Thursday, May 29, 2008

Eventually it works out

Sometimes it takes me a while to get it right. Remember how I was so happy and excited that I was flying to Bead & Button this year? Well, part of me was happy and excited, but it was also causing chaos and confusion in my head. The logistics of it - worrying that I was going to forget to ship something - knowing I wasn't going to have the most efficient set up at the show, which is so busy and important. It all came to a head yesterday as I was packing up my boxes to ship and I finally stopped and sat on the floor for a while, thinking. And then I called Mom and told her I was thinking about driving after all. We talked it through and yup! I'm driving again! It was as though a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders as soon as the decision was made, which means to me it was the right one. And I know I'll enjoy the road trip. I haven't had one since early February which is unusual, so I'm ripe for time with my XM radio, CDs, and naps at rest areas.

And then another wrong was righted with the world yet again when Kathryn decided last night to come up to Milwaukee too! WOO HOO! She just couldn't stand to not be a part of things, and she loves it so much. She went for the first time two years ago (and then broke her hip shortly afterward - thank goodness not before!) and last year she was in a funk because she didn't attend. I've been working on her, and Laura, another student from Nomadic Notions is going this year and Laura offered to share her room with Kath, so that was taken care of. Kath will travel with my mother when she flies up, so she's got a traveling companion. And I'm going to let her sit in my classes - heck - she'll be like having an assistant teacher there! We need to keep our eyes on her to make sure she doesn't overdo. Both energy and spending. Hee hee!! But it makes my heart glad to know that she's going to be doing something that brings her so much joy. It will make my trip all the better.

So I just finished unpacking the stuff I got packed yesterday and now it's time to repack it in the car travel mode. I get a quick visit with my niece this morning since it will be almost three weeks before I get to see her again and you KNOW how fast they change at this age. She's good and feisty, the way a Wiseman should be.

I have all the instructions written for the new kits I'm taking to the shows, but there's a few tweaks that need to be made specific to the kits (as opposed to the classes) and that will happen this afternoon and tonight. Friday, Kelly is coming over to meet the dogs and cats - she's going to take care of our critters this weekend. And Friday night, Mom and I are off to Houston as soon as she gets home from work. And then the fun really begins!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Here, there, and everywhere

I've been feeling a bit like a ping pong ball today, running here and there to accomplish various errands. No linear path for me...nooo....that would be too sensible! But on the other hand, I still managed to get my ticket taken care of a whole 50 min. before the deadline. I think this is the first time my car has been 100% legal in a year or so due to various calamities, the biggest being the catalytic converter I had to replace in Dec. to get it to pass inspection. An $1800 inspection. Nice, eh?

Now I'm running off to Nomadic Notions to teach class. Lydia Johns has dropped by the lampwork fish for our special Fish Lariat kit that we'll be debuting in Houston this weekend. She was busy birthin' those fishie babies all day yesterday! I keep thinking I should come up with a better name than Fish Lariat, although the bluntness of it does kind of amuse me. I figure I have to resist the urge to call it Nemo so Disney doesn't come after me. Got any suggestions??

Monday, May 26, 2008


Most of the time I talk about happy, beady things here on the blog, but I hope you'll indulge me for a moment as I tell you about Terry Olson.

I found out just today that Terry passed away in March. Remember how I've mentioned that at the bead shows we have this traveling family? Well, Maureen and Terry Olson were some of the first members of my beady family. I met Maureen and Terry of The Bead Corner at the Austin Bead Society Show in 2005, I think. They ran a seed bead booth so it was natural for us to start talking and bonding. Over the years, we shared stories and experiences at various shows all across the southwest. Terry was in a wheelchair, but it never damped his spirit. You could see his mischievous nature written all over his face, and he was quick with a laugh and a smile and a hug.

It may seem odd to some that I think of Terry as family even though I'm just now finding out about his passing, but that's the nature of the bead business. Intensely personal bonding during our times together, but then long times apart. It doesn't change the way I feel about any one of the friends I know from the show circuit.

Terry had a progressive disease, so we all knew we'd lose him at some point. It doesn't make his loss much easier to bear. Maureen is still doing shows, and I'll get to see her in person this weekend at the Stafford Bead Market. Her booth will seem emptier this time, but I'll bet there will be a special glow about it, as Terry looks over us all.

