Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Am Featured!

Hello to all my favorite readers!  I am being featured on The Handmade Gift Blog today!  It is a very cool place where you can find lots of beautiful hand-picked items from Etsy.  I love to just wander through that blog!. A big Thank You to Anne for doing this feature!  Be sure to check it out!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dealing With Difficult People

Wow, this has been one of those really long weeks that I'm just glad is coming to an end!  We all have a few of those "difficult people" in our lives that we have to deal with from time to time.  Sometimes they do things that actually merit our removing them from our lives for good.  That is what I had to do this week with one such person. 

Toxic People

There is a term, that when I apply it to people, I reserve for only the most extreme cases.  That term is "toxic".  They are not necessarily unpleasant people.  In fact some of the most highly toxic people in my experience, have been extremely charming and charismatic.

They are the kind of person that draws you in, not in a compassionate way, but by making you feel like you want to be a part of what is going on around them.  Of course at the beginning you don't usually see the turmoil that is happening, you just see some kind of excitement and energy and that is hard to resist. 

They convey the impression of great success, even though their successes may have been quite modest when looked at honestly.  They assume from the first moment you meet them, that you will look up to them and they proceed as if you do.

They are very good at making you feel like you could never reach the goals you desire without their help.  They convince you that they are there to help you reach your goals and that they are the only one who can really help you get there.

They always leave you with a hint of doubt about yourself.  They never quite affirm you.  They only affirm that with their help you may make it someday.

If you say no to them, in order to get you to say yes, they can really turn on the charm and  become overly friendly.

They have a lack of boundaries and tend to mix business with pleasure.  They pull you into their personal lives, even though it may not be considered normal or even appropriate to do so.  But it makes you feel special, like you are really "in" with this very important person, even though you may feel a definite "unease" about it.
Charm and charisma, excitement and energy, in themselves are not bad traits.  In fact many of the most successful and positive people in the world have these traits.  But in a toxic person, there is are additional dimensions. 

There is almost always, the inability to take "no" for an answer.  They most certainly will not take your first "no", and likely you will have to repeat it many times - if you are able to continue and hold firm to your conviction.  The Toxic will continue to say that you don't really mean "no", and will keep at you until you change your mind.  The trouble is, you didn't change your mind at all.  You only changed your answer.  So you end up doing things that you did not intend or want to do. 

Toxics are highly manipulative and often very intelligent.  They can encourage you one minute, and let you down hard, the next.  They bait you - they hold out just enough bait to keep you coming back for more.  But when push comes to shove, they will never allow you to pass the point where they want you to be.

Toxics can be controversial people.  That is, peoples' opinions of them are very extreme.  They either love them, practically worhipping the ground they walk on, or they hate them and will no longer have anything to do with them.  The only "neutrals" out there are either people who have not dealt with them directly, or people who have avoided the entanglement altogether because they don't have the open doors that some of us have.

The Open Door

How do we get taken in by these people in the first place?  We have an open door somewhere in our life, in our beliefs about ourselves.  A place where we feel inadequate.  A place of self doubt.  A place where we are convinced that we cannot make it on our own.  That is where the Toxic hones in.

They are tuned in to needy people, to self-doubters.  Being needy and self-doubting has nothing to do with your level of accomplishment.  I have seen people who are extremely accomplished in their fields, who never believe they are good enough, or even good at all at what they do.  Self doubt is not based on accomplishment.  It is how we feel the world at large sees us, based on a negative assessment we perhaps heard somewhere along the way, possibly insensitive remarks we heard when we were in a particularly vulnerable or malleable state, that we internalized and adopted to become our own belief.  I think many creative people are just naturally hard on themselves, even without external "help".  But whatever the cause for our self doubting, that is the open door where the Toxic will try to enter.

What Can I Do To Not Be Taken In?

"Let your yes be yes and your no be no".  That is a phrase from the Bible.  It is great instruction and great wisdom.

When I look at all the people that ended up being a negative influence in my life, nine times out of ten, they started off right from the beginning not taking my "no" seriously.  Now it's not up to them to enforce my "no".  It is completely up to me.  But the fact that some people won't take "no" for an answer is indicative of their lack of respect for you and their lack of boundaries.  It is always up to you to stand by your "no".  Become very good friends with your "no".  You will never regret it.

