New Electric Kettle and Token Jewelry Challenges

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After 3 years of my 8-year-old electric kettle’s auto-shut-off feature not functioning, and once again allowing it to boil dry, I finally broke down and got a new one. The old one was white plastic, and with all the scientific evidence pointing to plastic as a carcinogen (especially plastic that’s come in contact with hot water and food) I decided to get glass. However, the lid and pouring spout on the new one is still plastic and the boiling water will still come into contact with it. I couldn’t find an electric kettle that was 100% glass, so this one is better than nothing:  VonShef Illuminating Glass Kettle

A few of my token jewelry listings were deactivated by the selling site I use because someone representing the transit authority of the state-that-shall-not-be-named told the selling site I was infringing on their copyright. Who knew that a decades-old token (35-45 YEARS OLD), that has no real value anymore because it cannot be used as fare for a subway or bus, that I purchased on eBay, could not be sold as a jewelry item? Who knew that by now it wasn’t public domain? What I found interesting was that only my jewelry items where the token was left totally intact, other than a small hold drilled so it could be hung as a pendant or earring, were the listings they shut down. They left the rings alone. I guess the rings are so altered that they are practically beyond recognition as having once been a token as it’s missing the center part, which gets punched out in order to make the ring. That listing, and the listing of the earrings made from those same punched-out centers, were not flagged for removal. There are also at least TWO other sellers selling the same rings as me (not as well made and for more money I might add). I also found someone selling earrings similar to the ones I sold, and there is no evidence in their listing that they are an authorized licensed seller of the transit authority of the-state-that-shall-not-be-named. I’m wondering if my listings were truly found by someone representing the transit authority, or if they were flagged by a jewelry competitor on the selling site looking to eliminate the competition? And just in time for my anticipated busy Christmas selling season…hmm. Either way, sometimes people suck. I’m not getting rich off this token jewelry. It’s not made of gold for God’s sake. So, from here on in no more token earrings or necklaces.

My assistant only lasted two months — Friday was her last day. This is partially due to not having enough work to justify paying someone full time, and the fact that I’ll now be making less jewelry frees up my time to do my own housework and prep my own jewelry packaging material. Ed assured her that we may have her back for the occasional odd cleaning job, but not on a daily basis or any kind of schedule.

So now, in preparation for the holiday season, with my new-found free time I’ll be making and listing more coin rings of different types and countries. You know, when one door closes…, lemons into lemonade, etc.

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My Personal Timeline of the Rain/Flooding in Charleston, SC, Hurricane Joaquin

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I started this as a post on Facebook that I keep updating, and decided I should also put it here for safekeeping. I’ll update it a few times a day until things are back to normal. We got hit with a double-whammy of a storm front and then moisture feeding into it from hurricane Joaquin offshore. I live in North Charleston, South Carolina, near I-26, Wanamaker Park, Goose Creek and Trident Medical Center.

Read from the BOTTOM of the page UP:

UPDATE Monday 12:25 AM:  We have a leak in the office ceiling. Ed went up into the attic to locate the leak, but there is not much we can do tonight. We have a bucket and towels in place under the leak. 

Also, the swamp has now risen high enough to start overflowing into our back yard. More rain is on the way. 

UPDATE SUNDAY 5:35 PM: THE SUN WAS OUT for about 20 minutes just now
Here are some of today’s news alerts:
1:13 AM: Flash Flood emergency declared for Tri-County area.
12:52 PM: Old Black Road in Berkeley County expected to collapse; resident nearby advised to evacuate.
4:01 PM: SCDOT closes 70 miles of I-95 because of record flooding.
4:27 PM: Homes at North Charleston Peppermill neighborhood being evacuated due to flooding.
5:15 PM: North Charleston: Mayor Sumney announces curfew started at 10 PM tonight.
5:29 PM: Officials urging evacuation for Dorchester County residents within 1 mile of the Edisto river.
All of Charleston County schools will be closed tomorrow.

