Thursday, August 26, 2010


1) The week started off on a sad note for my nephew, Logan. Two of his friends were killed in a car accident on Monday. I feel so sorry for him, because I remember I was about his age when one of my best friends and her sister were killed in an accident and how hard it was to deal with. It's always difficult for kids to deal with death, especially when it happens to someone their own age. So sad. Let's keep the families and friends of these boys in our prayers. It's going to be tough for them all for a long time.

2) On a happier note... Steve bought an iPad and thus far, I'm loving it! He uses it mainly for reading and I use it for everything else! Granted, it's basically just a larger version of the iPod Touch I've had for 4 or so years, but it has still been a lot of fun to play with. It has an app that allows me to "finger paint" and then post my drawings directly to Twitter. I've basically been drawing my Tweets instead of writing them, which I hope isn't annoying my very few followers. I'm having fun doing it, though. I mean, a picture is worth a thousand words, but you only get 140 characters if you type. I'm clearly coming out ahead!

3) I found a new song that I like a great deal, but it is full of very bad language. It isn't fair! It's got a funky, old-school Motown sound, which I love, and I wish very much that it was appropriate for listening to without ear phones. I won't even post a link to it, because I don't want to be responsible for anyone accidentally playing it while kids or easily offended mee-maws are around, but it's called...uh... "F**K You" by Cee Lo Green in case you want to look it up on YouTube or something. It's a great break up song, too. I will not be held responsible for pearl clutching, so don't listen to it unless you are prepared to hear cursing! You know who you are!

4) I've been making jewelry and things like crazy this week and I have a whole lot of new stuff to give to the lady at church! Unfortunately, it's going to take me ages to make the packaging and display cards. That's my least favorite part of it all because it's so tedious. I am also doing some freelance graphic design! Woot! It's unpaid, of course, but I'm at least going to be able to put it in my portfolio which is practically empty at this point. I would have a lot more for my portfolio, but I didn't really think to pull anything from my network folder before I was let go and that was where my artwork was stored. I contacted one of my former coworkers to have him send me some of my files, but he said my folder was gone. Whahuh? Did they nuke everything I did out of existence? Certainly they just relocated my files, because that folder was 5 years worth of signage and things. Even if I sucked as bad at my job as they said, I would think they would at least have saved the stuff to show the new lady who got the job what NOT to do. Ugh, if nothing else, I hope they saved the vectors I made of the aircraft schematics. That took months to finish. Of course, now I feel like a complete idiot for not pulling things for my portfolio as I went along, but there is nothing to do now but start over. Oh well...I'm a graphic artist, so going back to the drawing board is just part of the job, right? :)

5) Speaking of making things, I'm on my 231st hat! Technically, I'm still behind if I'm going to make one for every day, but my nifty circular knitting machine helps catch me up when I get too far behind. The hats it makes are very, very simple, but will be perfect for the charity as long as the yarn cooperates. It doesn't always, you know. I'm running low on yarn I can use, though, so another trip to Hobby Lobby is in store. I'm going there a lot these days. At this point, I feel like the cashiers should yell "NORM!" when I come through the doors.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Here is a video I shot while visiting Jerry Brown Pottery earlier this month.

The quality isn't so great, so forgive me for that. I'm working with what amounts to ancient technology these days! :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010



A few entries ago, you might recall that I made a sleep deprived and probably ill advised online purchase. Here was my initial thoughts about it:

"Speaking of impulse buys... I bought something the other day that is both sad and embarrassing. There was a night last week where I couldn't sleep at all and I spent hours on the computer just aimlessly browsing around. I was reading an article on Listverse (I think), and I followed a link to an "As Seen On TV" website. I promise you I wasn't looking to spend money on anything, and if I hadn't gotten to the point that I was getting kind of punchy and floopy because of lack of sleep, I wouldn't have even thought about ordering anything. Also, if the credit card hadn't been nearby, I probably wouldn't have used it either. It was like the universe pooled all of it's forces and tricked me into making this order. I ordered a pair of Pajama Jeans. *SHAME* It was like I was hypnotized! I opened up the link, and the video started playing, and my brain just, I don't know, took a leave of absence. I was like "Wow, they do look comfortable! They look like jeans, but they are made of DormiSoft (TM) fabric! Contrasting top stitching! They DO look like they were designed by some European designer! I need these! I need them now!" So I ordered them. Now that I've had sleep, I'm deeply ashamed of my lack of purchasing control. I have no doubt that they will be kind of cheesy, and probably end up being yoga pants with screen printed yellow stitching down each side, but darn it, I'm going to own my mistake. They haven't gotten to me yet, so I have to reserve complete judgment, but...Pajama Jeans? My hopes aren't that high."

