Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Almost Time for Dragonflies

Looking back on the sales last year, one of our best moving product lines was the Dragonfly line. That said, we are proud to introduce our newest piece the Dragonfly Ornament. It will make a great addition to your everyday decor or your Christmas tree.

Ceramic Dragonfly Ornament
by GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts

After many requests for a look behind the scenes, I was able to talk my husband into taking photos as he went through the process. So here is a pictorial of how they are made.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Inspiration: It's All Around

“We are the music makers, and we are 
the dreamers of dreams…” 
Willy Wonka - Willy and the Chocolate Factory

One of my favorite movies of ALL time is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I have fond memories of sitting down once a year near Thanksgiving to watch it as a family. Mind you this was when you had to get up to turn the television on and turn the channel manually by twisting knobs. We also only had about 4 channels when using an antenna. We entertained ourselves outside, exploring our world. So when we could all come together and watch something as a family it was an event.

I am in awe of the colors, the shapes, the perceived textures presented in the movie. I know that as a set designer I would have had a hay day working on the candy garden. I probably would have gained a few pounds as I bought/made candy looking for inspiration too.

I am trying really hard to lose weight right now and can’t afford to gain. That is why I like to take inspiration for my craft from my surroundings, quotes and insights.

It can be a photo:
GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts
Small Weed Pot
Simple Sunflower Vase
Sunflower Pencil Holder
Sunflower Ornament

It can be a quote or simple words:
Live, Laugh, Love Poster by Louise Max
Inspirational Keepsake Boxes by GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts

But it's not limited to those either. I receive some of my strongest inspiration from my family and the lives that they lead/led. There are many attitudes, graces, work ethics and stubbornness, that I emulate throughout my week: my grandmother's patience, my grandfather's work ethic, my father's love of fun, and my mother's persistence. 

Where do you find inspiration? 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My First Valentine

Valentine's Day always makes me sentimental. I dig into my stacks boxes of photos and look back on the love I've shared. Today I want to share my favorite photo of my first Valentine - my dad.

This photo was taken on Easter 2007 on a sunny, seasonally warm day. The scents of lilacs and daffodils was drifting through the air. The grandkids had just completed their scavenger hunt; one of their prizes was egg shaped sidewalk chalk. Daddy being the hands-on grandpa that he was got down on the ground and started drawing with them. They drew Easter eggs, kitty cats, puppies and rainbows. The entire patio was decorated before they decided they were done. My children who were at least five years older than my sister's children even got in on it. Their job was to blow bubbles for the kids to chase when they weren't drawing. If you look closely you can see them floating by.  The afternoon was filled with giggles, bubbles, sidewalk art and love.

This is the way I choose to remember him, He had an infectious laugh, gave the best hugs and at 6' 2" he was one of the biggest teddy bears you could ever meet. He loved a good joke, riding his motorcycle, and good times with family and friends.He was taken from this world on his 61st birthday in 2009, even though his presence was removed from us in the years proceeding by the early onset of Alzheimers. 

I'm closing with one of his favorite songs - it will always have a special place in my heart (and not just for the guitar solo.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love is Nothing

Thoughtful Tuesday - February 12, 2013

Something to ponder on this Thoughtful Tuesday before Valentine's Day

Monday, February 11, 2013

Natural Blues

Etsy Minute - February 11, 2013

Found these in my Handpicked Items today.

"I Can See You" by MT Photo Journal
Rain Storm Blank Note Card by Branch and Olive
Large Glass Initial Pendant by The City Elephant
Aqua Blue Butterfly Pillow Cover by Soeur a la Soeur
I normally don't choose items that show up in my Etsy feed but the color and cohesiveness in these four spoke to me today.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Set Backs Happen...

Ever get going on a project and everything goes to heck in a hand-basket. Well that's what happened to me in October. I had lost 30 pounds and I was walking daily and then IT happened. I developed cellulitis in my right leg.