UPDATE SUNDAY 11:30 AM:  My daughters boyfriend just sent me a text that they’ve made it to Springfield, SC, and so far so good.

UPDATE SUNDAY 10:40 AM: After a night of almost near-constant thunder and lightening, and occasional heavy downpours, I got out of bed at 7:00 feeling like I never slept. Little Ethan woke twice crying, and Eddy slept though it like a log. The dogs were freaked and stayed in my room. The first thing I saw this morning was the Civil Emergency Message on my cell phone. They’re asking people to remain where they are and not go out. Right now it’s not raining, but overcast. Our yard has huge puddles, but no flooding. The “swamp” behind our house is the highest we’ve seen in the 8 years we’ve been here. Small critters are finding their way into the house — bugs, and a slug in the kitchen! On the Charleston Fire and Emergency scanner channel late last night I heard calls come in for an alligator in a trailer park, fires, gas leaks, water rescues, cars trapped in ditches, etc. We are still expecting more rain, but it looks like the heaviest rain is just to our east. Columbia (the central part of the state) is a flooded mess. Boone Hall Plantation got a record 24 inches of rain! We still haven’t lost power. Ed was out on the deck about an hour ago and said he heard a tree fall in the woods (swampy area) behind our house. My daughter is on her way here from Aiken to get the boys, but I’m guessing she may not get far with all the flooding. Part of her route crosses the Edisto river twice, and several creeks. Parts of both interstates 20 and 26 are shut down due to flooding, so she’ll have to take the back roads and Hwy 78. She knows to be cautious. I’ll be holding my breath for the next 2 hours until her arrival, or her phone call that she had to turn back.

UPDATE SATURDAY 9:30 PM: We had a little bit of a lull in the rain this afternoon, but in the last couple of hours we’ve had a few heavy downpours again. I’m hearing loud thunder and seeing lightning flashes, and Doppler shows there’s a lot more rain coming our way. This is far from over. We still have our power, thankfully. The backyard has not flooded any more than it was earlier today.

UPDATE SATURDAY 3:25 PM: President Obama declares a federal emergency for the state of South Carolina.

UPDATE SATURDAY 3:00 PM: It was just announced at a press conference that at 3 PM (now) we are at OPCON 1 — Major disaster or emergency situation is in effect. Highest state of emergency operations and the SEOC is fully activated. I see that Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel is now in Greenville, SC, the northern part of the state.

UPDATE SATURDAY 9:30 AM: It’s only mid-morning, and we’ve already beaten the daily rainfall record by 1 inch. The “swamp” behind our property is the highest it’s ever been, and it’s starting to cross the property line. Our yard is officially starting to flood. The news just said to expect another 12 to 18 inches of rain, over and above what we’ve already had, in the next few days.

UPDATE SATURDAY 8:33 AM: Ed called. All the exit ramps and roads leading into downtown Charleston are blocked. They’re not letting anyone in. He’s coming back home. He saw news crews at the blocked exits.

UPDATE 8 AM SATURDAY Oct. 3, 2015: It rained heavily on and off last night, with thunder and lightening. It’s a moderate steady rain right now. Ed is heading downtown Charleston in his work truck (If he can get there — many streets are flooded and closed) because a customer called him about his basement flooding. Our backyard isn’t flooded, but the puddles I mentioned last night have grown larger, and there’s more of them. I have 3 kids here today: Eddy & Ethan, and 9-year-old Hali, the daughter of a friend who is a tow-truck driver and working today. Keep your fingers crossed that we don’t lose power. I’ll update again around noon and keep The Weather Channel on to see what downtown looks like. Jim Cantore is there.

8 PM FRIDAY Oct. 2, 2015: It’s been raining on and off for the last day and a half. The ground is now completely saturated, and large puddles are starting to form in our backyard, which is the lowest part of our property.