In light of full disclosure, I'll admit that as I waited on them to be mailed to me, I began to anticipate being able to wear them. I mean, who wouldn't love a pair of jeans that were so comfortable that you could sleep in them? At the very least, I figured that I'd finally found a pair of pants that looked enough like jeans that if I had to run a quick errand without changing clothes, I might not end up on the "People of Wal-Mart" website! My main issue was that I wanted to get them for our trip to Texas, because I knew that I'd be sitting in a car for 18 or so hours and I thought that, at the very least, I could get to our destination without suffering the imprint of a GAP button on my lower stomach!

Luckily, I got my package a day or so before we left on our trip! I was excited and immediately got prepared to try them out!

Since you get the official PajamaJean T-Shirt (for free!) I got a whole comfy outfit out of my package!

There was a heather gray shirt and the mythical pair of PajamaJeans! *cue angel chorus*
The shirt was just your normal, albeit well made shirt, so I don't need to tell you about that. The pants, however, are what we are here to talk about!

At first glance, they do indeed look exactly like a pair of slightly flared, dark wash jeans! My favorite! They don't feel like denim, of course, but the DormiSoft (tm) material was thick and soft. I was pleased to see that they were constructed exactly like jeans actually would be, with actual (and not screen printed) top stitching, seams along each side, back pockets, and even rivets. There was even a bit of Trompe l'oeil in the front that gave the illusion of a zipper but without the ouchy button of regular jeans.

In your FACE Levi Strauss!

So far, the infomercial had not overstated anything in regards to the product. I don't know how jeans made my a European designer look, exactly, but sure...why not.

I had ordered according to the sizing chart, and by the measurements, had to get a larger size than what I wish I had needed. I even went and measured my curves one more time to make sure I was ordering correctly. I know that most clothing is not exactly friendly to zaftig, so I wasn't exactly unprepared to see that what sounded like an enormous pair of pants were - by the chart - indeed my size. Boo. I want to make it very clear that the pants -BY THE CHART- were my size, maybe even a tiny bit bigger than I needed, but not by much. That is an important tid-bit.

So I pulled the PajamaJeans on, and they slid right down my hips. Um, ok... So I pulled them back up and they slid down again. I am not too ashamed to tell you that I was confused. Clothes usually are too small on me, not too big. I mean that honestly, I can buy clothes that say on the tag that they are my size...but they don't button, or if they do, you can hear the threads screaming through their effort to keep from splitting off of my body Hulk style. So I looked on the tag again to make sure I didn't accidentally get pants a size too big by accident. No...they were the size I ordered. Huh. Well, I thought about keeping them, but realized that there was no way I could walk around in pants that clearly didn't want to stay up. I mean, I could, but nobody wants to see that. Nobody! So I gathered my long awaited PajamaJeans back up, packed them for returning, and decided I would get the next size down, which - BY THE FREAKING CHART - were a too small for me. I rationalized a return - and not a refund - because I could see potential in the pants. I mean, I didn't know if they'd go from-bed-to-date-night wear like the commercial promised, but I knew they were something I'd be glad to have for traveling or whatever. Even if they were a bit too small, they'd stretch, right?

Skip ahead a few weeks and I got my new pair of PajamaJeans! I didn't bother taking pictures because they looked and felt exactly like the last pair. I even got another gray t-shirt with them! I was immediately worried, because the shirt was too small. It was weird, because the shirt was a size that should have been roomy on me, but it was quite snug. Poop. I took the pants back to my room to try on, with the full expectation that they'd probably cut off my circulation. If the shirt was uncomfortably must the pants be? So I put them on.

They were still too freaking big.

