Monday, May 31, 2010

Santa Fe Part 2

As I was saying....

My children are a delight to me. In the past 2 years or so, the stress of our financial situation has caused both John and I to worry somewhat and that worry has manifested itself in withdrawal from spending good time together. Our time spent together as a family started to become somewhat filtered through the lens of financial worry. The children sensed it and were told on many occasions, "We can't afford that." or "That's not in the budget." or, in an effort to keep them from worrying about our financial situation, come up with a "legitimate" reason that they couldn't participate in one thing or another, usually making it about them. "They" didn't clean their room or "they" didn't do their homework, or "They" were mean to their sibling 3 weeks ago on Tuesday at 3:32pm.

(I just want to say right here that the above paragraph was very therapeutic to me and it wasn't until voicing this on paper....well....on blog... that I realize what I, as a parent, was yoking my children with.)

Another trick to avoid a situation that is uncontrolable, is to sleep. I have been doing alot of that lately, as well. It started when I quit smoking back in Oct. of 2008. It was easier to get over the cravings for a cigarette when I was asleep. The sleeping worked to help me escape the desire for nicotine, so I figured it would work for whenever I wanted to escape something. So now the poor, overworried children have a mom that takes a daily nap.

One last trick I used to avoid worry, is to be involved in ALOT of things. I did pretty much everything asked of me or I volunteered to take on things whenever I saw a need. (Here is where things get complicated). Because the "extras" that I participated in were serving God based, the line between service and escapism and feeling neededism began to blur. I am all about God using seemingly bad situations for His good and I don't regret one moment of service to Him, because when I gave it to Him, it was His to do with what He wanted and I am blessed to be able to see some of what He has done with my menial service. That being said, though, He sees my heart and knows what my true motivation is at any given moment even if it is a mixture of many motivations at once.

It is within this service area that I feel so blessed here in Illinois. I have developed relationships that are life-affirming here. I have hopefully made some of the children at school a little less nervous about things that seem SO important at their age. I have hopefully had a part in helping some develop their relationship with God. (I know this may sound all "good for me" and all, but it's really just a thankfulness for God allowing me to help Him in his work by using different gifts He gave to me in the first place)

I'm going to stop again now, but I sense that I'm beginning to get to the heart of why I want to move to Santa Fe....so stay tuned.

Diane

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why Santa Fe and isn't this rather sudden?

Some of you may have heard that the Dolan family is planning on moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico in about 5 weeks or so. Although this is true, it's not 100 percent going to happen for sure. We do not have a signed contract on the sale of our home yet, so obviously if we don't get one, we won't be going to Santa Fe in 5 week's time.

If we do, however, get a signed contract in the next few days, the plan is to move to New Mexico before the summer is over. We will be starting a new life in a new place with new people. It's not that our life here, in this place, with these people is bad - as a matter of fact, our life here is fabulous and full.

"Why move then?" you may be asking. Each family member has a different answer as to why they want to move to Santa Fe. For the record, Mickey is the only one with a strong opposition to moving. He is very afraid that his friendships here will not be able to sustain the distance.

I can answer the question of why only for myself and I will attempt to do that here. It may take a few posts and I may contradict myself a few times, but it's sort of how I work things out. So welcome to my brain.

God has blessed me greatly in my life. Amen! In thanksgiving for His myriad of blessings, I've tried to always serve Him as much as I can. I have been given special gifts - as we all have - and through His power, have been able to use them for His glory. The opportunities to serve Him here in Illinois have been numerous and wonderful. My 25 or so years here have taken me from a scared, low-self-esteemed, self destructive twenty-something to a mature (I guess that one is up for grabs) life-loving, God-loving, forty-something who prides herself on being different and not so afraid to try new things, knowing that God is with me at each step. My children are a delight to me.

I have run out of time. I'll post again, soon.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Offer

Just a short update....we got an offer!!!

They would like to close on July 9th.

