Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pure Bliss

One of the hardest things about living in a small college town was only having access to a small library. It was torture! So little selection. Since coming back to my home town I've been ordering books on-line from the library, but I still hadn't had an opportunity to go down and visit the main library in town. Well - I finally made it down there today and it was pure bliss! Look forward to many book reviews coming up :) Especially if I can actually pull myself away from my beading...

Check out this fine art photograph I found on etsy awhile ago - I love it!
Perfect for today's library loving :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Medicine Road - A Book Review

"Medicine Road" is by one of my favorite authors - Charles de Lint. While many of his fantasy books are based in the world of Newford, this one is based in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. I must admit I'm biased and I tend to prefer his books based in Newford, but this book was well worth the read even though it wasn't in my favorite setting!

In "Medicine Road" de Lint explores his own twist on Native American folklore. It's a story of true love, destiny, choices, and learning to be true to who you are. With, of course, a lot of laughs along the way!

In this story we meet Changing Dog and Corn Hair, two people with the ability to change between human form and their original animal form. Yes, that's right, I said "original." The only reason they joined the world of those who walk on two legs was due to the meddling of Coyote Woman. Now they've roamed the world for almost 100 years, and they are facing a dead-line.

The only condition Coyote Woman had put on her gift of walking on two legs was that they must find true love before 100 years had passed. The dead-line was approaching fast, and Changing Dog had never been able to settle down. In fact, many thought he was incapable of anything other than playing around.

Will Changing Dog find his true love? Well - you'll have to read the book to find out!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

And You Expect Me To Sleep?

Can you imagine sleeping with all of those electrodes attached to your body? I sure couldn't! I knew that my doctor had ordered a sleep study, and I kept trying not to think about it because I was worried about sleeping.  Wouldn't you be?

I received a phone call mid-afternoon telling me that they had a cancellation for that night - would I like to take it? I was flustered, but I knew it was necessary, so in I went! Seeing the actual set up didn't do much to calm my nerves - there were wires all over the bed!

Fortunately, the nurse who did the set up was a wonderful lady who was perfect at putting me at ease. Still, as she attached 5 electrodes to my scalp, two to my forehead, two to my chin, two to my shoulders, two to my legs, a mic to my cheek, two bands across my torso, a monitor to my finger, and an oxygen flow tube in my nose, I couldn't help but thinking, "And you expect me to sleep?" Ironically, I slept about as well as I usually do!

Apparently I had a restless night with lots of movement, snoring, and multiple sleep apnea episodes.  None of this really came a surprise, but it was interesting to have in confirmed.  I'll be learning more about what the doctors want to do to treat me in a week or two.

According to webmd, sleep apnea is "when an adult regularly
stops breathing during sleep for 10 seconds or longer. This may be caused by
blocked airflow during sleep, such as from narrowed airways. Or it may be
caused by a problem with how the brain signals the breathing muscles to

Possible treatments include medication, oxygen masks, and even potential surgery.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Changing World

"Changes" Original artwork by bugfriends.

Each year, as we hit the change over between the old year and the new, most of us sit back and think a little about the year that's just passed.  Maybe we're thinking through our New Years Resolutions, or maybe we're just listening to every one else's, but it's kind of hard to escape that trend this time of year.  I'm starting my reflecting a little early this year. No, this post isn't about New Years Resolutions (although that might come in a later post), this is simply about my changing world.

Looking back at last year this time, my life was in the middle of a massive upheaval. One of the best possible. On this date last year I had been married for a short 11 days! As it is for most couples, that was the start of many changes in my life. While I had already become a part of my new hubbies family in many ways, this meant that I now had a new "mom" and "dad," and that I went to the family Christmas party! It meant learning to share my bathroom with a guy, and his utter amazement at how much bathroom stuff a tom-boy can own. It meant learning to share my bed with a guy, and since our bed is only a full-sized, that took some doing! It has meant growing to have a much deeper understand of the art of compromise.  Best of all, it has meant growing deeper in love with my best friend as each day goes by.

My youngest brother, who has been one of my closest friends ever since we were little, moved across the world last January. That has been an emotion filled change as I miss him dearly, but I'm also incredibly proud of him.  I wouldn't have wanted him to make any other choices than the one's he has made, but it's been hard to go through so many changes in my own life and not be able to talk to him about them in depth like we used to.