Don't get me wrong, there is NO ONE else in the world who would love to discover that they had woken up 20 pounds lighter without having to have large tumors or limbs removed than me. No. One. Trust me on that. However, I see myself every day and I haven't been going to the gym, so I knew that wasn't the case. I was still the soft and squishy lady I have been. These pants weren't as huge as the last pair, but still...they were too big. I went back to the website and made sure I wasn't wrong about the measurements, but I hadn't been. By all means, the size I got should have been snug, if not downright tight, and they weren't. I decided that these would be OK, because even a bit big they weren't THAT huge, so I decided to go about my day and see how they worked.

The pants are comfortable, I can't fault that. They feel like yoga pants and look like jeans. I was actually comfortable, even though they were too big, for a while. I had to put on shoes, because I kept stepping on the hems, but if you've ever looked at my regular jeans, you know I pretty much walk the hems off anyways. I'm too short for normal and too tall for petite, so I do what I've got to do. Things went fine for a while. I worked on my crafts, I did a bit of laundry, and cooked. Not exactly a very active day, but I didn't have a lot of plans. Everything was going fine except that the pants started sliding down my hips again. At first, I didn't even notice, I'd just hitch them up and go about my business. However, while standing at the spice cabinet, they literally almost fell off. The commercial talks about how they don't stretch like sweat pants do, but that just isn't true. These had stretched alarmingly, and I promise I hadn't been doing calisthenics in them. I thought that if they had belt loops, I might be able to make it through the day, but there were none. I even tried pinning them on the sides, but they material was too thick and all of my safety pins were too small. I finally decided that I needed to just wash them, because sometimes new clothes shrink a bit when they are washed for the first time. The material is 95% cotton and 5% Spandex, so certainly that was it. I even threw them in the dryer, even though it says not to. I simply hoped that drying them wouldn't melt them or anything. It still didn't work. If anything else, they feel as if they've stretched more! Color me a disappointed purple, because I wanted these to be awesome.

Look, I'm not saying these are bad. In fact, I think I'd love them if they actually fit. They look pretty good and they would be wicked comfortable for long flights or car trips in situations where you don't want to actually wear your pajamas. I can't return the ones I have for YET another smaller size because I've already worn, washed, and removed the tags from them. I'm trying to figure out if I can sew them on the sides a bit to take them in, because I'd rather not have wasted the money, but I'm afraid that may be out of my skill level. I won't even tell you not to buy them, because I think you'd like them too, if you got a pair that fit. However, I don't know how you can do that if the sizing chart is that far out of whack. Hopefully I can figure out a way to alter the ones I have so that they fit, but I'm not holding my breath.

I give these 1 thumb down and the other one in the waistband holding up my pants.

Monday, August 16, 2010


1) Good grief. I woke up with another case of pink eye and I am furious about it! Granted, being furious about getting an eye infection is not very productive, but it makes me feel better about the utter injustice of it! Yuck. Luckily, I knew what was going on this time, so I grabbed the very last of the bottle of eye drops that I saved from last time, put them in and waited an hour. My eye seemed to get a little better, but I wasn't taking any chances. I went back to the Doc-in-a-Box and got another prescription for the eye drops. I felt kind of bad going to the doc when my eye didn't seem that bad, but I couldn't face the idea of my eye being as bad as it was last time. *shudder* A nurse practitioner and a doctor came and checked me out, so I was well taken care of. The doctor told me to come back in 5 days or sooner if my eye got worse, but the N.P told me to come back on Thursday to be rechecked. I have no idea if I should go back or not. Who's directions should I follow? I'd rather not pay the co-pay again unless I have to, but... Any ideas?

2) I found a neato heath food store nearby. Well, actually I found it a while back, and I probably have already talked about it on this blog, but I've only recently been going back on a regular basis. When I went the other day, I briefly talked to the lady who runs the store and she gave me a promotional calender that she had gotten from one of her vendors. About 15 minutes later, she came around a corner and asked if I needed any help, but I declined. Right before I checked out, she looked at me and said "I thought I saw you come in here! I just didn't know where you went." Huh...O.K. I'm not so sure she knew I was the same person each time she saw me. Weirdness. The store sells a lot of unusual things, and I'm fairly sure Harry Potter could find all of his potion ingredients there. Need a bundle of sage to clean a negative room? You can find it there too. I'm guessing it's the local Wicca Superstore. I found a few interesting things to try, including a shake mix that is supposed to be good for you. I got a few different packets (different flavors) but so far I'm not impressed. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great, either. It kind of tasted like it had chalk in it. It also had algae in it, so maybe I'm just mentally unprepared for drinking it in the first place. I'll let you know.

