Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Busy as a Bee

I've been busy the last week or so working on a couple of projects.  One is a book that my husband and I are working on, but I'll keep the suspense going on that until another time.  The other is getting items from my Etsy shop ready to sell at several galleries.  The Narrows Gift Shop and Art Gallery just down the street from me is having a "Potty Party" this week to celebrate the grand opening of, you guessed it, their new restroom!  That may not sound like a big deal, but for them it is.  It means that they'll finally be able to be open on weekends and in the evening because they won't be at the mercy of the local businesses if they drink too much coffee while on the job!  I brought them some of my Christmas cards and origami Christmas star ornaments to celebrate the season.

Even more exciting was that due to my membership in 'Round the Mountain, I was contacted by the Appalachian Arts Center to sell some of my basket prints and cards, and origami Christmas star ornaments there!  I spent most of my day yesterday getting my prints framed, cards printed and packaged, and folding scrapbooking paper to make new ornaments (please pardon the badly lit photo, there wasn't enough natural light today!).  Despite the rain today, I had a nice trip west to the Appalachian Arts Center and really enjoyed looking around at all the beautiful work they have for sale.  I'm honored to be selling my work there!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Voted Today, Have You?

Today marks the end of the junk mail (how many trees were harmed in the making of this election season?), the robo-calls from elected officials, strangers knocking on the door, and other intrusions into my regularly scheduled life by that 11-letter word politicians (said with the same tone of voice Jerry Seinfeld used for the mailman, Newman).  I live in a district where both the state senator and representative positions were contested.  Rather nastily.  And, just to make things more annoying for those of us who enjoy our privacy, the sheriff, commonwealth's attorney, and supervisor positions were contested as well.  That means we had we had 4 to 8 pieces of junk mail per day for the last month, innumerable robo-calls in the last week, and at least 10 people came to the door. 

 Did any of that change who I planned to vote for?  No.  Did it make me inclined to not vote for certain candidates even if they had been the only ones on the ballot? Yes. I'm feeling harassed, but definitely glad that as an American, I have the right to vote for the candidate I choose.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A 5-Point Squirrel Business Plan

I watched a squirrel outside the bedroom window yesterday morning.  He was in the maple tree, at eye level to me on the second floor, stuffing himself with the seeds still hanging in the tree.  He was doing the usual squirrel acrobatics: running out to the farthest point on the skinniest branch, bouncing in the wind while he ate, then hanging upside down to get to those few last seeds.  As I watched him, I thought, "you know, I could stand to take some pointers from him to get my business moving," which led to this 5 Point Squirrel Business Plan:

  1. Be fearless!  Ever observe a squirrel?  They run out to the farthest end of the thinnest branch on the tree.  They walk the power lines.  They hang upside down to get to the tastiest morsel on the tree or in the bird feeder.  They see what they want and go after it, stretching themselves to the farthest reaches of their ability.  And most often, they get it.
  2. Plan for the future, but be flexible!  This time of year, squirrels are busy storing away nuts and acorns for the winter.  They're planning for the future.  But, the squirrel may not find all of that stash once winter comes either because another animal has eaten it or because he just can't remember where he packed it all away.   Either way, the squirrel needs to be flexible and find more food elsewhere if the plan falls through.
  3. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!  Ever watched a squirrel at a bird feeder?  Many of them are built with squirrel-proofing mechanisms, but the squirrels don't know that.  They known there's food in there so they'll keep trying to get to those tasty seeds, hanging upside down, jumping from a nearby tree, spinning dizzily until they're thrown off...There's an entire industry built around keeping squirrels out of bird feeders in entertaining ways.  But they keep trying to best the humans, learning as they go, and often succeeding.
  4. Take the high road!  How often have you seen a squirrel take the high route over a busy roadway, using the crossing power line as a sidewalk?  Keeps them from getting squished, doesn't it? 
  5. Rest often!  Squirrels seem like they're always busy, running from here to there, eating this, hiding that.  But I had a house once where the first floor windows were level with the upper branches of a grove of oak trees and had a wonderful opportunity to observe the squirrels there.  Two squirrels might be chasing each other up and down the tree, but they'd synchronously stop every few minutes to rest.  I'd often see a squirrel snoozing on a branch in the afternoon.  They expended a lot of energy, but they knew when to rest.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Week of Travel

So much for trying to blog more in October.  Last week, and the entire month really, just flew by in a blur.  I've been traveling throughout the state for my book Lost Communities of Virginia.  Twice to Richmond in the last week in fact.  Once to the Virginia State Capitol to accept an award for our office (that's a photo from inside the rotunda below) and once to the PBS studios to tape a segment for the Virginia Currents TV show (in one take!) plus several other stops in between all with a head cold.

I guess I'm getting a little more used to the fame thing.  Instead of being worried about what I was going to say on television, I was more worried that my nose was red from my cold or that I would lose my voice again (I had started the morning croaking).  Gosh, I hope I'm not turning into a diva!