This means that we have very little time to figure out what we are going to do - Northbrook or New Mexico and I am PANICKING. I can't sleep. I don't know what the right thing to do is. We've waited so long for this - so long that it became unreal that we were selling and contemplating moving out of the state. It became just a "talk about" dream. But today, the possibility is so real that I can't connect with it.

Help me.

Diane

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A First Second

I got a call at work yesterday from our realtor, Marsha.  "How's your house look?" Someone wanted to see it in an hour.  I got me some coverage for the front desk for a bit, drove home, made beds, hid laundry, turned on all the lights.  The whole time I'm doing this, I'm saying to myself,, "Don't get your hopes up; don't get your hopes up; don't get your hopes up." 

By the time I got back to work, my hopes were up.

After work, I went for my evening run (okay, I don't really run, but it sounded good).  After work, I went for my 1/2 hour walk.  As I was returning home, I noticed a white Chevy with Missouri plates slowly driving by our house, pulling up to the front and stopping.  Inside was a woman gesturing toward our house to a man.  I knew right away that these were the people who saw the house earlier.  I said to myself, "I know that your hopes are up a little, but don't let them get any higher.  I know that this is a good sign that they came back to your house because you would do the exact same thing to a house you were interested in, but don't get your hopes up any higher."  To God I said, "Oh, Lord.  THY will be done, not mine."

I made dinner, took a shower and was getting ready for bed (I go to bed at 9:00) when John ran upstairs and said, "They want to see the house again in 25 minutes."  Oh no!  I was caught off guard; my hopes rose.  I mean, we've never, ever had a second showing and this was occurring in the same day!  I made myself become like a zombie who didn't really care in order to "show" the outside world that my hopes were not raised.  John, the children and I piled into the car and drove to Grandma's.  There we watched a very silly show on River Monsters and listened to Johnny spout out about how exciting this could be - the adventure that could be starting.  I remained calm and zombie-like as they all talked about New Mexico.  I allowed myself a little bit of excitement as I realized that New Mexico may actually be a possibility and I got scared.

We finally got the "all clear" call from the realtor at about 10:30ish.  I had asked her to get as much scoop as she could and report back to me right away.  This is what she got:  Transfer, their house is for sale and she wasn't sure if the purchase of a house here is contingent on a sale there, they both liked the house and the space, he is transferring here immediately and she (and the family) are coming at the end of the summer, staying at a hotel nearby.

That's where I am this morning.  I admit that my hopes are up and if it doesn't work out?....well....we'll try again next time.  I'll keep you posted.

Diane

Monday, May 24, 2010

This is what I'm talkin' about

Much to my delight and my husband's dismay, the weather has finally turned.  Right now I am sitting outside on the deck with my coffee and applesauce and I am not chilled in the least.  How glorious!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

When faced with the day, I sometimes get confused. I have no "time appointments" today, so I can juggle the day however I want. There are a few things that need to be done before tomorrow and I can list those, but when faced with a list, I get paralyzed as to what to do first. The thing is my list consists of things I have to do for the good of the family (clean house, laundry, clean out microwave) and there are things that I have to do for my own good (craft, craft some more, create stuff). In addition to those things I have some framing jobs that I have to do for the good of others as well as go over music for tomorrow's cantoring.

It's like a puzzle....what to do first, how to not get overwhelmed concentrating on one thing. Do I do a little of each and then repeat? Do I set my timer for 15 minutes and move between work and play (15 of work 15 of play)? Do I get all of the work done first and then spend the rest of the day playing? Do I play first and get it out of my system and then do the work in the afternoon? The problem with doing the work first is that it really never ends. There is always more cleaning, organizing, planning. It never ever ends so if I start there, I may get stuck doing that forever. I don't want that. If I craft and play first, I may delay the work and thereby causing John to have to do it all, which is not fair and will justifiably make him a little peeved.

As you can see, the options are unlimited. And it confuses me. And it paralyzes me. So I nap.