Slow and steady wins the race

At least that's what Anne keeps telling me as we trade daily updates on our mutual plodding along the path to B&B. And I'm seeing the vision. Of course, it might be a mirage. Or a hallucination.

Rich's foot injury was hurting Big Time today. He was supposed to have gone to his in-laws for the remainder of the Memorial Day weekend because it's his father-in-law's birthday, but instead Becky & Alexis went without him so he could stay at home and recuperate. It's his right foot that's broken (groan - there goes driving) and of course his house has stairs with all the bedrooms on the second level. He's trying to get the hang of the crutches, but crutches, pain killers, and stairs aren't a happy mix. I guess he took one face-first fall so far.

The bigger problem will be next week as Becky goes back to work. Between the 24 hours on/48 hours off work schedule of a firefighter, and the flexible hours of a hair dresser, Rich & Becky have managed to go over a year now without needing more than the occasional Aunt Jilly or neighbor babysitting Alexis. But for the moment, Rich can't really take care of her by himself, so I think they'll be hiring childcare for the first time. His injury is more dramatic than Mom's was, and he may be facing surgery. We'll have to see what the doc says later this week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the best.

Monday will be packing day here at Casa Wiseman, and Tuesday the boxes get shipped. I also teach my last class in Austin until June 19th on Tuesday night. Then I have a small window of
opportunity to shift gears and make a few samples that I have kits for, but no finished product to show in Milwaukee. I really look forward to spending some zen time with needle, thread, and beads. Lovely little beads.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

And if it ain't your mother or your dog...'s your brother...again! I got home from class last night and the first words out of Mom's mouth were, "You're not going to believe where your brother is." And I thought, oh, no - not again! Sure enough, he was at the emergency room at the hospital. Another on the job injury, but this time playing soccer with the other guys at the fire station! They thought his ankle was broken but the doctor's diagnosis? Broken foot! Yup, what are the odds? Like mother like son. So he's off duty for a while now. They sent him home with a splint and crutches and he'll go for a follow up appt. next week. It's deja vu all over again.

I guess more people travel for Memorial Day weekend than I thought. Out of my class of 7 last night, just 2 showed up. That's okay - we had ourselves a little beading party!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Assembly Line in progress

I love this part of making kits - when all the little pieces and parts I've been laboring over pull together into a nice, neat bag, and the bag gets shut and put in it's drawer and all is right with the world. I have stock again.

My general process for kit making is to worry about getting all the materials weighed out and labeled first. It's a balancing act, because you've always got more of one kind of bead or crystal than the other, so you need to figure out how many you're going to make to start out with. I find which material I have the least of, calculate how many kits that will make, decide if it's enough or if I need to go order more supplies, and then work on making that many of that kit. So then it's creating the individual little baggies of beads - I go through more plastic bags than I can fathom. And finally, lining up all the different pieces and parts. Some of the kits have up to 16 different items in them. And then putting one of each baggie in a bigger baggie which then goes into the kit baggie. And hopefully in the meantime I've actually had time to print out the instructions for the kits, so those get folded and stuffed too. And voila - it's a kit!

Last nights kits were made for the three colors of Russian Splendor, Curly-Q, and the three colors of Happy Trails. Mom's job this morning (while I was sleeping, naturally) was to work on printing out the instructions for them. I'm not sure who's more tired from it - Mom or the printer.

I have to switch gears this afternoon to finalize and tweak the instructions for tonight's Cleopatra class (the second night) and I'll try to actually go to sleep shortly after getting home tonight because I've got to be back at the store bright and early in the morning for Bead Brunch. It's a once a month thing we do at Nomadic Notions where students are welcome to come into the store 2 hours before we officially open to work on projects, get help with old class projects, and generally socialize and have fun. I like to be there when I'm in town for it because I have SO many classes at the store, and I want to be available to help anyone who's having trouble. And who are we kidding - I like the socializing too!

So that's the weekend so far...I hope you're enjoying your long weekend too, and getting some beading in!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Well, I managed to pull a muscle in my neck while turning over in bed last night. No big surprise, really, since the last few days I've been cursed with tensed and aching muscles all over my body. It's my usual reaction to stress, and it's kicked in like crazy. I have a long massage scheduled for Sunday....right now that seems ever so far away...