3) It finally rained in our neck of the woods, and our ornamental peach tree lost a big chunk during the high winds. Now it looks all lopsided. :( Our grass suddenly had a resurrection and now it's way too high. I need to mow it, I know, but it's just too hot and I'm procrastinating in hopes of a freak snowstorm that will just kill it all. What? It's not unheard of!

4) I'm working on a few new things, craft wise. I'm going to be putting a bigger variety of my things in the shop the lady at my church owns, so hopefully I'll be able to sell some more stuff! Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


- - Note: This is long. I warn you now. - -

I've got to be honest with you guys. I'm an adventurer at heart, but I very rarely put my adventures into practice. There are probably actual good reasons for this but mostly it's because I'm lazy, or scared to go places on my own, or because - lately, anyways- I have had this sneaky feeling that people who do not have jobs should not have too much fun.

Yeah, I know that's dumb. Trust me on that one. However, it followed the same thought pattern I once had that if I called into work for being sick, even if I wound up feeling 100% better halfway through the day, I shouldn't do anything that a sick person couldn't do. You know, like vacuum or run marathons. :)

At any rate, there was a part of me that figured that if I wasn't contributing something useful to the world, then I shouldn't go out and enjoy said world. Only recently did it occur to me that that was SUPREMELY STUPID. I have these bursts of realizations from time to time. Saves a bundle on therapy.

At any rate, I explain all of that to tell you that yesterday I was determined to leave my house for a while and have an adventure, even of the most benign variety. I decided I would find something interesting that I had never done before, grab the G.P.S., plug in the address, and just go. That probably doesn't sound very adventurous to you, but for me? Oh, my yes. Heehee. See, I don't go many out of the way places on my own, and I have only used the G.P.S. once, so I figured that I could go someplace completely unknown and kind of do a trial by fire thing with the Garmin. If a magic box with a voice and a satellite beaming down a map from space can't help me find a place, then there is no hope for me at all. Am I right?

So, I picked out a place that looked interesting and I went! I am SO glad I did!

I decided to visit Jerry Brown Pottery, in Hamilton, AL. I only recently found out that this place - and this man - existed, despite the fact that I'd seen his work on some Alabama tourism brochures. Please read this guy's website for the in depth stuff, because it is fascinating, but in short he is a 9th (!) generation potter from North Alabama who uses local clay to make beautiful, hand-thrown pottery at his own shop.

The drive down was surprisingly non-eventful, except for the fact that I somehow missed a turn in Decatur and wound up driving through quite a bit of residential area before finding my way back to the road I needed. Do you want to know what lies between Decatur and Hamilton, AL? Not an awful lot. I drove roughly two and a half hours down a stretch of highway that seemed to have no end. It wasn't a bad drive, just...empty. I had my Neil Gaiman novel playing on my iPod to keep me company and Sandy the robotic, Australian G.P.S. voice to talk to me, and I was good. Just past Russellville, I got hit with a rainstorm of epic proportions that actually scared me so badly that I probably should have pulled over, but there was no place to stop. I was on a twisty road running through some woods and the shoulder wasn't wide enough to pull over without getting hit my someone coming around a curve, so I soldiered on. Luckily, I got through it and found my way. At the last minute Sandy told me to turn right instead of left, and I literally wound up in someone's barn. I'm not kidding, I had to turn around in this person's barn and go the other way. Thanks, Sandy! At any rate, I found Mr. Brown's pottery place at last.

At first I wasn't sure it was open because there were no other cars around and an older-ish couple sitting on the porch. I pulled over to the side of the road and asked if they were open, and indeed they were (phew). It turned out that I was in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Brown themselves! I was their first (I think they said) customer of the day and Mrs. Brown led me inside the shop. I don't know how many people get the same feeling I do when faced with art - good stuff, I mean, not like Damien Hurst and the giant, wooden bottle nipples favored by some of my college classmates- but that feeling struck me while I walked around the modest little room lined with shelves. Canisters, pots, plates, bowls and all kinds of things crammed the walls as well as tables that ran down the center of the room and I was just in awe of it all. That probably seems a bit of a grand statement, but it's an honest one, I was in awe.

