Friday, January 28, 2011

accepting credit cards and back to identity theft......

Good gravy, I am ready to move to Canada if I only had an identity!

Still not taking credit cards but now own $1,000 worth of equipment.
After a week of frustration boy do I have a ton of information I will now pass on to anyone who reads this blog.

Take your Square:  and toss it out the window.
If you cannot talk to a real person on the end of the phone delete it from your memory banks, your hard drive and your iPhone!  Tweeting your  personal financial information is not a good idea on any level.  Akin to "tweeting" from the decks of the Titanic.  I would not deal with this company for love nor money, make that the other way around.

As some of you know I have been going through identity theft for about 10 years now.  Some years are good, other years I would like to forget.  Like 2003, the year I was arrested at gun point in my studio by our local police dept. for stealing cars.  I asked the cop;  Does this look like chop shop to you?  I don't use speed dial anymore because you need a few phone numbers memorized when they haul you off to the hoosegow.
Hi Honey, Mommy is in jail, could you find your Dad......... oh yeah that was a great phone call!  Eight hours later everybody figured out they had the wrong girl and I was released.  The cop said; "We knew we had the wrong person cuz everybody was asking for Jack Daniels, oxycotin, or cigarettes and you wanted a Starbuck's Caramel Macchiato Grande'.

2011 is starting out like one I might want to forget.  I thought I wanted to play with the big boys on the Fine Craft Circuit.  Applied to shows with fees over $1,000 and even got accepted.  After letting $2400.00 of pots walk out of the booth in Chicago with the promise;  check's in the mail, I knew I needed to accept credit cards.

To play with the big boys one needs a booth:

ProPanels:           $1500.00
Flooring:             $  350.00
Lighting:             $  367.00
show fees to date:  $3,000.00
jury fees:             $240.00  (love - hate relationship I pay for)
trailer to haul booth around:    $1500.00
(I won't even get into electrical hook ups at shows, labor unions, hotel expenses, photography, license and, and, and I think I will just pin hundred dollar bills to my jacket and let them fall off where needed)

I left the credit card applications for my last task as I had a feeling it would go like this, well not exactly like this but I knew there would be a hitch.

After reviewing all the information on the web and various websites, blogs and artist social networks I settled on the Square.  I needed an iPad and a device.  I can do that!
Go to Verizon get:  iPad and MiFi hook up:    $670.00 plus $20 per month for 2 years, would you rather have my first born?
Home:  download "Square" app......... APPLICATION DENIED.  delete app and reload again,  DITTO.
Google App support for Square:  one must tweet......  Google YouTube and teach myself to tweet.
I tweeted for seven days until I sprouted feathers, they never answered.  According to Square when you delete your app from your iPad all information is deleted from their site.  No way to know but I sure hope so or I will be getting another new Social Security number.

Also found out I had to sync my new iPad with my Mac computer to get the MiFi vz access manager loaded.  My mac did not have the proper operating level.  I needed 10.6 OS X.  I had 10.4 neanderthal.  So I screen chatted with Yolanda at Apple and found out I need the boxed set of iLife, iWork, and OS X Snow Leopard ........ $129.00.  You really should increase your Gigs the apple support person said.
Great, just another GB or two.  Give me two because sky's the limit!  Oh we don't make those anymore.  Hey!!! My computer is fine, works great, not a problem since I bought it and I know what all the buttons mean.  Yolanda what do you suggest, oh we can't suggest other companies, Goodbye and please take our survey.
Now what........ find another website that still makes stone age memory cards.
I screen chat with James at:  if you have a mac go to this website!!!
they even have tutorial videos to walk you through basic repairs!  Order one 2 gig memory card.... another $100.00.  But I will have 3 GIGS of memory, at 2 a.m. this is HUGE!

Oh look there is a window open and money is just flying out along with the monkeys!

I vented my frustration on Art Fair Insiders  (great website!)
While on the forum Dann Jackson told me to go to another company as they had the same deal.
"Intuit" or   I screen chatted with Ashley for several minutes and she explained how things worked and what equipment I needed.  Of course the iPad was not on the top of list and they would prefer a cell phone but an Ipod touch would also work.  Back to screen chatting with Dorothy at Apple......  Dorothy says; "you would love the iPhone and they come out 2/3 right here on the website!" Don't have one, don't want one and do not want a contract with a monthly bill for something I am going to use a maximum of 6 times a year.  I was emailed a transcript of our screen chat and I had time to think it over.  Back to the GoPayment people and find out the iPad will work.
To set up an account you simply had to call a number and WOW a real person answered the phone!  The process was quick, simple and very well explained.  It was explained I would receive three emails (hey.... is this like three wishes?)  The second email would have me set up a log in account.  The third was a survey. Got it....... I love these people......... I thought!!!

