Being is Believing

Just for Fun

So… 2017. What can we say about it?

There were some definite, not-great things about the year that was that I will not be sad to see go. Like completely losing focus on anything and everything side-business-related. Then there was the hurricane that came barreling towards us in September. Or the massive breast abscess that took almost 2 months to heal only to go for a mammogram and find out I had a lump in the other breast that required a biopsy. Or that my insurance coverage barely covered 10% of all of the above.

Not fun.

But there were a lot more really awesome things that happened this year that easily overshadow the negatives.

The hurricane swerved. Thank goodness (though it still did a lot of damage elsewhere, which is still not good).

And I don’t have cancer. Halle-freaking-lujah. And I have some really good doctors here in town because of it, including a surgeon that called me, himself, between patients at the hospital, to make sure I new the lump was benign before Thanksgiving instead of making me wait until my appointment the following Monday. And since he missed me the first time he called my office, he called back later to make sure he got me.

Then there are the amazing people I’ve met this year: some in person, others online, and can count some true friends and loved ones among them. And speaking of loved ones, Todd and I reached the 10-year mark in our relationship this fall and that’s a pretty major thing! Yeah!

And lest I forget: I got a new job this year! Sure, training my replacement at the old place was stressful as all get out (I was actually training two people, plus filling in some gaps on a third recent hire, while the facility prepped for a big name visitor that was then rescheduled due to the hurricane), but the momentary stress was worth it as I now have all of a 5 minute commute to the office and what will be a fabulous, fulfilling position once the slow transition is complete sometime in the coming year.

I also did a lot of reflection and self-discovery this year, too. It’s pretty much what I did instead of business-building. Some would say that’s just as valuable or maybe even more so. I could go either way on the subject.

So what about 2018, what are my hopes for it?

A lot of the usual: get a better handle on my finances, feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of next year, yadda yadda yadda… But mostly I want to just be.

Be what? Ahh, that’s the thing, now isn’t it.

There are lots of ways to be, and sometimes just the act of being–existing–is all you can accomplish in a day. Some days are like that. I had several of them over the last 10 months or so.

But on the days where I can be more, this is what I’d like to be…

Be Okay
with whatever happens, how it happens, and even why it happens; fight less, accept more

Be Understanding
of people, events, strangers and friends alike, and of myself; don’t beat myself up for simple mistakes, or even big mistakes, they’re gonna happen but it doesn’t have to feel like the end of the world

Be Happy
appreciate what happens, the happy accidents and the unexpected adventures alike; find joy in little things and look on the bright side as much as possible

Be Brave
step out of my comfort zone a bit and try new things, or maybe retry old things that didn’t work out the first time–maybe I’ve learned something that can change the outcome this time

Be Open
to success and failure, to friendship and love, to beginnings and endings, to whatever the universe has in store; judge less, learn more

Be Unapologetic
stop apologizing for things I don’t need to be sorry for, especially those things that have to be done and aren’t wrong in the doing, but the little things, too; find better words for those other times when sorry isn’t the right thing to say but we just don’t have a better idea

Be Enough
know that I am who and what I need to be, not for anyone else but for myself, know that I don’t have to have the answers for someone else’s life, or even always for my own

Be Myself
good, bad, or indifferent I can only be who I am, I cannot keep changing myself to fit the molds and expectations of others; let people see the real me and the ones that don’t like it, I don’t need

Here’s to a happy and fulfilling 2018, whatever that ends up meaning 🙂

Imagine That: September Projects and Big News!

Everyday Adventures, In The Studio

So… September, huh? Where in the world did that go?!

My September was a whirlwind (could have been literally had Irma not scooted over when she did thereby saving Thomasville from the direct path) of big big changes:

I ended August by giving notice at Canopy Cove so the next two weeks were spent tidying up as many loose ends as possible and training both my replacement and the new insurance specialist. There were days when I felt more like a proctor or study hall monitor than an employee and my voice was hoarse on many occasions.

9/2: My monkey Moleskine on the Imagine Crafts blog was my second project picked up by the Craft Gossip newsletter!

And then there was the aforementioned hurricane scare which, sure, meant a second 3-day weekend in a row but with an added scoop of stress and cutting the time to finish my to-do list even shorter.

