Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Summer already?!

This morning I realized that it's the last day of February, and I need to begin making my summer seasonal soaps already by next week. And I have no idea what they are going to be.

What?! Back that train up! Yes, you are probably thinking didn't she just announce her spring stuff a couple of weeks ago? And quite honestly, that spring season is really dragging its feet. When you look out the window, spring still seems a long ways off. But with curing times and deadlines for the newsletters, I have to begin summer already.

My method, if you can call it that, is to keep a file folder for ideas. Any time a light bulb goes off, or I see something that sparks an interesting idea, I jot a little note on some scrap of whatever is handy and toss it in the file. Pictures ripped from magazines too. Then, when it's time to plan out the new line, I haul out the bulging folder and try to come up with a list. I juggle colors, a possible theme, things that will smell good together instead of clash next to each other. That kind of thing. It's not a long, agonizing, analysis. It's mostlly intuitive and sort of cobbled together out of whatever is stewing on the back burner in my head.

Sometime last fall I decided to upgrade my "system" a little bit and make a more cohesive notebook, with a section for each season, and get a little more organized. So far, all I've done is buy the notebook. It's still sitting here, empty and alone. So I'm back to the pile, and wishing there was a little more sunshine going on out there today to get me motivated, instead of all the grey skies and sharp winds.

So I'm trying to conjure up scenes of beaches and bathing beauties. Hot sun, ripe fruits, hoochie umbrella drinks, lazy afternoons in the hammock. While piling on another layer of socks in my cold little office.

So back to the spring stuff that was just announced -- quick report card on the spring soaps -- they are ALL good. My personal favorites are the rosemary, bergamot and peppermint. I'm currently having a little love affair with all three and rotating them by day in my shower. My friend Marilyn called last night to say she especially like the Almond Goat and the Blossom. The bergamot sold out at last week's show, but that's not really a good comparison, because I didn't get the rosemary cured enough to even bring there. And last summer, my test batches of rosemary sold better than the bergamot, but I hadn't made the peppermint one yet. So there you go. Try them all and see which one you personally like the best. Each one of them is lusciously creamy and gorgeously fragrant.

P.S. Thank you! to Leslie, who made such a nice little mention of me on her knitting blog, Nake-id Knits the other day. I haven't really shared lessons on how I make soap here on the blog yet, but after seeing yours, I was thinking I should do more of that. Hm, maybe. How to take pictures and stir at the same time?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I have the best customers!

So many orders have been coming in this week with sweet little notes of kind words and encouragement -- notes about how much you like the products, how perfect they are for gifts, how everyone who receives them has loved them, and that you simply can't live without this or that. It makes me so happy to hear from you all!

In fact, so many orders have been coming in the last couple of weeks, it's like Christmas! Which is also quite nice. After all the fretting last week about losing the Lord Hill and Vasa Park shows, of course things are looking up. Several new opportunities are on the horizon. New ideas, a little more momentum to try something that may have been on the back burner for awhile. Lots of stuff to work on.

But first and foremost, before anything else can happen, I need to get more caught up on making soap. To start the year, since time was so short, I made smaller batches of every single fragrance, just to have all the bases covered. And the spankin' new soaps have been such a hit, that I'm falling behind already. That never happens in February. A few folks even got calls that a particular scent was still a week away from curing. But I'm getting there. Lots more bars are in the works.

And yesterday was a heeyooooge day of orders being fiilled. I think I got every last one shipped off that had piled up through the weekend. So today I'm back to making soap, doing a quick check of supply inventories to make sure I'm not missing anything, placing my own orders for stuff and generally keeping this train on the track at full speed.

I really and truly appreciate all of you guys. You have no idea how gratifying it is to get such an overwhelmingly supportive response. And the sense of satisfaction is what makes it all worthwile. THANK YOU!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Suzy Snowflake

This week is the Lord Hill craft show up in Snohomish. Sue Van Gerpen is the sweetest little spitfire that has run all the Country Craft shows at both Lord Hill Farm and Vasa Park for the last 14 years. Last night she announced to us that she is selling the show. After much wrestling with the decision, she just needs to move on to whatever is next.

I'm still a little shocked, a little numb, and a little heartsick. This may well be the last time there IS a show at Lord Hill Farm. And March is the last scheduled Vasa Park show. Maybe forever. Of course the hope is that somebody, some genius, wants to pick up the pieces and carry it forward. But the reality is that craft shows have taken a real beating the last few years and I can't even count the number of shows that have foundered, crumbled and stopped altogether.

