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New Dishes January 17, 2008

Posted by angieland in Chatter.
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6 comments

I’ve decided that new dishes are the best gift you can give yourself and your family.  My after-Christmas-gift to myself this year was a new set of Pfaltzgraff dishes.  I mixed-n-matched between two different patterns.  Nuance in Red, and Evening Sun.

 sunflower dish

red dish

I can’t begin to tell you how good it makes me feel to open my cabinets now.  Sometimes I’m just walking through the kitchen, and have to detour just to open the doors and make sure they’re still in there.  And don’t let the pictures fool you…..I got more than a couple sets of plates.  I got salad plates, appetizer plates, bread plates and individual entree plates.  Salad bowls, pasta bowls, desert bowls, and soup/cereal bowls in not one, but TWO different sizes.  Then there are the 20 ounce mugs.  That’s right….TWENTY ounce mugs.  Those aren’t made for coffee….there made for tomato soup!  LOL!  Serving pieces, platters, gravy pitcher.  I was a bad, bad stoneware buying girl.  And when I’d bought all I could justify getting myself, I created a gift registry so I can spam all my loved ones a month or so before my birthday.  I swear……dishes are as bad as beads……when I get started, I just can’t stop!

 And poor Bubba…..when all those boxes showed up on the doorstep, he thought I’d lost my mind.  Of course I tried to convince him that my buying spree was all his fault.  You see….he’ll graduate this year, and be moving off to college.  But try as I might, I couldn’t quiet get him to believe that I only bought the new dishes so he could have my old ones and not feel guilty about leaving me with nothing to eat from but paper plates.

But lemme tell ya…..in the last week or so, he’s decided that new dishes might not be such a bad thing.  Because they’ve had this strange, unexpected effect on me……I’m now just looking for excuses to cook!  And I don’t mean a bowl of soup or a frozen pizza.  My goal is to make as many courses as possible so that I can use as many different pieces as possible in one meal.  Soup, salad, pasta, main course, desert.  And let’s not forget the bread and olive oil, because we have plates for that, too!  Who knew that a few pieces of earthenware could change a girl so much??  The last time I can remember feeling so satisfied with something I’d treated myself to was when I threw out all of my old underwear and bought new.  Hmmmm…..plates and panties.  Not sure I see the connection, but they both certainly gave me the same “rush”!  😀

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Ch-ch-ch-changes January 13, 2008

Posted by angieland in Chatter.
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Yep, I’m back!  Didja miss me??  Believe it or not, I didn’t slide off the end of the earth.  No excuse really for not blogging.  I think I just sort of hit a roadblock…..well a few of them actually…..and needed to take a little “time-out” from some of the self-imposed duties and obligations that were slowly taking over my life.  I’ve done some private journaling lately, as opposed to public blogging, and have asked myself some of the hard questions about what direction I needed to be going in.

I’ve come out the other end of this self-analysis, with the realization that I’m often my own worst enemy.  A chronic over-acheiver, I’m usually the hardest person in my life to please, and often fall short of my own expectations, or at least completely wear myself out trying to meet them.  So while most of the world has been making resolutions to get more organized, accomplish more goals, work harder, volunteer more, blah, blah, blah, I’ve been scaling back.  My resolutions for the new year have much more to do with being more forgiving of Angie.  Not expecting (or demanding) so much.  In fact, I vowed to give myself at least two Saturdays or Sundays off each month.  I’m going to see at least one movie in a theater each month…..an activity I used to really enjoy, and now seldom do for lack of time.  I’m going to work less, and have more fun.  Superacheiver Angie accomplished a lot…..but I was finding that she wasn’t much fun to be around anymore.  So I’m turning over a new leaf.

And it seems I’m not the only one making or at least experiencing changes in my life.  A lot of my friends are going through similar self-evaluations.  I don’t know if its something in the water, or the cycles of the moon, or if maybe its just contagious, but a lot of people close to me seem to be shaking things up right now, too.  Some of us will be happy with our decisions…..some of us will wish we’d never questioned the status quo, but all of us will know that at least we were brave enough to take that leap of faith and try something different for a while.

So now that my path to self-discovery seems to be at a rest stop for a bit, I think it might feel good to get back in the blogging saddle again.  Wanna tag along??

Six Weeks and Counting October 23, 2007

Posted by angieland in Chatter.
16 comments

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.
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4 comments

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.
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9 comments

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.
3 comments

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.