Sunday, August 29, 2010

Taking A Risk

I'm a risk-averse person. I don't skydive, climb rocks, bungee jump, or ride a motorcycle. I don't trade stocks on the internet or speculate in currency futures. I believe in bike helmets, seat belts, anti-lock brakes, vaccinations, and a balanced portfolio.

But I took a risk. Not one of those risks we teachers used to encourage our students to take--sitting with someone new at lunch or reading your sentence out loud. A real, grown-up risk, and I can't believe how quickly I decided to do it. It took me about ten minutes to make up my mind, and by the time I got home, I was fully committed.

It doesn't really matter (except to me) what exactly my risk was. What was interesting was the process of making the decision. Most of the decisions we make involve trade-offs. We give up something to gain something else. We give up chocolate cake to gain improved health. We give up beading time to take an exercise class. Taking a risk is different than making a decision involving trade-offs. With a risk, we understand that the outcome is uncertain. Maybe that new person you sit next to at lunch will be mean. Maybe the other students will laugh at your sentence. With a grown-up risk, we may move into an area of definite and sometimes serious uncertainty. If the outcome is not what we were hoping, we may not be able to undo it.

I decided to represent my decision to take a risk with my August BJP. To my way of thinking, this page is a definite departure from my previous bead journal pages. Instead of telling you exactly how it's different, I challenge you to discover it for yourself. You can look at my other pages here.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with a mixture of blue and green Dye-Na-Flow.

I started this page with the blue and green glass hearts. They jumped out at me at the bead store, and I shared the strand with a friend. The beads include 15/0s, 11/0s, 8/0s, triangles, cubes, niblets, and bugles. There are also some 13/0 green Czech charlottes.

I used the backstitch and the stopstitch in this page.

The page is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used blue Nymo thread for most of the beading, with some chartreuse C-lon for the green beads. I used 00 gray Nymo with a size 13 needle for the green Czech charlottes.

What I Was Thinking:

To be perfectly honest, I was marveling at myself for taking a risk. And I was hoping that my risk would turn out well. And I was thinking about how much I liked this color combination.

Issues That Came Up:

That size 13 needle is a bear to thread. It's not just seeing the hole; it's having the coordination to put the thread through it.

I'd like to make a doll with the some of the remaining beads. I think she'd be lovely.

Now It's Your Turn:

What's the risk I took with this page? How is it different than all my other Bead Journal Pages?

Or is it only different to me?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Washed My Phone, And Other Household Catastrophes

But more about the phone later...

The first incident occurred during All Together Week. Since most of the All who were Together were at cottages, I volunteered our washing machine. The offer was accepted, and a basket of laundry arrived at our house. I loaded it into the machine, added the detergent, and pressed the button. All went well until the spin cycle.

Then Ka-Blam! Ka-Blam! Ka-Blam! Ka-Blam! OOPS! I had washed Grandson #2's rock collection. Now Everyone thought that Someone Else had checked the pockets. As is usual in these circumstances, that meant that No One had checked the pockets. I retrieved four small, very interesting rocks, half an inch to an inch in diameter, and forty cents from the washing machine. I later retrieved a fifth rock and another dime from the dryer.

Fast forward a couple of days. More dirty laundry, none of which belonged to Grandson #2. All the pockets were checked. Washing went well, but then there was the spin cycle.

Ka-Blam! Ka-Blam! Ka-Blam! Ka-Blam! Double OOPS! Part of the rock collection had migrated around the rubber flange to the space between the tub and the housing. Fortunately, two aspiring MacGyvers were available, my associate homeowner and the visiting She Who Shall Not Be Named.

They went at the washing machine with a collection of interesting tools: a screwdriver, two flashlights, a wire coat hanger, duct tape, mesh from a bag of fruit, ribbon, and a darning needle. I went off to a meeting, leaving them to their project.

I returned an hour and a half later to find the washed but not rinsed laundry still in the basket and the name of the appliance repair service with the best ratings on the internet. I suggested that the aspiring MacGyvers rinse out the soapy laundry in the bathtub while I arranged for a repair.

So I called. That service did not repair my brand so they gave me two other names. So I called. Eventually arrangements were made for the repairman to come the next week. We were determined to live the clean life--no messes or spills--until the machine was fixed.

The repairman arrived and went at the washing machine with a tool that looked amazingly similar to the coat hanger device my own MacGyvers had used unsuccessfully. He was unsuccessful, too. He determined that it would be necessary to take the machine apart, a two-hour project. He would call me the next day with a scheduled time. I quickly determined that the fifty cents I had found would probably not cover the labor charges for a two-hour repair. However, the repair would be less expensive than replacing a three-year-old machine.