That next weekend I started rehearsing with the Rose City Symphonic Band. I wish I could say that the transition back into concert music has been a smooth one. It… hasn’t. To be quite candid, I’m not sure I have the chops to handle that kind of playing as I’ve been struggling to consistently hit and maintain an F natural (aka the first note I learned the play on the damned horn at age 11, 30 freaking years ago). Time will tell whether I emerge victorious or bow out gracefully.

9/22: Get a head start on the holidays by stamping out some quick gift tags on the Imagine Crafts blog!

On the 19th I started my new job in Thomasville at Balfour Timber. I love my new workplace and really am enjoying learning a new industry and the transition has been pretty gradual, allowing me to learn not just what my job will comprise but the rest of the office as well.

And because the Universe has a sick sense of humor, the night before the new job started I came down with something and I’m still dealing with it. I’ve been on antibiotics for the last 19 days with 6 more to go and there’s still a chance I might need minor surgery to resolve it.

9/26: Rose Gold and Navy Pocket Letter featuring the new Rose Gold and Champagne Delicata Inks on Imagine Crafts’ Blog

And, finally, plans are afoot for me to attend Creativation this January! I actually decided to book my flight once the Irma threat was over, but it looks like I’ll be hanging out a lot at the Imagine booth helping with demos and stuff! I’m super jazzed about it (I’ve wanted to attend the CHA show for ages) and have been counting down the days in my planner!

Another Trip Around the Sun

Everyday Adventures

I’m grateful I survived!

Okay, this year hasn’t been that bad, my survival was never truly in question after all, but it’s been trying on all sorts of levels.

My 41st birthday weekend started Friday morning with cupcakes and a balloon from my boss and the Rose Festival parade that night. We didn’t stay for the street dance this year, but we still had fun. And Duncan was very good throughout the whole parade.

Saturday morning we met up with friends for Art in the Park and had a good time hanging out and wandering around Paradise Park before heading to the Farmer’s Daughter Vineyard tasting room for wine and cheese and more catching up.

And then, Saturday night, we had tickets to The Secret Garden,: The Musical, put on by TOSAC. I was so incredibly impressed by everyone on stage and totally got choked up at the ending. I love the local theater company anyway (and you cannot beat the $15 ticket price!) and wish I had time to volunteer to help with costumes or sets or something. Maybe some day.

On Sunday, my actual birthday, we met up with Mom at Kiku for sushi. Apparently they have a Sunday Brunch special, who knew?! We hadn’t been there in ages (as is the case for most of our old haunts in Tallahassee)!

Since lunch was kinda late we decided not to do anything specific for supper, instead we picked up cake and cupcakes from Publix (because I couldn’t make up my mind) and snacked our way through the evening.

All in all, not a bad way to turn 41!

I have high hopes for my 42nd year on earth: less stress, more crafting, and new experiences are topping the list.

February Favs (and 1 Dishonorable Mention)

Everyday Adventures, Tuesday Revews-Day

Absolutely none of the products in this post were provided in exchange for a review.

While it’s true that I’m on a spending ban for the foreseeable future (because, let’s face it, I have more than enough in terms of both stuff and bills), it’s possible to have favorites that are not necessarily spending-related. I thought I’d share mine because I like reading/watching favorites round-ups on blogs and YouTube, and sharing mine seems like a good idea.

Tech & Tools

Meet Betty Spaghetti, my very red 2-in-1 from Dell. I actually got her in January (what spending ban?!) but it was only partially a splurge. It’s try that I have a rather nice laptop (17″, widescreen, lots of power and storage), it spends 99% of its life hooked up to a secondary monitor, keyboard, mouse, 2 external hard drives, a graphics tablet, and two printers. Making it mobile is a chore, it doesn’t fit standard laptop bags, and the reason it’s lasted 4 years or so, already, is because I don’t move it all that much. Ergo, it’s not exactly portable.


Still, I probably wouldn’t have ordered a new laptop had it not been for a YouTube video I saw where the YouTuber (BumbleBailey) was travelling but still able to edit videos and do other big computer things via remote login and her tablet.

Mind. Blown.

