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Showing posts from 2012

This and That - The Pre-Christmas Edition…

Now that the craziness of the holiday season is almost behind us, I’m hoping to get back into the blogging state of mind. With everything else going on these days, it’s been hard to keep up.
My Christmas shopping is done and wrapped. Thank goodness for small miracles. I’ve been second guessing a couple of the purchases. Not that I’ve overspent on them, I’m just not 100% convinced they will be appreciated as much as I feel they should be. Oh well, I’m not dwelling on it because it’s the thought that counts – right?
About 4 weeks ago, J and I ordered new living room furniture for Christmas. Only one piece was being customized with different fabric, but we refused to pay a delivery charge twice, so we’re now expecting it to be delivered in time for Valentine’s Day. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
The Gigantic Craft Show has come and gone. After all my hard work, I’m happy to say I made money. Not enough to retire, but enough to call it a success. Will I do the same show again next y…

A Look Down Under...

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As a follow up to my Bonaire - 2012 Photo Montage (and as requested by my other favorite redhead, Crazy Cris), here is a photo montage of some of the wonderful critters that live in the lushious reefs surrounding the island of Bonaire.  Of course, these shots are all courtesy of J.
Spotted Moray Eel
French Angel - Close Up
Hawksbill Turtle (we counted 8 on one dive alone)
French Angel at the Salt Pier
Another French Angel at the Salt Pier
Queen Angel
Brown Spotted Trigger (I Think)

Twas the Night Before...the BIG Day...

The BIG day is nearly upon us. No, not Christmas. That’s BIGGER than BIG, but the BIG day I’m talking about is the BIG craft show that I’ve been preparing for since… ummm, June. It starts tomorrow and I can hardly wait to get that beast behind me. I cannot even begin to explain how much I HATE – yes HATE making earrings… and necklaces… and bracelets. It used to be fun, but it’s turned to misery.
I have made no less than 117 pairs of earrings, 120 necklaces and 35 bracelets since June. I HATE it all right now. Seriously. I know HATE is a strong word, but if I see another bead roll across my floor I will lose my mind…again.
I think I’m prepared and I hope I have enough inventory; but in all honesty – I don’t care anymore. I just hope to sell it all. Then, all this misery and misspent time will have been well worth it.
For four loooong days, I’ll be immersed in the world of crafters and crafty hunters. Wish me luck and say a little prayer that my sanity remains intact.

Hold On, Here We Go Again…

By the time our early retirement plan comes to fruition, you will be either too dizzy or too confused to follow this blog.

Remember how I said, Ecuador would most likely be our retirement destination of choice and then we had a change of heart and thought perhaps Bonaire could work for us and then we were back to Ecuador and then I think when I last left you we were back in Bonaire mindset.
Well, after doing some pre-retirement homework while we were on island in Bonaire, reality has again kicked us in the pants. Guess what? We apparently are not made of money and once we quit our jobs, we will no longer have a bi-weekly income in which to support the lifestyle we’ve become accustomed to.
So while we could financially make Bonaire work short term, we aren’t convinced it could be sustainable long term. Housing is more than what we want to spend, groceries are on average 5-10% higher than they are here in Canada and the daily housing costs (hydro, propane, water) are significantly higher …

Bonaire - 2012...Photo Montage

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Artistic Photo by J
Gumby Enjoying the Sunset - Day 1
Love the Boat Name:  "Free at Last"
Lac Bay, Bonaire - Heaven on Earth
Gumby Enjoying the Salt Pier - Best Dive Site on Island
1,000 Steps Dive Site - Only 60+ Steps to the Bottom,  Feels Like 1,000 with Dive Gear On
Gumby Enjoying A Couple of Cold Ones After a Hard Day of Diving -  Polar, A Nice Import From Venezuela

Post Vacation Funk...