For me, Sue's shows were always the most successful, the best crafters, the highest quality, the most organized and professional. Quite frankly they were the benchmark of what a show should be, and the ones that all others were compared to. And nobody else's ever came close. I absolutely loved her, Tanna, and all the folks there. It was kind of a comfortable little home for me -- for a couple of weeks in the spring and one week a month during each of the fall and winter months. I still can't believe I won't be seeing all my friends, catching up on the gossip during work shifts. And it was amazing how consistent the sales were for me, more profitable than any of the others. So in addition to the personal aspects, the loss of money that I've come to expect (take for granted?) for this fall is almost too much to imagine at the moment.

Almost like clockwork, or birthdays on the calendar, Sue's shows were a given. In the back of my mind, when things were bleak and I began to entertain ideas about giving up my own business, I would always say to myself, "well, I won't quit completely - I'll still do just a few shows during the holidays, like all of Sue's." Just because they were that good. Even if I gave up everything else, I figured I could still do a handful of Country Craft shows for a little side cash. It never occurred to me that some day it might not be there. It was the top of the pops. How could it not go on forever?

But, it IS in fact, over. At least in this same incarnation. The end of an era. Where Rick and his dog wire up the lights until the very last second, and then rush out to the motorhome in the parking lot. Where Tanna runs the checkout tables with her brilliant combination of iron fist and squishy hugs. Where we tap our toes to Sue's eclectic music collection, and race up and down the aisles looking for her tiny little head over the displays -- she had the perfect answer to any and all questions and problems. She could teach Nordstrom a thing or two about customer service too.

So one more piece of my life has just fallen apart this week. I guess it's the universe telling me that we've spent too much time in this comfy spot. No more sitting on our laurels, waiting for the next steps to become clear. It's time to jump, take a step, any step and keep it moving. That's a lesson I keep trying to teach myself. If you just keep doing the same old thing, over and over, you wither and die. But if you just keep on trying new things, doing stuff, any stuff, moving forward (sometimes backward) the activity itself will propel you in new directions. And things will grow.

It's easy to make the decision to quit something when you've already got something bigger, better, brighter already lined up. It's really scary to quit something when it's dark out there, nothing but a big black hole of un-knowing-ness. Even so, even if you are groping about in the dark, blindfolded, with a ledge in front of you, you still have to take that one little step. And with that one step, the next one shows up. Sometimes, it's just one more step in the dark to the left or right. Sometimes the light comes on and a path emerges. But the next step DOES show up.

So, I need to re-think the show schedule I had begun to line up for the rest of the year. More shows? Bigger shows? Less shows? Focus my business in a new direction? Shift to more online? Find other sources of income to make up the difference? Do I market differently? More retail? More wholesale? Get a part-time job at Starbucks?

Sue made this charming little felted bird. She does some sewing and crafting too. It totally captured me last night. I had to take it home. It's my little Bluebird of Happiness charm. Everthing will be ok, and everything will work out somehow. Again, letting go. Letting whatever happens just evolve. It's such a major theme this month there's no way to ignore it. I'm trying to be patient and see what turns up without controlling the outcome. No worrying, fretting, manipulating or micro managing the puzzle pieces. Just watching them fall into place as they appear and waiting for the picture to emerge out of the pitch dark.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Anywhere but here

That's what I'm feeling this morning. I'd like to be somewhere else, doing something else, magically transported from this day onto a beach like this. Or gracefully slicing through the winds on a huge sailboat. Or watching the fishing boats gliding through the fog. There's a boat theme in all this.

Often when I'm not sure what to write, or what theme to choose, I search for images that click, and then the thoughts begin to flow. I'm very visually inspired. Since I still have no computer, I'm on borrowed time here. So, no camera, none of my files, making do. When I was browsing for images to rip, the boats kept coming up. Maybe it's the waves, the water, the flow. Maybe it's telling me to just float along with whatever the day brings. Letting go.

The sun is coming out. The birds are yapping happily. And I've got to get moving. Daydreaming only while hands are busy.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Spring Lord Hill Farm

Well. So. The duct tape didn't hold and the wheels fell off. Complete hard drive crash and failure. I don't think I've lost everything, but I don't know yet. I'm migrating to a little dinky back-up system today. So if my invoices, soap labels, etc. look a little off this week -- it's because I'm using a tiny little printer with totally different settings, trying to find my fonts, rustling through all the old back ups and trying to re-create stuff that's missing.

