Thursday, September 29, 2011


UGH. I feel like college during finals. I have a MASSIVE to do list and I'm feeling absolutely compelled to find ways to avoid doing the things I'm supposed to do.

Make that EXACTLY like college, b/c when I was in school it was only during finals that I understood the complete and total NEED to paint my toe nails and clean out from behind fridge. Or in this case I want to go weed the yard and do the edging and pretty much ANYTHING that isn't on my to do list. lol

Yes yes I am a perverse little creature. I don't just procrastinate by doing nothing I do it by being VERY productive with things that are pretty much no where on my priority list. lol

So this is me. Wiggin. I've got a web site launch and a dining room redo looming and I don't even wanna think about or touch either of them right now. Ugh.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Aldrich Guest House

So I just wanted to take a minute to give some SERIOUS props to the B&B where I stayed in Galena last week. I stayed some place else last year and was significantly underwhelmed. About the only positive I could say was the bed was VERY comfortable.

So this year I decided to try some place else to stay and after reviewing my options online I picked the Aldrich Guest House. Can I just say "Wow"? Not only was the house BEAUTIFULLY decorated, the hosts Fran and Brian were delightful.

Breakfast was amazing EVERY morning. I mean WOW tons of good food (which they were kind enough to serve me 15 minutes before everybody else on the first 2 days I was there and had class to get to by 9). The first morning there was sausage, fruit salad, quiche, blueberry bread, a potato cheese hash and big pitchers of OJ, ice water, hot water for tea or hot chocolate, coffee etc. Second morning was bacon, a huge pile of french toast stuffed w/ blueberries, bananas and cream cheese, a different fruit salad and a little crock of a hot apple crumble. And the last day was a big slice of fruit pizza, sausage, a big slice of some sort of eggy breakfast casserole that was very tasty, and I know there was more but its all starting to glaze over in a delightful haze. lol. Seriously- GREAT food and wayyyy more of it than I could eat in one sitting.

My room was spotlessly clean, thoughtfully appointed, beautifully decorated and cozy. And I'm glad to report that the walls were plenty thick enough I didn't hear a peep from my neighbors (ya never know with a house that old).  Oh and the price tag? EXCELLENT. In consulting w/ some of the other ladies in my class I definitely scored the best deal price wise.

Oh and they had good WiFi which was a requirement. lol

For the record I'm not being paid or perked to write this I just liked these folks THAT much.  I will happily stay with them again on my next trip to Galena. I took a bunch of pictures but haven't gotten them on the computer yet so when that happens I'll post some for ya. For anybody to checks out their website I stayed in Clara's room.

Friday, September 23, 2011

See what I made today!

Well I'm here in Galena, IL again to attend the 2 Day Comprehensive workshop at Vintaj. Its AWESSOME. Having so much fun! I had a nasty migraine this morning so I missed going out to lunch and about an hour of class b/c I just had to lay down and let the meds work. Thankfully I already know everything htye wer going to teach so we're good. So here's what we've made SO far. Most are still works in progress but either way its fun!

Here is a stamped blank on the right with brass, Arte Metal and copper. ANd i'm not usually a big mixed metal person but I do like the flower and vineon the left. 

These little beauties are a faux patina on Arte Metal. They'll get a layer of sealer tonight and be ready for play (we're making earrings) tomorrow.

And these little earrings wer made this morning. Cute w/ some good basic techniques. Great to keep us occupied while we took turns discovering the DecoEtch and DecoEmboss plates. (SO COOL)

Speaking of the Etch and Emoboss plates:  Some more works in progress:

And here's a little teaser pic in preparation for tomorrows class: Image transfers in progress. :)

Did a couple hours of shopping after class. Met some of the lovely ladies from my class fro dinner at One Eleven Main (yes thats the name). So good. Now I"m fighting to keep my eyes open to type and minimize typos. lol

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Penal System: USA vs Norway

I keep having a train of thoughts that chase themselves round and round in my head on this subject. So I've decided to regurgitate them here in the hopes that they'd then leave me alone.

I have such mixed feelings about our current penal system. Because on the one hand we have one of the highest rates of recidivism in the world. We have the highest prison population on the entire planet. And there are very many stories about how a stay in our system seems to turn nonviolent, misdemeanor offenders into hardened, violent career criminals. Clearly something is amiss with the current way we deal with people.

And then I see prisons in places like Norway (for example: that are so beautiful they look like a high end dorm room on a rather nice school campus. And part of me rebels at this idea b/c I've been thoroughly indoctrinated that prison is PUNISHMENT and as such it should be unpleasant and you should do hard labor braking rocks all day and spend your nights in a bare 8x10 foot cell b/c you're being punished for doing something wrong.

