Saturday, December 7, 2019

Shipping Woes and ET Phone Home

It's been a bad week for shipments. One major shipment I've been expecting was due on Thursday. It didn't arrive. I went onto the UPS website for tracking information, the only information they had was "delayed". Wow! I probably could have guessed that on my own *sigh*. It didn't arrive on Friday either, and my UPS man said there were tons of delayed shipments throughout the nation. That they had been overwhelmed by Cyber Monday. Checking the UPS update again a few minutes ago, it looks like what was due to be delivered on Thursday will actually be delivered today - two days late for items I really need in stock at the store. 



UPS is normally pretty reliable. I guess they got overwhelmed by
Cyber Monday. According to the tracking information update, I
should finally be receiving my package today, more than 48 hours late. 



A second order is even more messed up. First, their website wouldn't allow me to enter my credit card information, although it did finally accept the order. Two days later I was finally able to get in touch with them and provide the credit card information. But now, in today's update, it seems that they ended up shipping the package to my home address instead of the shop, and it's due for delivery at home tomorrow. Normally a Sunday delivery wouldn't be a big deal, but I'll be working at the shop for the first of my three working Sundays in December so nobody will be available to accept the package. It wouldn't surprise me if my package was stolen by the time I get home. SO NOT HAPPY! 



I'll be pulling up the hood of my parka over double-hats and
wearing my snow boots and gloves early next week. The temps
may end up less gnarly than the original forecast, but it's
still going to be crispy-cold early next week. 



I'm trying to stay calm and on-track but things like that don't make it easy. I'm looking at the positive, like the weather - LOL. It's Saturday and we're not supposed to get our next snow until late Sunday night into Monday. The original 4"-8" that was forecast has been dropped down to 1"-3" instead. But (and it's a BIG but), we'll be in the deep freeze next week. Our overnight temps on Tuesday are estimated at -13F (-25C), and a during-the-day HIGH estimated at -3F (-19.4C). I'll be bundling up and my utility bills will start their climb to 2-3 times the summer amounts. *sigh* Life in the Frozen Northlands is starting the frozen part really early this season. 



Yes, it's a commercial. But it's a joy to see a grown-up Elliot and his
family interacting with ET on a short, return trip. I'm ignoring the
commercial and enjoying the short film. 



On the fun side, Xfinity has had an ad on TV lately featuring ET returning to earth to visit a grown-up Elliott and his family. They have a tag of "see the whole story" with a website "Xfinity.com/ET" (just click on the link to view). Since I had a little time this morning, and adore ET, I decided to take a look this morning. I loved it. It's maybe a five minute commercial clip, and it's funny and poignant and left me in tears as ET leaves to go home once again. If you want to take a look, click on the link above. I recommend it. 



The best part about the short film is that the Dad is actually played
by Henry Thomas, the original kid ET bonded with in the film almost
forty years ago. 



So, that's it for another blog post. People wonder what I have to write about each day and I have no answers for them. I sit at the keyboard, and I start writing. Sometimes it's good, sometimes not so much, but the important thing is that I'm writing - something - every day. Have a great weekend and keep positive thoughts that my Sunday shipment will be on my front stoop when I return home from working tomorrow. I'll be back on Monday. 




Friday, December 6, 2019

Project Runway Season 18 Episode 1 Recap - Somewhat

And ... we're off and running. Within a few minutes of arriving at the TWA Hotel in New York City, the designers are told to choose their own partners. The assignment - make two outfits, one for each team member. The first design should be a futuristic pantsuit, the second a more social cocktail dress. The two designs must be cohesive. I'm just going to post the two winning and two losing designs here, but after more than 1/2 hour of looking for this, I'm posting a link RIGHT HERE so that you can flip through all of the fashions presented. 


Geoffrey Mac pulled out one of the top looks with
this jumpsuit. Nice details. 



Geoffrey was partnered with Melanie Trygg. I wasn't
fond of the panel dress, but they were voted in and
out as a team until the very end. 