Friday night I was tailgating at a high school football game and woke up Saturday with what seemed to be a hangover. I slept it off and felt well enough to go on a 50 mile motorcycle ride with my husband. By 10:30 pm I was getting the chills and had a horrible headache. I went to bed, hoping sleep would help but instead I tossed and turned and couldn't get warm. At 9:00 am the next morning I knew I had no choice but to go to the hospital. My leg was three times larger than it should be and I could barely walk. I was admitted from the  emergency room and placed on a course of IV antibiotics. I remained in the hospital for nine days and on IV antibiotics for an additional four weeks. During that time, I was unable to take the product but amazingly I didn't gain any of the weight back.

Why did this happen? I was doing everything right, I was losing weight, exercising and taking better care of myself. This chronic illness was one of the reasons that I began this journey.


Ever experience an event that you never want to forget, those moments in life that you want to remember forever? 

Me too. From time to time, I find myself sorting through mementos from events. Sometimes I laugh and sometimes I cry, it just depends on what memory is attached to the item. My mementos come in all sizes, a button from my favorite dress, a handwritten note, photographs, a pressed flower, my grandmother's sewing machine with contents of the drawers in tact just to name a few. I am now beginning to question why I keep these items tucked away. Wouldn't I and these items be better served by using and displaying them? Afterall, these mementos symbolize events in mine and my family's lives that helped to shape who I am, who we are.  

I'm at the point in my life where less is more. In the past I decorated the house with items that were of a specific theme or just looked good. Starting this year, I'm only bringing items into the house that speak to me. I want items that represent my family, our ideals, our goals and who we are. I plan to use some of our mementos that are tucked away as inspiration and a base. I'm on a mission this year to redecorate on a budget. I've already begun searching the area antique and thrift stores. I found my first project last weekend and I can't wait to share it.

Who knows that note from my grandma, may just be framed and hung above her sewing machine (which still works by the way), in the office. Or the recipe books from my mother-in-law and other grandma may find a home on a shelf near my kitchen instead of at the back of a closet.

I think that this ideal is why I'm drawn to making keepsake boxes. There are so many memories that inspire each one and I hope that they become mementos for those who have received them.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cherished Mementos

ETSY Minute - February 4, 2013

This week the focus is on cherished family mementos and memories. My Etsy Minute reflects items my husband and I have from our grandparents and parents.

Vintage Photographs found at Dr. Strange Goods
Vintage Moss Rose Tea Set found at French Klim Bim
Household Searchlight Recipe Book found at Attic Emporium
Vintage Sewing Machine Iron On by Vintage Restyled
We've recently come to hold many photographs from my husband's family. Many we are still trying to identify the subjects in. The tea set is similar to one that survived my mother's childhood, she has found a second set and mixed the pieces up so that my sister and I both have a full set with some of hers included. I have copies of the go to recipes for my family from The Household Searchlight Recipe Book and many other cookbooks from my mother-in-law. But probably the most special item shown is the treadle machine, I have the one that my grandmother and mother sat at for hours patching jeans and sewing new outfits for me. I remember sitting beside them on my chair just watching them work.

Do you have any family mementos that you cherish?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Far Better Things Ahead

Friday Files - February 1, 2013

This week the theme for most of my blogs posts was "What are you looking forward to in the near future?" In the immediate future, I would have to say a warm bed and a good nights sleep. For next week, I want to work in the studio with stains - I have some pieces that Kansas Originals has been requesting that I really need to get done. For next month there's a new line that is in development that I'm anxiously awaiting my turn to work with.

Starry Night Dragonfly Keepsake Box
by GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts on Etsy
From time to time, I find myself concentrating on what has happened in the past instead of what is ahead of me. While it helps to keep me grounded, it's not always productive. I have the habit of wondering "what if" when thinking about the past. I'm working on turning that around however. I want to ask "what if" while addressing the future. What if we get rid of the wallpaper in the living room? What if we take a ride to the next town over and take the camera to take photos along the way? What if we paint the kitchen cabinets? What if we try this glaze on the next piece? The list goes on... Each "what if" may create a "project," some of which will get done and others -well they'll have to wait. The other thing that I hope happens is I learn to solve problems creatively.

