The Craft-Challenged Sappy Chick


Somewhere I read an article about how bloggers shouldn’t address posting absences because that only magnifies the fact that they sometimes go long periods of time without posting.


I got a little sidetracked. It happens. But I’m here now, and that’s what matters, right?

I got sidetracked getting some other things in order. Some stuff happened at work — nothing bad, just some rearranging of duties. And then I found some websites (I blame Pinterest!) about getting organized — as in closets, offices, and finances. And I was like, “Oooh, shiny!”

Have I actually done any organizing? Um, not really… Well, the finances, yes. Closets and offices? Not a damn thing…

One of the websites I found talked about getting organized with time management, finances, home management, and meal planning, and I got all excited at the binders and cool fonts and colorful dividers. Then I realized how much crap they’re printing out and dividing and designing and writing down and putting together, and I passed out from exhaustion. I mean, that’s too much freakin’ work. Organizing should not be that hard or time consuming.

One woman had no less than six printouts of finance and budgeting worksheets. Granted, she did say that what works for her doesn’t work for all, and that’s good. Because I took one look at all those printouts and said, “Eff that.” Think of the trees! What I did was create those printed spreadsheets in Excel and have separate tabs for the sheets I found useful.

While I love making lists and writing journal entries and stories with pen and paper, the fact is that I just don’t really have crafting skills. I have no desire to create binders like that. Heck, even the appeal of scrapbooking is lost on me. At college reunions, my former classmates heave binder after binder stuffed with colorful paper, cropped photos with scalloped borders and stickers up on tables for others to see what their families have done. I pull out my phone. I know women who drool over the newest Cricut model. I drool over the new iMac and writing or design software.

I would much rather scan all those photos in the computer and lay them out in InDesign on backgrounds I created in Photoshop with graphics I altered in Illustrator.

The one atrocity that remains from my craft attempts in college...

Behold! The one atrocity that remains from my craft attempts in college. Yes, I wore this in public, but not since 1993.

When I was in college, the trendy craft was decorating sweatshirts and sweatsuits with puff paint and iron-on decals. Mine were hideous — the decals always peeled up at the corners and the paint flaked off. I got maybe two or three wears out of them.

Maybe I would feel differently if I had kids? I kinda doubt it. My mother was never much of a craft person. She sewed a few dresses for me when I was younger, and she usually had to hem my dad’s pants, but that was about it. My grandmother was a seamstress in a shirt factory, and my grandfather took up woodworking in the years before he died. My brother has also become quite the woodworker, starting out with homemade guitars and moving on to beautiful trinket boxes that have me nagging him to open his own Etsy store. So there’s bound to be some sort of craft-like genes in my DNA somewhere, but I haven’t found them yet.

These days, I’m lucky if I can get a button sewed on and lined up with its corresponding hole. I can cook you a mean spaghetti dinner complete with garlic bread that will have you salivating, but please don’t ask me to darn your socks or hem your pants.

Wordless Wednesday: Watchcat


Wordless Wednesday: Watchcat

2012 in Review


A cold, rainy day here in Upstate SC provided the perfect opportunity for me to look back on my 2012. All in all, it wasn’t as eventful as 2011 but not nearly as sucky as 2010 — or 2008 for that matter — but I find myself comparing years to 2002. For some reason I look back on that year as a great one — perhaps because I was finally writing on a full-time basis and we had just bought our first house. Things just seemed more promising — although things aren’t bleak right now. I don’t know. I suppose I spend too much time comparing years instead of trying to make the current one the best it can be.

When January 2012 began, I really thought we were in for a lousy year. Our 11-year-old shepherd/collie mix, Domino, had just been diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, elevated liver enzymes, and diabetes. In the first two weeks of the year, we dropped at least $700 at the vet. Yeah, happy New Year to us. Combine that with my dark-thirty toilet demolition on New Year’s Eve, and I pretty much decided to just go stick my head in the sand until December 31st.

But we bought a new toilet tank, and Domino’s liver enzymes stabilized in February so that we wouldn’t have to fork over $200 for those meds every two weeks. Plus we all got the hang of the twice-daily shot routine, so things started leveling out nicely.

