11 December 2012

Two Shows Down; One to Go!

Home show / open house -- check!
Deluxe -- check!

The home show was a fun event, but a moderate success.  My friend Jen did great, because her stuff is adorable!  She makes jewelry and accessories from leather scraps, which makes them, in my opinion, perfect because they're feminine without being too girly.


Our friends generously hosted again in their House of the Spacious Front Rooms. (I don't know if they have a name they call their house, but I think they should seriously consider that one.)

[New this year -- puzzle piece magnets!  Some of them even have glitter.]

Then this last weekend I did Deluxe again.  I'm not gonna lie -- when we found out for sure we were moving back to Oklahoma, after initial feelings of hopelessness and disappointment, I had two excited thoughts: "Book sale!" and "Deluxe!!"

Deluxe is the best, most fun show I've done, and it's consistently awesome.


And I feel like my booth setup is really gettin' good.  I've been working on height, and I think I'm making good headway in that department.

[Tiny dresser for displaying sachets for your dresser!  I'm in love with my own idea.]

I sold a ton of stuff!  I must of sold about half the magnets, most of the yearbook sticker sets, and I sold out of floppy disk journals.  They always say you can never tell what will sell and what won't from year to year and show to show, and it is so true!  It seemed like nobody was touching those floppy journals with a ten-foot pole before, but on Saturday they all got snapped up.  ::shrug::

[I had Lucy put business cards in my business card holder. ...Norman fixed it later.]

Story time!  One lovely lady visited my booth, and upon looking at the yearbook stickers, started saying, "I know her!!  That's Betty Miller*! Oh, it's Kathy Smith*! This is our class!"  I explained to her that I use old yearbooks, and she explained to me that she was Norman High, class of 1967, and that a bunch of them still live in the area and hang out.  Then she called her friends and told them they had to come see this.  When she came back she had about five of her friends with her -- they were so excited!  More name naming -- they thought is was just the funniest thing ever.  And then one of the ladies bought 4 packages.  LOL.  They just made my day!

Also, I've been taking this up all over Facebook, but if you need to take money from people in person on a regular or semi-regular basis, and you have a smartphone, you need a Square.  Easiest thing to use ever, and the fees are beyond reasonable. They're downright cheap, compared to all of the other ways to accept credit card payments at the point of sale.  I love living in the future!!

 [Getcha some!]

Up next: Junk Hippy!  It's a handmade and vintage show, so I'll have about twice as much inventory as normal, crammed into the same size booth. ::nervous laugh:: Yeaahh.... We'll see how that goes.  Should be fun, though!

*Names completely made up by me in the style of women who graduated high school in 1967.

11 November 2012

Busy Building a Village

Hello, out there in blogland!  I haven't updated the blog in 2.5 months.  And I don't feel even a tiny bit guilty about this.  I've been busy!  I've been busy getting settled back here in Oklahoma.  I've been busy shopping and making and listing and selling for my Etsy shops.  There was October curb shopping (though somewhat toned down), which has so far resulted in a gross profit of $200, a toddler slide and Harry Potter books for my friends, and a backup digital camera for myself.  (Seriously, people -- I love free things, but the Goodwill truck will pick up if you just call them!)

 [And of course, return of the Commode!]

And I've been busy trying to build my mom village.  It took me 3 years to figure out that moms of tiny people must have a village.  You must have someone who will help you when they can, no questions asked.  Some women are blessed with family who can fill this role.  I am not.  (Between my parents living out of state, and my husband's family having a major health crisis, it just wasn't happening.)  I didn't know how much help I needed when Lucy was young.  The answer was "a lot", and I didn't get most of it.  Some of that was my fault.  Now that Lucy is 3.5, way more chill, and solidly preschool-aged, I feel like I have the time and the energy (and just the general sense of awareness) to help others.  So I've been working on becoming better friends with some like-minded moms-of-young-ones that I know.  I mean, beyond helping with physical needs, we just need people to talk to, don't we?  People who won't judge, people we can be open and honest with.  If I need it, then I know others need it, too.

