Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Friend Beth

So in a previous blog I talked to you about this incredible woman I met through etsy and how we became the dearest of friends, having never met but talking all the time, amazed at how connected we were in so many ways.  So my friend Beth, from Birmingham, Alabama called me one day to tell me about an idea she had to start a new web site and how she would provide tutorials and she said what do you think of the name "My Friend Beth?"

"Brilliant" I replied.  Because whenever I talk about her I always say "My Friend Beth" so how perfect would that be for her web site.  Not to mention that anyone who meets her would instantly feel like they were friends with her.  She just makes you feel right at home.  Maybe it's that good ole southern charm, but maybe it's just who she is.  A down to earth, happy, motivated, generous, fun person.

With that said...the next thing she asked was if she could use some of my art work.  There was not even a second of hesitation on my part.  OF COURSE YOU CAN!!!  Are you kidding, what a huge compliment to me that she wanted my art to be part of her website!  I was thrilled!    The more the idea took shape and the more she confided in me about her plans, the more success I saw on her horizon.  Beth took all of her knowledge and is putting it in one place, and for a very reasonable fee you can obtain tons of information from one single source.  Not only that, but you get to engage in conversation with other club members and learn more and more information about the art world, about marketing, about setting up an etsy store, about how to use PhotoShop Elements, how to create anything your heart desires.

So what are you waiting for...go check out the site, and if you want to learn from someone who is funny, and easy to follow via video tutorials then this is your place to go.

I hope to see you in the BFF club (Beth's Friends Forever).


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dog - Gone

Saying good- bye is never easy.  Today I had to say good-bye to my little black schnauzer.  A sweet little angel dog that had spent the first 8 years of his life stuck in a crate, his owner only pulling him out to breed him.  When these amazing people rescued him he was full of urine burns, tiny, frail, scared to death of everyone and everything.  I found him through Pet Finder.  I saw his picture and thought he was the sweetest looking little dog.  I contacted the agency that had him, a rescue agency in Toledo, Ohio.  I spoke with a woman named Jennifer and we started chatting via email.  I filled out all the paper work and told her I would be adopting Chance at the same time I would be adopting another dog name Finnegan, I wanted them both to be in my home at the same time.  I wanted them both to get acclimated at the same time.   She drove to my home, and the couple who were ready to put Finnegan up for adoption also arrived.  Chance was so tiny, so sweet and so scared.  She told me she had adopted him out three times, no one wanted him.  I said we want him.  You will never have to adopt him out again.  My Mom and Aunt huge dog lovers came over to be at the adoption.  My Mother told Jennifer, she would not be getting Chance back, that he had found a home.   She knew the minute I saw him I would fall in love with him and I did.  And so did Max.

I had always wanted to adopt dogs from a shelter or rescue.  I never had before although I had tried but it was hard in the past to find small dogs and I wanted dogs I could hold like babies.  Finnegan and Chance would be a great asset to our home.  Max was just two and a half but I had been without a dog for two years (my dog had passed shortly after Max was born) and I missed not having an animal in the house.

Max was thrilled, and Finnegan and Chance came to live with us.

Finnegan was naughty.  Adorable but trouble from the start, but he was so good with Chance which just made us love him even more.  Chance, was sweet, and scared and skittish.  I said give me a year, he'll be fine.  He won't be afraid of men anymore, he'll know he's loved, he'll feel safe.  A year later he was a different dog.  But still a dog that had scars.  Never around people, especially kids, always stuck in crate he didn't know what it meant to go on a walk, to have a cookie, to play.  He was a special needs dog.  He wasn't potty trained, and that was a challenge but he eventually got there.  He didn't walk as well as Finnegan, he never really romped around and he seldom barked and when he did he sounded like a big dog.  You never saw him wag his tail.  But he was so loved, and Max and I told him that every day of his life.

Making a decision to end your dogs life is right up there with the most difficult things you have to do in life.  And yet animal lovers over and over again, get new pets to replace their lost ones, because the joy these creatures bring to us overshadows the pain of having them leave us.  And so today, as I carried my little sweet angel Chance through the doors of the Harper Wood Vet Hospital, my heart was breaking, but I knew it was time.  He could not walk anymore, he was blind, he still ate but with difficulty and he slept almost all the time.  He had no quality of life, but what he did have was an amazing adventure with Finnegan, with Max, with me.  We gave him the life he had so deserved and so even though the first part of his life was horrible, we did all we could to make up for the last part of his life.

