I finally loaded my iPod software onto my newish computer tonight.  iTunes prompted me to update this and update that, get this program and that program.  I was trigger happy and installed it all.  This computer is going to be about as iTunes friendly as it gets.  I plugged up my iPod and did it want me to initialize the iPod, well of course, yes, WAIT – noooooooooooooooo.   It was too late – 1800 songs had been deleted.  Just like that, gone.  I’ve spent the last two hours trying to load them back onto the iPod and it’s still chugging along.  How can it delete in no time flat, but take hours to load back up.

I’m still pissed. 

Perhaps I can look on the bright side and see this as a chance to clean up my iPod play lists.  I’m just glad I worked on this tonight instead of waiting until tomorrow, the night before R and I leave for a road-trip to The Big D for a Dave Matthews Band Concert.  I wouldn’t be so concerned about taking the iPod on the 5.5 hour trip south except that radio in Oklahoma S-U-C-K-S.  I can’t even been to stress how bad it is.  There are times, and I don’t like, that you can only pick up 2 stations and they are both country.  Yes, I told you it was bad!  I’m not sure how my mom did it all of those years without an iPod or CD player in the car.  She really did sacrifice to get us kiddos up to the farm.

Back to waiting for song number 1456 to load.

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This turned out to be a week of firsts for me:

  • First time to have a booth at a craft fair (Clothesline Fair in Prairie Grove, AR)
  • First time to karaoke (sang “If I Had a $1,000,000” at Shawbees in Eureka Springs, AR) – YES, I was sober
  • First Leadership Fayetteville experience

I’ll start with the booth at the Clothesline Fair.  It turns out that my sister, mom and I are quite crafty.  We each have our own things we make and our own style at making things.  We got a wild hair this summer to have a booth at a Labor Day (i.e. – three long days) crafting event.  The application and photographs were sent and the next thing we knew, we had a booth.  Now we had to be serious about this.  We needed things to sell, business cards, ways of displaying our goods, tables, and a tent.  Surely we had thought about this prior to signing up for a booth… but I couldn’t remember this much detail having been discussed.  Work was busy for the few weeks leading up to the fair leaving me tired and worn out at the end of the day.  My brain was tired of thinking about what needed to be done for our booth, my hands were tired of knitting, and my eyes were tired of looking at the beads and wire I had sitting on my coffee table hoping to magically be knitted into bracelets.  But somehow things were made, a booth arranged, and the fair started.  It was a successful three days for all of us and we’re already signing up for another booth in October at the Springdale Convention Center during War Eagle weekend… perhaps War Eagle next year?!?

Now on to the karaoke and Leadership Fayetteville (I don’t think I could have had one without the other).  I was nominated for Leadership Fayetteville by some of the people I work with.  After two days of filling out an application and writing long answers to questions I haven’t seen since applying for scholarships in college, I was selected as part of the 21st Class of Leadership Fayetteville.  I was excited and apprehensive all at the same time.  This would take me out of my comfy little coccoon I’ve surrounded myself with here at Walton Arts Center.  I would have to meet new people, do things with new people, and perhaps even make new friends.   This was beyond my comfort level. 

 I apprehensively went off to our first activity a couple of days ago.  We were doing a ropes course and then heading off to the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs (which is supposed to be haunted, but I’m sad to report I saw/experienced not a single spooky thing).  After a full day of ice breakers and learning about the history of Fayetteville and the challenges the city faces in the future, we headed off to a local bar/restaurant that had karaoke.  I sat and watched/laughed/cringed as others sang.  There was NO way I was getting up on stage to grace the room with my notsolovely voice.  But wait, there was a prize involved with singing?  A PRIZE?  I didn’t know there was a prize and a prize is something I cannot pass up.  I wrote my name and song on a slip of paper and before I knew it, I was on stage while Barenaked Ladies’ “If I Had a $1,000,000” started over the speakers.  My voice shook, I was out of tune, but darnit, I sang karaoke!!!  After I finished with a lovely “I’d be rich” people applauded, I received high-fives and many congratulatory remarks.  Was it possible that they didn’t care that I couldn’t sing and just supported me for having the guts to get up there in front of this group of people I just met that morning and sing?  Well, one thing if for certain, I can now mark that off of my list of things to do sometime in my life time. 

