Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our Local Paper...

John and I wanted to share this blurb from our favorite section, "Rants & Raves", of the local paper. "Rants & Raves" are submitted via phone, mail or email to The Observer.

Sunday, December 23 2007 - Page7

"Boy, howdy! What I'd like to give to get my hands on them little heathens who came around my country club neighborhood and place all our beloved and tranquil holiday reindeer in compromising and outlandish positions. All out hard work and painstaking effort to provide a beautiful and happy setting for all the good children was quickly turned in a scene of debauchery. I also wanted to say that all thee cats are coming into my yard and tearing up my outdoor furniture. I even saw some trying to climb down my chimney. I need some traps to stop them little rascals as well. Lastly, I want to say that all this cold weather is making me miss the bikini carwash girls."

The Observer is a small newspaper serving Sandoval County and Albuquerque's West Side. You will be able to find The Observer online at www.observer-online.com

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays

The holidays are upon us! Merry Christmas Everyone!

Here's a brief update on us...

We've had a couple of very brief snowstorms that amounted to very little and melted as quickly as it fell, but the temperature has been very cold. It has been great weather for sitting by the fire and watching the sun set against the mountains.

Sam and I spent some "special time" together the week of December 3rd. Sam and I constructed a gingerbread house from a kit. Sam had great fun decorating his house. I managed to get a few good pictures, but sadly, gingerbread houses don't last very long, and the roof managed to slide to its doom before John got home from work that afternoon. Sam enjoyed eating the decorations regardless of the structural damage.

Sam also helped to decorate the house this year by cutting out giant snowflakes that we taped to the windows. I showed him how to fold the paper, and what sort of cuts you could make, and he went right at it and made some really neat designs. I also bought him a book on snowflakes - it had instructions for designs you could use all year, including teddy bears, pumpkins, hearts, shamrocks and much, much more.

Sam has grown up a lot this past year. His reading is improving daily. He's able to read Curious George books almost independently, and on several occasions has gone to his bookshelf to entertain himself, rather than playing with his toys. Sam is doing wonderful in math. He is adding and subtracting double digits.

Sam has recently explored several new hairstyles. He briefly dabbled in spiked hairdos before launching full-on into about 2 weeks of Mohawks. He recently stopped his designer antics, but I've got his gel and hairspray set aside as he's sure to continue his experiments.

In early January, John will be having day surgery on his knee. He'll be home from work for at least a week, but knowing him, recovery will be quick - John's not much on patience when it comes to illness or injury. I fully expect John will be back to racing in the spring - the only change will be the addition of a knee brace or two.

John had a great year racing. Overall for 2007 at Sandia Motor Speedway, John placed 3rd in the SuperMoto Open and 5th in Novice Club Sport. Information about the track, standings and more can be found at: http://www.smri-racing.org/

My business, Cookie A Day, continues to grow. This year I had several new customers including:


Mainly Rugs - http://www.mainlyrugs.com/ - online sales of area rugs

Elegant Mommy - http://www.elegantmommy.com/ - online maternity clothing resale

Caroline's Pet Connections - http://www.petconnectme.com/ - pet care & sitting in Southern Maine

Women's Empowerment Resources - http://www.womensempowermentresources.com/ - a resource directory

For the American Heart - http://www.fortheamericanheart.com/ - online sales of greeting cards and daily devotionals dedicated to American soldiers and veterans

Art-Carnage - http://www.art-carnage.com/ - online sales of commodified art

Pinky Lee Productions - http://www.pinkyleeproductions.com/ - children's stories and homemade products


With each project I had fun developing new designs and building new friendships. I also had the pleasure of continuing my work with:


R&W Engraving / Quick Copy Center - http://www.rwengraving.com/ - engraving, gifts and printed goods

Maternity Fair / Baby Furniture Fair - http://www.maternityfair.com/ / http://www.babyfurniturefair.com/ - maternity clothing and baby furniture resale

Energy Pulse - http://www.energypulsesource.com/ - metaphysical talks and products

Sussex Foot and Ankle - http://www.sussexfootandankle.com/ - podiatry

The Friendly Fish - http://www.thefriendlyfish.com/ - hand engraved jewelry and more

Energetically Enhanced Jewelry by Eduard Oganov - http://www.oganov.com/ - jewelry designs


I am very grateful both to and for my customers. I love what I do and I'm looking forward to my 8th year in business!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sam's Sixth Halloween


For Halloween 2007, Sam was a penquin, complete with a "fish" candy bag.

Sam is a big fan of Disney's Happy Feet and has been driving me insane for several months now with sudo-tap dancing outbursts in stores, banks, at school, and in the middle of the street. I figured channelling this energy was a good idea.

I think Sam enjoyed it, although the pattern called for self-sticking Velcro, which continually separated from the fabric, so we spent the night him waddling dramatically door to door with me sticking him back together in between.