Are you an Introvert, or an Extrovert? A little of both?

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George Takei shared the link/list I’m sharing below, and it made me curious. Are you an introvert, or an extrovert? Do social situations recharge you, or drain you? I’m curious to know what my online friends consider themselves. Sometimes I can guess, sometimes I cannot.

I’m an introvert who lives with an extrovert. There are many things I admire about his extroverted and often fearless ways. He is a risk-taker, and I’m a risk-avoider. I avoid confrontation, and he charges right in when necessary. He tries to understand me. He is my protector. With me he has had to deal with #18 on the list below, amongst many others, on an almost-daily basis and still we’ve managed to stay together for 8 years.

Why has no one made an extrovert list? You guys can be equally as weird and annoying.

I think that many (not all) extroverts consider themselves to be “normal” and consider introverts to be “abnormal” and in need of fixing. I think that introverts consider everyone to be “abnormal” in some way or another. As children we are often picked on and misunderstood, even by our own families. For instance, my mother was an extrovert, and my father an introvert. Mom would say things like “Toughen up! You have to grow a thick skin and stop being so sensitive”, and dad would say things like “you have a talent and you really should do something with it.” The extroverted parent was constantly trying to force me to be something I wasn’t, because she didn’t understand me, while the introverted parent understood me and tried to encourage me to be more of what I already was. Both had unique parenting skills that created an odd balance, and while mom’s way was more harsh, she was just trying to protect me from the big, bad world she knew her overly sensitive daughter would one day be thrown into.

Back to the list below. #1 — I do hate it when my phone rings. Yes, HATE. Do we really have to take our conversation to that level of small talk? Isn’t texting and emailing good enough? Don’t even think about knocking on my door. I won’t answer unless I a) know you well, b) I’m expecting you, c) you’re UPS and need my signature on the package of that cool item I’ve been waiting for.

The Internet offers a completely different set of communication rules that are easier for introverts to deal with. I actually have groups I’ve created and maintain – an online fan club, crafting group, etc., because that sort of communication is not demanding of my immediate attention or very much mental preparation, and I can respond when I feel like it. This is why I’m on Facebook and Twitter so much.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you know that I often live stream, so you may ask “But, Beth, if you’re an introvert how can you LIVE STREAM so comfortably?” If you’ve watched me live stream on the Meerkat app and Ustream you know the content/attention is always on something other than myself. You see my hands and arms when I’m at my workbench, not my face. The attention is on what I’m making, not me, so I can comfortably talk for hours. Also, I cannot actually SEE the people who are watching me. I can see how many are watching the stream, and I can see their comments and interact with them, but there is no face-to-face communication.

So, how about you? Inquiring minds want to know.

30 Problems That Only Introverts Will Understand

I DIY’d my iPad’s Broken Glass Last Night…

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I DIY’d my iPad’s Broken Glass Last Night…

The story of my iPad 3 is a sad one. After my initial dropping of it on my sister’s concrete driveway a few years ago the glass has had to be replaced three times by so-called professionals, and a small fortune has been spent. The first time they changed the glass there were fingerprints on the underside of it because they didn’t wear gloves when installing it. When I brought it back and they saw the fingerprints they replaced it again for free. When I left the store the second time, I noticed a hairline crack in the newly installed glass. Because I didn’t notice it while in the store, but 10 minutes later, of course they did not take responsibility for it and charged me for the price of the new glass minus the labor. That glass lasted about six months before it started crumbling in the areas where it wasn’t seated properly in the frame.

I did a quick fix for safety’s sake by taping up the crumbling glass with clear packing tape, and after many months of living with it that way I then decided to try my hand at changing the glass myself. So, after watching many YouTube how-to videos on the subject I took the leap last night. Oh, did I mention that after the second time the “professionals” changed the glass they trashed the loudspeaker and it never worked again? I replaced that also. In order to get the old speaker out and new one in the iPad has to be about 60% disassembled. What a chore. Beginning to end took me about four hours, and there was a lot of swearing involved, but it was a success.

