Tuesday, April 26, 2011


There was this one time when I took a driving test. It wasn't the real test, just a school test, and I took it in one of those cars with "Student Driver" stickers and brake labeled "in case of student stupidity" on the passenger side.

My instructor seemed pretty unconcerned about getting in the car with a nervous student who had just finished driver's ed. It was probably because I was 18 years old at them time. I bet the instructors fight over students like me, wanting to get paid for doing something a little more relaxing than being terrified for their lives. I can just see a fistfight break out: "I've nearly been killed three times in the last week! I get the next easy one!" one says as she punches another instructor in the gut. "What about me?" another instructor cries, pulling the first instructor's hair. "Yours were all near misses, we actually crashed yesterday!" Come to think of it, I think my instructor did have the beginnings of a black eye...

The drive was mostly uneventful.

"Don't be afraid, just keep pressing down the gas. This car doesn't take hills so well."

"That was a good turn."

"Don't forget to do a head check before you change lanes."

"Okay, now remember to break a little more slowly."

"Um, please stay in your own lane."

Only once did she even need to use the Student Idiocy brake. (I was distracted by a festival.)

We got back to the school not only in one piece, but with the instructor breathing normally and even smiling a little bit. "You did pretty well," she said. "How much experience have you had driving?"

"Well... this was my first time, actually."

She froze. "This was your first time?"

"Yeah. I've been in the church parking lot before, but that was about it."

And that, my friends, is how you break a driving instructor.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Really Guys, it was Totally an Epic Battle

I have never handled embarrassment well. I blush like crazy at the slightest provocation and have been known to go so far as to, in scientific terms, "freak the hell out" when the situation was dire enough. One of the things I am the most easily embarrassed by is other people reading my story bits written down on napkins, in my notebooks, and in various word documents all over my laptop.

So one day I was over at my dearest Mat's house (well, his parents' house) and writing in my notebook. He noticed and took it away, attempting to read the story I was working on. I let him because, well, he's my boyfriend, and he let me read his writing, and he's always interested in everything I do... but mostly I let him read because my handwriting is terrible. He complained about a headache two sentences in and I turned away, satisfied.

Only he kept reading.

It eventually came to the point where I had to take the notebook away from him. Or rather attempted to take the notebook away from him. You see, he's so much bigger and stronger than I am; he's some big guy who used to wrestle and I'm just a little girl who used marching band as PE credit. An epic battle ensued, if you call "he held the notebook over my head and laughed while I jumped for it" an epic battle. He eventually surrendered the notebook, sad that I wouldn't let even him read the things I had written.

I took one very important lesson from this: I must destroy everything so he doesn't read it.*

But everything I've worked on, no matter how terrible (and believe me, some of these things are terrible), has a little piece of me in it. Even the things on the bottom of my pile of crap were giving me little twinges of guilt as I went to delete them from my computer. And then I recalled the confession turn that my blog had taken recently, and plan began to form. I started a new post on blogger and began copying quotes into it. When I had finished going through the stories (and done the all-important task of emptying the trash can), I began writing the explanation for these quotes, and... oh, I think we've caught up to the post in real life.

So here are some tiny bits from these stories resigned to the trash can. I will not explain any of them further because, as much as I am becoming comfortable with confessing things, I don't want to find out if I can burst into flames from sheer embarrassment.

"He buys a car seat and supplies, and then is on the run with a baby."

"He glanced at the men, then moved a bit closer to her and leaned over as far as he dared. 'Your water,' she said. 'Pour it on me.'"

“Never! I’ve told you, we have no reason to kill you as long as you cooperate!”

"The complete opposite in automobiles flashes past; bright red, fast, young, and obviously working."

"That was what she had hoped he wouldn't ask. She pulled her legs up into the chair and spread her skirt over them, aware that her movements had caused him to look at her."

"However, I soon gave up, for there was no way he was actually going to go back to her. It was temporary. I wouldn’t allow him to go back to her."

"And what could be stronger than hate?" "I wouldn't want to frighten the children."

"'What have you done?' Dead silence followed. Well, not really dead silence; the dead don't listen with such intensity that you can practically feel it."

"He didn’t care if she had been expecting to be invited to his expensive flat that night. He had other plans and other guests."

"Sometimes she felt like the glove on her left hand overpowered the rest of her."

*Okay, okay, so I also loosened up a bit and started letting him read what I was writing. But only because he is adorable when he pouts.

Monday, April 11, 2011

... and I'm a Mormon

Have you seen those ads? They're part of the newest attempt by the Church to get others to see us as normal, or at least as anything but the weirdos and polygamists that everyone thinks we are. They say things like "I'm an honest businessman, and I'm a Mormon!" and "I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids and another on the way, and I'm a Mormon!" and "I'm a world traveler who, at nineteen, gave up school and girls and running water to live for two years in a foreign country knocking on doors, and I'm a Mormon!"