My vet told me today that a study was done on dogs and their pain.  They had video taped a group of dogs who had been spade.  When the dogs did not suspect they were being watched you could tell they were uncomfortable, some cried, some shifted about trying to get comfortable.  But the minute a human walked in the door they jumped up and acted as if nothing was wrong.  Animals mask their pain, because they don't want to disappoint us, or make us worried or sad, or maybe they just don't want to leave us.  They are truly the most selfless creatures on the planet, which is why I love them.

Chance learned to wag his tail.  About a year before he passed that little tail wagged whenever I talked to him or picked him up.

We will get two more dogs, today we grieve our little Chancey or Pooey as we called him.  He will be missed as much as we miss Finnegan.  But we know he's up there hanging out with his buddy, and that gives us some sense of peace.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Skunky Summer

I love animals.  I have always had a dog and I adopted two dogs about six years ago when my son was old enough to know how to love on them with out getting bit.  Sadly we lost one nearly a year ago, and I just wonder, how different this summer would be if Finnegan Fergus Lambchopper was around.

The reason of course, is because a little gang of baby skunks decided to make their home under my deck.  I noticed them one morning when I went out to put some chlorine in my pool and marched right back in my house.  Crap.  They are cute but they are skunks.  Will they spray me?  Can they spray me? And why are they in my back yard?  There were a total of six of them but I only ever saw 5 of them at one time.  I immediately got online and looked up how to get rid of them.

Let me state again...I LOVE animals and there was no way I was going to get rid of them in a bad way, just didn't want them hanging out and possibly spraying my son, or the neighbor kids.   I read a bunch of things none of them seemed to be too full proof, but I went to the store and got those moth balls and watched them parade right by them not a care in the world.  I also thought it was odd that they were out in broad daylight, and that there was no Mom around...and then I realized they were orphans.

During this time I am going through a kitchen renovation.  One that is now put me over my budget, so I called the animal control in Warren and they said "Sorry we don't take on skunks".  It figures.  This was not going to be cheap I already knew.  After about a month with them still hanging around and getting pretty comfortable, I called a guy that would remove them and not hurt them but put them in the environment they are accustomed to, although I think they were pretty happy with the one they were in.
His card read "Humane Eviction" so I hired him.  He was not cheap, but at this point I had no choice.  The neighbor behind me said that one of them was in her yard, and went to her neighbors house and her neighbor picked the skunk up and of course it sprayed her, but she took it to a shelter.  One safely evicted.  Hooray!  Another one ended up next to my neighbor's garbage can, apparently subjected to a horrific death by some other animal...we are thinking it may be the cat across the street.  Mr. Humane Eviction couldn't get here fast enough.

The morning I called him, my neighbor two houses down came over to ask me what I planned to do about my skunks.  Hmmmm my skunks, like I invited them over to live under my deck.  These guys were scouring the neighborhood, they wanted food and they just came back to my house to lounge safely under my deck.  I told my neighbor, they are not by any means "my skunks" but that I am having to PAY someone to come and trap them.  His dog apparently had been sprayed twice.  He wasn't happy, but I reminded him I wasn't either since I was the one footing the bill.   He left, satisfied that I was taking care of "my skunks".

And so it begins.  The first day the cages are out I get a call from my son at work.  "Mom, there are no skunks in the cage but Waldo is in there".

"WHAT?  Are you kidding me?".  Waldo mind you is our possum that has lived under the deck quite contently for at least ten years.  Max then said "Mom, I think Waldo may have eaten the skunks."  Oh my God I'm thinking are you kidding me..."Max", I say "Why would you think that?"  and he responds quite calmly  "Well Mom because he's fat and he smells like a skunk".   Lovely.  Ok so I call Mr. Humane Eviction and he said - well it is possible possums do eat baby skunks.  OMG.  Then he says
" I probably should have put a smaller cage there".....REALLY YOU THINK...he comes out, takes Waldo away and puts a smaller cage there.  Now mind you, all I can think is that poor Waldo who has been living their for ten years gets evicted because these baby skunks had moved in on his territory.  He had to be thinking that he should have eaten them when he had the chance.

Mr. Humane alerts me that when he was putting the cages out he did catch a skunk.  Ok so we are down to three now.  Hooray.  On his way out, the neighbor says, he has caught one in a box.  Mr. Humane says, if I take it I'll have to charge you", my neighbor reminds him these are my skunks.  So he takes it and then he tries to charge me.