I am 52 years old and I am finally making friends with my "no".  I was always afraid of what my "no" could do.  It could make people mad at me and disappointed in me.  It could possibly even turn people against me.  It could upset people and make them cry.  "No" is powerful.  It is almost the smallest word in the English language, and yet it is the most powerful.  It is your best tool against being used, manipulated and taken advantage of.

Are you afraid your "no" will hurt the people you love?  When I say "no" sometimes they look hurt.  They may even say they are hurt by my "no".  I believe they do feel pain, but did I actually cause their pain, and is there on honest way that I can take their pain away?  They are in pain because I am not going to do what they wanted me to do.  And as much as I want to take away their pain, changing my answer is not the way to do it.  If I change my answer in order to alleviate the immediate stress I feel of them being in pain, I will end up resenting them and resenting having to do something I didn't want to do in the first place.  How is that good?  The resentment will become apparent to them, believe me, and then you'll have that piled on top of the rest of it and it will just be a mess.  The next time they ask you to do something you don't want to do, they will expect even more that you will of course say yes.
So please make friends with your "no"!
The people around your will survive you saying "no" to them.

The Gift of Gut Instincts

Another tool you need to learn to use is your gut instinct.  It's that churning feeling you get sometimes in your stomach, or elsewhere in your body.  It's like a bad tickle.  In some people it's very mild, almost undetectable, mostly because they have tuned out of their own instincts, and they need to relearn how to listen to them.  In others it is quite strong, even overwhelming at times.

I am the latter case.  My gut is extremely sensitive to the point where I can barely function when it is screaming at me, until I make things right again.  It may seem like a disadvantage, because it can be so overwhelming, but it is actually a great gift.  My gut has kept me out of a lot of places where I could have been hurt really badly.  I respect my instincts and try to follow them as closely as I can.  It would serve any of us well to learn to tune in and listen to that gut instinct.

There is a great book out there called, "The Gift Of Fear", by Gavin De Becker.  It's all about listening to that voice inside, that bad feeling, and not pushing it away or talking ourselves out of it.  I highly recommend the book.

My New Mantra

If my "no" is not good enough for you, then you are not good enough for me.

Does that sound harsh?  It's really not.  What's harsh is when someone won't accept your decisions about your life and they want to have the say about what you do.
Does that mean that I am going to kick out every person who didn't take my first "no"?  Of course not!  It takes a lot more than that to get the boot from me.

The Bullet List

So who gets the boot?  I'll make a bullet list.  You get to decide how much you are willing to put up with.  These are just warning signs to watch out for and be aware of.  Each trait by itself is not a reason to take action.  Most of us are manipulative at some time or another in our lives.  I'm talking about persistent and extreme cases where someone exhibits many of these warning signs together and you are finding that your life is in turmoil because someone in it has too many of these warning signs.  That is when you may need to take some action.  I leave it to you to decide.

Toxic Traits
  • They are extremely charming, charismatic, and arrogant
  • They believe they are the only one who can really help you reach your goals
  • They think everyone else is inferior to them; always critical of others in their field
  • You feel like you'll "miss out" if you aren't in on what is going on around them
  • They expect you to look to them as "the expert", whether they are or not
  • They always leave you with a hint of doubt about yourself
  • They are overly friendly at times
  • They lack a sense of boundaries
  • They often mix business with pleasure
  • You have a feeling of unease when you have talked with them or been with them
  • They have an inability to take "no" as your final answer
  • Manipulative
  • They keep you coming back for more
  • They are controversial people - people love them or hate them, with no in-between

Monday, November 16, 2009

Looking For That "Track" Again......

Wow, it's been an exhausting few days for me.  Just a bunch of personal "stuff" and cleaning up a few messes, setting a few spirits free...exhausting, but all good in the end!  
I am very anxious to get back on track with my little jewelry business here!!!  My head has been somewhere else for quite awhile it seems.  I am feeling a new vigor coming and am now waiting for that creative rush to overtake me once again!!!  Bring it on!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Locked Out of Twitter!!!!!

