Sunday, July 31, 2005

Oh happy day!

Yesterday Dede and David came down to work on Dad's finances. I went over and helped Dede work on going through the big pile on front of Dad's front door. She has a clever strategy for fooling Dad into thinking his precious crap pile is still intact. She keeps certain boxes in the pile so it looks like stuff is still there. These are decoy boxes. Then he won't miss the masses of old, useless papers that have been thrown away. Yesterday I found an empty candy bag that had a note stapled to it that said, "Don't throw this away. If you find another bag like this one, staple it to this bag."

We found some good stuff, too. My grandfather's harmonica was in the pile. I took it home for safekeeping. Jim played it a little and then started hacking and coughing. He had sucked something down his throat. He said, "I wonder what that was?!!" I said, "Probably chewing tobacco." Jim pulled it out of his mouth and smelled it. Yes, it was chewing tobacco. Pa-pa used to chew. Jim was majorly grossed out. Pa-pa died about 26 years ago. That chaw has been there a long time. Jim is going to take the harmonica apart and clean it.

But for me the most fabulous find was my Black and Decker food processor. I had brought it down 14 years ago when we were getting ready for Stacey's wedding. I made salsa for everyone all week. After the wedding I could not find it. It just disappeared. I looked everywhere for it. Well, it was in a box with a bunch of crap piled on top. I know I asked Dad about it back then and he said he didn't know anything about it. Hmmm...

I loved that food processor. I even went online and tried to find another one but it had been discontinued. I searched thrift stores for one. And now I have mine back. Wheee!!!

After Dede and David were done we all went to lunch. On the way home we passed by a huge utility table by the side of the street with a FREE sign on it. Jim stayed with the table while I went home and got the truck. This thing is huge and really heavy. It'll be perfect for a workshop table. Just another little gift from the heavens.

We brought it home and put it downstairs. I checked out the scene down there. We have some of our things stored there which we plan to move to the container. Dad has been filling it up with Christmas tree oil and fertilizer and other generic crap. I have a big cleaning job ahead of me.

No calls on the dog yet. I'll call the rescue groups tomorrow.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Found a doggie

Tonight when Paige and I went to Drew's to take care of their dog there was a young, male dog hanging around outside their gate. He seemed scared and very glad to see us. We could barely get the gate open to drive through it because he wanted to stick to us like glue. I had Paige hang onto him so I could get the car through without squishing him. Paige shut the gate but he wiggled under.

He's a very sweet dog. I think he's about 6 months old. He looks like a cattle dog or a heeler, whiteish with red spots. When Paige tried putting a leash on him he freaked out. He looks healthy.

Drew and Mindy's street can be busy and I was afraid to leave him there so we took him home. Tomorrow I'll put an ad in the paper and go back to their neighborhood and put some flyers up. If nobody claims him we'll run another ad and try to find him a home.

We can't really have another dog, too expensive for us right now. But Paige is getting pretty attached. I think she'd be ok with finding him a home. It would bother her (and me) if we ended up taking him to the pound. What really bothers me is how people can be such idiots with their pets. This guy had no collar and he acted like he'd never worn one. He's not fixed. I guess we could take him to the animal shelter and have him scanned but I doubt that he has a chip.

So, here we are. Anybody want a dog?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Ok, not to get too corny and weird, but...

I just had an unusual experience.

I was sitting on the front porch playing solitaire and thinking about the whole workshop thing and all its aspects. Then I thought about something that was a little negative (I can't remember what it was) and I automatically said to my self, " No, I'm too happy to think about that." Then I thought well, it's been a while since I've thought of myself as happy. Then WHAM! this wave of happiness washed over me, building and building. I just sat there, cards in hand, feeling this feeling. After a while it peaked and I relaxed a little. I kept thinking wow, that was cool.

I looked up and thanked Mother Universe for the buzz.

But it's really true, I'm just plain happy right now. This workshop thing might not work but I'm excited about trying it. I'm not paniced about our dwindling finances anymore. I feel like gardening!

