Monday, April 30, 2007

There ARE blogs more boring than mine

Sometimes when you have time to kill, it's fun to keep hitting "next blog" at the top of the page and see what randomly comes up. WAIT -- don't do it yet. Finish reading my post about boring posts. Oh, and be careful at work. I got one that said it was about the life of male prostitutes and while I was reading the fascinating title, I failed to notice that the guy in the large photo had his pants unzipped and his privates hanging out. And there were people behind my desk talking. And I didn't notice for possibly 45 seconds because I was reading.

I know I often have fairly boring blog items. Sometimes, like in the previous post, I realize I've been away and just want to catch people up on what I've been doing. But, dammit, I don't post things like, "I brushed my teeth for 2 minutes today. Usually I brush them for 1 min. 45 sec."

Here are a few that nearly put me to sleep (please, God, don't let these people see this post. I'd feel really awful):
Stock babbling.

News about Iowa.

Obsessed with procrastination. Lady drones on about the amount of homework she does or doesn't have. She appears to think people in her life need to know that she's not sure what time to meet her study partner and she really wishes she could find out -- oh and by the way, she took a nap yesterday. If you don't have anything to say, feel free to just post every few days.

Here's an excerpt from one that will make a copy editor cry:
"today school was okkay. was rather highh after exams. hahas. still remembered yeaterday i called jiaqi and asked her what she doing then she said something yet i heard that she was watching DABIAN : haahhs. then we laughed like mad in the phone just because of the dabian thing.. then last night had terrible headache. grrrr. cannot taharn sehs. lols. then yeas, sad thing :/ my stooopid message go bao. hahahs. actually bao very long liaos. ahhahahs. i just wanna crapp... today cst do maths with jingwen and mr ng. then at the end of CST he told both jingwen and me that our algebra very weak, needa brush up T.T yupps. thats end of today~"

She is 14. These are the future leaders of America.

I am still alive

I'm sure nobody noticed that I haven't posted for a week or so because probably nobody reads this blog anyway, but here's an update:

Started filling in as assistant city desk editor on Saturday. It wasn't as scary as I expected, but today is my first weekday doing it, which is when there are more people around, including bosses.

Got a bunch of orders! Right before I left for the ACES conference, I got orders for 4 bags. Then I returned and got to work. Just as I was finishing the last one yesterday, I got orders for 5 more bags for three people.
This is great for me, although I'm busy as heck because I also have to work and I have to make two garments for my design class finals. One of the garments is cut and ready to sew. The other needs a new muslin of just the back bodice. I have to unstitch the old back bodice and sew it all back together. I'm hoping those were the last adjustments and then I can cut the real fabric and sew.

On top of all that, I'm doing a craft fair this summer on two occasions and I need to stock up on items to sell. I am also going to Hawaii soon, so if anyone has any extra time to lend me, that would be great.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stalling in the sky: probably not good for your health

The final day of the ACES conference was busy. I went to three class sessions and then had to catch a flight. After the plane backed up, and then started rolling forward, it just completely stalled. I mean, all the power went off and the engine died. It was complete silence. I've never been on a plane and had dead silence like that. I don't mean the people, I mean the sound of the plane. The plane is always running when you get on.

Well, a few minutes later, it all started up again. And the pilots don't mention it. They just take off. All I can think is, what if that happens in the air in five minutes? Shouldn't they explain what it was so that we know that isn't an issue? I tried to reassure myself that the pilots are on this plane, too, and they probably aren't much more in the mood for dive bombing into the earth than I am, so surely they must be sure it's OK.

Nevertheless, I had what may be considered an anxiety attack. I'm not one for drama. I don't like to call attention to myself. I don't scream and carry on when I am afraid. I just sit there and slowly have a heart attack or stroke or aneurysm. I believe I had all three. My heart palpitated for hours after that, but at the beginning, my blood was just pumping so hard that I knew I'd get a migraine if I didn't calm down. My stomach felt kind of sick.

