Saturday, May 21, 2022

Dresses, Dinner and Dropbox - A Lot of D's in Today's Post

I was here, there and everywhere yesterday, and still forgot to pick up the gown until mid-afternoon. I had settled down to do some computer work when it occurred to me. I had been in the general area earlier that morning, but like a fool, totally forgot. So I hopped back into the car and went to pick it up. It's gorgeous. They did an outstanding job. When I got home, I pulled it from the hanger, stripped, and put it on. It fits me - a little loose in the bustline - Mom had a bit more going on there than I do. But the waist also fits. I don't have wiggle room - if I gain weight I won't be able to wear it - but it's glorious to wear something she made and wore more than 75 years ago. 

This is a BEFORE photo - taken 
on my mannequin before I took it 
to the cleaners. The hem is beautiful 
now, and the entire dress is perfect. 
What's even better is that I fit 
into it almost perfectly! 

DH has decided he wants to go back to the garden center again tomorrow. That means an early rising for me again, and no extra catch-up sleep - again. But, he's happiest when he's puttering around in the yard for the summer, so anything I can do to keep things on an even keel, I'm all for it. It's going to be a cold weekend - temps only in the 50's, so I'll bundle up and brave the cold and he'll get the annuals and perennials he wants. Then he can putter in the garden for the afternoon until we settle down before making tacos for dinner. I got all of the fixings for tacos yesterday, so we're in good shape. 

I love Siete products. It's a family run company 
that started because one of the children was 
gluten intolerant. They have an almond tortilla 
that I use constantly. Fantastic. Their chips are 
excellent, and they even have a couple of 
varieties of cookies that I can have occasionally. 

I should use my own ground beef and taco seasoning, but I know he'll have a total hissy fit if I do. I'd prefer using my Siete brand taco seasoning, but I'll survive two tacos made with El Paso brand (too many chemicals and I'm quite sure there's sugar in it as well). It's only two tacos, and I'm going to try to have more lettuce and guacamole than meat anyway. Sometimes I have to choose my battles - this is one I'll fudge on slightly. I might make some tacos of my own later in the week - with my own taco seasoning and maybe some hardshell Siete tortilla shells too. 

Their taco shells are also quite good. They crack, 
like all taco shells do, but they're quite tasty. 

I also have the option of stopping by the grocery store on Sunday while he's planting whatever we got at the garden center. I could get some salad fixings for a nice veggie to go along with my tacos. Or not - it's good to have choices - LOL. 

I can't access the photos on my desktop computer, but 
I don't really need to. I needed the photos to be accessed 
from my laptop because that's the Photoshop program I'm 
using for my website images. My desktop computer is 
ancient. I'll have Dale build me a new one when he 
finally finishes with the one he's building for DH. 

The great photo migration was stubborn. After trying several things, including some suggestions from a dear friend and ex-fiancee, I finally remembered Dropbox. I have Dropbox on every machine I run, it's a fabulous program and app. I opened that, told it to upload, clicked a LOT of photos, and voila! Within 20 minutes, the photos had all transferred from my phone into Dropbox, and are now accessible on any of my computers. I started working on them late in the afternoon and they'll be just fine. It's going to be a bit of back and forth with my paper copies to get the names and part numbers correct, but I'll be back at work on it when I get to the shop today. 

I've used Dropbox for a long time, but have only 
used the upload and file sharing aspects of it since 
earlier this year when I needed to get documentation 
to Etsy before I could open my shop. It works like 
a charm. Chickie uses it a lot - it was her suggestion 
that opened up the possibilities to me. 

