Saturday, June 09, 2007

"Features" are random, but I totally don't care

I was checking to see if my new design had made it into the CP search engine this morning, and there it was--as a featured design. I'm sure this is totally meaningless, but it's cool anyway.

I'm in the middle of a major clean-up of the store. Drop by and let me know what you think of the improvements, k? ;)

Oh, and while you're there--check out the new "Woodland Pentacle" shirts and other items--I finally got the revised design done. It has the same pentacle, plus a unique frame and special gold ornaments based designs from the "Book of Shadows". Hope you'll like it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

And so it begins

Summer has been remarkably merciful up until today...but all good things must come to an end, and summer's mercy has passed now. Last time I checked, our temp here was 96, with a heat index of 99 (according to Weather Underground). Well, it's not like we didn't know this was coming--I'm just sad that it's finally here.

Tomorrow may be better, with a 30% chance for storms and lower temps. If we're lucky.

And that's pretty much what's going on around here. Oh, except for these interesting links I ran into and thought I should share: Keyboard shortcuts you might not know. I learned a few neat tricks from this, and I'm always glad to learn new computer tricks! And The Simple Dollar, a wonderful blog about finances. The author of the blog is incredibly smart, and knows how to write so that complex issues sound simple enough even I can understand.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

New design up at Celestial Spiral

Here's the design I've been working on (and finally finished):Orange Floral Watercolor. This thing was a surprising amount of work, and I'm not sure it was worth it! First I clipped out the orange flowers--their own greenery was unattractive, so I knew I'd have to replace it. Then, from a different photo, I clipped a vine covered in green leaves. Clipping out a vine is a pain in the you-know-where. Next, I did the necessary and extensive cleaning up of both pieces, preparing them to be turned into a virtual watercolor. My final steps were to composite the layers and make them look like a painting. Honestly, it would be so much easier to just paint the darn flowers on a piece of paper--if only I could! Since there's no way I could do such a detailed painting, though...I created this the hard way.

Photoshop makes things possible, but it sure doesn't make them easy.

Friday, June 01, 2007

A new design for the store

New design up at CafePress: Jungle Fantasy Kitty.

Pandora always knew she was a star!

This wasn't the design I set out to work on, but I found the photo and just couldn't resist. Hope you like it. (Personally, I love the way the design looks on the mousepad. Cat on a mousepad. Too funny.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

One of those days

First of all, for this to be funny, you need to know I've been feeling quite unwell, and very nauseated, today.

The house next door has been empty (well, it seems to be full of junk, but no people live there is more like what I mean) since we've lived here. I'm fine with that, since I don't care to have neighbors anyhow, but...I've often wished the owners would at least mow and keep the place decent. Today, several trucks full of people were over there, banging around with tools--repairing, tearing the place down? I couldn't tell. Plenty of loud banging that my window fan could not drown out, and which made my head pound in sympathetic rhythm. BANGBangBANG. Ow.

Finally the torture ended, and the noise stopped. But whatever they were doing disturbed the current residents.

My two "outside" girl kitties, LC and Spooky, left me the mortal remains of one large rat (minus his face, otherwise still quite fresh). I found this when I went to get soymilk for my coffee after supper.

Ugh. Not a thing you'd want to see when you're still fighting off nausea!

To make my job of burying the nasty thing a bit easier, I lapsed into my version of "The Dead Parrot Sketch":

(digdigdig) This rat is no more! He has ceased to be! He's expired and gone to meet his maker! (shoo LC away from the corpse, which she seems to want another go at) He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace!...(scoop up corpse and deposit it in hole) He's kicked the bucket, he's shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-RAT!!

You gotta take your laughs where you can get 'em.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Worn out witch

The Wicked Witch of West Texas is dragging her butt to bed. Too many hours with Photoshop and Illustrator make for one weary Wicked Witch.

But I did get some new designs up at CafePress. At last.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Food Stamp Diet

Waiting for my Melatonin (the poor man's Lunesta) to knock me unconscious for the night, I've been reading an interesting series of stories about how many politicians have just tried the Food Stamp Diet. In other words, they lived off Food Stamps. For one week.

One whole week.

And many of them took the highest amount they might be allowed. Unrealistic amounts, from what I know about Food Stamps.

Know what they found out? That you can't buy decent, nutritious food on Food Stamps. The food you can afford is not healthy. And your choices can be narrowed by other factors, too. Maybe you don't have a nice kitchen to cook in--which, oddly enough, many Food Stamp recipients do not. Plenty of people who get Food Stamps are living in terrible circumstances, where they're lucky to have a way to cook at all. They can't afford to buy perishable foods because they can't store them. This means living off things like peanut butter, macs and cheese, and ramen noodles. All of which are okay now and then, but living off them? It sucks. I've done it.

I know about being poor. I know about Food Stamps. I know the way people look at you when you're an educated Caucasian woman in clean clothes with a Food Stamp card. People are terribly critical of a person getting Food Stamps who doesn't look pitiful--but circumstances can change for anyone. You might be trying to keep your appearance decent because you are desperately searching for a job. You might still have a handbag and some nice shoes (bought back when you had the money because you were employed) and not be able to afford to eat. I've seen it happen.

It's happened to me.

And it's going to happen to a lot of other people, too, if things don't change. Current gasoline prices are having a negative effect on the lower middle class. The "working poor" are struggling even harder now. Some people who haven't ever been poor before, suddenly find that they are. I frequently see this as I shop for food in the cheapest market in town--people who are just joining our ranks, looking a bit lost. I see it when I go to donate plasma--many new people are coming in to see if they can donate, too. More than a few leave the donation center looking shell-shocked when they see for the first time what they have to do to get paid, and how little they get for what they've just been through.

Still, bleeding into a jar twice a week is much better than trying to get Food Stamps. No amount of pain, nausea, weakness or discomfort I've been through at the plasma donation center comes close to the agony of fighting for Food Stamps.

So far as I read, none of the politicians who volunteered to eat on a Food Stamp budget had to go to the actual Human Services office and beg. None of them had to fill out reams of pages of application information. None of them had to do without for days as they waited to see if the application would be approved. None of them had to accept the amount they were offered, even though they were given an amount for the whole month that was less than could be reasonably expected to feed a family for one week. None of them had to carry a Food Stamp card into a store and endure having the cashier give them a filthy look--or, better yet, being asked by a cashier "What kind of card is that? I don't think we take those." Yes, that happened to me. I had to explain what a LoneStar card (our local Food Stamp card) was, and insist that she could, indeed, take the card. None of them had to wonder how they could afford the things Food Stamps don't buy, like toilet tissue and soap. And none of them--at least, this was never mentioned--had to watch their beloved pets doing without proper food because Food Stamps don't provide for the non-human members of the family. It's a harsh fact: you can feed those sardines to your pets, or yourself. I've had to watch people making that choice, too, and it's heartbreaking.

They undoubtedly found out a bit about deprivation, but I don't think these politicians had a very realistic Food Stamp experience at all.