The shopping experience at Mood totally overwhelms some of the designers. Several are getting their fabrics cut as time runs out. Then on to the workroom, and it's a two-day challenge, but Christian is also giving them the first night to add a little time for their projects. Will these designers jell as new teams? They barely know each other at all, It's going to be a hell of a ride. I might be dead on my feet every Friday because I'll only be getting 4-5 hours of sleep, but it's Project Runway. Tired? It's a small sacrifice to make for a PR addict. 



Alan Gonzalez ended up leaving some of his fabric
at Mood, so he had to invent quickly for his
cocktail dress. 


Dayoung Kim, a Korean designer married to a
Mexican man, was partnered with Alan Gonzalez.
It was a joy to watch them interacting with fluid
Spanish. Her Spanish is better than her English. 




After the first full day in the workroom, the cracks are starting to show. Teams are fracturing, disagreeing, and what had been cohesive is getting pulled apart. Christian's run-through with each team was gentle, but the designers, as usual, mostly held themselves as superior. Only time will tell if they are right or not. 



The second team in the top was started with this
cocktail dress by Sergio Guadaramma. He's a very
competent and centered designer, if a bit haughty. 



This really cute jumpsuit was presented by Sergio's
partner, Brittany Allen. I really liked it and it was
amazingly well constructed. 



The models are a deep variety sizes and sexuality with challenges for each one. (I assume they will have a male design challenge at some point in the season as well.) What might not have worked ten years ago is now being accepted with ease from most of the designers; pronouns have broadened to include "they" and "them" in the workroom. As usual, although the designers claim comfort with larger models, actually cutting and sewing the designs to fit is still a problem. 



Again on the low end was this hot mess by
designer Asma Bibi. I know she can do a lot
better than this, but she totally lost her way. 



Jenn Charkow presented this jumpsuit. Keep in
mind that the two designers were supposed to have
two designs that were cohesive with each other.
I'm not seeing many echoes of Asma in Jenn's
design. Are you? 



It's finally time for their first Runway. Makeup is complete, models are clothed (although some of the designs are sketchy and the finishing really sucks on a few). The critiques will be enlightening for the new designers. Want a reminder of the sixteen designers for this season? Check out my posting of October 12th for a synopsis/biography. 



SPOILER ALERT - WINNERS/LOSERS BELOW 



So, who won and who lost? The winner was Brittany, the winning team was Brittany and Sergio, and the loser - well, in an unexpected twist because the judges were absolutely in deadlock, both Asma and Jenn were sent home. And so it goes, another season of Project Runway begins and even though I'm tired, I'm also really happy. I'll be back tomorrow. 




Thursday, December 5, 2019

My Beast Is Back and PR Is Starting Again - So Happy!

It was a long day at Dale's yesterday. I got there shortly before 8:30 am and I didn't leave until shortly after 3:30 pm. But it was a good day. He put the desktop computer through its paces, cleaning up old files, streamlining applications, and troubleshooting what might have been causing my Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Of course the BSOD appeared immediately upon turn-on, but then it was absent for quite a long time. Finally, when we thought the general cleanup of files, etc might have done the trick, it came again, with a different code. 



The Blue Screen of Death came up several times as Dale was
working on the desktop. The codes changed, but eventually we
were able to isolate the problem and resolve it. It was a very long
day, but at least I'm back up and running once again. 



Finally the culprit was found - one set of the two sets of RAM chips that I have had developed a fault. This is rare, but it can totally mess up a machine. Replacing the bad set with a newer version of the same type/speed didn't work - the two sets weren't talking to each other. So we ended up replacing all four of the RAM chips - two good and two bad. The bad chips were trash, the good (old) chips were replaced, and suddenly the computer was happy. We set it to do a full system backup and settled down for more than two hours of catching up while the computer did its thing. Finally, he shut everything down, charged me for one set of new RAM and exchanged my one good set for the other replacement set (for a $0 charge), then agonized about what to charge for the repair, ending up with charging for two hours of work, when I had been there for seven hours. Yeah - he's a total treasure. 



When he built my computer years ago, we picked RAM that was almost
at the top performance level. It's been surpassed in subsequent years, but
it still serves me well. Fortunately he still had older chips of the type I
needed, so we ended up replacing my four blue ones with four red ones instead. 