Our vacation was fantastic. We had great weather, great scuba adventures and of course great company - overall it was a huge success. The downside however, was the lack of rest.
We went with our usual group of scuba friends and needless to say, there was no shortage of laughs, beer or knocks at our condo door at all hours of the day and night. I truly enjoy the camaraderie of the group, but also long to be left the hell alone after a long day of diving, sunshine and fresh air.
I now recall why on previous visits to the island, J and I chose to stay away from the group at other accommodations on the opposite side of the island. Are we anti-social? Perhaps we are, but I’m not apologizing for liking my privacy.
I find that after working for months on end – day in and day out in a “social” work environment with meetings, phone, calls and various interactions with co-workers, I need a time-out while on vacation.
Don’t get me wrong, I love these scuba friends and am blessed with their friendsh…

It Was Snowing This Morning...

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That's all I have to say about that!

Nine More Sleeps...

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Yes, it’s ALMOST that time of year again. Time for me rejuvenate and store up on some sunshine and vitamin D before the long winter ahead. It’s time for me to pack my bags and scuba gear and head off to a place where memories are made, good times are had and the ocean is explored.
For some, Disney is the happiest place on earth, but for me it’s Bonaire. You may recall this is one of my contenders for places to retire, so J and I plan on using this opportunity to do some more research into the actual cost of living, average cost of vehicles, neighborhoods, etc. Five years is still a long way off, but at least we’ll be getting an idea of how expensive things actually are.
I can hardly wait to get there and park myself at the beach bar for a beverage or two - for a live webcam view of it, take a look here.  Maybe you'll see me there (in a week and a bit)...
Here are a few photos of the island from vacations past…


By the way - all of the above photos are courtesy of J and if you are inter…

Noise...

Is there a place you can go to escape the man-made noises that we are overwhelmed by each day? Whether it be the sounds of traffic, office noise, television, radio, the hum of a florescent light fixture or your neighbor cutting the grass, noise is everywhere.
I watched a program on Discovery Channel the other night and it got me thinking about the noise we are surrounded by every day. Most times we aren’t even aware of how loud things have become because we’ve either grown accustomed to it or don’t know what we are missing in the first place.
The segment focused on a gentleman who is endeavoring to capture the sounds of species that are on the brink of extinction. His plan is to preserve natural sounds before it’s too late. He had a great quote that went something like “we won’t even know what we’ve missed out on or that it was even there in the first place thanks to urban sprawl and the number of people that are now on the planet”. It’s a sad but true statement.
Wouldn’t it be nice to …

Making Money…Every Little Bit Helps…

In our quest for reaching the 5 Year Plan and as a means of maintaining our early retirement, J and I have been tossing about ideas on how to make some extra money.
As you know, I already have my back-up plan – Flamingo Tongue Designs, although I don’t suspect this to be as successful in a third world country as it currently is here in Canada, but I guess only time will tell.
As you also know, J is the resident photographer in our family. He takes 100’s of photographs when we travel – both on land and underwater, so it seemed only natural that he use his God given talent for good and tries to sell some of them. This is also a hobby/business that would be ongoing and self-sustaining no matter where we end up. If you ask me it’s a win, win.
So with that said, J’s been spending hours, upon hours, sifting through his photos, organizing and submitting them for approval to various micro stock photography sites. It’s been a tedious and sometimes frustrating process - the submission guidelines a…

Trolls and The Wedding From Hell...

I don’t even know where to begin other than to say – WTH! I hadn’t planned on posting this, but the more I think about it, the more worked up I’m getting and I think the world needs to know that there are selfish trolls amongst us.
This past weekend, we (J’s entire family) had the pleasure of attending the most chaotic wedding EVER.
I don’t know what people are thinking or in most cases – not thinking. I’m trying to understand where bad behavior comes from. Is it a learned response or is the under 30 generation to blame for their self-entitlement attitude and inconsideration for others? I’d like to believe it is a learned response and that the entire generation is not made up of “self-absorbed, whiney, the world owes me so much and I don’t want to work for it morons”.
Let’s start by saying that J’s niece got married. If we could overlook the fact that the groom is “a piece of work”, it should have been a wonderful family moment. Unfortunately, it turned into mayhem, tears, more mayhem, …

Still Alive and Kicking...