From Blessing Manifesting's Photos on Facebook

Speaking of the future... This weekend making muffins for the next week(s) breakfast is on my agenda. These are my boys' new favorites.

Photo and following recipe is from allrecipes.com

To Die for Blueberry Muffins


Original recipe makes 8 large muffins

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

  • PREP15 mins
  • COOK25 mins
  • READY IN40 mins

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Sky is the Limit!

At the end of the fifth week I was thinking WOW! If a lot of determination and product could do this the sky is the limit. We bought into the program at the lowest level and started to return his product one bottle at a time.

At this point I was flipping through a product catalog and found HealthTrim - Metabolic Boost. I asked a couple people at a Genesis PURE meeting about it and liked what I heard. Doug brought some by the next day so I could get started before my shipment showed up. What a difference it made! My energy levels increased even more. I was alert even at 3:00 pm when I normally would hit a low. I got things done!!!

After about two weeks on the additional product, I can say that I lost another ten pounds. That made 30 pounds since the beginning of my journey in seven weeks. Now don't get me wrong I knew there were going to be stumbling blocks and there was no way I was going to be able to keep up the pace of losing 10 pounds every two weeks. I had already discounted the existence of a "magic bullet" when it came to weight loss. I also knew for it to stay off I was going to have to lose it at a slower pace and make permanent changes to my life.

Strength Courage Perseverance Handstamped Pendant Set
by PureRoxInPrint on Etsy.com

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm Looking Forward

Remember this? I just got another table full ready for overglaze this Sunday. I have six larger pieces to go to get to my base inventory for the Sunflower line. The first batch has gone through the kiln and is ready for the next step - adding the gold.

As much as I love these pieces I really want to move on if only for a short while. I'm looking forward to getting the rest of my existing ornaments caught up and adding a new line or two for the year. I've got plans - oh so many plans and so little time...

Ceramic Sunflower Ornament by GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts
Available on Etsy and at The Kansas Originals Market
But this year it's not going to be all work no play. I'm going to take the time to go for weekend jaunts on the motorcycle, head to the lake and go thrifting. We've already been making short trips on the bike and I can't wait for the weather to cooperate regularly.

What are you looking forward to in the near future?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Never Give Up!

Thoughtful Tuesday - January 29, 2013

Posted on Folk Magazine's Facebook Page
January 18, 2013
Time moves quickly, if you are pursuing a dream you aren't be wasting it...

Right now, I dream of:

  • Updating my house
  • Traveling with my husband
  • Having a profitable and fulfilling business
All of these are obtainable and are probably the small steps in a lot larger picture of my dreams - you never know...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Looking Forward to a Rustic Spring

ETSY Minute - Janaury 28, 2013

This week I'm going to focus on the things that I'm looking forward to...

Bed Spring Candelabra by Knick of Time

I can't wait for the awakening of nature, flowers, spring rains, and evenings on the patio. What are you looking forward to?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Authentic Me

In this week's Friday Files, I reflect on the "authentic me."

On Monday, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr Day, an authentic American with an authentic story. His life ended before I was born but his story and legacy continue. It got me thinking, what is my legacy going to be? What are people going to say about me when I'm gone? Am I going to be remembered as someone who was part of the solution or someone who was part of the problem?

Martin Luther King Quote Painting
by recaldej on Etsy
Life isn't always easy, and over the years I've made decisions that weren't optimal but at the time they were the best option with the knowledge I had. No matter what, I've faced the consequences of my decisions and I've come through many trials a much stronger person. I've learned to step back from certain situations and really try to see it from all angles and not just react in the moment. So I really hope that people see me as part of the solution.

I'm evolving everyday. I hope to leave the legacy of love, hard work, creativity and flexibility a reflection my authentic self.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gotta Take Baby Steps

Three weeks into my journey using Genesis PURE, my husband proudly told our customer, Doug, how well I was feeling and that I had lost 10 pounds and was looking forward to losing more. That's when he introduced me to Genesis PURE Green Coffee Bean with BioPerine. With the Green Coffee Bean's help I lost, another 10 pounds in two weeks.

