Monday, April 28, 2014

It was a bargain!

Mom and I went yard saling this weekend and although we bought more than we should have we did manage to stay within our budget. (By the way, can I use "yard saling" as a verb? I'm getting a big NO-NO from my spell-check program on this. But we've always referred to it as going yard-saling. "We went to several yard sales" is just too much class and  legitimizes the process beyond its spontaneous cheesiness.)

I passed up a great bargain on a wooden daybed. A few months ago I would have jumped on the chance to get both the daybed of my dreams plus a matching dresser for $75, even though I know that it wouldn't fit into my tiny Kia Rio. Even taken apart, the suggestion given by the desperate owner at the "Moving Tomorrow--Everything Must Go Today" yardsale, the bed would not have fit into the car. Even for $50, it would not have fit into my car. (Although if she had gone any lower, I probably would have  attempted to carry it home on my rooftop!) But just a couple of months ago I was gifted with a wonderful full-size bed and mattress, so I really didn't need the daybed. And since my day's budget was $10, I stayed strong and passed up this terrific bargain.

At the next yard sale I did indulge in a pie crimper, which I probably overpaid trying to get it. It cost $.25 plus the promise of a home-baked pie. But the guy holding the sale was cute and single, so it may still turn out to be a bargain.

I also picked up a couple of nostalgia items: a dvd of the The Borrowers and a Barney-the-Dinosaur puppet.*

I thought I had talked about The Borrowers before, but I can't find that post to link to. When I was a teenager babysitting my younger cousins, I entertained them by convincing them that there were tiny people living in their house. I had read The Borrowers, and basically used it as a bedtime story. What made it fun was that the kids believed me for a really long time. My best friend/cousin helped me keep the story going, to the point that the tale passed into the realm of family legend. In fact, at the last family wedding, the story came up again. So of course I had to get the dvd of the original movie adaptation. It probably isn't as good as my retelling of the book was, but I'm looking forward to watching it. I think it'll be worth the dollar spent.

I'm even more excited to have gotten Barney, and he didn't cost me anything. The people having the yard sale were so entertained by my story of why I wanted him, they gave the toy to me for free. You see, my two oldest were young when Barney was all the craze. It was in the days when parents would fight over the last stuffed-Barney doll in a store, the show was that popular. We had bought a Barney for each of the children, and they loved him. Neither will admit it now, but there was no bedtime without Barney back then. One day I was taking my son for a walk in his stroller while his big sister was in school (kindergarten, age 4) and it wasn't until we got home that I realized Barney had dropped out of the stroller. I frantically retraced our route, but Barney was gone for good. That left us with one doll and two children. My husband and I tried to replace it, but we lived too far out in the country (not a lot of stores) combined with Barney's popularity (not a lot of product to be had). So I spent the next year going to elaborate lengths to share the one Barney between the two children in such a way that neither child would realize that their doll had been lost. It's been 22 years, and I finally have a replacement for the missing Barney. Of course, now neither child will want it. But I finally feel like a good parent again for having gotten the doll back.

By the way, my total purchase for the day, including a third item I'll chat about another time, was $2.25 plus a pie. I love yard-saling!

*These were not from the same sale as the pie crimper. Having a Barney doll for sale would have made me think creepy instead of cute single guy.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sweet Obsession

I have finally earned my title as a gamester -- if playing Candy Crush counts as gaming. I'm not really sure if it does. It seems a little simplistic and sweet to be really gaming. Which is how it sucked me in.
"Go ahead, give it a try," the salesman at the electronics display said to me. "You know you've been wanting to."
So I gave it a try. I wasn't going to get hooked on one quick game. Just a few moves to see what the fuss was about. And I told myself that I was smart enough to put it down and walk away long before I  got drawn in.
Only it was fun. And I won the first time, with all three stars, without even really trying. So I tried the second level. And again I won. So I tried the third. Before I knew it, the salesman was telling me that I had to share, to let someone else take a turn. I didn't know what else to do; I downloaded the Candy Crush onto my iphone.
Soon I was sneaking onto the phone to play one quick game instead of cleaning my house. I took a gaming break at work to play a level. Worse of all to admit, I started bringing my phone into the restroom with me. And of course one quick game becomes two, or three. Thank goodness it's just a simple, sweet game and not a heavy addiction -- I'd obviously be a junkie without any hesitation!
The only redeeming grace is that the game itself gives me time-outs. You get five chances on a level, then the game makes you wait to earn more chances. Sometimes you only have to wait 15 minutes. Sometimes you have to wait 24 hours! You can buy your way to more chances, actually paying cash for that one more game you know is all it will take to win a level. Or you can beg your family and friends to join you in your obsession, and the game will reward you with another chance. So far, I haven't sunk that low. Yet. I can still put the game down and walk away -- until the timer goes off and that beep sounds calls me running back to play again. But I know that there will come a level that will have me throwing out the names and emails of everyone I've ever met in order to build up enough chances to get through that golden level.
Do yourself a favor. Block my name and ignore the invitation.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

What's in your bag?

