Monday, October 20, 2008

Frustration!!!! ???? !!!!

Frustration of myself and not knowing how to fix the "problem." Frustration at not one but two machines. Frustration at so many things.

The Heritage Dictionary defines frustration as:
frus-tra-tion (fr-strshn)
1. a. The act of frustrating or an instance of being frustrated.
b. The state of being frustrated.
2. Something that serves to frustrate.

That really doesn't begin to define it does it? Something that serves to frustrate--well, seems to me that I've had so many things that serve to frustrate me! So let's delve a little deeper in this definition.

frus-trate (frstrt)
TRANSITIVE VERB: frus-trat-ed , frus-trat-ing , frus-trates
1. a. To prevent from accomplishing a purpose or fulfilling a desire; thwart:
A persistent wind frustrated my attempt to rake the lawn.
b. To cause feelings of discouragement or bafflement in.
2. To make ineffectual or invalid; nullify.

To prevent from accomplishing a purpose: baffle, balk, check, checkmate, defeat, foil, stymie, thwart. Informal: cross, stump. Idiom: cut the ground from under.

Something that will baffle, defeat, foil, stymie or thwart----hmmmmm that is exactly what has been happening lately in my life. Seems everything put in front of me or I try to do has either baffled or stymied me or has gone to the point of defeating, foiling, or thwarting me. So it is no wonder I am so frustrated!

Five months ago I purchased an embroidery machine. Granted it is one of the "entry level" for beginner machines, but it, by most all reviews I'd seen, was a very good machine. At that point I did quite a bit of embroidery and everything looked fine. FRUSTRATION: Within a month I started having problems with gaps and with outlines not meeting. I went through forum after forum, web site after web site, asked friends what I was doing wrong. Everything led to the machine not working properly. FRUSTRATION: So I contacted the merchant I purchased the machine from. I was told that since the machine did not ship from his warehouse I would have to contact the other person's warehouse. That led to me being told that I had to contact the originator shipper (the merchant). I'm sure you can see where this circle led. NO WHERE!!!

I finally got aggravated with all of them and purchased a second embroidery machine from an entirely different merchant than the first two! This machine was a step up from the first machine I purchased. FRUSTRATION: At this point we had sunk money into a machine that didn't work, software to read the embroidery formats, thread, and stabilizer, not to mention the amount of time, tears, anger and frustration! And yet I still had no machine (yet) that I could work on. When the second machine came in the mail, I diligently scanned (as this was the same brand of machine as the previous and I'd read that manual from cover to cover) the manual to see what I needed to know prior to operating.

I plugged it in, began stitching and sure enough for the first 10 or so designs it worked fine. Then, FRUSTRATION: it started doing the exact same things the first machine did. I've talked to sewing center employees--that didn't care about my problems because a) I didn't buy the machine(s) from them and b) because I didn't own a machine BRAND that their shop sold! Needless to say, when it is time to buy the next machine, it will NOT be from that sewing center!I've talked to people that owe the exact same machine(s) as I do, those that own other embroidery machines, those that have used embroidery machines before, etc. It has taken until tonight to get either machine to sew semi-correctly (I'm scared to say it sews correctly as I'm afraid of jinxing the machines).

Of course, the last two days have presented its own FRUSTRATION: in that I haven't broken a machine needle in a month/or two. I have broken 7 machine needles (6 all on one machine) in the last 24 hours!

OK, OK enough griping for one day! I won't go on any further! Besides it's past time for me to turn into a pumpkin--in other words, bedtime!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

George Ohr Fall Festival

Want a fun and expensive outing? Well dearest hubby and I had it this weekend. We headed to the 15th Annual George Ohr Fall Festival of Arts, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 4 and 5, Biloxi Town Green. . . More than 100 art booths are expected again this year, as well as great regional food and live music. Highlights of the festival . . . include: the popular Potters Games (founded by Scott Young), Celebrity Pot Throwing, a fun Mustache Contest, as well as pinch pots, T-shirt painting, street painting and public art competitions, and a large booth both days full of art activities for children. (

For $4.00 the two of us were able to be entertained, be outside, be together, and see some beautiful art (that we couldn't afford but would love to have) and enjoyed watching the potters have their fun while they had to make a pot blindfolded--with the tallest pot winning; watch them attempt to make a pot with one hand while a non-craftsman used one hand to help them. What a hoot that was to watch! In addition we saw many, many booths that were hawking their wares--ok, they weren't hawking, they were sitting there quietly while people walked by and browsed with few sales (thank you economy for no one wanting to buy the "extras" in life). But we did get some very good ideas for making things ourselves, things we can go back to their websites or to other art festivals in the area before Christmas for Christmas gifts. Of course, there won't be a lot of gifts at those prices!