During those two weeks, I slowly began the process of getting back into walking. That first week my goal was to walk to the corner and back, every day for the entire week. I took baby steps since I hadn't had a regular regimen since the inflammation in my legs had gotten out of control and I would have stabbing pains through my calves whenever I walked any distance. Thanks to the Mangosteen and losing the initial 10 pounds the first three weeks, I didn't experience any of my previous problems.

The second week, my goal was to walk around the block. Guess what, I breezed through it at a reasonable pace every day. I didn't have pain and I wasn't out of breath. Max began to look forward to our walks and would go find his leash anytime I put on my tennis shoes.

During the first five weeks on the product I:
  • Began the Genesis PURE core products
  • Gave up pop
  • Cut calories to 1200-1800 calories a day (Yes even with a McDonald's stop :)
  • Cut back on eating out
  • Adjusted our family budget
  • Added Genesis PURE Green Coffee Bean to my routine
  • Started a walking regimen in baby steps. I managed to get to walking around the block by the end of five weeks

The results that I saw:
  • Better mood
  • Better stress management
  • Regular digestion and elimination
  • I am more productive and have more energy
  • I lost 20 pounds
  • I continue to have HOPE!
Leather Hunger Games Cuff
by Michelle V Custom Leather Jewelry on Etsy 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Is It Really January

January is notoriously slow for us in terms of sales, in the past it has also been slow in terms of production. NOT THIS YEAR! So far our online sales have out-paced last year by about 90% and it's just the middle of the month. We've also seen an increase of sales on ready to paint items from our store front.

Some of 2012's best sellers

Honestly, I really hadn't paid attention until I got ready to write this post. I've been focusing on building inventory and getting ready for craft shows and our busy season online. Last year I took January and a portion of February off to liquidate my mother-in-law's collections and get her house ready for sale. Years previous to that I took the time to catch up paperwork and get our information to the accountant for taxes.

Ornaments and new paperweights almost ready for over glaze
This year I'm a little more organized but I still have a long way to go. Reclaiming the basement is progressing, not as quickly as it had at the beginning of the month, but it's usable again. If I had to I could pack up the items that are still waiting for new homes and clear the bar for use. The office reorganization is taking a bit longer. I cleared the desk, sorted the items for home, shop and mother in law, pulled out the trash and now the baskets sit until I can get back in there and work one basket at a time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Moving Forward

Thoughtful Tuesday - January 22, 2013

This is a great reminder for next time I feel like I've stalled...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Refreshing Greens

Etsy Minute, January 21, 2013

I'm trying to combat Cabin Fever by searching for spring green. Here's what I found on Etsy today!

Kiwi Lemon Fruit Kitchen Fine Art Photography by Crystal Gayle Photography
Handmade Ceramic Button by Ugly Duckling Beads

To me these finds are refreshing - Is it spring yet????

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lessons Learned

This week's Friday Files is going to focus on what I learned in 2012.

Chalk Art Folded Card
by Recipe for Crazy
I've learned good friends are hard find. If you have one or two really good friends you are blessed. I'm blessed with three that I can't imagine not sharing my joys and frustrations with over a glass of wine and dessert or around the fire pit on a cool night. I married one of them, met another in the second grade and stole one from my brother. Two of them may be "absent" for short times but when get back together it's like no time has passed.

I've also learned not everyone who comes into your life is destined to remain. Things are often said in frustration, which creates obstacles that are too large to overcome. In times like this I am truly thankful for my husband, when I feel the need to withdraw from society and regroup he's right there along side me, supporting me and helping figure out what lesson is to be learned from those situations.

Ceramic Believe Keepsake Box
Found at GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts
I've learned that I'm strong. Self preservation and will to succeed are necessary. I've been called stubborn and strong-willed this past year. I may not have accomplished everything I wanted in 2012 but I gave it my all, no matter what.

