Monday, April 30, 2007

Sales and cars

I sold my first pair of earrings to someone I don't know!!!!! Well, the person approached me and asked if I'd trade a pair of earrings for stuff in their shop. So while I didn't make any money on the deal, I did get some new supplies :) I appreciate everyone's support in helping me with my jewelry. It's a big step to have some unknown stranger on etsy with like 400 transactions want to buy/trade with m. I suppose it's going to take a while before someone else buys something, but I feel like I'm on the right track!!!!

Seriously, I have been pretty successful in selling my earrings. I've sold 28 pairs since the end of February (in two months). I've spent a LOT more on supplies :) Still, I'm pleased with the positive response to my creations.

In less positive news, someone slashed a tire on the Mazda (our old car whose lease is up in July) and two other cars in our parking lot. Sigh. It cost us $225 to get a new tire, which, according to the policeman, was a too much. We did file a police report and contacted the landlord. I'm really annoyed by this. I remember hearing some people outside louder than usual on Saturday night (when the vandalism occurred), but I figured it was just people... not hooligans. Of course two of the cars with slashed tires are in poorly-lit areas, and I'm pretty sure that our landlord won't be rushing to light them. It would also make sleeping more difficult if it was brighter.

We live in an ok neighbourhood, and it bugs me to think that people are doing vandalism like this. I feel kind of violated, in a way, and I'm certainly angry. Who wouldn't be? How can stuff like this be stopped?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A typical Sunday

A while back I was having problems after I ate where my stomach would hurt. That happened again today. I'd forgotten just how much my stomach could hurt in that situation. I hope that this trend doesn't continue; I take Nexium for it, and if it still ends up being and issue for the next few days, I'll have to see my doctor. Like I don't have enough reasons to see him :)

We watched recordings of Drive, a new show on tv. It's pretty good; it's about an illegal cross-country race across the US. It looks like it'll be good. While we were watching tv, I made beaded fringe. I thought it would take less time than it has been taking. I am making progress, thank goodness, and it looks gorgeous. I'll be glad to be done.

We also spent a bit of time getting some things for the show. I bought some small paper bags in which to put my sales as well as a receipt book thingy. I got some labels, too, for the price. I'm excited about the show - I can hardly wait! I wonder how my things will be received? I'd love to sell out; that would be cool. Then again, I'd have to get busy and make more things for etsy. Selling out is pretty unrealistic, though. My goal is to cover my costs of the show only. If I do that, the show will be a success for me.

If I like this show, then I'll think about doing another one. Maybe :)

I'm in a treasury! (and a showcase)

Although I've made my own etsy treasuries before, I don't often get featured in them. Today and for up to the next two days, I'm in this treasury. :)

I also am in a Showcase today until midnight. Interestingly, it's the same item as is featured in the treasury :)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sleeping and movies

I don't know what's wrong with me, but I got up at 8am, went back to sleep at 10am, and slept until 3pm. So I got about 14 hours of sleep and I know that I could have slept more if Ian hadn't woken me. Part of it is probably the icky weather, and part of it is probably that I have had an unsettled tummy for the last couple of days.

We stayed in tonight and took it easy watching movies. The first movie we watched was For Your Consideration, which is a Christopher Guest movie. If you don't know Christopher Guest, he makes satires of real-life situations. His films are usually quite funny. "For Your Consideration" was panned by the critics but we both thought it was funny. I think even if you aren't familiar with Christopher Guest's style of filmmaking you would find it funny.

The second movie was Stay Alive, which is a horror movie based on a video game. Basically, the premise is that the lines between the game and reality are blurred. The movie and effects were pretty good. There were some torture situations and violence, of course, but the movie was quite compelling. I stopped doing the hand-beaded fringe while we watched this movie so that I would know what was going on. I'd recommend this if you like video games.

Friday, April 27, 2007

One of those days

We went to IKEA today. I'd wanted to get a few things and to check out possibilities for the craft show. I read somewhere that it's better to light up jewelry at shows, if possible. I don't know whether or not I'll have a power source at the show, but if I do, then Ian's mom has lent me a few lights that I can use to highlight my jewelry. She also lent me some other LED light thingies. I also bought some crazy IKEA lights; if I have a power source then I'll light up the whole table. :)

We also bought some useful things at IKEA - like magazine storage things for my Burda and Threads magazines, trays on which to do work that I might want to move from room to room, a clock for my work area downstairs, and some glasses. It was a fun trip; I like IKEA once in a while.

I don't know if any of you read in the paper, but apparently here in Canada, if some cancer drugs aren't funded by the province, then people can buy them on their own? At a cost of up to $34K for treatment? Sure, if people can afford it, then that means that they're getting drugs before they're approved here instead of going to the US for treatment.

But what if, like me, a person can't afford it? Several of the drugs on the list are ones that are used for metastatic breast cancer, and I don't know if I'm going to be able to get those drugs when/if I need them. How much does that suck? The two-tier health care system has begun - and while I don't begrudge anyone going and buying better care, well, I don't think that anyone should HAVE to pay for better care. I'm also scared to be on the poor side of the equation.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

One of those sleepy days

Even though I bought stuff at Fire Mountain Gems yesterday, I ended up needing to buy more stuff today. You'd have thought that I would manage to buy everything at once, wouldn't you? :) Oh well. I needed the stuff.