And yet, Norway is clearly doing something RIGHT b/c their prison population is one of the smallest in the world (not really that impressive given they're pretty tiny to begin with) but far more impressive is that their rate of recidivism is a FRACTION of ours. Norway's recidivism rate is about 20%. Thats less than a third of our roughly 67% (

Now THAT impresses me. That says to me we should pay attention. B/c as far as I'm concerned the point of punishing people with prison is so they won't want to do it again.  But clearly we're failing at that b/c all we really have is a revolving door.

And so I wonder if there isn't something to this "soft" handling of prisoners. And yet I've still got this "but they're there to be punished b/c they did wrong. They have to pay".

Part of me thinks back to the stories that I've read in the Book of Mormon. When ever they had prisoners of any kind there they basically tried to teach them the error of their ways (rehabilitation?) and if they learned and promised to be good then they would let them go, but otherwise they would put them to death so that they wouldn't be a drain and a threat to the people.

Kind of an interesting thought there. Granted I don't think massively expanding capital punishment is necessarily the answer (although I'm all for it in the case of repeat sex offenders who show no signs of or desire for rehabilitation but thats just my opinion).

I don't know. I don't have the answer. I just have a really hard time with the concept of the maximum prison sentence no matter how heinous the crime is being 21 years w/ parole at 14. That just doesn't seem remotely just to me. And yet their statistics speak volumes all by themselves. Clearly they're doing something right by their people.

And so I am in conflict. These ideals that I was raised with vs this incredibly compassionate system that focuses so much on rehabilitation (don't get me wrong - I have NO problem w/ the rehabilitation focus. I LIKE that part and think we should work on it more here, I'm balking at the short time frame and the high end accomodations). But the overall standard of living there is through the roof. I'd be really, REALLY hard pressed to justify that kind of luxury living for criminals here when there are children starving in our streets ya know?

One of my girlfriends is living in Norway and was telling me about the crazy benefits you get from the government if you have kids. You get a few thousand dollars just for having a kid. More if you had a job before you had the kid. You automatically get a generously paid maternity leave, as does the father. And more than that the government basically pays you child support every month for the next 16 years!!

Thats just mind blowing.

My next question was "How much do you pay in taxes?" and the response was "About 30%". And I'm like "THATS IT??!!" We pay more than that here and don't get CRAP back in comparison.

This just boggles the mind. OH and the medical care? Completely paid for.

And as far as I'm aware Norway isn't currently in the middle of a fiscal crisis like the rest of the planet so I want to know what the heck their secret is. B/c right now they're makin the rest of us look like the redheaded step child and personally I'm a proud American and I don't much care for that sensation. lol

Friday, September 16, 2011

In Defense of "Despicable Me"

So the other day we were experiencing technical difficulties with the DVD player and the bonus features on "Despicable Me", which is Caleb's current favorite movie.

Yes mother of the year here lets her 2 year old watch tv even tho the American Academy of Pediatrics says not to. But if they'd like to come play with my kid so I can get the kitchen clean then they can knock themselves out doin that.

But I digress... SO, problem with movie, so of course I Google and I discover this Pro-Adoption website ( which was seriously anti-"Despicable Me". They claimed that the movie depicts the orphans as dirty and shameful and bad and that the guy takes the kids, uses them and then sends them back when he's done.  They say anybody who cares about adoption should NOT see this movie.

........... I almost don't know where to start so we'll just dive right in and hope it comes out quasi-coherently.

1. If you don't think "Despicable Me"is laugh out loud funny you should remove the stick from your butt and try watching it again.

2. I LOVE adoption. I love it like I love cake. I'd need to use several other peoples thumbs in addition to my own in order to give the required numbers of thumbs ups that I'd need to START to express how much I think adoption is a beautiful, wonderful, amazing thing. No I am not adopted, nor is my son. However, my sister placed a baby for adoption when she was 16 and I've got several friends/relatives who have both adopted children and placed children. I donate my time and my jewelry to the Birth Mother Pamper Night of the local adoption support group, for several years now.

So I like to think I'm at least slightly more qualified than the average bear to venture an opinion here.

3. I personally did not think for one minute that this movie conveyed anything negative about being an orphan. Or rather that there was anything wrong with the kids themselves. You do get kind of an 'Oliver-esque' feel to their lives. A lot of the adults in the movie are depicted very negatively. Mrs. Hattie is just horrible. Gru's Mom is the reason he's a villain. Dr. Nephario is the reason Gru ever gives the girls back. And Gru himself starts off as so evil its just plain comedic.