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I wish I could tell you I won the lottery and skipped town, but such is not the case.  This has been a busy month - there's been weddings, Canadian Thanksgiving, family commitments, busy work schedules, blah, blah, blah.  No spectacular excuses, just life.
Oh yeah, I've also been crazy busy getting my jewelry inventory built up for the big show in December.  Yes, I realize December seems far off, but in reality - not really because yet to come is another wedding, our pre-winter scuba getaway to Bonaire and then voila...the show!
So, there you have it.  Just thought I stop in to say hello.  Miss you lots.
Well, since I'm here, here is a sea glass piece I just finished - 13 pieces of Puerto Rican sea glass and fresh water pears.

Take a Trip, Clear Your Mind...

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After a couple of years of wandering aimlessly through a couple of different college programs, The Boy has decided to take a year off from his search of post-secondary knowledge. In hindsight, J and I should have encouraged him to do this sooner, as it would have save a lot of time, money and frustration by everyone involved, but as parents, you want your children to succeed, have more and do more than you personally.
During my generation, we finished high school knowing we were lucky to be heading off for college because many of our parents didn’t have that ability. They simply finished high school and entered the work force, got married, started a family, etc. A post-secondary education wasn’t expected from them, or in some cases it wasn’t even an option.
In this day and age, we expect our children to be destined for greatness and when greatness doesn’t come exactly how and when we expect it – on our terms and schedule, we become overly concerned that there is something fundamentally …

Dr. Seuss I Ain't...

Life as I know it is out of control. I just need to get a grip and a grab a hold.

Of something, anything to hold on tight. Better yet, I’ll take a flight.

To the hills, mountains, forest or beach – just anywhere that’s out of reach.

From the hustle and bustle of corporate tussles.

To gain respect, to gain control. In the end, it sucks your soul.

Going here, going there, never really getting anywhere.

In the end, I know I’ll win, but until then – it’s spin, spin, spin.

I’m told things happen for a reason. Like wind, rain and change of season.

Don’t lose your mind, don’t lose your soul. Just grab a hold and take control.

Good things are meant to last, but until then – they can kiss my a$$.

Technology - A Double Edged Sword...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE technology - when it’s not inconveniencing or annoying me.
It has simplified many tasks in my daily routine, but at the same time – it has added so many complications.
I like how I can check my e-mail from anywhere, receive text messages from family and friends, update my website remotely, check weather, find directions – all while being on the move, but at the same time, I dislike all of those things. I’m a slave to technology and not proud of it.
I dislike how I’m expected to respond immediately to e-mails and text messages. No matter where we are, we can be found, we can be hounded and we can be pestered.
I like the “good ole days” – when you left the house, no one could find you find you until you wanted to be found. No one knew where you were going or where you had been.  Life was simple...
Just because we have the technology to annoy instantaneously, doesn’t mean it should be used that way. Those who need to get a hold of me might as well understand one thing - …

September? How'd that Happen?

I can’t believe its September. Where did May, June, July and August go? In some aspects, time passes so quickly these days, but in others, it just simply drags on forever – like weekdays vs. weekends.
Today was the first day back to school for the little ones, so my commute was littered with school buses, anxious looking children and ecstatic looking parents. By the end of next week – everyone will look miserable again.
This past weekend was my friend’s 50th birthday party/zip-lining extravaganza. We had a BLAST zip-lining and I would highly recommend it if you haven’t done it before. Fun, fun, fun! If you’re not an adrenaline junky before you start – you will be by the time you’re done. The after party/picnic was also a huge success. The weather was spectacular, food was great, but then again food always tastes better when you have great company and Saturday was no exception.
Yesterday was a holiday (thank goodness), so time was spent cleaning up the house since it had been neglected fo…

Things I Won't Miss...

I’m sure my tune will change when I’m finally relocated to Ecuador, Bonaire or some other southerly destination, but right now at this moment in time, here is a list of things I won’t miss…
1. My alarm clock. Waking up on my own will be a blessing. I should have all of the time in the world to do what I want, when I want, so my alarm clock won’t be a necessity any longer.
2. My commute. I can think of so many things I can do with an additional 2 hours every day.
3. The daily grind of a 9-5 job and all of the office politics that go along with said job. I know I’ll miss the paycheck but I think all the negatives outweigh that one positive.
4. Fast food restaurants. Yes, I know they are convenient and I am not one to frown upon their usefulness, but I’ll be glad when they are no longer an option for me.
5. Big box stores. Convenient? Yes. Cheap? Yes. Soul sucking? Absolutely! I can’t even put into words the despair I feel upon entering these big …

Incentive Travel...

