Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pushing through the log jam

My stalemate is slowly moving forward and I couldn't be more excited! I finally got some space saver bags to test on my dinosaurs. If this works out then I can dramatically reduce my shipping costs and get these guys sold!

The rains are decreasing and we finally have grass in the backyard! Yesterday the girls played barefoot in the soft greeness of it all. It was fun to watch as they giggled and wiggled their toes in it. The garden is in too and growing steadily. Now all that is left is to seed the front and we will officially have a yard to play in. In the meantime neighborhood kids are coming out of the woods (so to speak) and we are having a fun time learning of the playmate possibilities for the summer. Not that we've left much time for ourselves to relish in the old traditions of summer neighborhood play... This month is already spoken for and a busy July lays just over the horizon.

Unfortunately in all my business I failed to sign up for the Vancouver marathon this year, but I am signed up and ready to race with Andrew in a 10k mud-run. Fun right? I'm pretty excited about it!

Then last, but certainly not least, I have found my calling to get a bit more cash flow in the house as a party planner. I love doing it for my girls and family, so it's perfect. All I have to do is make up a company name, print some cards and away I go!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dirt Pusher

Through the months stacked upon months of rain I watched as my unfinished yard turned into a mecca of weeds. But yesterday gave me hope and today I am sunburned, walking hunched from tight shoulders and a sore back... yet I keep on going.

Last week we also had a day without rain for a few hours so I got out this little rotter tiller thinking I would go over the yard and save myself a lot of time... little did I know that this tiller is a masochist. With every pull it sorta starts, then dies fueling my hopes and making me try "one more time". Then, laughing as it did, it would finally start and run for more than a second. I get it into place and start tilling a line, then - boom, it dies again. Over and over this happened. When the little 87 year-old neighbor, Joe, poked his head out and asked if he could help I knew my time was up. Later that night Erick swore it was me as I swore (literally) that it wasn't and if HE was such a hot shot, then go ahead and get it to work.

Oh sweet gratification!. He tried, and tried, and sprayed some things, and tried, and took some things apart, and tried, and tried once more before he too gave in to a hopeless cause. Nothing was said, no looks were given. He knew.

So yesterday while pulling or hand raking weeds I was also very slowly pulling down the little hill we have left in the front. There will always be a slight incline to the wall, but as of yesterday there was nothing slight about the hill. Erick was a sweet heart and got a 1/2 yard of dirt. (So little because our little truck is gutless and that's all it can handle at a time on a good day). However, because of the rain, the dirt was saturated and was basically clay. Lumpy, non-spreadable crappy clay. In response I have learned to take dirt from one part of the yard for the use of another part and when (if) the dirt we buy dries out, then we can fill in the holes later. I dug the dog run area down about 6 inches. Not really necessary, I admit, but this dirt gave way for the flower bed under the trees in the front, and it helped fill in holes in the back. The already existing flower beds also got a dig-down. This dirt created new flower beds in the back and began the "de-hilling" process in the front.

Tomorrow I am sure I will be out of places to take dirt so I will get the back yard ready for grass! Yay for three rainless days!! Also, we haven't had solid grass back there sense we moved in and having a big dog doesn't help, so it's about time we did!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sewing Machine Set Backs

I realize now more than ever that starting a new business is painfully slow. At least this has been my experience thus far. My goal for the moment is to save the necessary funds to get into the local farmer's market. I feel like once I have that niche, my business will start to ride a bit smoother. But as we all know life happens and in the middle of building some inventory, my machine went on the fritz and landed in the shop, halting inventory production completely for at least two weeks. Even though the machine is only a few years old, it's a cheaper model and the demands I put on it wears it down pretty quickly. So in the meantime I wait to sew but move on to the next idea, writing, crocheting and knitting along the way...

I am spending some time on the computer trying to figure out how to build a website separate from Facebook and Esty, but my computer is slower than stalagmite growth and my patients for technology is wearing thin... I seariously haven't been 'away' from technology (other than google, e-mail and Facebook) for more than a few years and I feel like I've had my head in a cave all my life. It boggles my mind how fast technology progresses!! But I digress...

My next idea involves specialty food and a lot of experimenting. Last night was less than successful and even though the girls and Erick didn't mind because the outcome was eatable (just unsaleable), I'm not sure if my waistline will hold up to this challenge I have given myself!!