It didn't help that the man across the aisle, one row up, apparently was terrified of flying. Usually, when something scares me on a flight (say, turbulence) I look around at other faces and feel better that they look perfectly normal. Well, every time I got scared, this guy would look petrified. So then I would feel worse. The guy, by the way, was the tannest man I've ever seen. He makes Bob Barker look like Nicole Kidman. I couldn't stop staring at him, which was freaking me out for multiple reasons.

I already had only 45 minutes to get off the plane and get to another terminal to catch my connecting flight. Then we were 10 minutes late. I figured I'd never make it, but this is cool:
Knowing some people couldn't make their next flights, they took aside all the ABQ and Portland passengers just as we stepped off the plane and were in the tunnel thing. Then they opened a secret door there and we went down some stairs to the Tarmac (AP used to require this to be capped and I can't let go). There was a bus waiting and they drove us straight over the tarmac (trying to let go -- that wasn't so bad!) and we climbed the stairs and got right on our plane!

I figured there was no way they could get our luggage over to our next plane that quickly, but they did. I have to give kudos to American Airlines, aside from the stalling planes.

I am not making this up

Day 3 in Miami was OK. I was too wiped out to really feel like trying to go anywhere on the lunch break or anything, but the one thing that kept me going was the chance to see the keynote speaker at the evening banquet. That speaker was Dave Barry, syndicated humor columnist from the Miami Herald. He no longer writes a regular column, so I have been Barry deprived -- get it!! Maybe I should take his place.

I went downstairs at 6:45 and everyone was crammed outside of the ballroom for cocktail hour. I couldn't spot anyone I knew and it felt very uncomfortable, so I fled back to the safety of my room for about 45 minutes. I figured if cocktail hour started at 6:30, the ballroom would open at 7:30. When I came back at 7:30, all the tables were full and everyone was eating their salads. I had to sit at the very back of the room. This is what my view was like:

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Luckily, I could hear him, even if I couldn't see him. And he was hilarious. Worth the whole trip, I tell you.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

When you live at 5,000 feet and then you go to sea level, you can drink A LOT and not get drunk!

Read my title. It's not a good thing, actually. It means you spend too much money on drinks.

Anyway, when I came back with money and a drink, our table had filled. There were lots of interesting people. As I talked about my job, I began to feel a bit embarrassed. It seems that other copy editors read 8-12 stories a night and do a really thorough job, but we read 30-50. They asked how we could possibly be doing a good job. I replied that maybe we weren't, but what choice did we have if they didn't let us hire someone? They also made fun of the fact that we still use Xyrite, an ancient DOS-based program that uses "coding." Coding means that instead of clicking on a headline box with your mouse and typing, you have to type all these weird keystroke combinations to tell the computer what font and size and width. It's rather time-consuming, so add that to the fact that we read way too many stories, and you see the difficulties. I am not complaining about my job, I was just surprised at how different it is other places.

Anyway, three of the women at the table invited me to Miami Beach that night. I thought that meant, you know, a beach. I was ready for sand and surf. What it meant was an area with lots of revelers. It was really fun, though, and I bought a really cute dress. My dress comes just past my knees, which was about 3 feet longer than most of the dresses people were wearing in Miami Beach.

We had a drink and some snacks and went back to the hotel to prepare for the next day.

There's only one place on earth where a seminar on diagramming sentences would be standing room only

Day 2, Miami

- Marched downstairs and demanded a new room. Was told there aren't any.
Me: "Nobody's checking out today?"
Her: "Well, other people are coming in."
((Thinking: Uh, I'm already here. Give me a good room and give them my room.))
Her: "Come back around noon and see if there's anything."
Me: "Are you going to put me on a list?"
Her: "No."
Me: "I can't go through another 2 nights of not sleeping."
Her: "Hold on."
((holding on))
Her: "Here you go, room 1126."
((How hard was that?!?))

