Saturday, October 23, 2021

Toasters, Housecleaning and Conversations - It Was a Good Friday

Yesterday turned into a very busy day, but I did get quite a lot accomplished. I started out at Whole Foods - not my favorite grocery store, but the only one that supposedly carried the no-grain bagels I wanted to get. Why did I want bagels? DH broke down when he was at Target on Thursday and purchased a new toaster with wide slots so that he could toast bagels. That sounded lovely to me, so I decided to get some for myself. 

The new toaster that DH purchased is 
pretty snazzy. You need to hold the 
lever down for several seconds before 
it locks into place. For a bagel, you then 
push the left-hand button and it automatically 
senses and toasts the wider, denser bread. 

Of course, while I was looking for bagels, I also needed non-dairy cream cheese, non-dairy "butter", and a nice no-sugar jam. I already had some lovely raw honey that Chickie had given to me - friends of hers have hives and had given her some super tasty honey, but Chickie doesn't like honey so she passed them on to me. I've been enjoying them ever since. 

I ended up with this brand of non-dairy 
cream cheese. It's actually not too bad. Not 
as good as regular cream cheese, but I'll 
eat it, and since I don't do dairy any more, 
I'll manage just fine. 

I got the spreads and the bagels and some uncured lunch meat that I had run out of. I got stopped by three people who complimented my tattoo, and one very sweet guy on the autistic spectrum who said he'd never seen anything like it before, and asked what it was. I gave him the short version of what a Winged Scarab portrayed and he thought it beautiful. Made my morning, for sure. 

I also picked up a jar of this - 
no-sugar Apricot spread. It's 
absolutely lovely - very tasty! 

My main task for the day (aside from doing the laundry I couldn't do on Wednesday) was to put the micro-ban coverings on all of the pillows, the couch, and the queen-sized mattress. That was easier said than done, and the mattress would have been a LOT easier with a second person, but I prevailed. I got everything covered except the couch. I had been off on my measurements, and had to return the couch cover and order the next size up. So, I printed out the return slip to Amazon, repackaged the item, and headed to Kohl's which accepts Amazon returns at no charge. 

I have a guillotine-style cutter in the basement 
of the shop, but it's not accurate enough. I have 
a very inexpensive rotary cutter at home, but it's 
not up to the amount of pages and the weight of 
the cardstock. So, I decided to add one of these 
onto an Amazon order. It arrived earlier this 
week, so now I can proceed with the next stage 
in my holiday cards. I can already tell 
I'll be running very close to deadline for 
them this year. 

Today I'll start cutting down the fancy papers for my holiday cards. I have a lot of cutting to do. I received a new, more accurate cutter earlier in the week, and I took the time yesterday to go onto the manufacturer's website and order one of each of the custom blades they make for the machine. I should be getting those next week, and one of them is a scoring blade, which will get a lot of use for this year's cards. 

My friend, Shruti, is one of 19 artists chosen 
to be featured in this new book, just released 
on October 19th. I'll have to take a closer look 
at it, but I'm so proud of the recognition she's 
receiving from others on her journey. 

I also spent the day messaging back and forth with my dear friend Shruti, from India. For many years she has made a card for more than 500 friends, each one hand-made and highly decorated. A true work of love. I limit mine to 50 and can't imagine doing 500! Earlier this year she had said she was going to take this year off. She was feeling a little guilty about taking the year off and was bouncing things off me, so I told her she needed to take whatever time she needed to recharge her batteries and allow herself to get grounded once again. I told her to take the year off for herself - that she was entitled to it. We had a lovely conversation. It's always a joy to touch base with her. 

So have a wonderful Saturday, enjoy your weekend, and I'll be back on Monday morning. Please stay safe, be kind and do something unexpected over the weekend. It's always good to stretch your boundaries. 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Silver and Glass - Yesterday Was A Day For It

Chickie was back from her weeks of stay-cation yesterday and what a relief. We had a long-time customer in, and Chickie is much better at the chit-chat than I am. So as she pulled and marked sterling sheet and wire for Greta, I plugged in the appropriate adders for current market price variance, and did the actual cash register stuff. It's always fun to see Greta, we've known her for more than 20 years and she's bright, talented, and a lot of fun. Now we get to catch up with her and her grandchildren; earlier, it was her three kids and what they were up to. Life goes on. 