On the way out, as he carried my desktop back to my car, he asked about progress on my holiday cards and I assured him I was working on them. Then I dove into my day - grocery shopping, making dinner, and I actually managed to get two loads of laundry done before bed. Unfortunately I had to text Aearwen and cancel our chat for the week. It made me sad, but time had simply evaporated. 



I'm looking forward to the new season of Project Runway. Although I
adore Tim Gunn, I think Christian Seriano is one of the best mentors
EVER. He knows the industry from all sides as a contestant, a winner,
a designer and a producer of fashion, he's got all of the bases covered. 



Tonight (and tomorrow morning) I'm going to be tired. Project Runway starts the new season tonight, and the time slot is late - 8:30 pm until 10:00 pm - an hour later than I usually go to sleep. I can catch the re-run next week before the next new episode, but I like to be current and up-to-date with this show, to share with all of you. I know it will start out with a bang - an immediate Team Challenge. I can hardly wait. I suppose sacrificing some sleep once a week for a while won't be horrific ... well, it will since I usually only get six hours of sleep average. But such are the sacrifices I must make for fashion - LOL. 

Have a wonderful Thursday and I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully with pics and a rundown on how the first episode of PR, Season 18 went. 



Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Plans For The Day & Crossing My Fingers

My CPU is standing next to my garage exit door, waiting to be put into my car for the trip up north to Dale's place for repair. I'm hoping he can repair it, and that it can/will be done within a reasonable time frame. Obviously I can continue to function between my laptop and DH's desktop computers, but it isn't an ideal solution. I have a lot of programs and multiple files that are rendered inaccessible without my personal computer. Argh! 

Today is also my "day off" which is always a misnomer. All that my day off means is that I'm not in the shop. I'm still working - rather hard, in fact. It's laundry day, housecleaning day, errands day, etc. I have a stack of holiday cards that I need to continue to paint, and I'll grab the next group from the shop tomorrow if I get these finished today. I'm under a time deadline, so have to get going. I ordered my postage stamps from the Post Office website yesterday - they're cute wreaths for the holidays this year. Very festive. 

Glancing at the bottom of my laptop screen, I realize I forgot to plug in, so have been operating on battery for the past hour. Oy! Now I'll have to make sure to build in some recharge time for the laptop before the end of the day. Just one more little thing - LOL. So it goes. 

On that note, and of course without pictures yet again, I wish all of you a wonderful Wednesday. I'm hoping to be back up and running by tonight. Cross your fingers for me if you can spare a few minutes. I'll be back tomorrow. 



Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Losses - They're Driving Me A Little Crazy Right Now

OMG, not having my desktop computer is driving me CRAZY!!!! It's not that the laptop isn't able to handle things, it's the speed - or more accurately, the lack of speed that it has. It's not important at the shop when I'm paying a tax payment or playing a quick run through on Lord of the Rings Online, but here at home when I'm trying to plow through 100+ emails quickly so that I can move on to the next task, it's poky, slow, and horribly annoying. 

So that lack of speed is leaving me with fifteen minutes to get my blog written and posted in the various locations necessary before I grab my gym bag and hit the road. ACK! 

Apparently my dear friend Sharon spent her Thanksgiving holiday surrounded by the love of the flu. NOT the way she wanted to spend the holiday. Fortunately she seems to be heading toward recovery now, so I hope the flu has now been pushed away for the remainder of the season. 

Checking the football score this morning, DH's team lost last night in a hard-fought battle against Seattle. That's a bummer. Since most of my acquaintances here are also Vikings fans, I suspect the general mood will be depressed at the performance. I haven't read the play-by-play specifics, so don't know how well we performed against the Seahawks, but a loss is a loss. Between the Gophers losing the Axe on Saturday and the Vikings losing on Monday Night Football (where we have a long history of losing games), it wasn't a good sports weekend. 

On a positive note, I started painting my holiday cards while watching baking last night. I'm not a fool. I don't watch Monday night football. I know I'll be in bed long before the game is resolved so I might as well watch something that will actually come to a resolution before I crash for the evening. The cards are turning out cute, so I'm pleased. 

Have a great Tuesday, stay warm, stay safe, be happy. I'll be back tomorrow, and hopefully on Thursday I'll have my main computer purring happily beside me. 