Then I registered for the conference. This day was probably the hardest because I was so sleepy. Also, I took a class about polls. Sorry, but that's boring. I know it was useful, but it was boring. I took a few great classes, and I was actually most excited about the diagramming sentences class because I just couldn't remember how to do it. The class was packed with enthusiastic grammar freaks. I felt a little inferior when people were talking about predicate transitive nominative gerund modifiers. I mean, seriously, their names for things would go on for that long. And I had no idea what they were talking about. I guess I need to do some grammar studying. It's not too much to expect a copy editor to know these things.

That evening was the cocktail event. I walked in and felt uncomfortable because I didn't know anybody. The last time I went to one of these, I think they didn't have tables, so you had to stand alone or awkwardly force your way into someone's circle. I was relieved to see they had large tables, and it's much easier to join in that way. I saw that most tables were half full. But at one there was a guy all alone. I felt very sorry for him, because as a shy person, I know that easily could have been me. So I joined him and we chatted for a few minutes before I went to go get some money for a drink.

This leads to my next post.

Went to Miami, didn't see no stinkin' sun

I had the privilege of being sent to Miami for the ACES (American Copy Editors Society) conference. This is primarily a group of newspaper copy editors, but also copy editors for private companies and government.

In the interest of not scaring you away with an endlessly long post, I will break it up into several.

This is Day 1:
- Got up way too early. Traveled all day. I left my house at 9 am and got to my hotel almost 12 hours later, although there is a time zone difference.

- Needed to pee, but there was someone else's pee on my toilet seat. I called and asked for someone to clean it and left for dinner. Nobody ever came and I had to call again late at night. I didn't care to sit on someone else's urine -- call me picky.

- Dinner was bad. I had no car, so I had few options. I went to an Italian place at the hotel next door. It seemed pretty authentic, since nobody there spoke English very well. I misunderstood the menu and thought I had ordered a nice filet of tuna with a salad. What I got was a salad with paper think slices of raw-looking cold tuna underneath. The serving was enough for a mouse, but I wasn't that hungry anyway. I hate cold fish or shrimp.

- Went to bed but didn't get to sleep because I was put right next to the elevators and was woken up about 20 times in the night.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Freecycle: Something cool and weird

Have you ever heard of Freecycle? There are lots of localized branches and it's a place online where you either post what you want, or post what you want to get rid of. You can only give it away or take it for free. No bartering or exchange of money. It's kind of cool, but I have to wonder what some people are thinking.

Here is one I came across that was posted April 7:

"A half can of Country Choice multi grain hot cereal (expires late this month).
Himself doesn't like it, but it's fine.
A couple of small tubs of what Himself calls "granola dust" and doesn't eat.
Nothing wrong with it (and it's not actually dust, either, just not huge

I won't even go into her Gollum-talk. But then I wanted to see it again because I thought it was funny, and when I searched for granola, I got this post by the same person from last year (July 8, 2006), so clearly this is not fresh granola crumbs:

"A quart or so of cranberry-orange crunch granola. Himself has decided he only
likes the big chunks of granola, so when it gets down to what he would call dust
(I promise you, this isn't dust--more like regular cereal size), he wants to
throw it out. I rescued it before he got to it, in case anyone would like it."

Now, I live with a packrat, so I am aware that some people have a hard time throwing things away, but how long are you going to try to force your crappy, ancient granola dust on poor innocent strangers? I suppose if you're the type to scour the Web for free granola crumbs and then waste the gas to drive across town for it (or more like ride your bike, you hippie weirdo), then maybe you deserve it. And hopefully Gollum-lady won't steal your jewelry.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cat rule #1

Always pick the most uncomfortable place to lie down. Also, if there's any item anywhere on the floor, barf on that.
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Friday, April 13, 2007

I'm in business!

It's official: Burst of Happiness is now a real business.

I went to the N.M. tax department and then to what I think is City Hall, though I'm not really sure. It was cold and rainy and I didn't look at the official building name.

Anyway, one thing I've often felt about New Mexico is that people here are downright rude. There's a large part of the population here who think that customer service involves ignoring someone for as long as possible and then looking them up and down and giving them a stare that implies, "What the *&%$ do you want?" Sometimes I just stand there until they say "Can I help you." I am then happy to respond even though it's usually not said in a very polite manner.