I've known Greta for more than 20 years now. When I 
first met her she was living in the Twin Cities. Then she 
moved to Wisconsin for quite a few years, got divorced, 
and then got remarried and moved back to the Cities. 
Now we get a chance to see her every now and then. 
Yesterday she dropped by to pick up supplies for her 
holiday season jewelry - sheet silver and large-stock 
wire. She's a talented silversmith. She wears the silver 
fox pictured above often. I'm not sure if she would 
actually sell it she loves it so much - LOL. 

Having Chickie back pulls some of the pressure away from me, so that's a real plus. I had hoped she had a chance to relax a bit during her week+ off, but apparently her mother "needed" her every day to go here and there with her. She also had some items on her own agenda that needed to get taken care of, and she was supposed to get a new couch delivered on Tuesday. It turned out to be a rather exhausting stay-cation, but at least she got a lot of things accomplished. 

Chickie cancelled the one sofa and ordered one 
similar to this, but in a lighter color of leather. 
I think she said it will be next year before it's 
ready for delivery, so I guess they're making it 
to order. She made sure it would be able to 
get through her doors. It was an additional 
$1000 though, so the $2000 couch has now 
become a $3000 couch. I'm rather appalled by 
how much the darned things cost! 

The couch turned out to be a bust. Although the downstairs doors are 36" wide (she lives on the upper floor of a duplex), the doors to her unit are only 32" wide, and the delivery people couldn't maneuver her new couch through the opening. She cancelled the order and had them return the couch to the store. Unfortunately she was out the $180 delivery charge (which I think was very unfair of them to charge). She then stopped by the La-Z-Boy store near her and ordered a couch that will fit. It's made to order, though, so she won't see it for another six months, but she says she likes it even more than the original choice. Bummer on the time-frame, though. 

This is our temporary window. It's air sealed around 
that roundish area inside, and around all four edges 
of the pane. The glass company recommended leaving 
our tape on the glass, and I told them I had NO
INTENTION of removing the tape at all. So, we can pull 
the blue tape off on Saturday if we want, or we can 
just leave things until the new pane is installed. 
This will help our heat, though. No more open hole
in the middle of the broken pane. 

The glass people showed up yesterday to put up a temporary pane that is airtight. That's going to help us keep our temperature in the store steady, and it will stay up until the full pane is removed and the new pane is installed - sometime within a month, hopefully. I was lucky, the window washers were also out cleaning our windows less than an hour later and I was able to stop them before they washed that pane. They're always a bit rough with the tools, and I don't need the broken pane shattering because I wanted a clean window. Disaster averted! LOL

We had an extraordinary sunrise on Wednesday morning, 
and I had to pull over a couple of times to snap some 
shots. I posted on Facebook, but thought I'd share with 
all of you as well. So beautiful! 

Have an excellent Friday. I'm off to the swimming pool for my 5:00 am reservation - double and triple checked. When I get back home from my swim, I'll make Monday's reservation. It's so wonderful to be back in the swimming pool again. And I finally have a day off again, after working six of the last seven days. I'm going to catch up with everything I couldn't do on Wednesday - laundry, grocery shopping and housecleaning. My dust mite covers from Amazon arrived yesterday, so I'll get all of those put on (a chore for the mattress and the couch, but easy for the pillows). Hopefully, by the time I end the day, I'll be exhausted, but have a serious positive sense of accomplishment. Enjoy your day, I'll be back tomorrow. 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Mis-Steps Dogged My Path on Wednesday - Chickie Returns Today

Yesterday was a series of mis-steps. I arrived at the YMCA in plenty of time for swimming and knew I had a 5:00 am slot. But, when I checked in, my Gate Gargoyle, Ed, said I wasn't on the list! I was shocked, said a few bad words, and stormed out. I was LESS than pleased. I returned home and pulled up my reservations booked app. It turned out I did have a 5:00 am reservation ... but at the wrong YMCA location. There had been a hiccup when I was making the reservation and I hadn't noticed the location had defaulted back to alphabetic order. I thought I was reserving Shoreview, but I made the reservation for Andover - WAAAAY far away. 

