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Six Weeks and Counting October 23, 2007

Posted by angieland in Chatter.

I quit smoking six weeks ago today.  I still miss cigarettes like a long lost friend.  I mourn their passing like a jilted lover or grieving widow.  I can see someone smoking, and the longing for that first deep inhalation is a physical ache.  Don’t get me wrong….95% of the day, I don’t even think about it anymore.  But that other 5% is tough.  I think I’ve managed to get over the “habit” aspect.  I don’t catch myself reaching for where they used to lay anymore.  I don’t have to have something crafty in my hands all the time anymore to keep them busy.  But there are still those moments…..fewer and farther between, thank goodness…..that I can actually taste the menthol, and feel that “high” that comes from that first deep drag from a freshly lit cigarette.  I wonder, will I ever stop missing that?  Or is it like hearing a song that reminds you of your first love……will that longing and melancholy be with me for the rest of my life?  I wish I was one of those lucky people who quit and then the smell of cigarette smoke just makes them physically ill.  Instead, I’m the one who’s likely to be caught outside with everyone on their smoke breaks, standing close just to get a second-hand whiff.  At least I would be if the temptation weren’t still so strong.

But six weeks is a cause to celebrate, right?  A friend who’s been a non-smoker for almost a year now, asked me the other night what I was gonna treat myself to for my six month anniversary.  Honestly, the thought hadn’t even occurred to me, as its sorta been one day at a time for me.  But after thinking about it a few days, I wondered…..do I really have to wait that long to celebrate my success??  Or should I be celebrating each day that I’m smoke free?  What could I do for myself on a daily (or even weekly basis) to reinforce the knowledge that what I’m doing (or NOT doing) is a life-changing good thing?  Maybe I should just start saving what I spent on cigarettes each week, and at the end of my first year smoke free, take a fabulous trip or buy myself something special.  Hehehehe…..or maybe get my teeth whitened.  LOL!

I’ll think about it.  But for now, each day that I don’t smoke is a reward in itself.  Hard-earned, but rewarding just the same.


Lost in Fiction October 15, 2007

Posted by angieland in Books, Chatter.
Tags: , ,

What is it that causes a really good book to “grab” you?  I’m in the throes of one of those can’t-put-it-down nail-biters, and its really beginning to interfere with my production.  Chores are going undone.  And sleep?  Fuggetaboutit!!  Yet I know that as I race through the pages, hurtling ever onward toward the much anticipated climax, the finishing of a book like this is always a bit of a sad thing for me.  When you spend so many hours involved in the lives of these characters, they often become a part of your life…..a part of your consciousness, (at least they do if the author has done his or her job well), and its constantly amazing to me to realize how sad I am to see them go.  Luckily there is always a new story, with new people ready to take their place.

My characters this week are from a novel by Dean Koontz called “By the Light of the Moon”.  Alternately laugh-out-loud funny and heart-breakingly poignant, its a thrill-a-minute suspense ride that I’d happily recommend to anyone.  Just be sure you’ve got your chores caught up and don’t need to be in bed early before you start it!

Learning new Tricks October 9, 2007

Posted by angieland in Beads, Chatter.
Tags: , ,

I just love finally learning how to do something that I’ve been curious about for so long.  It was that way with knitting……I’d watched my mom do it for years, and when I finally sat down and learned for myself, I was so proud!  My skills never advanced to what I’d call more than beginner, but just being able to cast on and knit a simple scarf with a couple of twisted cables was enough to satisfy me.  It was the same with bead crochet…..once I got the hang of that, I must have crocheted hundreds of bracelets in different colors and patterns.  As for beadmaking……well we all know that’s an obsession I won’t outgrow anytime soon.

 But what makes hot glass so interesting to me is the fact that there are always new techniques to learn, and if I live to be 200 years old, I’ll never really feel like I’ve “mastered” them all.  But…..this weekend, I did get the opportunity to finally learn how to make something I’ve wanted to try for a long time.  My friend Jodie of Ruskin Designs came for an all-too-short visit, and she’d just been at a glass gathering in Ashville.  As it happens, her demo was on off-mandrel pendants in soft glass!  So she graciously agreed to teach me the technique that she’s perfected.  I know I have a long way to go before I’ll feel like I’ve truly mastered it, but for my very first try, I was pretty pleased with the results!

I was so excited to finally learn how to make these, I’ve got another one in the kiln tonight!  I think Jodie’s created a monster.  And after I’ve done a few more in soft glass, I’d like to start trying a few in boro as well!

A Woman of a Certain Age October 7, 2007

Posted by angieland in Chatter, Philosophy.