The troll under the bridge is saying, "Oh gawd, she hit menopause and now she's gone completely bonkers."

Today I zoomed around to all the thrift stores in this area looking for items relating to those catagories I carry around in my head. Say wha??? Yes, catagories in my head. My perpetual thrift store list.

Cool items, Halloween possibilities, costume stuff, furniture to paint, glassware, crap from the 50s and 60s, lamps, Hammond organs and jewelry. I have now added lamp parts, things I can stick mosaic to, and styrofoam heads to the list. It wasn't a successful hunt. Just one flower pot. But at least now I know where all the stores are on this side of town.


I'm just so ready to get to work. I need to;

Clean the studio
Finish Jeff's ukulele case
Clean Dad's downstairs and the parking area in front
Make a prototype prop head and take notes on the process
Look into wholesale suppliers for paint, Rigid Wrap and other supplies
Figure out how to market the workshops
Develop the workshops
And lots more

Yes, I like this much better.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

From Castle Park to Ken's pool.

We played at Castle Park last night. What a joke. Jim and I went in to see the manager yesterday afternoon to find out about the logisics of setting up. John had talked to a different guy there who told us we could set up at 5:30 and then play whenever we were ready and for as long as we liked. The manager, Joe (officious prick) said no, we can't, we can only play for one hour starting at 7 or 8. He said they "allowed" the bands there to play for only an hour. We decided to play at 8 so it wouldn't be too hot and the sun would be down. The stage faces directly into the sun.

When we got there we were informed by Joe O.P. that we were going to start at 7 because that's the way he planned it and it was already set up that way. Set up? There was nothing to set up. Nobody who worked there paid any attention to us. He didn't want to turn on the stage lights. He was the nastiest little turd I've encountered in a very long time.

We dragged our stuff in about 100 feet. We could have driven all the way up to the stage but Joe O.P. didn't want to remove the pipe barriers for us. Removing the pipes would have involved lifting them out of their holes, something I did myself with no trouble at all. We set up and started playing at 7.

We had a small but appreciative crowd, most of them people we knew. Once the sun went down behind the Big Top it was more pleasant. We were sweating buckets up there. The stage was painted black and there was NO shade. We played a little past 8 and hauled out of there. I did an unprofessional thing and ended the show with a little tribute to Joe O.P. Into the microphone I said, "We want to thank Joe for doing his best to make us feel very unwelcome. Joe, you're the bottom." Then John said, "Let's give Joe a cheer!" We Bronxed out a big one.

Afterward we all went to Ken and Sherri's. After unloading we all jumped into the pool, beers in hand. Jim and I had stopped by our house to grab beers and tequila. We were neck deep in the pool doing shots. Amber and her friends had left so it was us, Ken and Sherri, John and Paul. We spent the next several hours drifting around the pool, drinking and having delightful conversations. I don't know what time it was when John left. Paul stayed for a very long time, a surprisingly long time. The therapeutic conversations continued. When Paul left it must have been at least 1:30.

Jim had a bit too much to drink (a big bit) and I was in no condition to drive home so we stayed for a long while longer. We left there at 4. Four AM. Jim's new nickname is Ralph.

That was the nicest, most relaxing and fun night I've had in a long time. Well, we had some good nights on vacation but this was different. It was a nice band bonding experience. And that pool was heavenly.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The rest of the trip

Friday we had a big dinner at Lorraine's. The other Smiths were there, too. I had a very nice long talk with Jeanne out in her new, cute Jeep. Bright red, of course. It was fun listening to her talk about how good her life is now. I'm happy for her. She's certainly earned it.

We had another awesome barbeque. After dinner we all went out to the fire pit for drunken reveling. It might be wise for them to build a rail around the fire pit. We almost lost Danny. Eric was very entertaining. Both of them.

Lorraine has been dealing with some problems with her job. During our visit she was going through some frustrating times but she was also taking steps to leave that job. I hope the next one goes well. She starts next week.

