Changes in the works…

Something BIG has happened…

A milestone.

Before anybody gets excited, it isn’t a another ‘new’ job. And no, I’m not getting married again. Nothing quite that monumental.

But over the weekend, I reached 10,000 hits–or visits to this site. (Over 10,000 now…)

When I began, I didn’t know if THREE people would visit the site. Or at least THREE people who weren’t family…

Obviously, there are writers, bloggers, websites that have 10,000 hits per day–and get millions on a yearly, or monthly basis. I know that.

And yet, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

When I look at my stats, there visitors from all over the world. Not only do I have a ‘nice’ group of followers (27, last time I looked), there are also many who use RSS feeds, bookmarks, Facebook and other tools to keep up with my posts. And they do so regularly.

To everybody who has stopped by…my most sincere thank you. I appreciate the comments, personal emails, texts and other communications. I truly do….

Nothing is more touching than connecting with others, sharing our commonalities. I’ve made new ‘friends’ in England, Australia, Florida and both the eastern and western seaboards. Which humbles me…

Honestly, I’m not a Perfect writer. I abuse grammar rules. Write in fragments. (No shock, because I THINK in a fragmented way…) And am constantly flagged for using the ‘passive’ voice. (Grrrrr……I can’t help it sometimes!!)

But I do love to write. Love that I can make a difference. Can share some of my thoughts and experiences (AND disasters and struggles) in an honest, positive way. And hopefully others feel a little more human, less alone.

CHANGES IN THE WORKS…

LENGTH ~ I am going to try (HARD) to shorten my posts. Writing the longer ones is time-consuming. (And I fear boring?) Plus I need to focus on getting a ‘real’ job–at least a part-time ‘real’ job. (And soon!) Unless I want to make like Fred Flintstone and drive a log car, using my FEET to get it going.

THEME ~ I have playing around with it. It will probably change soon. Don’t be alarmed, or think you are in the wrong place if the site has a ‘new’ look.

WEB HOSTING ~ Fingers crossed, this isn’t noticed by readers. And that any technical difficulties in the transition are minimal. I need to acquire hosting service, start using proper tags and other technical stuff. Believe it or not, I have slowly grown doing NONE of what writers/bloggers are SUPPOSED to do to attract readers. Not shocking. I don’t often follow the rules, or go in the proper order…

A BIG THANK YOU–And all of my gratitude to those who have hung in there and supported me these past couple of years.

And please let me know if you like the changes. Or hate the changes. Comments and Feedback often helps point me in the right direction…

Pretty Pearls–and Dead Chickens???

Because I’m ‘me’ I bought a lovely, antique iron hook at a community sale yesterday. I could NOT resist.

Antique. Rustic. Black. Iron.

Perfect.

I had visions of my pretty vintage jewelry draped over the black hooks.

Sort of like an old rake I saw online. (Pinterest, of course.)

And I’ve been slightly nauseated ever since.

Me: This is beautiful.

As I held it in my hands..

Nice Vendor Guy didn’t really say anything…

Me: How much?

Nice Vendor Guy: $3

Me: Will you take $2 for it?

Nice Vendor Guy: That’s at least 100 years old. And I know it, because of the estate where I got it. If that was at an antiques store, it would be selling for $70. It is not a reproduction.

(Because of its construction, I knew that it was an antique before he said it was…)

Me: Okay.

I handed over the $3 and started to walk away, still holding it in my hands.

Nice Vendor Guy: Do you know what that is?

Me: No. I was going to use it to hang jewelry.

Nice Vendor Guy: Back in the day, they used to hang chickens on it after they cut off their heads–to let them bleed out….

Me: Oh.

Now he was talkative? I wanted to ask if I could have my $3 back? Didn’t want it anymore. (Fairly sure this is not the type  of operation to accept returns)

Nice Vendor Guy: You should really file down the tops of the hooks, because they’re sharp. You could rip up your hand taking things on and off that.

That thing hasn’t been in my house 24 hours, but it makes me sick. I look at it and see violence, blood and death. Really, I need to put it in the garage.

I’ll list it on eBay ASAP. Because I can’t stomach it. All I see now is chicken carcasses being slammed into the rusty, black metal.

How can I hang pearls and pretty baubles from what was an instrument of torture?

So much for what seemed like a good idea for a few minutes…

BMW’s, Bathing Suits, Barn Sales and Broken Vans…

In Loudoun County, Virginia there are NO Dodge Grand Caravans.

At least I didn’ t see any.  (And I looked!) BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Subaru, Toyota, Honda, Lexus, Volvo—these are the brands that clog the roads and highways in this neck of the woods.

Further, there is NO rust on cars. And really, there isn’t a recession down here.

My green van was an anomaly…(was being the operative word.)

Per the US Census of 2010, Loudoun County was ranked #1 in the USA for Highest Median Income.

My aunt lives in Leesburg, Virginia. And Leesburg is part of Loudoun County.

When I drove past a “Barn Sale” sign, I HAD to check it out. I know what I’ll find at a Barn Sale in Perry, Ohio. But a Loudoun County Barn Sale? I had to check it out.