That’s apparently what I’ve become.  According to my doctor, my dentist, and virtually every fashion magazine and television show out there, I’m supposed to be reaching that point in my life where everything changes.  Now what I want to know is this…….Why didn’t somebody warn me this was gonna happen 10 years ago?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not a complete idiot.  I knew gravity would become my enemy, and that a really good hairdresser would become my best friend.  I knew that the liklihood of lipitor, fiber tablets, hormones and vitamins, along with plucking and trimming and exfoliating, would eventually become a part of my daily regimine.  What I didn’t expect were the constant  reminders that I was “ripening”.  Being called “Ma’am” by every grocery bagger and bartender; being told to get used to little aches and pains;  having my insurance rates go up at what seems like monthly intervals.  Are these just some form of twisted torture for the middle-aged crowd, or does society genuinely feel like once you’ve passed the age of forty, life as you know it is over?  Well then I say, “So be it!”  I’m beyond ready to embrace my inner senior.  Bring on the AARP membership, early dinners at Denny’s, and the Ensure cocktail with a prune juice chaser.  I figure as much fun as I’ve wrung out of the first half of my life, the next half will be a blast!  I’ve already got my son, the mechanic-in-training, trying to engineer a way to customize my power chair, and I figure with the assistance of some super absorbent Depends, I’ll be able to drive that sucker cross-country!

 Why am I even admitting that this phenomenon called “aging” is happening to me?  I mean really…..aside from my girlfriends who’ll be reading this, none of you strangers out there would even know how old I am.  (Forty-three, and proud of it, by the way!)  I guess its because my son turned 18 today, and I’ve really been pondering exactly where the last 18 years of my life disappeared to!  They’ve been an adventure, and I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way.  But my dearest wish is that maybe…..just maybe…..he’s learned a little something about embracing each day with a positive attitude, and a determination to wring as much joy out of it as possible.  No matter how old he gets to be.

Songs of Mass Destruction October 4, 2007

Posted by angieland in Chatter, Music, Pop Culture.

I’ve become a product of the snippet age.  I love good music, but rarely purchase “albums” anymore.  With the instant availability of 99 cent songs from itunes, napster, etc., its become too easy to sample songs off new releases and buy only what we like the best.  I’ve fallen into the habit of doing that very thing, partly because I rarely find cds full to the brim of good music these days, and partly because I have so little time for brick-n-mortar shopping that its just easier to have the songs I love delivered directly to my computer.  But yesterday, I treated myself to an impulse buy that really paid off.

I don’t know how many of you are fans of Annie Lennox, but she’s one of my favorites.  Not just a singer, she’s an artist in the truest sense of the word.  Not only does she have the voice of an angel, she also has a “Voice” in her music.  A voice that speaks of our world, and especially the experiences of women.  Mostly women of my generation who have taken some hard knocks, learned some hard lessons, and become better, stronger people because of it.

Her new cd, “Songs of Mass Destruction” is no exception.  Expertly crafted from beginning to end, it had me dancing on a “Dark Road” one moment, celebrating the power of “Womanhood” the next, and fondly remembering stolen moments on a “Coloured Bedspread” the next.  Most impressive of all is the track, “SING”, on which Annie has assembled a monumental female choir of two dozen celebrated singers, ranging from Madonna and Pink to Gladys Knight and Bonnie Raitt.

 Celebrate the weekend by spending $15 on yourself for eleven of the best tunes I’ve heard lately.  Then you’ll want to go back and buy extra copies for your mom, your sister and your best friend so that they can enjoy the magic, too. 

Good Things October 2, 2007

Posted by angieland in Chatter, Friendship, Philosophy, Quotes.

Some of my online girlfriends and I play this game sometimes called “Five Good Things”.  Everyday for a week (or sometimes more), we all list five good things about that day.  The purpose of the exercise is to remind ourselves that no matter how crappy our day feels, there are always still things there to be thankful for, and if we focus on the good things, the bad ones don’t feel quite as traumatic.  Sometimes we have to dig deep to find five things, but if we’ve learned anything, its that practicing this sense of gratitude for the simple things makes us not dwell on the rough stuff so much.

 I’ve had one of those good days today, where five things would just be a beginning to my list.  It seems to have been one of those days where the planets were in perfect alignment to drop things in my lap that made me happy.  I got my hair colored the most gorgeous shade of Addison Montgomery-Sheppard red.  My desk was completely cleaned off when I left work.  Mother and I got a huge order for beads from one of our favorite clients, who also happens to be a gifted artist herself.  I submitted photos of my beads for publication for the first time, and they were accepted.  Adam came to visit B.W. for a few days, and seeing the two of them together reminds me so much of my youth spent with Marte that it makes me feel positively young again.  One of my customers asked me today if I’d lost weight.  (I haven’t, but that’s beside the point, right?)  I got a box of glass in the mail.  And best of all??  One of my friends made me feel very, VERY special today by saying some wonderful things about me. 

Remember that post I made earlier this week about doing something kind for someone special in your life??  Kaye did that for me, and I’m sure has no idea (until she reads this) of just how much it meant to me.  And the best part is that all the things she said about me, are exactly the ways I feel about her.

So today, I want to take that challenge even a little bit further.  This week, you should make it your mission to do some act of kindness for someone who isn’t regular presence in your life.  That random acquaintence, or total stranger.  Look for opportunities to make someone’s day better, bolster their self-confidence, or perform a service that will make them both grateful and curious about who did them a good turn.  I’m a huge quote collector, so here are a few to inspire you to search out those small ways you can improve the life of someone around you.  Pass them on!

*  Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns. *  Author Unknown

*  Real generousity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.  *  Frank A. Clark

*  Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.  *  Mother Teresa

*  The little unremembered acts of kindness and love are the best parts of a person’s life.  *  William Wordsworth

*  Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear, and the blind can see.  *  Mark Twain

*  No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.  *  Aesop