Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Beading ADD

My name is Jill, and I have Beading Attention Deficit Disorder (BADD). I am powerless to complete a project before I have started three more. I can not focus on any fewer than 10 projects at a time. My unfinished project box is now three unfinished projects boxes. It's so unfair that my mind designs at warp speed compared to the production department's slow completion rate. Not to mention that sometimes I veer off on beading away on what I WANT to work on instead of what I NEED to work on. That particular problem is mostly unique to those of us who work in the beading industry, I know, but you can imagine the pain...

Why am I confessing this today? Um. Do I have to tell? Okay, I'll tell you guys - but don't tell Mom on me, promise? She's off napping right now, so I snuck in 30 min. of crocheting large teardrop beads. This sneaky approach works well for this project since I can't seem to do more than 30 min. of it without my hand cramping up (something to do with the awkward way I need to hold it due to the bead size, I think) so short bursts are the way to go. Easier to hide.

Way back in 2003, Gail Crosman Moore had a necklace on a Bead & Button cover that was crocheted daggers, with a fabulous wired clasp worn forward, with a few of her lampwork beads dangling. I've had lust in my heart for 5 years now for this necklace, and it's finally taken me down. I can't live without my own variation of it one more year. I purchased a mass (1200 pieces) of teardrop beads in a lovely purple luster when I was in Tucson. I know it will take several mass to make the whole necklace, but I wanted to make sure I could master the crochet withe them before I made a huge investment in beads. Now that I know it works I'm dying to buy the rest of the beads! It's going to have to wait until after this weekend's show in San Antonio, though.

Speaking of which...are you coming to visit me there?? It's Saturday from 10-5, and Sunday from 10-4 at the Live Oak Civic Center in north San Antonio. I'll not only have my kits and patterns there (new stuff!) but also a bunch of seed beads and the 2mm Swarovski crystals. And WildFire! Don't forget the WildFire!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Settling in to a routine

From June:
It's good to be home, although the nurses at North Austin Medical Center were fantastic. I actually felt better in the hospital than I do now. But I'm doing very well - I can shower and dress by myself, and get around okay with the walker. The knee has started to hurt more, and is swelling a lot, so I find myself sitting around with ice packs on my knee. And, I'm still sleeping a lot. But all in all, not such a bad experience. Yet. Today I have my first physical therapy appointment, and I'm dreading it.

Jill has been taking good care of me. She even cooked a 3-course dinner, and no boiling water was involved. We both sleep with our cell phones next to us, so if I need her at night, I call her. Don't laugh - it works. Her bedroom is on the opposite side of the house as mine, and she can't hear me if I yell for her.

I'm using the down time to work on a tapestry that I designed for Jill a while ago, based very loosely on River of Life Amulet by Bobbie Wilson ( I've added two types of trees and several one-word affirmations. I'll post a picture as I get enough done to give you an idea of what it'll look like.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

And....she's home...

We made it! There was a small village involved in the process, but Mom is safe and sound and asleep in her very own bed with her very own puppies and kitties. Big sigh of relief!

She came home with an array of equipment that would make an engineer proud, and a rainbow of drugs to ingest. Today was kind of disorganized as we were winging it - Saturday's goal is to get some sort of routine down that organizes her medication times, her time on the continuous motion contraption they sent home to flex her knee, and her physical therapy (both in-home daily by ourselves, and 3 times a week at the Rehab facility.) She'll have the walker for about 2 weeks and then graduate from there. But no driving for six weeks. AGH!

I'm working in time to prepare for next weekend's San Antonio Bead Market show around my nursing/cooking/chauffeuring duties. The kits are pretty under control already, but I need to get some additional patterns printed up. I'm also going to be tubing a bunch of seed beads to sell there, and I'll have the 2mm Swarovski crystals as well. And the website DESPERATELY needs to be updated. So those are the goals of the week. We'll see.

While I think having Mom home will be easier for me than going to the hospital twice a day, it's still a whole bunch of small interruptions throughout the day. Who's more important than The Mama, though? Not even the lure and love of the beads comes before Mom!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mom to run marathon this weekend

Seriously. This woman is amazing! All the nurses are pleased at how well Mom is doing today - she breezed through her physical therapy sessions, and still has almost no pain at all. They had her on Percocet today, though, and she was very sleepy most of the day. The morning was one person after another coming into the room for this reason or sleep for The Mama! But by afternoon things calmed down, I came home for a few hours, and Mom got some restful dozing done. I went back for an hour or so in the evening, but she was having trouble keeping her eyes open so I made it a quick visit.