Diane

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Really scary dream last night

It was about a ghost. Do you ever have those dreams where things physically feel so real that you get really scared?

We were looking at a house, the whole family and I. We were in this house and all of a sudden the door started opening and closing by itself. That wasn't so bad, but it was a little weird. Pretty soon all sorts of things started moving around. I began to feel all tingly and paralyzed and anxious and scared. Everything looked like it was in a yellowish haze. I looked at my companions and it was obvious by the looks on their faces that they were feeling the same thing. Remembering every ghost movie I had ever seen, I started saying, out loud, "It's okay. Try to follow the light. We'll take care of everything. Don't worry. You can go now."

The ghost left and the yellowish aura vanished and I felt normal again. Relief.

I was thinking to myself, "There is no way that I could live in this house." John, on the other hand, was weighing the price of the house against the fact that it had a ghost. The house was such a good financial deal for us,that living with a ghost was not entirely out of the question for him.

Okay, now here I have to be brief because there is nothing more boring than reading about someone else's dream, but I felt that the next part was a significant part to the dream.

We were sitting in a restaurant discussing the house, when I started to feel all tingly and paralyzed again with the yellowish haze around. Someone at the table said, "I got her. There she is." I looked to where my companion was pointing and sure enough, the shadow of a figure was right there on the wall. She was BEAUTIFUL, with her face partially covered. I said aloud what I had known in my heart. "She is someone's mother and she misses her parents and wants to find them." The next thing I knew the shadow of a little old couple appeared. They were holding hands with each other. They led the beautiful woman out of the restaurant and we all felt normal, with no more yellow haze. The ghost, I was confident, followed her parents to where she would be happy.

I know, weird.

Diane

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Tap, Tap, Tap of a Typewriter

Many of you may not know this about me, but I hold certification for typing 110 wpm. Yup - 110 words per minute. I received my certification while at secretarial school. Yup - secretarial school. In fact, I did so well at the secretarial school that they hired me to be the secretary of their secretarial school. Yup - secretary of a secretarial school. I even hold certification for being able to take shorthand at 100 wpm. Yup - shorthand. (But I digress; I want to talk about typing)

However silly it may sound, I was very proud of my typing skill, and still am although with technology and computers and stuff, I'm pretty sure that 110 wpm is not that big of a deal anymore.

I learned to type on an electric typewriter, which was really cool because you barely had to touch the keys and the letters would engage - nothing like now, but you know what I mean. Before electric typewriters there existed these super heavy contraptions that you carried around in a case. The keys needed to be pressed quickly and with firm, staccato pressure in order to achieve clear images on the paper.

My two daughters are readers and as readers they have dreams of being writers and everyone knows that you can't write a real book unless you write it on a real typewriter. Typewriters are just way too inspiring. So, guess what we found at the church rummage sale? Yup - not one old typewriter, but two old typewriters. One is an Underwood and one is a Remington. Katie got the Underwood, because it was more old fashioned and Gracey got the Remington because it was more vintage.

The moment we got home from the rummage sale, they both opened their cases to try out their new, old contraptions. I, being tired from working the rummage sale lay down to take a nap. The Underwood (Katie's) came with two extra spools of ink and some really old typing paper. The Remington (Gracey's) didn't. Gracey grabbed some of the old typing paper from Katie's Underwood to type on. Katie didn't appreciate that. They started yelling back and forth. Grace wouldn't give the paper back and Katie wouldn't give the paper up. This went on and on until I threatened to take both typewriters back to the rummage sale. How can a person take a nap with all this arguing back and forth? Katie stormed upstairs after I said something about it only being a stupid piece of paper.

Finally, it was quiet. Katie was upstairs sulking and Gracey was sitting at the table with her Remington and Katie's Underwood paper. I closed my eyes again. Tap....tap..tap..tap......Tap..tap...tap Tap....tap..tap..tap......Tap..tap...tap Tap....tap..tap..tap......Tap..tap...tap...Tap....tap..tap..tap......Tap..tap...tap Tap....tap..tap..tap......Tap..tap...tap

Katie Rose, from upstairs, couldn't stand hearing the tapping. It was too much to keep her stance of injustice amidst the imagined fun Gracey was having with her Remington. It lured her back downstairs to her own typewriter. The next thing I knew it was taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap...etc. Both girls were happily typing away on their respective typewriters.

