Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sending Newsletters Is Fun

Should that be "are" fun? No...I think is is right. *grin*

I finally sent a new newsletter out today, after being MIA for several months. I think my last one went out all the way back in MARCH. Oh the shame.

Sending a newsletter is stressful and nerve wracking, but ultimately a lot of fun. It's the one chance I get to communicate with everyone who has signed up or purchased something in the past.

This latest newsletter announced and explained all the new changes regarding my website and my Etsy shop. I'm sure some folks will not want to purchase via Etsy, but hopefully the positives will outweigh the negatives for people.

Have you thought about sending a newsletter before? At one point in time I used Constant Contact but for someone as small as me the cost was insane. It's a monthly fee even if you don't send out a single newsletter. And the fee goes up if you want to send more than a certain number of e-mails (It was 200 for my small account) - which may not sound like a big deal but you'd be surprised how fast you can build up a 200-300 member newsletter list.

So last year I switched to Mail Chimp. I LOVE IT! They've gone through a lot of growing and changes but their communication is excellent. So is their pricing structure! I don't pay a dime unless I actually SEND an e-mail. Imagine that!

Instead of a monthly fee, you pay for credits - each credit represents an e-mail address. So if I have 500 members on my list I will need 500 credits to send an e-mail to them. Prices range from $0.03 a credit down to $0.01 a credit. I go with the in between because I don't have a ton of e-mail addresses - so each person "costs" me $0.02 to contact. My last newsletter cost just over $10 to send out.

Think about that...It's a lot cheaper than the mail service. And the layout is a lot nicer looking than just a regular text e-mail. And for about $10 I was able to communicate with over 500 people! And I'm not going to be charged another $15 monthly fee or anything like that.

Plus isn't the monkey cute??? *grin* Their monkey mascot cracks me up.

You can use Mail Chimp for all kinds of newsletters, not just for business. If you have tons of family and don't want to shell out the big bucks for fancy holiday cards or announcements, Mail Chimp is a great option. Or just to keep in touch.

The Monkey lets you sign up for a free trial account too. So you can try it out at no risk and if you decide to sign up (and you do so from my link here) you will earn $30 in credit! Woohoo! And so do I! Woohoo again! Win Win.

I'm not loving on the Monkey (so to speak) just to get credit though. I really do love their service. Any time I've had any issues (only twice...and trust me it was user error) the staff has been more than helpful. Plus they've done a bunch of upgrades lately and their site is even easier to use than it was before (and it was easy to use before!).

So let's all keep in touch, k? =) Feel free to sign up for my newsletter ... I'm going to try to be better at sending one out at least once a month...maybe once every six weeks.

Oh...I forgot to mention that it's really easy for people to sign up for your distribution list too. There are all kinds of tutorials on how to build a sign up page - although I had my web lady do it because I'm too dumb for that kind of thing. hahahaha

You can also manually enter e-mail addresses (and I think you can upload them too) as long as you have permission.

Spread some monkey love today! =)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Stuffy Cold Weekend

I'm not talking weather... Friday night I started feeling stuffy in the nose and head. Saturday morning I was sick but determined to go to the agility demo with Trooper.

By Saturday evening I was curled up on the couch, not even interested in the computer or TV. I was in bed Saturday night by 8 p.m. and asleep by 8:30.

Yesterday was horrible. I got nothing done. I didn't even get out of the house to buy my newspapers for the coupons! Trust me...that is sick. I'm hoping my friend can get me some extra copies...but they will be from the Tacoma newspaper, not the Seattle paper - which has the best coupons. *sigh*

Now I feel kind of tired and the stuffiness is there, but held back by the medicine. I'm so glad I got some free Robitussen a few weeks ago! I got the cough and cold kind and it works really well. On top of that I got hit with horrible cramps...stupid period.

So it's definitely a Monday right? So here's a fun survey...feel free to disagree. =) Anyone planning to watch the Veep debate this week? I'm leery...a little nervous but optimistic.

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Changes at Casto Creations

There are quite a few changes at Casto Creations and I thought I'd take some time to explain them here. This is long but I tried to use headers so you can browse quickly. :)


That is my new goal. Simplify my life. Having my own website with a shopping cart and a merchant account has become so stressful to me that I didn't even want to create new pieces of jewelry. I wanted to ignore the whole thing ... as I tend to do when something stresses me out.