Why am I talking about this? Because when you deal with the government, you're expecting the worst of the worst. You're expecting New Mexico attitude times 100. But out of the three government employees I dealt with today, all were incredibly nice, helpful and friendly. And I hardly waited in any lines. I was shocked at how smoothly everything went and how friendly the workers were. TGIF, perhaps? I don't know, but it was all-in-all a pleasant experience!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

This Web site would be perfect for my dad

Do you ever type in Web addresses just to see if someone actually has a Web site called "(fill in the blank"? Well, I just typed in and lo and behold, it sorta exists. It seems to be one of those advertising things, but apparently I'm not the only one with this great idea because the hit counter says 185,840 visitors.

By the way, Dad, I would like to know if you made up the following or where they came from, if not (the chicken butt thing reminded me; you'll see why later). Because I walk around singing/saying things that get strange looks from people and I always forget because they just seem normal to me. You know, because you taught them to me growing up. Yeah, you. The guy who painted pictures of chopped off hands with rats chewing on them.

OK, here they are:

Wienerschnitzel, Wienerschnitzel, dis must be de place. Just come right in and stuff a great big hot dog in your face!


Chicken squat behind a pot get it while it's hot


Mama's lil babies love shortnin' shortnin, mama's little babies love shortnin' bread. Two lil babies lying in bed, one is sick and the other's half dead.
(it's the last part of the song I'm wondering about)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Temporary promotion

As we all know (all two of my loyal readers, anyway), I have been pretty focused on my business, Burst of Happiness.

In real life, I'm a newspaper copy editor. Once upon a time, I was young and ambitious. Now I'm kind of young and not very ambitious. I graduated from college late, at 25. I started my first newspaper job at almost 27. I felt like I had wasted my entire life and was practically ready to retire. Now, at 33, I feel like I've been a copy editor for eons and have 30 more years to kill before I can retire.

Now, let me be honest. I like my job. I love my coworkers and I even love my bosses. Our assistant managing editor has been good to me and he's someone I like a lot. I feel like he's an ally in my future at the paper. I am not kissing butt here, because I don't think any coworkers know about this blog and it's unlikely anyone will happen upon it.

As I was saying, I do like my job, but lately I've been thinking about how important it is to enjoy your life outside of work. Work takes up a lot of your time, and it's important that you have other things going on that you enjoy. For me they are Mark and my sewing. So I haven't been thinking much about where I want to go career-wise at work.

Last summer, my direct boss's job was open. It was rough for a while because it remained unfilled. I finally applied just because I had been filling in several times a week anyway. That is probably what gave the idea to the higher-ups that I have hopes and dreams of moving up (not that I don't, but I guess I it's not something I think about a lot).

Yesterday, I was called into the managing editor's office. I think I looked terrified because she told me to quit looking so scared. She said that since two assistant city editors quit at the same time (one retired, one moved with his wife for her job) that they need some help and they'd like me to fill in for 6 weeks. She said they already discussed it with my boss.

Needless to say, I was completely surprised, but also very honored that they thought of me. It is a management job, so it's nice to be considered. I am scared of doing something different because I've settled into my comfort zone, but I think shaking things up is exactly what I need. I can learn something new and see if I'm interested in it for the future, or I can find out I much prefer what I do now and feel refreshed when I return.

I start in two weeks and return to my regular duties 6 weeks later!

Don't call me a fat face

What's the worst part of having a cavity? (Assuming it's small and your whole tooth isn't rotting out.) It's the fat feeling face you have for hours after getting it filled.
That's why on Monday I didn't get a shot when I had my tooth filled. And guess what? It DIDN'T HURT. At all. It's a trick, that shot they give. I don't know what the hidden agenda is, but you don't need it.
Alright, you might need it if it's a big cavity, but if you're going for your regular dental checkups, you shouldn't have a big cavity.
I feel so brave. Be brave with me and forego the fat face.

I'm a beautiful star

You've probably been to My Heritage before and done the face recognition thing, right?
Apparently I look Asian. This is OK by me as I was always jealous of my aunt's Japanese family.