Tomorrow I'm going to have to work out the arrangements for her physical therapy visits once she comes home. We'd been getting conflicting info on who needed to do what (doctor's office vs. us) and finally got that sorted out today. We anticipate she'll be coming home on Friday afternoon.

There's a lot I should be doing tonight...working on beading projects, getting some paperwork dealt with, laundry, dishes, and on and on. I can't seem to get moving, though.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Mom's surgery this morning went like a breeze. Not only was she a trooper, but they were able to save her kneecap which was an unexpected bonus. It will make her recovery that much better. She came out of surgery less dopey than we expected - dang! I had to stay awake and talk! But I spent the afternoon at home, napping, after having basically no sleep the night before. I think I had more anxiety than she did!

Now I'm back to the hospital to spend some more time with her, and to take her the medications we forgot here at home. The dogs are stationed at the windows, waiting for her to come home from work. Sniff. Kinda sad! They'll have to settle for me tonight. I promised Mom that I'd sleep in her bed while she's away since that's where ALL 4 of the dogs and cats sleep at night. Now this should be interesting - especially since Piper's recently taken to sleeping on Mom's head. She and I will be having a talk abut that...

Off to see the Wizard....

From June
It's 4:30 a.m., and I'm waiting for Jill to finish getting ready to go. Today is the Big Day that I get the first of my two bum knees replaced. Woo hoo! I am so ready. I'll bug Jill to post sometime later this week, but she will be somewhat tied up waiting on me. (Probably waiting on me to wake up!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

After the shows

I can't decide whether to be happy to be home, or sad that I have to wait a whole year for the frantic fun and insanity of the Tucson Gem Shows to come around again. There's a little of both rolling around in me right now.

I got home around 11:30pm Thursday night, and crazy doggie antics ensued for quite a while after. 12 days is a long time to be gone! We spent all of Friday hanging out together in various states of repose. Nothing too work-like today other than handling a booth mix-up at an upcoming show, and catching up on mail. Quite blissful and relaxing.

Let's see...I left you guys last after the first day of the show. On Thursday, we're always prepared for the longest day ever. It's the day that one of the biggest shows in Tucson opens (the Holidome) and everyone flocks there to try to grab the cool stuff before it sells out. Which means every other show in town is slower than slow. Mom let me take advantage of the day to run off and get a massage mid-afternoon because my back was hurting so much. What a difference it made! Mom rocks.

Friday picked up a little, and it was also the day my friend, Stacey, from California flew in. We met her over at the Whole Bead Show in the evening, and then Stacey, Anne, Gail, and I had a fabulous dinner once the Whole Bead Show finished for the evening. I'm still dreaming about the risotto. Let me tell you - if you're ever in Tucson and need a place to eat, call Anne Mitchell. The woman knows food.

By Saturday, Mom and I were getting pretty weary. I had a couple of great conversations with various publishing and supplier folks, which is part of what Tucson is all about - the deal making! I have to admit it was my most "down" day, though. By Saturday it was clear we were not going to make anywhere close to the sales we'd made the year prior. Overall, we were down probably 35-40%. I haven't done the final numbers yet. I also discovered that while parked in the vendor parking lot, our car's front windshield had been broken somehow. We've got a 15 in. crack across it. And I also tripped over the credit card machine's charging cord, destroying the cord. Not a big deal, except they want $75 for a replacement. AGH! So Saturday night I went back to the guest house and pouted.

But Sunday was the final day, and I was back in better spirits. We managed to slog through the final day in the cold and rain (the rest of the week had been lovely) and then pack everything up and call it quits. I headed out for a dinner at Anne's house with Gail Crosman Moore, Stacey, Andrea Guarino & her fabulous hubby, Whit, Jeff Pines, and Bria and Anne. We had SUCH a blast, and it was a lovely way to officially end the week for me.

Monday, Mom and I got to head around town to do a small amount of shopping for the kits, then, as she reported, I took her to the airport, and went back to the guest house to pack and collapse. Tuesday I spent the day hanging with Anne at her place, and camped on her sofa for one more night because how could I leave?? But finally, home called, and I started driving East around noon on Wednesday.