But the catalyst for good in this movie, the thing that causes Gru's heart to change and for every last person in this movie (except maybe Miss Hattie) to become good and wonderful - is having those beautiful little girls in their lives. Through this adoption, which admittedly Gru only ever does so he can use them to further and evil scheme, he unwittingly invites into his life the people who are going to make it worth living.

These orphans are depicted as good and sweet and funny and real. And it shows how beautiful little spirits brought into your home can change your whole world for the better. I'd even give it bonus points for showing a positive adoption of older kids, instead of just babies.

Yes its done in a funny way. Yes, Gru does at one point give them up. But he gets them back and says that he so sorry and that it is the worst mistake he ever made. He loves these girls and they love him. He becomes the parent he wishes he had.

So before you go off half cocked and shun this movie thinking its bad, I ask you to watch it with an open mind. You can come back and tell me I'm wrong (I'll tell you to remove stick and try again, but you can do it).

I think its one of the best movies I've seen in years and I'm happy to let my kiddo watch it and I only let that kid watch PBS Kids for a couple hours in the mornings. And I don't buy very many movies and I bought this as soon as it came out. Its that good.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Bad Wives Club

I have half a mind to start a new website and call it "The Bad Wives Club" b/c I will state here and now that I am a "Bad Wife". And I want to support other women in relieving themselves of guilt over being "Bad Wives".
B/c my Grandma is HORRIFIED that I do not get up when my husband does every morning and make him breakfast. 

My response: "He can't pour himself cereal? Are his fingers broken? Legs?" Cuz seriously that man doesn't eat breakfast half the time. When he does its a protein bar or cereal. AND its actually happened once or twice that I happened to be up and hungry when he was getting ready to go and I made this nice breakfast and yeah he either wasn't hungry or didn't have time to eat it as he was rushing out the door (and yes I threw it in a container so he could take it with him but still).
My cousin is angst ridden now that she's a stay at home mom with two small children, that she doesn't "contribute" anymore so she doesn't want to ask her husband for help around the house even though she's overwhelmed b/c "he works all day".

My response: He gets to LEAVE work and come home. I NEVER LEAVE work. My work goes on 24-7-365. Granted right now that my hub is doing work full time PLUS grad school at night I'm cutting him some slack during the week. But that doesn't mean he does NOTHING. I mean if he helps me out a little then we can both relax, together. And quality time? Thats important.

Also do you know how much it would cost to replace what you do?? We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars here ladies! Premo child care is NOT cheap. Hundreds to THOUSANDS of dollars a month and you still can't pay somebody to love your child like you love them. And you can hope that they're teaching your kids the values that you value and want them to have. And in addition to that add the costs of a laundry service, cleaning service (full time, live in), cooking service (3 meals a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for multiple people). Oh and a lot of the mom's I know also do SOME sort of cottage industry to try to bring in some extra cash so don't forget to add that too. Oh and a grocery service to do your shopping for you. Oh and for those ladies who do the couponing thing - add in the extra costs of non-coupon food to your budget. Oh and add an accountant/book keeper to keep track of the budget and pay the bills. A yard service. A car washing service. A taxi service for the kids. Tutors to help with homework.

I'm probably missing a few things in there. I know my sister would have to add a 1 on 1 personal attendant for my special needs niece...
My other cousin is all apologetic b/c her husband asks "Honey do I have any clean jeans?" and she's all "Ooops I didn't get to the laundry yet b/c I've been cleaning x, y and z".

My response: "Did you wash'em?" B/c hello, I don't wear your clothes (unless you happen to then hey whatever makes you happy). So if you notice that you're running out, ask me nicely and odds are I'll be happy to bump that up my priority list. Or better yet, go start a load yourself and odds are good I'll be happy to finish it.

But no I'm not opinionated or anything. Why do you ask?

Update: If you have the perfect husband who comes home after a long day of work, and mows the lawn, fixes the pipes, washes the car, and keeps right on working hard, then GOOD for you. I'm happy and delighted for you. However, I'm not talking about THAT guy. So please don't freak on me. You're clearly not a bad wife.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cat Puke

Okay so I've got a problem and its making me TWITCHY. And I think I'm a bad person for even thinking this so you can go ahead and tell me I'm a horrible person for typing it: But as much as I love my kitty cats and think that they're wonderful I'm almost ready to get rid of them b/c I can't stand having them puke EVERY WHERE all the damn time.