At the end of March, despite the lack of training, I did my second Cooper River Bridge Run — which I vowed never to do without training again, especially since I might have to toss a bitch into the Cooper River.

It took me until April to actually post on here again — and even then, it was a blip of a conversation between Cinlach and me. I’m trying to change that frequency, but more on that later.

I hit the big 4-0 in May and celebrated with a party at a local pub. Some friends came, we had drinks, we played Rock Band, and we almost burned down the bar with my cake (kidding!). I think a good time was had by all. And then the next week I came down with my first verifiable case of food poisoning. One of my friends (this chick) and another coworker took me out to eat for my birthday and let me pick the place, so I chose one of those hibachi places. Here’s a fun fact you might not know: Rice has a naturally-occurring toxin that is released if not cooked/stored/reheated properly. Who knew? I sure didn’t, and apparently the hibachi restaurant didn’t either.

I’m still wary about rice, and I haven’t been able to go to another hibachi place since. It’s not that I’m necessarily afraid of getting food poisoning again, but you know, once that comes back up on you, you just don’t have the appetite for it.

We went to the Heroes Convention in June — its 30th anniversary — and Stan “The Man” Lee was there. We didn’t pay the buttload of money to stand in line to get a pic and autograph, but he did show up to the artists’ auction on that Saturday night.

In July, I finally sat down and gave a real post: a tribute to my friend Carmen, who had passed away in December 2011.

Also that month, I delved deeper into geekdom and started doing some D & D type role playing stuff. Right now, the coolest things about it are painting the figurines and collecting the neat-looking dice.

The hard drive to my iMac died in August, but luckily, I have a back-up external drive and an Apple Care plan. So I didn’t lose too much stuff, and there was no charge to replace the hard drive. Ironically, two months later, I received an email from Apple about the hard drive issue that encouraged owners of iMacs to go ahead and back up their stuff and go get a new hard drive. Thanks, Apple.

August also brought a few tense weeks for us in that the company Cinlach worked for was not renewing their contract with a huge client, so we didn’t know who would pick up the contract and if he would have a job with them and if he did, would said job be here in town? Lots of hand-wringing and back-up plans being made.

But in September, the new company was announced and decided to hire him — as well as keep operations in town — so we dodged a bullet. That same month, I signed up for several fall 5k events to start training for the Cooper River Bridge Run. My first event was the Race for the Cure; I finished in 1:04:49. I felt pretty good about that since I’d been walking diligently for a couple of weeks.

I kept improving in October with the Upstate Step Out to Stop Diabetes, finishing in 52 minutes, and the Spinx Run Fest, finishing in 57:50. Also in October was the International Day of the Girl, which I observed with a letter to my 15-year-old self.

In November, we went to see Kevin Smith at the Peace Center, and we had awesome seats on the second row. He says he’s coming back this year, and the husband and I plan to be there again — thoroughly enjoyed his stories. During this month, I also ended my freelance gig with LivingSocial. Well, I actually didn’t, they ended it and hundreds of other freelance gigs (no doubt in an effort to conserve costs). On the one hand, I’m gonna miss the money. (Boy, am I gonna miss that money.) But on the other, it did take up a lot of time from my own writing — whether for this blog or for my own fiction.

December brought one final 5k, the Furman Flatlander, which I finished in 57:24 — thanks to help from Kaylin and her urging that we beat the whiny girl who kept lagging behind her mother. My husband and I also celebrated our 13th anniversary. We went to a lot of hockey games. The world didn’t end. And the holidays flew by in a blur.

So here I sit on January 1st, the last of my eleven days off — the longest streak I’ve had since being laid off in 2008 — plotting and planning for my 2013. I do plan on posting here a lot more often now that I don’t have daily deal copy for LivingSocial, and I ‘d like to build this thing up more. A few years ago I had quite a few regular readers and commenters, and then I got slack and things just sort of dropped off.

I leave you with a video slideshow of some of my favorite 2012 photos. Happy New Year, y’all!