I think I worked too hard at Well-fit yesterday because I was pretty sore today and I slept most of the day. I got up around 10:30am, did bloodwork, and went back to bed at 2pm until 5pm. I managed to get to bellydance, and it was fun, but I'm exhausted. Maybe it's the rain.

We're watching Robot Chicken right now. It's very funny, compelling, and silly at the same time :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bead shopping

Some people don't like Fire Mountain Gems and Beads because they've had problems with them.... but I got a notice from them that they added a bunch more things for only $1!!!! So I bought a bunch of $1 things and two strands of some things that were pretty inexpensive. I can't wait to get them!

I also bought some beautiful briolettes from lindatrent on etsy today. I swear I could have bought out her entire store.... I loved so many of the different stones that she has. I'll stick to the, uh, 5 things I bought :) If only the pictures would work, you would see for yourself.

Yes, it looks like etsy is doing things to their image servers and/or switches. Once in a while an image comes through, but most of them aren't loading. Sigh. They were fine before.I know they're trying to make things better, but I wish that they'd made an announcement that they were doing maintenance. They haven't put anything up on etsy or on the etsy blog, either. Should I expect more? Am I being unreasonable?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Craft ideas

Ok, I'm still excited about my treasury :) Oh! I got a spot on April 25th's Showcase, too! Check it out :)

There is a trend happening where people create treasuries where if you buy something from one of the featured sellers then something of yours can be featured. Personally, I think the spirit of the treasury is to curate items for a collection - it's to sift through all the items and find things that either apply to a theme or appeal to you. Treasuries that meet that criteria and have superb photos can be featured on the front page. I'd like one of my treasury creations to be there :) .

Ian and I went looking to find some things for the craft show. We found some plate holder thingies at Pier 1 at 75% off (so $5.50 each) that will be perfect. They're black, very elegant, and very simple, which is what I wanted. I didn't want the display fixture to overwhelm my jewelry, and I think the choice we made today was a good one. I'm really happy that we were able to find something from which I can hang both necklaces and earrings. Plus it was super-cheap, so if it turns out that I don't like them or I find something better, well, I haven't wasted too much money. :)

I've decided that I won't use my business cards for the craft show because they have the wrong proportions and too much writing on them. Instead, I'll create small cards (like the standard earring cards) and use them instead. Of course I'll put business cards with every sale, however many those are :) .

Another treasury!!!!!

I managed to score another etsy treasury, where I pick items that I like. I hope that someday my picks will be featured on the front page :) My treasury is active for two days, until about 4pm, April 26. For your viewing pleasure, it's here. Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Custom work and more etsy

I've been working on this custom purse for the last little while. You can see some information about it here - the second photo shows the colours and fabrics I'm using. The design is subtly different from the first sketch, because I realized that some things wouldn't work well as originally planned. Anyways, I've started both the top beading and the fringe and oh my goodness this purse is beautiful. I can hardly wait to finish it, and I know I'm not going to want to give it to the person who commissioned it :) I did undercharge the person who commissioned it, which is a bit of a shame, but I'll consider this a bit of a labour of love.

Etsy is starting to work a bit better now although they've still got a lot of work to do. Apparently they had planned out the upgrade and did charts and everything, but all that planning wasn't enough for it to work well. I know how things can go wrong - I remember a revision control system that went down for 12 or 16 hours and we couldn't fix it. Of course the administrator (I was the handy assistant) wasn't skilled in the art of administering this particular system and had made some crucial newbie mistakes at the beginning :)

I can't help but wonder if maybe the technical folks at etsy need some more training to manage the complex system they have in place now. If they do, I hope they have a big training budget for the next year :) I know they're working hard and doing the best they can; I just wish I knew that their best was a trained and/or experienced best. Either way, I'm sure the system will be back up and running well soon enough.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


You may have noticed that the picture links over there at the side weren't working. That's because etsy was down. They wanted to do system maintenance, add a couple of servers, and fix up their network infrastructure. Etsy went down at 12:30am April 22 and was supposed to be up by 4:30am.

Etsy didn't go back up until 4:30pm, and the site is slower than it was in the first place. Apparently they ran into problems when they did their system upgrade - I know very well that this can happen. I am sort of wondering whether they had done adequate testing before they started this process. They said that a lot of things went wrong and they weren't prepared for that.... which leads me to believe that they weren't adequately prepared for the maintenance.

The site is still much, much slower than it was before the maintenance. I expect that they're going to have to take the site down again to fix some of the issues. I know that etsy is supposed to be this big community, but they've grown beyond what they could handle before, and I'm not at all convinced that they have the right training to handle a site as big as it is. They didn't even have a "we're doing maintenance" message up on the domain until 9am. Lack of a message like that strikes me as unprofessional. And while we might think that it's no big deal to have an error at 3am EDT, there are sellers and buyers from all over the world on that site.

I'm not a big seller on etsy - I've sold a few items, thanks to the support of my friends and family (and I appreciate each one of your support), but if I was, I expect I'd be even more annoyed with etsy. Their site was down for the better part of today and it's still not working; buyers won't necessarily understand. I like the community feel of etsy and the fact that it's pretty cheap to list my stuff.... but I don't like the technical problems they're having.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Creative Sewing and Needlework festival

I had a great time at the CSNF today :) I bought a small selection of beads there. One thing that I found annoying was that not all bead vendors labeled the strands of gemstone beads with the stone type. I won't buy anything unless I know what it is, because I need to label my jewelry with the stone types. These vendors did NOT get my money.

