Pulled in many directions


Being a business owner that is going to school that is also involved in her community means being busy beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. Staying organized is vitally important and I’m refocusing on my use of calendars, organizational to-do apps and lists on paper like never before. And if you’re a long-time reader of this website, you know I like my to-do apps…I even spend money on a good one.

But that’s part of the problem. I app-jump when really the problem is committing to a daily review of the things on the list, and prioritizing them and then sticking to them. In reality I jump from task to task, rarely sticking to one thing until it is done. And I hate that! I know that the current thought is that as long as these are all high level tasks and as long as I don’t have that fifteen minute gap between them, as long as the flow is seamless – who cares? Keep moving forward and produce! It still feels like I’m giving in to impulses.

So here on my personal website, I’ll confess that it’s an exciting journey! This *being a business owner/ student/ community person*! And I’ve gone back to paper – specifically, tiny cute index cards meant for vocabulary flashcards. I use Myndology’s cards because the company is out of Wisconsin. I can sort things out on my desk and reorganize tasks and toss out cards when the task is done. It’s what works for me.

Well, bouncing on now.

Edit – I’d emailed Myndology several days ago to warn them that their website is displaying odd warnings. I can’t be the only one seeing that.

Truth in advertising – Walking Dead style…spoiler alert

The package said “stewing hen.” I was warned but I did not believe. Size-wise, it was obviously a baking chicken! Good sized, just perfect for roasting. As I was prepping it for the pan, I rejoiced in the fatty, thick skin that I usually only find in organic, truly free-range birds.

Hum…no. It was a tough old bird. After roasting it for longer than I thought I should, the bird was still chewier than I’m used to. Good flavor, though. Probably a flavor intensity similar to any other old bird, myself included. Did you catch the season opener for Walking Dead? Where after 4 years they finally ran into a band of people living the cannibalistic lifestyle? I’m not saying that this was a good thing, I think eating people’s flesh is really, really nasty-yucky even in fiction, even in television. Don’t go there if you end up in a zombie apocalypse and manage to survive several years of scrounging around abandoned houses.

And don’t stay on the East Coast. Lots of people over there, most of them zombiefied by now. Head northwest, get into corn-and-bean territory and find a good place to hole up. Someone, who warned me not to plan to go there cause he wanted to survive within the marble walls, said he would head for the St. Cloud prison. Federal or State? Do you know? Anyway, now that I know, I’ve got dibs and so you all just stay away, too, OK?

I pulled the moist, still-warm meat off my stewing hen and plan to chop it up for chicken salad, a dish in which the firmness will be a plus. Next time I will listen to the packaging. And I’ll continue to look for the perfect place to survive the zombies. You with me, there?

I started a new resource page for people who love fiber

Wool, angora, alpaca, spinning yarn, weaving, knitting,crocheting….

The list goes on and on. I know enough about knitting and crochet to be dangerous, as they say. I love weaving and need to do more of it, I spin wool (so much wool yarn! What to do with it all?) and I’ve been known to set up dye pots on a whim and simmer well into the night.

Most importantly, I so enjoy being with people who also love the fiber arts that I want to spend huge chunks of my life supporting other people’s enthusiasm. I like seeing people who spend huge chunks of their own lives pursuing their crafts.

So I started a new website…

RochesterFiber.Link. And I started it earlier than I should have, I know. I don’t have the resources the page promises listed yet – but the stories about Spinzilla are quickly passing us by and I needed to get those down on paper. Where they belong. On this page that I realized I could do and do well, as I know social media marketing.

Invitations will be going out to the people and businesses I already know, but AFTER Spinzilla is over. I’ve moved my spinning wheel to be within inches of this desk – hehehe – this makes me happy. Now while I’m listening to school lectures, I can also spin. This also makes me happy.




Getting ready for Spinzilla

Next week is A Monster of a Spinning Week!

Presented and organized by The National Needlearts Association, Spinzilla challenges hundreds of spinners to compete in teams for prizes and recognition. All funds raised by our entry fees go to education, so I get to feel good there, and there are some awesome sponsors helping to make this happen. It’s become an important event in the world of fiber arts and I’m glad to be part of a team.