This time last year I was getting ready to start the Winter Quarter at Central Washington University. College life is inherently full of change as your schedule changes every few months, and along with it, the people you see on a daily basis.  I have always found that change to be a little thrilling. Probably because I could let my love of learning shine through without yet knowing how rough my course load would get!

I saw many more changes in my life though than the simply change in schedules of the changing quarters. As Winter Quarter started I got really sick.  Not that abnormal for me (Winter's always the worst for me), but as time we went on we realized that I was much worse than usual. Come February of this year I was going through the painful process of quitting my job, and the painful realization that I'd barely missed being fired.  I couldn't do it anymore though. I was barely making it to classes, let alone work!

As time progressed we realized that this battle was going to be a long one, and that has been the catalyst to the most difficult changes in my life of this last year. Eventually the cold that started it all went away, but the asthma did not improve.  The doctors put me on steroids.  That was supposed to be temporary - it wasn't. I began seeing a pulmonologist, carrying an epi-pen, and negotiating with my teachers to turn in late work.

Through all of this I've grown ever closer to my dear husband.  He's taken care of me with a steady calm that amazes me. When I'm freaking out, he stays at peace, when I'm exhausted and can't do things, he steps up and takes care of me, and when I need help and strength, he is there.

The doctors began urging early on that I drop out of school and move back to my home town, on the hope that the environment there was better for me, but that was one change that was very difficult for me to make.  I knew that my health problems had grown severe enough that no one would see me as a quitter, but that didn't matter, I felt like a quitter! Finally, after months of trying multiple medications, and repeatedly trying unsuccessfully to wean my body off the steroids, we moved back to our home town. 

That was last September, and it feels like we've been in a constant state of change since then too! Meeting new doctors of all sorts and shapes, working with getting a new insurance company set up, house sitting for two months, and then finding and moving into our own apartment, new job for the hubby, and applying hubby for a new University.  It's been a whirl-wind!

We gotten through it though, together. Many of the changes have been really hard, but the good side has been that it's deepened some of my closest friendships, including the one with my husband. For that I'm truly grateful!

But wait...there's been even more changes!

As a part of dealing with my illness I began to work with an old hobby of mine on a more consistent basis - jewelry making.  Eventually I realized I needed to find a way to finance this hobby (especially since I was unemployed) and a friend lead me to www.etsy.comRose Works Jewelry was born! That has lead to many changes, many new friends, and even my own radio show on Block Head Radio! I'm truly blessed by all the doors that have opened for me through selling my jewelry and I don't think I would have dealt with the other changes in my life half as well as I was able to if I hadn't had that outlet.

I'm not someone who's ever liked unplanned changes.  In fact, I've often struggled with planned changes! One of the things I've struggled with this year is facing the uncertainty of the unknown.  I've been constantly having to change my way of thinking, my patterns, and give up on planning for more than the very immediate future.  That's been a painful process, but as I look forward to this next year, I can see that it's a process that has really grown me. 

I look forward to this next year and I see a nebulous cloud in front of me.  I know some changes that are coming up in the near future, but I really can't see much beyond the next couple of months, and I'm ok with that.  Yes, it would be nice to have some idea where I'm going to be in my life this time next year, but right now I'm ok with just having a small clue of where I'm going to be in my life in three months.  Because my life has become so nebulous, when I set my New Year's goals I'm only going to set them for those first few months, and then I'll go back and write new goals after that. I don't see any point in trying to write goals for the whole year this time because I've been shown how drastically my life can change in that one short year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas - Feliz Navidad!

I'm taking the next two days off from the internet world :) I'll be back to blogging and everything after the holiday! For now - I want to spend some time with my family :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Memories

To me, growing up, Christmas always meant one thing. Spending time with Grandma-Great! Every single year she hosted a huge Christmas party at her house. The cousins would gather, and we'd have at least four generations milling around the house. The house would be full of delicious smells, everyone having brought their favorite food, and us kids would be dying to be allowed to take our first bites! For some reason the food I remember the best is eating turkey, olives, mashed potatoes, and apple pie. I guess those were my Christmas foods :)

Grandma-great was always the center of the party. For that one day she pulled everyone together, and even those of the family who may not always be fun to be around, would be on their best behavior just for her. She always inspired people to be the best that they could be, because she believed in you so much you started to believe in yourself.

