Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Game night, and more sewing

I was finally able to make it to a game night!!!! We had a great time playing Alhambra and Bang. Best of all was hanging out with some of our friends. Since I haven't been go a game night in forever, I haven't seen then in, well, forever.

I am still working on that dress. Sigh. If I ever finish it, I think it'll be gorgeous. But you know how you struggle to get something attached and then you decide that it's somehow not quite right? Well, I decided that I didn't like the fabric bordering the sleeves and on the collar. It looked like it had a greenish cast and it just didn't look right on the dress. So I took all of it off and have cut yet another set of these pieces out of a silvery-grey fabric, which should match the subtle silver stripe in the dress, and am starting to sew it all together. Again.

Of course I'd already trimmed and clipped my seams which makes re-sewing them tricky. I'm managing ok, though - I'm hoping that since I've done these seams already (and had trouble with them - did I mention that?) that it'll be comparatively easier. I hope so. I'd like to finish this by Friday afternoon so that I can wear it for dinner Friday night. If I don't finish it, well, I'll wear something else. But I'd like to wear my own made-for-me dress :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A little shopping and sewing

I did a tiny bit of shopping today after getting my hair cut. I tried things on that were $7-10 plus 30% off, but I didn't like the things well enough to buy them. That's kind of a shame because it's rare that I get things so cheaply :)

I can hardly resist going into stores and looking at stuff but I am getting better at not buying things. I was on a bit of a spending spree for a while there and now I'm choosing to buy very little. Realistically, I have most of what I need for the winter and the summer, and I have a ton of fabric with which to make things.

Speaking of which, I still haven't finished the dress I'm working on. I finished sewing the collar and front piece on today - it took three or four tries. I ended up hand-basting it in place which is not something I like doing, but there was no way to get it to stay still under the sewing foot. I just have to trim it and apply the facing, then insert the zipper and finish the center back seam, and hem the dress. After that, I have some hand-work to do. I hope to finish it by Friday - if I get up early enough tomorrow, that should be possible.

Monday, January 28, 2008

That's a lot of sales!

I mailed out the bracelet I made and another pair of earrings that someone bought today. I've had a few sales since the beginning of January - enough that I now have 96 sales since I first started listing things at the end of February. That's pretty good for a hobby :) Seriously, I never expected to sell that many pieces when I first started making things. Thank you all for helping me get to this point.

I'm hoping to get to 100 sales by the end of February.... I expect that I'll be having a sale in a few weeks :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Red carpet dresses!

I got to watch a 2 hour red carpet show for the Screen Actor's Guild awards. My need to see beautiful (and ugly) dresses has been satiated for a while. Whew! I feel a lot better now. Normally no one pays attention to these awards (certainly not their red carpets, at least not live), so it's a bigger event on tv than it usually is since the Golden Globes were cancelled. Apparently the writers gave a waiver for this SAG awards so that the it could go ahead. No word on whether the Oscars will go through.

In other news, I've listed my first bracelet. Someone bought some earrings and wanted a bracelet to go with them. The bracelet photos aren't my best ones, but that's ok. I hope the person likes the bracelet; personally, I love it. It looks really nice and I think I have just the right amount of darker accent beads to make it interesting.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Going to the movies

We saw Cloverfield today. It was awesome!!!!! It was also very scary and Ian had to hold my hand to make sure I didn't dissolve into a puddle of fear.

It starts with these people at a going-away party, and things go quite quickly straight to hell. As something is destroying the city, we follow the guy videoing the party and some others until they can't video any more. I found it very realistic - if things like those landed in Manhattan, people would react the way they do. They'd do stupid things, they'd scream, they'd hide, and they'd run. There's no soundtrack other than what we see onscreen and the sounds are right - the metal on metal, the buildings coming down, everything is real. It's like you're the one doing the filming, which makes it a more visceral experience than it might otherwise be.

It doesn't have a traditional Hollywood ending - the ending is less happy than traditional Hollywook movies, although it is much more fulfilling.