It's so weird to be this completely screwed. I mean, it could be worse. I had just backed up everything a couple of weeks ago. I can't believe I was even that effiicient. And I really backed up more than I usually do. But that still doesn't mean it was ALL of my photos, or documents, and none of my music. And I'm pretty convinced my ITunes library is gone. Which is heartbreaking. All the music I had downloaded from obscure sites and stuff that I will never be able to remember or recover. But I'm not thinking about that now. Not today.

Today I am packaging all my items for this week's show. We set up tomorrow and I have quite a lot to do. Plus, I'm working on the lovely pile of orders that came in over the weekend. Usually I have no patience for broken stuff, or things that aren't working. Maybe it's the inner control freak, but I absolutely flip my wig about it, until it's fixed and everything is back to normal. But that isn't happening any time soon. I have to take the whole mess to computer triage this week. And it will probably be gone for longer than a week. A new computer, recovering data, transferring, upgrading, downloading software. The whole set up is just old enough that adding one new part means that none of the other pieces will be compatible. Crap, probably a new printer and airport too. Oops, I'm not thinking about that today or I'll lose my marbles.

So, back to the topic at hand. The show. It's at Lord Hill Farm, up in Snohomish. I can't even find all the deets right now. Using the roomie's computer means running up and down stairs trying to find log ins and passwords to even get to the web site, blog, remote email account. I have NOTHING here. Erm, slipped again.

Here's the link to the show site : Country Craft for directions and stuff. Basically it's Wed evening from 3pm-8pm, Thurs and Fri 10am-8pm, and Sat 10am-6pm.

I know what you're thinking: after last week's endless holidays -- Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year, President's Day, Mardi Gras . . . what more do I possibly need to shop for? Well, spring really IS right around the corner. And if I simply must remind you, you're going to want to decorate the house with pansies and daffodils. Easter chick, bunny and egg goodness. And I'm guessing you'll need Mother's Day presents too. This show is so chock full of fun spring gifts and decorating fun, it will kick you right out of the winter doldroms. And you just might want to try some of the new springs soaps from moi, don't you? Even if all you do is buy a tulip-shaped sugar cookie, it's a nice place to spend an hour, sparking your imagination for the season ahead. Which is yellow and pink and green and robin's egg blue . . . .

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Out of Commission

Oh good heavens. It looks like I have a functioning computer again, if only for a few minutes. I am not going to head off into some long-winded explanation of what is wrong THIS time. But I've been without technology for a few days. Spent the better part of this morning kicking the thing and using up a roll of duct tape. So I'm guessing this is not a long term solution. And a new computer is on the short horizon, but for now, for this very minute, I have a real screen and internets.

I just wanted to jot a short note to say that yes, I have received the weekend's orders. Yes, I can retrieve email. I am working out the kinks behind the scenes, but as far as you all know, things are working just dandy fine. I'll suffer in silence this time and not bore you with all the hair pulling outing and whatnot.

I wanted to post some really pretty pictures of the rock wall, but it has once again blown out and the stomach area is sitting back on the sidewalk. Yes, it will get fixed and rebuilt and will actually hold. Or so I'm told. So eventually it will be a beauty. And I will get to plant things. And the ankle high mud that coats my entire world will eventually go away.

Anyway, this is the short version of my out-of-control, frazzled few days. And that's really all I want to share about it. I am breathing in and out, trying to be patient and yet move forward with things that have to be done too. This blog, after all, is about the business, my work, and what is going on in the soap world. Not so much about the petulant wailing about how hard the rest of the stuff is. I'll vent into my pillow about all the dirty cat footprints, the never-ending mess around here, the fact that they ate my Valentine's bouquet this morning because I wouldn't get up at 5am to play, etc. Thank God for Netflix and Apple's Genius bar. I'm ok. It's all going to be fine. I'm heading back to the manuals and pile of cords.