My temper is a bit volcanic, but it's a quick, fast eruption 
followed by a quick calm. I don't hold grudges and I 
don't hold onto anger for long periods of time. I'm also 
more than willing to admit when I'm wrong and to 
apologize. DH, on the other hand, can stew over a 
slight or a fault for years and bring it up time after time. 
That's immensely frustrating and too extreme for me. 

After wrapping up my home tasks, I put my stuff into my car, and before heading anywhere else, I drove back to the YMCA and apologized to Ed. I told him that he was right, but that I was also right. That I wasn't on his list because my reservation had mistakenly been made for a different location. I laughed about my stupidity and apologized sincerely - making sure to express it several times. I really like Ed and have known him as my 5:00 am Gate Gargoyle for many years. We laughed about it and I think all is well. I know my swim time tomorrow is at the CORRECT location, and I'll make Monday's reservation when I get home from swimming tomorrow and will be very careful again. Modern technology - a plus in many ways, a minus in others. 

LOTRO hasn't had a major weapons upgrade/change 
for many years. The Legendary Items have changed 
dramatically and it's going to take me some time and 
some reading to really get it all nailed. Thank goodness 
some dedicated players who write playing guides have 
come out with policies and procedures to follow so that 
we're not all wasting a ton of time and effort. 

Lord of the Rings Online underwent a serious upgrade on Wednesday. We usually have a Wednesday update, but this time they pushed in a whole new weapons system which will take quite a bit of work to truly understand. DH has immersed himself in all of it - he dives in deep ... it's the Dwarf in him. I have much more limited time to spend on the game, so I only play four characters and it'll take me more time to understand what's going on and how to upgrade my weapons appropriately. I'll let him make all of the mistakes first - LOL. 

We have a TON of Swarovski crystals 
still in stock. Since Swarovski decided they 
are no longer making crystal beads, and 
have forbidden retailers and resellers from 
using their name when selling a product 
that has used their discontinued crystals, 
I've taken to branding them as the "Evil 
Empire in Austria Whose Name Shall 
Not Be Spoken". I'm still going to be selling 
their product, though. I own far too much 
of it not to sell it. 

So I'm wrapping this up and getting ready to go to the shop. Chickie returns to day after her one week of vacation. It'll be a relief to have her around again ... DH is OK with helping on the sales floor, but he's not as good with the customers as Chickie is. Then again ... she tends to be a bit of a chatterbox, sometimes forgetting that the customer should have the last word. She's excellent with color, though, and I'm midway into a major project that will challenge her color sense and allow her to exercise something she really enjoys - making color mixes of the "Evil Empire's" beads for our sales buckets. 

Have an excellent Thursday. I'm already looking forward to tomorrow - my first day off in more than a week (except for Sunday, of course). Enjoy your day and I'll be back early tomorrow before heading out for my CORRECT swim time at the CORRECT YMCA - LOL. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

I Love Being Scheduled, But Everything is Topsy-Turvy Right Now

I really hate being off schedule. I'm a fairly scheduled person and like that feeling of knowing what I should be doing and where I should be going. Unfortunately, Chickie is still off today for the final day of her one-week vacation, and I'm working until Friday. It's a stumbling block for me - my laundry and my grocery shopping (except for emergency rations) won't be done until Friday. We probably won't have a chicken tonight, because I won't be home to get one. And I'll have no Wednesday conversation with my sister-of-the-heart, Aearwen. Blech! I hate working on my main day off. Missing my Friday is inconvenient, missing my Wednesday is almost catastrophic. 