Yesterday was lost to errands, but it's the detritus of life that can't be overlooked, even when in a kit building frenzy. I remember when I was a kid wondering why the adults were so BUSY all the time. What on earth did they have to do so much of? I spent a lot of time trying to figure it out. I get it now.

I'm glad Mom will be home for a three day weekend so she can help with kits. We also plan on taking a break Saturday afternoon and visiting my niece. She changes so fast - we need a munchkin fix!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Photo day!

Last night's Ring Around the Rosie class was so much fun - all the usual suspects were there since it was the first time I'd taught it, and even better - I came home wearing all sorts of new jewelry!

First up, this lovely bracelet from Margaret Smith. She was wearing one it last week's class and I told her how I loved the colors - that I'd been meaning to make one like it but it's hard for me to make the time to do someone else's pattern when I know I should be designing instead. So we came up with the perfect compromise! I bartered with her to make one for me, and the little over achiever she is, she surprised me just 6 days later with the completed bracelet! I just love it and I know I'll enjoy wearing it even more because Margaret made it for me.

Second, I had asked a bunch of students to bring their collection of Russian Splendor/Renaissance Revisited necklaces. I'm tickled that they simply CAN'T STOP MAKING THEM! And I wanted to preserve for posterity all the fabulous variations they've come up with by taking some photos. Great plan! And it worked well right up to the point where I turned on my camera and discovered I'd left the memory card at home! (This didn't used to happen with film cameras...waa...) I was so sad. Everyone forgave me to my face (don't know what might have been said later, though!) and promised to bring them back for a re-shoot on Thursday. But I escaped with one of Kathryn's versions by wearing it on my neck all night long. She graciously is letting me borrow it for a while to flaunt. We teased her that she needs to create a library card system for her many pieces and we can check them out for 2 weeks at a time.

Lastly, I created another earring variation of the Ring Around the Rosie class while we were working on our circles. I need to shorten the chain a smidge, but I love the look. I wish I could get these colors to look like they do in real life, because they're gorgeous, not muddy. But you get the idea.

Monday, May 19, 2008

One bead, two beads...

...three beads...

Yup - it was the perfect storm today as all my bead orders arrived in one fell swoop. And we're off to the races!!! I called Mom at work to warn her I was going to be putting her to good use tonight and mysteriously she had to work late tonight at the office. Coincidence? I'll let you decide!

I'm happy to be getting on with it though. I'm teaching the next two nights, but I'll be sure and leave Mom a "to-do" list. Hey - everyone says I have to get better about delegating!! Be careful what you ask for!

Sunday was a lost day as far as productivity goes. I had some weird bug like thing going on that made me shaky and sleep all day. And then last night I had a bad fever all night long. I'm feeling better today which is good because as we all know, there's no time for malaise.

I made an all important stop at Walmart this afternoon (despite the 98 degree heat - UGH) to buy munchies to bribe myself with to work like crazy. It's a throw back from my college days. "When I read 50 pages of Madame Bovary, I'll let myself take a break and (fill in the blank.)" Except now it's "When I get all the Delicas for the Russian Leaves weighed out, I'll let myself take a break and..." usually eat something, or play Solitaire on the computer, or read my book for 15 min. or something. I hate being a procrastinator by nature, so this is one of the coping mechanisms I've come up with until they develop a pill that fixes it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Busy day

As per usual, I was up in the middle of the night, finishing up the instructions for tonight's class. That means there's a nap in my future this afternoon before I go to teach. Afterward I'm going to catch Doyle Bramhall's show at the Continental Club with a friend.

Then tomorrow I'm back to kits, kits, kits!! I've got a few big orders of beads arriving probably Monday. One more set of instructions to knock out for Tuesday night's new class. Oh! I forgot to mention my big accomplishment from yesterday!