Of the ones that did get my money, I bought some Swarovski crystals and pendants, onyx, agate, crystal quartz, and some lampwork beads. There were some beautiful, beautiful, expensive gemstone briolettes that I didn't buy :( They started at $45 for an 8" strand (about 20 briolettes), which was too expensive for me. There were amethyst ones, garnet ones, tourmaline ones (those start at $150), and the list goes on. Maybe someday I'll work with that kind of quality gemstone, but I'm not ready to do that just yet.

I also bought some absolutely beautiful blue silk charmeuse fabric. My friend said that it looked like rain... it's so very pretty. I don't know what I'll do with it, but it was too pretty to pass up. I got it from the MacFab booth, and the next time I'm in Toronto I might just need to stop by their store. They had silk velvet that I really wanted, but it was quite expensive. Oh yeah, and I bought some Tear-Away for use in beading and/or embroidering.

I did see some interesting (and some not-so-interesting) jewelry displays there, too. I've got some ideas about what might work; the best display was a two-part wire divider thingy. It was elegant and beautiful and effectively used the corner space. I don't know that I'll find one of those, of course.

It wasn't too busy when we went, which was good. I'm glad I went, and am looking forward to going to the big show in the fall.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What a beautiful day in the neighbourhood...

It was such a beautiful day today! The sun was shining, there was a light breeze, and the sky was a perfect shade of blue. I didn't really go outside today, of course, but it was lovely. I have hope that summer is finally coming :)

It's supposed to be really nice this weekend... which is good. I'm going to the Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival tomorrow morning as well, and the drive will be nicer if it's nice out. I hope there's lots of interesting things there. I know that there will be some bead merchants.... I may end up buying some things. It depends on what they have, of course. There will be lots of sewing-related merchants, and they may have interesting things for me as well. And of course I'll be keeping an eye out for interesting display ideas. I can hardly wait - it feels almost like Christmas eve :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bellydancing again!

As you can see below, I got another treasury. I like it, but then I like swirly things :) I am still in the Mother's Day Showcase until 12am April 20 EDT, so I'll be there for another hour or so. I sold some things today which makes me very happy :) I've got more stuff that I've been making as well, so I'll post some of those items in my store.

I started bellydancing classes today. I'm taking a technical class to focus more on my technique. My belly hurts from using it so much :) I thought I had a strong belly before, but I guess I didn't :) This was the first class where my lower back didn't hurt after class. I think this is because my back and stomach are both stronger than they used to be and so I can maintain the correct position.

Someone I used to work with is in my bellydance class. I think she still works at the company. I hope that people don't question my bellydancing much - as in, if she can bellydance why can't she work? There are a lot of reasons why I can't work. I bellydance to stay sane.

I'm still thinking of how to do my displays for the craft show. I'll also need something to identify my shop.... this is complicated :)

A new treasury!

I got another treasury.... this one is called Swirls and curls :) It's here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dinner and a show (plus a showcase!)

This being the third Wednesday of the month, ordinarily I would have gone to my Young Women's support group. However, we had tickets to the Just for Laughs roadshow and we had dinner plans at a new restaurant in town, so I skipped my group.

The new restaurant is Wildcraft, and it's very good. The food is tasteful, attractive, well-priced, and has reasonable portion sizes. The service was good, as expected, although a little slow; dinner was 2 hours from start to finish. Some people like that kind of thing. The decor is very decorator to me, but it's still quite nice. The washrooms are especially nice, with granite slab sinks, lots of mirrors, and couches. We would recommend this restaurant to people in the KW area. I think reservations are required (or at least strongly recommended).

The show was funny. There was an emcee and three other comedians. I liked the second comedian (the third guy on stage) the best. He made fun of Kitchener, and he had me when he told the crowd that he saw a guy with a mullet outside and so he knew he was going to swear a lot. I know, it's less funny when I write it, but then I'm no good at telling jokes, either in person or in my blog :) Anyways, I'm glad that we went. It was a fun way to spend a Wednesday evening, and we each had a good laugh.

Oh!!!! Starting at midnight EDT on April 19 I'm supposed to have a place in the Mother's Day showcase on etsy. I hope I still have my place because my bill shows I've paid for it, even though it says I could have another showcase there if spots were available. Check it out :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Test day, and more craft show thoughts...

Over on the side there I've added some blog listings for etsy artisans. There are a lot, aren't there? :) Many of these people talk about their art in their blogs, and some (like me) talk about everyday life.

Today I saw my family doctor and we confirmed that I am doing much better. Yay! He's very happy with my progress.

I also did a couple of tests today. First I had my bone mineral density test, which measures the density of my bones. Because I have no more estrogen in my body, I'm at very high risk for osteoporosis. I've been having these tests for a few years and things have been ok. We'll see how this one comes back. I also had my annual mammogram today. Well, it's my 2006 mammogram five months late, but whatever. I don't think my oncologist cares whether or not I have a mammogram, since I'm stage IV; it's like the horse is already out of the barn. My family doctor still wants me to get one each year, though. It was really painful; they called me back for an extra film on my surgery side and it hurt like crazy. At least I think they got the entire area in the film.