October to April was a really long time to go without posting anything on this blog. In that time period I did not go without knitting. Just in case you were worried. I'm not going to bore you with the list of all the projects I've done in the past six months. Just in case you were now worried.
My goal in the past few months has been to try and reduce the number of projects I have on the needles. (So yes, you haven't missed anything in all that time I've been away.) I actually have made a little bit of progress. I'm down to 21 projects from the 48 of a year ago. Yeah for me!
Maybe I shouldn't be so quick to cheer. The picture above are the projects in my pocketbook right this very minute. This is my everyday, carry them me, knitting (and weaving and crochet). If it were a knit night instead of a bell practice, I'd have at least two more.
Sigh. I guess some things never change.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A bell's not a bell 'til you ring it ( Oscar Hammerstein II)

I belong to two bell choirs, and this year I am even playing the same bells in both, and yet I have found each choir to be totally different. (It's like children--you can raise them the same, and yet each one is going to have their own personality.)
On Mondays I ring with Voices in Bronze. This is a serious handbell choir. We're ringing five octaves, with matching chimes, on a level 4-5. We have a lot of fun, but our purpose is to make music. Our director is amazing. She has invested hours (years!) into the choir, and it shows in how easily she manages to move us along to produce wonderfully polished pieces of music. (Okay, maybe it's not always easy. Some of us present a bit of a challenge, but she handles it with grace.) I've made wonderful friends, and I love Monday nights enough to get there early and stay late. I have learned so much from this choir, and I'm very thankful that they made a place for me.
On Wednesdays I ring with the Boca Bells. This handbell choir is my "fun" choir. Forget making music; we're happy to manage a joyful noise unto the Lord! This group rings only three octaves, and we're on a 1-2 level. The church's choir director was thrust into the position of directing the handbells, despite having no previous handbell experience or even that much of a desire to be the handbell director. Despite her reluctance to take us on, she's gotten us into our third season as a group and we're really starting to see amazing progress. Rehearsals are loud, laughter-filled, rambunctious events. It gets even wilder on the days I get to take over as director! (This has happened a couple of times now, due to scheduling issues.)
It's getting close to the end of the bell season. Boca Bells will perform on Easter morning, then again for a final performance this year on Mother's Day. Voice in Bronze has already played our Lenten service, so we have one more service on May 18th. Prior to that we will also be playing a farewell to one of our long-time members, Carol, who recently (unexpectedly) passed away. In It's a Wonderful Life, it's said that "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings." We're going to make sure that Carol has her wings.
Until the end of May, for a few more weeks, I'll continue to ring my bells, sound my chimes, and join my laughter with my friends'. It really is a joyful noise.

Monday, April 07, 2014

So much to say, so little said

There have been so many changes lately that I don't even know where to start for this long-overdue Monday Makeover. I think I'm going to cheat a little bit, and take the easy way out by doing a "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" post.
The Good:
  1. My mom is officially cancer-free, having gotten an all-clear on her three month follow-up. She's going to have to continue to go in for regular scans to make sure that there isn't a reoccurrence, but things are looking pretty good. We are all extremely happy about that!
  2. My mom, my sister, and I are officially in business together. We just opened our first etsy shop, Three Painted Sheep, where we will be featuring hand-dyed yarn and roving. We'll also be adding hand-crafted swifts and warping boards that my brother-in-law has made. In a few days our second shop, Nana's Neuhaus, should also be opened. Nana's Neuhaus will feature gifts and household items that we've made.
  3. I actually like my new apartment. My youngest daughter came home (after a year of living on her own) in an effort to save some money while finishing up school. So in December we moved into a two-bedroom. I didn't want to move, since  I really liked my old apartment and the new apartment was on the second floor and overlooked the dumpsters. But we picked up some new (to us) furniture and hung pictures on the walls and the place is looking very nice. It's comfortable. And my violets are actually thriving, despite my fears that they wouldn't do well with the new lighting in this apartment.
The Bad:
  1. My laptop finally gave up, and crashed. It's been getting slower and slower, and it takes more patience than I possess to turn it on and wait to write something. (This is my excuse for having gone so long without posting.) It's going to be a while before my budget allows me to replace it. Luckily my phone gets emails, and the library has computer time for patrons. So it isn't the end of the world, despite the heavy dramatics enacted upon the computer's demise.
  2. In January, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to work on becoming a more positive person. And it's probably good that I have this goal. Otherwise, I could take advantage of this opportunity to whine. The "bads" could easily outnumber my "goods." I'm not going to let them take over; it's as simple as that.

The Ugly:
  1. After doing so well for so long with my diet changes and exercise schedule, I have started to slip back into the old patterns. For a long time my motivation was to get into shape for the family vacation we were planning. Unfortunately, those plans fell apart and we had to put the idea on hold indefinitely. Although I know it's no excuse, I pretty much gave up.
So that's my mind-set right now. I need to find new motivation, continue to work on expanding the no-whining zone, and celebrate the good things that are happing (such as having a legitimate reason to knit and weave more!).