Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oh no, Papa! Not the cactus!

A few years ago, my dad gave me a miniature cactus for Christmas. It was one of my favorite gifts, and I was sad when it died (or broke, rather).

Last week, my parents brought over a new cactus. My mom put it in a paper bag, held it up to Papa, and said, “This isn’t for you.” She left it on the kitchen counter.

I came home to a torn paper bag. In the living room, I found the cactus, separated from its pot.

How did Papa remove it without hurting herself? I'm guessing she shook the pot upside down, though I'm open to other interpretations.

In other news, that orange ball is now retired. Papa ripped it and was eating pieces last week. I'm still trying to find non-destructive things to entertain her. New year, new efforts.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Video: Pearls for Girls necklace

Today I went to BeadStyle’s annual retreat, held at our publisher’s house. While we discussed videos, I was reminded of the one I did for Cool Jewels two years ago.

In another one of my better-late-than-never moments, I thought I'd share the video with you.

So take a peek if you want to learn how to make the Pearls for Girls necklace. It's one of the easiest projects in the book!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oh no, Papa, not the stash!

A few hours after I wrote about how much I loved my Secret Stash box, Papa broke it.

Instead of opening the latches, she chewed the box to get at the treats. Fortunately, she ate only a few cashews from a pack I had already opened. She couldn’t reach the chocolate.

She also tore the paper from the cover.

Oh no, Papa.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Apocalypse wow

When it comes to movies, I’m a late adopter. Or maybe even a laggard.

Movies feel like a waste of money unless they’re excellent. I tend to see one only after multiple friends recommend it or after I’ve completed exhaustive research — sometimes both.

So it was a surprise that I got to see The Book of Eli yesterday — on its opening weekend.

I had seen Denzel appear on The Tonight Show, but I hadn't seen a preview or read a review. I didn’t have a lot of time to plan and compare my other options. My choice was either see it or don’t.

The movie was fantastic.

Really surprising and thought-provoking. It didn’t hurt that I got to see it from a couch at the Rosebud while eating an assortment of fried foods.

Sure, it had its flaws. And it did get mixed reviews, some of which I'd agree with. It’s a stretch that iPods and designer sunglasses could survive 30 years post-apocalypse. And how did Mila Kunis’ character learn to drive? And how can people who never read be so articulate in their use of spoken language?

Ah, bygones.

I loved the surprise ending. Never saw it coming.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Oh no, Papa, don't be salty.

January always feels like a bumpy month: the promise of the new year, the dreaded head cold — a lot happens in a short time.

And Papa is off to a crazy start. When my parents and I went out for dinner on Sunday, she broke into the kitchen, shredded a bag of flour (and licked it so it crusted on the floor), sprinkled hard candies all over, and ate half of a cake left on top of the stove. (No photos — we just wanted to clean up and watch the Packer game.)

So here’s a photo of a less messy tableau. Sigh.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Want some of this?

Dinner at Katy’s house yesterday was tasty — and it was fun to eat with her husband and their two kids. Miranda, who’s 5, modeled her new tutu. And Christian, 2 and a half, didn’t want to eat fish or cheesy cauliflower but agreed to three crackers.

At one point, Christian and I were by ourselves in the dining room. Holding a half-eaten saltine, he turned to me. “Cracker,” he said. “Want some of this?” He is learning how to work the system.

After dinner, Katy and I exchanged holiday gifts. She and the kids decorated a plastic box filled with snacks: peanut butter cups, fruit rollups, nuts, sesame sticks, trail mix, dried mango, a Rice Krispie treat, and other yummy treats. It’s marked “Naomi’s Secret Stash.” (Some of those things are missing in the photo... it didn't occur to me to shoot one until after I ate a bunch of stuff.)

It’s a great gift, and I’ll be bringing it to work. If you stop by my office around 3:00, I’ll even share some of it with you.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolution 2010 and Yukie's visit

While Yukie was home, we made chocolate cake with mocha frosting, chocolate-covered peanut butter crackers, and chocolate mint cookies. I also ate fudge, truffles, peppermint bark, and all of the cookies Cathy gave us. Lots of chocolate.

Yukie and I rang in the New Year playing Scrabble, watching Community, and eating Brie. But we didn’t spend her entire visit in robes and cozy socks (here she is putting a pair on Papa).

While I was out, she fixed my unbalanced washing machine, rearranged my Tupperware cabinet, and ran a 5K. Impressive, yes?

So despite my chocolate hangover, I find myself starting 2010 with a lot of energy. Tomorrow I'll be playing tennis at the crack of dawn (or 7:30, for you morning people). And even though it’s cold, the days are getting imperceptibly longer. That’s reassuring when the temps are in the teens.

Life is all about how you look at things. In my attempt to think positively — and by this, I don't mean being cheerful, but seeing possibilities — I want to find ways to get my writing out.

One of last year's resolutions was about publication. Though I met it, I didn't have control over acceptances and that made me nuts. So this year, no declarations about my intended results — only about my effort. I've been thinking about how huge changes can happen with just a little extra effort. It works in tennis, so why not in writing?

Peter Vidmar wrote an article about how a little extra effort can bring results. About how a fraction separates the best from the rest. The premise seems simple until you realize that the best put forth that effort even when they don't want to.

My resolution: I’ll send out my freelance writing at least 12 times this year. Even if I send a rejected piece to a new prospect, I'll still be focused on writing and submitting more. This may mean finding time to squeeze in a few extra minutes of writing. Who knows how that extra few minutes will pay off?

I wish you an exciting year of changes — and of seeing the possibilities in things.