[Gratuitous pumpkin patch photo!]

Turns out I'm still not awesome at it.  I pretty much suck at staying friends with people I don't see all the time.  I'm an introvert, and I've never made myself practice.  So, to the moms in my self-constructed village -- Sorry! I'm trying.  And to anyone who doesn't have a village -- It's probably because you're too busy changing diapers, feeding, and trying to find time to fit in enough sleep.  That's why the rest of us need to pick up the slack.  I want to be the slack-picker-upper.  I think that's one of my divinely-appointed jobs right now.

And also keeping my house in order, feeding myself and my family good food, playing with my daughter, and running two Etsy shops.  But now that my daughter mostly takes care of her own bodily functions, gets her own snacks, entertains herself, and usually sleeps all night, that is seeming a lot more doable.

[Oh yeah, and half of my hair is blue now. ::maniacal laugh::]

24 August 2012

School Accomplishments

This is about to get really real, y'all.  Serious blog post with sprinklings of embarrassing facts about me ahead.


It's Back to School time.  I just moved.  I just read this blog post.  These events have converged and resulted in my thinking about what I accomplished in school.  I spent 17 years in school.  I attended public school, a Catholic prep school, an evangelical Christian school, homeschool, and a public university.  I've pretty much done it all.  I was very good at school.  Straight As.  Total number of classes in which I received a B: 4.  Ever.  I got great standardized test scores, I was a National Merit Scholar, I'm in Phi Beta Kappa.

True story: I got really into DC Talk's album Free At Last when I was in 6th grade.  There's a song on it called "Time Is...".  One of the lines goes, "Get busy like a schoolboy makin' an A / 'cause time, my brother, is tickin' away."  I was truly, deeply perplexed by this as a sixth grader.  In my experience, those who made As where those who did not have to do any hard work, while those who worked hard did so in order to receive Bs or Cs.  Honest mistake.

When I look back on my school career, there are very few things I am truly proud of.  And thanks to some gentle encouragement from that blog post, I decided to take those things out of the box I had stored them in and display them on my wall.  As I was putting them up, I realized that it's not just that these are the kinds of school projects that can be displayed on a wall, but that they are nearly the only things I did for school that I still consider worth displaying, sharing, or looking at.

Here they are.

Embroidered Scarlet Letter

The story: I had an English teacher for a year and a half in high school who came up with some pretty interesting projects to require of us.  Each year she had us write a short story (both of mine involved portals), she had us write poems (I still have both of mine, though they aren't very good), and she had us do artistic projects, like this one and the next one. 

After we read The Scarlet Letter, we had to pick one of four artistic projects to complete, and one was to create your own embroidered "A".  I chose this, as did my friend who I was in the process of "breaking up" with.  I was determined that my letter would beat the snot out of her letter.  There's metallic thread in mine, y'all. Metallic thread.  Well, mine definitely did beat the snot out of hers.  Because hers looked like she didn't even try.  It was approximately as satisfying as beating a 4-year-old at checkers.  At which point I realized that it shouldn't be about her.  I love my letter.  It's beautiful, and I spent hours working on it to make it just right.  I had hardly ever put that much effort into a school project.  Since then it has come to mean even more to me, as I often find myself identifying with and empathizing with Hester Prynne.

 Thoreau quote collages

The story: This was another assignment by the same English teacher.  We were to create illustrations of two Henry David Thoreau quotes.  I took that opportunity to rifle through my craft supply box, and also include my own inside joke.  (The faces of the two sirens are the faces of Brian the Backstreet Boy's wife, and David Duchovny's wife Tea Leoni.) (It was an angsty, jealous time, okay?)  At the time these assignments were assigned, I thought they were a good idea.  Because they gave the artistic, non-academically-minded students a chances to be good at school.  Even as I had so much fun completing them, I didn't realize that I was one of those students.  I got to be good at school.  Not sufficient.  Not checking off a box.  Not skating through.  Good.  Engaged.  Passionate.  Thank you, Mrs. Olson.