It started out when I was looking for some particular beads to make an additional sample for tonight's class. I knew I'd picked out beads, put them in a bag, and labeled it with the project name. If I don't label and corral the beads, I'm sunk. I never remember why I bought them otherwise and then I have to start all over picking out beads. Anyway, I knew that bag was around here somewhere, but I couldn't find it. So in a hissy fit of frustration while looking for them, I started cleaning up beads. And cleaning. And cleaning. And voila - after a while - I found the dining room table top that hasn't been seen since October! Complete with a disgusting amount of dust. I hearby vow to not let things get that bad again. I've waste so many hours looking for things that are "lost" when in reality they're just buried.

The Bead Room needs some major reorganization to make it more efficient, but that's going to have to wait until late June to happen. That will help a LOT.

Mom spent the morning outside decimating the landscaping on the side of our house. When we bought the house the landscaping had been allowed to get grossly overgrown and Mom's steadily bringing it back or ripping it out. Today was total rip out. She's dangerous with a power tool in her hand.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sock go bye bye

You won't believe this. First of all, I've been up all night with Winnie - he was heaving, trying to throw up the sock every hour or so all night and I was afraid it might get stuck in his throat and he'd choke, so I stayed up to monitor him each time. I'm on the phone with the vet's office 15 min. ago, waiting for the vet to come to the phone, and he gets up on my bed and vomits it up!! I've never been so happy to have a dog throw up on my bed in my life! And then while I'm on the phone with the vet, explaining what just happened, I walked into the living room and there's another much larger (knee) sock that he's thrown up on the floor! We had no idea he'd eaten two of them!! The only reason we knew about the one is because I saw him do it.

So the major crisis has been averted, and my pocketbook is saved. I was even going to take back my new Naot shoes I'd bought last week to help pay for the surgery.

I'm changing my sheets and then going to BED!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Winnie eats a sock

Yup - I'm totally serious. The dang dog has really done it now. Winston managed to get his little mouth on one a sock in Mom's closet - now, we keep the doors shut and such things out of reach as much as we can - we know he's still chewing on anything he can find. Today alone I saved my beadwork, a pen, my bra...but he got the sock. He was in fine rebellious child mode all day. And then, as I followed him trotting down the hall to retrieve it, he ATE it. Gulp. Gone.

First we tried to get him to vomit it up, but couldn't make it happen. Then we called the vet. We're waiting overnight to see if he manages to throw it up - he's had one heaving episode that we thought might be it, but then it stopped again. But the writing is pretty much on the wall. If it's still inside by morning, he's going to need surgical intervention. The vet said that for a dog his size, his small intestine is about the width of your pinkie finger, and that sock is just not going to move through there. The blockage would end up killing him.

We're looking at around $1,000 for the surgery. Nice, huh? And of course, if we try to wait it out another day, then we're up against the weekend and that means if he needed the surgery before Monday we'd be talking an emergency clinic doing the surgery at three times the price.

Wonk. Wonk. That's my head, hitting the desk. So....if you've been holding off on purchasing any kits or patterns, now would be a great time to do it! I'll even offer a 10% discount for one week. You'll have to email me what you want and then I can send a PayPal invoice showing the discount. We'll call it the Winnie Poo Poo Head Sock discount!

My favorite guy - Mr. UPS

Ah, as I sit and type, I'm listening to the dogs going nuts, barking greetings to Mr. UPS. He's my hero time and time again. He visits my house as often as I do. Often he's bringing me beady goodness. Sometimes he's bringing clothing (I think that's today's package). But I'm always happy to see him. I'd much rather have things delivered to me than go out and shop - I'm not sure when that change happened! I guess it's the ease of ordering online, coupled with my focus on the biz. I just don't have the patience for running around town, looking for the stuff I need or want. Seven years ago I was still innocent in the time-stealing ways of beads.

One of my classes recently was laughing at me because I had finally admitted here on the blog that I've come to terms with the fact that I'll never again "catch up" on my life. But really, there was a time not so long ago in my life when I DID used to catch up! Of course, it was pre-beads. But there ya' go. I had time to sit and read endless books (I'm a voracious reader...when I was a receptionist at a slow architectural firm, I would read a book a DAY sitting there), I used to get bored! Bounce off the walls because I couldn't figure out anything to do. I'll never know those days again, but that's okay. My world today is a better place.