You mean I can sit in the living room with one screen and work on my laptop in the next room? Or, better yet, I could edit videos and use my design programs from an under-powered machine (no need for 64 bit system, massive memory, or non-integrated graphics card with this arrangement) from the back porch at work on my lunch break?! Madness! But also true. Once I realized what was possible, I had very few arguments left against purchasing a $300 laptop/tablet. And it’s served me quite well for the last month and a bit, so I’m feeling next to no buyer’s remorse.

And did I mention it’s red?

I bought a little wireless mouse to use with it and had a spare MicroSD card to expand the on-board memory. The only thing I really need, now, is a bluetooth stylus that will work with it so I can use the touchscreen as a drawing tablet and I’ll be set.


I still have quite the band-crush on Walk Off the Earth; if I had a bucket list, seeing them live in concert would be on it (they’ll be at Busch Gardens at the beginning of April but I don’t see that as feasible right now). You may know them from their 5 Peeps, 1 Guitar cover of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know (though I think I saw Little Boxes, first, thanks to a Facebook post from a high school friend), but they’re original music is definitely worth listening to.

Many of their songs are on YouTube in one form or another, and their newest album Sing It All Away can be found on Amazon, iTunes, and pretty much everywhere else. I haven’t looked at that app in a while, but they’re probably on Spotify, too. Some of my favorites are Hold On, I’ll Be Waiting, and Sing It All Away (though even picking 3 favorites feels incredibly unfair to the rest of the album) and from their earlier album (REVO) I adore Red Hands. In fact, to see just how awesome this band is, not just at making music, but at making videos, check out the behind the scenes shoot of Red Hands to see how they relearned their own song in a completely disjointed (and backwards, in one place) way to be cut from a single shot into a cohesive video.


The KAL afghan is coming along and the weekly art journal process is flagging (but still happening–I need to catch up on 2 pages and 4 videos; February is always awful for progress), my favorite project was probably the one that went up on Imagine’s site last week: my upcycled tea advent to puppet theater set (The Play’s the Thing).


I think this project took 6 or 7 hours, all told, but I think it’s so adorable and a great use for a box that I just couldn’t get rid of. In fact, I think it’s just the right size for my (very neglected) Dals to play with. For them it’s next to life-size, lol.



Hands-down our favorite to-do this month was our picnic and open-air movie night (that I mentioned in the last menu post). It was just good, simple fun and hard to beat. You know we’re not exactly 100% kid friendly, but the kids running around and playing during the movie didn’t bother us. If anything, it was part of the charm (though I almost did have to ask a dad to sit down or walk away as he was standing smack dab in front of me as the movie started, but he was just dropping some things off, so all was well).

Food & Bev

Most days I drink (deaf) coffee or tea in the morning and switch to water in the afternoon and evenings. Sometimes, though, I want something fizzy and flavored and there aren’t a lot of options that aren’t loaded with high fructose corn syrup and/or caffeine, so finding a middle ground isn’t always easy (and don’t get me started on the drink mixes with the artificial sweeteners in them, blech!).

La Croix sparkling waters have a bit of a cult following so I gave them a try, starting with Lemon and had an absolutely wretched experience with them. Did not want. But a coworker offered me an Orange a few months later and that one was better, so I decided to give the brand another try and branched out among the flavor options (Coconut is pretty cool, by the way). But this fav isn’t for La Croix, it’s for their competitor in the fizzy water aisle: Aquafina.


The grocery store was a little light on La Croix options one week, so I figured I’d give the other guys a chance. I’m not usually a fan of Pepsi products as I find them too sweet, on average, but when it comes to the flavored sparkling water, that appears to work in their favor. I’m working my way through packs of the Orange-Grapefruit as well as the Black Cherry-Dragonfruit and I’m going to go ahead and call myself a convert.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to a balance between the two components of flavor: taste and smell. La Croix smells right, but fall flat on the tongue whereas Aquafina has the follow-through. For what it’s worth, I’ve had the same issues with Daisani and Pellegrino flavored mineral waters, too, so I’m even more impressed with Aquafina.