THIS WAS THE BARN ….

It was a beautiful barn. On a gorgeous piece of property.

And I should have expected such a barn, after rolling down this long driveway. Then a quaint little, wood bridge.

If the Stunning property didn’t do it, surely one of the houses on the property (there were several…) should have been a clue.

Or the shiny, black BMW I passed on my way down the lane. Also, I parked by a scattering of very nice vehicles in a grassy field.

The Barn Sale?

Not much under $50. The furniture and antique items upwards of $500. I could understand if things were truly unique, but there wasn’t anything THAT special.

And there certainly weren’t any $1 items!!

Of course, I had just spent the previous day at the Luckett’s Spring Market that was nearby. Maybe that threw me off. Because the Spring Market was packed with stunning finds. It would be tough to compete with what I saw there.

Still…it seems that ‘Barn Sales’ are just different down here.

I didn’t buy anything. But I had the BEST time checking out the sale. People watching. Checking out the cars. Taking in the scene. Listening to conversations…

MORE AMUSING ANECDOTES from the Never-Ending trip.

The trip that isn’t over yet. After nearly two weeks, I’m still in Virginia.

FLIP-FLOPS:

Aunt Kate accidentally slipped on my sparkly, black flip-flops. And I heard her mumbling about how awful and uncomfortable they were. Next thing I knew, she bellowed up the steps…

Aunt Kate: I’m throwing your black flip-flops out.

And she did.

THE DOGS:

There were three dogs in the townhouse the past couple of weeks. We tried hard to keep it clean. Kept vacuuming couches.

But the Bailey the Beige Dog constantly slept on the Red couch. Leaving cream color hair all over the dark red couch.

Wouldn’t be so bad to vacuum the red couch.

But the The Little Black  neurotic Dog was constantly on the creamy beige suede couch. Leaving black hair ALL over it.

Really?

They could have at least snoozed on the couches that matched their fur.

TALK OF BATHING SUITS:

Aunt Kate was thinking out loud while tapping away on her iPad. I was tapping away on my laptop. We were both distracted. (No surprise there…)

Aunt Kate: I’m going to need a new bathing suit.

Me: Hmmm… (I made as noise as I continued to type…)

Aunt Kate: That goes down to my knees…

Now she had my attention.

Aunt Kate: And down to my elbows.

We both chuckled. (She pointed to knees that aren’t quite what they used to be…)

Aunt Kate: You know like they used to wear in the old days…

Me: Actually, they might have had something there. With their modest bathing suits, long full length, sleeved cover-ups. Jaunty straw hats with the wide brims. Huge, dark sunglasses.

Like Audrey Hepburn…

Or this photo and the mood it sets…

 

 

Do we really need to see some of what we see at the beach??? It isn’t always as attractive as people think it is…
THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE:

I accompanied Aunt Kate to her doctor’s appointment today. They ushered us into a room, I sat down and this sign was on the wall. Couldn’t miss it.

I concede that there was a bad snow ‘incident’ down in Virginia a couple of years ago.

But how much’ inclement weather’  IS there? Yes. They close cities down when there is an inch of snow. But how often do they get an inch?

Further it is May 25th.

Probably, they NEVER needed this sign. And they certainly don’t the snowflake and snowman sign now. Swimming pools are already open down here.

THE GREEN DODGE GRAND CARAVAN:

I can report that there are still NO Dodge Grand Caravan’s driving around in Loudoun County, Virginia. My van was MIA soon after my arrival. It was only on the road once during my visit. Mixed in with all the ‘fancy’ cars, trucks, SUV’s and vans.

I did recoup a little bit of cash when it died, before it got towed away.

When I return home in a car that isn’t mine, I’ll be borrowing my Dad (and his wife’s) car. But only for a couple of weeks…

I’ll soon be on the hunt for another vehicle.

When I get home, that is.

A NOTE ABOUT MY LAST BLOG… Had technical difficulties when I posted it. Then had to take it down. Then put it back up. My apologies to those directed to a page NOT there. Feel free to scroll back and take a look if you like. It is there now.

Shopping (sigh….) at Luckett’s Spring Market 2012 in Leesburg, Virginia

An update on my ‘field trip’ to Luckett’s this past weekend.

Driving to the Market was wonderful. Even in heavy traffic. And even in my old green minivan. Because I LOVE driving in Virginia. It is so beautiful, blue skies, rolling hills, plantation houses set far back from the road…

As I parked in a grassy field, I noticed those headed for the entrance had either large shoulder bags or dragged rolling carts.

Luckily I always have a bag. I quickly dumped its contents to van’s floor. Then dropped my notebook, pen, camera, wallet, lip gloss and a water bottle inside the bag. (Only the essentials for me!) And I was off.

There was just so much to see. A ‘candy shop’ or ‘playground’ for somebody like me. Salvage windows, doors, Adirondacks chairs, antique fabrics, vintage signs and furniture. Furniture. and more FURNITURE.

One of my favorite, quirky items? An old, antique disco ball…

Hanging in an old barn. Lots of barns and potting sheds scattered about. Along with all the festival booths, the regular Luckett’s stores were open, as well.

