Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Now Serving at the Bead Soup Cafe (31 Days, Day 29)

See the rest of my 31 Days of Awesome by clicking here!


Just a quick note today, but a wonderful one.


Back at the end of July, I decided to close down my Facebook group, Bead Soup Cafe.  It wasn't a decision made lightly, but at the time, I felt pressured (by myself) to respond to every single post and like every single thing for fear of hurting someone's feelings. With over 2,000 people in the group, that was an impossible task, and I was also facing up a new twist to the Lyme saga (Babesia) so I closed the group.


I'm not completely well, and I'm tired a lot, but I feel strongly that I'm ready to reopen the group.


This time, I've made it clear that I won't be able to comment on everything, and I believe that everyone is good with that and totally understands. The group will likely be smaller this go around, and that's fine, too. I also added more moderators, so if I'm down for a day or a week, I feel comfortable that everyone has everyone else's back. 


I am still not going to have an online Bead Soup Blog Party next year, and am still considering a come-to-my-side-of-the-town retreat, if health holds. I'm not holding another BSBP because I feel after 8 renditions, several with three reveal dates, it needs to be freshened up and revamped a tad. Instead, the group will have blog hops that are easily managed and a piece of cake compared to the months long preparation for the BSBP.


So, if you're looking for a place that is nurturing, fun, and encourages sharing, please visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/BeadSoupCafe/.  It's a private group so we can do our best at keeping out spammers, so once you ask to join, you'll get a notification as soon as possible.


This makes me feel awesome. I've come a long way. This blog has come a long way in 31 Days. My life has come a long way. I have a stronger backbone now, can say no (usually), and have my priorities straight. Family will still come first, but the Bead Soup Cafe is also a bit like an extended family, and it feels good to know that while I'm watching a movie with my guys, people are sharing and supporting each other on the Facebook Group.



See you there!




Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Happy 14th Wedding Anniversary (31 Days, Day 28)



See the rest of my 31 Days of Awesome by clicking here!


Today Rick and I have been married 14 years.


That is a big old hug full of awesome.


We got married at the University of Virginia Chapel. I went to school in Charlottesville, bought my first house there, and re-met Rick there. We'd met each other about ten years previously in Korea, but I can only remember our speaking to each other maybe three times. Then a great friend started an email distribution list, we got back in touch, and magic started.




The day was amazing.  Temperatures in the low 70's, trees all turned to brilliant shades of red and gold -- it couldn't have been better.


We went against tradition and decided to see each other before the wedding.  That worked out well, because then we could visit with our family at the country club and get the jitters out before we headed to exchange rings.

Seeing each other for the first time.


back of my wedding dress

Listening to the a cappella group The Virginia Gentlemen sing "Good Things" by the Bodeans




It was a small wedding, about 50 people, because for the most part, nobody lived in Charlottesville. This made for a close, intimate party and Rick and I got to talk to everyone who came, and that was very important to us.  

Roses, hydrangeas, snow berries, all bound together with my grandmother's handkerchief.







Leaving the wedding in a Phantom Rolls Royce.  Very cool!


No rubber chicken here -- since the group was small, we could have some really awesome food
 and individual two-tiered coconut cakes drizzled in chocolate.







When we got married in 2000, I was in great health.  However, our traditional vows included "in sickness and in health", and I can say that Rick has kept up his end of the bargain 1000%.  When you get married, you never expect the bad things. We went through my losing my job a month after 9/11, bringing up three boys together, and recently watching our oldest get married. I'm sure Rick never imagined he would have to help me get out of bed, or help me walk, or any of the things that hit me two years ago, but he tackled them all. As I get better (knock on wood), we're able to celebrate things in a totally different way. Small triumphs, like being able to sit at the table for dinner, is a celebration. Taking a one-day trip is a HUGE triumph. Watching our kids grow has been a blessing.


Rick would tell you it's not been easy, but he reminds me of our vows every time I ask him if he's sure he's up for this.  Lyme is SUCH a schizophrenic disease. One day I feel wonderful, and the next day I can't even remember what it felt like to be well. Having my entire family on my side is what's getting me going. And if something happens to anyone in my family, I'll be right there for them.


Happy Anniversary, and thank you, Rick, for the love.