New Plan - Purchase through Etsy

I still have a 'regular' website, but it no longer has a shopping cart feature. Items posted there will be for gallery style viewing only and I'll maintain my policies and about pages, as well as my contact form and newsletter sign up page.

The new setup for selling my jewelry will include Etsy and Paypal. I don't know what people did before these two companies existed. And with recent upgrades and changes they are even better.

To purchase from my Etsy shop you will need to create an Etsy account, if you don't already have one. The process for making purchases through Etsy is "simple" but can also create some confusion. There are several steps needed to complete a purchase.

  1. Click the "Add to Cart" button (green, to the upper right of each item listed)
  2. If you are done shopping click the "Checkout" button
  3. Enter your address or pick a saved address.
  4. Select a payment method.
  5. Send Your Payment (This is the most often skipped step!)

That last one gets skipped a lot because after the 4th step it kind of looks like you're done...but you aren't. =)

While this may look complicated I can promise you that once you get the hang of it, it takes seconds. I've purchased tons of items and it's a simple process once you get used to it.

Using Paypal

Some people get nervous when they hear about Paypal. I promise it's not as scary as it might sound. I've been on Paypal for more than 5 years. I started using it as a customer on Ebay when I bought a lot of beads and supplies.

I resisted getting my account linked to my bank account but honestly it was an easy transition that has made my life easier in the past few years. As a business it makes sense to hold me accountable and have a link to a "real" bank.

Your information is safe!

Really...I know there are horror stories out there about how bad Paypal is, but as a customer using Paypal to buy items and as a business owner taking payments I have never had any major issues.

The key is to be smart about answering e-mails that claim to be from Paypal. NEVER click on a link that claims to be directly from Paypal in an e-mail message. EVER. [This is different than paying an invoice sent to you though.] Always directly type in the paypal address directly into your browser to check your account. Seriously. It's the best way to do things. And if you ever have a question about an e-mail just forward it to spoof@paypal.com and they will confirm whether it is a spam message.

And if you can't stand the idea of creating an account, don't worry. Paypal now allows you to pay with a credit card without signing up. It is just like inputting your card information to any other site shopping cart and is secure.

Coupon Codes

This is the one issue that bothers me most because I loved the ability to give coupon codes for people to save. Etsy does not allow for the use of coupon codes (yet...I hope they will eventually allow this) so all discounts have to either be made to the item listing or given after the fact.

All coupon codes will still get you a discount - but the discount will be in the form of a refund via Paypal. For example...
  • You buy a necklace for $100 and have a coupon code for 20% off.
  • Leave the coupon code in the 'notes' section of the Etsy checkout process.
  • Complete the payment process through paypal.
  • You would receive the $20 discount as a "refund" before the necklace is shipped.

I'm hopeful that this setup will allow me to stress less and create more. I love love love designing jewelry and it is the highest compliment when someone is willing to part with their hard earned dollars to buy a piece of my work.

I always am available if there are any questions. I still will do custom pieces and if you have an idea for something you want designed feel free to contact me.

And thank you all for your patience and understanding!

Tired, Frustrated, Disappointed

I'm trying really really really hard to not watch the news. Seriously. It's just utterly depressing and I need no help being depressed.

Of course I'm still listening to my favorite talk radio shows ... but for the most part they are up beat. Not all of them of course, but Medved is my favorite and he tends to have a very positive outlook. So does Hugh Hewitt, who I adore. He's been taking calls from ONLY female first time callers for the last two weeks. Which is apparently unheard of in radio. I haven't called yet but only because everyone else has said what I've been thinking.

This whole bailout thing is ticking me off though. My hubby and I work very hard to pay all of our bills and save our money. When we bought our house we were offered a variable rate but turned it down. I have a low risk tolerance and didn't like the idea of a rate that went up in the future, even hypothetically.

I don't know who some of these people went through to get their home loans that they didn't have to prove that they could actually PAY for the house...our mortgage folks required all sorts of crazy paperwork and proof of employment. But I wasn't offended ... it makes sense that you have to prove that you can AFFORD to pay for a house. Duh!