Two down two to go.  That night one baby skunk ends up in the trap.  The next morning their sibling is in the other trap.  Our Skunky Summer has come to an end.

I have to say, those guys were adorable.  If they didn't have that gland thing I may have considered letting them live there.  I mean after all I have a rabbit that visits daily, a squirrel that thinks he owns the yard, and a bevy of birds that love to hang out in the big silver maple tree and then there was Waldo...poor Waldo, I hope he found a new home.  But skunks cute as they are, smell.  And it was time for our skunky summer to end.  I can imagine if Finnegan was around while the skunks were here...I'd be bathing him in tomato juice daily of that I'm sure.

I still find myself checking the yard before I step out...maybe next summer I'll forget about them.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

June 8th, the day my friend was born.   A Gemini she is, belly laugh funny, blonde, blue eyed and petite and she is one of my closest friends...she is like my twin.

And I have never even met her.

That's right, we have never met in person.  This is the story of an extraordinary friendship born out of chance or fate or whatever you want to call it.  And it began with a purchase I made from her etsy shop, and a curiosity she had to see who her latest new customer was by visiting my etsy shop.

The email that transpired written by this incredible woman, changed my life.  It was probably the nicest letter I have ever received from anyone.  A perfect stranger, who took the time to write paragraphs about my art, my website my creativity.  And so the dialogue began, and the emails back and forth, and the realization that OMG we are so much alike, and we have so many things in common and our beliefs and morals are the same and we laugh at the same jokes and read the same books, and my friend says we truly must have been separated at birth and I wonder...maybe we were?  Except that my friend lives in Alabama, and I live in Michigan, and my friend is a teeny tiny bit  older than me but neither of us act our age anyway so who cares!

I talk to her more than any of my friends I have had for over 40 years...we talk daily through email and at least once a week on the phone.  She is a mentor, a supporter, a friend through and through and she is an inspiration to me.  It is she that constantly chides me for not increasing my prices on my etsy shop, it is she that sends me links to articles I need to read, or shares with me her latest finds.  She looks at my art and pins it and gives me rave reviews on Facebook.   We talk about anti-aging creams, makeup, tanning products, menopause,  what artist we love, who is doing what, how to get licensed, what should we do next...what on line class should we take.  We talk about her kids and my son, and our lives in the past and present and how much fun our friendship is and how much we value it.

We are going to meet.  It's on both of our bucket lists.  It's just a matter of time.

 She is a southern belle, who calls her Dad "Daddy" and her Mom "Mama" and who has that southern charm until of course you tick her off...which of course I never do, there is no way I could get mad at her although she has threatened me a few times usually over business, and she is a far more savvy business woman than I (as her shop will attest to!).

She is incredibly smart, creative, and her generosity is amazing.  She would help anyone who asked.  She is kind, compassionate, independent and an amazing friend.   It is almost like God put her in my path to give me the courage, and knowledge to pursue my art, for making it one day happen for me.

My friend is Beth Picard, owner and operator of GreatGraphics Design where she does amazing digital clipart and backgrounds, stop by her Facebook page and wish her a Happy Birthday, or take a moment to send one of your friends an email and let them know how important they are to you.

It is my friend's birthday.  I wish I was there with her to celebrate, but since I can't be there I am celebrating her with my readers, sharing the story of our incredible friendship.

Happy Birthday My Friend!

Have a FABULOUS Day!



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Today's is Mother's Day.
I wrote this blog about my Mom..hit the wrong key and it was gone...all my work gone with in a split second...which is not making my Mom's Day a very happy one...oh well.   Move on.

Because my Mom is so important to me I am going to take the time to try and recreate what I had wrote about her...

My Mom has taught me many things in life.  She has inspired me, she is responsible for my creativity.  Our home growing up was way ahead of its time, she had the design theme down even at a very young age.  What most of us strive to achieve later in life my Mom had it down to a science early on.   Our home was one out of a Metropolitan Home magazine, with our shag carpet and Henry Miller knock off couches, a fabulous rocking chair that is thankfully living it's life in my own living room, done in a bright turquoise color, super stylish.  The Henry Miller couches now redone, reside in my renovated basement.  Couches I love, couches I could never find today.  Her love of African art you can find in my home, with the animal prints, the masks, the animals themselves.  My small bathroom has a row of graphic design elephants trotting around the influence of my mother.