She's quite a woman. She's had a lot of rough times but she's come through it all like a champ. And she looks fabulous.

Saturday we went to the Lorenz's for a jam and barbeque. Michael joined us for that one. He was blown away by Amelia's bass playing. What a wonderful evning that was. The music was perfect. The food was awesome.

And, oh, what a nice group of people. We met Ernie Fosselius, the creator of Hardware Wars. He's been mentoring Amelia. For a little while (dang, I missed it. I left tp go pick up Lindsay) he was singing novelty songs and playing guitar.

Brian was there. We love Brian. We all swam for a while, which was nice. Hanging out in a cool pool drinking beer and listening to mellow music.

For dessert we had grilled pineapple on vanilla ice cream again AND S'mores. What a nice day.

Sunday we picked up Brian and went to Armstrong Woods. Then we drove to Duncan's Mills and ate lunch at the Blue Heron (sound familiar, Jeff?). There was a really good Grateful Dead cover band playing and there were bikers everywhere.

That night we had another nice dinner at Lorraine's. And that's the vacation. Next morning we left early and got to Michael's around 9:30. We visited with him for a couple hours and then left. The drive home was uneventful. It was a bit of a shock coming over the mountains and seeing all that smog. Sonoma County was clear and warm. SoCal is smoggy and HOT. Welcome home!

I'm still riding the wave. All those people inspire me. It's stupid that we didn't go up sooner. Thank you to Lorraine, Danny, Eric, Jesse, Lisa, Jimmy, Dave, Nancy, Amelia, Brian, Ernie, Michael, Terri, Mary, Jon, Jeanne and Eric. It was great seeing you all.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Oh dear...

Looks like we need to have another family meeting. This morning I got the report from Stacey about Dad's doctor visits and his general behavior last week. It was a bit rough. Sounds like he's taking another dive.

I need to go over there and get him set up again. She said he didn't have any reminder sheets taped to his bathroom mirror. That's an important part of our system. I need to check on his vitamin supplies too.

When I asked him about how the doctor's visits went he shrugged and brushed it off like everything was ok. Stacey had a whole different story to tell. She said he fell and got a big gash on his head. He couldn't remember how or when it happened, he just remembered cleaning it up. Then he said it happened at the restaurant where he eats breakfast every morning. Stacey went there and talked to the waitresses and they said he never fell while he was there. They had helped him one day when he had a cut on his arm so that must have been what he was remembering.

Stacey also said he was snippy with her. They actually ended up getting into a big blow up at one point. I'm sorry she had to go through that but I'm also kind of glad she got to see what we've been dealing with. Dad can still cover pretty well most of the time but when he gets cornered about his memory he lashes out. I'm starting to think counseling would be a good idea. He needs help accepting this. Being in such deep denial isn't helping the situation at all.

Ok, I'm going over there.

In an hour.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The rack

That's what Dad called it. Really, it's a set of shelves.

This morning Dad called and said Joanne Barry gave him a rack from her store that she didn't need. He wanted to know if I wanted it. I went over and had a look. It's a set of brand new metal shelves and it's pretty nice looking. They're painted with a hard enamel paint that's apple green. I really like them. This time, Dad brought something cool and useful home.

I've been thinking about this workshop I want to do. I want to provide extra supplies that people can purchase. This shelf would be perfect for that. It's like a sign from God. Suddenly I feel like Elwood Blues.

I figure if Jim is doing real estate appraisals and I'm doing 4 workshops a month we'll be making the same money Jim did in Santa Rosa. I want to do the first three on my own and then, if they're successful, start doing them through the jc. Jim suggested that I could also be doing them in San Diego, LA, San Bernardino, anywhere within reasonable driving distance. Why not? That's what Terry does with his rubber stamping classes. He goes all over teaching at rubber stamp stores. I'm going to call him.

The more I think about this the more I like it.