That brings my week of firsts to a close.  It was a long, fun, exhausting, lucrative, and exciting week.  Hopefully I’ll have more weeks like this as craft fairs and Leadership Fayetteville continues.

Almost everything has beaten me down today.  Almost everything.  The only thing I have to look forward after 13 long hours (9 of those at work since I covered the phones for someone’s lunch and didn’t have time to leave after that for a “proper” lunch) is Rocky coming home from work… around 10:30PM (just in time to watch me fall asleep.
It was one of those days where I woke up in a great mood, put on some new pants and my new silver shoes, and stepped out of here on top of the world.  By the time I got home, showered, and relaxed a bit, I felt as though that world I was on top of at 8AM was now on top of me.

Things at work snowballed, the lack of a lunch break took it’s toll, and everytime I felt like I accomplished something of worth… of value… I was beaten down by something else.  I hate when I come home like this.  It’s just a day at work.  Most every day is fine, this one wasn’t.  Forget it.  Leave it at the desk.  By all means, DO NOT BRING IT HOME.  But I did… well, it wasn’t so much a bring as it was a follow… lurking behind me with each turn towards my house, following me up the stairs and filling my head with concern, frustration, office noise, and eventually finding it’s way out in tears.

I know that when I wake up tomorrow, I’ll be fine, it will be fine, everything will have been slept away.  But in the meantime, I wish I could just leave things at work.

Tonight I found myself performing an all too familiar task that comes with this time of year.  I stood over a heap of dying plants pouring enough water on them to probably reach the other side of the Earth.  This didn’t happen last year and I didn’t even have a water hose to water things with a year ago.  No, it has nothing to do with my ability to water, to give as much as I can, to care for the plant – this has everything to do with the weather last week.  The scorching, hot, hotter than summer and NW Arkansas is supposed to be weather.  I spent twice as much time each day last week watering.  I watered in the morning only to come home after work to plants that looked just as sad as they did that morning and poured more water on them.  I even found myself taking the worlds shortest shower to help counter balance the water bill that I’m dreading for this time of year.

Honestly, I gave all I could… and I’m still giving everything I have.  When it comes to saving all of the hard work you put into your gardens when you don’t have a sprinkler system to do it for you, when is enough – enough?

Do I continue to wear myself out, lugging the water hose from the back yard, to the front, standing over the dying hostas and zinnias praying that the green will come back or do I fly my white flag?  I’ll not let go of my herbs and tomatoes (I’m much to proud of those and find myself coddling those plants) but is it really worth watering the flowers and veggies that I could just buy on Saturday morning at the square?  I’m beginning to think it’s not.

If only fall would hurry up and arrive so I have an actual excuse to tell people as to why I let my plants go “It gets too cold at night to keep trying” or “I had to put my energy elsewhere – it’s time to start knitting again”.  Right now I just have to say “I’m too lazy to keep trying… it depresses me to be in the heat”.

Does this make me weak?

A discussion at work today brought up “Ghost Hunters” on SciFi.  I was quite excited with this conversation as I never seem to catch the show when it’s on and the conversation assured me that Wednesday night at 8PM was the time to watch it (sure I could have looked this up on-line, but I never remembered how important it was to watch this when I was on the Internet).  As soon as I got home, I set the timer on my cable box and went about my business… completely looking forward to some ghost hunting.

8:00 PM rolled around and the show came on.  Let me be first to say that watching this was a bad, very bad, idea.  I could only do about 40 minutes of it before turning it to something else for a few minutes.  I was scared to death.  Many of the shows don’t leave me peeking around corners, turning on ALL lights, and jumping at every sound, but this episode did.  I could hardly wash the dishes without having to run upstairs, turn on my music (to block out other sounds) and sit, ready to scream at whatever was haunting me to go away.