And tomorrow, if all goes well, I will post about this week's show. It's at Lord Hill Farm from Wed through Saturday this week. I'm pretty excited about it, even if I'm not remotely ready to set it up. There's two days left. Whew. First show of the new year. Spring stuff!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

I've got Cole Porter songs running through my head today. I looked up the lyrics to "You're the Top", because it's such a fun and catchy tune. It was written in 1934 for the musical Anything Goes. I was surprised to find educational lesson plans for teachers and intellectual dissertations about how these particular lyrics illustrate the culture of the 30's so succinctly, by naming all the most prized and valued things of that era - sort of a snapshot into long ago times. Maybe I'm completely out of step, but I can't really find anything on that list that doesn't still sound pretty good.

I'd probably be happy with Greta Garbo's salary, even today. A turkey dinner with waldorf salad and an after-dinner nip of Napoleon brandy? Not so bad. So here's to cellophane -- and a day of snuggling up to your sweetie(s).

You're The Top by Cole Porter

At words poetic, I'm so pathetic
That I always have found it best
Instead of getting 'em off my chest,
To let 'em rest—unexpressed.
I hate parading my serenading,
As I'll probably miss a bar,
But if this ditty is not so pretty,
At least it'll tell you how great you are.

You're the top! You're the Coliseum.
You're the top! You're the Louvre Museum.
You're the melody from a symphony by Strauss.
You're a Bendel bonnet,
A Shakespeare sonnet,
You're Mickey Mouse!

You're the Nile! You're the Tow'r of Pisa.
You're the smile on the Mona Lisa.
I'm a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop!
But if baby I'm the bottom, you're the top!

You're the top! You're Mahatma Gandhi.
You're the top! You're Napoleon brandy.
You're the purple light of a summer night in Spain.
You're the National Gallery; you're Garbo's salary,
You're cellophane!

You're sublime; you're a turkey dinner.
You're the time of the Derby Winner.
I'm a toy balloon that is fated soon to pop;
But if baby I'm the bottom, you're the top!

You're the top! You're a Waldorf salad.
You're the top! You're a Berlin ballad.
You're the nimble tread of the feet of Fred Astaire.
You're an O'Neill drama; you're Whistler's mama; you're Camembert.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Spring (Newsletter) is Sprung

For those of you dear readers who may not be on the mailing list, or somehow didn't get this month's mailing, I'm posting the entire Spring 2007 newsletter which is being mailed out today. Bon Appetit!

Dear Friends,

After a particularly tough winter here in the Northwest, we’re all crossing our fingers in breathless anticipation that Spring is right around the corner. Spring is the return of light, the return of life, a quickening of activity after a long winter’s nap. Already the days are noticeably longer, with peekaboo afternoons of dazzling, crisp sunlight that seem almost warm. Birds are busily bustling about the barren branches. Are those tiny little buds a hallucination? Are those pokey little green things raising their heads above the dirt a trick of the imagination? If I squint just hard enough in the blanket of fog this morning I think I can barely see a change in the air. It must be Spring! Let’s ditch the mittens and practice our frolic among the posies!

New Soaps

I started my business making just the soap bars. Now, 10 years later, it’s still the soap that is number one. So I’m focusing 2007 on doing what I do best, and doing it even better, by adding three new soaps to the regular every day list with special ingredients and nutrients, such as extra moisturizing oils of shea butter and hemp oil, and luxurious strands of pure silk. Plus, as always, I’ve created two new soaps just for Spring, to celebrate the season of love and flowers. ($4.00 each or 4 bars for $15.00)

Almond Lemon Goat Milk – Goat milk, rich in proteins and calcium, is renowned for its moisturizing and replenishing abilities, and gentle nature - being the soap of choice for people with sensitive skin or skin conditions. This recipe uses pure, fresh, raw, organic goat milk, not powdered or tinned milk, for a truly luxurious feel. Scented with luscious lemon and warm almond, the test batch I introduced last fall was snapped up instantly, a big winner with everyone who tried it. (Spring seasonal)

Blossom – So sweet and romantic, it’s the fragrance of delicate pink rosebuds, clouds of baby’s breath, a few petals of lily and jasmine, and lots of fresh green sprigs. A lovely bouquet of floral in a petal pink bar, it’s a perfect compliment for the spring season. (Spring seasonal)

Rosemary Orange Hemp – Hemp seed oil is one of the world’s richest sources of essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6) and Vitamin E in the plant kingdom, making it a top natural choice for healing dry or damaged skin, and reversing the effects of sun and aging. Hemp oil’s healing enzymes and vitamins absorb directly into the skin, replenishing and repairing. The fragrance of sweet, juicy orange and lightly herbal rosemary is fresh, lively and irresistable. (100% natural, new to the everyday list)

