Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April showers may come your way....

When it rains it pours, doesn't it?  It's been pouring quite a bit around here.  Literally, since it rained all weekend, and figuratively, because everything, everything, around here seems to be intent upon breaking down, giving out, or just plain burning up. 

First it was the dishwasher, then it was my car (thank Heaven that didn't burn up! whew!), then THE COMPUTER.  That's what burned up!  In fact, it burned up the day after my last blog post.  And of course it burned up while I was in the middle of working on my Excel spread sheets that I was using to figure out all the expenses to offset my income from my jewelry sales so I could properly finish our tax return.  I had literally spent hours that Saturday afternoon entering figures, then suddenly there was this burning smell then everything went pfft.  I screamed, Fred came in and helped me unplug everything so that we could let it cool down and I got on my phone to lament my plight to all my Facebook pals.

I finally got brave enough to plug the computer back in the next morning and attempt to turn it on.  One brief glimmer of the power light and pfft once more.  Nothing.  Nada.  That's all she wrote.  We're pretty certain it's the power supply that went.  I haven't gotten up the courage to open up the case and look inside, but I'm hoping that the hard drive is salvageable so that some of the files are recoverable.  So how many times have I thought "I should really get some discs and copy all those pictures" or "I really should back up my iTunes files"?  Fred fortunately has most of his important files backed up, but the only backup I had of my Excel spreadsheets was paper copies I'd printed out a couple of days earlier, meaning that I lost the one I'd been working on that afternoon.  And meaning that the printed stuff all had to be reentered.

It seems and sounds wrong that we went out and bought a new computer on Easter Sunday, but we could, of course, so we did.  We headed to Office Depot with the much abused credit card.  Good thing with the advances in computer technology that every time we've bought a new computer, it's cost half as much as the previous one, but has also been bigger, better and faster (and quieter...I didn't realize how noisy the old one was!).  It took longer to dismantle the old one than it did to set this one up and I am really pleased with the performance of Windows 7.  I also feel guilty that I've been a happy user of Firefox for four or five years now, but here I am on day 17 of my new computer and I've yet to download Firefox, because I haven't really missed it. 

So all the pertinent data was reentered (thanks for helping with that, Fred!) and the tax return was finally filed with time to spare and now we're awaiting our refund, which will almost pay for the computer.  Oh, well.  Hopefully I can recover some of the files from our new "doorstop" and get them loaded up here and hopefully I'll be better about backing things up in the future.  And if you're one of my email contacts, hopefully you'll be sending me an email soon, so I can recapture your email address. 

Now let's celebrate the cleanest my computer armoire has been in years (although you'll notice I haven't shown the shelf above that harbors the printer (and lots of junk) or the space below that harbors even more junk. 

Isn't that lovely?  Not much there besides the computer itself....there's my jury summons for May 5th, propped up by my Mary Engelbreit "Chair of Bowlies" (so appropriate for my life sometimes), my lighted magnifier to read the info in my trusty little falling-apart address book beside it.  A stack of Post-It notes, a pen and mechanical pencil, a pile of bracelets because I take them off as soon as I start typing (that's several days worth), my trusty coaster just waiting for a cup of tea, allergy season tissues, my basket of bills and other important papers and the paperwork for the computer and monitor.  And there are my various earbuds for my iPod, hanging on a hook to the right.  On the keyboard pullout there's usually a pile of papers where that one yellow one is, and always that pile of assorted mostly non-working pens and pencils in the tray behind the keyboard, with other office-y stuff lined up to the right.  Fred tried to tell me an optical mouse wouldn't like my Mouse Rug, but he was wrong.  It's looking a little grubby, though, compared to all the cleanness surrounding it (the wrist rest is even grubbier). 

Okay, that's it for today.  Off this evening to enjoy the company of the Bunko Babes.  Book Club tomorrow night (no, I didn't read the book, silly!).  Already had Keno on Sunday night.  Who knows when I'll find time to come back and enlighten you with my latest exploits! 

Friday, April 2, 2010

That month Marched right into history without me!

I guess that's why it's called March, huh?  I couldn't believe it when I looked at my last post and saw that it was dated February 23rd.  I feel like a grumpy old bear that hibernated a bit longer than planned.
Really, I've been busy.  Well....okay....not that busy.  Let's see....yes, I played Keno and had fun with the Bunko Babes and even read my book for the March book club meeting....then missed the meeting because it was on the same night as the first home playoff game for the Brahmas. 

I made two (count 'em, two) pieces of jewelry....a bracelet for my mom's birthday....

and a necklace for my friend Melanie's birthday.  I forgot to take a picture of the necklace, but I liked it so much that I plan to make another one to list in my Etsy shop.  I had to buy more chain the other day, which of course snowballed into other purchases, including an order for argentium silver wire and a couple of other items from Rio Grande today. I have some beads that a friend wants me to make into a necklace for her, an order for custom earrings to match the Delicata bridesmaid necklaces that I sold in December and a request to make some earrings for another friend.  That request involves a lunch date, too, so I'm looking forward to that.

I also had a customer ask me to alter a sterling necklace that she'd purchased.  That request prompted me to finally take a stab at soldering with my micro torch, which resulted in a lot of trial and error.  I ended up with a lot of these....

which look like a disaster, right?  But if I throw them into some pickle (not of the Vlasic variety, but a mild acid solution which removes firescale, the oxidation that occurs when a torch is used on silver) and then polish them, I can reuse them and even resolder them.  I also ended up with a clump of jump rings soldered together in a row reminiscent of the Olympic rings.  Purely accidental, but you may see them soon as an element in a necklace or ring. 

So after messing up all those jump rings up there, I ended up actually doing what I set out to do.  I added two inches of soldered links plus a bigger clasp to the necklace to make it the right length for my customer....

I feel so accomplished now!  I want to solder everything!  My Rio Grande order today included a proper soldering pad, so maybe my next attempts will go a little smoother.  One can only hope so!  Maybe one day I'll even have the wherewithal to take a metalsmithing class, but in the meantime, I've found so many great instructional resources online.  Thanks so much to the wonderful people who are willing to share their knowledge!

Well, I guess that I'll head back to finishing up the taxes (I've almost got a handle on this bookkeeping stuff!) and watching the Brahmas in round two of the playoffs (beat those Jackalopes, guys!!) and hopefully not wait so long to post here again.  I hope the Easter Bunny treats you right!