On that note, I've rambled on long enough. Have an excellent weekend and a glorious Saturday. It's in my plans to return on Monday morning, hopefully to be able to report a calm Sunday and a DH who is not angry for any reason. Enjoy, and Slava Ukraini. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

It's Going To Be a Very Busy Friday - A Day of Achievements (If I Get Everything Completed)

Yesterday, I didn't get as much done on production work for my crystal photos as I wanted. I got more than half of the photos transferred to my email, but after that they refused to transfer to my email at all. I sent a few test emails and those weren't received either. Later I tried one of my secondary emails, and that worked for a bit, but I'll have to see if I can't find a system that works a bit smoother. Basically, I take the photo - using my phone since I have a great camera in my Pixel phone. Then I attach each photo to an email that identifies exactly what it is and the P/N assigned to that bead. I then open that email, crop the photo and save it in my Etsy file. Later I pull those back out in Photoshop, resize them properly and do any massaging I need to do to the actual photo, save, and I'm ready to go. 

This photo is still raw. I'll take it, brighten it, size it 
appropriately, and save it. So many hoops to jump through 
to get things from my phone to my laptop to the website. 
These are 6mm crystal cubes, I'm working on the 6mm 
and the 4mm cubes this week. 

It's really a ridiculous amount of work for one small photo, and I'm dealing with hundreds of individual pictures, so you can see what a time sink it is. Still, I also realize that the only thing selling the product is the photo and description. I'm not there to help the customer decide which "peach" color is the perfect one, or to point out alternatives to them if I'm sold out of a product. The pictures have to do a lot, so I'm picky about them. 

I've now finished "The Shire" and am moving on from 
Bree with Aragorn. I've ordered my medal and it's 
on its' way. I can hardly wait to get this one - the 
medal for The Shire is outstanding, with the Ring 
in an envelope on the back of it. I'll share when I 
receive it next week sometime. 

In my Challenger quests, I finished walking from Hobbiton to Bree yesterday, so finished "The Shire" portion of the 5-quest LOTR pack. This morning I completed the registration for "The Fellowship" - the next stage which will bring us all together as we wander to Rivendell and onward to the doors of Moria. Moria then starts the third segment. I only do 8-12 miles in an average week, so the challenges do take a while, but it's a lovely sense of accomplishment when I finish one, and the medals are totally fabulous. I just finished the almost 200 miles of the "Great Wall of China" quest and received that medal yesterday. It's stunning, as all of them are. This newest medal has no fancy movement or hidden compartments like some of the others, but features two glorious dragons - one on each side. A worthy addition to my ever-increasing collection. I should be receiving my "The Shire" medal next week sometime. 

As a reminder, this is the gown I've been getting 
cleaned. I'll pick it up today. The head of Timeless 
Restorations was over the moon with this dress. 
She called me personally and we had a nice 
conversation about it and my Mom. I can 
hardly wait to see it back in prime condition. 

So today will be a busy "day off". One of the things I'm doing today is picking up the first of my mother's gowns from the cleaners. I can hardly wait to see it pressed and looking fabulous. I might have to set aside a little time this afternoon and actually try it on. I think I can fit into her gowns now, I've lost enough weight. It's well worth the try at any rate. I also need groceries for our weekend meals, I want to make my next batch of Ogre Juice, and of course I want to finish taking the photos of the 4mm crystal cubes so that I can start on a different shape next week. No rest today - LOL, but if I get any "down time", I'll see about spending a bit of time in the garden. 

Have an excellent Friday and I'll be back tomorrow. Be safe, be kind, and Slava Ukraini. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Photography Progress and Friendship

 Yesterday was a busy day; but with minimal outside errands to do, I got a lot done with photography. I worked on photos of crystals for most of the day, taking a break for my 2:00 pm Zoom call and shutting down to chat with my friend Aearwen at 4:00 pm. I left most of my lighting, etc up for Friday, moving the lights out of the way and collapsing the diffusion chamber. I'll continue with this on Friday, hopefully wrapping up the cubes. 

Yesterday, DH asked why I didn't use the photos 
from the 8mm cubes for the other sizes. NO! Duh! 
Each cube is rather unique, and I have more colors 
in 6mm than 8mm, and even more colors in 4mm 
than either of the two larger sizes. People need to 
see how the cubes actually look. Like I said, Duh! LOL. 