There was A Journey From Junk and Divine Details who set up together under one tent. One of my favorite, hand painted signs was there.

Laughed out loud. (I took it in the ‘biblical’ sense) And I wasn’t the only one. Then when I passed by later, I realized it could be taken at face value. Why am I up???

One of the highlights for me?

I met Miss Mustard Seed, of Mustard Seed Interiors. She is an inspiration. A writer. Mom. Wife. Daughter. Business Owner. Designer. Blogger. And (hurrah!!) Author with a book due out this October…

She gave out these lovely gifts…

There were nearly 200 vendors at the Spring Market this year. Yet Miss Mustard Seed (AKA Marian Parsons) stood out from the pack. Of course, her merchandise was stunning–especially the furniture pieces painted with her new milk paint line. She sparkled. That’s the only way I can describe it. She was engaging, gracious, patient in answering questions, willing to pose for photos, slipped her readers a ‘free’ bag or bunch of lavender when she could. And watching her in action–it was clear why she has been so successful. She was surrounded by her family (who were also friendly and efficient). All wore matching “Mustard Seed Interiors” t-shirts and they were a well-oiled machine–there to support her. There was such warmth surrounding that space.

I’ve got to put in a photo of this chest of drawers

The Big Question. What did I purchase?

Nothing big, because I have budgetary constraints…

A new lamp shade. Or at least to me, it looked like a Perfect lamp shade.

It is really a wood and metal bushel basket. Use your imagination and you might see it with a bright, funky color washed on the rustic wood.

I got a pretty, retro red snack tray with daisies on it. I have loved daisies since I was a little girl. It’s probably about 6″ x 10″ and will end up on a wall, in a plate rack, or by the front door to hold mail.

I couldn’t resist the tiny oil painting of pink roses signed ‘Merle Baker.’

Miss Mustard Seed gifted me with a lovely bag of lavender tied with a cream satin bow. Lovely!!

Lastly, notice the plant at right. It is a topiary plant. Very hardy. Difficult to screw it up. (We’ll see about that…)

They sold these plants wrapped around shapes–round, stars and suns. I chose to buy the plant and grow and prune it around a shape of my choosing. I might regret not getting the ‘ready made’ topiary. Time will tell.

All and all, it was a magical experience. But my trip has not been without its challenges. My van died. Still not sure what I will be driving home…

Dad: Are you taking the bus home?

Me: Only if I can stuff the dogs into suitcases.

As usual, the past two weeks were full of  disasters and debacles.

But…I found a new motto in one of the stores at the Market.

Didn’t buy it. (Damn budgetary constraints!!) But I am going with it for now.

At least until I am successful at SOMETHING.

Stick with me. More stories about my trip in the coming days….

Note of Apology: To anybody who read, tried to read this blog earlier today. Sorry that it was cut off. Had a few technical difficulties. Hopefully, it is fixed now.

Thank you Kym McVicker-Brewster for making me think this morning…

Before I logged onto the computer, my brain was empty of ANY profound thoughts.

I was lounging outside, soaking up this gorgeous day, watching my dogs roll around in the grass and play with each other.

Then I decided to check my emails, my blog, my eBay store and Facebook. Just to make sure there wasn’t anything that needed my attention.

Which was when I came across your status:

As I look at the person staring back at me from my mirror, I wonder; for all the things that have been accomplished, for all the hardships that have been risen above, for all the joy and happiness brought to others, for all the good that has been done and for all the compassion and empathy shown to others, am I only as good as, and should my entire character be judged and defined by the WORST thing I have ever done?      ~Kym McVicker-Brewster

Hmmmm….

A little deep for a Saturday morning.

And just as I was going to drag a brush through my hair, apply lip gloss and run a few errands. Walk my dogs. Then maybe a have a little afternoon nap before meeting up with a friend later tonight.

NOW I am thinking.

Worse yet, I am thinking about the WORST of me. (Never pretty when any of us do that!) And whether the dumbest, WORST things I have done cancel out the many GOOD things I have done?

Certainly, I wish that I had not dropped the F-bomb outside of the church with ‘Father’ standing 10 feet behind me. Not a shining moment for me.

Here’s the link for those who want the full (humiliating) story:

http://playingwithperfect.com/2011/08/03/one-of-my-most-shameful-moments/

And by the way, Kym noted that this thought was not specifically related to anything in her life. Just a thought. Or a ‘rhetorical’ question. And it isn’t specifically related to anything in my life either.

But it did get my juices flowing. Got me thinking…

God help us all when I do that.

We are all unique. A mix of good, bad, quirky, stupid, brilliant, well-intentioned (if poorly executed) plans. We have our stellar qualities. And the qualities that we (and sometimes others) could do without. We all face challenges, succeed, fail miserably…and make plenty of mistakes.

Because nobody is Perfect, it is probably easier if we toss away the yardsticks. Both for measuring ourselves and others.

In that vein, I am off to get a donut and a Diet Coke. I’ll be skipping the errands for now, in favor of spending some time outdoors…(with my dogs, daughter, Diet Coke and donut)

Having gotten off track, why get ON TRACK now?