read the book (The World According to Garp) before, but still. This is soooooo unlike me; hence, it's a good indication of how crazy things have been lately.

I really, really hate those Whopper Virgin ads from Burger King. They're so disturbing. Leave those people alone and stop poisoning them with that junk.

If I Were President I would enact a law that everyone who drives Mini Coopers, scooters, and motorcycles would be required to park in the back half of parking spots so everyone doesn't get excited about an open spot and start to turn in only to realize there is something already there that is just very tiny and then you have to do a weird movement with your car to stop turning in and it's just very awkward. If you drive a tiny vehicle it actually makes more sense to park in the back because eventually one of those people excited to find a spot who starts pulling in will just not stop in time (probably because they will be talking on their cell phone at the time) and will smoosh your cute little car or scooter. And that would be sad. So park wisely! :)

I love Abreva, even though it costs $17 for the tiniest tube of anything you've ever seen in your life. It works miracles. I also love Burt's Bees' Medicated Lip Balm with Clove Oil. It smells yummy, too!

I've been eating a lot of ruby red grapefruits because my awesome aunt Susan always orders them for us from Texas from Red Cooper. They are super sweet and so good! I really hate how your hands get gross when peeling citrus fruits (what is that, anyway?) but these grapefruit are totally worth it.

Okay, that's way too much all for now!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday #26

Lately my Favorite {Photo} Friday posts have been more like Favorite {Photo and Story} Friday, but tonight I've just got a few minutes so we'll switch it up and be long on photos and short on chatter. :)

For Thanksgiving weekend in 2005 Jason and I headed up to Lake Bled, Slovenia with my church group. While we were there it started to snow.

Here you can see a few little flakes, it just started to snow while we were out for a walk. By the way, two things: first, I adore the coat I'm wearing in this photo. I bought it in South Korea in January 2004 when it was freezing cold. I almost didn't buy it because it was like $65, which seems like a LOT when everything else there cost like $5. It may be the best $65 I ever spent, I love it. Second, looking at this photo just now reminded me of something. Jason had just given me diamond earrings for my birthday that year (and also as a sort of "Thank God we made it through Korea" present, ha ha!) and they have the screw-backs. I was in the habit of checking them every so often, much like a newly engaged woman looks at her ring constantly. :) We got back to the room to change for dinner and when I felt my earrings, the back of one was gone. I was so shocked that I had to go check in the mirror. With all the times I'd taken my scarf on and off, I still can't believe that the back of my earring came off but the earring stayed in my ear! Whew! I totally forgot about that until just now.

Anyway, it kept snowing and snowing, and after dinner a bunch of the group went outside for a snowball fight while my girlfriends and I stayed warm and dry and fortified with Irish Coffees in the bar. Overnight it kept snowing and snowing and snowing more. When we went for the same walk we'd gone on the day before we saw things slightly differently!

Care to sit down on a bench by the lake? :P

Here is a great comparison. The first photo is from November 26, 3:49 p.m.

The next photo is from November 27, 3:00 p.m. What a difference a day makes!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


So much I could say, but it is all covered by this:


I've been working my tail off on custom orders and prepping for two "shows" held yesterday at two different salons. Basically that meant that I made as many premade things as I could (hence the lack of blog posts lately!) and then brought everything into salons for the employees to see (and hopefully buy!). I sold a bunch and took some custom orders, too! Hooray!

Then since I already had everything with me, when I went to my physical therapist's office (to pay a bill) and my chiropractor's office (for an adjustment) I took in my jewelry and asked if they'd like to see what I've been working on. More sales and orders, hooray!

Today I hammered and hammered and hammered some more and finished up the custom orders for delivery this afternoon. When I showed up at the salon, I found out that all of the employees who'd bought items yesterday had been talking me up to their clients! One lady was even there waiting for me, and crossed eight names off her Christmas list--and thanked me for making her shopping so easy! Another woman with foils on came to check everything out and asked if I could make eight pearl necklaces for her wedding next week! A stylist rolled the little cart over to her station so her client could look at what I had while her hair was being blow-dried!

Then I drove to the other salon to drop off one custom order; it was pouring rain and I had to take the freeway during rush hour. Double ugh! But Ashley loved what I'd made, so that made it all worth it. Then just as I was about to go I decided to ask two of the other employees if they were interested in jewelry and if they'd like to see what I made; "no pressure, but since I'm here anyway I thought I'd ask...." One of them placed a custom order and as she was deciding what she wanted I was chatting and telling them about the woman at the other salon who had her Christmas list out and checked off names. And I could see a lightbulb go on and Ashley's eyes lit up; she ordered four more matching necklaces for her circle of friends, each with a different word! What I thought was a simple delivery of one necklace turned into five more custom orders!