Her style carries over into her Fashion sense, she wears colors boldly, and her clothes are like wearable art.  Again an influence handed over to me.  I love colors, I love design, I love accessories...did I mention how much jewelry my Mom has...guess who also has a ton of it?  And wasn't it the two of us that took a metal jewelry class where my goofball mother nearly set me on fire with the blow torch in her hand.  And then we opted for something a little less dangerous...beading instead.  We made lots of jewelry to add to our own collection.  What do we buy each other for birthday's and

It was my Mom and sister who encouraged me to have a child out of wedlock.  It was the best decision I have ever made, and it was based on support I received from these two family members.  Support I needed to make a life changing decision.  I can't imagine not being a Mom, not having Max in my life, feeling his love for me and my intense love for my child.  Nothing else like it in the world.

I consider my  Mom my best friend.  It is her opinion I want.  It is she I dragged to IKEA with me to map out my kitchen, it is she that goes on shopping trips and art fairs, and psychic events.  It is she, that is the voice of reason when I am overwhelmed.  It is my mother telling me always how creative I am, how smart I am, what a good mother I am.  Isn't that the highest compliment you could get, to have your Mother tell you what a great Mother you are?

So today I celebrate my Mom, (although we celebrated together yesterday at IKEA) as she is off to Mac Island for a few days.  I think often we don't tell the ones we love most just how much they mean to us, so Mom, I know I do tell you quite often that I love you, but today I wanted to celebrate you, and all that you have taught me...things like ignore mean people, be independent, always defend your rights, always be grateful for what you have...well I certainly am grateful for you Mom.



Sunday, April 22, 2012

Time Spent with Friends

Spending time with friends is hard these days.  I mean, with everyone's busy schedules you don't have  much time for one of the most satisfying things of all...spending time with friends.

Time spent with friends is time well spent.

Last night, while in Canada, hanging out with our Canadian neighbors we had some great food, drinks and conversation.  It made me reflect back on the days before my parents divorced and how we would be taken to visits with their friends, or cocktail parties at our house.  All the adults huddled around laughing, eating drinking and reflecting.   At one point I even heard the comment "When we were your age we didn't have cell phones...."  and I smiled, relishing that some things never change, comparisons of now vs. then, hanging out with great people, laughing until your stomach hurts and wondering why you don't have more of these moments.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tonight was Parent/Teacher and child conference night.  Which once again, I was informed that my nine year old son has this bad habit of talking when he's not supposed to.     It is rather embarrassing to hear that your child isn't behaving properly in class and I asked "Is he the main problem" and she said "oh no, his friends are just as bad if not worse".  She tries to separate them but somehow they always end up near each other.

As a single Mom, although Gary (Max's Dad) is very involved in our lives, the week day discipline has to come from me.  And like most kids, their Mom's don't really terrify them. I mean the only time I was afraid of my Mom was when she uttered that horrifying sentence of "Wait till your Father gets home".  For those of you in my age group you may remember the cartoon by the same name.  Anyway, the mention of my father put me in begging/pleading I'll do anything you say mode, of which I never really got out of because when she got to that point there was no turning back.

His teacher did say he was a good student, and that he followed directions and applied himself, and that he had been doing really good up until about a month ago.  Had I known he was acting up again, I would have doled out some punishment but tonight I am struggling with it.  Being chatty is disrespectful and I told him that, he has to respect his teacher there's no question about it.    So we had a conversation in front of his teacher and then he apologized to her and promised her he would stop.  Upon leaving the school and on our walk home I told him, any further "Talkative" comments and there would be some serious punishment.  I felt that even though I took what his teacher said seriously, I had indicated that she should contact me, a quick email, if there were ever any issues, they would be addressed immediately.  So it is hard for me to think it is a huge problem because there was no communication and even on his progress report she had wrote it in almost as an after thought.    Max knows I can be tough, but tonight I wasn't feeling that way.  I made it clear no more would be tolerated, and that I would be checking in with her.  The threat is there, and he knows I will make good on it.

When I talked to some people about it...they said let it go.  Don't make a huge deal out of it, kids that age are just talkative.  So that's what I am doing...not letting it go completely, but not overreacting to it.  My kid is a pretty good kid for the most part.  I have to pick my battles and this one, well it's just not worth going over the edge for.  What do you think?  Am I being too calm about it?  Funny, I was never a talker in school but then again...I had the fear of the "Wait till your father gets home" to live with.