My team captains are Lisa Ramsey and Lisa Hanesworth, owners of The Angora Girls Fiber Arts shop in Winona, Minnesota. I caught them off-guard with my phone on Monday when I was out there picking up fiber for next week. They have an adorable shop with space for dyeing, group spinning, and lots of touchable fibers. Just outside the door, a dye garden is being created and steps away is a backwater stretch of the Mississippi. Check out the website for shop hours and special events they will be attending.shop2

I bought several braids, thinking that having lovely fiber will help motivate me to spin more. It should be enough that I can then make something pretty with it. AND I’m also going to spin up all the bits and batts of fiber I have stashed around and get everything tidied into yarn and string. Useful formatting.

IMG_0743_0021                                                     IMG_0748_0071                                                                      IMG_0744_0031

Oh! Back to Spinzilla…. ‘The Lisas’ have arranged several fun events next week and I’m free to take part in what I want or can. I know I’ll be at the Tuesday fiber retreat and at the Spinzilla Vs Godzilla final timing count-down on Saturday. I wish I could be at some of the public demos but I’d probably do better to stay in Oronoco and spin here, right? I am looking forward to meeting my teammates via the web, sure, but I also enjoy meeting people in person. They are planning to do some fun demo spinning around the area, as you can see in the link above. Maybe I’ll just have to host some local spinning opportunities here, maybe?

I’m taking part in this for several reasons

Firstly, I think it’s going to be lots of fun, challenging, and a positive time. I love being part of a fiber-based activity like this one. Additionally, I need something that I love doing and with the winter coming up, I think I’ll have less opportunity to get out in the garden. Yeah…Not much into cultivating snowdrops and iceberg lettuce here. Just not that kinda gal, I guess!

Spinning and dyeing gives me activities that are often done alone, something I’m craving lately, but that can be loads of fun with other people as well. Like when I went to the Zombie Knitpocalypse earlier in the year; I wasn’t able to get to all three days but I certainly enjoyed what I attended. And crazy! It’s inspired me to start knitting. All the lovely projects I’ve seen over the years, and suddenly I want to get better at this skill. Good thing! The goal for Spinzilla is 5000 yards. Wowsers.

I’m also working on a new website

I love hanging out with fiber-people. The spinners, the sheep-angora-alpaca farmers, the knitters and crocheters, and the weavers. The dyers. So in between everything else, I’m working on a new website whose purpose is to help all these people find their customers. Well. Reverse that, to help their customers find them. I’m good at social media marketing, and I’ve decided to use my skills at something I love.

Back to the homework for me. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you online!





Today I made a bended thing

Ricky at forge


I got the forge, my forge, up and running today at Squash Blossom Farm’s Cow Puja event. Richard Burnett taught me how to start the fire, how to manage the heat, how to set up your tools so they were handy. In the picture above, he is working on a piece he heated in his own forge, behind him there, with a young helper manning the air. I worked at keeping a fire hot, learning how to manage my tools and how to drive from the shoulder; I’m not pounding a nail, after all.

I had a great time. I got a rod cut in half, more or less, and then learned to make the round into square, and then into flat, and then I bended it. About that time I had to run to the shop for my shift and then there was the blessing ceremony and then I was pretty much done with it; I restarted the fire for the experience but mostly I was done pounding for today. Too many people to talk to, you know?

Here is LaFonda, the gentle milking cow from the farm. There are two others on the farm but none quite as pretty as herself.


Time for a shower and another glass of wine! Van went to pick up chicken, too, so a good evening ahead.



Beautiful day to check out glaves..and other pointy things


Headache most of the day as the weather fronts have ground against each other. Or I have a bug. I took a five hour nap and could do it again although I guess that would be called ‘going to bed for the night.’


However, before the nap Van and I went over to the Castlerock Arms and Armor Museum in Alma, WI. Amazing collection of authentic edged weaponry for an artists’ town along the Mississippi River. I really enjoyed visiting with the docents as well. We also visited The Weaving Studio, Tansy’s on Main, and the Danzinger Vineyard….and no, the last is NOT why my head hurts. I had that heading over, lol…we did bring some home, though, to share with friends.


The people working at the Armor Museum suggested that if anyone wanted to geek over old weaponry with the curator, to get in touch the the museum’s director to arrange that. I guess the curator, like a lot of us, is always up for a good conversation about sharp pointy things. I don’t know him and have no idea if it would be a good time or not, but the potential is there.




Chipmunk, Part Two

Taking a pause in the day to continue that chipmunk story. See, even though it’s outside, technically, and two rooms away, I could swear that I could smell that dead chipmunk in the basement today. I was letting it desiccate a bit before I pulled it out of there, since the window well is about 5 feet deep and I didn’t trust it to all come up with the hoe blade used as a scoop. Or maybe I was just avoiding the whole think, right?