I'm still thinking of display ideas for the craft show. Ian suggested a stepped display, sorta like stairs for the earrings. I'm not sure. I'm reading forum posts on etsy and people have great suggestions. Some people are suggesting things like window screening and that kind of thing. The only thing is, I really do want to be able to a) keep my earrings together, b) have the stones in the earrings easily identifiable, and c) keep the price visible. The second item is very important to me as I can't always remember the stones :) I know most of them, but in a pressure situation I might not remember. I guess I could number the earrings and keep the titles and stones in a reference book. That might work.

Anyways, I do appreciate ideas for my setup - please feel free to leave a comment or email me with suggestions. Thanks :)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Thinking about the upcoming show...

So now that Ian's fixed up all the cable, we now have tons of digital cable channels. Apparently it matters where the splitter is located... who knew? :)

I've fallen back into my "normal" sleeping routine, which means that I'm getting up 12-14 hours after I went to bed. Well, I won't get to do that tomorrow, because I'm seeing my doctor at 11:30am, but I've been doing that the last few days. I'm feeling a lot better - less hyped up, MUCH less depressed (ie no more bad thoughts in my head), and well-rested. I'm still creating things and working on the custom purse.

I'm starting to try to make more earrings (and maybe necklaces?) in preparation for the show May 5. I need to figure out a way to display my earrings. I think I want to use business cards (ie punch holes in them and hang the earrings from them) - that way, I can write the price, title, and composition on the back. But then how do I hang everything? Hmmmm. Maybe I need things that are smaller than business cards - you know, like "normal" earring holders you buy at the store - with Angelstuff on them and the pertinent information on the back. Then maybe I could string cable or something across a fabric-lined open 3-sided cardboard box thing and hang them that way? I don't have that many pairs of earrings, so I don't want anything too big.

I was reading somewhere that a person should take about 10 times as many pieces as it cost to get in to the show. I'm paying $12.50 for my part of the table (it's 4ft long and maybe 2ft wide), so that means that I should have 125 pieces. Eeep. I don't have that many. Including the ones I haven't posted to my store, I have about 32 pairs. And no necklaces. I'm not going to panic, though, because I can't afford to. And besides, the custom purse order has to take priority - right now, I'm spending the afternoon working on it and the evening working on earrings, but when I can I'll bring the purse and work on it in the evenings.

I'm going to go to the Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival this weekend; I hope to get some good display ideas :) I'll make sure I have a pen and sketch pad with me.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Digital tv

We bought a digital tv box today, and now we have digital tv. We had bought an HDTV-ready tv a while back, and we've been sort of thinking about upgrading to digital cable. The box is on sale at one of the stores here; Ian ran the numbers, and it looks like a good deal for us now. Sweet :) The timeshifting will be very useful when we either forget to record things or we need to record two things that are usually on at the same time.

This means that I need to learn how to use a new remote. Ian asked me to switch over to the DVD player one day, and he handed me the DVD remote. I stared at it blankly - I had absolutely no idea how to use the remote. None of the buttons even looked familiar. Sigh. I could do without this particular side effect.

I also bought myself a new tackle box in which to sort my beads. It's larger than the old one and I didn't even take up all the room I have! I was having trouble finding homes for all of my beads which meant that I couldn't find them when I wanted them. Worse, it meant that I forgot what I had and so couldn't be inspired by my beads. A lot of the earrings I make start out with a bead that I like, and then I find other beads that I like with it. so I managed to make some earrings today :)

Saturday, April 14, 2007


We saw 300 today. It was very good, although it isn't for the faint of heart. The story is of the Spartan king and 300 of his men fighting against the whole of the Persian army. The king has disobeyed the oracle and priests to take a stance in the best tactical location. I liked the story, for the most part, even though I don't think it has any basis in reality. The only thing that didn't make perfect sense was that if there were only 300 people fighting against a million, it should be fairly easy for the million to just keep throwing people at the 300 to exhaust them. Even though the 300 could kill, say, 1000-3000 in each battle, if you have a million soldiers you should be able to beat only 300 after a few weeks.

There's lots of fighting and carnage in the movie, which means that I wouldn't recommend this movie for young people or anyone with a weak stomach. The fighting choreography seemed very real. There was certainly a lot of blood spraying :) One thing I didn't like was that there wasn't much blood on the ground. With all of those dead bodies, there should have been blood all over the place, but there wasn't any. There was still a lot of realism around the battles, though.

The movie is based on a graphic novel and has the look of a graphic novel, in a way - there's something about the way the scenes are framed and the use of colours that gives it a comic-book kind of look. This does not detract from the film in any way, however - it might even enhance it. I liked the costumes and sets, too :)

So go and see this movie if you're interested in historical fantasy - it's quite good and quite realistic for the most part. We both liked it.

Oh!!!!!! I'm going to do a craft show on May 5 :) It's in Brantford at Pauline Johnson Collegiate, and I think it'll cost me less than $15 to get in. I'm so excited!!!!! It'll be my first craft show ever, and since it won't cost me much, I can see whether or not this is for me. I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A change or two

As you can see, I've made some changes over there at the sidebar. I've added in pictures of the things that I like, also known as my "favourites". Have a look at the things that I've put there; they're beautiful, and I think they say as much about my design aesthetic as my own art does.