I was in High School when my Grandma died - it's been around 9 years now - but Christmas has never been the same for me. When you think of that perfect Christmas picture, I see her face and her house, and her party.  She was my hero, and I miss her.

I know this isn't a Christmas picture - but it's a cute one of the two of us. Sorry if there are typos in this - I started crying about half-way through...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


By Ruthie Stickney

In a baby’s laugh,
In a smile from a stranger,
In a simple touch from a lover,
In an unexpected phone call from a friend,
In the warm rays of the sun,
In the gentle murmur of a stream,
In a giant bear hug,

Wielded by Rulers,
Wielded by Doctors,
Wielded by Employers,
Wielded by Teachers,
Wielded by Parents,
Wielded by Spouses,
Wielded by Friends,

To heal and mend,
To hurt and to wound,
To build and restore,
To break and tear,
To imagine and create,
To deface and destroy,
To inspire and give hope,

I hold power in my hands,
You hold power in your hands,
We all have power,
Whether we know it or not,
How will you use your power?
Unthinkingly and for harm?
Or to encourage and provide healing?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Friendly Vampires

Here's a poem I wrote last summer for a creative writing course.  The assignment was to great an ode to something that most people don't praise. Well, given my interesting medical history, this was the first thing that came to mind! Oh - random note - for those who don't know - phlebotomists are those lab people who take your blog at the doctors office...

The Friendly Vampires
By Ruthie Stickney

Phlebotomists have a received a bad rap,
And how understandable that is!
Just look at them – drawing blood all day,
Like thirsty vampires their needles bite,
The blood is sucked from your veins,
Filling their glass vials with a bright ruby red.

Yet, despite the vampiric nature of their jobs,
I like my visits to the phlebotomists.
No, I’m not fond of sharply pricking needles,
But, I do appreciate the hope they offer,
These friendly vampires take my blood,
Not out of thirst, but out of curiosity.

What’s wrong with you? They want to know.
My blood becomes the key to a mystery,
That mystery known as my body.
These smiling vampires withdraw the key,
Pulling it from my body in red splendor,
And send it to the magicians who can use it.

So here’s to our friendly vampires!
To those who make their living on our blood!
May your smiles stay bright,
May your needles pierce true,
May your patients hold still,
And may you receive the praise you deserve.

Monday, December 15, 2008

First Anniversary

Not feeling good today - so instead of regaling you with stories from the wedding AND giving you pictures - you just get a few pictures :)

The pendant that you see me wearing was giving to my Grandmother as her wedding gift from her parents.  She then passed it on to my Mother, who wore it on the chain my Dad got her as an engagement gift (couldn't afford a ring). So, whne it was my turn, needing something new to string the pendant on, and being a jewelry artist, I made myself my wedding jewelry using Swarovski crystal :) I could have made a more complicated design - but the pendant didn't match my wedding colors, so I just made it from nice, sparkly, crystal :)

The Wedding Party: My Evil Twin (Bethie), My Best Friend (Melissa), Me, Moses, Mo's Brother (Paul), My baby brother who moved the month after the wedding to be a missionary (Peter), and my middle brother aka geek consultant aka occasional jewelry slave (Gordon).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shopping Guide - Purses, Totes, and Accessories!

What shopping guide would be complete with out touching on purses and other accessories? I mean come on, most women carry a purse! Although I must admit I was very anti-purse for a long time, but I've been converted :P

Friday, December 12, 2008

Shopping Guide - Fantastic Jewelry Finds

I love jewelry! I love making it, I love looking at other people's jewelry, I love shopping for it, I love jewelry! So what would a Christmas shopping guide be if I didn't feature some jewelry? And yes, since it's my blog, the first one is from my shop :P The rest of these ladies are all friends of mine and they do an incredible job with their work!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shopping Guide - Bath and Body Products!

Since we're sneaking in closer and closer to Christmas, and since I personally made the Handmade Pledge, I wanted to spend a few days sharing some of the awesome artists that are out there to buy from! Sorry I didn't get on this a few days ago, I've been too sick to think straight...

Do you need some fantastic soap?

AGoodWitchToo sells wonderful handmade soap to "wash the wicked away!"

Sweet Pumpkin Spice

Spotted Cow Soaps also sells fantastic soaps!
Like this Vanilla Sugar Scrub that my husband says,
"makes me smell yummy."