Here he is...that little chatter box!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I just really had the most wonderful few weeks.  A trip to Chicago with my gal pals for a weekend, lots of shopping, cocktails, chatting....great food, great company, great friends.  We were there for my big birthday weekend and yes I was there with friends that were younger than me but who kept the old age jokes quietly contained, unlike my neighbor who (many years younger) lives for stinging me with one of her old lady zingers.  Whatever, I can handle it.  I don't take it personally as she calls my beloved Schnauzer "Dead Dog Walking".  

After the weekend with the gals I headed out with my two favorite guys to Hilton Head.  Gary drove us first to Charleston because he knows how much I LOVE that place.  We stayed the night there, along with 40,000 runners who ran in a race the following morning and who definitely inhibited my shopping spree that I had planned.  We finally had to make a dart for it across the street or we would have been there for a good many hours.  

We left there, me happy that I got to spend time in one of my favorite places, and Gary and Max happy to be heading to our final destination Hilton Head.

The first surprise we got was our room.  It was a suite.  A lovely large suite that was like having an apartment.  With a great view of the beautiful beach and the pool below where we would be spending most of our time.  

If you have never been to Hilton Head I highly recommend you put it on your list of places to visit.  The landscape is beautiful.  Being a big tree lover I am in awe of all the trees surrounding the island.  And the buildings sit back as if not to take away from the gorgeous scenery.  Yes, it is a big golf resort, but I don't golf, and I still love it there.  It is also great for families and there are no spring breakers tearing up the beach, not that I have anything against spring breakers I was one many many years ago and had an amazing time.  But now that I am officially old...I really don't want to be hanging out with them...and I am pretty sure they don't want to hanging out with anyone over 21.

We had a lazy week of sun, swimming, pina coladas, naps, fabulous food and a tiny bit of shopping as Gary and Max are birth control for I may have mentioned in other posts.  We got home, we had the weekend to be gently let down and eased back into work and by 2:00 on Monday I was wondering where my Pina Colada was and my hammock.  Instead I had to settle for a cup of tea and head off to a meeting.

So on this vacation, or vacations I put on three pounds.  NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT...but well those Pina Coladas were definitely not fat free.  The weight gain, although not much, and I'll definitely be getting rid of it, inspired me to create some "guilt magnets" I drew a picture of my fridge, and then I acted as if the fridge were alive, and basically making you feel like crap for even thinking about opening it to check the contents.  Several of these are available at my etsy shop.  But here's a look at how they turned out.

I'm not much a night munchie person but Gary is...and I always tell him that eating late is not a good thing.

Here's another fun one:

So I'm thinking...put this on your fridge...and if you are anything like me you will feel guilty about opening that darn box...and who knows what may happen!

Happy Reading, Happy Blogging!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Life Lessons

So it's been a while since I have sat down to write a blog.  With my birthday soon approaching (a Milestone one), I have done a lot of thinking about what I have learned in  my almost 50 years here.  First I can't believe that I am turning 50, nor can my mother, I think she may be more upset about it than me.  I still feel like I'm 35..because I think it was at 35 I started to feel really comfortable in my skin....although at 49, my skin is not looking anything like it did at 35 and that's probably the one thing I really don't care for about getting older.  Oh that and that awful thing called Menopause...which hit me like tsunami.  Of the 34 symptoms I had counted 21 that I had in full force which I was totally not prepared for.  I credit my wonderful, amazing Dr. Paz with making me feel better.  And I'm sure Max and Gary would like to thank him as well as I was pretty much an emotional tyrant for a while.

I've learned in my years that there are lots of things I like, dislike, can't tolerate, want to do, dream about...

I'd like to be able to retire now.  I mean really.  If I could I would because as you get older your appreciation for time consumes you.   I used to look at time in years, months, now it's hours, minutes.   I try to utilize my time as  best I can but it goes by so is hard to wrangle it.    I do find that I don't do things I don't want to do (if I can help it and within limits) with my time.  I don't let guilt dictate what I do with my time.  Well only if it's my son making me feel guilty.

