Friday, November 04, 2005

In The Company Of Friends...

There is something to be said about the company of good friends. Nick and I went over to set up for our church’s pancake breakfast, which takes place tomorrow, and one of our friends offered to let our girls and their three daughters play together at her house instead of running around the church while we were all trying to set up tables. The girls had a wonderful time and then we stayed to chat while the kids finished watching a movie.

There is something so precious about spending time in the company of people you enjoy. It restores something deep in your soul to compare notes with other parents and discover that you aren’t the only ones who go through the challenges that rearing responsible children entails.

Friday nights are usually “date night” because when you have a home-based business, it is too easy to disappear to the office all the time. Tonight we shared that “date” with good friends and still felt connected.

It was a productive day getting packages ready to mail out tomorrow. Of the 22 orders I shipped out for the “I’ll Make My Own Happy Ending” design, it turns out that 5 never made it to the stores in question. Those are horrible odds, but what else can I do except send it again? I sure wish that our two postal systems worked better together!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Finally Getting Tidy!

Today was productive and the garbage bags prove I have less stuff in the house than I did this morning. Nothing like knowing you’ll be having people visiting your home to make you tackle the piles that you’d normally ask your family to function around!

Now, there’s just my office to tidy and that is already underway. I had some patterns to get ready for Hoffman, so after sweeping everything from my desk to the floor to sort, I set the printer in the other room to chug away at printing out covers. I should be able to do a run to the post office if my allergy testing doesn’t take too long tomorrow. I am pretty sure that the trigger is either whey protein concentrate or potassium sorbate, but we’ll see.

There is something so therapeutic about not seeing clutter everywhere you look... so why do we let our lives get so cluttered up anyway? I am trying to coax Bethany into sleeping with less stuffed animals on the bed, but she insists on having the heap of 20 odd stuffies lined up against the wall to snuggle with. Ah well... I’ve been fighting that clutter bug in me for as long as I can remember and am only now learning at 40 how to get everything in its place. Maybe they will learn that earlier!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I Hate The Day After Halloween!!

OK... maybe hate is a pretty strong word. Last night was quite possibly the most glorious night for Trick or Treating that my kids have ever experienced. For once there was no bitter wind, no snow, sleet or rain, but rather a suddenly balmy temperature as many people decided to sit outside on their front steps with the bowl of candy to savour this last gift or warmth before winter makes its presence felt. This was the first year that Bethany was able to keep up with Erin and not have to go back to the house early. They each had a friend along for the cruise around our neighbourhood. Since the forecast had called for a 60 percent chance of rain, I had decided earlier in the day not to spend 2 hours painting myself green for She-Hulk, but I did don the wig, put on my medieval top and boots with my black jeans to saunter around with the kids. The fact that I ended up holding a witch’s broom and hat for Bethany’s friend only added to the general weirdness. At least my friend Cheryl wore the white feather boa that her daughter quickly discarded. That would NOT have been warrior-like at all.

What I found hardest about last night was the candy insanity that only seems to grow more intense every year. We put off buying the treats until Saturday. I was very well behaved as long as the bags were all sealed until I began filling the bowl near the door at 4pm yesterday afternoon. By 4:05, I knew I was in trouble. I had a tiny taste to make sure that none of the candy was stale and then set to making sure we all ate a healthy supper. Sweets are one of my biggest downfalls and getting to pick what I wanted from their bags as my “Mom Tax” for a tiny pile of treats to enjoy was such fun. The girls sorted out their candy and divided it in to two piles: The “I must keep this” and the “Ewwww! I don’t like those!” piles. I let them each keep a dozen tiny bags of chips, Doritos or cheesies and then the wretched excess went back into our bowl to hand out. A small grocery bag for each of them was then properly labeled so that there will be no confusion as to whose bag is whose. After a late night snack and far too much stalling, I got them off to bed and managed to foist the remainder of the chips and candy off on a herd of gangly teenagers that were sauntering down the street. Imagine their surprise when this tall woman in warrior garb threw open a door and bellowed down the street at them. “Do you want the last of our treats?” The ensuing stampede was quite impressive, but the “Gee thanks, Ma’am!” was like a shot of cold water to the ego. A nibble or two from my Mom Tax pile helped a bit.

The cold reality of the day after hit like a ton of bricks this morning as I stared at the wrappers I had left on the shelf near my seat. I lined them up like so many tiny body bags to take stock of what I had actually consumed. The points count was scary... but it fit right in with the topic I had to share with the Weight Watchers group I lead ever Tuesday. Confession time... Leaders are not perfect! I have learned once again that I am just far better off when the treats I give out are something that I cannot stand, That way the only nibbling I do is from the Mom Tax pile.

I wonder how badly egged the house would get next year if I gave out the sticker sheets I saw at Wal-mart? Then again... with a husband who may be a principal next year, it might be hard to be sure what exactly triggered the eggings.

Sigh! Time to give the tiny wrappers a decent burial in my garbage bag and move on.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Going Back To The Beginning...

I found my voice... then I lost it. I found a new path in the woods and thought that every step had to be a grand adventure, but that led me to forget why I had set out on this journey in the first place.

When I first started Dragon Musings, I wanted it to be a glimpse into the everyday life of a singe cross stitch designer... me. While I am great friends with a few other talented people in the industry, the only career I can really comment on is my own. When so many of the pattern sharers were accusing designers of wallowing in cash, being huge companies that didn’t care about stitchers or trying to otherwise justify stealing designs, I felt a realistic look into what I have chosen to try to do for a living was warranted.

But somewhere along the line I got distracted. I worried that if I complained too much, I would sound like I was whining... a trait that I am trying to curb in Bethany right now, so I should set the example. I also didn’t want to burst the bubble for aspiring designers by letting them know what a struggle it is to make ends meet some months, even after a dozen years of designing. I wanted stitchers to see the ordinary side of me, that designers are real people too, we just happen to be crazy enough to want to earn a living from something we used to do just for fun and relaxation.

One of my greatest thrills is to be able to do what I love for a living, but as my girls get a bit older and I have time to diversify back into illustration, I am going to chase that dream as well, especially since the needlework market is, shall we politely say, a bit soft?

Which in a roundabout way brings me back to why I suddenly realized how much I need this blog to head back to its beginnings... a more regular glimpse into the crazy career I have chosen. No more waiting until I think I have something important to say... it’d only be a puff of smoke anyway! No more wondering about implications and tone... blogging is all about the moment in which you write that entry. It gets nailed out there in cyberspace and captures that moment in time much as my personal journal entries anchor my thoughts to paper and clarify who I was at the time I wrote an entry. If time is fluid and we are always given the chance to change with every second that we breathe and our heart still beats, it is better to just get out there and live each moment, as ordinary or incredible as they may be, instead of waiting for the PERFECT moment and then look back to see how much we have missed in the meantime.

As an offshoot of this blog, I also started one up today called Candles In The Darkness that I plan to fill with quotes, inspirational stuff and messages of hope to counteract all the negative out there. I am going to have fun hunting for stuff that inspires me!