Friday, October 08, 2004

Jumbled Thoughts Of Picture Day, Hamster Feet, Pre-Show Chaos and Being Thankful...

What a week! I am sure that my thoughts will be so scattered... I just hope they make sense. Each one of these probably could have been a tiny blog entry on its own, but when things get busy, they sure pile up fast!

The girls had picture day this week and wore some of the wonderful outfits they have in their closet that have totally gone ignored because dressing down is more popular. I put my foot down and asked them to wear their little tunics because they look so nice in them. Erin really had a hard time accepting the fact that I wanted her to look a bit dressy in the picture. Isn’t it amazing how they throw your own words back at you? “You always tell me that what is INSIDE is more important, Mom!” To which I replied “Yes, but the camera can only see the outside!” I can still remember when picture day was a big deal at school because it was FUN to get dressed in something nice for the pictures. By grade 3 I knew right where to go for the class pictures too... middle spot, back row. I mourn the fact that school clothes are so much more casual nowadays, even though I know the kids are probably more comfy.

After only a month of living with us, Nipper (the dwarf hamster) has my girls very well trained. She has decided that she likes waking up every morning before they go to school so that she can have them feed her some almond slivers before she goes back to sleep for the morning. Considering that the shop owner called her kind “Evil Incarnate”, she is taming quite nicely. She is acrobatic enough to climb up the cage bars towards the door when you have it open to put in food or water, and this morning came right out onto my hand for a treat for the first time. When she ran out of almond, she sniffed my hand and started to give me a nip as if to say “More!” so she got one other sliver before we let her jump back into the cage. Of course now Erin is wanting to have Nipper in HER hands immediately, but I have been promoting the concept of patience in training pets. I figure they might remember someday that patience also applies to parenting!

This is our Thanksgiving Weekend here in Canada and I really enjoy the chance to have a big turkey dinner over TWO months away from Christmas. We’ll be heading down to Nick’s mother’s on Monday for a meal, but I may just cook a turkey of our own to get the bones for soup and all the leftover meat.

Because I leave for Toronto on Wednesday, this weekend will also be about final kit assembly, packing, making sure that I have everything I need for the show etc. Not quite a restful long weekend, but hopefully a good one nonetheless. Nick looked at me the other night and asked what my hourly wage would be if I took the income from the weekend and divided it out by the number of hours it has taken me to design, kit, assemble, teach etc. I’m almost afraid to do the math, because it would probably work out to well below minimum wage... and yet I love what I do!!

It’s been comical in the chaos of the past two weeks with computer woes, sick kids and husband, late nights and stressful days, how easy I have found it to complain. This morning as I write this, I am reminded of all the things in my life that I DO have to be thankful for, especially given the many places in our world where people’s lives lie in shambles... even just to the south in Florida.

I think I just need to go rake up a big pile of leaves somewhere this weekend and jump in them!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Friendships Beyond Price

In some ways, it was a really lousy weekend... and in other ways I feel like one of the richest people on earth.

Technology can be such a major pain when it doesn’t work well (and that is putting it in the politest language that I can use in public!). Nick arrived home early on Friday and offered to cook supper while I finished proofreading one of my charts for the classes I am teaching in Toronto. As I was changing a last section, the whole screen locked, froze and disappeared! When I restarted everything, the program continued to lock overtime I tried to click on the selection tool in that program and all of the changes I had made in the last 15 minutes of working and saving had disappeared. By this time, I was close to tears, but I turned everything off and went up for supper. Afterwards, I called a wonderful store that I deal with which carried Mac software and found out that they had a copy of Norton System Works, so off we went to buy that along with some much needed groceries. It was a bit grueling with two girls who were tired after the week at school and seem to be in “Who can tattle on the other first” mode, but we survived and I came home to install the program on my other machine to check. Unfortunately the machine with the problems uses an older operating system (on purpose) but the version of Norton that I used to have still worked and said it was fine.

I picked up the phone and called a wonderful friend, who knows and depends on Macs as much as I do to be creative, just to get an “awww”. I also knew that she would understand how I felt to stand in front of the new G5 Mac computers with a combination of awe, lust and frustration (I am pretty sure that I didn’t leave any drool on the store model’s keyboard) because those machines are just SO amazing. She was wonderfully sympathetic and laughed with me when I reminded her of the post on one pattern-sharing group this summer about designers being millionaires. “If I WAS a millionaire, I would have about 6 of those in the house... one just for decoration!! “ I moaned. It was just so great to be able to vent to someone who really understood! (Thanks!) With her encouragement, a bit of patience and switching mice between my two computers, I managed to get the file reproofed and rebuilt before 1 am.

Saturday morning we headed off to the gym by 8:15 and losing myself in swimming laps for 40 minutes helped to make up for the late night. The girls had their classes, Nick got his workout and I taught my class and then we headed home. After racing out to see a mid-afternoon movie with our girls and our godson, we came home to fix supper for another great friend who stays with us overnight once a month when she comes to town to provide her ex-husband’s parents with custody of her children in his absence. (Don’t get me started!) She brought some homemade salsa and a wonderful bottle of wine for our evening chat once the kids were in bed, but Nick’s sinus infection was making him feel pretty miserable, so he headed off to bed just as we were getting ready to start kitting up one class for Toronto! I went down to print off the labels to stick on the file cards that identify which floss is which... and the label paper kept jamming!! Instead of getting 8 labels I could use per sheet, I was lucky to get 4 or 5! Sue was so patient as she kept working on cutting out what labels I could get printed when I kept trying to hand feed each sheet through the printer. Finally, I decided to print them off on my main machine... only to discover that the internal Zip drive was not working at all!! I had no way of getting the files from one machine to the other since it was too big to fit on an old disk and the older machine can’t burn to CD!!
I finally stomped upstairs with enough labels to do most of the kits and then we just talked, snipped and kitted until midnight. Being able to laugh with someone and find joy in the face of challenges and tribulations is so healing! I also felt bad about being grumpy over something so small when she has faced such huge problems.

Sunday after church I bent my “no shopping on Sundays” rule to get an external USB Zip drive for my main machine. The $130.00 was worth it in the long run because I just can’t send the machine away to be fixed before the show and it did let me get the label file onto my main machine. Everything seemed fine until I went to print out the second class’s labels. There were inconsistent gaps in each label sheet when a different label at random (or 5 of the 8) would just not appear on the printout!! I finally figured out that it must be a memory problem, so I would just print one sheet at a time, let the machine freak out... restart it.... print one more sheet, let the machine freak out... restart it... It was starting to feel more like a Windows machine by the time I got the last one printed.

This morning I have run all my programs and tidied the drive up (which was really fragmented) so hopefully this will be it for computer woes between now and Toronto. If not, I may show up with little dent marks on my forehead from where I’ve been banging it against the monitor!