But then, even when I use the bucktooth picture, I'm still a beautiful star!

I mean, Scarlet Johansson?!?! Jessica Alba!?!? Why did my parents spend so much on braces?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Google girl

You know when you use Google to search for something and to the right of the search results are some little ads? And usually they are useless, but sometimes they are good? Well, I bought one of those ads. I am experimenting to see if it will drive any traffic to my site. Basically, you pay a $5 startup fee and then set your monthly limit. My limit is $50 and I hope to God it wouldn't cost me that, but I think it might not cost me $1. How it works is, depending on your monthly limit, they do some math and figure how much time per day your ad can show. Then someone has to be searching for your key words at that time to see your ad. In other words, your ad won't pop up at any old time.
Then, if someone clicks the ad, you pay 10 cents or something. I will be interested in whether it works even once, but we'll see. It's worth a shot. I did find my ad once, but I'm glad I didn't click it after all because then I would have charged myself.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Really, it's going to be pretty someday

This is my flat pattern design class project. It will be a fitted shirt dress made of this yellow and white seersucker (or perhaps the wanna-be plisse. I haven't done the secret test I learned in textile science to see if it's genuine):
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But for now, it's made of muslin and it's actually coming along well. I know that may be hard to see, but trust me. There are some complicated concepts to a button up shirt that I am not completely ready for. This dress is just pinned together in front, and one sleeve is more finished than the other. Also, the sleeves are poofing up quite strangely the way I'm holding my arms. Remind me not to stand that way when I wear it!
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In the picture below, my arms look deformed. But they are quite normal in real life, I promise. You can see that along the shoulder blade region I have a bit of fabric pinned up. I don't know where that excess came from, or how to get rid of it, but that's what my instructor is for. I also have some weird pointy butt seam going on, which is also pinned.

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Overall, here's what needs to be fixed (I'll come back to this post when I lose my notes):
1. Armholes are a bit too tight
2. Need elastic around sleeve bottoms.
3. Back bodice is shorter than front bodice.
4. Back bodice has weird excess along shoulder blades.
5. Butt has weird pointiness in seam.
6. Skirt front has extra 1/2" along open seam -- take off.
7. I don't like what the button stand does from bustline to collar.
8. Add 1" to hem.
9. How to sew on collar so there's not an ugly seam?
10. How to sew on a cap sleeve so there's not a seam allowance showing under arm?
11. Hips fit perfectly, but I doubt I can sit. I need to add a bit of ease.

I guess there's more work than I thought! But if you compare it to the outcome in this blog post, you'll see a bit of progress!

Easteryiffic totes and purses

Yes, I know it's a bit late for Easter bags, because by the time you get them, Easter will be over. But they are still Springeriffic, too. Click on any picture.
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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Making it official

I'm taking the steps to make Burst of Happiness an official business. I have applied for a state tax ID, which I need to do the arts and crafts show this summer. Then I'm going to go for the city license and whatever else. I'm actually really confused about all the things I need to do, which really irritates me because I'm taking a small business class online through SFCC and I am not learning anything. I have tried asking my instructor on the posting boards but have not received an answer.
For instance, I don't get what a CRS number is. You'd think you could Google it and get an answer, but I have and I still can't figure out if it's the same or different from a state tax ID number. I emailed the Small Business Association in the area about setting up an appointment, but they have not responded. I also emailed the city about the steps I need to take. They have an email listed on their Web site for these types of inquiries, but apparently everyone just sets up emails that they don't ever read or respond to. This happens a lot in my life.
I guess after I get my tax ID response, I'll physically go to the city building and talk to someone.
Still it's exciting to be taking these steps and see where this whole thing takes me.

Do cuter fabrics exist?

My thing right now is fabrics that are in coordinating colors but different patterns. I am going to design some new patterns, as well, of purses and totes.