ARGH just about sums it up. I'm going to have to 
hit the grocery store on my way home tonight, and 
hope that they have a chicken. I also need salad 
for the next few days, and some fruit for breakfast 
would be nice. Not having my Wednesday off 
is a total PITA. 

My tattoo artist, Rodney, is having family visit him on the weekend I had suggested, so that's not working out either. That pushes us into November and that could be an issue as well. Still, I'll have to roll with the punches on that one. There are numerous indoor venues and, realistically, my tattoo isn't going anywhere, so we'll catch it as we can. 

Rodney can't make it on one of the few days 
we can intersect, so we're pushed into 
November. I'll probably suggest the Conservatory 
to him - although a few of the museums might 
not be a bad option either. We'll just have to 
figure something out. The tattoo isn't going 
anywhere, and I don't want any additional 
ink until next Spring/Summer, so we have 
time for a photo shoot. 

I'm waiting for one piece of equipment to arrive before I can get back to work on my holiday cards. The design for this year is coming together in my head ... but there's a lot of work that needs to be done, and they're most definitely NOT coming together in reality quite yet. I have all of the actual card materials assembled, but I need to get going on the cutouts and any embossing. I can't do that until my equipment arrives. Argh! I'm super behind on them this year. It's worse that last year's prep during the middle of the COVID epidemic. 

I ordered a new precision paper cutter from Amazon
which should arrive soon. I have 1/16th inch 
of clearance for my cards, so my cuts have to 
be absolutely square and accurate. My current 
guillotine-style cutter is always slightly off, 
although it does a good job, and my decorative edges 
cutter isn't accurate enough either. I'm hoping 
this one will work well. I guess I'll find out. 
I'll be cutting a LOT of paper down to size.  

Now that booster shots seem to have been "approved", I'm probably going to get one. They're also saying that anyone who got the J&J vaccine could get one of the other two for their booster without any problem, and maybe with increased efficacy. If that's the case, I'd probably prefer the Moderna booster, if I can find a location offering it. I'll have to start hunting and see if I can find a place to go. 

If I have the opportunity to choose my brand of booster 
shot, I'd prefer the Moderna. I'm not fond of any additional 
injections, but if a booster is so highly recommended, 
I might have to cave. I'll probably still turn down the 
flu shot, however. I just don't get along well with those. 

On that note, I'm out of here. The pool beckons and I'm paying attention. I got my full mile in on Monday, I'll have to see how well I do today, but I'm at least almost back up to speed. Have an excellent Wednesday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Trying To Schedule A Photo Shoot - Two Busy People and One Single Day

Yesterday, I finally touched base with my tattoo artist again and we're trying to work out a date for a photo shoot before the temps get too cold. That's a definite concern because we're quickly running out of October and if we're doing a shoot outdoors, we're also running out of tolerable weather and temperatures. Of course, we could always move to the Como Conservatory or work within the Como Zoo - both of us live close enough to the zoo and Como Park to make that a possibility. But I'm trying for a meet on the last Friday of October. 

I'm not sure if this will link out correctly, but I finally got a chance to see the video Rodney made of my tattoo before I left after the second session. We still want to get together for a photo shoot, but this is his Instagram page where he posted. He had me move outside of the Tattoo studio to get this video done without glare and spotlights.

I'm fortunate to live near St Paul. In fact, when I first moved up to here from New Mexico, I lived within easy walking distance from Como Park - the crown jewel in the park system of the Twin Cities. Those who live on the "other side" of the river (that would be the Mississippi River), would probably give their votes to parks on their side, but for me, the premiere park will always be Como Park. 

Como Park is a wonderful place. The grounds of the Zoo 
are where the small white square is on the center left. The 
zoo comes quite near to the rectangular building a 
bit down and to the right which is the Conservatory. 
There is an 18-hole golf course taking the top 1/3rd, 
and a large pavilion fronting the lake a bit more to 
the east. The lake itself is quite large. Many people take 
the walking/biking paths around the lake to get their 
daily exercise. At the bottom of the park, below 
that final blue roadway is another small white 
rectangle. That's the public swimming pool with a 
zip line and wading pool area.  