Bergamot Shea Butter – African healers have used shea butter for thousands of years as the ideal treatment for dry or aging skin. Its high content of non-saponifiable fatty acids gives it the ability to moisturize and retain elasticity in the skin while helping to protect against the damaging effects of the sun and repairing cellular degeneration. I’ve used a healthy dose of pure, unrefined, unbleached shea butter in its most natural state, and scented this soap with an elegant, beautiful blend of bergamot, geranium and rosewood – so pretty, so luxurious, so sophisticated. (100% natural, new to the everyday list)

Peppermint Eucalyptus – Straight from the spa, this is a cool, tingly, refreshing blend of peppermint and eucalyptus with the added nutrient of pure silk. Tussah Noil silk fibre is the raw fiber, just as it's unraveled from silk cocoons, adding a richness and silky feel to the bar, while the amino acids promote suppleness and elasticity to skin. (100% natural, new to the everyday list)

Spring Aromatic Sprays

Turn up the volume on your romance dial - we’re bringing back the world famous Lilac Garden aromatic spray for Spring. Our Lilac Garden scent is incredibly true, a lush and fragrant floral mist to brighten up the winter doldrums. In addition, we’re bringing back the Jasmine Lemon scent that was so popular a couple of years ago. Jasmine Lemon is the fragrance of sweet jasmine blossoms tossed with a sunny splash of lemonade. It’s bright and happy, soft and pretty. Both fragrances are lovely spritzers for everything imaginable - delightful as a body spray, a great deodorizer for linens, rooms, closets, cars, plus a fabulous pick-me-up anywhere, any time. ($6.00 each)

Lavender Lip Balm

Lavender lip balm has been requested quite a lot anything else lately, so I made a little batch for spring. Have you ever tasted those delicious little floral candies in the pretty French tins - violet pastilles? It tastes sort of like that – lavender with a touch of sweetener to soften it and bring out the flavor. This little Spring tin of lavender lip balm is a charming partner to the sachets, aromatic spray and soap, all made with the same splendid French lavender.

The website is updated and features a Spring clearance sale, so check in often. And, I’m planning ahead for a splendid year of craft shows, festivals, markets and fairs. It’s still early for scheduling, but the enclosed calendar has the confirmed dates so far, and check out the online calendar for more detailed information, new dates as they are confirmed, and up-to-the minute-changes or additions at Happy, sunny Spring!

Bag Lady

If you've been reading along, you've heard me say that I'm focusing on "going green" this year. Not that it wasn't a priority before, it's just a more critical one currently, for both my business and personal life. So after changing all my lightbulbs last month, the next step I took was ending the plastic bag madness.

I shopped around for places that had the best selection of eco-friendly shopping totes, so I could BYO to the stores. I found, which has the coolest selection of bags, totes, sacks, water bottles, all kinds of ecologically correct stuff - in super cute designs too. I decided on the set of four heavy duty hemp grocery bags in the lovely natural color. I love them to death. I have no idea how I was actually functioning without them before.

The plastic bags were becoming unbearable. Every store was now double-bagging, and putting only about 3 items in each bag. I'd arrive home with dozens of the flimsy thingies, only to fill up the recycle bin with them. Now I can BYO my beeyooteeful bag whenever I go out.

I feel so smug when I arrive with my own bag at Trader Joe's, or the self-serve checkout at QFC, or the fancy pet food store. Post office packages get tucked neatly into a sack instead of balanced on my arms, held in place by a chin. A couple are in the car at all times, another one makes the trip from the house to car almost every time. Who knew? Oh, the heaven of a sturdy sack.

Oh, and I got a super functional and darling water bottle for the gym too, or to take to shows. I wanted to spend a whole lot more money - for insulated lunch sacks, charming designs on longer handled tote bags, all kinds of stuff. It was hard to stop clicking. If only I hadn't decreed that I was putting a moratorium on shopping unless it was truly necessary. Oh, hold your horses. I did not make the resolution, like so many other heroic folks, that I would not buy anything this year. But I am trying really, really hard to make sure my purchases are necessary, functional and well-planned.

Putting your wallet where your mouth is, or making your dollars talk, or whatever it's called, is important. But I'm also on a really strict budget at the moment too, so it's pretty much food, shampoo, and extraneous necessities. What makes the whole thing harder is that after overstuffing myself with food, shopping is my number two method of rewarding or comforting myself, and both of them are black-listed. So what now? Bubble baths?