Heading into 2013 - My family and friends are going to be priority. Simple times like a smile over a cup of coffee will not be rushed. I won't look at relationships that end badly just on lessons learned from them. Projects and goals are going to be split into small manageable steps, it may not always look like I'm accomplishing something but in the end they will get done, and if not - there's always 2014.

Inspirational Resolutions Necklace
by Bookish Charm

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I Found HOPE

Product Catalogs - If you'd like on let me know
When I began using the products from Genesis PURE I was a total skeptic. Having tried anything and everything I could get my hands on and afford to lose weight and to still be in the condition I was in - let's just say I wasn't going to fall into the "magic bullet" trap. Our customer checked back in a few days with my husband and he said he'd seen a change in me but if he'd have asked me I wouldn't have admitted it. This went on for two and a half weeks, I was watching for the placebo effect.

That said I did everything in my power to give Genesis PURE a real chance to work for me. The day I started I quit my 32 ounce a day pop addiction - cold turkey! We started eating out less, in part so I could start counting the calories I was eating and the other part was to make room in our budget for the product. I did continue to make McDonald's runs in the morning for breakfast for convenience sake, anyone who knows me, knows I am NOT a morning person.

My poison of choice - I've drank it for years
photo from the website: Shopping.com

As told in The Journey, I started on the Genesis PURE core (Cleanse, Balance, Build) and Mangosteen. the core helped me with digestion but the biggest change I saw was my stress level. I began dealing with my stress differently - I didn't make myself sick anymore, I didn't eat my way through my problems and I wasn't raising my voice to be heard. We had added the Mangosteen to try and deal with the inflammation  that I was experiencing from both my weight and my Lymphedemia condition. My joints didn't sound like Rice Krispies in the morning and the swelling in my legs started to become more controllable.

Here's the core!
Liquid Cleanse, Go-Yin, Nutrition and Cell Water

One of the things that made me think this may work was that these initial products were all in liquid form. My body wasn't having to work to absorb the vitamins and nutrients that were provided. No more pills sitting in my stomach waiting to dissolve.

Changes I made to give the product a chance:

  • Gave up pop
  • Cut calories to 1200-1800 calories a day (Yes even with a McDonald's stop :)
  • Cut back on eating out
  • Adjusted budget

Initial results that I saw in the first three weeks:
  • Better mood
  • Better stress management
  • Regular digestion
  • I was more productive and had more energy
  • I lost my first 10 pounds
  • Finally I found HOPE for the first time in years!!
Hope Whispers by hairbrained schemes

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pareto's Principle ~ The 80/20 Rule

I'm shopping for a new planner. I had one that I LOVE but they are no longer offering it. While in the search process, I got side tracked (go figure). I stumbled across different theories for time management, and anyone who knows me, knows I struggle with this constantly so my curiosity was peaked.

Leather Planner 2013
by My Hand Bound Books
The theory that caught the most of my attention is "Pareto's Principle" also called the 80/20 Rule. In a nutshell, "The 80/20 Rule means that in any instance a few (20 percent) are vital and many (80 percent) are trivial." The more I read the more intrigued I became and I started to look at how it applies to my life and business.

Looking at any day, I quickly determined that approximately 20 percent of my day is dedicated to the things that matter for that day. Many times the other 80 percent could be pushed off to another day and aren't vital to mine or my family's well being. Instead of feeling pressured to get it all done NOW, I am looking at what could be either delegated to another family member or put on the back burner. I'm hoping to have less stress and more time to just enjoy the gifts I've been given.
Fleur de Lis Keepsake Box
by GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts

In applying it to my business, it gets a little trickier. I analyzed my inventory and determined that yes the majority of my sales were from 20 percent of my designs. Which brings up the questions: Should I quit making the other 80 percent and specialize? If I do that will my shop become stagnant because I'm not producing new designs? The more I researched the more I decided that I shouldn't stop making the other 80 percent. The other 80 percent are necessary for helping to build SEO to my site, they keep my creativity fresh and make me happy. What is does show me though is where to focus the most of my attention. I need to increase my inventory and offerings in Keepsake Boxes and Ornaments and maintain my current inventory on the other categories at a lower level. It also shows me that I need to limit the inventory on new releases until they are a proven product, no more making 20 of one item to see what kind of reception they receive. Maybe six of a new design is a better number. If four of the six fly out of my inventory, then I better get cracking.