Of course, the actual photography is only the first step. Today I'll be forwarding the photos from my phone to my email, then bringing the photos from my email into Photoshop, massaging them slightly, resizing them to the size I need for posting them, and finally, setting them up in the appropriate file. After I get all of them ready to go, I'll start uploading them into Etsy. So, I still have a week, maybe more, before I'll have everything uploaded and the bulk of the work starts today. 

I'm very fond of Google as my browser. My laptop keeps 
encouraging me to switch to Edge, but I like the 
familiar feel of Google, so I stick with it. I also have 
a Google Pixel 6 phone, so I guess I'm just in the 
Google camp. Whatever works best for you, great. but 
I'll stick with Google. 

DH was having problems accessing something he needed, so asked me to look into it for him. I phoned Tech Services for the website he needed and we went through a couple of things yesterday. Fortunately this turned into a relatively easy fix. Clearing out the history and data cache of his Google browser did the trick and everything was back up and operational once again. Not difficult, but not necessarily something I would have thought of. I should probably think about doing something similar to my own Google browser history/cache. It's a program that I use constantly, and wiping some cyber-footsteps out of my personal forest might not be a bad idea. 

Aearwen and I have been chatting weekly for years 
now. We don't manage every single week, but in an 
average year, I'd say we're catching up for at least 
45+ of the 52 weeks. Life can sometimes get in the 
way, but we both always look forward to our chats. 
One of these days/years we'll get a chance to actually 
meet in person. That'll be a treat! 

Aearwen and I had a lovely chat yesterday. Our hour simply flew by, as it usually does. It's odd that I can be such good friends with someone for years - someone I've never met in person. But somehow, Aearwen and I clicked. We started chatting over storylines and writing, and then continued on into life in general. We don't agree on everything - life would be horribly boring if we did - but we respect each other's viewpoints and agree more often than we disagree. I consider her a close and dear friend, a sister from a different mother (even though she would NEVER want to move back to Minnesota, and I would NEVER want to live in California - LOL). I hope you're all lucky enough to have one or two excellent friends in your own lives. They enrich your life in ways that you could never imagine. 

Friends are the best things to happen to us as we live 
our lives. They shift and change over the years, but the 
best ones are the ones who stick around for the long 
term. Aearwen is one of those friends for me - a very 
special companion and someone who is almost a 
sister, although we've never met in person. 

So, on that note, I'm off to the pool. It's my final day of swimming this week and I can hardly wait to get into the water. Yesterday I swam almost 1-1/2 miles in my 50 minutes. I don't set any goal other than my mile, so it's always nice to surpass it. Have a tremendous and joy-filled day today. Accomplish things that you want to do, and push yourself to do one more thing, and more of all, be kind. The world desperately needs kindness right now. I'll be back tomorrow. Slava Ukraini. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Another Day in the Pool and A Day of Photography Ahead

We think that the alarm that has been going off might be the one attached to the back room and back door. DH is going to check those areas more carefully today. It's where we're had our break-in's in the past (and we've had three times we actually were broken into). It makes sense. So he'll check the door more carefully and make sure the sensor for that area is totally cleaned and primed. At least I was able to get a full night's sleep last night, so that's a good start to my Wednesday. 

I had a bit of time last night, so took advantage to get 
my photo set-up ready for today. I have large spotlights 
on each side of the light diffusing tent, and an Ott light 
that I pull into the tent to get additional light on the 
crystals. It's a set up that's working well, but I have to 
put it up for each use and then put it away again. 

I'm all set up for a day of photography, with my light box, my two spots and my Ott light all ready. I have more than 50 photos that I need to take today to finish with the 6mm cubes, and I'd like to get those completed. In the middle of everything, I have a check-in call for WildFit at 2:00 pm, and I want everything completed and put away before I have my weekly convo with Aearwen. It'll be a busy day, but all-in-all, a good one. 