Ballet shoes (and a photo of Julie Newmar)

The story:  I went to college on a full scholarship.  I took that opportunity to take whichever classes I wanted (Guitar), especially since I came in with 24 hours worth of credit from AP tests.  By senior year, it was time to buckle down and finish the Honors portion of my degree.  I was in the Honors College, I had taken Honors classes.  My parents wanted me to finish it.  But schedules were such that I needed to choose -- finish my Honors degree, or take Ballet (and Creek [the Native American language]).  I picked the crazy classes.

Ballet was hard.  Really hard.  It took a lot to swallow my pride and wear that leotard in front of 12 other people three days a week.  I was so bad.  So bad.  I know this because halfway through the semester, our teacher filmed our class and then made us watch it.  So, so bad.  I taped the photo of Julie Newmar up in my changing room locker to inspire me.  She is so graceful, so provocative, so female.  She got me through that class.  (Ballet was one of my Bs.  I didn't study for the vocab tests.)

I can only think of two other projects from school that still make me smile to think of them.  One is my senior thesis ("capstone").  I was so done with college.  It was becoming clear that I had zero professional ambition.  I had to write a capstone in order to graduate.  I had started watching The Monkees, and quickly became obsessed.  I watched all the episodes and bought a bunch of their music. And by golly, I turned that ridiculousness into a proper paper.  I wrote on American slang in the 1960s and looked at why some slang sticks around in a language, and why some disappears just as quickly as it appeared.  (You can read it here if you want.)

The other was... Oh, how to explain?  Let's start with Embarrassing Fact Number One about me: In high school for about 2 years I was obsessed with the Backstreet Boys.  I went to two concerts.  It was serious.  Now I don't know if you remember the late 90s, but at that time there were two rival boy bands -- the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.  I loved the Backstreet Boys.  My good friend since elementary school loved NSYNC.  Well, we were in speech class together, and it was time to give a persuasive speech.  We drew names for the order in which we would present before we started working on the assignment.  I was to go directly before my friend.  We decided that our speeches should be on the same theme: My Boy Band Is The Best.  We even traded teenie bopper magazine photos so we would both have good visual aids.  It was so silly and so fun.  Perhaps the best part was our evaluations:

["Great enthusiasm! Really drew me in" "Good eye contact" "Very well thought out and strong outline" "Great visuals and strong conclusion; kept everyone interested"  God bless you, Nate Madden.]

That's right, our speech teacher totally played along and decided to grade us on skills rather than content.  Thank goodness.

Those are my accomplishments. And now, finally, six years after I graduated college, my school stress freak-out dreams have transformed into dreams in which I find myself at a school, expected to attend and take classes.  I look around, and invariably say something to the effect of, "Screw this! I'm leaving. I don't have to be here." It's about time.

23 August 2012


This very blog was recently featured over at Pocket Change, a cool shopping blog.  You can see the post here.  I'm pretty excited, because they found me and asked if they could feature me.  Fun stuff!

[Bonus! Photo of my daughter sitting in her "Big Bird Nest". Just happens to be both the first and last time she'll have done that. Ahem.]

27 July 2012

Dear Arcata

This week I'm leaving you. It's not you, it's me. Actually it's my husband. No, actually it's God.  I knew I couldn't stay here when I showed up.  I'm sad, but not disappointed.

Arcata, I'm writing to say thank you.  Thank you for one year's vacation.  Thank you for giving me the gift of knowing myself better.  Thank you for space to breathe.  Thank you for convincing me to finally get those red streaks in my hair.  When I get back to Oklahoma there will be teal, or maybe purple.  So people will know I'm yours.