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Memorial Day Memories

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I just read a blog post by a former Massapequan about her Memorial Day memories as a child, and it got me thinking about my own. I grew up in Massapequa Park, Long Island, NY in the mid-1960s-70s, and watched our village parades with my parents and an older sibling or two on Park Blvd. Even if we got there 2 hours early my parents had to park the car blocks away and carry their folding aluminum lawn chairs to a decent spot along the parade route. My father was a WWII veteran, and when I was small I sat on his shoulders to watch the parade, and when I was older I would sit on the curb, and whenever the flag approached both of my parents would announce “here comes the flag–stand up!” I even remember them shaming other, older kids, into standing up as the flag went by, tapping them on the shoulder and saying “here comes your flag–show some respect”– and they would! A day or two before the parade my mother always bought us kids small American flags (the kind on wooden sticks) at the five and ten store to bring to the parade to wave, because “the people selling them at the parade want too much money.” Mom and dad always made sure to explain to us kids what the significance of the day was, and it eventually stuck in our young minds.

This years’ Memorial Day Parade info for Massapequa Park: http://www.masspk.com/index.php/12-press-release/80-memorial-day-parade-2015

Watercolor by James “Jimmy” Stewart, who was born this day in 1908

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One of my all-time favorite American actors, James “Jimmy” Stewart, was born on this day in 1908.

There is a watercolor painting that hangs on the wall of a sitting room in a funeral home in Aiken, South Carolina, that was painted by James Stewart. My sister and I were there a few years ago when the owner showed it to us. Apparently, the home was formerly a USO Hotel during WWII, and in 1943 “Jimmy” visited. The subject of the painting was of one side of that same room. Jimmy had sat on the side opposite and painted the side of the room, which included a fireplace. The painting hangs near the fireplace and it shows that the room hasn’t changed much since. The painting was really well done, and signed. I just thought it was the coolest thing. A sort of “Jimmy Stewart was here” moment.

The owner of the funeral home wrote a blog post about it, about halfway down the page:

https://villageundertaker.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/antiquities/

Jimmy Stewart Watercolor

To Tea, or Not to Tea…

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I find that, lately, my first cup of tea in the morning has been replaced by a cup of coffee, followed the rest of the day by 2-3 cups of hot tea of varying caffeine content. I am a tea person. I cannot let his happen. I will not go over to the dark side of caffeine. Tomorrow I vow to start the day with regular, caffeinated black tea, followed the rest of the day by decaf green tea.

Life with Ed, and the Renovation Project from HELL

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Ed has been working on a 2-building renovation project in the ghetto for weeks now, that has pretty much taken over his life. It’s been a delicate juggling act with Ed working at the site as much as possible during the day, mostly supervising his workers so they don’t screw up, and then in the evening doing repair jobs for his regular customers who only want Ed working on their stuff. Two nights in a row this week he wasn’t home until after 9 PM, tired and dirty, and hadn’t eaten ALL DAY. Last night he was home at dinner time, but then we spent the evening going through dozens of receipts and doing the math on this big job.

Ed is taking 2 condemned buildings and turning them into safe, livable apartments. Now the owners are telling him they want it completed in 2 weeks, when in actuality he needs about 4 to get it done right. Yesterday was a critical day, with the owners meeting with Ed in the morning at the job site to discuss the progress and cost, and immediately following that two of Ed’s workers decided it would be a good time to ask Ed for more money. When Ed told them they he couldn’t do it “right now” they walked off the job, essentially screwing Ed over at the worst possible time. I quickly put an ad on Craigslist for temporary workers, and in 2 hours Ed got about 30 calls, hiring several new guys.

Last night he called and smoothed things over with the 2 guys, so not only are they showing up for work today, but there will be a handful of NEW guys showing up this morning to work. Ed is going to be running around like a lunatic trying to manage them all. I don’t envy him today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that at least a couple of these new guys will work out and this damn job gets finished quickly.