I left the salon walking on clouds and as I was headed to my car I noticed a needlework shop. I haven't crocheted in a while but I always like to see what pretty yarns and threads and things they have, and I thought that there might be ladies working there who would be interested in seeing my jewelry. NUTS, right? Just walking up to strangers and asking them if they're interested in buying what I'm selling? Mamma mia!

So I bravely walk into the store, reminding myself that I'm nice and the worst anyone would say is, "No thanks, not interested." :) But I immediately hear laughter coming from the back, and as I come around a display I notice it's a knitting group! The employee (who I later found out is one of the owners) starts to get up and I tell her to stay where she is, I'm just browsing, and she invites me over to sit down and have a glass of wine! All the ladies were so fun and were handing me cookies and treats right and left, and as soon as I mentioned that I was in the area dropping off some jewelry they all wanted to see what I had! More sales and another custom order! The owners want me to make some stitch markers to sell in the store! Two of the women mentioned different women's groups that would be interested in having me as a speaker in the spring to talk about my business and have a display/sales table of my work!

Are ya' freakin' kiddin' me?!?!

I'm going back next week with some yarn and a crochet hook, and they made sure to remind me to bring my jewelry back with me, too!

I'm incredibly excited, obviously. :) I still have more custom orders to complete so I'll be busy all this weekend. I have a mile-long To Do list and the only thing on there that gets crossed out--and then rewritten, crossed-out, rewritten, crossed-out--is "finish and deliver custom orders"! I still have photos waiting to be edited and uploaded to Etsy. My house is a disaster. I'm two weeks late sending a package to my swap partner, Angelique. And I'm just crossing my fingers that my friends and family won't mind getting our Christmas card & letter in January, and that my family will be understanding when they open up their Christmas presents to find IOUs inside! :P

Friday, December 5, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday #25

Hooray, it's Friday! I can't believe I've been doing this for 25 weeks already. Almost half a year, and it's gone so quickly!

As cousin Ingrid reminded me, tomorrow is Saint Nicholas Day. I'm not Catholic (although my friend Deb calls Lutherans "Catholic Lites," ha ha! Okay, maybe that's a joke only Lutherans get. Haha! Okay, I'm done now. Sorry. :)) ANYway. Since I'm not Catholic the saints' days usually don't pop up on my radar. But a couple of years ago we happened to be in Salzburg, Austria on this weekend and we were introduced to a rather shocking tradition!

It seems that in Austria and Bavaria they have Krampus. On December 6 (St. Nicholas Day), if you've been a good child then St. Nicholas will bring you treats, but if you've been bad then Krampus will come and beat you. I'm not kidding. This is what they tell their children!

Jason and I discovered this as we wandered through the stalls of the Christmas Market and I asked several nice Austrians why they were selling candy and cookies decorated with faces that looked like a devil. I'm still not kidding.

To reinforce this lovely little tale, on the evening of December 5th (or the preceding weekend, it seems, since it happened on December 2nd in 2006), people dress up as Krampus and run through the streets carrying clubs and chains and try to scare the ever-living crap daylights out of people--especially children. I swear, I'm still not kidding. Really.

I was--as I'm sure you can imagine!--incredibly intrigued, and also slightly frightened. I wanted to witness this cultural spectacle, but I also wasn't crazy about the idea of costumed, weapons-wielding strangers trying to frighten me. Just the idea was enough, if you're like me and have an active imagination and a history of forensic novels under your belt. :)

And suddenly, there they were! We heard the bells clanging and the chains dragging and everything echoing off the cobblestones and then BAM, there's the freakshow parade! It all happened so quickly but out of the corner of my eye I saw one duck into a bar. So I ran over and he was already on the way back out--I snapped a photo just in time! And then I ran away quick-quick-quickly!

Okay, truly, isn't this frightening? It's hard to tell in the photo but he's in the mid 6-foot range. Tall. And in this getup? With real animal hair & fur? The only way to tell he's human is the hands! He looks a lot less scary surrounded by sunny yellow walls, but imagine coming upon this in the dark outside? It was crazy! Can you imagine being an Austrian child learning about Krampus? It turns out that Krampus has many names in many different cultures, all mentioned here. I would much rather grow up in Brad and Ingrid's house, where St. Nicholas delivers candy and tangerines into your shoes! :)


When Ingrid reminded me of St. Nicholas Day I remembered this photo and I also remembered having written about it before. So I went on a hunt, thinking I could pull the old copy-and-paste trick (which didn't work this time, by the way), and my first stop was MySpace, where I did a little "practice" blog before I started this one (although when I was writing in MySpace I had no inclination of a "real" blog, it was just a way to keep in touch with a ton of my friends & family at once). As I remembered, I'd blogged just a little bit every now and then. But as it actually turns out, I blogged there all the freakin' time. There were posts on there I'd completely forgotten about ever having written! It is freaky, actually. I documented a lot of the transition from Italy back to the States, military to civilian. And I'm totally glad I did, but it was pretty surreal reading it all! So I might post a couple of those in the coming weeks just for fun!