And I am.  I fit in here.  It's so ethereal and mostly indescribable, but I've never felt more at home.  Everyone seems to think the way I do.  Or when they don't, it's okay.  A Rent lyric sums it up best: "To being an 'us' for once, instead of a 'them'!"

The fact that I came here, "found my geographical bliss" (to quote my father), and am now being boomeranged back to where I came from sounds pretty unfair from the outside, I guess.  But it doesn't feel that way to me.  There's an important feeling that I want to remember -- The way I feel in Oklahoma is the way we should all feel here on earth.  It's not the place I'm supposed to be, and now I know that there is somewhere better.  The Promised Land is waiting for me.  But first I have to go through the desert.  (Arcata, in this metaphor you are Canaan.)

An apt metaphor, I think, considering your amazing beauty and fertility.  Here nothing struggles to survive.  Everything just grows.  The trees are enormous, the plants are colorful.  Even the bugs are totally chill.  And most importantly, the sun is our friend, not our enemy. 

But I'll be on the lookout for you, Arcata.  And whenever I find your spirit in Oklahoma, I'll stick close.  And when I don't find it, I'll remember you.  I'll remember how I felt every time I saw hitchhikers on the Plaza, or a young woman riding her bike in a skirt with her yoga mat strapped across her back. The way I felt the first time I heard a Christian over the age of 50 make a joke at the expense of the Republican Party.  How amused I was when I realized that my city-issued recycling trash can is 5 times larger than my city-issued garbage trash can.  The generous and nomadic spirit embodied in the numerous front yard "free piles" that pop up every week.

Maybe someday I'll be back. You are where old hippies go to die, after all.


17 July 2012

Vacation 2012: Twin Peaks

This will be a non-chronological account of the highlights of our recent Northwestern road trip.

We decided that the best possible use of time in the Seattle metro area would be to visit the cafe where they filmed Twin Peaks. (Which is a TV show from the early '90s. And also a weird movie.) 

So after we waited two and a half hours in the line of cars to get out of Canada (long weekend for the Canadians), we got to keep driving!  And then we were coming up on the Seattle area and the traffic was getting pretty bad, so I looked at the atlas and found a back road to take.  This turned out to be quite serendipitous, as this route also took us past the waterfall and hotel that were also featured on the show!

[Snoqualmie Falls]

That was definitely worth the half hour it took us to park, get out of the car, look at the falls, and browse the gift shop.  It was strangely thrilling.  My guess is that it was the combination of us having car-cabin-fever, the unexpectedness of stumbling across it, and of course the nerd factor.

[My hair decided that it was also very excited.]

Then we kept driving (I'm sensing a theme...) and finally found the cafe!  Twede's, as it is now known.  Now, unlike the Ovaltine Cafe (from the last post), Twede's looks almost nothing like it did in the show on the inside.  This is because the interior was destroyed in a fire (arson, for pity's sake) in 2000.  The sign survived, however, and they rebuilt. 

The other difference between the Ovaltine Cafe and Twede's is that the people in charge of Twede's know the score!  They sell mugs, t-shirts, magnets, frisbees, and even hand-drawn maps of Twin Peaks filming locations.  They've got a "Twin Peaks" burger on the menu, and they always have plenty of coffee and cherry pie.  So that made it pretty fun.  (Also, the food was really good!)


All along the back wall by the restrooms, they have a bunch of newspaper clippings about filming and the fire, and quite a few shots from the show.

[Oh, Audrey Horne.]

[Best in the tri-counties.]

I would have insisted that we go find the sheriff station from the show, but it was getting late, and we still had to drive to Portland!

[And there was the part where I convinced Norman to talk to Diane on the voice recorder while I took videos. Oh yes he did.]

13 July 2012

Vacation 2012: X-Files

This will be a non-chronological account of the highlights of our recent Northwestern road trip.