Last night's Foxy Mama class was a blast - the gang was in fine form, teasing and goofing off. I was a little surprised by the speed with which they managed to make their bases. Most of them left having completed the base already - which is great! No homework for them this week. And I know after I've taught this class two or three times here in Austin, all the regulars (and most experienced beaders) will have cycled through and then the newbies won't be quite as fast.

Today is the deadline for submitting class proposals for Bead Expo Santa Fe (in March, 2009) and I've already sent a pathetic email to the coordinator asking if the deadline means 5pm today, or REALLY means before they get into the office tomorrow morning. I am most pleased to find out the later is the case. MOST pleased.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Good friends - I gots them

Do you guys ever look at the I Can Haz Cheezburger website? It's my very favorite daily visit, and I'm finding myself talking like the cat captions.

After my panicked posting yesterday I was so grateful to get an email from a beady friend of mine reminding me that she's available to help put together kits pretty much any ol' time. I'm really lucky that so many people are willing to step up and help me in this crazy business building journey. I don't take a single bit of it for granted. I think that surrounding myself by positive, happy, joyful (beady!) people is a gift that I need to be thankful for every day.

The wonderful people I meet through beading are overall the most caring, compassionate, and funny crowd. Of course there are a few clunkers. But so few that they're easy to ignore or work around. I try to limit myself to a few days a year of being one of those clunkers! Seriously, though, it's interesting to me that beaders are such GOOD people. What is it about beads that lures in those personality types?

I taught the second half of Smashing Spiral Ndebele tonight, and we had a good time gabbing and beading. It's now 2am on Tuesday morning, and do I have the instructions written for tonight's Foxy Mama class?

Well, nooooo... but I was working on another sample to refresh my memory and I've discovered over the years that making a sample is an efficient way for me to mentally run through what I need to talk about in class. Yes, there is actual forethought that goes into my classes. Not only do I just need to reacquaint myself with the basic bead counts and directions in the stitch - after all, I made that darned sample two months ago and haven't touched it again since - but I'm also planning the flow of the class. Looking for where I think students will get stuck and planning how I can explain the path the most clearly. In this case, there are 3 components to the class. The seed bead base, the clasp, and the crystal embellishment on top. Because this is a 2 night class, I have to figure out how to logically break out the steps given the time constraints. While the crystal embellishment could be added at the same time the base is being woven, I've decided to concentrate just on the base for Night 1. Then next week we'll come back and create and attach the clasp and add the crystals.

And, if I screw up along the way, I've already got the bribe goodies for the class purchased. I've got to stay popular somehow!! And food bribes have gotten me this far...

I'm off to start work on the instructions while I've got it fresh in my mind. I won't finish tonight unless I get a second wind, but I'll get the basics down. Then it's bed time...mmm...bed....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I jinxed it

Was it only yesterday that I was proudly patting myself on the back for being so calm and organized? Ah, what a fool I was! I should have known better than to voice such a bold statement outloud for all to read. Because today was definitely not mentally calm!

Realizing that I only have 15 days really before I need to have most of the stuff together to ship to Milwaukee caused heart burn. Then coming to terms with the fact that I avoided yet AGAIN starting the instructions for the 3 new classes I'm teaching in the next 7 days brought on panic. So here it is, 4:30am and I'm just now working towards bed.

While weighing out beads in front of the tv tonight, I was watching Mystery Diagnosis and it really amazes me over and over again how complex, yet delicate our bodies are. It never ceases to spellbind me.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Printing fool

Happy weekend! I remember the days a few years ago when I actually used to not only know what day of the week it is, but yearn mightily for those weekend ones. It's an alternate universe in which I now reside where days of the week only count when I'm figuring out friends or family's schedules, or whether the store or office I want to visit is likely to be open. It definitely has it's benefits, but it can also be quite confusing for my challenged brain.

Mom and I went for pedicures this morning - it was kind of scary since the last time we did that was the day she broke her foot! She navigated the day without further incident though, so we no longer need to fear getting pampered toes. Mine are bright turquoise (on the green side) and Mom went with a bright blue. We like color. We're going to have them paint flowers on Mom's toes for the Bead & Button show, and I think I'm going with polka dots.