The main attractions of Como Park are the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory and the Como Park Zoo. Both of these amazing venues are free to the public except on special occasions or reserved dates (wedding photo shoots in the Conservatory are fairly common). The Zoo is always free, and the Conservatory sets aside one day a month as a fee-based day for photographers to come into the grounds and take photos. Chickie has gone to several of these events, but I've only attended with the usual public on free days. If I remember correctly, there are only nine free zoos in the nation, and Como Zoo is one of them. 

The Como Park Conservatory is stunning. It's an amazing and 
large venue with a tropical room, a more temperate room, 
and outdoors there is also a wonderful Japanese garden. 
It's a great place to go in the middle of Winter to defrost 
a bit and remind yourself that Spring will come. 

I'm rather hoping that Rodney will approve of my thoughts for our photo shoot. He wants some more "artistic" photos of my tattoo, and I would love to be outside during one of the last autumn days before the snows fly (if we're lucky enough to be outdoors with the unpredictable weather we get at this time of the year). Blue skies and sunshine would also be a plus - not asking for a lot, am I - LOL? Of course, I wouldn't mind being in the Conservatory either. 

During the Covid shutdown, Como Zoo, like many other 
zoos across the nation, took their penguins to other places 
to allow them to explore and expand their surroundings. Here, 
the Como Zoo penguins took a visit to the nearby 
Conservatory to enjoy the Spring tulip exhibition. Aren't 
they adorable? 

So the ball is back in his court. The 29th of October is the only day I can see that we might both have off at the same time. Things may not come together but we can try. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

It Was a Good Weekend and Thoughts About the Third Eye

We had a lovely, relaxed Sunday watching football and doing a bit of gardening late in the afternoon when the sunshine was making the yard golden and the trees ablaze in a glory of golden and red. DH had asked me to please wear a wig for most of the day, so I chose my long wig and wore it until I went to Chipotle after 5:00 pm to pick up dinner (which of course took more that 45 minutes, even though there were less than eight people in line ahead of me. Fast food? NOT). 

Chipotle's Smoked Brisket in a burrito bowl (or a salad, 
as I usually have it) is a winner for both DH and I. We 
love it. It's a bit more money, but it's very tasty. I highly 
recommend it. Waiting in line to actually get it, however, 
in today's job shortage world? Not so much! 

I wanted to share something with all of you that I forgot to share last week. When I saw the allergist, he noticed my tattoo, but make a rather unusual observation - one I had not heard  before but loved. He stated that he loved the exact positioning of the Eye of Ra inside the rising sun atop my head. He said the Eye of Ra is often correlated with the pineal gland, the gland that is responsible for discerning light and dark and the gland that is sometimes referred to as the Third Eye. 

The Eye of Horus and the shape of the pineal gland in 
the base of the skull have remarkable similarities. 
If the Eye of Horus is based upon the pineal gland, then 
it pushes knowledge of the brain back into far 
prehistory. Of course, the Third Eye has been acknowledged 
in "mystical" and in Eastern societies, religions and 
basic beliefs for centuries. Maybe it's worth a thought? 

In the Chakras, the Third Eye is a center of wisdom and higher consciousness and is associated with the color of purple. Often people will work with amethyst crystals to help awaken the third eye. After all, we could all use a bit of wisdom, consciousness and higher awareness, as well as intuition and inner vision. 

It's really easy to confuse the 6th Chakra and 
the 7th Chakra when working with color. The 
Sixth, the Third Eye, is Amethyst. The 
Seventh, the Crown, is Violet. They are close 
in hue, but they work in very different ways. 

He said that if you split the brain exactly in half, the pineal gland would be at the base of the brain and the appearance is often likened to the image of the Eye of Horus. I found that fascinating, so had to look it up (of course). Looking at various photographs and depictions, I can understand where the correlation can be made. There is indeed a remarkable similarity to the Eye of Horus and the pineal gland. 