And by "X-Files", I mean X-Files filming locations in Vancouver, British Columbia.  This was the whole point of our trip, actually. Well, not the X-Files part, but the Vancouver part, certainly.  I visited about 11 years ago to see a college I wanted to attend (didn't work out; God is good), and I've been wanting to get back ever since. Well since we live about 12 hours away by car, uh, yeah, we had to go before we move back to the middle of the country.

We did a bunch in our three days, four nights, but as the title suggests, I'm just going to focus on the X-File-y stuff. Because this is my blog and I do what I want.

Now, even though I was completely geeking out, there were still some limits to the nerdiness. 1.) Three-year-old in tow, which meant we tried not to plan too many things for one day, and we needed to be home in time for dinner. 2.) Husband in tow, which meant that attractions had to be independently interesting, aside from the fact that the X-Files was filmed there.

The first day we focused on Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium.

Independently cool factors: Dolphins, penguins, narwhal statue, hummus and veggies lunch plate, and kids' play area.


X-Files cool factor: Scene from first season episode "E.B.E." with Deep Throat and Mulder was filmed in front of the shark tank.

[That's David Duchovny, I promise.]

Day Two, Grouse Mountain.

Independently cool factors: a beautiful view of beautiful scenery, fun skyride, birds of prey exhibit, grizzly bear habitat, family-friendly yet innuendo-filled lumberjack show, and POUTINE!
(You may also recognize it as NBC's broadcast "studio" for the 2010 Winter Olympics.)



[Canada food]

X-Files cool factor: Season two episode "Ascension" filmed on the skyride gondolas.

On Day Three, we took a walking (and walking, and walking, and huffing, and puffing) tour around downtown to see a couple different sights, including...

Robson Square


X-Files cool factor: More than one episode was filmed here, but the Lone Gunmen ice skated on the ice rink!

[Promo photo, not a screen capture. Unfortunately.]

Vancouver Art Gallery


X-Files cool factor: Used as the exterior for a university library in the episode "Synchrony" (which is a pretty decent stand-alone hour of sci-fi television).

Ovaltine Cafe

Independently cool factors: Really old, really crappy, really cheap cruddy old diner smack dab in the emphatically worst part of Vancouver (and probably the whole of British Columbia).


X-Files cool factor: Several scenes from "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" were filmed here.  "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" is hysterical.  It's really, really funny.  That may or may not hold true if you've never watched an episode of the X-Files.

Other fandoms cool factor: Episodes of Fringe and Da Vinci's Inquest, and scenes from the movies I, Robot and The Butterfly Effect.

Actually, the Ovaltine Cafe was one of the places I managed to talk my parents into hitting up when we went for that college visit.

[17-year-old me]

The place hasn't changed in at least the last 16 years (since the X-Files was filmed there).  Pretty sure it's looked exactly the same, and perhaps has been using the same plates since it opened in... whenever long time ago.

[27-year-old me and progeny]

And yes, we ate there. Ick.

[Supernaturally fluffy pancakes. There has to be a scientific explanation for this.]

And the whole thing was fun and special, and the realization of a long-time dream, one I thought I had laid to rest when I watched the 2010 Winter Olympics from my couch instead of in real life like 18-year-old me had been planning.

10 July 2012

Vacation 2012: Portland

This will be a non-chronological account of the highlights of our recent Northwestern road trip.

Portland!  As some sort of hipster, Norman certainly needed to visit.  It was lovely, though we didn't spend much time there.  We visited two main attractions: IKEA and SCRAP.  Yes, both of these places are spelled with all caps.  That's because they are both so exciting.

We decided to visit the IKEA because 1.) I'd never been to an IKEA and by all accounts it's a wonderland of fabulousness, and 2.) The Portland IKEA has a fabric-by-the-yard section, which is apparently uncommon.

 [It was even cloudy!]