I must admit, I find myself enjoying Tucson and even the drive out there more and more each year. I'm not naturally partial to the landscape of the desert Southwest, but there is something about it that grows on you...

This weekend will be spent making last minute preparations for Mom's surgery on Tuesday. We're both getting a little nervous as it comes up, but we know it will be great. We describe the surgery as, "saw, saw, glue, glue, staple, staple, medicate." Which is pretty much how it goes! Kathryn has been sweet enough to offer her company at the hospital while I hang out there with Mom. I dunno - our cackling would probably keep her awake!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Home, Sweet Home

From June
I apologize for not updating sooner. I got home on Monday, and what an eventful trip THAT was! My plane was scheduled to leave Tucson at 5:30 p.m. for Dallas, with a connecting flight to Austin. I got to the airport early because we really didn't have any money to shop, and I couldn't see any reason for Jill to hang with me when she could go back to the cottage and take a nap. (Points for thoughtful mom.)

So I'd been at the airport for only a little bit when a woman comes on the speaker and says, "If you have already checked in for Flight XYZ (my flight), there has been a delay that will cause many of you to miss your connecting flights. Here are the affected flights: connections to Austin....." So I went up to the counter, and she said, "You're in luck, there is a later flight to Austin that I can put you on." So she printed out a boarding pass. The Dallas departure time on the boarding pass said 10:25, and she crossed that out and wrote 11:25. I didn't think much of it, because there is a 1-hour time difference between Tucson and Dallas....

Now the plane was supposed to depart from Tucson at 6:40. Unfortunately, the plane didn't show up to Tucson until 6:40, so by the time people got off the plane, and we got loaded, it was well after 7:00 by the time we took off.

We landed in Dallas about 10:15, and I kind of had to go to the bathroom, and I was very hungry since I'd missed dinner. I decided to go find my gate first. Of course, I landed in Terminal A and the flight to Austin was in Terminal D. I was sitting close to the front of the plane, so I got off pretty quickly, and made my way to SkyTrain.

Just as I got up to SkyTrain, the doors started shutting. I was tired, and didn't know how often those trains run that late at night, so I leapt onto the train. The door kind of hit me in the shoulder, but I made it. Got to Terminal D. My gate was very near the front, and as I got off the escalator, I heard my name over the loudspeaker. As I walked up to the gate, the man said, "Are you Ms. Wiseman?" He said, "We've been holding the plane for you, but the pilot wants to leave and they just started closing the doors. You go on, and I'll call them to open the doors." Remember the person in Tucson who crossed off 10:25 and wrote in 11:25? Ya, that was wrong. The computer had automatically adjusted for the time change (which only makes sense).

So it I hadn't been near the front of my plane from Tucson, if I'd stopped to go to the bathroom, if I hadn't "jumped" the doors of SkyTrain, I'd have missed this flight too.

In retrospect, it was a good thing I didn't know I was cutting it that close, or I'd have been in a panic. Of course, my luggage didn't make the plane. There was one later plane from Tucson to Austin, so I waited 40 minutes at the airport while that plane got in and unloaded, and yes! my luggage was on it.

Finally I pulled up to the house at 1:30 a.m. The dogs were WILD, as they had been alone all day. They were going nuts, and both cats were calling from my bedroom. Everybody needed a piece of Mom. I ended up not getting to bed until 3:00 a.m., and then couldn't sleep very well because I was too keyed up. AND I got up at 7:00 to go to work (an hour late.)

So that's my long, sad story. The good news is that tomorrow (Friday) is my last work day before I have my total knee replacement surgery. I am so excited. Jill is not so excited that I'll be invading her home-alone-during-the-day space for 6 weeks. And then I get to do it all again for the other knee.

Jill is getting close to home. I find out more about where she is by reading her Facebook than anything. Although I did talk to her this afternoon. She was B-O-R-E-D driving through West Texas. We will all be glad when she gets home.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Where, oh where to start

This has been quite the week - ups, downs, drama, laughter, broken things, happy reunions. It's like a soap opera - As Tucson Turns.

So first of all, the drive here was uneventful and actually pretty pleasant. In years past I've always started out in such a sleep deficit that I have had trouble keeping awake along the way. My newly acquired organization skills made for the smoothest show prep yet, and allowed me to take off into the wilds of West Texas well rested. Much more enjoyable that way. If not enjoyable, at least tolerable.