Third Eye illustrations are everywhere. Start by looking 
at the back of the $1 bill. Yes ... that pyramid has the 
all-seeing eye - the third eye. Are you interested in 
trying to activate your third eye? Sadhguru has advice 
on two ways to open the third eye in a you-tube 
video here. It's less than 10 minutes, so might be worth 
your while watching. I'll put a separate link in just 
to make sure it comes through.

I thought that was interesting and wanted to share with all of you. Since I forgot to share last week, my crazy Monday ended up being the "chosen" day - LOL. Have an excellent day, I'm off to the pool to see if I can improve my distance at all. I might also try a set of nose plugs for my turns, since  getting water up my nose is one of my major negatives about twist turns. Anyway, enough rambling. I'll be back tomorrow. 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Window Repair Progress and a Lord of the Rings Online Update

It's been a week since the window at the shop was cracked. DH's temporary repair seems to be holding up, but the weather is getting colder and since it will be a minimum of 3-4 weeks before the new glass pane is available for installation, I think I'll go ahead with a "temporary repair" in the meantime. 

This is how our broken window looks right now. Duct tape 
isn't going to do much against colder temperatures, but the 
guy who took the estimate and measurements of our window 
suggested a temporary fix that would paste a second piece 
of glass over the hole, closing a stone in front of the 
cave entrance, in essence. I think we'll go ahead and get 
that scheduled. It sounds like a wise idea to me. 

Our insurance company is coming through for us in spades. If we add the temporary fix to the actual new pane replacement costs, we're looking at almost $2600, but the insurance company will cover all of it except our deductible of $500, so that's not too bad at all. I'll toss the final numbers at DH tomorrow and he can make up his mind how he wants payment to be handled. Insurance is offering us a few different scenarios and I'll leave it up to him. 

Waist beads are an African tradition and are often worn 
by women of color in the US. I have several customers 
who make these for sale or gifts, and I admit there is something 
lovely about beads around the waistline area. A person 
can wear one strand or many, their choice. I think it 
emphasizes femininity and beauty. If you're interested 
in finding out more about waist beads, here's a 
link for you.

We had a very busy morning yesterday, starting out with a customer who makes Waist Beads getting a large variety of products, while two other customers came in at the same time. It was a backup at the cash register, but eventually everyone got their stuff and was happy. I did make one error, undercharging a customer on some feathers, but I'll put the $10.68 in out of my pocket today to balance the books. It was my error, my bad, so I'll make it right. In the meantime, the gentleman got a deal on a lot of feathers and he was very happy, and so was I. It was a bit of a relief to get some feathers sold - I have a bunch of them. 

As a reader of my blog, you certainly realize I'm a long-time 
player of Lord of the Rings Online computer MMPOG. DH 
and I were part of the original Beta almost two decades 
ago, and once it went live, we moved over to it and haven't 
been away since. There's a new campaign being introduced 
in a few weeks and this complete revamp of the 
weapons system goes hand-in-hand with that. It's 
going to take some work to get into the new scheme, but 
it was certainly needed. 

Yesterday was the first full day after a major upgrade in Lord of the Rings Online, and it was a serious upgrade. Legendary weapons have been completely shifted to a brand new system. I didn't get time to update some of my characters' weapons before the shift, so I'll end up missing out on some abilities that could have been important for the new system. But there's nothing to be done about that. I'm disappointed, but I'm disappointed in me, not in the system. Now I get the "joy" of learning how to operate in a new framework. I hope I understand it relatively quickly. 

The legendary weapons overhaul was the first step into 
a new area and quest arc - Gundabad. LOTRO has been 
exploring more of the Dwarven race and their own 
quest and lives throughout Middle Earth, with Gundabad 
being the latest of these areas. Want to know more? 
Here's a link for you.

So I'm off to catch up with all of the posts of friends, maybe grab a sweatshirt because I'm cold, and finish my morning breakfast (a lovely apple for today). Have a wonderful weekend, be kind to others, and please relax. Enjoy life. It's actually a wonderful experience, even if it is a bit trying every now and then. I'll be back on Monday morning before running off to my swim.