A little about the trip

Our first stop was at Michael and Terri's in Vallejo. We got there in the early evening. Terri fixed us a nice dinner. While it was still light I went around their yard taking pictures. Their yard was on the Vallejo Garden Tour this year. It's freakin' adorable. Terri's been doing ceramic sculptures and she has many of them placed around the yard. She made a really cool mermaid sculpture that spills water into a tub of fancy goldfish. Plants in pots (reeeally cool pots) are everywhere. She has the nicest collection of succulents I've ever seen. When we were on our way home we stopped by for another visit. I collected a nice bagfull of cuttings. I hope they take.

After dinner Jim, Paige and Michael jammed for a little while in his studio. I had a very nice talk with Terri. It's always inspiring to talk to her. Heh, as I write more about this trip that's a word you'll see me use again and again. My friends inspired me this week.

Then we headed for Lorraine's. It was late when we pulled up so we didn't visit, just a quick hug hello and then to bed. Lorraine had to work the next day so we drove around Santa Rosa a bit, dropped Paige off at Natalia's and then went to Dave and Nancy's. Had a nice (though short) visit with them and then went back to Lorraine's. Danny had gotten some two-fer coupons from a steak house so we went there for dinner.

Wednesday morning Mary came to Lorraine's. We went for a walk and then Lorraine had to go to work. We took Mary back to Napa. Jon came home shortly after we got there and we had a most excellent visit with them. Jon grilled some steaks, brats and peppers for dinner. Afterward we drank wine on the back deck and got nicely mellow. Mary really got going. The girl was full of all kinds of creative and helpful ideas on how we should market our business. And since we were all nicely buzzed the conversation was loud and animated and just plain fun.

We spent the night. The next morning Mary called work and told them she wasn't going to come in until 1. Jim burned some cds while Mary and I went to Papyrus to drop off some samples. Lindsay did her Lindsay thing and kept her nose in her laptop. Then we left Napa and headed for Dave and Nancy's.

We took a detour through Sonoma. We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant and poked around some of the shops. I dropped some paper samples off at one and had a very nice chat with a girl whose family had a gallery store. She told me about a friend of hers who was struggling with her art business. She sent samples of her work to some big magazines, three of which ended up doing articles about her. She got thousands of dollars worth of business from that. Hello! I can do that!

That night we had dinner with Dave and Nancy. Brian joined us. Nancy grilled some ribs and pineapple which we had for desert with vanilla ice cream. Deeeelish!

More later.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

How's this for an idea?

Still riding the boost I got from the Santa Rosa trip. Here's the idea.

I make one of my original designs such as the Halloween prop head, taking notes on the different steps of the process and develop a workshop around it. Then I advertise it in the paper. I'd limit it to 12 people and charge around $30, plus supplies. When people sign up I send them an e-mail with a list of the supplies they'll need. I'll also offer a kit and other supplies that they can buy from me if they don't want to gather this stuff on their own.

I'll clean up Dad's downstairs appartment and hold the classes there. No problem getting tables and chairs. As people come in they'll see a display of the prop heads along with some of my other Halloween creations (soon to be presented as workshops). At one end of the room I'll have a stand of kits and supplies that people can purchase. I would also offer a light kit at an additional cost if they want the prop head's eyes to light up. Jim can wire them up, no extra charge.

I see the workshops as being kind of loose and casual. It could be divided into 2 sessions. Sometimes it can take a while for glue and paint to dry. I'd hire Lindsay and Paige, or even Tori and Audra to assist me.

That's it so far. I think I could have it ready to present by September. If I did two workshops per weekend I could pull in maybe $800 if people also buy supplies.

Knock this around with me.

Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm home

I'm not going to write much now. I need time to unwind and adjust.

Good trip. Made 2 paper sales. Got lots of ideas and inspiration from my oh so creative friends. Also came home with a big bag of succulent cuttings. Good thing too, since my plants here are now mostly dead. Oh well, at least all the animals survived.