(all photos taken by Ken Graham)


Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fun With Zack -- and Fruit (reprise) (31 Days, 27th Day)

See the rest of my 31 Days of Awesome by clicking here!



Today I'm a little under the weather (nothing major, just a minor cold) but I apparently slept until oh, an hour ago, and my brain is fuzzy.


Therefore, I'm going to send you to another favorite blog post I wrote in 2012 about Zack and fruit. I hope you enjoy, and stay tuned! Even when October is over, I've still got lots of stories to tell.


http://www.prettythingsblog.com/2012/06/fun-with-zack-and-fruit.html


Nom nom.  Photo by me.



Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A New Tattoo (31 Days, Day 26)


See the rest of my 31 Days of Awesome by clicking here!


Yesterday I posted a tattoo teaser from my trip to Frederick, MD.  Rick and I took an overnight trip there for our anniversary, which is on the 28th, because our usual trip was going to be too strenuous for me and I didn't particularly want to stay in bed all this week because of it. Why Frederick? Relatively nearby, and when Rick and I got married 14 years ago, it's where we bought our first house.  It's an awesome town (city?) with a very cool downtown area.





My tattoo was an anniversary gift to him. It was DONE on the spur of the moment, but had been thought out long in advance. My karma was just waiting, I suppose, to feel good and pass a cool tattoo parlor at the same time.  Kismet, I suppose!


Courtesy of The Black Label Tattoo Parlor, Frederick, MD
I love the space and the lighting -- it would make a great artist studio!

For my last three tattoos, I went to the tattoo artist with my design already sketched out, and all they had to do was transfer it to my skin and away they went. This time, however, I hadn't been planning a tattoo so I told them what I wanted and one of the artists sat at his table and drew it out.


That was very, very cool.  Above his desk he had tons of art he'd drawn, and this guy could have rocked some much larger tattoos for me (there was a dahlia that would have been great in the center of my back, but I wouldn't get to see it!)


OK, ready?

Hotel rooms have unforgiving light.  But my hair is red and that's a pink braid.  And bifocals.  GAH!





I told you it was simple!  Size-wise, it's the largest one I have (ink-wise, the one on my hip has more ink because the letters are denser).  I'd been told this was a painful place to get a tattoo, and I remembered my shoulder tattoo was very painful, but this was nothing at all.  I guess I've gotten used to needles!


A rather unorthodox gift, but there you go!  Spontaneity is something I haven't been able to embrace much these past few years, so doing this with no plans felt AWESOME!  And Rick's reaction was even better. He, just so you know, has absolutely NO desire for a tattoo on himself. So I got one for him.


Hope to hear from you guys (comments are good food!) and I'll write again tomorrow! Hopefully I'll be able to write the one about flying an airplane, if I feel as good tomorrow as I do today.



Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tattoo Teaser (31 Days, Day 25)

See the rest of my 31 Days of Awesome by clicking here!


Rick and I are out of town for an early anniversary jaunt to a city we used to live in -- Frederick, MD.  Our goal -- Christmas shopping in the antique stores.  We were successful (especially when I found a Fair Trade market), but one not so Christmas-y thing caught my eye.  A tattoo parlor.

Guess which good little kidlet is getting the purple otter from Kenya?


I have three tattoos, and all are incredibly important to me for various reasons.  They all came from a place of Sad, but have acted as totems or good luck charms for me.  This time, I wanted to get a tattoo from a place of Happy.  I'm going to have to wait until I'm home to get a decent picture, but I'll tease you with the ones I most certainly did NOT get:


(Sorry, no warrior princess this time)




Come back soon and see!



Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Take Time to Look Closer (31 Days, Day 24)




How often do you take time to notice the wonders around you?  Look up -- look down -- look closer. Be surprised and amazed at the awesome things under your nose.



Bench seat in Baltimore


Close up of airport window painting.


Looking down three stories from the National Aquarium


Close up of a massive marble run -- and part of the cover of my eBook on blogging.


Close up of huge mill stone in Charlottesville, VA


Looking up while at Tuckahoe State Park

Center of a copper sunflower in my yard.


Looking up at the pirate flag on a tour ship in Easton, MD

Don't forget to look up, down, and around.  You never know what you'll be missing.  It very well could be awesome.


Looking down the staircases in Mercersburg, PA



All photos taken by me.



Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Purple Heart (31 Days, Day 23)

Click here for Table of Contents for 31 Days of Awesome


Today I'm going to redirect you to a post I wrote in 2010 that is still one of the most awesome, coolest things that's ever happened to me.


Please click here to read about The Purple Heart.




Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Setting New Goals -- From Crappy to Happy (31 Days, Day 22)

Click here for Table of Contents for 31 Days of Awesome


Playing hooky like I did the past week is sometimes the best thing a person can do for themselves if they're less than OK.  For far too long I've pushed when I should have pulled back and sat down for a while.  It's easier to look for the Awesome when I'm not fighting myself.





Today I woke up as I did the past few days -- horribly awfully in pain, hands and voice shaking so badly I couldn't put socks on. I haven't been able to read or write or anything much at all lately and it's all thanks to the ups and downs of Lyme disease (bleh). As I lay in bed last night, trying to think of calming things to help me go to sleep, I thought about changing my life goals. 


Knowing me the way I know me, this would normally not be a happy thing to think about, and certainly not an Awesome thing. I am determined, however, to find something good out of the traditionally bad. It's become part of my healing process.


When you're in the midst of Awful, thinking of Awesome is often pushed to the bottom of the heap of things that must be done that day. Lately I have been trying to put it at the top of the list. I figure if I only have the strength to do one or two things in a day, one of them at least should be good, right?


I never thought I'd be able to do this, but when faced with a life-changing disease, I've got to make life-changing decisions. I've spent far too long trying to make it to some end point, as in, "I'll be able to be back to normal by Christmas". Now, I'm deciding that's foolish and futile, not to mention frustrating, so instead I've tried to embrace setting new goals.  I've made three new goals which I think will help me stay more in the Happy Space and less in the Crappy Space.



Goal #1 :: Family First




All my life, pretty much, my work ethic has been strong. I've pushed myself hard and I've been fortunate to achieve a lot of things this way. It's easy when you're excited about a new job or a new project or a new idea to spend hours working on it, babying it, bringing it to fruition, but right now I have no business making huge work plans. I've decided to put these things to the back burner and spend as much of my out-of-bed-time with my family.


This past week, I felt pretty lousy, but it was a lot easier to ignore while watching a movie or playing a game with Zack and Rick. I will never regret family time. There will be time enough later for throwing myself head-first into new projects.




Goal #2 :: Read Things That Matter



Illness has made my eyesight kind of loopy. Some days I can't focus on words and everything is blurry. Because of that, I now make better decisions about what I read when I CAN see. I'm spending less time reading junk online or celebrity magazines and more time reading things I can mark off my to-read list. I pared down my magazine list and now only get one and that one helps me learn about world events rather than what dress the latest celebrity was wearing. Decreasing my browsing time and turning it into reading time -- not a bad goal, and not bad results, either.



Goal #3 :: Heal From the Inside Out

  


I've discovered it's just as important to heal my mind as it is to heal my body. One of the interesting oxymorons of Lyme disease is I am absolutely exhausted all the time but I'm completely unable to get to sleep. I've started taking that awake-in-the-middle-of-the-night time and turning it into reflection time. Instead of asking myself "why is this happening to me?", I've tried (tried!) to think about why this could be a good thing. 


Bad things happen to good people. No matter if you prescribe to a particular faith or belief system, understanding why this happens can be a really difficult task. I've decided to give up asking "why" and have tried (tried!) to accept it and find the good in it. Some days it's a heck of a lot harder than others, but all I have to do is turn to look at my bedside table to find something good. 


On my night stand are four journals (one for Zack to read at a later date, one question-to-answer-a-day book, one list-yourself book, and one five-year journal with a few lines a day to write) and the 7th Harry Potter. The journals remind me to remember things, to write things down for posterity, and to search myself so my future is better. With only a few lines a day to write, I make the most of them. And the Harry Potter book reminds me that Zack still loves me to read to him, and when I focus on these things, the problems seem to fade into the background and the NOW is more in front of me.


I love elephants.


It's OK to re-order our priorities and goals from time to time. Necessary, I dare say. I know that I'm much calmer about facing down demons than I ever have been. It's an incredibly awesome feeling to know this, to know that change can be good, and good can come from bad. 


(I hope this makes sense! Comment below if you like and tell me other ways to set new goals and refocus -- what works for you?)




Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.