Many of these things appeared in the Treasury that I had before... I love them so much that I wish I could have them. They're too expensive for me, of course :) I'm not making that much money these days, so I'm trying to not buy too many things I don't actually need.

I'm also managing to live without coffee, although I do miss it very much. I needed a nap today because I only slept 11 hours last night. I had a bit of a headache at the start of the day, but it went away soon enough. I'll get used to not having coffee every day again :)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Feeling better

I am starting to feel a bit better. I've actually doubled my antidepressant use, which is what my doctor wanted to do in the first place, and I am feeling human again. He had cut the new dose down to half-again more than I was taking, but it turns out that I can't easily cut the pills in half. So I'll just take two :) My thoughts are more rational and I'm not reacting in the same way to events. I responded very quickly when I first went on this antidepressant so I hope that this trend continues.

I didn't do much today, though. I did more work on the commission purse I'm making. I also worked on the other purse that I'm making - I realized that I'm not going to be able to put the frame back on this purse. I'll have to find some other way to close this purse. Ian suggested that I put a latch or something on it. We'll see. I'll have to think about it.

I'm slowly but steadily adding more items in my etsy store. I changed my avatar to be a close-up of one of the pairs of earrings for sale instead of having me there, because people recommended that sellers show off their product or brand identity in the avatars. I've also revamped the shop a little to clean up the show announcement. I've now put in every earring description all the different kinds of earwires I can ship with, and I've revised my shipping costs. Now all I need is more buyers :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Slept all day

I had a coffee beverage last night when I met with my friend. Oops. I was awake until 4am as a result. I managed to get some work done on the purse I'm working on last night - I got a sample done and I think I'm pretty happy with it. I'll look at it again tomorrow. I expect to construct the purse (up to the beading) this weekend.

Since I was up until 4am, I slept pretty well all day. I'm still tired which means that I should sleep tonight. I didn't call the employee assistance program (EAP) today but I hope to tomorrow.

I've started the teeth bleaching thingy, which means that I won't be able to have coffee, diet coke, or tea until the bleaching is done. It'll be good to get off coffee again - I was drinking it every day to stay awake. I'd rather not have to rely on caffeine to get through my day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A very long day

I saw my doctor today and we're going to try increasing my current antidepressant by 50%. He'd originally wanted to double it but it already makes me really tired. I'm sleeping quite enough these days (or at least I want to sleep a lot). We talked about how depressed I am and about how sometimes I end up feeling stupid. I know I'm not stupid, don't worry, but there are times when someone will say something or use a tone of voice that makes me feel stupid. This has been a sore point with me since I went back to school after my primary breast cancer; the treatments left me with lots of cognitive difficulties and I definitely wasn't the smart, quick person that I used to be. It was and is very hard to deal with that. Right now, with me being depressed, feeling stupid happens more frequently and is more upsetting than usual.

While we were discussing this I started crying and my doctor seemed to get really angry with me. He told me that I wasn't stupid and that I'd been through a lot, more than most people and other things. Actually, I have no memory of what he told me and Ian had to tell me afterwards. Ian said that he must have had some reason for raising his voice the way he did, that he must have been using some technique with me and that it was planned and all that. I don't really see how that was supposed to work, though. At the time, I felt hurt and frustrated that he wasn't getting it. Intellectually, I KNOW I'm not stupid, and it doesn't help to be told I'm not stupid by someone who doesn't make me feel stupid in the first place.

One problem with my depression is that my thoughts and behaviours are NOT AT ALL rational. I kind of came away from the appointment feeling like he wanted me to just snap out of feeling stupid, and to feel another way instead. If I could do that, I would, but it's just not that simple for me right now. I know that ultimately I will need to do things that help me react better in these situations, but I can't do that right now. I'm going to give my employee assistance program people a call tomorrow to see if I can get in for therapy. However, I also need the chemical help via antidepressants to make it possible for me to try to turn my thoughts around.

My doctor also wants me to get out in the sunshine during mid-day, especially as spring starts to spring. I guess I kind of have a prescription for sunshine :) He wants to see me next week and I have an appointment for Tuesday morning. We will also be talkign about my pain; I'm taking my long-term painkiller every 3 hours now, so it's time to bump the strength up again.

The rest of the day went much better :) I got some new walking and wearing-with-jeans shoes. I also got my teeth-whitening equipment from my dentist. I'm self-conscious about my yellowish teeth and have been sort of trying to whiten them by using over-the-counter products. They haven't really worked, but I think that this will. I see my dentist in two weeks to see whether or not it worked :) I can hardly wait :)

I had dessert with a new friend and then we went to play games. We played Apples to Apples and they played Bohnanza while I read the rules for Hoity Toity. I'm looking forward to playing Hoity Toity; it's new and I think it'll be fun. I was glad to get out and see people - I haven't seen them in a while and I've missed them. Yes, I'm depressed sometimes, but I can still go out and have fun and enjoy my life :) It was a very fun, if long, evening.

Monday, April 09, 2007

One of those days

We were given a memory foam mattress topper and we finally got it put on the bed last night. It is very, very, very comfortable :) My back hurt a lot less after sleeping (and napping) on it last night. I think Ian likes it, too. I think we'll be very happy with this topper.