But who is George Orr and why is there a festival? Well for that, we need to go back a bit in history.
George E. Ohr, another visionary artist whose work went unappreciated during his lifetime, then rose to prominence years after his death. Ohr (1857-1918) was born in Biloxi, Mississippi and trained as a commercial potter of utilitarian ware. However, he grew increasingly interested in the expressive possibilities of clay. His experimentations began by altering his wheel-thrown works via allowing the centrifugal force of the wheel itself to create pots that twisted, folded, leaned, bent and buckled eccentrically.Indeed, the theatricality of his work mirrored Ohr’s flamboyant persona and physical appearance, sealed by his signature massive mustache and wild eyes. An inveterate self-promoter, he proclaimed himself “The Mad Potter of Biloxi,” at state fairs, international expositions and other venues, where he exhibited and sold his work. Ohr also hand made souvenir pottery for tourists, some of it hilariously bawdy in nature. For example, his press-molded brothel coins contained clever word/picture phrases with sexual messages, such as “Good for One Screw,” with the last word presented as a pictorial screw embossed on the coin.

Critics of that time denounced Ohr’s unconventional work as ugly or bizarre, and, again, it went virtually unrecognized during his lifetime. Today, with all of hindsight’s sad and predictable irony, people recognize and celebrate the work as a valuable precursor to the Abstract Expressionists’ attitude toward clay during the 1950’s, and the renewed interest in the art pottery movement during the 1970’s.
So the Mad Potter of Biloxi, who didn't become famous until his son went to look for car parts and discovered the remaining pieces of George E. Ohr's work, 6,000 pieces--hidden for so many years. an antique dealer, Jim Carpenter, bought all of the pieces for what now would be considered pennies, but then (1960s) was quite a bit--$50,000. And what has happened to all of those pieces? They've been sold and turned over to this person or that through the years. Currently viewers can see forty of Ohr’s key works in this exhibition, “Ohr Rising: The Emergence of an American Master,” which was organized by the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi. The word “Rising” in the show’s title refers both to Ohr’s ascendance into the contemporary art world and the “rise from destruction” theme taken on by Mississippi’s Gulf Coast in its ongoing effort to recover from Hurricane Katrina.

Another One of THOSE Days!

Ever have a day where nothing seems to be going right? Well today was definitely one of those for me. I have once again found my blog--seems I don't keep up with this very well. I have found that I can't remember how to do things and add things I WANT on here and get rid of others!

Seems the fibromyalgia is effecting not only the body but the mind now. Well, I'd like to blame it on that or on SOMETHING at least other than old age, lack of use, and fat clogging the brain! But it seems that things I could remember I can't. I seem to have fairly decent long term memory; but my short term memory and the ability to even find words that I know are in my vocabulary just down right sucks!

I have, since May, become an avid fan of machine embroidery. Things that I see on clothing and other things I keep thinking, I could do that. The only problem is that I can't seem to get things RIGHT!!! I've been trying since May to get one machine working properly. As it turns out that machine worked--its me that doesn't! I can't seem to find the right chemistry between fabric, stabilizer, and tension. One of these days I will get it right or I'm going to throw both of these embroidery machines in a ditch somewhere!

Here's hoping your day was better than mine!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Monday, February 4, 2008

Making a New Habit--Breaking an Old One

A couple of years ago, we purchased a tread mill. It was used on a regular basis for a while (but not nearly long enough). The biggest downfall of it isn't that no one wanted to walk "no where"; but instead, it was that you were walking ALONE. We have tried to use it when someone was there talking to us or while watching TV, but it just didn't seem to motivate a lot of interest for any of us. We got very interested in trying to use it everyday--but then Christmas came along and it got shoved into a corner again.
We have discovered a new place that has been advertised to the hilt in our area since its conception on the drawing board. It is a wellness center--not just a gym! It has all of the aerobic machines that both of us enjoy--I can't stand the bikes and he can't stand the treadmills. It has the circuit machines as well as a room dedicated to "light" and "heavy" weight training. There are lap pools, "fun" pools, whirl pools, sauna and steam rooms. There are just so many options available that we decided for the price we would try it. There is no "yearly contract" that you are obliged for the remaining months if you decide to quit. And best of all, we can go TOGETHER. Even though we may not be on the same level of weights on the circuit machines or the same speed or program on the aerobic machines, we are able to be there together to encourage the other.
When I used to belong to one of the national chains of fitness centers for women, I went more often when I had the ability to go with someone I knew--even though after a while I knew most of the people in there. It was because we each would ask or remind the other to go right after school. I'm hoping that Dave and I will be able to do the same for each other with this one. So here is to starting a new healthier habit that will benefit both of us and help us to have a longer time together--as in age!
The old habit that is being broken??? Well that would be one of the worst of them all--smoking. And yes, I have been able to cut back to a pack lasting 5 days! So I am almost there. Cutting any habit cold turkey is not for me. But being able to cut back this much since I opened this last pack is truly GREAT. I am determined NOT to open another pack when these last 5 cigarettes are gone. God willing and my own will power (which is usually quite low), I will have quit and won't need (or want) another cigarette at the end of those 5. Of course, it would be even better if I could just not smoke any of those 5 either!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Mardi Gras (WHAT???) is almost over~