So after moving clothes into the dryer, I went outside and pulled the cover off of the window well. Surprise! A live chipmunk freaking out and no sign of anything dead down there.

I lowered the hoe so he had a ramp to get out, then I stirred the grasses down there to be sure the other one was still there…yep, still there, I’d not let a zombie chipmunk loose. The dead one had been covered up by the live one, who was probably not happy to share the small inescapable prison with a corpse. I was glad to let it go, and glad to get the dead one out of there, and thinking I should either figure out how to block the holes or check each day for a new prisoner.

In the rest of my world – Sam is tuckered out from having helped me make lots of beds and pallets up today. She’s a good helper! It’s raining here and cool in the mornings. Probably not too many more cucumbers to have to deal with from the garden, really. I got to get back to homework now, but wanted to be sure you’d heard that part of the story.

A Chippie’s Life

Sam does not know how to hunt, which is totally fine with me. Boo, however, must have thought this a horrid lack of skills and so brought her a live chipmunk. Into the house. Right next to me…I wasn’t having any of that! It was a soft catch on Boo’s part, no blood or broken bits. Chippie must have practically ran into his mouth, btw, with the arthritis and bad hips Boo is dealing with these days. Chippie just as calmly rode out of the house in my hands – I thought about scooping him up in Van’s shoe what was sitting right there but I’m better at scooping up things with my hands. No frantic heartbeat or struggling, but once I set him down and he realized he wasn’t getting any deader, he took off.

Chippie is running free outside and the two lazy cats are circling the last known location of the small rodent. Plus Boo is pouting at me A LOT. I think he’s been trying to get Sam out for a hunting lesson all day; they did spend a lot of time exploring around the edges of the house while I was working in the garden, and then also prowled through the garden with me. Then Sam started chasing squirrels and I made her stay closer to the house…I guess that’s why Boo had to bring a chipmunk to her, huh?

Today is going to be….All Things

Initially, I was going to come here online and moan about not sleeping well and how my headache is still with me and how those two things and stress is going to just make the whole day suck, but I realized that’s wrong.

Oh, I’m sure it will contain the need to manage those two things and stress! Plus other issues that crop up during the day. Like negativity. Lack of compassion. Small baby steps towards a stronger community when I want people to take huge freaking giant steps. That’s a post for another day, though, just saying my day is going to contain them.

PLUS – fun people in my yard! Barbara Payne is setting up her first Gold Rush booth here. I’m having a great little sale on my own…well, if I ever get the things priced. Tomorrow, Shannon and Rachel are pulling an RV to the back, and I know Liz is coming to sell beads – and show the bead making off. Ricky and Brenda will be here too! And who knows who else is going to be able to make it? Not me…I’ve been a bit busy and I’m totally disorganized and that’s OK, it’s all getting done.

Oh thank god for coffee. It’s starting to percolate my brain awake.

I still have a business to run during all of this. Clients to help, my own website to restore, calls to make. I’m making a list…actually, no, I’ll tell you. I am using a new product. GTDNext incorporates Getting Things Done processes and as long as I do my part of interacting with the application, things go pretty well. Nothing falls through the cracks unknowingly, except for the bread and cider.

There were five things on my list last night, and two of those were bread and hard cider. I failed at getting both of those and realized it in the parking lot as I was leaving. Too tired to go back in and I can get bread locally. I’ll drink wine.

Van is manning the home place this morning while I’m out flagging. I’m not actually going to be doing a lot of set up this morning; that’s more for this afternoon, right? When the city vendors get to come in and start set up? Time to get to it! I got over 9,000 steps yesterday and I’m sure I’ll get more than that today.

Facebook Gratitude Challenge: Day Three

I am on Day 3 of a 7 Days of Gratitude Challenge, listing three things I’m grateful for each day for a week. I am supposed to be posting them on FB but this feeds into FB so I’ll collect them here where I can come back and review them more easily. I will not be inviting 2 more FB friends each day to join in the challenge, although you can if you want.

Today I am grateful for: Van Charles, my husband. Who isn’t perfect, but then neither am I. Who is just about my perfect other half. It’s been a great 32+ years, my dear!

For the Rocky Mountain Three Gun Competition, where he had a great time doing his thing with the gun enthusiasts.

And for all the other drivers on the road, and the deer, and the raccoons, who did not cause him to wreck on the way home. He’s been gone for at least two weeks, although it seems much longer. I’m grateful for the road crews who kept the roads in shape, too!

I’m very glad he’s home!