It pretty much fulfilled all of my wildest expectations.  Beautiful showroom (including at least three displays of full apartments under 900 sq. ft.) (I have a slight obsession with tiny spaces, even though I could never live in one), cheap products that offer clever solutions to household organization problems, and cheap, interesting food.  On Facebook I called it an amusement park for grownups, which I guess isn't quite right because grownups like actual amusement parks.  Maybe it's an amusement park for the Pinterest set.  Which I am kind of a part of even though I don't have a Pinterest account.

[Spinach and cheese crepes (meh), fried chicken BBQ wrap (yum), IKEA chocolate bars (yes, please!)]

I bought a set of dish cloths, a set of washcloths with little loops on the corners for hanging, two down/feather pillows, and two sets of these shelves/drawers for my craft room.  Unfortunately they have to stay in their packages until after we move.  Sad.

Then we headed on over to SCRAP.  Lucy fell asleep, which meant I got to go in by myself!  It was like a vacation from my vacation!

SCRAP is a magical place.  It looks like this.  They sell recycled craft supplies.  Some of which are actual craft supplies, and some of which are just other recycled things.

I bought a ton of stuff (including a stack of interesting paper for making journals, a bunch of film reels, and about 50 very large manila envelopes for $2), and spent less than $14.

(There are other places like this SCRAP around the country and the world.  Check out this directory.)

[Aaaand that's an industrial laundry hamper FULL of zippers. 25 cents a piece!]

So even though we didn't spend much time in Portland, and we didn't really hit any tourist spots, it was a ton of fun!

01 July 2012

Jessie Lyman's Journals, Part 23 (the last)

I previously introduced you to my great-great grandmother, Jessie Lyman Eckert.  You can read the first post here, and subsequent post are filed under

Jessie Lyman was born January 2, 1878.  She graduated from Westport High School (Westport, MO, now part of Kansas City) in 1897 at the head of her class.  From what I have read of her diaries so far, it appears she went on to teach school for a couple years one year in Columbia, MO.  She married Herman Eckert in June of 1899.  On July 26, 1900, she died giving birth to twins Conrad and Cornelia at the age of 22.  Conrad is my mother's mother's father. 



Sat, Mar. 26.

I went to town today and sent Forest some money.
This afternoon we baked. We made three cakes. It rained so that no one could come. I was so tired that I was almost sick.

Sun, Mar. 27.

I didn't go to church this morning, but went this evening. Herman came in after church.

Mon, Mar. 28.

We washed today. I went to school in the morning.

Tues, Mar. 29.

We finished the ironing this afternoon.
Herman spent the evening with me.

Wed, Mar. 30.

Ella went to prayer meeting with Mr. Rodert. I stayed at home and studied.

Thurs, Mar. 31.

We are sewing. Ella is making a dress skirt for herself.

Fri, Apr. 1.

I went down town and interviewed Mr. Allen about my getting a school in Westport.
Papa got me a percal [sic] dress.

Sat, Apr. 2.

We sewed all day. I washed my hair in the afternoon, and took cold.
I didn't get to go to the business meeting this evening.
Emma went to the door to meet Herman, when I was out in the kitchen. I didn't get to say half a dozen words to him. It was so late when they got home, that he didn't come in.

Sun, Apr. 3.

I didn't go to church today. My cold is worse. I [sic] has rained all day. I wrote to Laura H. Herman is coming tonight. I'm afraid it will be to [sic] muddy and damp for me to go out with my cold.


Haha! What an ending! Like a TV show that got cancelled in the middle of the season.

What happens after this?  Well, in June of 1899 (over a year from the end of the journal!), Herman and Jessie got married at Jessie's family's home.  A little over a year after that, on July 26, 1900, Jessie died giving birth to her twins Conrad and Cornelia.  (Conrad was named after Herman's father; Cornelia after Jessie's mother.)  Conrad and Cornelia's stories are told in part here.

I borrowed Cornelia's travel journals from another family member and scanned them.  I will share some of them here shortly.