We bought an Ott-lite today but it started flickering in a funny way :( We'll have to take it back tomorrow. An Ott-lite gives natural light and is fantastic for colour matching. I got to use one at Ian's parents and it really helped out with my earring-making. I can hardly wait for a new one!

I have a stash of earrings that I'm slowly adding to my store. Of course I'm working on more :) I've actually kind of run out of room to store my beads. I think I need a second tackle box, so I'll get one tomorrow. I like the portability of the one I have, and if I had two that I can carry around that would be just as good. I don't really want a ginormous tackle box because I can't easily carry that around.

I got some beads from Fire Mountain for only $1 per strand (plus shipping and customs). These include strands of irregular sodalite, rainbow fluorite, and rose quartz nuggets. I like round beads and all, but there's something I really like about the stones that look like, well, stones. I like the earthiness of them and the imperfection of them. That's another reason that I like real stones instead of glass or plastic stones - they've got imperfections and that's part of their beauty.

I did call my doctor and I'll see him tomorrow just before lunch. Ian will go with me and talk to our doctor as well. I know how I've been feeling and Ian can talk to him about my behaviour. I hope that it doesn't take too long to find an antidepressant that works. I like the me that isn't depressed - it's strange to be getting depressed. It's like I'm watching from a corner of my head and I can't stop it from happening. I see myself cry or hear myself think bad thoughts and I know that's not me but I can't do anything about it. I don't want to be artificially happy, but I don't want things to be like they are now.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

The Easter bunny came and left yummy chocolate that I've already eaten :) We're home now, enjoying ourselves. I managed to make a few pairs of earrings over the last few days and I'll try to make a necklace in the next few days. The custom work takes priority, but the first part of it is done downstairs during the day. When it gets to a point when I can work upstairs, I'll be able to work during the evening.

My treasury on etsy is up until about 7pm EST Monday, April 9. It's a collection of things that I like, so please feel free to have a look at it. They're expensive things, of course :) The usual rule is that when setting up a treasury, you don't include your own work. So I won't include my purse even though I think it should be there. :) I changed a few items, so if you look at it now it'll look different than it did before. I especially like the way the colours look now.

I'm feeling a bit better today. I managed to get out for a walk which helped. I'm still going to call my doctor tomorrow to make an appointment to see him.

Etsy Treasury!!!

This is just a quick note to let you know that I got an etsy Treasury last night. A treasury is a way for the etsy community to curate a collection of items. The theme I picked was "luxury" and it's a collection of things I would buy if I had all the money in the world :) It'll only be up until tomorrow, so see it while it's there....

Please have a look:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A very long movie

We saw Grindhouse today. It's like a double-feature, with the first, "Planet Terror", directed by Robert Rodriguez and the second, "Death Proof", directed by Quentin Tarantino. The two sub-movies were quite different; "Planet Terror" is a post-apocalyptic gory zombie movie and "Death Proof" is about a guy who preys on women from within his death proof car.

Ian preferred "Planet Terror" because it was gory and cool. It was sort of interesting in a B movie horror sort of way. I liked it as long as I didn't believe for one second that it was real. "Death Proof" was gory in a different way. Ian felt that some of that one was slow because it was just women talking, but I felt that it made the movie more real and more scary which is why I prefer this one. The car chases are awesome.

In between the movies were Restricted ratings (no kittens allowed) and some "trailers" for movies. These were awesome, too, and definitely needed - this is not a movie for kids! Overall, we'd recommend this movie if you like these sorts of gory adult movies.

Oh yeah, and I did buy a bunch of fabric today :) It turns out that everything that wasn't already reduced was 40-50% off at the fabric store. I'm not going to tell you how much I spent, but it was more than $0. :)

On another note, my anti-depressant appears to have stopped working entirely. Yeah, some people who are close to me are quite sick and so that could make me more depressed, but I'm pretty sure that this isn't the problem (or at least it isn't the whole problem). I'm going to try to get in to see my doctor this week and hopefully we can get this straightened out.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

We went to Mississauga today to have yummy hot cross buns :) They were delicious as always :) We'll spend the weekend here because otherwise the Easter Bunny may not know where we are on Sunday.

I spent quite a bit of time updating the photos in my etsy store. I felt that they were too washed out and greyed, so I played around with some of the settings. I was able to lighten the background while brightening the earrings themselves. I think the pictures have a lot more colour now and they pop more against the light background. I'd encourage you to have a look :)

I'm still working on this one grey purse at home - I'm using a purse frame and body that I got from Value Village and putting new fabric over it. I'm at the point where I'm gluing parts of the fabric on the body and clamping the fabric down. I work on it whenever I go downstairs. I am being commissioned to do another purse as well; I'm really excited about that one. It'll have seed bead fringes with faceted amethyst rondelles (very small sparkly amethyst) at the bottom of each fringe. Doesn't it sound decadent?

I have a few more purse ideas. I'm going to try to get them made as well; tomorrow I hope to go and get some fabric for one of them. I'm thinking of entering them in this competition thingy. I don't know that I'd get anything out of it, but it might be worth entering.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A visit to the dentist

I saw my dentist today. I had two very, very tiny cavities near the gumline on my upper teeth on the inside. Many of the pills I take cause dry mouth, and dry mouth can cause cavities. I'm now trying to use a specially-designed toothpaste, mouthwash, and gel at night. I hope this helps.