I've been making and drinking my daily Alkagizer 
(Ogre Juice) for more than a year now, but mine 
certainly don't turn out this green. They are indisputably 
green, but it's not this intense. 

I already have my Ogre Juice made for the next few days, so I won't have to spend that 60-90 minutes in the kitchen with my blender. That's a real plus. It does mean I'll be making another batch on Friday, but my Fridays are a bit more open, so I'm all in favor of that small schedule shift. But if I can get the 6mm photos completed today, I can work on getting them sized and ready for uploading into Etsy tomorrow and maybe, by the end of the weekend, I can move ahead to the 4mm size next week. 

The outdoor pool opens on May 28th. The indoor pool 
will be closed and the outdoor pool will be the only 
available pool at this location. I love this pool, but I 
can't have sun on my tattoo, so I'm working out a way 
I can cover up. I also ordered a second skin suit. I'm 
really liking the one I have, and need to make sure 
I'll have a dry one for each of my three days swimming. 

The outdoor pool opens in 10 days, so in two weeks, I'll be swimming outside instead of inside (unless the weather is too dangerous to swim outside). To facilitate that, I'll have to make sure I have some sort of head covering for my tattoo. I ordered a hood from Swim Outlet, although I'm not sure how well it will work or if I'll tolerate it. I also have a few swimcaps that I can alter. The key is my sound. I need my books. So I need to make sure I can wear my bone induction headphones while I swim. If I've got my books on audio, I can swim easily. Without them, it's a hard slog. 

I love my Shokz waterproof bone induction headphones. 
They work splendidly in the pool and on land, they're 
comfortable, and I can easily do what I need to. I also 
use a set of Oladance bone induction ear pods when 
working in the kitchen, but that's if I want to listen 
to music. I like to listen to books in the pool, so I 
pre-load an audio book onto my headphones and I'm 
good to go for days in the pool. 

So I'm out of here. I'll plug in photos and hit the road. The pool is calling my name - LOL. Have a wonderful and fabulous Wednesday and I'll be back tomorrow - maybe with a concrete idea of what to write for this week's writing challenge. *sigh* LOL. Skava Ukraini. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Survival, Alarms and Lack of Sleep - The Story of My Life *sigh*

On LJIdol, I managed to scrape by enough votes to end up in the bottom third, but I'm still in the pack. Thank you to all who voted for my haiku. The next topic and deadline was announced early this morning. Perhaps I'll have better luck next voting session. This time I lost two friends - murielle and adoptedwriter. I'm quite sad to see them leave the competition. 

I enjoy playing with different types of literary 
styles. I also enjoy playing with different 
literary types. 

This week's LJIdol prompt will take a bit of thought, but could lead to some interesting tales. "You are an opossum living in the trashcan of my heart". A bit crazy, isn't it? Apparently it's a song lyric. You can get away with statements like that in song, but I wonder how well it will work in prose and tale. Time to start thinking about this one. 

On this list, I laugh at the fact that News 
Article follows Fairy Tale, Legend, Myth, 
Tall Tale, and Fable. Hmmm. Perhaps the 
listing should be altered to put News 
Artlcle after Informational Text? 

I had gotten less than two hours of sleep last night before my alarm company called about another internal alarm at the shop. ARGH! I pulled on a set of street pants, grabbed my keys and headed out. Of course nothing was wrong or disturbed in any way - which was good. But it was a 45 minute chunk out of my sleep before I was back in dreamland, and my "get up" alarm only waits until 3:15 am before chiming at me to get going on my day. It's going to be a hard swim today. I hope I can fall into the words of my novel and lose my "blah" at swimming tired. If this continues, I'll have to call the alarm company send out a tech to check out the sensors. I might have one going bad. That's an expense I really would rather avoid, but I may have no choice. 