I am about ready to scream...My Twitter app, Twhirl stopped working and would not accept my password.  Now I cannot sign into Twitter at all because it says I had too many failed attempts at signing in!!!!!!!  This is turning out to be a really really irritating weekend.  Just venting!!!!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mystery Guest!

This morning I noticed something, or should I say someONE sitting atop the front door in my house. At first I thought it was a mouse.  But it was a little bigger than a mouse....Is it a baby rat?  I doesn't really look like a rat either.  What is this?!?

I got my cat Wolfie, while I still thought it was a mouse, and showed her the animal.  When the little guy caught site of Wolfie, he leaped like a kangaroo, 6 feet across the living room and disappeared!!!  Wolfie looked for him for awhile and then gave up.  Oh dear me!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mumble Mumble Mumble...

Sometimes I think I should just start another blog called Mumble Mumble Mumble. Heehee. But happily, those days are too few to actually keep a blog to themselves.

So last night I decided to be a good mommie and let the dogs out one more time before I went to bed. That was around 1 a.m. When they came back in, I smelled something very familiar. Something very terrible. It is a mystery substance that Ike the Cocker Spaniel has been getting into for years. Last night was Alfie's first time. They went out together and I'm quite sure that Ike delighted in sharing his special treat with Alfie. They roll in it - whatever it is. And then I have to bathe them because the stench is unbearable! So there I was, all ready for bed, giving BOTH dogs a bath.
You think maybe that's why I woke up with this killer headache today? It is getting better as time goes by and the drugs take effect.

Today is music day. I get to go to my wonderful play date with my girlfriends. That is always a high point in my week. I am so blessed to have found these women. We not only play string quartets, we learn new music and improve our playing...we gossip and laugh and listen to each other, and sometimes we argue and sometimes we cry. We are real friends and I am so grateful to have them in my life!

I usually like to include pictures in my entries. I'm a very picture oriented reader - I love to see what I am reading about. But today I am just too lazy to get up and take any pics that would fit this entry! Plus that headache thing goin on...
I wish you all a terrific day today!!! And thanks for reading!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Evening - er... Monday Morning

Good Sunday evening to all! This is one of my favorite times of the week. All the busy-ness of the weekend is behind us and I look forward to a quiet evening of TV and computer time. I watch The Amazing Race "with" my sister - we both watch the show from our own houses and during commercial breaks we call each other to rant about what just happened. It's a lot of fun! That show never slows down so it is an interesting hour!
Hubby and I spent the entire weekend out in the yard. It was absolutely gorgeous fall weather. Saturday reached up to the 70 degree mark! Today was a little cooler, but still was in the 60's which I think is the perfect temperature for raking leaves!
In the front yard we have 2 large oak trees and 2 large maple trees, plus many other smaller trees and bushes, so that's a lot of leaves! Our village has a giant vacuum truck that comes around to suck up the leaves so we just have to get them to the curb. We did it in record time this year, in just over 2 hours!! Boy are we tired!

I bought myself a little present. I really need to get more organized and I need a good blank book to help me get there. So hubby and I went out Saturday in search of the perfect blank book. I really love the National Brand books that are hardbound and have numbered pages. They are old fashioned looking, and have a very serious look and feel to them. They are built to last. I have had them in the past and have loved them! They are expensive though, and can be hard to find in my local office supply stores.

Well now it's Monday morning! I lost track of what I was doing last night!
Do you think getting more organized will increase my sales?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Full Moon Monday After Halloween, The Official Start Of The HOLIDAY SEASON!!!

Wow! Here it is November already! This has got to be the fastest Fall on record for me. This is my first holiday season as a seller. I can almost understand why all the retailers always have items for Christmas in their stores even before Halloween! I did say "almost" because I still find it distasteful and I don't see why they can't do the work to prepare, but just don't bring the Christmas decorations out until after Thanksgiving. I'm a stickler for tradition.