Nor did we try to buy more house than we could afford. As much as I would love the $500,000 home with acreage, I'm not stupid enough to think that the stress of trying to pay for it would not kill me. We'd be so screwed right now if we'd tried to do that.

And since some people got greedy, wanting more house than they could really afford or trying to buy homes to "flip" them for a profit...and because the government tried to play social experiments by forcing businesses to give loans to those who couldn't really afford it in order to increase home ownership for "minorities" ... and because a few lenders got greedy ... hubby and I will potentially suffer.

I do not want my taxes paying for someone's home just because they were greedy, stupid, or "tricked" (in which case how smart were they really?). I don't have a ton of sympathy for people who got in over their heads. I was only 24 when we bought our home (and we weren't even married yet!) and I knew better than to do some of the things people did to get homes.

If the bailout doesn't go through, the company I work for will probably be hurting a bit. I don't *think* that I'll lose my job but who knows. I'm trying not to worry about it and leave it in God's hands. There's nothing I can do at the moment to fix or change anything.

Do I think we're headed into the next "great" Depression? No idea. I don't think so. I think the government is running around crying "wolf" when really it's just a wolf cub. Is it serious? Oh heck yes. But I just don't think it's as doom and gloom as some of the politicians want us to believe.

We'll see how it turns out. *sigh*

Oh...and I'm disappointed because my monthly friend just showed up. I was kind of hoping there'd be a reason for her to stay put for 9 months. :( No such luck.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wait...My Chocolate Isn't Chocolate???

Where have I been? When did Hershey's stop using the term "milk chocolate" when describing some of its candy??? I am so not that observant.

Check out this story on The Consumerist.

Apparently consumers like the new formula. Yeah, maybe. And I certainly didn't notice (not that I eat a lot of Hershey's candy bars).

But isn't it a little weird...our chocolate isn't really chocolate.

And did you know that there is a Candy Blog out there? I love it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

If I Were to Buy Jewelry

I'd TOTALLY buy from this shop. I just love her pieces!

Don't they rock? I know how hard it is to control a patina so I'm super impressed with her ability to get these awesome colors.

Patina is a fun thing to play with and I'm really impressed with her work. I wish I knew how she was getting her color to "stay" as mine eventually fade with wear.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Super Bandaid


You know how most bandaids, when you get them wet, will fall off?

Well, super coordinated me sliced my pinky finger last night with a pair of scissors.

I'm lame ... I know.

I've never ever ever sliced my finger when opening a box before. But there's a first time for everything.

So the slice bled pretty bad and I had to put a bandaid on. :( I hate bandaids. They are a pain and since it's on my finger means I can't really bend my finger properly.

However, since I started clipping coupons I've been stocking up on free things like Bandaids and have several boxes of the more expensive style Ultra Bandaids. Free is good and I probably wouldn't have bought them outright - they are slightly more expensive and I am cheap. However the cheap ones do fall off.

Let me tell you - they rock. Seriously...through washing my face last night, taking a shower this morning, and washing my hands just a few minutes ago the Bandaid is still on my finger! I'm going to take it off soon to allow the wound to breath but I'm so impressed that it hasn't fallen off (and no, it doesn't feel wet just a few minutes after washing) that I had to share.

I know...it's one of the most important pieces of information you'll get all day. =)

*** No, this was not a paid advertisement or request from Band Aid. I just wanted to share. ***

Monday, September 22, 2008

Survey: More TV Junkiness

For some reason I thought I watched a lot more TV but there are tons of shows that I do not watch.

I can't wait for Survivor to start though! All these seasons later I'm still hooked.

Happy Monday

Well, are Mondays ever happy? I wore a hot pink turtle neck to work today. I wanted to be optimistic. =)

An update on my website...It is being worked on. In an effort to simplify my life, I am going to go ahead and have my shopping cart system scrapped. All sales will either be through Etsy or direct paypal invoices. I will still have an independent website at www.castocreations.com but to purchase pieces people will need to either create a user account on Etsy or contact me and ask for an invoice.