Brush with Hollywood - Swing Vote

I had the unique pleasure of being contacted by a casting agent (out of the blue) for a part reading in the upcoming movie Swing Vote, and was selected as "Butch Gay Cop". For more information about the movie, please visit Internet Movie Database at http://imdb.com/title/tt1027862/ .

We had one day of filming. My part is basically a female NY police officer in support of the republican incumbant President's (Kelsey Grammer) promised "open door policy" if he is re-elected. I will be in the President's television ad announcing this campaign promise. It should be said, the movie is a comedy, and I'll be on screen perhaps a total of 3 seconds, but I had a great time.

The people I worked with on the set were all really fun and wonderful. My costume was labeled inside as "Will Farrell - SNL" which I thought was just cool, but even cooler was the paycheck - as this was a speaking roll, I now qualify for a Screen Actors Guild membership, and get paid at the union rate. I received my SAG invitation in the mail yesterday. I'll register if/when I ever have another roll.


Once the movie filming wrapped, I was invited to the wrap party. Most everyone I worked with attended. I also briefly met Kevin Costner. It was great to get together with everyone again and get to know them better. John took the above picture of me and "the boys" - left to right, Brent, myself, Scott, Rob (a professional Liberace impersonator) and Preston.

Since the wrap party, we have also attended Rob's Birthday/Halloween party. John and I have really had a lot of fun with our new friends!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sam's First Visit to the Emergency Room


It is official - Sam has finally been to the Emergency Room. Sam fell off the monkey bars in the big kid's playground at school yesterday - his 4th day of 1st grade.

Sam has a buckle fracture of the left wrist. He took today off from school to adjust and tomorrow we are going to the orthopedic specialist for casting.

If you look closely at the x-rays, you will see a line and bump in the right arm bone about a screen centimeter below the wrist joint.

Sam was pretty oblivious to the pain - if any. In the hospital he flirted with the nurse and x-ray technician. Last night it throbbed a little. Mostly he's fine, but for the inconvenience of a cast (4 weeks) and the lost monkey bar time.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Before & After...6 Months Later

Chris and Sam just got home from Maine. For the week they were away, we had Morgan and Bitsy at our house. Needless to say, with four dogs in the house it's been busy. Chica always comes away from these "visits" disgustingly dirty. It's been six months since Chica's last grooming, so she was due. We decided it would be fun to do another before and after. In these photos, it's much more believable that it's the same dog, just shaved.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Enjoying the Garden

I've worked very hard this year to really establish plants in the front garden. I love to sit with John and enjoy coffee on the weekends and the occasional late afternoon beer. We especially have enjoyed watching the hummingbirds. Currently, we have three that are regular visitors to the garden. One is convinced it is all his, and hides in a nearby tree guarding his territory.

In the first picture, you can see (from left to right) rosemary & thyme, several different variations of lavendar, my new garden duck (thanks Mom!), the strawberry planter / bird bath John gave me, holly in the back and the climbing rose bush in the back. This photo is taken from the front door looking out toward the street; the garden is walled in.

In the second photo, you can see a close-up of the garden's front corner. It's filled with large black lava rocks, which are found throughout New Mexico, and surrounded by stonecrop, desert roses, and cactuses.
The metal bugs had been Jane's and continue to live in the garden. In the back you can see Caladiums just beginning to fill in.

Finally, in the third picture, I'm standing back by the bird bath, looking back towards the front door. You can see my sunflowers in their pots, our little garden bench, and the wind chimes. At night during the thunderstorms, we sit out on this bench, mostly sheltered from the rain, and watch the storms.
I look forward to this filling in more and more. People are always surprised by the garden when they come to the house. I'm pretty sure the pizza boy would like to live there. It has a very relaxing quality to it. We've enjoyed herbs from the garden, as well as many weekends drinking coffee and watching birds.


Cookie A Day - My business

Since leaving work in the "real world" my business has been growing in leaps and bounds. I've got several new clients and projects that I'm really excited about.

Currently I'm working with:

Anna Faunce - Mainly Rugs
We are reworking her site, moving it from a templated/generated, hard to market system to a whole new look with easier ordering operations. If you are looking for area rugs, this is a great place to start. Site is expected to go live mid-August.

Shelly Gaddis - Elegant Mommy
This is a brand new project. Shelly is working to start an online maternity resale company. She did a ton of research before coming to me, and I'm very proud to say she chose me to develop her site. The code is being developed now for the backend store operations, but the general look and feel are in place.

Jim Fortune - Art-Carnage.com
This is a fun site where artists can submit digital images of their work and it gets "commodified" for sale. The digitiallized art is then available for purchase on products ranging from notecards and blank journals to BBQ aprons and dog t-shirts, and the cleverly named S.A.S.S. (Starving Artist Support System) shop becomes another source of income for the artist. All are welcome to participate!