I gave up about 2-1/2 hours of sleep on Saturday night 
so that we could get to the garden store at 7:00 am. Now 
I ended up with an interruption in my next night's usual 
six hours. I'm going to be dragging by next Sunday! 

So, to expedite things and so that I can start thinking about opossums and trashcans (who the hell thinks about those two things as 'romantic'?), I'm plugging in photos and heading out to the gym. I hope you have a wonderfully fantastic day, and I'll be back tomorrow - hopefully after an uninterrupted night's sleep. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Sunday Was A Day Of Plants and Cleaning Up

We started Sunday out by driving out to the garden center. Gertens opens at 7:00 am every day during this time of the year, so I sacrificed sleep and meditation time for the sake of green plants and flowers (and a happy Hubby). I'll be dragging by the end of the week, though. Still, Gertens was fabulous and very busy. I didn't take any photos of the several large interior buildings where we found our Lantanas and other annuals. But here are a couple of exterior shots. 

Gertens is huge. It's located in the southern 
suburbs, closer to where Chickie lives than 
anywhere I'm usually at, so we usually only 
get here once a year. 

I only took photos of the outside of Gertens, not the several 
buildings that housed thousands more plants. I love going 
there, but I'm glad we don't go too often. We only bought 
a single impulse item, and actually ended up within $10 
of budget. Score! LOL

DH had a plan. He had scoured their website earlier and had a list (which he forgot at home, of course). He remembered what he had been wanting, though. Usually we purchase a lot of annuals here, but 
occasionally he'll also decide on a perennial or two. The garden is his thing. Except for insisting on some Lantana flowers, I really don't say anything one way or the other unless he asks my opinion. 

One thing we both wanted was a new hummingbird 
feeder. DH had seen a hummer in the garden earlier 
in the week, and our old feeder was broken. So we 
bought a new one and I made some nectar (1/4 cup 
of water dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water, then 
chilled in the refrigerator). It's a nice feeder, so I 
hope we get a chance to have a hummer or two 
drop by every now and then. I'll change to new 
nectar every Sunday unless it needs more sooner. 

When we got home and pulled the plants out of the car, we settled in to work. DH and I each grabbed a dandelion removal tool and started pulling dandelions out of the front yard. It really needed a thorough scrub. After an hour or so, we had a full five-gallon bucket packed full. The photo shows us about half-way through. I hope we caught most of them. It's almost impossible to catch them all, but we definitely won the battle for this day. LOL

By the time we were finished, the bucket was filled 
to the brim with pulled dandelions. I love that they 
are green, and their flowers are delightfully 
cheery, but I don't particularly like them taking 
over my grass. 

After the "Great Dandelion Pull", DH got down to work while I made hummingbird nectar. He figured out where he wanted each of the plants we bought, and started putting them into the ground. I think it was probably around 10:30 am or so when he started digging. He was working on getting plants into the ground or transplanting ones that needed a new location until almost 4:00 pm non-stop. A lot of work. Here are four photos of the garden as it was when we quit, yesterday. We'll have lots of flowers and some beautiful multi-colored bushes to keep us happy over the summer. 

Moving from right to left, the first section now 
looks like this. Columbines are the bushy plant 
at the front. They are perennial. The small 
pink plants and a lot of the edge plants are new. 


Across the back wall, he put two different colors of Coral Bells 
along with more of the small pink plants. They'll break up the 
constant green we normally get from our ferns and other plants' 

Continuing to the left, there were quite a few 
plants that he spaced into this area, and again 
a few of the pink bushy things that will grow 
along the edging. 