Getting the cavities filled wasn't so bad. The dentist numbed the area where the needles go in before giving me the freezing, which helped a lot. The freezing still burned as it went up the nerves but it didn't hurt when the needle first went in. The only bad part was at the end, when they cured the filling. They use some kind of heat lamp and the hygenist rested it against my gums, which hurt. I had to say ow a few times before the hygenist moved the lamp. She's new and is covering for someone who is going on mat leave. She's also not my normal hygenist, thank goodness. She didn't seem sensitive to my mouth in a way that the other hygenists are. Maybe she'll get better.

I've also decided to pay to get my teeth whitened. My teeth are kind of yellow and I'm self-conscious about that. We took tray impressions; the dentist will have trays made up and will give me a strong gel that will bleach the teeth much faster and better than anything over-the-counter. I will need to bleach for about 2 weeks for a few hours in the afternoon or evening, which should be doable. After that, I will need to touch up for a few days every couple of years. I pick up my trays next Tuesday. I won't be able to have coffee while bleaching, though :(

Yeah, I know, I'm playing into the hype about yellow teeth, and that yellowish teeth are a natural sign of aging. I don't want crazy chicklet-white teeth, I just want whiter teeth. They'll help me look younger :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Keeping fit

I had my Well-fit post assessment today. It turns out that I'm more fit than I was three months ago. I'm glad that going to the gym twice a week has helped :) I'm going to continue with the Well-fit graduate program twice a week. It costs money, but I think that it will make me go to the gym which helps keep me in shape. I feel healthier than I did and I look better than I did before.

I'm signing up for more bellydance, too :) I will be taking a technical workout on a day that I'm not doing Well-fit. I took a choreography class last time, and they kind of fudge the moves in those classes. I'd like to get my moves more perfect than they are. Plus it'll be a great workout :)

We won't be paddling with the dragonboat team on a regular basis this year. I don't feel up to paddling twice a week even if I wasn't doing everything else. We'll help the team out if they need it, though - I'm certainly willing to do that :) I'd hate to never paddle again, because I really enjoy it. I just can't do it all the time.

I have updated the previous entry with everything we did in Las Vegas. I hope to get the pictures up tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Great news

I saw my oncologist today and my tumour markers are down to 39!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They have gone down 9.8 points in the last 5 months which is fantastic news, because it means that the treatment is working!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!!!! I see my oncologist in 3 months and we'll re-evaluate things. But at least I have some confidence that things are working.

I talked about how tired I am, and she said I should talk to my family doctor. She thinks that it could be a thyroid problem or something. I think that my anti-depressant isn't working quite as well as it was, so that could certainly be contributing to my tiredness. I know I'm extra tired because of the trip, but I've been very tired for quite a long time.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Home again!

We just got home from Las Vegas about 1/2 an hour ago. It's been a very long day traveling home and we're both quite tired. As well, I only got about 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night, which is about half of what I usually get so I'm quite exhausted.

We did have a great time and we enjoyed the shows and everything. We are both very glad that we went and that we did the things we did. I'm looking forward to showing you the few pictures that we took and to telling you everything but I'm too exhausted to do that tonight. Therefore, I'll update this entry over the next day or so.

Here's the update.... I haven't put the pictures up yet but hope to do this in the next day or so.


We stayed at Bally's. The first night we had a room that backed onto one of the elevator banks, so we listened to the elevators all night. This room didn't have a very good view since it was far away from the Strip. We requested a better room for the second night and got one as far away from the elevators as possible. It overlooked the Eiffel Tower from Paris Las Vegas and we could see half of the water fountains from the Bellagio. We could hear the music, too, which was cool.

This room was a long walk down a cold hallway from the elevators, but it was much quieter. We did prefer the outlay of the first room because it had a counter with a mirror in a separate area from the bathroom, which was a perfect setup to apply my makeup. The second room didn't have that kind of setup. It would have been perfect to have the first room in the second location. Still, the second room was nice.

Casino/Hotel layouts

The lobby at Bally's was fairly well laid out and it was pretty easy to find things. In our travels, we visited New York New York, Paris Las Vegas, Bellagio, Wynn, Aladdin, Caesar's Palace, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, MGM, Mirage, Harrah's, Rio, Bill's Gambling Saloon, Venetian, and the Four Seasons.

The high-end places like the Wynn, Bellagio, Four Seasons, and Venetian are beautiful. The ceilings are high, the carpet is soft, it's easy to get around, and they're well-signed. We couldn't smell much smoke in these places and everything looked expensive. The marble in these places was lovely and wonderful. The casinos had lovely ceilings, usually with draping and soft lighting. Even the slots areas didn't feel busy but felt elegant, spacious, and rich.

The one place that really stood out as being awful was New York, New York. It was loud, smoky, and confusing. We couldn't find our way through the place to find anything. Everything was crowded and it was hard to get around. Most places try to keep you in the hotel/casino because they want you to spent money, but they provide signs so that you can find your way out. New York, New York lacked these signs. I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone.