This creates several inconveniences for me and for anyone who wants to buy my jewelry. However in the long run it is better for me and my family. And perhaps even for customers. I will be sending out a newsletter e-mail explaining the changes as soon as they are in effect. If you aren't already on my newsletter list you will be able to sign up again once my site is back up and running.

So while I wait for my new site to be loaded I started feeling more inspired than I had in months! I created two necklaces, four pairs of earrings, and a ring this weekend. Woohoo!!!

First one up on Etsy is one that I really want to keep for myself. It is just so gorgeous (in my humble opinion).

I called it Crystal Ice ... it just brings to mind an elegant black tie event with chandeliers at Christmas time - lots of ice cycles, white and blue decorations, quiet music.

Hope you like it. =)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Now for Some Really Important News


So I officially say "Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" =)

If you've never talked like a pirate you are seriously missing out on some fun. Never fear though - you can learn how to talk like a pirate.

My official Talk Like a Pirate Name is ....

Pegleg Jackson

Have a great one folks!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wow...Sometimes God Makes Decisions Easy

I've been debating for a few weeks about my jewelry business. I still love to make jewelry and selling is just a nice byproduct of doing something I love. It's not my favorite part of having my own business though. Selling can be a huge stress.

And as much fun as having my own website was, I hadn't been updating it often for the past several months. Nor had I really made a lot of jewelry. My site had gotten quite a good Google ranking, which also meant that I got tons of Spam and people e-mailing me for links. My hits weren't outstanding though and although I enjoy having a site of "my own" it was a huge stress to have to do the SSL certificate and hosting issues.

Well, God works in mysterious ways.

Yesterday afternoon I noticed that I wasn't getting any e-mails to my google account. Which is odd because at the very least I normally get spam messages every hour. Still nothing today when I got up and I know that is wrong because I have several standard e-mails that I subscribe to.

I just read a message from my website developer and I wish I could fly out to her and bring her chocolate or something.

A host server crashed and everything is gone. Nothing can be recovered.

I'm extremely bad at backing things up and have no idea if my site was stored somewhere else. So the decision as to whether or not I should just go to Etsy or if I should keep my current site up has been made for me.

I am not closing my site entirely. I'm going to have a front page of sorts at www.castocreations.com but my shopping cart will no longer be separate and on my own. This means I can cancel my merchant account and save at least $20 to $50 in fees (sometimes more) each month. I'll still have paypal and Etsy fees but it really seems to even out. Not to mention the stress that I'll be able to reduce from worrying about people's cards going through - and having to run the cards.

Even better - no more SSL certificate needed!!! Woohoo!!! =)

The main drawback is not having the ability to accept credit cards at shows. I may keep my merchant account until after my work show this November.

So if you're searching for my site...it's dead at the moment. I'll be sending out a newsletter soon with all the new details. I'm actually relieved. All my new jewelry designs will now be posted for sale to my Etsy shop and my Etsy shop alone. You'll be able to purchase items through my shop but will have to create an Etsy account and pay through paypal. You don't have to have a Paypal account to pay though - they allow you to use your credit card without creating a new account.

I'm really surprised at my non freaking out reaction right now. Maybe it's all the sugar from my fair food. That's a new post. =)

Yes I am a TV Addict

So what's your point?

I watched the first episode of Fringe and LOVED it. I rarely start watching new shows when they first come out but I set up the DVR to tape it and watched it on Sunday. Seriously creepy and awesome. Very X-Files meets CSI meets I don't know what else. But it just adds one more show to my addiction.

Other shows that are rocking right now ...

America's Next Top Model - OMG I have so many opinions on this season's contestants
Psych - the season just ended and I'm so sad
Terminator - The Sarah Connor Chronicles - LOVE this show...seriously LOVE it
Fringe - Can't wait to watch the episode I taped last night

There are more ... too many to list probably. It's amazing that I get anything done at all considering all the TV I watch. =)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Gorgeous Rare Stone - Rutilated Amethyst

Earlier in the summer I made my way to a gem show up in Seattle. I haven't gotten to go to Tucson in awhile (if you aren't aware - Tucson hosts the largest Gem and Mineral show in the United States every year) and while I don't ever really *need* anything I do like to see what's out there.