Om Shanti Handicrafts carries a variety of different items,
Including soap, jewelry, lip balm, and more!
Doesn't her "Leanna's Favourite Massage Oil" look wonderful?

Rachel323 is another artist who does more than one thing!
She carries both jewelry and chapstick - which I love!
I think the next one I buy will be Blackberry Lip Tint.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So the sad truth is...

The truth is, my health problems are the reason I was able to start my jewelry business, and why I end up spending so much time on-line.  After all - I can't work a real job right now! The sad side of that is that sometimes that means I fall waaaay behind on everything because I get to sick to even sit in front of the computer and think straight!  So that's where I've been the last two days...I hope to return to my normally scheduled blogging tomorrow :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Do YOU Buy Handmade???

I did something today that I've been thinking about for months.  Which is rather uncharacteristic for me, not the thinking part, but the taking months to make a decision! Go ahead, get all your cracks about me thinking out of your system, it's not healthy to bottle things up after all!

Today I signed the Handmade Pledge. It's something they talk a lot about on Etsy, and something that many people feel very strongly about.  The Handmade Pledge says: "I pledge to buy handmade this holiday season, and request that others do the same for me."

Why did I take so long to make the decision to sign you may ask? Obviously I love handmade items, I make and sell them myself after all! Well, I wasn't too sure how practical it was. I could easily see buying handmade for things for myself and for the women I know, but I had no idea how on earth I'd buy things for the men in my life. 

I'll admit that I'm still struggling a little to find items for the men in my life, but I think that's more because they are hard to buy for then the wealth of items available out there!

As I look at today's economy, at the pinch I'm feeling, and how it's affected many of my friends, I've decided I'd much rather support an artist or crafter directly when possible, then give my money to big business.  I'll admit it's possible that I'll end up buying a few things at the store instead of on-line, but whenever and wherever I can, from now on, I'm buying handmade! Do you want to join me? If you do - I'll be reviewing some different etsy shops over the next few days that provide excellent Christmas presents for a variety of interests! Stay tuned :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


From time to time I'll be posting up short pieces that I've written. Since I don't have my normal internet access right now - here's an excerpt from a longer story I've been working on!  Oh, and I'm thinking of doing a serial fantasy story, posted once a week, anyone interested?

Mara wandered through the library, fingers trailing along the spines, and in a world of her own.  Books had always been a refuge for her, treasures of knowledge, and a chance to see the world through another’s eyes.  She was a frequent visitor here, and a few of the librarians even knew her by name.  It amused her to watch them try to keep a straight face when she checked out books that were from wildly different genres.  Today though, she didn’t have anything that she was looking for specifically.  She had simply come here for a place to think, but she couldn’t help but wander among the shelves, drawing comfort from the smells of paper and old inks.

A young woman hesitantly walked up to Mara, and asked, “Can I help you find something?”

Startled, Mara turned to look at the young woman in her neat plaid skirt, sensible shoes, and black button up.  Mara didn’t recognize her, she must be new here, the others had learned long ago to leave her alone because she could generally find anything that she wanted, and she thought that the search was half the fun.  Suddenly she realized that the girl was trembling slightly, but why would that be?  Then she realized that she’d been staring this whole time, with her normal calm expression, and the poor thing probably was terrified of her.  “No, thank you, I know my way around, and I like to simply look for random titles some times.”   

“Well, if you need anything…” the girl bravely offered, obviously glad for an excuse to move on.

“You’ll be the first to know.”  Mara gave her a gentle smile, “Sorry for staring, I was so lost in thought it took me a few minutes to come back to this world.”

“Um, sure, no problem.”  Giving her a befuddled look, the new girl hurried off to find some one else who needed her help, hopefully someone who would ask her a simple question, so she could just do her job, instead of being stared at like she was some sort of apparition.  It was her first day, of course things were going to feel strange, but something about that last patron had left her feeling like she didn’t know the difference between Arthur Conan Doyle and Anne McCafferey. 

Mara chuckled to herself as she resumed her walk among the shelves. One of these days her tendancy to get lost in a world no one else could see was going to get her in trouble. Suddenly she spotted and interesting book title and pulled it off the shelf to read the back cover, and once more she was lost to the world, but this time not in a realm of her own making.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber

I was enthralled when I first stumbled Diana Gabaldon's book "Outlander" earlier this year.  Her style of writing is intensely captivating, and the story is a combination of two genre's I like to read, historical fiction and fantasy. In "Outlander" we have the story of Claire, a woman who finds herself traveling back to the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and has to make her place in this strange world.