My first night here I had a quick dinner with Anne Mitchell, Gail Crosman Moore, and the bubbly and fabulous Bria. It was a quick dinner because Anne & Gail (but mostly Anne) were falling asleep while standing. Anne had just finished her 4th straight day of teaching, and if I'd been a nicer person, I would have just told her I'd see her the next day. But nope! I needed my Anne and Gail and Bria fix something fierce, so I simply texted Anne while I was on the road that I'd be there at 5:30, and that was that!

Tuesday was a bit of a luxury for me - all I had to accomplish was setting up the booth at the show, and I wasn't even allowed in to start until 2pm. I'd originally scheduled this extra day into my arrival because invariably, I'm desperately missing something to finish off the kits and have to run and shop at a show or two here to fill in the pieces and parts. But this year - none of that! Instead I dutifully hung out at my rented guest cottage and finished the last sample for the table until it was time for set up. I was afraid to go to any of the shows and start shopping before I actually MADE some money first.

Tuesday night Anne, Gail, Bria, and I reconvened at an amazingly delicious restaurant downtown called Cafe Poco Cosa. We also had the company of Cris and Paul for one night before they were scheduled to fly back home the next day. I only met Cris and Paul once before at the Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee last June, but we all bonded so fast on that trip and I feel as though we've been friends forever, so I was happy for the time with them, but sad it was like ships passing in the night. I'll get to spend some quality time with Cris at the Santa Fe Bead Fest show next month, though.

Wednesday morning was the start of the show. Mom flew in that morning, so she didn't arrive at the booth until just after noon. The first day of the show always brings crowds, most of them either the buyers from bead stores around the country and the staff members from the beading publications. I was able to talk with a number of different editors - I'm wanting to do a bunch more submitting of projects to a few magazines this year, so now I have a better grasp of what they're specifically looking for to round out 2009 issues. It was a busy and active day, and at the end of it Mom and I came back to the Guest Cottage and collapsed!

I'll report more tomorrow...for now I'd better get to bed as Mom and I plan to do a little show shopping before I have to take her to the airport. I'll be staying here until Wednesday, and then spend two days driving home.

Friday, February 6, 2009

News from Tucson

From June
Jill is falling down on the job here. She was going to update you last night, but I dunno what happened - I went to bed at 8:45. I think I'm still recovering from Wednesday. It was go to bed at 11:00, get up at 3:30, fly to Tucson, then work at the booth until 8:00. I'm too OLD for that.

We are having a lot of fun, and sales are going well, and about as we expected. We're finding lots of goodies to buy - some for personal projects, and some to offer to our customers. Can't give you any pictures - no scanner here, and no camera since "someone" dropped it on cement. (Hint: Initials are JW and it's not me!)

And so far, we've only shopped one small show and part of our own show. I've already spent more than I indended. But I guess that's why the government cleverly decided that spring was the time to send out tax refund. Stimulus indeed!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Touchdown in Tucson

From June
I just got a short e-mail from Jill on her Blackberry saying she's having trouble connecting to the internet. She asked me to let y'all know that she got to Tucson just fine yesterday. I fly out in the morning and get in just before lunch. Hopefully, we'll be able to update the blog while we're there, but if not, I'll update next Monday night or Tuesday.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

And she's off......

From June:
Jill just left on the drive to Tucson. I know she had planned to leave earlier, but realistically, we both knew that wouldn't happen. Of course, the hour we spent searching for one of the samples this morning didn't help.

The big difference is that we were relaxed and relatively organized. Such a change from our usual frantic pace. I wonder what we forgot.

I got short-changed for my birthday yesterday, but then since I had the audacity to be born the week before the Tucson shows, what should I expect? Jill sang a rousing version of Happy Birthday for me, Rich was working and called from the fire station, and Becky brought Alexis over for a surprise visit. That was the best present. It seems like it would be impossible for that child to get any cuter, but she seems to be doing just that.

Anyway, Jill promises me a birthday dinner the weekend after we get back from Tucson, and I am going to hold her to it. My first knee replacement is scheduled for February 17th, and I won't be going out to dinner for a little while.

Jill has the laptop with her, so I'm sure she will be posting along the way......