The other places kind of blurred together. Each place has its gimmick and those were sort of interesting. Every single place is HUGE. You could walk around for hours..... and since we visited a lot of the places, you can guess that we walked for hours and hours :)


We had thought that we were going to eat at a really fancy restaurant at least once. That didn't happen. We had breakfast each morning at the hotel and it was so big that we really didn't eat much through the day. The last two days I had Cream of Wheat, which is one of my favourite breakfasts. I guess I was missing good old wholesome food. The servings were HUGE. You could practically eat for a week on one meal.

For lunches/dinners we tended to grab a small thing like a muffin or baked good before the show and then eat half a sandwich each after the show along with a pastry dessert.


As you know, I love love love love shopping. We went to the Fashion Show Mall, the shops at the Aladdin, the shops at Wynn, Venetian, and Bellagio, and wandered by the shops in every other hotel. Ian was very patient in shopping with me because I know that he doesn't like shopping at all. I appreciate his willingness to go with me.

At Fashion Show Mall, I managed to try on Christian Louboutin shoes :) I am a size 6 (36) in most styles and a 6.5 (36.5) in some specialty styles. Of course I couldn't afford these shoes, but if I ever see them for a cheap price then I know what size to buy :) I looked at a lot of clothing, which was fun.

At the Wynn I tried on Jimmy Choo shoes. I love them almost as much as Christian Louboutins :) I learned that I am a 6.5 (36.5) in these shoes. Again, I can't afford these shoes but I wanted to know my shoe size in case I see them for cheap.

Everywhere I went, I looked at dresses, handbags, and clothes. I wanted inspiration for the handbags and earrings that I make, and I wanted to look at the clothes made by some top designers like Roberto Cavalli, bebe, Chanel, Dior, and others. It was satisfying to look at all of these shops.

The Venetian shops really do have a canal running through them, and you really can ride a gondola (which we didn't do). That was kind of cool.


I'm not much of a gambler, but Ian sure likes to gamble. He did most of the gambling, but I tried craps at Bill's Gambling Saloon, blackjack at the Mirage, and table Texas Hold-em at Paris Las Vegas. I won money at blackjack and lost it at the other two games. I also played the slots and won some money there. Overall, I lost money, but I didn't lose as much as I thought I might.

Ian loves to gamble and spent most of his gambling time at Bally's in the Party Pit. He had a lot of fun. I think he ended up about even which is not too bad.

Getting around

We bought a Monorail pass, thinking we would use it a lot. Well, we didn't; we only used it to get to Fashion Show Mall. The main problem with the Monorail is that the stations are at the backs of the hotels, so you have to walk through the hotels to get to the strip. It also doesn't stop near the Fashion Show Mall so we had to walk a long, long way to get there.

A better option is taking the city bus. It's $2/ride and $5/24 hour pass. It stops at all the major hotels on the Strip, which makes it better and easier to take.

Of course we took taxis to and from the airport and from different places when we were tired. It takes a long, long time to get down the Strip in a taxi because of the amount of traffic there. A good taxi driver will drive through parking lots or around the back streets to get you where you're going. A bad taxi driver will either drive up and down the Strip or will go WAY out of the way. It's easy to get a taxi at each hotel because the hotels employ people who can get you a taxi. Every hotel has a taxi line; stand in it and you will get on a taxi within about 10 minutes or so.

Grand Canyon

The bus tour to the grand canyon was fantastic. We got on a shuttle that took us only two blocks. The tour bus was comfortable; I'm glad we took it as it meant that we could see the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon without straining ourselves much.

If you're planning on visiting the Hoover Dam, you'll want to do it soon as they're building an overpass that takes you away from it. It's because of 9/11; they're worried that someone will smuggle a bomb of something and destroy the dam. Therefore, everyone going over the structure is questioned before they go over it. An officer came onto our bus each time to check that we weren't carrying a weapon or bomb or something.

We made two stops at the Grand Canyon to take photos. The first one was much better as the view was pretty and unspoiled by people's buildings. The second one was more historical as it had all of the hotels that were built to house people wanting to visit the Canyon. That stop was less fun because it was more touristy.


We first saw Zumanity, which is a Cirque du Soleil show celebrating sex and sexuality. It was very, very good. Of course the circus acts were amazing, and the strangeness of seeing the bare breasts did leave us. This show is rated adults-only and for good reason; they don't do anything overtly sexual, but it is very, very sensual in nature. If you are uncomfortable with some expressions of sexuality, including bondage and homosexuality, you may not like this show. We loved it; it was very, very good.

We saw Penn and Teller on the third night (my birthday). We thought that we would enjoy the show very much, but unfortunately it wasn't as good as we thought it might be. It was sort of funny but it wasn't quite as good as the tv show. There were some funny bits; just not as much funny as we might have hoped.

Finally, we saw O, another Cirque du Soleil show, and it was amazing. If you see only one show in Las Vegas, make it O. The choreography, costumes, and sets are spectacular. Even the theatre is wonderful. The fact that it all takes place on and under water makes it all the more amazing. Go see this show. Even though it's expensive, go and see it. We were up on the second balcony and could see pretty much everything, so you have a good view even in the cheap(er) seats.

Other attractions

Aside from the hotels themselves, the only other attraction we paid for was the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. It was really cool. I love aquariums and this one was huge. Ian made me touch a manta ray that they had. They looked funny trying to get out of the pool they were in. I didn't think that they would be able to breathe air, but this one ray did everything it could to get out. It was a pretty good show; I'd recommend it.