I'd strongly recommend this movie if you love scary movies like I do - there's not really any gore or violence but it manages to be suspenseful and quite frightening all at the same time. This is one of those movies I'll want to see on DVD because I'd like to see it again to figure more stuff out.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A slow day

I didn't do anything today.

Ok, that's not totally true - I worked on the dress I'm making. I stopped when I put a piece on backwards/upside-down. It actually fit that way but it wasn't right, and at first I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Now I know and I hope to fix it up tomorrow.

I also received a request from someone who recently bought earrings for a bracelet to match them. I'm pretty excited about this request and am looking forward to making the bracelet. I think(hope) that it'll look really nice when it's done.

And... that's it, I'm afraid.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thank you!!!

Thanks very much for your thoughts and comments on the new photos! I really appreciate all of your help. I have to sit down and sift through the comments and stuff, and I expect to work on that this weekend. I meant to do some today but I slept in until 3:30pm so didn't have much time for anything.

Tomorrow if I'm up at a decent hour (and I should be because I need a doctor's appointment for some prescription refills), I hope to finish the dress I'm working on. It would be nice to be done with it! :)

Oh and by the way, the earrings in the second column of the earring photos are high-quality aquamarine stones; they are a very light clear aqua gemstone. They look completely colourless a lot pf the time with a hint of light aqua around the edges. Therefore, ideally, some light aqua colour should show up in the photos. If you look at the original listing for this pair, the ruler photo shows the aqua colour quite well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Photo comments

It turns out that I can allow comments for the album and for individual photos of the backgrounds :) You need to be viewing the photo (not just the gallery view) to add a comment for that photo.

Feel free to add comments to the individual photos about what you like and don't like. Once again, the photos are here. Thanks very much for your help - I really appreciate it.

Edit: Photos have been rearranged so that the earrings are in columns. Thanks for the suggestions :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Non-boring jewelry news!

I found an online source for surgical steel wire. I love the round earwires in this pair of earrings but I can't buy them anymore so I have to make them. I figure if I'm going to make them in sterling silver then I could make them in surgical steel, too, so that those of us with sensitive ears could have stylish earwires, too. I may also be able to make instead of modify surgical steel earwires for some. Yay! I'm looking forward to the wire coming in.

In even more exciting news, I have finally finished taking and editing photos showing some jewelry on different backgrounds. I chose four pairs of earrings that are difficult to photograph and photographed them on all of the backgrounds. I ended up getting rid of some because there was a moire effect in the thumbnail.

I'd like to ask for your help now. Can you please go and have a look at the photos over here? I need to choose at least two and preferably three different backgrounds. I'm only looking at replacing the first "arty" pic in my jewelry item listings as I'll keep the black hanging and white ruler pics. I just want an initial thumbnail for my earrings that makes the items pop more in a list of thumbnails.

So, which backgrounds do you like best? Not every earring is going to look good on every background - that's why I need several backgrounds - and so if you like specific background/earring combinations, that's ok and I'd like to hear about those, too. Please leave a comment or email me with your preference. I will consider all of your responses before making my final decision (and before re-taking all of my pics). I'd appreciate any feedback you can give me. Thank you for your help :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Nothing much, I'm afraid

You know how some people have nothing to say, really, and write blogs anyways? I'm feeling like that today :)

Seriously - I'm still working on the dress and vacillating back and forth between contrast fabric banding for the sleeves and neck. I've cut out several different possibilities and I still can't make up my mind. I've left samples in the sewing room so that the next time I go in there I can be surprised by all of them again. Hopefully one will jump out as the best option.

And I'm still taking photos. I'm about to try and edit about 40 of them: 10 different earring pairs on 4 different backgrounds (well, 3 - one of them developed a moire effect at this close-up range). I'm using a wide range of earring styles and components to really get an idea of how things will look if I use them.