I *try* to stick to a budget when I attend these things ... and yet somehow manage to come home with all sorts of things not on my list.

One of those things this time was an absolutely amazing and stunning strand of gemstones - the vendor called them Rutilated Amethyst. I'd never heard of it, though apparently it has been around for awhile. It is a Quartz gemstone with shades of Amethyst and rutiles in red (I believe the rutiles are a mineral called lepidocrosite).

This species of stone can range from clear with sharp rutiles to mottled amethyst purple. The stones I purchased are sharp, clear, crisp, and huge. =)

Translation = Expensive

Even though it's been around for years no one bothered to cut and market it as a gemstone so there really isn't a lot of it to work with.

So I got suckered, I mean talked, into buying a strand for an arm and a leg but I tell you what... I got these home and they were even MORE beautiful. Using the whole strand in one necklace would make the necklace ridiculously expensive. I finally got around to cutting the strand apart this weekend and made a necklace and a pair of earrings.

Hope you like! =)

Monday, September 15, 2008

A New Week

This weekend was nice. I actually got to SLEEP IN on Saturday. And not just the kinda sorta sleeping in that I've been getting where I'm able to sleep in until 7 as opposed to getting up at 5:30. Nope. I mean the blissful half asleep laying in bed for hours without the dogs jumping on you kind of sleep.

Of course they did still wake me up at 7 for breakfast. But then we all dutifully trotted back into the bedroom (okay, I sort of stumbled, they trotted) for several more hours of bliss. I didn't get out of bed until nearly 11 a.m. and it was heaven! I needed the sleep.

A couple of errands for more free goodies (if you count toilet cleaner as a goody) and some deliciously cheap Stouffer's frozen stuff ($1.88! Seriously...and I had two coupons) and I was back home. Hubby had the night off (starting a new shift soon so his days are wonky) so we just stayed home and it was great.

With Sunday comes Agility training with Trooper so up at 7:30 to get ready. He was not his normal perky self and I blame Timber. I think Trooper is still a little jealous of his new brother. He'll get over it.

And now I'm back at work. *blah* I just so badly want to be back home. I actually got inspired this weekend to make new jewelry!!! =) Woohoo!!! I made two necklaces, two pairs of earrings, and a bracelet. And if I hadn't been so tired I would have kept going. That is how my inspiration works - all at once - a hurricane of ideas.

So far I've posted the bracelet in my Etsy shop. Should I put it on my main website? I'm torn. It's not metal work and I have been hesitant to add anything to my main site that isn't metal focused. But then again I haven't added anything new to my main site in over a month. Which kinda looks bad I think. I'm seriously considering moving to just an Etsy shop with a "main site" as a gallery of sorts.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You?

As I got ready for work on 9/11/01 I had the TV on the local morning news, as was my habit. Right before I left they announced that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.

My first thought was that some drunk pilot had steered wrong. The buildings are so large that it really did look like a small commuter plane.

I picked up my car pool buddy and we headed off to work and right before we arrived the second plane hit and we knew that it was no accident.

No work was started that morning. Everyone on the floor was gathered around the various TV monitors watching the news. When the first tower collapsed there was just shock. I ran into one coworker's office to tell him and he didn't believe it. When the second tower fell he thought they were just replaying the first tower. Unfortunately not.

We didn't know where all of our New York associates were - were any of them in meetings there? Thankfully no one from our offices were there - one had been there just the night before and one or two were scheduled there on that day but hadn't made it yet.

One of our associates in another office had been on the phone meeting with someone in one of the Towers when the planes hit. That someone did not make it and the conversations were tragic. But at least they were able to say goodbye - to convey their messages to family.

Thankfully my company sent people home if they wanted - and I wanted. Sometimes when things get too overwhelming I shut down. And I shut down that day. I went home and slept on the couch after crying. I slept and slept. There was nothing but coverage on the news - showing us people jumping to their deaths. All I wanted to do was escape and watch a sitcom.

It was also my sweet little cousins' 16th birthday. Not the best way to celebrate but she's handled every year remarkably well.