I need some help.

Maybe its just b/c I've never had a long haired cat before (I have one short hair, one medium hair and one long hair cats) or I've never had indoors only cats before but I am NOT exaggerating when I say that at least ONE of them pukes EVERY DAMN DAY.

They're on Science Diet Indoor Lite food. We've tried putting them on the Sensitive Stomach diet (expensive and didn't work). We've tried the Hairball formula (also expensive, didn't work and made the short haired cats acne on his chin flair up).

I've tried feeding them Vasaline (only the short hair will take it - and he likes it like crack but he still pukes).

The long haired cat REFUSES to be brushed (she WILL bite you) and I can't afford to have her shaved (think 100 bucks) and the other two are not fans of the brush either and either way I don't have time to sit and spend an hour twice a week grooming these stupid cats.

So please ANYBODY if you have an idea, solution, magic wand to make it all better, PLEASE I beg you tell me what to do.

Maybe I should try a completely different brand?? I'm just SOOO tired of cleaning the floor and washing my rugs and waking up in the morning and stepping in a puddle of cat puke on my way to the bathroom. Its just REALLY not okay.

Help. Please.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Master Bathroom Light Fixture

Hail the conquering Heeeroooo!! Nahhh nah nahhhh na na nahhhhhhhhh!!

*takes a bow*

Yes, its true. The dastardly electrical box may have won the first battle but by golly I won the WAR!! BWAHAHAHAH!  *ahem*

Neways so I forgot to take a true "Before" pic b/c thats just the way we like to fail at life around here. So here's the I-already-took-the-funky-glass-and-copper-shade-circa-1970-off and unscrewed all the little mini round clear bulbs shot I took when I realized my mistake:

So the adventure really began when I got the cover off this baby and got a look at my wall. Yeah my junction box cover (little round circle sticking out of the sheet rock that was oh so expertly cut RIGHT UP to the edge of the circle (hahahah NOT ANYMORE!!). Leaving visible ONLY the 2 HORIZONTAL screw spots (yes thats a technical term. Shut up).

Wellllll, this was a problem, b/c my new fixture has VERTICAL screw spots (you can't see what I'm talking about in pictures b/c I didn't take any during b/c it was night, I was tired, and I *thought* it was gonna be a generic boring install job and theres LOTS of those on the web *dies laughing*. Which is why it was a special growth experience. ) SOOOO I had to figure out how to get the circle to change orientation to the vertical.

So we took a time out. Failed at google (takes talent I tell you). Called Daddy (mercifully he was still awake). Figured out what we were doing after staring at a bunch of pictures of junction boxes and covers on home depot (okay so odds are my screws are going to be.... there annnnnnd THERE).

Then we shoved our fingers in the hole in the wall (always kinda nerve wracking if you ask me) and felt around until I discovered I had one screw in the lower left corner and one in the upper right. So then I used my hammer and flat head screw driver to chisel through the sheet rock (definitely the intended purpose of the tool) to find said screws. And I tried very hard not to take any more sheet rock than I absolutely had to b/c I was greatly afeared that my new, much smaller base plate wouldn't cover the holes I was making. But I told myself some minor sheet rock repair (which I totally know how to do) was nothing to be able to install my gorgeous $4 (no thats not a typo I really paid 4 bucks for this fixture at a local thrift store) light fixture.

AND it worked. I found my screws, undid them, chiseled out some more wall to buy myself room to turn the plate to the vertical, screwed it down in its new position and 5 whole minutes later my wiring was all done and my new fixture was attached to the wall!!

So after we stopped w/ the victory dance and the yells of "Whose Da WOMAN??! I'm DA WOMAN!!" I took a few more pictures. Please excuse the horribly yellow cast of the walls. My sister was demanding pics and didn't want to wait for day light. And I swear that the fixture is level even tho it doesn't look like it in this pic. Thats just my mad camera skills winning at life for ya. And I know my middle bulb is different than the outer 2. That will be fixed when I hit up Wallymart tomorrow.

And with out further disclaimers: Here we go!

Yes I look EXTREMELY attractive in these pictures. Please remember this was late at night, w/ an experimental (and FAILED) hair do thrown back in a pony tail. Also the fixture will look even better once the wall gets painted. The master bath is on the renovation list but the wrecking crew hasn't made it there yet. This was the first of many baby steps.

Monday, September 5, 2011

These are both completely random

 and in honor of a conversation I had with a w/ a British friend of mine last week:

Annnnd this little gem:

M'kay you may now continue w/ your regularly scheduled life.