I didn't take many pictures inside the store itself because I was just too interested in the pottery! This stuff isn't that pansy slip-molded stuff I learned how to make at community college. This was gorgeously hand-crafted, heavy duty, hand thrown pottery. I was cool at first, walking around and talking with Mrs. Brown, who takes care of the sales. She was a delightful woman and was so very sweet. Mr. Brown came in, because it had started to storm and he didn't want to get wet, and he was just a righteous dude. We talked a bit, I picked out a bowl to take home, and Mrs. Brown said that if I wanted, she would show me the pottery shed and Mr. Brown would do a demonstration for me.

Of course I said I'd love to see it all and she took me around and showed me the kilns and the pottery wheel. She explained the process and told me where the clay came from and how it all worked. Unfortunately, the donkey wasn't anywhere around, but I'll catch up with him next time, I guess. I know that she didn't treat me any differently than she would treat anyone else that come by, but I thought it was nice that she still gave me the whole tour even though it was just me. Then she put on her apron and started making the clay balls that Mr. Brown turned into things. The way she threw the clay made it very obvious that she would be able to beat someone to death easily with her bare hands, so don't piss that lady off. :)

She handed over the clay balls to Mr. Brown, and that is where I completely geeked out.

This man took a plop of clay and made it dance. I know that probably sounds silly, but I have no other way to explain it. He had these giant, beautiful, gnarly hands that just...I don't know, just made magic.

I have a deep, deep respect for anyone who can make things. Not just make things, but MAKE things. There is a difference, trust me. I was literally open-mouthed hypnotized when he began spinning the clay. I've seen videos of people doing this, but I've never seen it done it in person and to watch the clay grow into these beautiful things was just, almost overwhelming. I got a little light headed watching him. I'm sure if you asked him, he would just tell you he was doing his thing, but he has to love what he does to be able to do it so effortlessly.

I asked questions and he answered them all. He told me jokes and asked questions of his own. He finished this one bowl (he made 8 or 9 while I watched) and asked me what the problem with it was. I couldn't see anything, but I guessed that maybe he didn't like the divot at the bottom - nope, he could fix that. Was it the fingerprints at the top? Nope, he could fix that. I asked what was wrong with it and he said "It doesn't have any 'nanner puddin' in it!" Seriously, he was a righteous dude.

I don't know how long I actually stood there and watched him, but I could have done it all day. I'm glad he didn't mind me taking pictures, because I wanted very badly to remember what he was doing. It was fascinating. While I was watching him work, I realized that THAT was what I wanted to do when I grow up. Not pottery, necessarily, although I would love to know how to do it. No, I realized that what I wanted to do is MAKE things. I'll give you a moment to roll your eyes at me. Go ahead, I know you want to.


OK, are you done? Good. We can proceed.

I realize that a person can't just decide to be an actual artist and expect to do it as a job, but watching him work made me realize that I'm really only happy when I'm creating things. I think that's why I liked my former job so much, because even though I was making signs, I was making them with my brain and with my hands. I'm not especially good at any one thing, but I want to be good at something. I want to be good enough that I can make things and people can take them and use them, and keep them and pass them down. That's what I want to do. Now I know. Anyone know how I can make it happen? :)

It had been raining very hard the whole time he was working, but when the rain let up, I realized I needed to head back home. I apologized for staying so long, but they seemed to enjoy having someone there. I got my bowl, got back in the car, and found my way back home.

It was a great day.

*I overheard someone talking about a "jeepus" the other day and couldn't figure out what they were talking about. It wasn't until they said "The jeepus couldn't find the way" that I realized they were talking about a G.P.S. I don't know if they really thought that's what it was called, or if it was just what THEY called it, but now I can't think of them as anything else!

Saturday, August 07, 2010


While we were hanging out at the motel in Hattiesburg on our way back from Grandma's house, Steve and I were watching "The Fifth Element" on the crappy television set in our room. We probably wouldn't have stopped on that channel except that it was one of the few channels that worked and didn't dissolve into a fizz of snow and what sounded like microphone feedback.