I'll be up most of the night working on the computer and getting instructions updated and printed out. I didn't get any of that done Saturday day which I'd intended - I'm really fighting a crazy urge to sleep ALL THE TIME the last few days. This happens every once in a while, but it's not a good thing when I'm so busy. So I do weird things to combat it like going to bed at 9:30pm and waking up at 1am to work now. I don't understand why, but it works for me. I figure I can either fight it and not be as productive as I should, or I can go with the flow and make it happen.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Good news here in Austin - you've got a new bead show to add to your calendars! The Bead Market, who regularly puts on excellent shows in the southwest, including San Antonio and Stafford (Houston), is adding an Austin gig. It's going to be July 26 &27 at the Travis Co. Expo Center and happily, the date fits neatly into my calendar, so I'll be there.

Yesterday was filled with domestic duties instead of beady ones. I took Maggie to the groomer, ran some errands, spent a mind-numbing 90 minutes at the Dept. of Public Safety to renew my license. I usually take a book to something like that where I know I'll be waiting, but I forgot this time and I suffered for it. On the other hand, I'm so relieved to get it over with. God only knows what the photo looks like. She had to take it three times because I kept blinking.

I ended the day with dinner with a friend - it didn't even take us six months this time to get together! I'm trying hard to make more time to do things with friends again. I guess I've finally realized I'm never going to be less busy. There is no catching up when you're the boss. I'm always going to have far more to do than I have time to do it in, and I just need to accept that and deal. Which means that I need to carve out time for the people and things that are important to me no matter the workload. Okay, within reason.

Teaching a new class tonight and I still have some tweaking to do on the instructions - but hey! They're written! So that's a big accomplishment for me. These were some simpler ones to write (after all, the class is called One Night Wonder for a reason) but next week's new class is much more intensive and challenging - both to write and for the beaders taking the class. I'm going to submit it for the 2009 national classes.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Frustrating evening

The GOOD news for the day is that I got a magical and healing massage which has, temporarily at least, cured the aches and pains. I also treated myself to a new set of luggage which has the new spinner wheels - they move in any direction. Brilliant! Makes all the difference in the world, especially when you're dealing with more than one suitcase at a time.

But this evening was pure frustration. Designing new pieces is one part imagination, one part engineering, and 20 parts screwing it up. I spent hours and hours working on two different projects and only came away with ways they don't go together. It makes me mad and I feel like a failure. Bah. I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow - mainly because I plan on not working on them! I need to make some forward progress so I'll concentrate on more pedestrian tasks like putting kits together, taking Maggie to the groomer, and finally getting that driver's license renewed so Officer Wilson doesn't come after me again.

Stupid beads. They're not playing nice.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The way of the wookie

Winston. I swear - that dog is smarter than I am.

He's still getting used to the whole "Jill traveling" thing and he's decided to show his feelings about it on two fronts. First, when I'm awake he attaches himself to me at all times. Awww! Melt. As a matter of fact, while I write this he's asleep at my feet. That wonderful belly exposed for the whole world because I feel safe and vulnerable kind of sleep. BUT...when Jilly goes to sleep, the beast awakes.

That's when he shows just how disappointed in me he is by destroying whatever he can get his little fang teeth into. A book bit the dust earlier today, and a short while later I was woken by the unmistakable sound of him chewing on something hard and plastic. Groan. So I drag myself out of bed and he's found a spool of Fireline. He's gnawed half the plastic away, but it appears no actual fishing line has been ingested (thank goodness.) I can't even remember what the other thing that he got his paws on was, but finally I figured out where all his goodies were coming from.

My suitcase, yet to be unpacked (duh - I'm Jill - procrastinator extraordinaire) is on the floor in the office. It's zipped, but not all the way. Wookie has managed to shove his large, hairy head into the small opening and is pulling buried treasure out of the suitcase! AGH! Dang dog. Man, I love him.

Since getting home from teaching Tuesday night, I've been working on the instructions for my class on Friday night. Yes, it's true. Me. Writing the instructions DAYS before the deadline. I'm turning over a new leaf. Never fear, students - I'll still bring the bribe goodies that every new class gets to help you forget where I've screwed you up the first time I teach a class. Traditions must be upheld.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

No time to rest...yet...

After getting home and dropping straight down on the floor in the entry to receive all my doggie kisses and waggy tails, I plopped myself in the sofa for a few hours and caught up on newspapers and mail. A dinner with Mom, catching her up on the weekend events, and then a few tv shows.