Mardi Gras---What is it? For a simple definition, it is a huge party that starts between 1 and 2 months before Ash Wednesday and ends on Fat Tuesday. That being said, what is it really? For those that live on the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and some on the Florida panhandle, it is a holiday that is treated with as much enthusiasm as Halloween or Christmas---and sometimes more! Businesses, schools, and every0ne from infants to the VERY aged can be seen at and/or having their own parades, balls (that's a dance), parties, and will dress in PURPLE, GREEN, and GOLD when they would otherwise not dream of putting those colors together! Masks, costumes, and frivolity are quite common. If you live in the areas that celebrate--you can find almost ANYTHING in this color combinations! In general (not all celebrate it), it is generally well known and well attended.

Most all information you will see states something about Mardi Gras having its roots in New Orleans. As it was the French explorers d'Iberville and Bienville that settled south and east of the current location of New Orleans--yes you could say that they brought the European celebration to the United States. However, the first Mardi Gras PARADE was NOT held in New Orleans, but in Mobile, AL. I'm sure you can find all sorts of arguments for/against that statement--but living closer to Mobile than New Orleans, I'll side with the Mobile side of the story--besides its true.

Another false tale you may hear about Mardi Gras is that it is a pagan holiday. In actuality, it is the Christians' way of getting one last really good party in before having to fast and "give up" all of the "good stuff" for Lent.

Let me see if I can get some factual information for you. One of the best (well shortest) definitions and information to be able to incorporate it into your home, private or public class comes from:

A Production of

on the World Wide Web. I will thank all of those that found the information and included it on their website right here and now! Of course there are other sites that have equal definitions--this one just happens to be somewhat educational (for younger children) in general. Everything written in blue (below) was taken (without writing for permission) from the Holidays on the Net site. In the event that they got their information elsewhere--then you need to go to their site to see where they got their information.

The History of Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras came to New Orleans through its French heritage in 1699. Early explorers celebrated this French Holiday on the banks of the Mississippi River. Throughout the years, Orleanians have added to the celebration by establishing krewes (organizations) which host parades and balls. Carnival quickly became an exciting holiday for both children and adults.

Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday" and of course is celebrated on that day of the week. The date can fall between February 3 and March 9 depending on the Lunar calendar, used by the Catholic Church to determine the date of Easter. Mardi Gras is always 47 days before Easter Sunday.

The official colors for Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. These colors were chosen in 1872 by the King of Carnival, Rex. He chose these colors to stand for the following:
Purple represents justice
Green stands for faith
Gold stands for power
The Mardi Gras season begins on January 6 and continues until Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. On the Christian calendar, the twelfth day after Christmas is known as "Epiphany", "Twelfth Night", or "Kings Day." It is the day the gift-bearing Magi visited the baby Jesus, and is celebrated with its own unique rituals.

As part of the celebration of Mardi Gras, it is traditional to bake an oval cake in honor of the three kings - the King Cake. The shape of a King Cake symbolizes the unity of faiths. Each cake is decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors: purple represents justice, green represents faith and gold represents power. A small baby, symbolizing the baby Jesus, is baked into each cake.
In New Orleans (and throughtout the areas listed above that celebrate Mardi Gras), King Cake parties are held throughout the Mardi Gras season. In offices, classrooms, and homes throughout the city, King Cakes are sliced and enjoyed by all. Like the biblical story, the "search for the baby" adds excitement, as each person waits to see in whose slice of cake the baby will be discovered. While custom holds that the person who finds the baby in their slice will be rewarded with good luck, that person is also traditionally responsible for bringing the King Cake to the next party or gathering.

The traditional King Cake is made from twisted strands of cinnamon dough, topped with icing, and sprinkled with purple, green, and gold colored sugar. Today, many additional varieties of King Cake are also available, with fillings such as cream cheese, strawberry, apple, and lemon.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Preschool Teachers Unite

Preschool Teachers:
Welcome to "Shell's Specialty of the Day" to all of those with the Sunny Lane Learning Yahoo Group. I don't know if any of you will take me up on my offer of helping out other preschool teachers--or for that matter teachers of any level that might have ideas that you can share with those of us that use preschool lesson plans and curriculums; but I have made the offer and I will abide by it. Please note that if you are adding content here or emailing it to me, I can only get into this blog and my email account from home--my school's security and censoring program blocks both. Therefore, I will only be able to do things in the evening hours. I apologize if this is a problem for anyone.