Robin, you might be the winner - the backgrounds I'm looking at are different shades of cream and brown :) The darkest brown is handmade paper and it has sort of a reddish cast so it's quite warm. We'll see - I still have a lot of photos to edit :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

More and more photos

I'm still working on the photos for the items in my etsy shop. The light source over the jewelry brightens it considerably. I'm also photographing the items with the camera almost resting on the table on which backgrounds are sitting. This gives the photos depth and interest.

I'm still figuring out which scrapbook paper will make the best backgrounds. I have a great cream colour with some very faint swirls and stuff on it that works for a LOT of the earrings. I'm also looking at some other brown or tan papers and an aqua paper (all with faint patterns) that might work as well.

All of this photography is pretty tiring, that's for sure. I haven't edited any of the latest photos but I'll do that tomorrow and post them somewhere. After I do whatever sewing I'm going to do tomorrow, of course :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thanks! (and more about my etsy photos)

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I like the crispness of the photos and I do like the darker backgrounds. I've managed to add an additional Ott-lite to the front of my lightbox that brightens up the ambient light and item to be photographed. This definitely is making a difference in my test photos.

I don't think that the dark backgrounds are going to work for all of my stuff, though, as much as I'd like it to. It's really hard to get the right aperture and shutter speed for pictures on the really dark backgrounds - I'm finding that the background colours aren't staying true but are being washed out.

Michael's has a sale on most of their scrapbook paper so I bought a bunch today in different colours and patterns. The one we like the best so far looks sort of like sand. It's tan with some different shading in it and that's probably why it works for different colours. Plus the fact that natural colours or backgrounds tend to look good with a lot of things. It seems to work for some colours. The lightest-coloured earrings do need a darker background, though (they're still not popping off of the sand colour) so we'll go back tomorrow and see if I can find some darker browns.

Thanks again for all of your opinions on this: I really appreciate your help. When I have a few more test photos I'll put them up for you to see.

Oh - I've left the Jewelry on Etsy Team. I've been thinking of doing that for a while and since they left my name off the roster recently, this seemed like a good time to actually leave. Honestly, I've felt consistently ignored by the leaders and that the team wasn't doing much for me. Also, the organizer behaves badly in the etsy forums and has been muted at least twice from the forums for poor behaviour. Hopefully I'll find a team that is more suited to me.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Etsy shop photos

I'm still trying to think of ways of re-do the photos on my etsy shop. Not that my sales are suffering; I'm actually getting sales from people I don't know. But I think that my photos could be better. Someone has suggested using quilt batting but I'm worried that they would come out too grey - although it might work.

There was also a thread about this on etsy, and there are some tips there:

I've been looking at etsy and trunkt sites that I like. Here are a few:

Looking at these, they all have solid-coloured, muted backgrounds. Some are grey to black as well. The lighting in these is very similar in that they each appear to be using at three or four lights and at least one is a direct light. Right now, I'm using indirect lights only.

So what do you think? Any ideas as to how I could make my jewelry pop in photos?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More sewing

I found a great site today from Burda. They have free patterns and people post their creations and talk about them and stuff. it's called Burdastyle and if you like to sew, I'd recommend this site. I actually posted a couple of the dresses that I made two summers ago. When I finish the dress I'm currently working on, if it works out, I'll post it, too.

So far the dress I'm making - Simplicity 3559 with the long sleeves in a grey stripe - looks really great and I'm hoping it'll work out. The pattern doesn't call for it, but I'm lining the dress because the fabric I'm using is quite lightweight and could use some body. It's also a bit itchy so the lining will stop that.

Ian's home today - I'm so happy to see him again. I like being on my own but I've missed being able to see him.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Growing up too fast

Today the Tyra Banks show (I watch it semi-regularly)talked about the trend to "hooking up". Apparently it's where people get together and do some amount of sexual activity. We used to call these "one-night" stands back in the day, but I guess you can't call it a one-night stand when kids as young as 11 are the ones getting together.