I still and it will never change, have no tolerance for bullies, and it bums me out that in 2012 not only do we still have bullying going on in the schools it is actually in the work place as I sadly must say have seen in my own workplace.   Bullies are just mean people.  They are typically unhappy people, they must be, because only unhappy people would choose to make other people unhappy.  It just breaks my heart and I am trying to teach my son to recognize and shut down a bully if he sees someone being hurt by them.  And I don't mean physically shut them down I mean notify someone, or verbally say something or move the victim out of the area away from the mean nasty  bully.  And bullies I have learned are everywhere including in families where pretty much it all if you know of a bully or you know of someone being bullied...don't sit  by casually and ignore it.  Step up.  A lot of bullies stop the behavior once they are called out on it.  

I will never have time to visit all the places in the world I want to go like Africa, Australia, Ireland, Italy, but I sure am going to try....

I have no regrets about not being married though I have been asked, interviewed, grilled, harassed, cajoled, about not being married.  I am fortunate to be with a man who has the same views on the subject, the same fears about it, and we have successfully had a child together, have remained together for going on thirteen years.  I will never have any reason to hate him, we will always do what is best for our son.  We do not have vicious fights because well we only see each other on the weekends.  We both live in two different countries and have homes in both that make it pretty cool for Max.   Don't get me wrong I did have expectations to get married have three kids and live happily ever after, but I'm a realist and the reality of marriage being "happily ever after" wasn't something I believed in because I had witnessed too many of them fall apart.  I witnessed my parents marriage disintegrate, and my sister's and most recently my brother's...could it be that our own parents marriage played a part...who knows..I think it did for me, only because I was afraid of that, of having kids, of putting them through a bitter I took a different path, and it is one I believe was the right path for me.  Now, do I want my child to get married?  Absolutely, because I do believe marriages are successful my Aunt and Uncle were married for 50 years, my neighbors in both the US and Canada seem to have healthy marriages (oh they have their moments but they all do!).  And Max gets to see these relationships, and gets to understand that families are different.  But for Max yes, I do hope to one day be at his wedding, and that will probably be the second happiest day in my life.

I've learned that friends are absolutely critical, they make all the difference in having a happy life.  I love love love my friends.  And I have also learned that you make new friends in unexpected places and some of the friends I have made recently have been the biggest supporters of my art work, they encourage me, inspire me, and are huge cheerleaders.
Friends truly get you through difficult times as I have truly found out in the last year, when the loss of Gary's Mother occurred, my father's battle with cancer, and my little sweet dog's passing.

Speaking of dogs,  I've learned that I will always have two, I will always adopt rescue dogs, as the two dogs I adopted were proof of how amazing  older dogs are.  The ones no one wants because they aren't cute puppies are the best dogs ever, because they are so grateful for being saved.  As much as Max would like a puppy, he knows that adopting rescue dogs is the best path for us to take.  Our little dog Chance is still hanging on, the victim of horrible horrible abuse, he is loved day after day, and although he can't see, and he has trouble walking, he snuggles with us, and eats, and keeps me up at night with his crazy sleep noises but he is are little animal angel, I think he senses how much we miss Finnegan and is trying to make up for it.

I've learned that I want to be an artist full time one day, I know that it's a bit late in the game, but it is a dream, and it may not realistically happen until I retire as I do have bills to pay and a child to raise, but it is one of the reasons I play the lotto regularly!  To be able to sit and draw and design all kinds of fun things would be my idea of heaven!

I've learned that your family is your family, with all their flaws, and weaknesses there are also their strengths, their unconditional love, their forgiveness, their support, their "I love you's", their quiet strength.  My family...dysfunctional like so many other families, have had their ups and downs, but through it all we stick together, because that is what you do with your family, you stick with them, you support them, you listen to them, you advise them, you love them.  You don't get to pick your family but you sure pick how you interact with them, how you support them, how you love them.  Even through some of the greatest challenges, we need to be forgiving.

I've learned that having a child at 41, was a bit crazy, but crazy in the best way  possible.  I love my child, I watch him change and grow daily, I get mad at him, I laugh with him, we work on his homework and read together, I play basketball with him, I watch him excel in sports, I answer his many questions, put up with all boy craziness, nag at him to quit being lazy and pick up his stuff.  But he is the best, the very best thing I have ever done with my life.  Children teach you so much...and I couldn't have asked for a better son.  

And so as I near the 50 mark with half my life being over it makes me reflect on all that I have, all that I have done, and all the more I plan to do.  And I Thank God, for giving me the life I have because it is truly one that I am thankful for.  

