For those who haven'te experienced a Santa Ana - not only is it hot and windy, but it tends to have a similar effect to a full moon as far as inducing weird, crazy behavior (or so it seems anyway).
On top of all of that, I have been in the midst of the new-car-purchasing process for the last couple of weeks. The VUE is at 129,000 miles and while it's hard to let it go (so! much! history! in that car), it's time for me to have something more updated and reliable to take me into the next phase of my life. My job is requiring more distance driving and tackling the So Cal freeways is a daunting task even under perfect conditions. When you have that niggling little doubt in the back of your mind as to whether your car is up to the job or not, it just makes it that much harder. I'm supposed to go in to the dealership today to (hopefully!) finalize the sale if I can get through the negotiating process successfully. Truth be told, I'm a little worried about that. My last two cars were Saturns for the very reason that you didn't have to negotiate - the price was the price. The purchase before that was my very first car that I bought on my own and my dad went with me to help out. He was a math genius and so good with numbers (which I am NOT) and it's times like these when I really feel his absence!
Which leads me to what was going on here on the blog when I reached my 500 post mark around November, 2009. The time frame from 400-500 was another tough period in my life. Dad had a major stroke in the fall of 2008 and overnight went from an extremely fit and active person who ran or went to the gym every day, still body surfed and was a double black diamond skier to a complete invalid who could only speak nonsense words. The worst part was, you could tell his intellect was still relatively intact - he knew who everyone was and could understand what was being said to him and would laugh if a joke was told, etc. You could even hear the normal patterns of speech as far as tone and inflection when he spoke - it was just the word content that was gone. We couldn't even make up a gesture system to replace it because (and this was something new that I learned), the pathway to respond to an internal command i.e. "I feel my nose itching so I will raise my left hand to scratch it" is different than the pathway for responding to an external command i.e. "Dad, raise your left hand for 'yes'." Sadly, he retained the former, but not the latter. He still retained the ability to really express his emotions via his facial expressions. I still remember the look he gave me one day when I was feeding him breakfast and, in an attempt to make it a little less bland, I had added some cinnamon to his oatmeal...except I accidentally put in too much. Ooohhh...I got the most awful glare! It must have tasted so awful.
We had him in hospice care until April, 2009, when he had another series of strokes and we had to make the difficult decision to let him go. Last week was the 5th anniversay of his passing and I still miss him SO MUCH. Especially when I see how Ryan has grown during that time and I remember how close they were and how Dad would have loved seeing the young man he is turning into.
By October/November, 2009 when I was closing in on 500 posts, I was trying to keep myself distracted with projects and happier, upbeat things so I ran a design contest on the blog using photos of insects as inspiration. Quite a few people participated and I think all of the designs came out really nice. I bought new trays at the container store and attempted to organize the bead stash...which worked really well for a while, but you will not be surprised when I tell you that it has since reverted back to being an unruly monster.
Well, enough about that. Here's what the latest winner will receive:
A copy of "Bead Romantique" by Lisa Kan.
Clockwise from top: a polymer clay lentil bead, green patinated brass filigree pieces, bayong wood square beads, yellow ceramic butterfly charm, sage green and lace polymer clay charm, rust red and white polymer clay pendant, blue ceramic bird charm.
Bass Ale bottlecap bead, soldered glass pendant with vintage image.
A selection of ceramic ice cream cone charms from Scorched Earth on Etsy.
Swarovski flatback crystals in fuchsia and padparascha and a selection of green and blue Czech glass beads.
A large bag of mixed colors and sizes of glass pearls and Chinese crystals.
Some fun (and fuzzy!) fibers.
A large bag of mixed stone, shell and fused glass cabs - this is only a small portion of the bag. The wind was blowing so hard that I had to stop taking pictures and go inside!