Survey arrived, I filled it out with glowing approval!

Second email arrived before I finished the survey.  YOU ARE DENIED AS YOU HAVE GIVEN A FALSE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. ACCOUNT DENIED!  The equivalent of getting a howler from a financial institution.  My heart sank......... BUT!

In my initial phone conversation they gave me a 24/7 hotline for problems.  Yup, this was a problem.
Robin answered the phone and listened to my tale of woe.  Can you hold the line, we never had this happen before.  I understand and I held the line.  A breathless Robin came back on the line quite a few minutes later, he had to run and get answers on another floor.  Ok, I like this kid, he really wants to help me.  The explanation made me sick!

Intuit uses a Experian Credit and I quote:  "A World of Insight"   I have notorized documents from the Social Security office stating I had a new SSN and had alerted all the credit companies in October of 2003.  It's really good I am somewhat of an organized pack rat because I kept every piece of correspondence since this mess started in 1999.  For some reason Experian reverted to my old SSN and declared my new number was fictitious.
Here we go.......... Press one for English.  Experian has a Catch 22.  If you need to talk to an agent please have a current credit report number at the ready to key in.  You must have a report from the last 90 days.  Go back to the beginning and get a credit report; key in new SSN....... you have entered a fictitious SSN, do not pass go, do not collect $200.  Just for fun I tried my old SSN...... worked like a charm even though the Social Security office destroyed it in 2003.  Someone is out there still using it and by the way good job because you have pretty good credit.

Call GoPayment folks back because I had to ask......... If I entered my old defunct SSN would I have been approved?
Why Yes, that would have worked.  Kill me...........

And on another great note,  I can use my iPad with the GoPayment folks!  They are sending a free scanner.
And on another great note, while I was typing this blog I have been approved!!

I might have to send the whole company a case of mugs!!

If you see me in Naples Art Festival the end of Feb. or at Craft Boston the end of March, please
whip out your credit card!!

Oh and just for the record; Butch left for Chicago just about the time I started my journey today.
He arrived, checked into his hotel and had seen half the boat show.....
I am still sorting through the paperwork.........

Cash is still king and maybe a selling $20 mugs at the farmers markets was really the way to go.........

will let you know in a month........

tonight:  jerking my memory card and loading my new mac software....... stay tuned campers!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Productive day........

Some days I can't get out of my own way today was not one.

Also starting to tick down the days to Naples.  After Chicago I realized I needed to take credit cards.  This has been a ridiculous search of the absurd and abstract.   I own a Tracfone for emergencies.
It was free and I had a coupon for double minutes for the life of the phone....... I never use my minutes and it's incomprehensible for a dyslexic to text anything.

Venturing into Verizon, AT&T, TMobile, Virgin, Geek Squad and the Apple Store over the last two days my head is ready to blow off and spin around spewing 4G's.
Bottomline....... I don't want a contract!  After caressing the "Smartphones" and realizing they are smarter than the dog and my warped brain combined I moved down the line to the "Pads".
(you know in the 70's if I were standing in the pad aisle I wouldn't be in a phone store! and just go there because they are using the same wording; compact, fits in a pocket, easy to conceal ........ )

Found out I can Skype on an iPad or a Galaxy Tab and Verizon will only charge me $20 a month.  no monthly charge on the Square or contract but it's not compatible with the Galaxy Tab, back to iPad.
Cash anyone?  I love cash........

Ordered my new ProPanels, should be here in three weeks!
also got my grocery shopping done........

Threw 60# of clay, got a bisque unloaded,  finished up some teapots made with Matt and Dave's new porcelain.

48# of Tucker mid smooth stoneware ^6.

13# of Matt and Daves ^5-8 porcelain.... (love it!!)

Highwater Clay; Bella's Blend and Standard 211 Hazelnut ^6

unloaded a bisque kiln of Standard clay 551 porcelain ^6

I just cannot get a blue glaze I like!!!  

and the dog was really busy holding down the floor! 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

time for coffee and reflection on rejection......

Plans sure go to Hell in a hand-basket pretty quick.  Some days I'm ready for them and some days I am not.
My day was going rather well; walking with a full cup of coffee and not spilling, pouring out my bran flakes and not spilling, letting the dog out and not closing my nighty in the door again.  Gosh, just getting out of bed and having my ankles work is great!
Small victories but nonetheless, a great way to start the day.

By lunch I was floundering.  My plans to attend the Pittsburgh opening had not fit into Mother Nature's plan for a freezing rain/blizzard/snow storm.  God, I love living in the snowbelt.
Called Abby at Kent and told her change of plans.
She said; No problem she could clean her house.....  oh sorry I was looking for Abby Miller.