See, this is just the kind of super insightful (meaning boring and inane) stuff you get on a Monday morning, when the poor writer is suffering from shaky arms and work overload.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


This week was supposed to be my "change things up" week. Wherein I try to turn all my boring daily routines upside down. Do new stuff. Uproot myself from the dead spot I've been standing in for so long, turning to stone. Add a bit of spice to the bland broth. This pulp magazine illustration is all the spice I could cook up - yes, that's me, Satan's mistress. Ahem. Except in dirty sweats, cheesy hair clip and knee-high boots caked with mud.

I'm declaring it a false start. I couldn't even get past the first couple of hurdles. The rockery (rockerie?) hit some snags and I've been the extra labor the last few days, trying to shove boulders uphill with just my floral garden gloves as tools. After an hour or two in the mornings of attempting to kill myself by hernia or muscle fatigue, I have tried to get all the little work details done in order to be ready for the spring newsletter release to the universe.

Truly, there are so many things to get in place. I didn't get far. I have all weekend to try and get at least a little closer to the goal - mostly update the website. Which means packaging and taking pictures of the products. Erm, and actually making the stuff. How could I forgot that little detail? And there will be stuffing and glueing of envelopes all weekend too. Will my arms hold up? We've got a few of the biggest boulders left for this morning.

A couple more show applications need an extra photo, or an extra piece of biography/description or something written up. I've got them all laid out on the dining room table now, with my big calendar, trying to keep it straight and not lose a piece or double schedule myself somewhere. I had a neat little pile on the desk, but with all the distractions, and stops and starts, the system started to fall apart and I could see disaster ahead. So I hauled it up, spread it all out and am filling in the last few holes. It's going to be a pretty big year, if it all works out.

So the upshot is this: I cannot possibly do it all the way I had originally planned. Life never works that way. But the most important thing is to do the best you can. Adjust to the new realities as quickly as possible and keep moving forward. I think that's the lesson. I found this poem a couple of weeks ago, and it's what I'm hanging onto this morning. For dear life.


It's like so many other things in life
to which you must say no or yes.
So you take your car to the new mechanic.
Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.

The package left with the disreputable-looking
clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,
the envelope passed by dozens of strangers—
all show up at their intended destinations.

The theft that could have happened doesn't.
Wind finally gets where it was going
through the snowy trees, and the river, even
when frozen, arrives at the right place.

And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life
is delivered, even though you can't read the address.

-- by Thomas R. Smith, from Waking before Dawn

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mud slinging

This mud pit and pile of rocks is my front sidewalk all week. We have this super sweet guy rebuilding the ancient rockery. I think it's going to look great once it's done. But it sure is a mess.

Kitty is fine, complete recovery and no doctor visits this time. Jury duty was excused a day early. And the mailing is at the printers. Everything's coming up roses. I think. Holding my breath.

Today is such a long laundry list of things that need to be caught up with, that I can't possibly figure out how to squeeze some of the "try something new" in there. I was sort of thinking about that pastrami in the fridge for breakfast, but just couldn't do it. And I'm back in the sweats and hair clip with a big cup of coffee. Sometimes you just gotta do what's necessary.

Ergh. Maybe tomorrow I can do something totally unique, scary, challenging, life altering to push me out of the rut. But for today, I just have to breathe deeply and get through it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Notes from the day

Yesterday's orange food day didn't inspire any insights or rare moments, other than a little heartburn. A whole day in boy's brief underpants was just uncomfortable, not life altering.

This morning most vocal kitty woke up at 3:30am and needed the whole house up to play. After an hour or so of the pillow over my head trying my best to ignore her, I just caved. In the spirit of Zen, I had green tea and sushi for breakfast. I will need perhaps a trip to Tokyo to make this actually something I would like to repeat. I needed coffee bad after that, and the fishy coffee breath was probably really embarrassing in the jury room. I avoided everyone.

I did, however, overdress and wear lots more makeup than usual. Nobody seemed to notice and the guys at the car repair shop didn't flirt either. Waste of time.

Got called in to a case for questioning at almost the very end of the day, but was next to last on the list, so was finally excused for the day - later than everyone else who had been still sitting around in the lobby reading magazines all day. Got blisters in the fancy shoes hoofing it back to the car repair. Arrived home to a sick and vomiting kitty. Ate orange leftovers on the fly, and am now guzzling wine. I'm using my 15 minutes of "wait and see if she comes around" time to cozy up to my lonely computer. Probably I'm going to be racing off to the hospital with her, since she hasn't turned around in the last couple hours. Gotta run.