Judith James - Your Destiny Life Coach
We moved her existing site to new hosting and are working to improve it's traffic.

Judith James - Women's Empowerment Resources
This site is a directory of women owned businesses that specifically work to provide services to women and help them to empower their own lives. It is currently in the launching stages, but we expect the directory to begin filling up quickly. It is open to worldwide participation, and we have translation links on every page. All are invited to participate!

I also have so many other customers I continue to work with, who have been wonderfully loyal and supportive. Thank you R&W Engraving, Maternity Fair / Baby Furniture Fair, Sussex Foot & Ankle, Energy Pulse, Oganov.com, The Friendly Fish, Leiter Enterprises, Caroline's Pet Connections, and so many others for your continued business!

I've recently updated the Cookie A Day site with a new look and complete list of clients/sites I'm actively working with. Feel free to drop by and take a look.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Summer in Rio Rancho

Summer is finally hitting Rio Rancho. Tomorrow we are expecting to hit 90. I love it - sunny almost everyday, nice breezes and great views. The pepper plants are producing little baby chilis, we have tomatoes forming, and all attempts at cucumbers and basil have failed. We've planted yet more cucumber seeds - if this set fails, I'm going to the farmers market, buying pickling cucumbers and leaving them in the pots for John to find.


John took this photo with the digital camera just out back on the patio. It was an incredibly vibrant double rainbow in an otherwise dark sky. The rainbow was so bright it looked fake. Truly an amazing sight.


John and I spend afternoons and weekend mornings in the front garden on the swing. I've filled the garden with succulents, cactuses, Johnny Jump-Ups, 3 different variations of Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, Strawberry plants and much more. It's really turned into the oasis I'd dreamt of. My silly little collection of bird houses and feeders hang from the large center tree as do my mirror suncatchers and a small set of chimes. Breezes come in, hummingbirds visit my feeders, and otherwise you'd never know you were within throwing range of 3 Wal-Marts. It's a great place to just let the day fall away. The dogs come out and hang out in th garden with us regarless of whether its coffee Sunday morning or beer Friday night.

We've purchased two more adirondack chairs for the back patio and replaced a broken backboard on one of the exisiting ones. I need to paint a protective coat on the new ones. They could use a little sanding too. The original ones need sanding too, as well as a fresh coat of paint. I envision painting them in Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) styling but I question my ability to convert what is in my head to painted furniture.

I'm blessed that John allows me to do my wacky painting and decorating. I've recently painted a new mailbox for the house - the old one was small and falling off its post. My new mailbox is large enough for magazines to lay flat on the bottom, and bright enough to eliminate confusion about which driveway is ours.

Sam and I put our handprints on the back end of the mailbox and dated it. I've UV protected the whole thing to prevent fade. It will be interesting to see how much just his hand will have grown by the end of the summer.

Sam is growing so fast. Kindergarten is over and he's got a summer booked full of trips and vacations. John had him on the 50 riding around in the back yard a week ago. He loved it. John let him control the throttle for a while - Sam drives like his mom - all or nothing.


Afterward, we padded up my helmet to fit Sam and John took him for a short ride around the neighborhood on the back of the XR. Sam did great - he held on tight the whole ride and didn't shift around except to look around. He looked so small on the back of that big dual sport. Sam loved it. I can't wait to get a bike and be able to take him out on rides with us.


I've left my job at the cement plant. My businesses were begining to suffer from lack of attention and I'm back to working them full time. I've determined it's time to put everything into my companies and stop messing around with unfulfilling positions in the public. Yes, working for someone else has its benefits, but in the end, I'm doing what makes me happy - I think that is the biggest benefit any job could offer.


I'm still actively saving for a motorcycle. More than likely I'll adjust my wishlist and purchase a used bike rather than getting a loan. I'd rather own it outright and crash it, then total something that's not paid for yet.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tempus Fugit!

Time goes faster and faster the older I get. Suddenly knitting on the sofa while it was too cold to go out gave way to catching the last rays of sun on the back patio - exhausted from work.

I've been working at the cement plant in the administrative office for more than a month now. I'd forgotten what it was like to work in an office I didn't manage. The company is growing and in a constant state of change, so everyday is new and somehow brings the unexpected. All in all, I'm enjoying the challenge. There are several customers, and even a couple of employees that speak ONLY Spanish, so I'm studying up. My accent is awful (SURPRISE!) but I'm able to answer the phone and get people headed in the right direction, if only by deciphering and pointing or transferring the call to the right person.

I'm rethinking my future motorcycle purchase. I'm looking at a different bike now - more of a dual sport so that I can ride offroad too. I'm eager to make a decision and the purchase so that this can become my primary vehicle. Gas prices are already climbing.