I’ve been in this house for almost 2  years and have only had one “experience” that I can think of (the mirror incident still creeps me out) but that didn’t matter.  My mind had made itself up that something else was in the house with me tonight.  Hopefully these nerves can calm down before going to sleep.

Maybe it would have been a better idea to wait until Rocky wasn’t on vacation many states away before watching the show.

I’ve found myself making excuses for not tending to my garden because it’s just to darned hot outside.  I think “perhaps it’s too hot for the garden” and “too much water can actualy hurt the plant” when in reality the garden will thrive if I just get out there and water the darned thing. 

It makes me very sad to see it looking so wilty by mid day (that’s after a good, long soak in the morning) and I just can’t bear to see it that way.  Instead of fixing it, I’ve been ignoring it.

 I’m a bad bad bad gardener. 

 Tomorrow I’ll tend to the garden.

All of my siblings are in town along with all of my nieces and nephews.  A time when we are all together rarely goes by without a political discussion.  We are all a liberal group but our fathers are not (my brothers and sister have one dad, I have another).  This is a nice breakdown of political views which allows us all to have conversations where we agree with one another instead of argue and the conversations always start somewhere around:

“Last time I was with my dads side of the family”

That is how last night started.  It was something about individuals from Mexico living in the United States.  I am so tired of these conversations.  It should never be “people from Mexico” that upset the conservative minded but instead “illegal immigrants from any country”.  That is where the line is so often blurred and it is the blurring of that line that has conservatives everywhere closing their minds and attempting to close their borders.  The subtopic of the conversation turned into language and if you’re going to live here, should you also speak English?

My view is that because we have no National Language that requiring an individual to speak it doesn’t make sense.  It’s also my view that having only one National Language is a bit much.  I certainly feel that if you live in a country where the primary language is English, then for goodness sakes, learn English… no matter where you are from.  It’s only going to hurt your chances in the “Land of Opportunity” if you can’t communicate.  I’m dumbfounded, however, when Americans get worked up about groups who provide speakers of both English and Spanish to allow for those who do not know English to get by.  I would expect to see the same thing in a place like… lets say… Quebec.  I haven’t been there, but I imagine there are places that have both French and English for your reading pleasure.  Do we not want to complete alienate people by not allowing them to make it in America because they don’t know English?  How many groups have come to the US not knowing English???  Too many for me to know.  I just thank God that when I finally make it back to Europe for vacation that I can find something in English to help me out when I’m in the middle of Italy and don’t know Italian, or off in Sweden, not speaking Swedish.

It was also brought up last night about how Canadians (and this could have come from an article from Canada, can’t remember) see their country as a Mosaic of cultures whereas the US continues to call itself a melting pot.  Melting things together to create one item… the same item.  I really liked that.  In a mosaic you see many shapes, colors, patterns and they are all put together to form one beautiful glass window or shower wall or artwork.  Sometimes a pot of melting crap is just that, a pot of melting crap.  Perhaps we, as Americans (English speaking, Spanish speaking, and any other language) should try and view ourselves as a mosaic in repair.  Sure, some of the pieces have fallen off or look too much like the piece next to us, but can’t we at least go from here and not try to melt everyone into the same person?  How boring a country full of the same person would be.

My mom left me a message yesterday afternoon.  She was calling from Hobby Lobby and I had left my phone at work while heading home for lunch.  Normally, a phone call from Hobby Lobby means “Get here quick, they have the *insert bead or yarn that I’ve been needing/wanting here* you want on sale” or “do you think this bead would look good with this bead for the end of this project I’m working on”.  This phone call was different though, it was special, it made me start to look forward to something quite a few months away.

Christmas.

Those who know me well know I love the holidays.  I love the meaning, the family, the food, and yes, the commercialism.  There is just something about the period of time between Thanksgiving Day and New Years Eve that has me smiling from ear to ear… both on my face and in my heart.

Back the phone call.