You may think that this was annoying as I tried to sleep, but it had the opposite effect. It was like a lullaby, lulling me to sleep - nothing but tapping and no arguing.

Amen

Friday, May 14, 2010

Crabby as crabby can be.

No....I'm not talking about me, I'm talking about my offspring, Katie Rose.  I thought I had PMS bad, but she hasn't even started menstruating yet and her PMS is way worse than mine.  If you are a praying person, please take a moment now to pray for Katie's future husband, that he will be able to be patient through these trying days of the month.

Amen

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Steak n Shake

Mickey and I went to Steak n Shake yesterday.  It was a little cold outside and we were in a bit of a time crunch as I had to go back to work, so we decided to go through the drive-thru.

We drove through the lane and stopped where the big menu was.  I rolled down my window and waited for my order to be taken....and I waited.....and I waited.  I looked around for the speaker and couldn't quite figure out where it was.  "Hello?"   "Helloooo!"

Thankfully it wasn't all that long before I realized that I needed to pull up a few yards to where the actual order taking place speaker was. 
"Oh, there it is.  I guess I have to pull up to order."

As I pulled up to the proper ordering space, Mickey began to giggle and I couldn't help myself either.  We both had a good laugh.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What I Learned on Mother's Day

What I learned this Mother's Day 2010 warmed my heart, so I'm going to share it with you.

A few days ago, I picked up Grace from school. She asked if we could take a friend of hers home and I said, "Sure."

(I just want to interject right here, that I wish I would have paid more attention when we were learning about quotation marks and writing dialogue in school because I seem to need it a lot in my posts.)

As Grace and her friend climbed into the van with all of their school stuff - back packs that weigh a ton and extra clothing and stuff - I noticed that Mary Clare (Grace's friend) was holding a painted pot with a flower. The pot was very colorful and said I love you.

"Ahhh, is that for your mom for Mother's Day?" Mary Clare nodded.

"Where's the one for your mom?" I ask Gracey.

"Oh, I didn't have enough money to make one," she replies.

We drop Mary Clare off at her house and as we are driving home to our house, one of the kids says, "Oh no! Mary Clare forgot her flower for her mom."

"We can go back and take it to her," I say. It's not very far away from where we are.

Gracey pipes up, "No, it's okay. I'm soooo hungry. I just want to go home. I'll give it to her tomorrow at school."

I'm thinking, "Okay, whatever."

Fast forward to the day before Mother's Day. I had the opportunity to stop at Starbucks and pick up a tin of my favorite tea. When I get home, I run into Gracey and give her the tin. "Hey, Grace. Here. You can give this to me tomorrow for Mother's Day."

"Whee," she replies.

I woke up early on Mother's Day, yesterday. When I went into my bathroom to brush my teeth, this is what I saw.


The note reads: Dear Momma, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! See? I made you think Mary Clare made that pot for her mom but really it was me! I am so clever. I hope you have a splendid day! Oh and your tea is there too. Hee Hee. I love you! Gracey

Here is what I learned from this experience....I learned to never give up hope - that what you think is one way is really not the way it always was. You know what I mean? Don't ever have a final judgment of someone. We grow and change according to our experiences in life; in how we act and react to the situations in which we find ourselves. We are never unchanging or unchangeable. That's what growing is all about. I don't mean to say that my daughter was mean or nasty or uncaring or any of those things. I knew that she loved me with all of her heart, but I also knew that I shouldn't necessarily expect her to outwardly show it. I get this, totally, and I love her for it. It's who she is....but what I learned is that it's not always who she will be. It took planning to set this all up. It was premeditated. Now that's outward caring! I could learn much from her.