I have found the absolute perfect solution to many of my work woes.  Incentive travel.  Yes, instead of a monetary bonus, companies actually provide their employees with travel rewards.
Incentive travel programs allow employees to work towards a tangible reward. Also, a program such as this offers the possibility to satisfy each human being’s inherit desire to see and travel the world. As an innovative way to motivate employees, the positive impact an incentive travel program within a company can bring is worth looking into. The following three steps will help you in launching an incentive program which can potentially show an increase in business, employee retention, and office place morale.
I intend on putting this little tidbit into the "Suggestion Box"...



I'm In...

Good news (I think). I’ve received confirmation that my jewelry has now been juried and I have been accepted to participate in the craft show I was telling you about last week.

So with that, I’m revving up production.  I'm exhausted from just thinking about all the work and it hasn't even started yet.

It’s exciting to know that my stuff will be getting a lot of exposure at that show, but at the same time, it’s frightening to think about the “what ifs”.

What if I don’t have enough inventory to last the entire 4 day show?

What if I have enough inventory because absolutely no one buys a thing?
What if I don’t make enough money to pay for the show entrance fees?

What if I lose my mind because the eccentrics at the show drive me over the edge? You know who I’m talking about – those over-the-top “crafty” people.

What if there is a home-baked goods booth set up beside me? I’m doomed to lose my mind and all my money for sure.

Now that think about it, I could really use some chocolate chip…

Round and Round We Go...

Up and down like a see-saw…
Round and round like a merry-go-round…
Back and forth like a ping-pong ball…
Do you get the picture? No? Me neither. Indecisiveness is the name of the game at the moment. I’m not typically an indecisive person, but when it comes to this 5 Year Plan, I can decide which end is up.
Those of you that have been around long enough know the story. Before we decided to put the 5 year plan in motion, we had always talked about “wouldn’t it be nice to win the lottery and move to Bonaire”. Then when we heard about how economically one could live in Ecuador, we realized we wouldn’t need to win the lottery to make our dreams come true, but instead we would just need to focus our energy into paying off our debts within the next 5 years and with that “The 5 Year Plan” was born.
When started looking into Ecuador in greater detail, we were excited about all of the opportunities that would be available to us like cheap real estate, cheap cost of living, good healthcare, bett…

Culture That Doesn’t Come from Yogurt…

When I was a lot younger, I had dreams of becoming a stage actor, but even back then, I had the nagging need to make ends meet instead of throwing caution to the wind and following my dreams.  The closest I get to those dreams of magic and whimsy now are watching as an audience member.   I have an ever-growing wish list of performances I would love to see one day – even a couple of operas too. La Cage Aux Folles – A story of two gay men, a straight son about to be married and the introduction of the soon to be conservative in-laws.  It’s all about remaining true to themselves, regardless of what others may think. La Traviata – A story of a woman, gone astray, living the life of wild indulgences until she meets a true gentleman, but their relationship is bound to disgrace his well-to-do family.  Can they find true love or will it come too late? La Boheme – Another story of love, lust, despair and jealousy.  What more could you want?  True love is once again found, but tragedy wil…

Random Thoughts – Monday Blues and Then It’s Winter…

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I’m feeling out of sorts this Monday. I don’t know why, I just know that something’s not right with my world at the moment. Probably, just the Monday blues. I should start feel better by 5:00 pm - I usually do.
My boss is on holidays this week. Thank goodness for small miracles. Another week like last week and I might not have been able to contain myself or the rage he creates within me.
I had dinner with an old co-worker last week. Our meeting reminded me of how much I miss working with her. We could be silly together, laughing about anything, everything and everyone that crossed our paths throughout the day. It was nice to have a funny, carefree co-worker. I don’t have that here and I miss it.
I wish I could go barefoot in the office. I hate wearing shoes. I’m constantly kicking them off under my desk only to have to scramble to put them back on when I need to go to meetings, the printer, supply room or the restroom.
This morning I was reflecting upon “what I did this summer” and apart…

Say What?