My vacuum cleaner is dying, and it's making me nuts. It's over ten years old and it spent 3.5 years in an Italian attic, so it's not a huge surprise; but having a half-sucking vacuum really, well, you know, sucks. I joked with Jason about asking for one for Christmas but of course that is just someplace you don't go, right? Besides being a lame gift, it's just too cliché. But if your husband has ever given you a vacuum cleaner for Christmas, or any lame gift at any time, then you should go check out this video here. Pretty funny stuff! Thanks to Kim for the link. :)


I've been working to fulfill a ton of custom orders, which is awesome! But it's hard to upload stuff to etsy (despite my many promises to do so) when I'm working so hard on fulfilling these orders! I got a lot done and had a lot of fun today stamping with my new shipment of sterling silver shapes, but poor Jason is getting sick and came home early from work and fell into bed, so my hammering was at a standstill. I managed to take halfway decent photos of two new designs, which I'll upload to etsy tomorrow.

This ring is 1" diameter, hand-stamped with the word "Breathe" and finished in brushed-matte. The dangle is a hand-made (not by me) torchwork borosilicate bead that is gorgeous. The predominate color is a relaxing green but there are also blues and yellows (borosilicate is what Pyrex is made out of; it is very hard to work with because it requires such high temperatures, but it's much stronger than normal glass). I used a very nice thick sterling silver chain and clasp and will wear this necklace throughout December (and 2009!) to remind myself of what is important and what is not. Just breathe. I ordered this shape as a sample and now that I've fallen in love with it, naturally it's backordered. I must have one and that leaves only one left for purchase (until after Christmas!). I can stamp it exactly like this one, or with whatever word you want. The price is $52, $3 for shipping. First-come, first served; claim it and I'll send you a payment request! Tomorrow it will be listed on etsy for the rest of the world. :)

I also have a few of these gorgeous butterflies! I can stamp whatever words you'd like and use whichever colors of Swarovski crystals and/or freshwater pearls you like, each hand-wire-wrapped onto the chain.

I have one stamped Dream, one stamped Fly, and three blank ones waiting. The butterfly is just less than 1" wide and is finished with oxidized (black) letters and a bright silver finish. I can also finish it with a hammered silver texture or a matte silver texture for no extra charge. It's on an 18" sterling silver necklace; $32 each plus $3 shipping.

I can't wait to photograph my other designs and upload everything tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Today I...

Today I...

... threw a load of clothes down to the hallway in front of the washer and dryer, and then walked back and forth over them about six times before actually loading them into the washer.

... got my eggs almost perfect, so that just the very center of the yolks was thick but still runny.

... felt guilty wasting two whole paper towels to cook my turkey bacon in the microwave, but still did it rather than use another pan.

... laughed out loud at a joke I made in my head, and then laughed out loud at having cracked myself up.

... really need to vacuum and mop. Really.

... packed up and shipped etsy orders.

... danced a little jig when I got the shipping notice for my lastest order of sterling silver to stamp on.

... opened up my second Advent present, hooray!

... made two eggnog lattes, yummmm.

... am thinking that just buying everyone on my list Starbucks gift cards seems like a grand idea and a huge time and stress saver. :)

... figured out by accident that my order of CDs was actually cheaper if I didn't use the promo code they'd e-mailed me, which made me not want to order them after all.

... surfed the internet to find some gift ideas for my family.

... am totally overwhelmed by my To Do list.

... realized that we are almost out of bread and I didn't buy any on my trip yesterday, which means I have to make a special trip for it today.

... didn't check any pants pockets before loading things into the washer/dryer.

... am picking little shreds of paper off all the clothes from the blues/jeans load.

... wondered what that paper had originally been and whether or not Jason would miss it.

... am finding it annoying funny annoying that there are so many great sales precisely when nobody has the money to buy anything, and then when we do again there will be no more sales.

... am still totally creeped out by the phone commercial with the talking thumb-faces.

... metaphorically smacked my forehead.

... wondered if we could change our airline tickets and just fly to Italy for Christmas.

... actually pondered with whom we could stay in Italy and had a nice little daydream.

... wished for an "un-do" button.

... swallowed my miniscule pride and crossed my fingers.

... talked to three family members in one day (super unusual for me).

... folded a lot of clothes.

... listened to Christmas music in an effort to find my elusive Christmas spirit.

... watched American Chopper with Jason.

... wrote this post throughout the day.

... am heading to bed to finish my book!