Yeah, they're starting young these days. Apparently "hooking up" can be anything from kissing to oral sex - performed by the girls on the boys. These kids are doing things they can't possibly be emotionally ready to do. Sigh. How can kids be growing up so fast?

I was searching the internet on this and came across the first chapter from Tom Wolfe's book "Hooking Up". It's worth a read - it says everything that I'm not eloquent enough to say, and puts this in curious perspective.

Monday, January 14, 2008

To sleep, perchance to dream

I'm still sleeping quite a bit - today, I got up at 3pm after attempts to get up at 10am, 11am, 12noon, and 2pm. I guess I just need all of that sleep.

I have to say, though, that sleeping that much isn't all bad because when I sleep that long I have really great dreams. They're the kinds of epic dreams that go on and on and on and on - it feels like they go on for hours or days. Some of them have scary situations but most aren't that bad.

A lot of the time it's like I'm living this other life - that I'm someone completely different - and I'm just going along and living. It's like reading a book or watching a movie, in a way, except that it feels more real because dream-me is doing things and the things are happening to dream-me. The storyline of these epic dreams seems to be fairly logical and people react mostly normally. The only thing that is really odd or dreamlike are the buildings and landscapes, and they're only odd because I haven't seen them before :)

The dream-emotions do tend to be very strong, as do some of the visuals. Some of those emotions and places can sort of carry over into the next day and that can be very weird.

I think I have a better understanding now of how Coleridge could have dreamed up Kubla Khan :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

No Golden Globes for me :(

Tonight was the night that the Golden Globes awards ceremony was scheduled to air. Since the writers are still on strike, they did a press conference instead. I totally support the writers here, because I do think that they should be paid for their work that appears in any media, not just TV or movies, and I think they should be paid DVD residuals. Film and TV are so much more than just a TV or movie theatre nowadays, and writers should be compensated for the new media.

But I'm still sad because I love awards shows. I love looking at the dresses, seeing who's wearing what, the shoes, the jewelry, the makeup, and the pageantry of the event. I'm not going to watch the live winners announcement because it's faster and easier to just read it online. I don't watch the shows for the winners. :)

Even sadder is that instead of looking at beautiful people in beautiful outfits, I had to watch Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. It's funny and cute, and the song at the end is hilarious, but it's not the kind of movie I'd necessarily choose to watch. And it's definitely not a replacement for the Golden Globes.

I very much hope that the writer's strike ends with a fair deal before the Oscars.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

An interesting meeting

I slept in again today - until 3:20pm! I was meeting a friend for coffee at 4pm and I made it :) I was 5 minutes late but my friend was later so that was ok. While I was waiting, there was a woman at a nearby table. She looked and sounded familiar to me. When she got up to leave, I interrupted my friend (who was there by then) and asked if I knew her. Apparently I didn't :) She said that she had been admiring our clothes and so we talked about that a little bit, and she left.

My friend and I continued chatting when all of a sudden this woman came back. She'd overheard me talking about someone I know who has bipolar disorder, and she apparently has it as well. She wanted to know if she could talk to me sometime. I gave her my card and asked her to email me and that I'd be happy to talk to her.

I know that some people might say that it's dangerous to give some stranger my card, but the card only has my email address and phone number on it, as well as my etsy shop. I guess I figure that if she was brave enough to ask to talk to me, I could make a little time for her like this. Email isn't much of a commitment, really, and I don't need to put a lot of energy into such a relationship. Besides, my intuition said that it was the right thing to do. I don't expect to hear from her, but who knows?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sewing issues

I ended up not feeling well again this afternoon. I had leftover curry last night, and the other day that I wasn't well I'd had curry the night before, too. I'm beginning to suspect that my body doesn't like my curry :(

Since I wasn't feeling well, all I did was some sewing: I sewed a simple top together. There's something weird about it, though, because the collar doesn't look anything like the collar in the picture, and I just can't get it to sit right. The top has a wide neck and the collar kind of stands up on it. The collar is a big rectangle with one seam at center back sewn to the top neckline. It folds over horizontally so that it's only half as thick as the finished collar but there's no provision in the instructions to tack it down or anything and it won't stay folded down. It also has a very strange gape at the back that I can't seem to fix no matter what I've done so far.