Seven years later we have not been hit again and even though it was a powerful hit we did not bend to the destruction that they hoped to force on out nation. I don't think that a similar attack would work today - passengers on planes are more aware and not willing to be flown to their deaths. I think if those on the first two planes knew where they were headed they would have fought back the way those on Flight 93 did. Americans are not ones to sit and 'take it'. We don't back down from a fight.

God Bless all of those who died - and all of those who fought. Those who ran toward the collapses to try to rescue people, even with their own lives at risk. Those who rushed the cockpit to fight the monsters. Those at the Pentagon who lost their lives.

They can try to hit us but we will not fall! Evil will not prevail. Life and Light will emerge victorious.

EDITED TO ADD: Please visit Sandee's blog for a heart breaking and amazing tribute. I had managed to go all day without crying ... until I saw her video.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rumors and Truths

My own mother "hates" Sarah Palin. Why? Because she's a Republican.

My mother is generally a sane person but somehow the idea of a female Republican horrifies her. Yes, even her own daughter's conservatism (not that the GOP and conservatism always go hand in hand).

So for those of you who have flown off the deep end against this woman here is a link to some of the rumors.

For Sarah Palin.

For Barrack Obama.

Facts matter. Truth matters. I am not against BO because I think he's a closet Muslim or not an actual citizen. Those are rumors and aren't true. I'm against him because of his socialist quasi-Marxist ideas.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Another Survey

Not so interesting this time but I figured I'd get it posted anyway. =)

Thwarting Thieves

As is usual for my Sunday routine I headed out to go shopping. I had my lists and piles of coupons for each store I planned to stop at - Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target, and Fred Meyer.

I was high from my Walgreens trip where I got 6 bars of FREE Dove chocolate (Woot! Free chocolate!) when I stopped by Rite Aid to get some free Toothpaste and inexpensive vitamins.

All my items were gathered and as I headed to the front of the store to check out I see this guy at the end of an aisle just standing there. I cannot tell you why, but something caught my eye and seemed ... off.

As I passed him he started jangling his keys. And not just in a 'oh my hand hit my pocket and my keys made noise' but in a really obvious "look at my keys" kind of way. It was so bizarre that I slowed down.

I looked to my left and down another aisle was another person who also started jangling their keys. At the next aisle I saw two girls together in the shampoo section huddled close together. Then ahead of me was an older man (older than the other folks...he was in his late 40s, early 50s) who didn't look like he was doing anything even though he picked up an item and seemed like he was examining it. Something told me that they were all together and something wasn't right.

All of this happened in less than 15 seconds and my hackles and spidey sense were up. Once at the counter I immediately told the cashier that I thought someone was robbing them. I told her exactly what happened and how all the people looked like they were together and the 3 around the 2 seemed like lookouts.

Of course, I could have been wrong...I didn't want to sound paranoid. But something was just wrong with the whole situation.

Sure enough...

She flagged down the shift supervisor. Then she got on the intercom and said "Security, please review all security tapes. Security, please review all security tapes."


The first guy who jangled his keys walked out of the store. About 30 seconds later one of the shampoo aisle girls walked quickly out with a LARGE RED PURSE and as soon as she got outside she started running.

I was SO ticked. I wanted to follow her and tackle her and reem her a new one. How dare she steal!?! Doesn't she know that she can get free things legally with coupons? I guess that would be too much work for this set of thieving losers.

The other 3 thieves followed her and the shift supervisor saw them running across the street (jay walking across 5 lanes!).

I wish I could have done something. I was more upset than the Rite Aid workers. But they've been through this before. The shift supervisor and I chatted and she said that even if they had stopped her they can't touch her at all and if they don't actually see her steal something they can't stop her.


I remember when I was around 13 years old and my brother and I were at Claires in the mall. My brother took out his little wallet and was counting his money as I looked at earrings or something. We happened to be behind a little display between us and the cashier. We didn't think anything of it and kept shopping. But just a few minutes later security was in the store and asking my brother to open up his wallet. They were NOT going to let us leave the store. Even at my young age I was pissed. But good for them for making sure that their store wasn't being robbed.

Granted, while I could have taken the little thief girl (I had a good 40 pounds on her) she did have at least 2 guys with her and another girl so 5 on 1 would have been a little difficult. =) Plus, they could have had weapons. But it still seems really wrong that employees can't even approach people who may be stealing from them! :( It just is NOT acceptable.