I rearranged my shop today. I don't honestly know if that's a good idea or not. I brought things to the front page that are a little more "cheery" and colorful, with the holidays in mind. I am reading everything I can find by people who are successful sellers. It can so easily become information overload! But there is plenty of wisdom out there and I am trying to apply all that I am learning.

So here's my question for you: What are you doing to prepare for the holidays in your shops? Are you rearranging things to showcase different items? Do you have a product that doesn't necessarily have a "holiday" feel to it, like mine, and if so, how are you marketing your things?

Please comment!! I absolutely LOVE to hear from people! I look forward to hearing what you all are doing!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Continuing Story

AAAAAh, I'm done at last! I finally finished the story for my newest necklace. I love to write. But it seems like it takes me forever to do it. I'm not sure why! Most likely the fact that I am so easily distracted, and I do my writing on my computer and that is where the MOST distractions are for me. Oh well.

I decided to continue the story of Miss Mary Stanson, who I wrote about first on a necklace called Key To The Letter Box. So here is the Key to the Letter Box , and The Timepiece, and the entire far!

The Key To The Letter Box

This key belonged to Miss Mary Stanson. She was a spinster, as far as anyone knew. She lived a small life, in a small New England town in the early 1800's. She rented a room in the boarding house on Main Street. She worked in the town's library, filing cards, checking books, keeping them in order on the shelves. She made her weekly trip to the General Store to buy her food and supplies. She rarely spoke a word to anyone, aside from the absolute essentials of making her purchases...usually just a soft "thank you".

Miss Stanson lived well into her 90's. When she died, it fell to the minister's wife, Addy, to go through her belongings, since there was no family that anyone knew of.

Addy began in the closet. She found a locked box, about the size of a sewing basket but much heavier. She searched the little room for the box's key. It was neatly wrapped inside a blue silk handkerchief, tucked away in a tiny drawer in a plain wooden jewelry box on the dresser.

Addy felt a tingle in her fingers as she touched the key. She was so startled that she pulled her hand back and dropped the key. When she picked it up again she felt nothing. She laughed at herself for being so silly and thought with relief, that she had imagined the tingling.

She opened the box. It was filled to the brim with what appeared to be letters. They were packed so tightly that she could hardly pull out the first one. Once she got a few out, then the rest of them started to flutter loose and she could see that they were several layers deep in the box. There must be thousands of them, she thought to herself.

She picked up one of the envelopes and started to open it. It looked very strange somehow, but she wasn't sure why. She pulled out the contents and could scarcely believe her eyes. It appeared to be a painting, but not like any painting she had ever seen in her life. It was a picture of Miss Stanson. There was no doubt about that. But it looked as clear and colorful as if she were standing right in front of Addy at that very moment! It shined as if it was wet, and yet it was paper! She dropped the picture out of sheer fright. It landed face down on the bed. She saw something written on the back and dared to pick it up again to read - "Miss Mary Stanson - Seattle, Washington - July 10, 2004".


The Timepiece

Addy never recovered from the shock she suffered on the day she found the picture of Mary Stanson, dated nearly 200 years in the future. Miss Mary Stanson, a woman she herself had known. The woman she had seen laid to rest in the tiny cemetery behind the church, only a week prior. Being the minister's wife, it had fallen to her to clean out Miss Stanson's things after she died, since there was no known family. It was in November of 1814, in that tiny room in the boarding house where Miss Stanson had lived for most of her adult life, that Addy experienced something that would alter her life forever.
Not only had she found the box of letters, and the strangely shiny and colorful picture. She had also found a small box, buried deep in the box of letters, beneath the tightly packed layers. The box was very old and worn around the edges. She picked up the little box very gingerly. It seemed like it would fall to pieces in her hands. Perhaps it was her own falling to pieces that she feared. She took in a deep breath, and opened the box.
She lifted out the timepiece and held it in her hand. It captivated her gaze. A warm melting feeling began to overtake her as she felt her muscles letting go of their fearful grip. She started to feel almost dizzy, but it was a much slower spinning than what she had ever felt before. Her mind told her to let go of the timepiece, but her hand would not obey. She could feel all the tingling anxiety leaving her body as the room slowly turned and the light grew dimmer and dimmer...