The best way to fix the gape is probably to heighten the back neck and shorten the collar, which is a major alteration. I'd also have to re-sew the top. An alternative may be to re-shape the collar at the seam at the back. I'm wondering if decreasing the width of the collar at the top where it's supposed to fold over might work. I'll have to see tomorrow.

I tell you, it's kind of frustrating to work on something and follow the directions and then have it not turn out right. I think that there might be something wrong with the pattern. This does happen, I hear.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Something like productive

I had to get up early today so I set two alarms. It worked! I was up on time. Yay!

I filled my day with aimless wandering from store to store. Remember the dress I'd been trying to fix up for the wedding? It didn't work out, although I never posted that. I made a critical error and had to abandon it :( Well, an identical one was marked down to $19 so I bought it and will try again :) I also bought more sew-in rhinestones on a shirt. And I bought some stretch satin fabric on sale in some new colours.

That was really all I bought, which is pretty amazing considering the number of stores I wandered into. At one point I was looking at this gorgeous lace sling-back peep-toe platform stiletto JLo shoe in my size but I couldn't find its mate no matter how hard I looked. It's a store that has all of its inventory out so the shoe should have been there somewhere. I guess it's ok that I didn't find it because it wasn't cheap. But it was gorgeous.

I also didn't buy the other pair of JLo shoes I tried on that were marked down to $31. I loved them but they hurt my baby toes so I passed them up. See? I didn't buy a lot of things today. :)

Since I shopped pretty much all day, I didn't sew. I am hoping to sew tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More and more sleeping

I woke up early to see Ian off - he's away for the next week - and then went back to sleep. I'd planned to sleep until 10am or so and ended up getting up at 4pm. The Ritalin only keeps me awake all day if I wake up to take it. :)

I ended up feeling kind of icky this evening so I suspect that I may be trying to fight something off. To that end, I'm going to sleep some more. Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sewing, sewing, sewing

I'm still in the mood to sew things for myself. I know I should be sewing bags or something but right now I really, really, really want to sew clothes, not bags. Today I managed to get a couple of small things done and a jersey top pattern cut out and ready to be sewn. I want to sew a particular dress - I've been planning to make it for quite a while and am really looking forward to it being done - but my waist measurement is ridiculously large due to pre-Christmas eating. I know that it will decrease over the next few weeks as my eating returns to normal and once that happens, I'll make this other dress.

Over the next week or so I'll sew a few more things. I have so many patterns and I want to make so many things... and I do have a lot of fabric in my fabric stash, after all :)

Eventually I'll get bored or frustrated with sewing for me and I'll go back to making bags. I have great fabrics for bags that I'd like to use... I just don't want to sew them this week. Of course if someone orders something I'll drop my own sewing in a heartbeat to sew the order up :)

Monday, January 07, 2008

I am getting sleeeeeepy

Some days I get up at a reasonable hour, and some days I sleep almost all day. Today was one of those latter day; I slept in until after 3pm, which means that I got about 16 hours of continuous sleep. That's a lot of sleeping.

I had this idea that I would get up at 10am or so and do things all day. That isn't how things worked out, though. Some people complain about being shaky after a nap and that's a lot like I feel when I sleep really late. Like them, when I sleep as late as I did I'm not able to really do anything for a while after I wake up. I wasn't able to start doing anything other than sit and surf the internet until 5pm. So I didn't do much today.