Though, I will say, beware if you do what I do which is rinse out your travel mug from the morning’s coffee and fill it with the chilled fizzy water of choice. Should you, say, take the lid off to get the last sip at the bottom of the cup you might find a bit of trapped CO2 going up your nose if you don’t let it float away, first. I can’t imagine too much of that would be a stellar improvement on cognitive function…

Dishonorable Mention

I don’t usually feel the need to warn people against a product, but at the last possible moment (on the drive home from work on the 28th) I opened my first S’mores Soft-Baked Bar from Enjoy Life and, well, it wasn’t good.


I usually enjoy (sorry!) this brand’s products, which is why I picked up a likely sounding package of bars for afternoon snacks. In a perfect world I’d set aside time each weekend to make and bake for my snacks throughout the week but seriously? Life is far from perfect at the moment so store-bought it is! I was disappointed not only with the flavor (rather bland) but also with the texture. Gluten-free baked goods often have texture issues, it’s a product of their make-up and I grant a certain leeway to every new thing I try. But this was unfortunately mealy and gritty. It was also a bit on the bland side–I mean, something that’s supposed to be graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate I expect to be very sweet. Not so much in this version.

I did try another the following day, just in case it was a poor first impression, but it was just as unpleasant. The upside is that there are only 5 bars and they work in a pinch if my blood sugar is dropping and I need something to bump me back up, but yeah, I won’t be buying these again or trying their other flavors. Live and learn!

All’s Well That Ends Exhausted…

Everyday Adventures

A much more honest version of that old saw, don’t you think?

Part I

I barely know where to start, but we’ll go with last Thursday morning, how’s that? Todd woke up with a backache. That, in and of itself is not incredibly newsworthy, it does happen occasionally, but you have to remember that’s Todd tolerance level (to alcohol, meds, pain, my ideas) is pretty damn high and his usual attitude is to get on with things regardless.

So the fact that he was vocalizing some pain issues should have tipped me off that this was not going to be standard operating procedure.

As I was going to lunch I got  a text from him…


He failed to mention the chest pain that morning. Master of understatement this one. I truly debated leaving right then and there. Some people would have, but I’m trying to curb some of my natural panic-mode inclinations, so I decided to abide by his wishes and stay put.

Sure. it was a bit alarming that they’d sent him to the ER, but it’s not uncommon for a beleaguered urgent care center to refer patients up a level to better be able to handle their case load. Meanwhile, I was a bit distracted at the office, watching for further updates to come through. After an hour of him being at the ER and nothing, I finally got this:

Screenshot_2017-01-26-13-26-22And then I left work…

Homeboy neglected to mention they transported him by ambulance. Do I need to even explain how crucial a piece of information that was?! King of the understatement.

That was the longest my commute ever felt.

I get to the ER (at least I knew where it was, this time), sign some paperwork, and finally I can go back to the triage rooms.

Had I not been pretty damn anxious by this point, I might have taken a picture of the scene I walked into, but I didn’t. Let me see if I can adequately paint this picture for you:

Empty medical bay, a gaping void where the hulking white bed once stood. To one side of the room a boot stands, toe pointed towards the wall. On the other side of the room its mate lays tossed hurriedly aside. A box of EKG leads sits on the table, discarded adhesive covers littering the workstation. A monitor beeps. A disembodied voice moans from elsewhere along the corridor.

In my state of just this side of panicked, the far flung boots were a silent reminder that very bad things happen in rooms like this. I paced until they wheeled him back into the room, fresh from the ultrasound that revealed a perfectly normal aorta (thank goodness!) and a gallstone that was situated right at the opening to the duct, causing the pain and discomfort.

Surgery is likely in the near future for Todd, but we’ve done this once before with me, back in 2008, so at least we know the drill about what to do and not do. We finally got out of there around 6:30 and had to stop by Urgent Care to get some things out of Todd’s car. He couldn’t drive it home because they’d given him some meds before discharge and even though it was less than 5 minutes away, no sense chancing a fluke accident and him being technically “under the influence.” He’d also had the meds on an otherwise empty stomach, so they might have had a chance of making him sleepy, if it weren’t for the ensuing burst of adrenaline when we got home…

Part II

We both noticed Duncan didn’t come out to greet us when we pulled into the backyard. This was odd because we were home a bit later than usual (say, 30-45 minutes after I’d normally get home) and he’s usually very excited to see us. We’re discussing this fact as we get ourselves and our stuff out of the car when the neighbor to our right comes out of his backdoor, asking for our attention.