Summer is still upon us and I’m loving every extreme heat moment of it, but my thoughts have slowly been turning to the holiday season that’s not too far around the corner. I know – it’s a sure sign of insanity.
Believe me, I’m not wishing the next 3.5 months away; however I’ve had a dose of reality in that I’m not remotely prepared. You see, I sort of diddle-farted around and didn’t get my application in for participation in my usual November craft show and now, I find out there is no more room. Eeek!
Flamingo Tongue Designs has done well this year overall, but I relied on that craft show to increase my sales into the “almost break-even” range.   Shame on me for procrastinating.  What am I going to do now?
Well, after some scrambling, I found a bigger and better show to participate in – if I’m accepted. It’s a juried show and my work will be judged before I’m accepted, so you never know which way it might go. The entrance fees are twice as much to participate in it, but it runs for tw…

Message in a Bottle...

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I realize it’s already Wednesday and I’m just now getting around to telling you about my weekend, but things have been busy. Well, maybe not so much busy, as I’ve been lazy and I've been competing in the new Olympic event of "couch-surfing".
Anyhow, it was a long weekend in Canada. It was one of those holidays that you get, but you don’t really understand its purpose. I’m okay with that – it was a holiday and I am thankful for it nonetheless.
So, part of doing nothing exciting all weekend involved yet another couple of long walks on the beach on both Saturday and Monday. Once again, it was peaceful.
After the wind and rain we had on Sunday, the beach was full of glass treasures on Monday, so I was in my glory. Apart from all of the beach glass, shells and driftwood we find, we also find lots of other junk that’s floated away – plastic bottles, old hats, beach balls, sand pails, sunglasses and garbage. This weekend, I found something I’ve never found before…my first message …

Getting My Glue On…

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I’ve never considered myself a crafter. I don’t like felt, craft foam, glitter or sequins, BUT I do love my glue gun. It’s a heavy duty industrial model – not one of those wimpy crafty ones. It’s a manly glue gun (if there is such a thing) and I have the burn marks and blisters on my fingers to prove it.

Anyhow, I’ve taken a bit of a break from the jewelry side of things to explore my other creative side – the one where I get to use the glue gun.

Soooo, here is what I’ve created with some picture frames from the dollar store, some white spray paint, some glue and of course, some of my sea glass treasures.  The photos in the frames are courtesy of J.  I think I’ve found another excuse to go on vacation…I need more glass and J needs more photos!



You would not believe what sea glass picture frames have been selling for on Etsy by other artists. Let’s just say, I could quit my day job if I sold enough of them.

Soothing The Soul...

J and I are fortunate to only live approximately 30 minutes away from Lake Erie and as you know, we both LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the water and beach and spend as much time as we can there in the summer months. We usually get there at least one day on the weekends.
When we go to the beach, we don’t typically go to swim or sunbathe, but go for a long walk instead. With a wetland and biosphere bordering that portion of the lake, we are able to walk for literally hours without running into another person. It’s truly rejuvenating to just wander in nature, where the only sound we hear is the lapping of the waves on the shoreline, the wind blowing through the poplar trees, the cry of passing sea gulls or a faraway screech of a bald eagle looking for his lunch.
When we head out, we don’t have a purpose in mind. We usually walk for a couple of hours in one direction and then turn around and head back. Along our route, we pick up treasures of all kinds including beach glass, shells, rocks, driftwood and…

Wonderful Weekend and Then Monday Comes…

I don’t usually hate Mondays, but I do today. I would prefer to come to work and do my job without drama – especially on Mondays. Alas, it’s not meant to be.
Instead, I get to deal with internal sales people. Let’s just say, sales people and the legal department cannot possibly live cohesively. I’ve tried and failed - miserably.
All I want to do is do my job.  My job is to point out legal risks and all the sales people want to do is sell product and they could not give a rat’s-ass about legal risks. They want to make their commission.
Honestly, they’d prefer if I was not allowed in the building – it would make their job easier. Believe me, I’d prefer if I was not allowed in the building – it would keep my blood pressure lower than it is at the moment.
The worst part is - they are cowards. If they have a problem, it would be so much easier to call us and talk about it, but instead they play stupid games and call meetings to discuss the legal department behind our backs.  BUT, guess who t…