My business picked up. I sold three things in a week! I know that was probably a fluke, but it was great. That's six things since mid-December, but I guess these things take time. I've been promoting more through business cards. Lots of etsy sellers accept business cards that they throw in with their sold items, so I've sent some of those out and also some with 10% off coupons. I also leave a stack of cards at places where I see they let people do so. I have been handing them out to friends who know a lot of women, also.
Every time I post an item for sale, I also cross post it on my blog, on my myspace page, on the etsy myspace page and on

Ultimately, it would be great if I could make this work to the point that I could work from home for a while if we decide to have kids, but I don't have high hopes for that. That would be really hard to do because there are only so many items one person can design and sew in a day, and to make what I make now, I'd have to sell A LOT of things every day. And I could never keep on top of making that many things.

I'll also be doing a craft show this summer, but I'll post more on that later.

On the other hand, I was exploring some Web sites with purses and totes and they are priced very high. Perhaps when I get established I can sell my stuff for a lot more. We'll see. For now, it's off to the sewing machine. I ditched school today to sew -- both for my school projects and my business.

My husband, the bargainer

Brief update on my earlier complaints:
The hot tub is fixed. The pipes were full of air and it got "airlogged." That is not covered under warranty, but he convinced the guy not to charge us.

He called Directv and let them have it. They offered to send us a refurbished DVR/receiver for $20 shipping and we could install it ourselves. He got mad and they transferred him to someone else who is giving us: A brand new DVR/receiver; free installation on Saturday; and they will take our old one and install it for us upstairs in our bedroom. Even though it doesn't record properly, it still allows you to pause and rewind live TV, and let me tell you, once you're used to that, regular TV is a major inconvenience. I mean, you have to pay attention while you're watching it! What the hell!?!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Why must we choose between our luxuries?

I get very lazy about maintaining the hot tub in the winter. I hate winter and avoid going outside as much as possible. Last week, Mark decided to drain it and clean it out, for the first time. I've done it all the other times it needed doing. I told him exactly what to do, and I don't know if something weird just happened or if he did something weird, but after he filled it a few days later and turned it back on, it just quit working. It wouldn't heat up and was making an awful sound.

But before we noticed it wasn't working, we did notice the satellite TV wasn't working. As soon as the hot tub was fired back up, the satellite went bye-bye. Mark finally made this connection after spending quite some time on the phone with the satellite people. During this conversation, they had him reset the receiver completely. I'll get back to this.

After he hung up, he started to wonder if it was related to the hot tub having been turned back on that day. They had both run simultaneously all this time, but who knows. He then discovered near the breaker box a plug that kept popping out the reset button. When he pressed the button, the satellite would come on for 30 seconds and then the button would pop back out. Eventually we gave up and went to bed, because without TV, what is there to do? (Well, there's knitting and reading and other things, but when you are really tired, those aren't options.)

The next day the TV started working, but I had to turn off the hot tub, which by now hadn't warmed up at all and was making an awful sound. Initially, I wondered who the a-hole neighbor was using such an annoying sounding machine. Then I realized it was us.

Back to the reset problem. Our entire recording to-do list was deleted. When we went back to reset them, it wouldn't let us set several of the shows. You can choose one-time recording or series recording. For instance, American Idol on Wednesdays let us record series, but it didn't pick up Tuesday's like it should. So we tried to set that one too, but it won't let us. It did this with about half of our favorite shows. It said that last night's Idol was set to record, but then it didn't record it.

Oh, and yesterday I waited around all day for the hot tub guy and he never showed up. So now, no TV shows, no hot tub. Life SUCKS.

p.s. hot tub guy just arrived. Life could start to improve!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Did I mention I was productive this weekend?

I got home from work Saturday night around 11 p.m. and then sat down and made these before bed:

I really love this little purse. I got the fabric from the remnants bin for a great price (remnants means it was the end of the bolt and just little pieces left. They then discount it). These two fabrics were just piled in there, but they looked perfect together!
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It's not clickable because it was given as a gift, but I still wanted to share it.

I also made this tote. I love the bamboo handles. It was inspired by my friend David's mom, who I have never met. But he was talking about having me make a bag for her for Christmas and then he pointed out some things she liked and I thought this would be the style.
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I would name it after her, but I don't even know her name!