On my way to the coffee pot I checked my status on the Reston, Virginia  Outdoor Show........ rejected.  What?
I love my delete button!  No!  I reject you......... delete!  What do you mean I am rejected?  After all these years I am still shocked and depressed when I get the big old rejection notice from shows.

My logical brain immediately talks me off the ledge as I know this is all subjective.  And you know for the $40 jury fee I wish they would tell you why you were rejected.  Just a note:  Your stuff sucks, Your photography sucks, Your booth sucks, You suck........   pick one because my crazy brain checks all of them.

I padded out to the studio with fresh coffee stains on my shirt and slammed my coat in the back door.

I wander around the studio somewhat lost as I realize I am not spending an awesome day with my awesome daughter at an awesome opening in Pittsburgh with awesome clay friends AND I am not going to Reston, VA in May with my awesome pots.  Like whatever........

Sitting down at the wheel I have new clay to test.........  Matt and Dave's Porcelain and the box says;
"Let the Coup Begin!"  I am so there........  after throwing 30#  gotta say I'm a convert!  Now lets see how it works with my glazes, stay tuned claybuds........


I cleaned the studio, fired a kiln, started weaving a new pot and enjoyed a cup of bourbon drunk from a lovely shino tea bowl by friend Todd Leech........ who was at the opening in Pittsburgh.

Guess it's time to start looking for more shows to fill my spring schedule................... over a glass of good ole' Kentucky bourbon introduced by another best claybud, Dolita!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Baby it's cold outside...........

But the pond is flowing and the birds love it!  
The chickadees have just about cleaned off the sunflower seeds. 

Clematis has seen better days.

Pictured above ......... the maker of the weapons of mass digestion.
Pictured below......... the flinger of  frozen weapons of mass digestion.  

It has been snowing for days.  
Do you see the little yellow building behind the frozen weapon flinger?  
That is where I work, the studio, the sacred space where magical things happen.

Are you coming?  
It's time for you to make magical things...... I am done making magical things.

Today I was busy;  blasting Bob Seger, throwing pots and belting out .....  I Got The Fire Down Below. 
And then ...... I dove for cover!  
Turning down the iPod, I heard it; the giant red snow spewing beast that only rears it's ugly head a couple times a year.  The rest of the year it lives under a blue tarp and is used as nut storage for the local chipmunk hamlet, and I bet they are as happy as I am right now.

Flipping on the outside light to my studio I peer into the darkness and discover my better half,
 was having so much fun in sub zero weather with gale force winds he blew the snow off the entire backyard, the driveway, the neighbors driveway, all walkways and sidewalks up and down the street and he was on his way down the street.  And he is a happy guy! 

Note, the only place not cleared are stone raised flower and vegetable beds. 

This might explain crop circles.  
It's guy in England with something that has a motor on it and he just can't stop.  This phenomenon
also takes place in the summer with the weedwhacker.  I have lost entire gardens. 
 It's a guy thing, find something with a motor and he just cannot stop.  I cannot recall any woman I know who has this affliction.  Well, maybe a new food processor....... 

The weather has been good to keep me in the studio and the shelves are filling, not quickly but they are filling.

Hurry Spring!! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Trash to .......... my shed

I walk into the studio every morning and say ....... 
you really need to clean out and get organized....... again.

This is the wall of glazes.  Glazes for functional, non functional and could be awesome but........ 

Testing and making glazes takes up quite a bit of room but then I have been testing over 25 years.

Just keeping 25 years of test tiles and records has lead to a too much information.  

This is the year I vowed to get control, get the glaze stable down to 12 good glazes and be done.  
Getting rid of stuff I didn't use or really want.

Yesterday the phone rang; a community pottery studio was cleaning house and did I want........ 
the list was too long to write here.  The words just tumbled out of my mouth........ Sure. 

Next Friday I will be driving to Cleveland with my empty truck and lugging home chemicals no longer wanted or needed by another potter.  Almost all of the chemical are things I use and they will be given a good home here in Paine Falls.  

As I take inventory in my shed to make room for incoming I realized I should adjust my glaze stable to use up the chemicals I have bags and bags of.  

Yes, it takes time and work to keep stuff out of the landfill....... 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1.1.11 and embracing the new age..........

Again, up and out the door in a pouring rain to the beach.  This time, two of us;  we sat under the pavilion and watched the fog roll in with hot cups of coffee.  Seemed like a good way to start the New Year.
We made a pact;  go back to the house, review Santa's offerings and use each and every one.

First off, break out the pedometer Santa Abby left.  Two hours to figure out how to program the thing.  I finally tossed it to the dog and said;  figure it out!  Slappng on the pedometer we got to work.
(Dr. Oz says we must walk 15,000 steps a day to stay in shape, no problem!)