I could hardly put "Outlander" down, the story was fast paced, the descriptions vivid, and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next! Towards the end of the book the story did take a disturbingly dark turn, but I was still eagerly looking forward to reading the rest of the series. That's where I hit an impasse.  At the time I was living in a small town, and the library there was rather inadequate for someone who reads as voraciously as I do! I couldn't get a hold of the next book. So I filed it away in my brain to read when I had an opportunity to put my hands on it.

I'm now living in a fair sized city again, and I again have access to the library system that missed so badly while living in a small town! Gabaldon's books were one of the first things I looked up. I placed a hold on "Dragonfly in Amber," requested they mail it to me, and soon received a nice and fat book to read!

At first I read "Dragonfly in Amber" with the same captivation that I had when reading "Outlander." It is written with the same intensity of description, and the story is well crafted. I didn't finish the book.

The sticking point on this book for me was that Gabaldon chose to include a constant element of sex throughout her story. I knew that she liked to include it in her story, Claire does get married in the first book, but it didn't seem to be quite as overwhelming level in the first book.    

Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind having some sex scenes in a book, I'm used to it. You can't read the science fiction and fantasy genre's without finding them peppered through out the books your reading. That's not why I read books though, if it was I'd be picking up those dime store novels that are little more than soft porn. I read because I love a good story, I'm fascinated by the development of the characters, and because I love to be entertained. So when the author feels it's necessary to include a sex scene every chapter...  Well, that's when I move on to the next book. So that's what I did, returned the book to the library, and moved on.

Monday, December 1, 2008


I personally really enjoyed the movie. I thought that they did a good job over all, and I really appreciated that some of the signiture lines from the book were used in the movie. However, at the same time, I was slightly disappointed, and not in the ways that I expected I might be. After all, I tend to be the type that prefers a book to a movie, and usually when one gets translated to the other they end up leaving out important bits that leave a fan of the book feeling dissatisfied. So when I go in to watch a movie that's made from a book I'm usually bracing myself to see what they "messed up" this time! Fortunately that wasn't much of a problem this time. There were things they left out obviously, you can't fit the same amount of detail into a movie as you can into a book, but I think they did a good job of still being true to the story and that they made good choices as to what to keep and what could be left out.

No, what actually disappointed me was the acting. I don't think that Robert Pattinson did a very good job of portraying Edward Cullen, and yes, I'm aware that my opinion may well get me shot by the adoring fans of Edward! Granted, it was a hard roll to have to play. The emotional conflicts that Edward dealt with in the course of the story would have been a challenge for any actor to portray well. Particularly at the beginning of the movie when he's having to fight between his lust for Bella's blood and his desire for her friendship. Having said all that, I think there were moments where Robert Pattinson did manage to play his part well, and I'm hoping that in the next movie he'll do a better job.

While I was watching the movie I wasn't too disappointed with Kristen Stewerts acting, and I think she did a better job than Pattinson, but in thinking about it afterwards I realized there were times she disappointed me as well. She did a much better job at portraying her emotions, but there were times where she over acted. Plus, I really didn't feel the chemistry between Bella and Edward. Yes, there was some hot kissing, but over all, the actors didn't have the chemistry that I would have hoped for.

I know, I'm being a downer, and I started out by saying I enjoyed the movie! It's true, I did enjoy the movie. I'll probably buy it after it comes out. I really enjoy the story after all! Of course my fascination with vampires and all things science fiction and fantasy related may have something to do with that.

On an amusing note, the story is set in Forks, Washington. Now I'm a native Washingtonian, and while I'm not positive I've ever been to Forks, I do know the area fairly well because my Grandparents lived just outside of Port Angeles (also portrayed in the movie) while I was growing up. It cracked me up to see them using the Port Angeles beach as the La Push beach, and as a North Westerner, I was also really amused to see the Columbia Gorge, Multnomah Falls, and Beacon Rock all make appearances in this movie! For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, those are all in the south of Washington or in Oregon.

Bottom line: Worth the money to see in theater and buy when it's released. A fun movie even though it wasn't perfect!