Finally, in the final section, he planted my three Lantana 
plants and some trailing plants that we're hoping will 
trail nicely over the stonework. He still has two day lillies 
and a couple of other plants to get into the ground, but 
almost all of what we purchased got their new homes 

We then settled down for a beer each, and then I started work on dinner while he got the coals going in the grill for the steaks. I stayed upstairs to cook while he took the steaks down to grill. Then I had a minor/major kitchen accident. I had three pans working - two with mushrooms and onions (my mushrooms were fresh, his were canned - personal choice), and a third with boiling water with butter and noodles for a pasta side dish DH wanted with his dinner. While reaching over to give one pan a quick stir, I caught the handle of the pasta pan and upended it all over the kitchen, the stovetop, and even into the hallway. What a mess!. I cut off all the heat, moved pans, and started a serious clean. DH didn't get pasta, but he microwaved some veggies instead. After dinner, I spent another 90 minutes thoroughly cleaning EVERYTHING. The pasta sauce had gotten everywhere, even dripping under counter tops and down cabinet fronts. I don't think the kitchen has been cleaned as thoroughly in years - LOL. It's nice and clean now! 

Here's hoping you have a wonderful Monday. I'm looking forward to a productive week - hey! I can dream! LOL ... I'll be back tomorrow. 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

It was a Good Day Off - Lots of Different Things Accomplished

I did manage to get three pages of crystals photographed, but when I was putting the 4th page pieces onto the master sheet, I realized I was missing one of the colors. Checking the other bags didn't produce it, so I texted DH to bring a pack home with him and closed up the photography area until next week. I'll work on the three pages I did until then, and there are other things I can do. I still have to upload the new 8mm sheets onto Etsy, and when I'm satisfied, I'll pull off the old 8mm sheets. It's tricky to completely change over like this, but doing it now will save headaches later. 

Changing my Etsy listings from a page of 16 to a page 
of nine will allow me to showcase the crystal more, 
and work with photographs to my advantage. Each 
crystal will have the overall shot as well as one 
close-up. I think that will be helpful, since crystals 
want to sparkle. 

Of course, I hope I'm too busy at the shop to actually get this done today, but there's no way to predict the traffic we'll get from our crafters and collectors. The Twin Cities Car Show is taking place at the State Fairgrounds over the weekend, so that might bring in some traffic, but it's a destination and we're a side trip. 

This is the second time I've made this recipe, and 
I was much happier with it. Next time I think I'll 
add a little vanilla to the batch. I think that would 
be lovely. 

Since I had some time yesterday, having stopped work on photography, I decided to make a batch of cookies. I make these nut butter and date cookies that are quite tasty, using the food processor I inherited from my mother. The first time I made the cookies, it was a bit of a disaster. I was hoping things would go more smoothly this time, and it did! I pr-soaked my dates, which made a difference, and I used a different brand of nut butter which was fantastic. They all creamed up beautifully. I got them into the oven and they rose, just like they were supposed to. I was shocked - LOL. It was still a bit messy, but SO much easier than last time. 

My local grocer had some pre-marinated chicken tenderloins 
for sale that used ingredients that were WildFit 
approved. They baked up beautifully and were very 
tasty. I'll finish them off tonight. Yummy! 

I also took advantage of a hot oven to bake some seasoned chicken tenderloins for dinner last night and tonight. that also turned out great - thank goodness for remote thermometers - I probably would have overcooked the chicken without using mine. So, on a hot day, I spent a good part of the afternoon heating up the kitchen by using the oven. Silly me - but I had a lovely dinner last night and another one planned for tonight. 

For a long time, I was the one who used the grill. I'm 
actually really good at it. I know how to use indirect 
heat and how to control the temperature. DH took 
over at some point, probably because he complained 
about something I cooked and I refused to cook any 
more (that happens a lot). He's not as good. He has 
one temperature - hot. But, he buys the steak, he 
can cook it. He usually does OK on steak, but 
not much else. 

It's looking like it will be a nice Sunday, so DH took some sirloins out of the freezer and will grill them for dinner on Sunday. It'll be my delayed birthday dinner. I'll fry up some onions and mushrooms, and maybe I'll run to the store and grab some lettuce. It should be a nice dinner and I'm looking forward to it. On that note, I'm out of here. Have an excellent weekend and I'll be back on Monday. Slava Ukraini.