Cup of Christmas Tea
by GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts
Now that I know where to apply my focus, my next couple months in the studio will be spent rebuilding my inventory and adding to the proven lines. That way when Art and I are done with research and development I can focus on a new line for a couple months before our busy time starts. We are in the form and clay development stage right now and I can't wait to show you.

Now back to my planner search....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Laugh as Much

Thoughtful Tuesday - January 15, 2013

So true! When my ability to laugh at a situation or along with someone is temporarily suspended, I look to those I love to help right my ship.

What do you think?

Monday, January 14, 2013


Etsy Minute, Monday, January 14, 2013

These are some of my current favorite vintage items found on Etsy!

Blue Ball Mason Jars by Coastal Candles Shop
Cherry Lug/Orchard Crates by Natures Calling Jess
Key to the City by Cool Vintage
Rustic Metal Bird Cage by Shabbylull

I think they are beautiful and would love to find a place in my home for them should the opportunity arise. What are some of your favorites that are out there?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Beer Nuts ~ Recipe

Friday Files can be anything related to the shop, our garden, favorite recipes, tutorials, budgets or current happenings. I may also have guest bloggers. It's going to be a catch all so keep an eye on it you just may find something that interests you.

Today's post.....

My husband's traveling card game was Wednesday evening and we were responsible for snacks. So I made  Beer Nuts, BBQ Little Smokies, and a relish platter.

Here is the recipe for
  Beer Nuts...

Pre-Heat oven to 300°

1 (12 ounce) package of raw peanuts
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup of water
Dash of Salt

Combine first three ingredients in a heavy skillet (I used my Pampered Chef Wok).

Cook until no water remains, stirring frequently.

 Add a dash of salt.

Put on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes.
 Stir and bake another 15 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy.

(Recipe from "Sharing Our Best: 125 Years of Recipes and Rememberances" St. Fidelis Church - The Catherdral of the Plains; 2001; pg 109)

My helper... He was just sure I was going to drop something...

Aren't you going to drop something, please????
Join us on Monday for a Vintage Etsy Minute!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Journey

Live Keepsake Box
In last Wednesday's post I told you that I had lost 30 pounds and I want to share how I started the journey. It started not just as a quest to lose weight but a quest to find myself and be a healthier me.  

In the last 25 years I have gained, lost and gained again 200 pounds. I’ve dealt with major medical issues, had three babies and a lot of self-doubt. I like many people went looking for the “magic bullet.” That one thing that would just make the weight and my self-doubt just fade away. I’m living proof that the “magic bullet” doesn’t exist. I went through Weight Watchers, lost within 30 pounds of my goal weight. I was eating to the program and exercising. Somehow, I managed to gain all the weight back while I was still on the program. Then I started Phenfen, for me it was the “magic bullet.” Again I lost major weight, my doctor was very adamant that I cycled on and off it, which is probably the reason that I didn’t have any of the side effects that caused it to be recalled. Since then I’ve tried Lowfat diets, the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, the Mediterranean diet and the Glycemic-Index diet all to no avail.

Then in September one of my husband’s clients convinced him that there was a product that could help us get healthier. At this point, the customer hadn’t met me and had no idea that I struggle with my weight, or that my husband was direly concerned for my health. He gave us the opportunity to try the product - if it worked we could replace his product. If it didn’t we could walk away and never look back. I became the guinea pig and was introduced to the Genesis PURE products. 

I began with the “Core” products that help you to “Cleanse, Balance and Build” your system and Mangosteen.  

I began to feel better and move better. More of my story - later...