He calls his son out to him and says he’s got to face the music. Simultaneously, Todd has noticed and called attention to the fact that the back gate is standing open.


The neighbor boy has been playing ball in his yard, a narrow strip behind the duplexes that runs along our property. The ball went into our (Duncan’s) fenced area and Mr. Slick decided that he could make it in and out without Duncan noticing.

Three guesses how that turned out.

Duncan barked. Boy fled. Boy left gate open. Boy denied it to Mom and Dad when they noticed it a little while later.

And when did this happen, you might be wondering? About 30 minutes before we got home.

So we rush inside, drop our gear, grab leashes, and head out to search, on foot, around the neighborhood. Each going separate directions. I walked down to the park and looped back up a block or two, Todd took the streets behind us. Not a sight or sound of Duncan was to be had.

Meanwhile, I’m still worried about how Todd’s doing, so when our paths crossed as we make intersecting loops, I suggested we pack it in for now so I could get him home and fed. We posted on NextDoor and had an uneasy supper in a way too silent home.

Duncan’s gotten out before, due to his own devious streak, and we’ve spent a bit of time and money ensuring he cannot escape the backyard at will. He’s even let himself back in on at least one occasion, so that if the neighbor on the left hadn’t ratted him out, we’d have been none the wiser about his solo adventures. But this was different. This was at night, this was due to the poor judgement of a stranger, and this time we didn’t find him right away.

To compound the problem, he’d recently pawed his tags off his collar (breaking the split ring they were on) and we’d tried one fix that didn’t last but hadn’t found another solution yet, so he’s wandering around without tags. Fabulous. And he’s microchipped, yes, but (for the non-pet owners out there) you have to register the microchip and pay a separate fee. The pwperwork to do that went AWOL pretty quickly, and Duncan tried to eat the backup tag so I couldn’t read the numbers. He’s due for a vet visit this month and the plan was to have them scan his chip so we could get the number and finally register this wayward son of ours.

Timing’s a bitch, ain’t it?

We decided to go out one more time, together in the car, and crawl our way through the little streets that surround us, going as far as Broad Street just in case. As we were running out of roads, about 3 blocks from home (in an area we’d already covered to no avail), we caught a flash of something in a wooded lot. Duncan was finally found.

It was a very happy reunion, and a short trip home to get him fed and snuggled. And for me to write our address and phone number directly on his collar. Why I didn’t think of that before I have no idea.

Of course, then I see that Duncan has worked said collar off and is chewing on the plastic clip latch thingy.

So off to Walmart the three of us go (we were taking no chances) to get him a new collar, a package of split rings to add the tags to, and a lock for the back gate (the front gate’s been locked for quite some time). He may have also received a new toy for being such a good boy riding in the cart, but you could hardly begrudge him the hedgehog that makes piggy noises.

Part III

After the double shot of stress on Thursday, Friday found us in zombie mode so I took advantage of an unencumbered Saturday morning to sleep in ’til noon, then work on projects for the afternoon and evening. All this to say it was no surprise that I was still awake just shy of 3am when the first Tornado Warning lit up my phone.

I went upstairs to wake Todd and Duncan and bring them down to (relative) safety. Our house has no true safe spot for riding out a tornado threat–all rooms are exterior rooms, even the hallways have windows courtesy of the doors at either end, the closest we can get, if it really gets dangerous, is the closet under stairs among the Halloween decorations and my wedding dress.

Instead, we fell asleep on the sofa, all three of us, while the local news kept continuous coverage of the storms flowing around and through our town. We woke up sometime after 4, when the first wave of warnings had expired, and went up to bed for a few more hours.

Sunday was spent watching the news reports and being vary wary of the weather. Mid-afternoon we got a lull in the weather, a gap large enough between storm bands to be able to go grocery shopping. We lost power briefly a couple of times, but figured we were out of the woods when the last warning expired with only a wind advisory remaining.

Naturally that’s when we lost power for an hour or so.

Par for the course.

We were lucky, in all three instances. I’m ever so grateful for that fact, for our family being intact as well as our home. I just wish the reminders of our good fortune didn’t come all at once and with so much for potential for bad.