I do feel well-rested (although I am tired as it nears bedtime) so I think that I will be able to be awake earlier through the rest of the week. I guess I just needed a lot of sleep last night.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Etsy shop things

Members of the Jewelry on Etsy Team are setting up a couple of buys for the team at different suppliers. Going together on a purchase means that we're able to get the deepest discount on the products which is quite nice :) I'm in need of sterling silver chain in certain sizes and I've been trying to figure out where I can get it the cheapest. I think that I've found a supplier from which I can get relatively inexpensive chain. It's not cheap, really, what with sterling silver trading at $15/oz.

I'm also looking at possibly changing my photos for my etsy shop. Not all of the current ones are good; I'm not happy with the pink or purple backgrounds, for example. I'd like the pictures to feel warm, with warm-coloured backgrounds. I need at least three different colours: a light one for non-light earrings, a dark one for non-dark earrings, and a medium one for everything in-between. I'm not sure what the best colour would be - any ideas?

I'm thinking of going with fabric backgrounds, but my first tries didn't work - the fabric weave created a moire effect in the thumbnails and I wasn't happy with that. I do have some microfiber fabrics and some velvets that might work better. What do you all think?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Scary movies

I Am Legend is a very, very good movie. Will Smith is alone in most of the movie and he is able to carry it - there are no boring parts in this movie. The premise is that there's an event that wipes out most of the population and leaves the rest violent at night. Except for Will Smith, of course, who is immune. Much of the movie follows him in his daily activities.

I found the movie very, very scary; I was shaking with fear for most of it, which worried Ian because he could see that I was scared and he didn't know what to do. I don't actually remember being that scared at any movie ever before. Intellectually, I know that part of my fear was built up by the sound and music, but there was an instinctive part that was scared. As Ian said, the movie does a good job of balancing suspense-scary with "boo"-scary.

This movie is rated 14A but I wouldn't recommend it for children. There isn't really any gore or violence - it's pretty much all implied - but it could be quite scary. I'd recommend this movie to adults - although I was scared, it is really an excellent movie. Will Smith is alone for most of the movie and he really pulls this off; I hope he's nominated for something during the award season.

Later on, we watched a recording of Jesus Camp, a documentary that showed on tv. That movie was disturbing and scary for other reasons. It's about kids 5-13 years old who are evangelical Christians and go to this evangelical camp. I don't much care about which religion people belong to, but I don't think that kids that age should necessarily be indoctrinated in the way they were.

I do think that they were indoctrinated into this religion because no other points of view were expressed to them. During the camp, they were asked to come forward and share their sins publicly, with all of them crying. That's not really normal, is it? Later on, those kids were going up to people on the street and doing things like telling them that Jesus loves then and they could go to heaven. Personally, I don't think it's right to ask or permit children to do this.

One of the people who spoke to the children at this camp was an anti-abortion activist who taught them some slogans, put tape on their mouths, and led them to an anti-abortion stance. And led them to do a demonstration in Washington, DC. Again, I don't think that children - who barely know anything about sex and abortion anyways (of course they're told that it's murder, but without opposing viewpoints) - should be taught this sort of thing, let alone be allowed to protest.

The documentary did a really good job of showing just how far these extreme right-wing evangelical parents and churches are willing to go to use their children. In a way it was sad to see, because those kids have no idea what other viewpoints are out there. At the same time, it was frustrating because those parents and those people running the camps are using the children. It just seems so wrong - aren't children supposed to be innocent? What will happen to these children when they get out of the home-schooling environment and get into the "real world"?

This documentary is interesting and I'd recommend it. As Ian says, the scariest thing about it is that some of the people in the film will think that they're being portrayed in a positive light. They're not - at the end, what these people do to those children is appalling.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Almost normal

For the first time in a long while, I got up before my alarm like a normal person! I was awake at 9:30am and I didn't even have a nap today :) Not that I did much with my day, of course - mostly, I tidied things up in my jewelry area. I had a couple of sales that came in while I was in Edmonton and I got those shipped out today as well.