What I wanted to do at that point was go to bed! But duty calls. I've spent the last few hours at the computer completing my show reconciliation spreadsheet that shows me what I sold, what I spent, and what I made. If I don't do it right away then I move on to other urgent things and it never gets done. I've learned my own bad habits and try to combat them. Then I started looking over the instructions for Tuesday night's class and making a few tweaks. I'll get those printed out before I go to bed tonight because Tuesday is going to be errand day! I also need to spend time working on the various orders I need to make to replenish my supplies for kits. Between the Miami and Phoenix shows I'm pretty depleted - darn. Gonna have to buy more beads!!

Here's a few photos from the weekend.
First, our bird's eye view of the game. Literally. We're lucky we didn't get dive bombed by pigeons.

This is the amazingly gracious Joyce Rooks, Anne Mitchell, and Vickie watching the fireworks after the game. It was totally worth waiting out all 9 loosing innings. Well, I think that. I'm not sure Anne did! But she was a good sport and indulged my craving for the pretty colors and booms and bangs.

My dear friend and amazing lampworker, Dolly. She's the poor woman who has to survive the five days of the Bead & Button show next to our booth. And yet, she still speaks to me. Go figure!

And last, but not least, this was Anne, sneaking behind the curtains to come visit my booth. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" We entertained ourselves during the slow times by popping back and forth for 30 second visits, or text messaging each other from 30 yards away. Show hijinks, exposed for all.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Gettin' on home

I'm at the airport in Phoenix, waiting on my nonstop flight (oh, THANK YOU for the nonstop flight) back home. I have to say I've been fairly impressed with Phoenix, the little that I've seen. Basically the airport and downtown. One of the things that's always driven me crazy about the Austin Convention Center is the lack of any meaningful development of entertainment for the convention attendees within immediate walking distance. Now there are a few things, sure. Most of those restaurants have been built within the last few years though, and the Convention Center's been open for what, 10? Phoenix has their act together - a whole complex of stores and restaurants in the couple of blocks around the center, and the baseball stadium is two blocks away as well. It sure made for an easy trip as a traveler. You'd be surprised at how often finding any food other than hotel food is a challenge. I hope we get to come back to Phoenix next year.

So next on the agenda when I get home this afternoon is doing the financial books on this trip, ordering a ton and a half of supplies, writing instructions for the four new classes I'm teaching this month, and getting all the kits together for back to back shows in Houston and Milwaukee. Wheeee......

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Phun in Phoenix

I'm very happy to report that this Phoenix trip is turning out to be as entertaining as I was hoping and expecting. Bead show folks are like traveling gypsies. We come together in one city or another across the country, friendships are renewed - it feels like your family - and we put our best and prettiest and brightest shiny things out for everyone to see. We laugh and tease and educate and enjoy. And then Sunday rolls around in within an hour, many of us have all our remaining possessions packed up. The carnival is over. We say our goodbyes and move on to the next show in the next town. Some of the people will be the same, but some of them twirl off in another direction to shows in other cities instead. The same group never gets together twice. But you know these people are "your people." The love of beads and jewelry and craft have brought us together. We know the strange struggles of packing our personal stores as small as possible and traveling and selling that which we love. We bond. I love every moment of it. Okay. Maybe not every moment. But many, many, many of the moments.

I have some photos to share when I get home of the friends, new and old, at this show. Some of us attended a Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game tonight together, and while the team lost soundly, the fireworks afterward and the companionship during made it worth while.

Saturday will be hard core working day. I need to rest up for it. It can be not just physically but emotionally challenging to be "on" all the time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Off I go!

I'm running off to the airport, late as usual, so just a quick note. Went to bed at 7:15am. Yeah. Great. Lot's o' sleep. When will I ever learn?? EVER??? But I got about 4 hours of sleep in and now the bags are in the car and I'm off to Phoenix. Will report in from there, but maybe not until Friday. Have a great weekend!

Those of you in the Central Texas area, don't forget about the SABOS show going on in San Antonio this weekend. Lots of great vendors there - SABOS was my first show to attend, and my first show as a vendor! It's weird to not be there this weekend.