I think a better campaign would be if it was more of a confession thing. 'Cause you know most of what makes Mormons seem so weird is that we actually are kinda weird. There are a lot of things we don't do that others consider normal, and a lot of things we do that others find downright puzzling. ("Oh, my twelve-year-old sister isn't here today; she's in the temple getting baptized for dead people.") So let's confess that we do things that are perhaps a little off the beaten way in mainstream Mormonism, but prove that we're just like everyone else. "I'm a feminist, and I'm a Mormon!" would be a good start, as would "I hate Glenn Beck, and I'm a Mormon!" ("I drink caffeine, and I'm a Mormon!" would be going a little too far; we do have to maintain some standards.)

I'm telling you all this because I found out the other day what my Mormon confession would be. It's serious stuff. Are you ready for this? Hardcore Mormons who want to continue to have respect for me may want to look away.

I no longer consider “hell” and “damn” to be swear words.

I know this is heavy, but let’s all just take a deep breath and realize that I’m probably not going to be damned to hell for this.

Seriously, though, this was quite the revelation. I started saying hell and damn probably around two years ago, but very rarely and mostly for the shock value. (What? I’m only human.) They went in and out of favor with me for a long time; sometimes I returned to my previous Molly Mormon ways, sometimes I decided I didn’t give a damn. Then on Sunday my mother objected to us saying "holy crap" and I suggested "hellish crap," to which she responded that the prophet had told us not to swear, and I thought, "but that isn't a swear wor... oh hell, it's SUPPOSED to be a swear word. Damn. I really am becoming a Bad Girl."

I do still consider them to be strong words, and I won't whip them out any time a child makes a hell of a mess or the damn cat escapes while in heat, but I will be saying them. For those who don't want to hear these words, don't worry; I'll use discretion. For those who find this a sign of my approaching apostasy, go to heck.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

THIS is Why You Have a Curfew

This is Bamboo.

You may remember her from the last time I discussed her, that is the time we all pointed and laughed because she had gotten herself injured and had to go to the vet and wear a cone.

Despite that episode, she still liked to go outside; we discovered another sore near her tail just days after she had healed up and we had removed the cone. Three days later that sore, now infected, exploded all over me, and she spent a miserable couple of hours first in the tub and then on my lap, bleeding all the while. Another trip to the vet (where, when being shaved, another pocket of infection burst), another several days of cone-wearing, and now, NOW it seemed that she had had her fill of the great outdoors.

Then she was in heat for the first time in her young life.

Cats in heat become significantly more annoying than normal cats. They follow around males of any species (my boyfriend, my father, and my brother's dog are lavished with extra attention) and are always either writhing around suggestively or "assuming the position" (an all-purpose phrase in my house) in hopes someone will take pity on them and sex them up good. Bamboo had the extra fun of taking to heat like a Siamese.

Yes, she yowls. Not nearly as constantly as most Siamese do, but pretty frequently. Oh and also her being in heat had rekindled her interest in the outside world. Apparently the possibility of getting beat up was nothing compared to the possibility of finding a tom. And she knew tricks. She finally evaded us last night, hiding in wait in the dark immediately next to the front door. We ran outside to try to catch her, but she was over the fence and away.

We checked for her two or three times before we all went to bed, but she wasn't waiting by the doors (what she usually does after only an hour of being outside) and she didn't answer our call. In the morning we checked again several more times, but she didn't show.

I was down in my room at about eleven a.m. when the door was pushed open and little Bamboo wandered in. I cried out her name in relief, but she didn't even glance at me. This reminded me to get down to scolding mode. "And what time of day do you call this to be returning home?" I asked. She sniffed at the food in her food dish and glanced at the water. "Well?" I said. She continued to ignore me, jumping from my bed to the windowsill to Lissi's bed, where she collapsed in a heap. I muttered dark mutterings as I checked her tail end for new wounds, but there weren't any. "You're lucky," I said. She didn't respond. "I hope your hangover teaches you a lesson." She flicked her tail in annoyance, and I left her alone.

I came back to check on her in the late afternoon, and found that she had sufficiently recovered to be interested in food and water. She wasn't completely better, though; she still had a headache.

She was also not at all amused by me taking pictures of her. She confiscated my camera and glared at me until she fell asleep.

Update: Bamboo attempted another escape despite obviously not being cut out for the night life. Luckily mom managed to catch her. She has been grounded until further notice and is currently sulking up on Lissi's bed.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Caiti Gets Confused

This is Caitlyn.

She is the youngest of my seven younger siblings, and with both her "baby of the family" status and her natural adorableness she is understandably adored wherever she goes. She is showered with trips, treats, and praise for her precocious babblings, and to make her cry is to break one's own heart.