Oh, the good news. There was some. I got accepted into Folklife this year, after about 6 straight years of rejection. Never thought that would happen in a million years. I'm thrilled and scared at the same time. I'm going to need to work really, really, really hard in the next couple months to squeeze that into the equation. It's huge. But it's great. And I sorely need the extra income this spring.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Orange you glad?

I'm starting my new perspectives week today. Trying to shake up my daily routines dump myself outside of my own box. I woke up at 4:30 this morning. Actually, that wasn't my choice. The cats were hungry. I think they may be in on it. I made them a giant blankie tent at the foot of the bed Sunday evening so they could rumble around in it and settle down - trying to distract them from howling at the door to go back outside after dark. And they decided to spend the night there, stretching out between my feet, curling up in my armpit. Sweet and kind of fun, but not the norm, and I'm not sure any of us got the best night's sleep.

Anyway, they got fishy mush and I decided to make it Orange Food Day. Everything orange, inspired by a tall glass of fresh-squeezed grapefruit tangerine juice. Scrambled eggs, cornbread and sweet potatoes for breakfast. Leftovers, it's all I had. There's carrots in the bin. Maybe I'll splurge and make mac 'n cheese. I think there's a green food day in my future.

I went to a little pizza/game night/movies/sleepover party the other night (thank you Patricia, it was a blast!) with a bunch of crafty gals who do all the shows. Although I've known them in passing for years, it was cool to really get to know them better. It's an interesting life we've chosen, and I'm always fascinated by how someone else puts it all together and makes it work.

So today I vow that I will get the finishing touches on the newsletter and pieces of the spring mailing, and get it to the printer this afternoon. The rest of the week is going to be who knows how many hours of jury duty, but it needs to be productive too. I'm not sure I'm finally in the place I wanted to be before I sent it off, but it will have to do.

One final note, all the regular soaps are back online again -- Cedar Musk, Baby Love, Havana, Citrus Basil Scrub, Sacred Smoke. The Anise soap will come back next month. In case you haven't visited lately, I've made a few updates to the site too - a new banner, a few new photos (there will be more as I get the spring stuff online), just simplified the look a little bit so it's easier to navigate. Always a work in progress. Isn't everything?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Same Old

Yawn. I'm bored.

Here's the thing about routines - everyone's got them. We are creatures of habit. Our daily routine is a combination of stuff we have to do (drive to work, laundry, walk the dog) and like to do (tv programs, what's for dinner). I'm sick of my daily routine, so I've decided that next week is topsy turvy week. I'm going to do every single thing differently than usual.

When I turned the page in my calendar I realized that I have jury duty next week (yes, again), so that should liven things up already. I hadn't remembered that before I decided to turn my world upside down. But it works. For the people who track these things, most folks have about a dozen meal choices that they eat over and over. I like to try new recipes a lot, but breakfast is about 3 different things, lunch repeats itself often. So I'm going to eat all different stuff next week, and things I almost never eat, not just expensive stuff I usually don't buy. But no gross stuff, like gizzards, chicken feet and kim chee. This is supposed to be fun, not disgusting.

And since it isn't an exercise in spending a lot of money either, I'm not heading out for any makeovers or new wardrobe. My daily routine is jumping into soap spattered sweats - I have about 4 pairs of tops and bottoms that I wear over and over because this soap thing is greasy and messy. Next week I am going to wear nice stuff. Haul out my skirts and pretty sweaters. Even when I'm not at the courthouse. I'll have to wear the sweatshirt during the actual activity of soapmaking. But I vow to actually change clothes when I'm done. This is new, I will change into a publicly acceptable outfit when I leave for the post office instead of hide the sweats under my coat. Whee! Fancy underwear week. Watchout, scratchy nightgown. I'm going to try a new hairstyle. Nothing weird like pigtails or braids. Just not the same old clip while I'm working.

I'm going to try one new thing I've never done before. And visit at least one place I've never seen before. Maybe talk to a stranger. Wake up earlier, or later. I don't know. Change it all up.

Yanno -- it would be way cool if I was doing topsy turvy week in Paris or Martinique instead of here. But ya gotta take what you can get.