Monday, December 2, 2019

Memories Of Old Friends and Activities

Yesterday was the final day of a five day on-and-off again snowstorm. It has finally passed, but DH was trying to clean the snow from the roof and it just wouldn't stop snowing. He finally finished in mid-afternoon, after six hours of work, and even though it was still snowing, he just couldn't deal any more. Totally understandable. I know I'll have to shovel the last inch or so from the driveway this morning before heading out to the gym, so I'm getting this blog post done quickly. 

I spent my Sunday sorting one of my large bins of loose beads into a more coherent colorway. I have now managed to get through the first three of six pull drawers of loose beads. It's a major chore, but it really needs to be done. Things are too disorganized and I need the drawers to really function the way I had intended. 

The beads themselves bring back lovely memories of a group of beaders I knew in the 1990's and early 2000's. The internet was newer, the options for posting and groups were smaller, and a lot of us bonded over the craft boards on AOL and some other gathering places that featured beading instruction or patterns, such as About-dot-com. 

We had a tight-knit group of beaders, many of whom are still in touch and still good friends. One of the many activities we shared was a monthly bead swap. For the swap, a host for the month would be chosen and that host would choose a theme. Beaders around the country would gather beads into baggies, one for each member of the swap, and send them to the host, along with a pre-addressed label and postage for the return mail. The host would repackage a box for each swapper - one that contained baggies from each person, then take them to the Post Office and sent them back out via Priority Mail (slightly over $4 at that time). 

I participated and hosted as a member of the monthly bead exchange for more than three years and got some really wonderful bead mixes as a result. It is those exchanges that are the foundation for my loose beads drawers, and I love using the beads and thinking about the many friends I had been in daily contact with for so many years. 

The internet has changed and the group has fallen apart, but we still run into each other now and again and several are still my friends. When I travel to an area of the country where one or more of them reside, I usually will try to contact them for a quick get-together and catch-up. In many ways I miss those days - we were all discovering the excitement of this craft. It's grown into something that is almost unrecognizable now. 

I wonder if our parents felt the same way as progress came and changed their lives. In many ways that progress was a life-saver, but in others,, the progress changed "community" to the point where that's almost unrecognizable now. Look around you. Do you know your neighbors? Do you shop your neighborhood stores? Or do you go to the big box stores a bit farther away instead. Have a wonderful warm and cozy Monday, I'll be back tomorrow. 



Saturday, November 30, 2019

Looking Forward To My Last Sunday Off For A Month

Yesterday I emailed my computer guru, attaching photos of what I was seeing when I attempted to power up my desktop computer - that dreaded Blue Screen of Death and the other things it splashed up on screen while attempting to communicate with me. Unfortunately, I don't speak code, so the computer and I are always at a disadvantage as we work through our daily lives together. 

My guru came back with '...he's busy with the horses as soon as it gets light, but as soon as he's finished feeding them, I can bring the computer on by and he'll change out the on/off switch while he's at it since he has those back in stock'. That totally works for me, and I responded later with an "I'll see you on Wednesday morning". He did say what he thought the screen gobble-d-gook was saying to me, but that's a language I don't speak well, so I'll leave it up to him - LOL. 

With luck, I'll be back up and running later on Wednesday, although if it's going to take long, I'll have to leave it and pick it back up the following week. I'm hoping for just a few days of no pictures in my blog, but it could stretch longer depending on the condition of my hard drive. I'll cobble on with my laptop and DH's computer in the meantime. It can work. 

Our Black Friday Sale was a wonderful success, all of the staff worked really well with the various customers and we pulled in the end of day dollar amounts I was looking for. Usually our second day isn't quite as good, but we'll see. Day 2's a bit harder one for us to work because of the items we feature for the sale, so my staff will get in each other's way more, but we'll be rewarded by our final Sunday off ... until after the Christmas holiday. Ugh! 






So, have a wonderful Saturday and a great weekend, and I'll be back on Monday - still on the laptop. I'm suddenly very grateful that I indulged in the purchase of my laptop years ago. It's been a workhorse over the years, despite it's being "FrankenSmaug" with bolts holding the chassis together, and tape around a few corners. Come to think of it, I guess I'm not that different - I've aged into my own bolts and tape and I'm still running strong - LOL. Happy Saturday.