Love this site: KC Willis’ Lipstick Ranch

I first saw her Annie Oakley piece in…what?  “Cowboys & Indians”.  I think so.  I was some time ago.  So fast forward and I went looking for craft sites and found hers.  I’d love to take one of her online tutorials, or buy a dvd but I just can’t afford it.  So I look at the pix and feel extremely inspired.

Right now, I’ve packed up all my craft supplies for the move next Friday.  I wish I had a studio to move the huge pile of stuff into.  I’m going to have to get brave and recyle some.  If I haven’t used it yet..

She also has all kinds of workshops available both in person – I wish – and online.  Plus at this time, there is a big old drawing for $300 worth of classes going and I need to win it because I need a class!  I need new imput!  I need cowgirl stuff”

KC Willis Artwork

KC Willis Artwork


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Never Catching UP

I get depressed sometimes when I’m reminded how shaky my life is.  I think of two different girlfriends who needed new glasses and just went and bought them.  Another who had to charge it to a credit card and will take some time to pay it, but she was still able to get them.

It must be great to think: hey, I need some more make-up base and then go buy it.  I’ve been waiting 3 months since I ran out.  And it’s not that I’m entirely broke all the time.  It just seems that way!

I got a new laptop for Christmas.  Yea!  But I had to get internet connection.  My old computer was a dial-up.  So I changed my phone too and got a package.  It’s taken me three months to pay for it and now I’m behind on the monthly payment, if that makes sense.

I do go buy stuff I shouldn’t.  For instance, the last day I was paid, I bought about $25 worth of magazines from Borders.  Didn’t need to do that.  Although, yes I did.  But if I were stricter and more organized…if, if, if.

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The Tricks the Universe Plays

I started working for the county library as a library assistant eight years ago.  For about six months I was a Substitute and worked at about a dozen branch libraries.   When a 20-hour post went out at a brand new library, I went for it and got it.  Now I was a permanent employee and got medical benefits, but I could barely make my rent.

The good thing was I could work extra hours as a Sub. and surely there would be a full-time position soon.  Little did I know that 40-hour LA’s didn’t retire or quit, they died on the job!

After about three years, the 40-hour position at my library became available and I went for  it.  Didn’t get it and it really knocked me out.  I didn’t realize how competitive the LA’s were for the full-time jobs and I was naive to believe that after the work I had done, my boss would hire me.

Oh, well, I thought, another position will appear.  And they did, but not for me.  Not only that but the LA hired at my library quit.  Again I didn’t get the job.  

Was the library system trying to tell me something?  Should I re-think my options?

I had already moved into a smaller apartment and cut everything I could.   I was so sick of living poor, but I figured the job was worth it if I could just get that full-time job.  It didn’t seem like that much to ask for, did it?

I sat in my car and sobbed until I decided I should calm down and think about what to do.  Here’s what I came up with: I’d get the job in another system!  I’d apply for everything that came down the pike and find a great position.  And, let’s face it, the possibility of moving to another town or county and starting over was not  an unattractive idea.

So, for about 18 months, I sent out applications, went to tests and interviews all over Northern  California.  There were a couple of jobs I was not right for and a couple I would have loved.  I got one Second Interview and no new job. (I also continued, in the face of all logic, to go for jobs at my system.)

Still, feeling positive, I started losing weight and exercising, figuring it was good for me and good for interview.  Maybe it was my weight that kept me from winning a new job.

What I won instead was breast cancer and everything came to a halt.  Almost up to the present time, I have been dealing with the cancer and the after affects, one of which was a total loss of energy.  I had achy joints and could barely – literally – get out of bed.

As I slowly began to feel better, I came to a new decision.  I had only three more years until I would be eligible for retirement.  At that point I was doing ok financially, had discovered an art form I loved doing and even could manage a small trip or two a year.  

Why didn’t I just hunker down and let myself be happy for the three years?  So that’s what I decided.  The CA was beat and so was I; I would try and live in the moment, live for the day, be happy or at least contented.  

I needed the time to get over the radiation and the drugs I was taking.  Slowly, I began to feel better, although I have to say I feel ten-years older in half that time.  

Boring story.  But now, with the Recession we’re in,  my plan is in jeopardy.  Not only will the library be cutting hours and therefore jobs, they are already cutting extra hours.  In just five months, my fragile world balanced between a regular paycheck and modest dreams, has nearly crashed and burned.  