We went to the Coffee Alter and used the Keurig coffee machine.  I was so against this thing; more trash to add to the landfill and one more appliance no one needs.  After a week, I love it!  We have been using the make your own cups instead of the pre-filled little cup-ettes.  Instead of making a pot, I make a cup.  I predict Starbuck's stock to drop 10 points.   And if I ever need a transfusion I hope it's Starbuck's Italian Roast is in the bag!  Check the pedometer; 15 steps........ I'm roll'n now!

We drank our coffee from two lovely ceramic travel mugs from Santa Abby.
They worked great after I learned I had to twist the lid to get the coffee; I turned blue trying to suck
the coffee out of lid.  That has to be worth 100 steps!

Break the new food processor out of the box. This is an 11 cup super duper "pro" processor.  In a pinch I think I can use it as an outboard motor on the kayak.  The learning curve was ridiculous for me.  Spending an hour jerking the feed tube up and down, muttering a monkey could probably do this, I finally watched the DVD they enclosed for those of us who have difficulty reading directions.  We decided to make fresh pasta.  I Googled my fingers to the bone and took notes.  I finally landed on Giada from the Food Channel.  (I'm Hungarian we make dumplings.)  Check the pedometer....... 6 steps; are you kidding me?

Yesterday, I dug the last of the potatoes out of the garden.  
The new processor made short work for slicing these into paper thin, oven backed chips. Yum!  
No oil just backed in the oven at 400F. and seasoning. 

Snacks while making pasta....... what was I thinking?   
Oh and my iPod has a cocktail app so we had mimosa's in fancy glasses.
Walking back and forth to the fridge for OJ and Champagne; 11 steps. 

Two Christmas's ago Santa brought me a pasta maker that attached to my KitchenAid Mixer.  
It has been in the box with the bow for two years, break it out!    

We were amazed that 3 cups of flour, 3 eggs, 1/4 cup olive oil, a bit of salt and a wee trickle of water could make so much pasta! 

We let it dry for an hour, popped the pasta cutter on the old KitchenAid and away we went.
Check the pedometer.......... whoa!  I have walked 133 steps, kill me.

I never understood the fresh pasta frenzy.  Buy a box, dump some sauce on it, easy dinner.  There were nights I heard Butch pull in the driveway and raced to throw a pot of water on the stove.
 Hey!  What's for dinner?  
Yes, I have been slaving all day.
 Actually, I had been in the studio 5 minutes ago.  

Tonight, I tossed a bit of olive oil in a pan, added garlic, onions, pepper flakes and two heaping tablespoons of my sun-dried tomatoes (love those San Marzanos from last year's garden!)  Put in a two ladles of pasta water to make sauce.  The fresh pasta cooked in 3 minutes and Voila!  Dinner!
Ok, I get the fresh pasta frenzy......... it was delicious.  And as soon as my basil is back in the garden, PESTO! 

Oh and I made crab stuffed mushrooms too.

8 oz Neufchatel soft cheese
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon crab boil spices
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2 cans of crab meat
1 can of baby shrimp
2 tablespoons minced sweet onion
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 

Stir together the Neufchatel, sour cream, hot sauce, crab boil and garlic in a medium saucepan until smooth; season to taste with salt and pepper.  Heat the cream cheese over medium-low heat until warm, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes.  Fold in the crab, shrimp, onions, parsley and lemon juice until warm and heated through, about a 1 minute.  At this point you can serve it warm with crackers.  
I decided to stuff mushrooms and bake at 350 F. for 15 minutes.

If anyone would have told me I would have all this kitchen "stuff" 15 years ago I would have said;  NEVER, not this dirt digg'n, seed sprout'n, granola mak'n, yogurt mak'n,  Mother Earth News convert, Mother of two.   
Hey! Times Change.............
Today....... I'd rather be in the studio or the garden or sitting on the beach with a hot cup of coffee with my better half or is that bitter half?  And who knew I needed a pedometer?  
Potters & Gardeners; we make pots, grow food, make fantastic meals and serve it out of wonderful handmade dishes.  We swap glaze formulas, garden secrets, bread recipes and lessons we learn in the studio and life.  We embrace technology with computerized kilns, glaze calculation programs, pug mills and the age of technology.  Well, some of us are still chopping wood.

This Christmas, Rachael was stuck on a mountain 10,400 feet above sea level in Colorado.  Christmas morning we hooked up the iChat, synchronized our watches and opened presents together under the tree.  It was fantastic!    

Embrace it........... 
Today I walked 356 steps, ate 5 billion calories and am exhausted.
Yup, I'm bulking up for bikini season........