I'll be in Chicago the weekend of my 50th (Not the exact day) with some dear friends and then the following week Max, Gary and I will be having fun in Hilton Head.  Good things to look forward to as I near this Milestone, and all I can say is I sure am glad I made it and hope to hit a few other BIG ones!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Working on some new prints that I thought would be fun.  The first two depict two places I love, New Orleans and Chicago, two fabulous cities that I have been to and Chicago my old friend I will be seeing you in March celebrating a milestone birthday there!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I have to say, since I did that post and wrote that I wanted to sell 100 items on etsy this year...well I have sold 18 already.  18 may not seem like much, but it is only January 21st, and I wrote that post on January 10th, so 18 items sold already is AWESOME considering there were times I didn't sell that in a year.

My friend Beth was write.  Write it down, it will happen.  Now if that would just work with the lotto and some other things...

The year is off to a pretty good start and I'm learning how to do a better job of marking my etsy shop while also finding time to create!  Well back to the studio I have a few orders outside of etsy (so if you counted them I would actually be up to 25!  But I'm not counting them ;o)

Here's a funny little Valentine for you...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

This year...

As an etsy seller I often buy from other etsy sellers and I met a woman who has truly inspired me this year. I bought some clip art from her and she sent me probably one of the nicest emails I have ever received.  It was about my art, she went on to say how much she loved it, how it should be in stores.  Her email sent me over the moon during a time when there was a lot of stress around me.  It came right before Christmas, and was truly the best Christmas gift I could have received, well that and the fact that my father's surgery was successful, two fantastic gifts I will never forget.

Since then she and I have become friends.  We chat on the phone, we email, and she has given me a ton of great advice.  One of the things she advised me was to write a letter to  myself or a friend and put down what I wanted to achieve during the year.  She said she wrote one last year and amazingly a lot of what she wrote down happened.  I thought I should write it on my blog and then I could check on it a year from now and see how I did.

So here goes.  Some things I want to do, change, add, delete from my life.

I want to continue to enjoy watching my son excel in sports.  This past year was a fabulous year for us to watch our child grow and change and play football like it was nobody's business.  Gary and I really felt proud watching him take his team to victory.  It's an amazing feeling to have and honestly I never ever imagined I would be a Mom to a little sports fanatic, but I am, and I'm thrilled.  He just started basketball and football will follow...lots of practices and games in my future.

I want to get back on the work out track.  I HATE working out.  I know there are some people that love it I am not one of them.  I do love how it makes me feel and the energy I get from it.  it is truly amazing.  So I plan to exercise regular and keep my weight where it needs to be.  In 2011 I lost 13 pounds.  I have managed to keep it off and I plan on keeping it off by watching my portions and exercising!

I really want to research how to market my etsy business better.  I have had 158 sales and that makes me proud but I want to do better.  I'd like to get 100 sales this year in my etsy shop.  I'm hoping that with the economic recovery and some focus on marketing myself that  I will succeed.   It is an amazing feeling when I sell something it makes me really happy.  And I need to be happy because well it feels so much better than being sad or stressed and because I'm going to be 50 this year!!!

I need to read more, pack my lunch more often (so I can read at work), save money.  I want to get my kitchen redone this year and need to start socking a lot of money aside.

I'd like to take a Kelly Rae Roberts class.  She has some classes that will help me meet my above etsy goal but I need to save for them.

I'd like to be more passionate about my day job.  I have been struggling with feeling good about my job, perhaps because of all the stress in my personal life in 2011 carried over into my work life, but I need to get that love that I once had for my corporate job back.  I'm really working on that hard.

I want to read to my son every night, inspire him to read, give him the love and encouragement he needs to be a happy boy.  Tonight he's a little crabby (lack of sleep) so we are going to read and then off to bed he goes.  I love that little guy more than anything even when he has his crabby pants on ;o)

So we'll see how I do with all my goals.  And I'll be posting updates on them throughout the year.  So if you see this blog, do me a favor, check out my etsy website, make suggestions of something maybe you'd like to see created there.  Like my Facebook page, and follow me on twitter (SingleLMichele).  If you think your friends may like my art...send them my link and who knows maybe I will make that 100 sales target I have set for myself.  But if I don't I'm not going to punish myself.  It's a target, it's not a matter of life and death...I'm actually proud that I met one of my goals...writing this blog.

Thanks to my new friend Beth at GreatGraphics for she has truly been an inspiration (she is on etsy and creates some awesome clipart!).