Tomorrow night John goes to Race School and hopefully will be hitting the track for races Sunday. I'm eager to see him get back to what he loves.

I've bought a family pass to the local "Bio Park" which includes our Zoo, Aquarium, and Botanical Gardens. I figure by the time summer is over, Sam will never want to see another zoo for the rest of his life.

John and I are container gardening this summer. Unfortuately we've recently had snow and frost (Easter - same as back east but not as bad)and some high winds so I have a dozen plus 12" terracotta pots on the living room floor. We put them out on the weekends when we are home and the weather permits. So far the only "deaths" were some prematurely transplanted Basil plants, and one Anaheim Pepper plant which Stinky ate whole because he couldn't wait long enough for it to produce peppers. And he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for his green teeth, spicy breath, and attraction to the remaining pepper plant.

That's life from Sue Circle. Don't think we aren't calling for any reason other than exhaustion and time zones.

Love to All!

PS - Chica has hit the "Ewok" stage - she looks like a skinny bear. When I have a chance I'll post another picture. She looks so dfferent at each stage of hair growth.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Catching Up...


Spring has sprung and the days are busy!

I've taken a full time job with a cement company in Rio Rancho, so I'm doing my web work early mornings, nights and weekends. So far so good.

We've started vegetables, done a little landscaping, added junipers to the back yard and flowers and bulbs to the front. Sam helped dig holes and tuck in plants and seedlings. We had a lot of fun working in the front garden together.

John and I have taken a couple of short trips. It's still chilly yet to go too far into the mountains. The picture to the left is Cabezon Peak - a volcanic upburst. We have many volcanic structures like this in the area. They always make me think of Devil's Tower, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and mashed potatoes - thank you Speilberg.

We hit the bike store yesterday. I'm seriously looking at a new Kawasaki Ninja 500R. I miss my bike desperately, and driving even more so. I fell in love with the latest model immediately - it's a gorgeous Yellow!

(Warning... "Chick Think" Ahead!) Sadly, it clashes with my current helmet and summer jacket (both are light yellow, not this rich shade, and don't even match each other). It's time for a new helmet anyway, but a new jacket, perhaps maroon to match the detail, would be nice too. I'll need to match the maroon to nail polish as well... I'm totally kidding with that one folks!

My biggest hope is that Sam is finally tall enough to reach the foot pegs. I'd LOVE to be able to take him with me on rides this summer. It may be another year yet, but I'm looking forward to that time.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Before & After - I had to share!

I had to share this... We have Chica trimmed from time to time - otherwise her hair just gets so scraggly and dirty from running in the yard. Yesterday was a trim day. I took her down to PetSmart and ordered her usual grooming. Here is a before and after that will help you understand why we laugh at her for 2 or 3 days after her haircut. It's like a totally different dog.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Around the House

John and I have been making lots of little changes around the house. Most recently, we painted the light fixture above the sink and used some antique wrought iron drawer pulls we found at Jackalope to make cup hooks for the wonderful rooster mugs my aunt sent for Christmas.

Believe it or not - my sink really is dish free and my counters are clear.

John also took an old over-the-door towel hook and modified it into a wall rack for the master bath. I'm currently working on a wall rack for a collection of beautiful ink bottles my sister sent for my birthday. We also have plans to create a coat rack for the entryway out of yet more wrought iron hooks we found at Jackalope.

You'd never guess the weather has been too frigid to go riding...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Knitting Socks

It's a new year and I'm still knitting away. Thought you might enjoy seeing some of my finished works.... well - almost. The three on the right are hoping I'll reach down behind the dryer and find them friends. The reality is, I need to stop trying new patterns and finish some sets.

Left to Right: Jess's Striped Socks - 100% mercerized cotton, Jess's Varigated Socks - varigated acrylic, Sam's Flame Socks - Lion Brand Microspun 100% acrylic, Jess's Magic Socks - Lion Brand SuperWash Wool Magic Stripe, and finally Jess's Beaded Rib Socks - Lion Brand Microspun 100% acrylic.

The GREAT BIG WONDERFUL basket pictured on the left was one of my Christmas gifts from John. I LOVE it. It's perfect for all my yarns, and is within arms reach when I sit on the sofa knitting.

I've created another "pattern book" similar to the one I'm making for my other knit projects, but exclusively for socks. I made pre-printed pages with spaces to document all measurements, yarn yardage & type, gauge, needles, stitch counts for the various parts of the sock, and of course the pattern name and recipient. There is also space for a yarn sample, notes, and a grid for pattern stick charting. I have a small sock diagram for additional design notes, and to color in with any patterns I design. There is space for a photo of the completed socks. I bound it all with a comb binding (ahh, office products can craft!) and viola! Now I just flip to the sock I want more of and knit away - or grab a skein, needles, and a pencil and design away!

It's so great to have socks that finally fit my big paddle feet!

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