Let’s say it’s tottering.

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Living close to the bone

Have you ever had absolutely no money?  I don’t mean your credit card is too full to use or there’s money in a cd somewhere.  I mean you have nothing.  It’s the kind of nothing were you go looking through all your handbags and totes and check the ashtray in the car.

I’ve been living this way for about 8 years now and it has grown extremely tiresome.  To put it mildly.  God, I’m so sick of being poor.

I used to have horrible anxiety attacks.   They are like migraines, headache, dizziness, my vision telescoping down and colored dots.  I think I basically stopped breathing.

In 2005, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I’m convinced the anxiety – always over money – brought it on.  They cause adrenelin to course through you and all systems go haywire.  Sometimes it would take three days to get over them.

Right before the CA showed up, I lost 30 pounds through Weight Watchers and began working on my views towards money.  After all, it is just a tool and not worth getting sick over.  I also discovered that the calmer I could be and the more I could believe I would handle the problem however, the problem would get solved.

Checks I didn’t expect would show up .  For instance, a $1500 from a niece who had borrowed it a dozen years before or an early birthday present or a check from a friend who knew I was struggling.  Sometimes Uncle Sam would come through, the direct deposit of my tax refund saving the day.

I also knew there were things I could do.  I could borrow from friends.  I could beg from relatives.  I could sell stuff: dolls and knick knacks on ebay and gold at the pawn shop.  Or I could pawn stuff.

Right now I have four different items waiting to be redeamed.

I could also go to one of those

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Great Whites…Sharks, I mean.

I’ve had a fascination of sharks in general since I was a kid and GW’s in particular since I read “Jaws”.  Somewhere in there I saw the documentary “Blue Water, White Death,” which was one of the first about the sharks and showed the true behavior – up to a point.

I watch Discovery Channel’s Shark Week but thougt this year’s was pretty weak.  Last year’s was excellent, especially with all the different shows about different types of sharks.  I love the stuff about people making the sharks zone out by rubbing their snouts.  Can you imagine?

And the crazy guy who swam with the GW’s.  Reminded me of Grizzly Man.  

But I think the show that affected me the most was whatever the first one about the leaping South Africans was.  They are big, they are not was supple as, say, a Mako or a Blue, so they have worked out a this method to catch very fast, very supple seals.  They steam up from below, leap out of the water and grab the seal on teh way up or the way down.  This is definately on my Bucket List.

Amazing photograph!

Amazing photograph!

Is he looking at you?   Fun thought.  I don’t think I’d fight him for the poor seal.

Makos also jump, which is one of the reason they are considered a game fish.  But they aren’t hauling a ton or more up out of the water like the GW. 

You have to wonder if he could land in the boat.

You have to wonder if he could land in the boat.

Still pretty fantastic. 

I think what gets me most of all is that these animals are leaving their comfort zone.  They can’t breathe when they are doing this.  Of course, we do it when we jump into a pool and I must admit it can be a shock to hit the water.  I wonder if the exhileration of the leap is something they can feel.

It is believed that aquatic mammals that leap “enjoy” the feeling – or are just getting rid of parasites.  Who knows.  The sense of life and power is awesome.

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I did the FSS ex. & can definately see the uses in library work.  It’s great to have confirmation about the publicity for our programs but also to get the titles of new books.  I can see using it for a genre or catagory that I don’t know about: Sci Fi or Vampire Romances! At least I can get the titles, authors and some info to pass on to patrons.

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Trouble up a tree!

I let her out when I got home for work.  I watched her for a couple of minutes then went off to have dinner.  I left the back door on the latch so she could get in.  An hour or so later, I went out to find her.  It was still light but fading, so I wanted her in before it was dark. 

I called to her a few times and she answered.  Took me awhile to see where she was:  up the big oak tree!  The trunk of the tree is very thick and not completely verticle so it was easy for her to get up.  But you know cats don’t climb down so well.

We discussed her options.  She wanted to go up and around.  No, that didn’t work and she came back to the branch.  She considered jumping to the fence but that was not an easy jump. 

I decided, being a human, to go get a tool, a ladder.  Found a nice long board instead and as I dragged it into the backyard. (It gives you an idea of the place I live that I could find a board lying around.)

As I got closer to the tree, I couldn’t see the cat and then she meowed from the bushes below.  She had gotten herself down. 


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