The Value of Life — What Are Parents Teaching Their Kids About Respecting Others and Themselves?

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Listen, this is how I see it:  Police lives matter. Black lives matter. White lives matter. All races lives matter. Animal lives matter. Plant life matters. Insect lives matter. All LIFE matters. We are all connected in ways we cannot even imagine, and our actions effect so much more than just ourselves. It seems like so many people just do not GET that, or care. It may not be a life that is high on YOUR priority list, but all life is sacred and deserves to be respected. I’m not talking about allowing roaches to take over your home, or a virus to take your life, or not defending yourself against a criminal — there has to be an element of common sense, but we must be very careful about our attitudes towards all living things.

Parents need to teach their children the VALUE of LIFE and every person’s right to be treated with respect and individual dignity, because childhood is where these values are formed, and because if they don’t we will have a society of sociopathic, self-centered monsters on our hands. Respect for life starts in the home, through what your children see you do, how you treat them and others, how you react to things, and what they hear you say, on a daily basis. Do you make snide comments about the homeless guy you just passed in your car? Do you spew verbal hatred at people you see on the news? Do you make fun of people less fortunate than you, or laugh along when someone else does? Do you make it known that you resent people who have more money than you? Do you lack respect for the law and in turn make your kids fearful of the police? Do you talk to your kids in an annoyed, disrespectful and impatient way that makes them feel like they are a burden, keeping you from living the life you want? Do you hit them, or otherwise abuse them? Do you ignore them? This is the poison you’re injecting into your kids that will effect how they live for the rest of their lives. Don’t be surprised if they end up alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals, prostitutes, or at the very least spend their lives chronically depressed or angry and making really poor life choices. Mind your mouth and your actions, PUT DOWN the damn cell phone/tablet/video game controller and spend some quality time with your kids, because children are always watching, hearing, and learning more than you think they are.

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings – Don’t Get Lazy!

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I love a good storm. As a small child my mother made sure that thunder and lightening didn’t provoke too much fear in me by getting excited when she heard a storm approaching. She’d go “OOOOOoooo” and smile whenever there was a clap of thunder, and made looking out windows at lightening a spectator sport. I’m now one of those people who has 4+ weather apps on their phone and check the Doppler radar several times a day during storm season. I’ll have a different weather map open on each of my 2 iPads, my iPhone, my iMac, and the Weather Channel on TV if a severe storm outbreak is predicted for that day. My family knows this, and while they sometimes like to make fun of me, I’ll be the first person they text when they’ve been caught off guard by a storm with “why didn’t you warn me?” I follow the weather in all my (4) siblings and many friend’s cities with said apps, and often I’m their first warning that a storm is heading their way.

More often than not we get a warning that a severe storm is heading our way, only to have it fizz out just before reaching us, and that causes us to not take the precautions we should. In the past I’ve had lightening strikes fry a computer, modem and router, large screen TV, a TiVo and multiple other small electronics. I’ve lived in many states (mostly in the northeast US) and found that storms are worse here in the south. But once, while living in Vermont, I had a ground lightening strike travel into the house through my phone line and explode in a ball a few feet from my head! I now unplug everything at the first sign of lightening.

The video shown with this article below is both terrifying and amazing. The most frightening storm I’ve ever experienced was while I was inside my own home a few summers ago here in N. Charleston, SC. The lightening and thunder was right here, not distant, and was relentless. I sat in the windowless hallway with the two dogs on my lap, trying to keep Daisy calm. To this day even distant thunder makes Daisy crazy because of that storm.

http://www.weather.com/safety/thunderstorms/news/severe-thunderstorm-warnings-why-they-matter?cm_ven=Facebook_TheWeatherChannel_Weather_JBa_Article_No_6_20150425_twcplayer