During one of the commercial breaks, the longest and - I swear - most graphic "Male Enhancement Supplement" commercial came on and would not. Go. Off. It was only mildly embarrassing at first, because let's face it, I am uncomfortable watching a commercial of that kind with my father-in-law. As you know, I like to pretend that parents don't know about that kind of stuff, and no one can make me feel differently. Shut up! Don't even try, because I won't listen!!! Had it even been one of the less... descriptive commercials, I probably wouldn't have cared, but it was awful. I looked at Steve and we both made awkward face and waited for the commercial to just be over.

However, the commercial kept on going. It also just got more descriptive. Mr. Lee was on his laptop, so there was hope he wasn't hearing it, but we knew he could hear the TV because he had asked a question about the movie we were watching. The commercial had gone on long enough for me to begin to worry that somehow the dodgy cable had switched channels on us and we had landed in the middle of an infomercial or one of those "Real Sex" documentary shows. Steve and I left awkward behind and cracked up, only we were trying hard not to laugh out loud so that Mr. Lee wouldn't know we were laughing about the commercial.

In reality, the commercial probably didn't last more than 2 minutes, but from my point of view, we might as well have switched on one of the bad, late night Cinemax movies. I'm not kidding, that commercial was...too much.

I'm so glad my father-in-law had enough class not to make a joke. I might have simply died on the spot.

Monday, August 02, 2010




I decided to consolidate these entries because mostly we just drove.

When we were getting ready to leave Grandma's house yesterday, after another giant breakfast, she kept telling us she didn't want us to go. Actually, she said she would keep Mr. Lee and Steve, so I guess I was free to go. :P She cried, which made us all feel bad. :(

We got back on the road and I plugged back into my iPod and got out my yarn. Unfortunately, though, my wrists and hands were sore from all of the crocheting I had done earlier in the week, so I basically just sat and stared out of the window. We didn't make many stops this time, because I suppose we were just trying to get as far as possible before we had to stop for the night.

We did stop at the Louisiana welcome station, which is on another swamp, but the ramp through the area was closed.

I was walking around the side of the building to get some pictures of the lake, when something bumped my foot. I looked down and saw a locust that I'm sure would rival anything that flew during the plagues of Egypt.

And lo, God did smite the Louisiana Welcome Station
with a plague of big-assed bugs. Yea, verily.

Holy cow, ya'll, it was huge and it had come within an inch of jumping up my pants leg. I'm very grateful that it didn't, because I wasn't in the mood to freak out and strip down to my unmentionables in a public place. Ugh. I also kept running into a creepy janitor guy at the welcome station. I don't know if he was actually following me, or if I just kept getting in his way, but I was very glad Mr. Lee was nearby after Steve walked off without saying anything, because the guy kept talking to me. I now know three different uses for cattails, two of which could save my life during active combat, and that he was in Vietnam. I was glad to leave that place.

We probably could have made it all the way home, but we were very tired by the time we'd been on the road for a while and so we turned into a group of motels in Hattiesburg, MS to find a place to stay. Luckily, we found a decent place, but this is the same area we stayed in last year, and I get some bad juju vibes from this place. I don't know why, because I'm sure Hattiesburg is a lovely city, and I have no idea why I get so unsettled while I'm there, but that's the way it always is. It always makes me feel nervous when we stop there. At least we stayed in a motel that was decent and had indoor hallways. My biggest concern was that the room reeked of ammonia. It almost knocked me over when I stepped inside, although neither Steve nor his dad seemed to find it overpowering. Ugh.

We went out to dinner at a local Mexican place "Rio Grande" which was very good. I recommend it if you're ever in the area! We happened to see what was either a prostitute or a very badly dressed prom date while we were in the place, which caused quite a stir. I've seen a lot of things, but I've never seen that much ass on display in a family restaurant before...eeeesh. After that excitement, we came back to the hotel to get some rest. The ammonia smell was still thick, but there was nothing I could do about it. What was I going to do, call the front desk and complain that the room smelled too clean? I did happen to see some weird stains on the carpeting right outside the door that concerned me, but they stopped at our door. I fell asleep with the smell of ammonia in my nose and the sincere hope that no one had recently died in our room and the cleaner was just there to cover up the smell.

The next morning we got back on the road and made it home by about 3:00! I was glad to be home, but it had been a good trip!