It looks like different people are planning some group buys from different places. This might b good for me as I need sterling silver chain. I don't have that much right now and I really need more of it. Before I order, I have to figure out which vendor will have the cheapest rates for what I want (or which ones have what I want at all). I'd like to start doing more necklaces, and those need chain. Hopefully I'll be able to get the chain I need at a reasonable price.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Home again

My flight was almost 2 1/2 hours late leaving Edmonton; I guess the stormy weather in Eastern/Atlantic Canada caused delays. I hung around the airport and read magazines, so the time wasn't a complete waste :)

The plane was only an hour late coming to Toronto but it took almost 45 minutes to get bags. Apparently there was only one baggage person working on that side of the terminal and so it took a while to get my suitcases.

Once I got home, I slept all day. I'm up now but I expect to sleep again soon.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Homeward bound

I've very much enjoyed my stay here in Edmonton but it's time to go home to Waterloo. My flight leaves later tonight - I'm all checked in and packed and everything and I'll be heading out in a couple of hours.

I got to visit my other sister this afternoon :) We wandered around one of the local malls, poking into the stores and chatting. It was a very good visit and I enjoyed spending time with her. I'm so glad that I got to see her before I left.

I stayed at my parent's house this time and I felt really welcome here, which made my visit here much more comfortable - thank you! I've really enjoyed your company this last week and so I will miss you both very much. I'm glad that we got to spend as much time as we did talking and visiting. I'll also miss the rest of my family and my friends. I was able to see everyone and while the visits tended to be a little short, I was happy just to see you all and check in.

Thanks, everyone, for making my visit awesome and memorable. I'm looking forward to seeing you all next time :)

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a great time last night while bringing in the New Year. My friend and I ended up getting all dressed up and going for dinner. The dinner was very yummy and my friend and I had a great time - we both also decided that we each had great company in the other :)

Dancing was supposed to start after dinner but didn't like the music so didn't dance. We did look at all of the outfits and we did see that there were some interesting outfits there. Some of those even showed two sets of cleavage! Others barely contained their wearer, and still others were not at all dressy. Looking at the hair people had, it seems that the rise of clip-in extensions is most likely going to bring a modified mullet back. What else can happen if you have hair shorter than your chin and you slip in 10" or longer extensions on the back and sides?

The music was hip-hop and since I don't listen to it all the time, I wasn't familiar with everything they played. There were a lot of hip-hop listeners there, too.... and I wasn't totally comfortable around them. It seemed to me that the men looked at the women as though the women were pieces of meat; that they didn't appreciate the women's curves because they belonged to women but because they liked the curves. And the women allow them to look at them this way, which I thought was sad.

Of course I haven't been in a club in a few years and some things are different - like almost all women take their drink and purse on the dance floor (it isn't safe to leave them behind). This makes for a very strange dance for some, mostly involving shuffling feet while simultaneously pushing the butt out and nodding the head. I also noticed that many people use their cell phone to take a photo of themselves or their friends (or random strangers) doing, well, anything. Aside from the fact that I don't like camera flashes, I'm not comfortable with the lack of privacy this rampant picture-taking implies.

We left that club at about 11:30pm. We figured that we shouldn't ring in the new year in a place where we weren't totally happy - it's better to leave those places behind and do something else.

That something else wound up being the fireworks in Downtown Edmonton. I guess the fireworks we saw last night will be the last big one for a while. It seems that the fireworks' launch pad is on property that will be developed this upcoming year. The fireworks were amazing!!!! There were swirly ones and big blossom ones in multiple colours! (I only remember those in at most two colours). If we'd had a slightly better view and a real camera instead of a a camera-phone, then we could have taken some amazing photos. The fireworks were reflected by some of the mirrored buildings and I think those shots would have been cool.

Overall, I'm glad I went out with my friend and I'm really happy with the way things ended up going. We had a good time and I'm hoping that this will be a reflection of the upcoming year.

I wish I could wave a magic wand for all of us that would make the illnesses and unhappiness out there disappear. Since I don't know when that wand will appear, I will settle for wishing that 2008 brings me, you, and yours an abundance of joy, good health, and peace.