Who do these losers think they are that they can just walk into a store and take things without paying? What kind of selfish, self absorbed mentality allows a person to think that they have any right to do this? I was absolutely outraged.

Hubby was super proud of me though. First that I even noticed something seemed off...he likes to say that I'm not the most observant gal and that I wouldn't make a very good cop. Well yesterday my cop instincts were firing. Second, he said that I probably stopped it before they could get too much stuff. Her bag definitely looked full and heavy so they could have been there for a few minutes already (but I know they weren't there when I first got there and I was there for less than 10 minutes) and gotten some things. Hopefully not too much.

I'm still ticked about the situation. Theft - whether by individuals or government (*grin*) makes me very angry. But as the shift supervisor said ... they will get theirs.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A New Casto Family Member

Head on over to my other Blog, Home Zookeeper, to read about our latest addition. He's an abused rescue who was shot with a BB gun, beaten with a rake, and kept outside with no shelter for hours on end. I think he'll eventually fit in just perfectly with our pack. =)

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Rose for Rose

By now my aunt Rose has received her birthday present so I can share it with you. I thought it turned out really beautifully.

A slightly pink mother of pearl pendant carved into a delicate rose - I had a difficult time deciding what to use to compliment it properly. I finally went with small ivory colored freshwater pearls and a few dusty rose quartz smooth stones.

My aunt's name is Rose and I love finding 'Rose' things for her gifts. And she's always liked my jewelry in the past so I hope she likes this necklace.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My Uterus Hurts!

This little girl is freaking adorable!


Let me just say that I was NEVER that nice to my brother. My mom tells the story ... When my brother was born I was 2 1/2. I walked out into the kitchen and told my mom "Anthony's crying. Do you wanna know why he's crying?"

"Yes" she said.

"Because I bit him. Do you want to know why I bit him?"

Of course she did.

Now you have to imagine a fairly precocious little girl who always had attitude...a little Shirley Temple-ish with hands on hips.

"Because I don't like him!"

I was not the nicest of sisters. =)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Oh my goodness...I swear I have never been so jazzed before. I promise I won't blog too much about politics because that isn't what this blog is for. But I really haven't ever been this engaged. So I'm just typing as the speaches go on...random thoughts and such. Feel free to disagree or to give your views if you watched. :)

Watching Rudy Gulianni speak at the Republican Convention - I was laughing my bootie off! (oh how I wish that were literally true!) He gave the Messiah quite a shellacking. The "community organizer" line was hilarious.

Now Sarah herself is up and the applause, yelling, screaming, and cheering seemed to be never ending. She is looking RIGHT into the camera. Like she has no notes. I realize there's teleprompters but she's very natural (we know how bad Bush is at using teleprompters and McCain isn't all that much better).

She's talking about McCain...bla bla bla. We want to hear about her! Her son deploys soon to Iraq. Good for him and God Speed! He's 19 and deploys on 9/11. Wow. I hope that my future children decide to serve our country.

What weird names her kids have...but OMG the little girl is freaking ADORABLE. She just waved at the crowd like a pro. And their youngest, Trig, is just sleeping away. I don't see how any baby can sleep through all that noise.

She's talking about how every family has challenges and ups and downs - boy ain't that the truth. We all think our own families are the "crazy" ones. lol At least I do!

Oh man..."a friend and advocate in the white house" for special needs children and people. That makes me choke up.

Her hubby Todd is a "real" man...a manly man. World champion snowmachine racer. Didn't know there was such a thing. lol He's also an Inuit Eskimo. And cute! lol Very cute. Two decades later he's "still her guy." lol

Lesson learned from her parents..."This is America and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity" - hey...that's what my mom (and dad) taught me. "We grow good people in our small towns." Oh hell yes we do. My mom and dad were both from a super small town. So are my grandpa and grandma.

{one thing I noticed ... at the Democratic convention they chanted "Obama" "Obama" "Obama" ... at the Republican convention they are chanting "USA" "USA" "USA" ... just a note ... yes they did chant "Sarah" "Sarah" a few times but way more "USA".}

Cute joke..."difference between a Hockey mom and a Pit Bull? Lipstick." *grin*

Explaining to the opponents what being a mayor of a small town is about. ROFL hahahahahaha "sort of like a community organizer, except you have actual responsibilities" *giggle* Love it!