Which is a whole 'nother story that I don't have all the pieces to yet. The dogs got out while we were gone and I guess Gracie was missing for a while. I need to get more info from Ken and Sherri and Dad. But no one is home so I'll find out tomorrow, I guess.

Hmmm, I didn't like coming home to a stressful situation. Did ANYTHING get watered while we were gone?

More tomorrow.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

We're goin' to Santa Rosa

We're leaving tomorrow morning and we'll be back on Monday the 18th.

I've put together some tubes of paper. We'll hit some stores in Santa Rosa, Cotati, Rohnert Park and Napa and see if we can make some sales. I probably should drive up to Healdsburg, too. And Sonoma.

We'll be staying with Lorraine and we're having a jam at Dave and Nancy's on Saturday. We want to take one day to drive out and see Mary and Jon. I'd like to visit my old haunts like Harry's Used Furniture and the thrift stores. Thrift stores are better in Santa Rosa than they are in Riverside. Gotta check out Las Manos. I wonder if all these places still exist? And of course, I have to visit Rileystreet.

A day in Guerneville would be nice. We'll play it by ear. Lots to do. Gotta spend that $12 I just made yesterday!

Saturday, July 09, 2005


We got our first internet paper order! Thank you to Tracy in New York for totally making our day!

I was stunned. I burst into tears when I saw that PayPal e-mail. Someone I don't know across the country found us and placed an order for 4 sheets. She ordered 2 sheets of Squaresville and 2 sheets of Kindalikeamola. I included a sheet each of the other 2 designs as a thank you.

I've been feeling a bit down about the business lately. Our attentions have been elsewhere and it seems like we're going in the wrong direction. One $12 order isn't going to change things but getting that first one sure feels good. Someone liked my work enough to want to actually buy it.

Ok, all the rest of you out there in that big, big world. Here it is, come and get it!

Really, if every adult in America ordered just one sheet of paper I could retire. Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I was going to walk today...

...But I didn't want to DIE of smoke inhalation!

Gotta couple out of control fires nearby. Actually, not that near but they're big and the wind is blowing it all this way. So, I'll walk tomorrow.

I was looking forward to today's walk because Mt. Rubidoux caught fire last night. It always does during the fireworks show. The city cleared all the brush under the fireworks launching area. They cleared other areas as well. They always have fire crews on hand during the show. It's kind of a tradition around here.

But I've never seen the aftermath. I guess it'll still be there tomorrow.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

I'm back!

That was a pretty good weekend.

Drew still had some trouble with the new boat, which was disappointing mainly for Drew. He worked on it for a while and then gave up. We still had two other boats.

H O T !!!! Lordy, it was hot. Paige got a semi bad sunburn the first day. She still had a good time. We're all a bit fried but we were pretty careful about keeping the sunscreen applied. The water felt goooood.

Gracie was a total trooper. She swam a LOT so she was pretty sore by the end of the day. We'd have to help her up in the mornings but once she hit the water she loosened up. The kids had fun with her. She was a good, good doggie.

Lindsay and Paige got some skiing lessons from Drew. They almost got the hang of it but the water was pretty rough so they'll just have to wait till next time. I'm sure they'll get it eventually. Paige did get to do some tubing.

Yesterday the wind came up and the whole camp got battered. Some of us gave up on the tents altogether and slept outside under the stars. I liked that better anyway. Much cooler. And ah! those stars. Beautiful.

At night you could hear the wild burros off in the distance. Reminded me of the sand people in Star Wars. We didn't see any coyotes this time. Heard 'em, tho.

I think it was good for all of us to get out of town for a while. The adults did a lot of sitting around this time. Scottie was nursing some bruised ribs and Jim still had his shin splint. The kids had a great time tubing. We had a fun game of volleyball in the water. We drank lots of Margaritas and Bloody Marys. We sang goofy songs by the fire.

Tomorrow I want to sit around and do nothing. But it's the 4th so I'll only be able to goof off in the morning.

Tired, tired, tired me.