Her call was to inform me how ridiculous it is to have Christmas decor already up for sale at the craft store.  Aisles of Christmas decor, ornaments, wreath stuff, stockings, and trees.  And, to top off her disgust from seeing these items in August, there was a black Christmas Tree for sale.  I’m not sure which she thought was more unholy… Christmas in August or black trees.  I’m not sure which is worse either.

I have been giving this some thought.  What would one do with a black tree… and what would one do with this tree in August???  I know many are against the “designer” tree – trees that are all one color, or all one ornament designed specifically to match a living room.   Being a very traditional holiday celebrator myself, I would have thought to be against these trees as well.  But I find that I’m not.  If I had the room for two trees, I might find myself with a designer tree of my own, but then again, decorating one tree is time consuming enough.  However, had I the patience for two trees, would the 2nd tree be a black one?  What would you put upon this black tree?  Hot pink and pearlescent glass globes?  Silver and lime green modern swirls and stars?  I just can’t see this tree in the Christmas of my dreams.  I certainly couldn’t adorn the tree with the penguin ornament collection I’ve been working on for a few years.  The penguins would not stand a chance against the black.

After far too many minutes thinking about this silly tree found in the store WAY too early for Christmas, I’m left without an answer.  Is the black tree worse than the Christmas decor in August?  I think no trees at all would be worse than black trees… but perhaps closer to Halloween (which is still too early).

One comes upon many great losses during a lifetime.  You lose friends, family, money, jobs, your mind… yesterday I found myself face to face with one of those losses.  I’ve been fighting the evils of powdery mildew in my garden for the past couple of weeks.  Yesterday, it won it’s first battle.  I had to cut out a once beautiful patty pan squash from my squash row.  It almost made me cry to have to do it.  I had only harvested one fruit from this vine and then I had to toss it aside.  I untangled it from the zucchini and tossed it into the grass where I stood for a few minutes just looking at the plant.  The garden gods seem to be laughing at me and my attempt at summer squash this summer.  I’m still holding out for the zucchini and another squash that I seemed to have saved from borers to provide me with many stir-fry and pasta dishes.
It’s just sad… to have all of those beautiful plants wither away as if you never showed them any care, any affection, any attention at all.  Hopefully the two tomatoes and one eggplant that took the garden space of that massive squash will thank me for moving them into the ground from a pot.  The garden gods have to give me that one.

Perhaps, in the end, I’ll switch sides and start cheering for the winter squash once again (the arrival of a zucchini ready to eat last week had risen my hopes… falsely).

The loss of the squash had me searching for signs of life elsewhere.  My tomatoes are finally impressing me as I had dreamed all spring that they would have.  I will have no shortage of salsa ingredients as August chugs along.  While my Cherokee Purple tomatoes didn’t do much of anything, I do have some Striped and Brandy-wine varieties to satisfy my heirloom cravings as well as a wide assortment of reds and yellows to slice along with some mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar for a nice salad… and that salsa I mentioned earlier, mmmmm, that’s worth waiting all summer for.

So overall, the gardening is still proving to be successful.  I’ve come away with peppers, tomatoes, 3 okra, and some melons.  Who cares if the squash was a learning experience.  Perhaps next year will be better.

I’m good…

quite good…

at creating things to wear…

things to eat…

things to finish (someday)…

things to plant stuff in…

things to say in person…

things to talk about in groups of people…

things to pass the time with.

lists.

piles of laundry…

piles of anything in general.

dreams…

dreams of trips…

dreams of future endeavors…

dreams of a car that doesn’t suck my paychecks faster than it uses gas.

lifetimes…

lifetimes of laughter…

lifetimes of friends left behind…

hopefully lifetimes of new friends to come…

but still keeping those left behind.

But I’m less good at creating…

a blog.

I’m feeling less creative in writing than I was hoping with this thing.  Can’t force the creativity I suppose.

And my head hurts.

And I have to be up at 6ish (which is an hourish earlier than my usual 7ish).

So… goodnight.