And then sometimes we remember what the word "spoiled" means.

Today was a big day in the house. Little Cami turned seven so PARTY TIMES WERE HAD. By which I mean there were cupcakes after dinner, presents were unwrapped, and my brother battled embarrassment to bring home some pink balloons.

This confused Caiti. First there were the balloons. She gets to go to Roberts sometimes, where they give free balloons to children, so shouldn't at least one of those balloons be for her? Especially because they were pink, a color that is the favorite of both Cami and Caiti. Then there were presents. Cami's birthday is the first in the year, so the last experience Cait had with presents was Christmas, where she got everything due to a cheerful, adorable two-year-old. So why didn't she get any of those presents? Gift after gift was unwrapped by the older sister, while Caiti alternated between trying to claim a gift for herself and getting in the way of mom's photos and dad's filming.

Then the lack of sleep hit, and the screaming began. She was no longer content to try to gain some attention; she demanded attention and gifts, and she demanded it now. She was placated for a moment with the balloons, as Cami was playing with her new presents and didn't care, but as soon as the presents lost their extreme newness Cam came looking for something else to do. And as a child who had once been the baby of the family, she delights in making the new baby upset.

The screaming commenced as the balloons were, in Cait's mind, so rudely ripped away just when they were getting to know each other. Unable to handle the noise, older people instigated negotiations, and Cami was persuaded to give up a couple of balloons.

Cait ended the night happy.

(Or at least she was happy until bedtime was talked of, but that's another story.)

Friday, April 01, 2011

State of the Shop Address

I'm sure everyone is just dying to know how the Quiet Mischief Etsy shop is doing, and even if you're not, I really want to put up a bunch of stats and feel proud of them. Hence this report on the first quarter of this year.

189 items sold this quarter (324 total)
94 PDF tutorials
19 duct tape rose rings
7 duct tape rose hair clips
3 custom orders

42 tiny friendship bracelet sets
6 sets of wish bracelets
5 bracelets costing $20 or more
5 flame patterned bracelets

272 shop hearts this quarter (498 total)

Top five hearted items:
146 hearts on the PDF tutorial
90 hearts on the rainbow set of tiny friendship bracelets
40 on the neon rainbow rose ring
30 on the custom rose ring order form
29 on the black heart duct tape ring

First sale: January 5th
Last sale: March 30th
Most items sold in one day: 10 on March 15th
Most items sold in one month: 104 in March

Compare these numbers to my last state of the shop address, and you'll find that I'm doing better. Much, much better. Most of the numbers here are significantly higher than those of the last post, and the last post was for a full year while this one is just three months. Now you see why I was so excited to write this post. : D

Before I close this post, I want to address the last part of my last post: my goals for the year. Here they are:

Average 20 sales a month
I thought this was a decent goal for the year. I had sold 24 items in December, but that was a holiday month that was universally expected to bring high numbers. However, I am currently averaging more than 20 sales a week, and have almost made enough sales that I could stop now and still have 20 per month for the year. My new goal is to average 30 sales a week by the end of the year (though how things are growing maybe I should shoot for the end of the next quarter?)

Get over 100 hearts on a single item
Another goal that, at the end of the year, seemed challenging but doable. However, we have already gotten almost 150 hearts on the item I thought most likely to get to 100 hearts, and we have another item 10 away from 100. Obviously this goal needs some revamping as well. I'm shooting for two goals here now; one is to get 300 hearts on one item, and to have at least five items with over 100 hearts.

Sell a single bracelet priced at $40 or more ($35 is my current record in an off-Etsy purchase)
This became a goal both because I had started concentrating on wider and more difficult bracelets, and because I had a specific bracelet I was working on that would be priced at $40 if not more. That bracelet has not been finished, nor has any other really wide one, due to the explosion of our shop in early March and the wholesale orders that started before that. Therefore, I still have some time to go before I can really try for this goal.

Get on the front page of Etsy, in Etsy finds, or be featured on the Etsy blog
Sometime in January or February I despaired of achieving this goal. All I can really do is have the best pictures possible and try to stay visible so that the right people will notice me at the right time, and even supposing that happened, I didn't think that my style of pictures and my items would fit in with the usual items that are featured. In other words, I was sure I wasn't indie enough. However, on March 4th, abnormally high activity in my shop led me to find out that I had been featured in the Etsy Finds email. I was absolutely floored, and I am sure that my abnormally high numbers for the rest of the month are due at least in part to that feature.

Have 550 shop hearts
I haven't quite hit 550 shop hearts yet, but with only 52 to go I could probably do so this month. So instead I want to shoot for 1000 shop hearts by the end of the year.

See you next quarter!