I know - that's a lot to learn from a pot of flowers and a tin of tea.

Diane

P.S. I also received this from Mickey:and from Katie Rose I received the most wonderful helper in all the land, not just on Mother's Day, but on every day of the year.

From Johnny I received my very first "away from home" phone call on Mother's Day. That was weird.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Shipping Debacle continued...

Where was I?  Oh yes.  The nice lady in the post office line suggested that I go to UPS.  We have a really great UPS guy that delivers to our school.  His name is Brian.  I'm not sure why I didn't think of UPS first.  I guess I just thought that the United States Post Office would be cheaper, seeing as it is government, as opposed to a publicly owned company, which is all for profit. 

The people at UPS are SO very nice.  They tell me that my package will cost $28.00 to ship.  Although this is much better than the $68.20, it's sill way, way more than what I had expected.  The really nice UPS lady asks me a few questions about the item inside.  As I answer, she realizes that I don't need this big of a box.  If I can fit my item into a smaller box - more fitted to the item inside, she can ship it for $14.25!  Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about.  I ask her if she sells any boxes in the size that I need.  "No," she says to me,  "but right next door is a storage/moving business that sells boxes."  I am on it.  I drive the 50 feet to the next building where I am able to purchase the box I need for $5.00.  Okay, still need to order the Uline boxes, but it's much better than the $16.50 I've already paid for the first box.

UPS is open until 7:00pm and I want to ship today for the sake of my good reputation, so I have a couple of hours to transfer the Inspiration Board to the new box, print a new label, and drive back to UPS.  Things are beginning to look up.  I have persevered and am learning as I go.  Yippee! for me.

Once home, I begin the transfer, realize that I don't have enough shipping tape, run to Walgreens and spend $10.99 on two rolls and a dispenser.  It's okay, I'll use it on all of my future etsy sales.  I just need to grab some packing paper from downstairs - after all, we have a custom picture framing business.  It is when I take my first step into the basement that I realize that I am surrounded by boxes - not just any boxes, mind you, but the sort and size that one would need to ship a framed item.  Really?  I had the boxes here the whole time?  The older I get, the more I realize that I'm going to end up in a special "home" one day.

I am ready to print out another label - this time from UPS.  I'm a little nervous as I begin, but I can't chicken out now.  I know I can do this.  I enter the measurements of the box, enter the weight and wait for the total to appear.....$14.25.  Halleluiah!  I print, apply and drive.  Taking the package in, I'm still a bit gun-shy.  I give the package to the guy, and stand there.  "Can I help you with anything else?" he asks. 

That's it?  I'm done?  Everything's okay?

I email the purchaser of my first Etsy sale to let her know that the item has been shipped.  She emails me back saying that it is also her first Etsy purchase.  How sweet that we are going through this together.

Estimated cost of shipping:  $10.00
First Box:  $16.50
First Label from USPS:  $19.50
Second Box from storage/moving company:  $5.00
Packing Tape:  $10.99
Refund from USPS label:  minus $19.50
UPS shipping label:  $14.25

So my total shipping cost was about $45.  That's exactly what the Inspiration Board Cost and I lost money on my first Etsy sale......however, I have come away with at LEAST $45 worth of learning.
From now on, I'll list the boards at a shipping cost of $15.00.  I'll use boxes that I already have.  I have plenty of packing tape. 

I'm sure John can't wait for my 2nd Etsy sale.

Diane

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Shipping Experience - Part 1

No, I wasn't out cruising the seas......I was simply trying to ship my first Etsy Sale so that I could begin to earn a good reputation as an Etsy Shop owner.