Man...I want to work for her...though she's probably a beeyotch to work for. I've worked for women like her and they totally rock but they run you ragged. :)

Oh...I love her necklace. I could have made it. hahahaha

WOOT! She's not going to Washington to seek the good opinion of the commentators and news people. She's going to Washington to serve the people! WOOT! You go girl!!!

Govern with a servant's heart - oh hell yes. I love that. One of my good dear friends has a wonderful servant's heart and I often have to be reminded to keep that heart in front.

I love her hair...I wish I could get mine to do that. :) Then again, I'm guessing she didn't do it herself.

Got rid of the luxury jet - it was over the top. She put it on Ebay. ROFL The crow LOVES it. She drives herself to work. No personal chef. Though the kids sure sometimes miss her. OMG a close up of her youngest daughter with her new son. PRECIOUS!

Power of the Veto works! Alaska now has a surplus. She vetoed nearly 1/2 B $ in wasteful spending. Returned competition and fairness - breaking the big oil monopoly. Energy independence - new natural gas line started.

bla bla bla ... energy independence ... I agree we need to drill.

Booya! "A man who has authored two major memoirs but not a single law or reform." Facts are sticky things. "A man who can give an entire speach about the wars this country is fighting and never use the word victory...except when he's talking about his own campaign."

Lots of giggling about the Greek columns.

Ouch...What are O's plans (after he's healed the waters and planet)? hahahaha

O's "fine print" will raise taxes of all sorts and increase the tax burden of all Americans. Not just the "rich" ones.

Oops...my DVR is set to record Bones and America's Next Top Model...see that's how much I watch the news. ROFL :) So I guess I'll have to catch ANTM on rerun. They usually replay it on Saturdays.

Okay...back to the speach. "McCain not looking for a fight, but sure isn't afraid of one." *grin*

Harry Reid "majority of the "do nothing" Senate" said "I can't stand John McCain" which is proof that we've chosen the right man. *snort* That's funny. Oh but even better "clearly he meant that he can't stand up to his level" niicee.

Boy she is NOT holding back. "the journey to the white house is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery" She is hitting hard. "There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you."

Beautiful! I so admire all the hard working men and women of our brave military services. That is a strong line.

Shoot...I missed whatever she said that made the older guy up front tear up. I think maybe he was in Hanoi with McCain.

I get it ... McCain is a good guy. I agree. But I'm getting bored. Although she is an excellent speaker.

Thank you and God Bless America.


Does anyone else feel like she's the one running for President? ha! I hope to see her run in the future. I'd totally volunteer for that campaign. She looks great - poised. Not nervous at all. She is tough! Oh and here comes her family. Good grief they are cute.. Oh Trig is so sweet. I LOVE seeing a mom on the stage.

And now the nominee himself joins her on stage. She didn't look all that comfy hugging him. Ha! Funny. She is very presidential. Okay crowd...shut up.

"Don't you think we made the right choice for the next VP of the United States?"

Oh hell yes I do! I can't imagine the crowd being this excited for ANYONE else. No way would they be this worked up.

Did I mention how frickin' adorable her youngest girl is?!? She looks like she's having a blast - waving at the crowd like a pro. hahahahaha If I were her I'd be peeing my pants. =)

Time for ANTM! :)

Catching Up

Phew...Is it really Wednesday??? Time has been flying by and I never seem to catch up.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. I actually did not leave the house all day on Monday. I woke up a little late (though I wanted to sleep even later!), fed the dogs, got online, took a nap, played X Box, and finally got enough motivation to do some laundry. *grin* Okay, a LOT of laundry. It's amazing how much laundry can pile up for two people.

I've been seriously slacking on creating new jewelry. I have some designs in my head but no huge motivation to create. Plus I've been addicted to my coupons. And when not working on deals with coupons I've been trying to clean up or organize the house...or playing with the dogs.

Speaking of dogs. I just put the down payment down at the pound on doggy number four. :) Further details will follow.