Speaking of... Vancouver Marathon training starts this week and even though I am pulling back and only running a half marathon, the running will be a nice distraction from the lack of movement in my other endeavors.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Designing, learning, and love

Ideas flow through me like coffee on a long road trip... for awhile there's nothing. Then, you have to go. Right. Now.

Some ideas work out, some don't, while others wait patiently in my sketch pad or on a scrap piece of construction paper swiped from the girls' art closet to be put into real life. I find that when I get overwhelmed with ideas I often do nothing which, obviously, complicates my situation.

I have accepted that over the past few months old sheets rock my world and much to the horror (or relief) of my husband, who often thinks of me in the beginning stages of hoarding (minus the filth), I've begun to make use of those sheets I wouldn't let go of or the millions of buttons I keep in jars, which justifies me keeping it all.

My latest idea has finally come into reality. It's great. It's exciting. It has huge possibilities. Now what to do with it... Hang on to it until I find a toy agent who could guide me through the business? Sell it simply at bazaars and hope no one takes the idea to China? Or maybe try to find someone who knows someone, if you get my meaning (because I know no one)?

I love designing these toys and the process that goes with it and the best part of all of this is that I'm just starting! Who knows what I will come up with next! In the meantime I am off to sew my legacy as the "Dinosaur Lady"... which, by the way, I have come up with some pretty spectacular new patterns I am itching to try out.

Live, Love, Laugh, Learn, but above all, breath.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Gym

Ah the gym...

A flow of air sweeps my hair back every time I open the doors to a steady hum of the treadmills, clanking of weights and a steady beat of music. I walk through the small assortment of workout clothes to the front desk, punch in my number and scan my finger. "Hello Amy, here are some towels. Enjoy your workout." Inhaling smells of rubber and cleanser I smile back, thank the front desk employee and zig-zag my way back to the locker room. Deep in concentration, I find a convenient open locker, unload my things, gather my water bottle and headphones and head out to the main area.

Given the time of day, a treadmill attached to a little T.V. screen can be hard to find. While there are huge T.V.s every 2 feet across and at least 10 rows back, the personal T.V. is pretty nice. First, you can change the channel and second it's right there. No need to look at an awkward angle to watch because running on a treadmill can be challenging enough. I pop the headphones, I find an amusing channel if the overhead music isn't to my liking, start the belt, and take a look around.

The people I love seeing are the supper overweight ones. Really. It inspires me to keep working hard because if they are overcoming their obvious personal challenges then so can I. I love seeing their story unfold but at the same time I try not to day dream too long in their direction because I don't want to look like a jerk.

After my run I move on to the weight lifting area. I take a deep breath and plunge through. I don't much care for this area because of the muscle men. Every gym has them. Fascinating as it is to watch these men who are so large armed that they can't touch their right shoulder with their right hand because muscle gets in the way, I can't help to feel like a weeny when I'm pushing as hard as I can on the shoulder press at 10 pounds... There is no where to put your eyes except right in front of you and that is usually where they are and because you can't look anywhere else, and stay in good form, these guys get their hourly shot of ego boost as they probably think I am checking them out. Which I'm not completely denying....

After stretching on the mat on the far end of the gym, worn out and ready to high-tail it out of there, I go back into the locker room and face the most dreaded people of all. I have yet to come up for a nick-name but I know everyone knows the type. Generally these girls are in the young to mid twenties and undoubtedly know someone else in the locker room to whom they are talking with so you get the whole story.... "Does my eye make up look okay? I wore waterproof mascara today so when I sweat I don't get black eyes." Her friend, "Ew. How bad do you sweat? Hey should my running shorts be folded down like this or inward like this?" Response, "Did you get the text from Jenny today? I just can't believe it! Hey, you want to get some coffee later?" With one last look in the mirrors they disappear around the corner.

One night there was a trio of these girls as I was coming out of the swimming pool area. They were talking about how they needed to get some color and then there was an off handed comment about someone's color that was just in the locker room, "She was so white you could see her veins! I mean, come on. That's just nasty." (I want to note that these girls were white as well.) I, having no shame, walked in the middle of these hens, who's chatter continued, stripped down to my birthday suit then proceeded to find my locker; making it so I had to walk around before getting the things I needed for my shower, including the towel I did not wrap up in. They stopped talking so fast it was almost startling. I wanted to eye them, dare them to say something, but they put their heads down, and couldn't pack their bags fast enough before leaving. Shallow minds only go so far, but at least they will have something to talk about over coffee.