Maybe you all know about shipping and don't need to read this post;

I'm always thinking that people who have items for sale on auction sites are trying to make a little extra money on the shipping part of their listings, so I want to be fair and not have the shipping amount scare people away from purchasing item, so I have already declared a $10 shipping charge on my Inspiration Boards over at MyAuntDotty.etsy.com. The item I want to ship is about 30" x 24" x 1.5". I arrived at this $10 by looking up on the Post Office site what some of my options were. I was instructed to use a formula to arrive at a shipping cost - measure length and girth and weight and date of birth, multiply by 2 and add 14.5, click my heels together 3 times and repeat "There's no place like home." That would give me the amount of shipping. So I did all that and came up with the idea that I thought $10 would be a fair shipping cost, so that's what I listed.

Once the item sold, I needed to get it out right away, so as to build my reputation as a good seller on etsy. I needed a box....oh darn, I have to go out and buy a box. I thought that the UPS store would be a logical place to by a box that would fit the Inspiration Board. After giving general dimensions to the clerk, he came up with a double walled box that would fit said item. (I knew that in the future I was going to order boxes to have on hand at home from Uline, but the timing was important on this particular shipping - good reputation and all. I said I'd take the box. He rung it up for me and it came to $16.50. ???? What???? That's already $6.50 over my listed shipping cost. Okay, it's just this one time. I'll eat the cost in order to build my good reputation. I still have profited from this sale on Etsy.

I take the box home, pack it with the Inspiration Board, add a nice little gift - I heard that you're supposed to do that on Etsy - and join the 21st century and decide I'm going to print out my own label from my own computer. I go to USPS.com to get my label. Again I use the formula and the least amount I can get away with paying is $19.50. ??? What? I thought it could go Media Mail, blah, blah, blah. Okay, I'll eat this because I want that good reputation. At this point I'm still breaking even on my sale. It's worth it for a good reputation. I'll just have to list a higher shipping cost on further Etsy listings. ( I love to learn as I go)

The package is all ready to go, label printed and applied. I take it to the Post Office on my lunch hour and am "pat-myself-on-the-back" surprised that there is no line. I take my package up to the clerk. I explain that this is my first Etsy sale, and I was wondering if she could check to make sure that I measured correctly and applied the correct postage......She measures the length and the girth and weight and date of birth, multiplies by 2, and adds 14.5, clicks her heels together 3 times, saying, "There's no place like home." and announces that it is going to cost me $68.20 to ship this box. ??? What??? I take back my box and figure I'll just buy a plane ticket to Houston and deliver the box myself for that kind of money.

Needless to say, my dream of being a successful etsy seller is slowly turning into a nightmare. I simply cannot charge $68.20 shipping on an item that costs only $45. A very nice lady in line - by now there's a line at the post office witnessing my humiliation - tells me that I should try UPS. I explain to her that it's my first Etsy sale and how I need to build a good Etsy reputation and that I appreciate her suggestion. I head over to UPS.

Tune in later for part 2. I'd better wake the kids up for school.

Diane

Monday, May 3, 2010

My First Etsy Sale

Hello all. Today is a great day. When I checked my email this morning, I had a notice that said that someone sent money into my PayPal account. It took only a second to realize that I MADE MY FIRST ETSY SALE. And, it's not by anyone I know in real life!

It makes me just want to list more and more stuff. I guess I need to make a widget (yes, Johnny and Gracey, and honey, I know what a widget is) linking my etsy shop to my blog. It may take me a couple of days to figure out how to do it, but don't despair, the widget will be there.

Diane

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day


If any of my siblings are reading this post, I would please like you to let me know if I am making it up or it is a true memory....

Did we or did we not, on May 1 each year, scour our neighbors' yards for flowers to pick and give mom? I seem to remember that we were supposed to give flowers to mom on May Day and then dance around the may pole. I recall some of the neighbors getting upset that we were picking their flowers.

And remember that great big May Pole we had in our back yard, all decorated beautifully? And remember how each May 1st we'd all wake up early and put on our church clothes, grab a ribbon and dance around it? (Okay, I don't remember that either, but there is such a fine line between crazy and pretend crazy that I was just curious to see if you all truly thought I was losing my mind.)

Happy May Day. Go dance around a pole today or pick your neighbors' flowers.

D