The next morning the repairman called to refer me to a second repairman who had more experience with my brand. This didn't sound good. I called the second repairman. He assured me that he had been to Whirlpool School and that he knew all the secret tricks. He stated that he had never had to take a machine apart to retrieve a foreign object. I was hopeful, but not fully convinced.

The second repairman arrived the next day. After a couple of tries with the coat hanger type device, he went to the secret tricks. This is the method, as nearly as I understand it: Prop rubber flange open. Put contact cement on rock. Cut piece of strapping so it will reach rock. Put contact cement on end of strapping. Wait until contact cement achieves appropriate degree of tackiness. Drop strapping down onto rock. Press strapping against rock so the two cemented parts are in contact. Hold in place with screwdriver. Wait until a complete bond is formed. Pull strap and attached rock out. Amazing!

And now for the phone.
I did not want to wash the phone. I wanted to wash my backpack. My backpack is an heirloom backpack. I inherited it from She Who Shall Not Be Named, who had used it in junior high school. It was, frankly, disgusting. It had made several trips to Europe, serving as an airplane footrest. It had numerous spots of unknown origin. I wanted to wash my hands after handling it. It needed to be washed.

Remembering the rock collection incident, I carefully checked all the pockets. Out came the pencils and pens, the index cards and the kleenex. Out came the Google Map to the family reunion. Out came the old boarding passes and luggage tags. The phone, unfortunately, did not come out. Now I had last used the backpack about ten days before, when we spent a week with relatives. I hadn't needed the phone during that week and I hadn't needed it since we returned. I don't use the phone much. I have a super cheap, pay-by-the-minute plan.

I put the backpack into the bathtub with Camp Suds and left it to soak for about ten minutes. When I returned to swish it around and rinse it out, I knew there was a problem. Something was still in the backpack. The phone. OOPS!

You might be surprised at the number of internet sites that offer suggestions for dealing with a wet phone. I used the open the phone up, dry as much as possible with a paper towel, put the phone into a container of rice (or other absorbent material), seal it, leave it overnight, and hope for the best. We were fortunate to have the perfect rice in the cupboard: Arborio rice with a 1999 expiration date. (Note to self: Clean the cupboard more frequently and check the expiration dates on the contents.)

Despite this fabulous rice, the remedy was not effective. And the rice is on the way to the landfill. It's biodegradable. To continue with the food theme, the phone is toast.

A friend offered me her son's old phone, and here it is. Cool, eh? I think it will be a great replacement, as long as she can find the charging cord and the instruction manual in his room. He's off to grad school, so she's on her own.

Once I get connected again, I'll give you a call. In the meantime, my associate homeowner is doing the laundry.

Friday, August 13, 2010

How Much Is The Purple Hope Stone Worth?

I made a purple Hope Stone for the American Cancer Society's Cattle Baron's Ball.

It's purple because the ACS color of survivorship is purple. Ok, it doesn't look purple. It looks blue, doesn't it? I assure you, however, that this Hope Stone is purple. I fiddled and fiddled with the color of the photo, but I couldn't get a good representation of the purple. So even if you can't see purple, think purple!

In our area, Hope Stones are given to survivors at the end of the Survivors' Victory Lap at the Relay for Life. Survivors are encouraged (whenever they are ready) to pass the stone and the hope along to someone else who needs an extra boost of hope in dealing with cancer.

The stone is about 1.75 inches high. It is mounted on a piece of Lacy's Stiff Stuff that I painted with violet Dye-na-Flow and backed with UltraSuede. The beaded fringe was added last.

If you want to see my other Hope Stones, you can look here.

The American Cancer Society representative asked me the value of the Hope Stone. How do I answer that question?

The cost of the materials? I already had a bunch of purple beads, the UltraSuede, the Stiff Stuff, the thread, and the Dye-na-Flow. I did buy some beads, but I have plenty of them left over.

The cost of my time? I'm retired. I beaded most of this piece while on vacation, sitting on a porch listening to the sounds of a lake.

The price at a retail shop? Oh, puh-leese! I don't sell hope! Hope is to be shared, to be given away, to be presented generously to anyone who needs it.

I understand that the ACS needs to keep track of the value of contributions, but it was very, very hard to determine how to set the value of the Purple Hope Stone.

How would you value this stone? I'd like some ideas so I can have a better answer next time.