Finally, I Can Sit Down!

Monday is generally the craziest day of the week. I guess that is pretty much true with most people, but today was just a very busy day.

By the time 9 am rolled around, I had made 2 small batches of soap, done two loads of laundry, and cleaned up the kitchen. I was pretty pleased with myself, but by the time 3 pm arrived, I was ready to go belly-up! It was a good thing I made a crockpot meatloaf early this morning, or the family would be left with no supper. I had to do a lot of lifting to move boxes about and my legs were so tired!

I am just now getting a chance to get some puter time, and I was so amazed when I went to my friend, Becky’s blog……as I was helping Ben wheel the handtruck to the front of the house with boxes for the UPS man, I was simply in awe of my miniature rose bush. I had photographed it previously, but it is full of the prettiest flowers! Because of the stomach bug I suffered last week, my flower beds are in total disarray….leaves are littering the plantings. But, there, in the midst of the chaotic mess stands that tiny little bush.

I wanted to take some pictures today, as it was an absolutely gorgeous day! After the high winds of this weekend, it was had to believe that the temperatures pressed well into the 50’s today. The sun shone with splendor all through the entire day, and the sky was such a beautiful bright blue. I did grab a few shots.

The (naked) Bristolwood. You can see so deeply into the woods. It is hard to imagine you have this ability; only a month ago, the woods was filled with lush greenery and you were fortunate to see maybe 50′!

I leaned out the window to catch the sun setting in the west, heading over the next hill….It is hard saying good-bye to such a stellar day!

And, of course, as I was snapping pictures, I looked down and found a ham in the leaves!

SInce I Feel Better Now

There are a ZILLION things I need to do! Thankfully, I have pre-packaged most of those Scottie dog soaps! I need to get a label made up for the soaps. I am putting them into kraft gift boxes filled with “French vanilla” colored paper shreds. The shreds will help keep the soaps from bouncing around on their final journeys. I have given the company “exvlusivity” for the Scottie soaps made in the scents offered. So, the label will bear their logo on it. I plan to seal each box with a little gold or silver foil circle.

We decided that since we would be running to Office Max to have the labels laser printed, this might be a good time to look into buying a laser printer. Yikes, laser printers are really wild….Mark has always done self-refills on the ink in the inkjet printers. Now, the inkjet printers are being equipped with a small “chip” to make it nearly impossible to refill. We have discovered that the laser printers are up to the same nonsense. No wonder the printer companies are practically giving away their printers….they will make up for it, and then some, on the consumables.

Yesterday, we had to take the new truck in for a “fix”. When we bought it, there was a problem with the wheel flair on the front passenger side. The dealership ordered a new flair and we had to run down to get it fixed. While there, we decided to take a ride to Sam’s to do a bit of shopping.

Mark spotted a really cool MP-3 player. It is made by a company called Archos. He snatched one up and now we are thinking he SHOULD have bought another. (the kids fell in love with them!) They not only do video and audio, but the little bugger is also a camcorder! The quality might not be the greatest, but the kids have been having a ball making videos of everything!

And, speaking of Archos MP-3 players, they are coming out with a new model that is REALLY cool. It has a bigger screen, and it does music, videos, AND it will be able to surf the web and do email WIFI! Gads, I am turning into a GEEK! Shhhhh….don’t TELL anyone!

Mark suspected this several months ago when I insisted I REALLY needed the Motorola cell phone that sings, dances, etc. Well, we each got one, but to our dismay, our carrier (Verizon) has basically turned off all of the cool features that make the phone so great. We did to do some cool things with it, though, only because Mark is persistant. He was able to get Verizon to turn options on and off, so we could use the phones as modems when camping. This meant we were able to read email and still surf the web. (so long as service was available!) That was nice, as we could upload pictures from our camera and share them with family.

Well, enough of the geek report! We are supposed to be getting some (very) high winds passing through late tonight and tomorrow. With three vehicles parked in the driveway (yes, we have a three bay garage, but it has yet to be properly organized….) I am hoping no branches are loose above them! We have never had any problems in the fourteen years we have been here, so I am not worried!

Have a great weekend and keep WARM!

Phew…..I *Think*

I thought I was over with the horrible stomach bug that was bothering me a few days ago, but it kept rearing its ugly head….over and over!

Yesterday, I rammed through the day, determined NOT to be bothered by this stupid bug. I did fairly well. And, the culmination was when I made a four pound batch of soap and divivded it into five separate types. I was so pleased with myself. However, I was soooo hungry. (I have been taking it rather easy, as stomach cramps seem to follow after any food ingested!)

Well, the phone rang, and Ben brought it up to me. So, I talked awhile…As I was talking, I went downstairs just because it felt good to walk around a little. I noticed some Zatarain’s Jambalaya with cheese that was left on the stovetop. Hmmm….it sure looked good. And smelled good. I grabbed a little bowl. I filled it up and began eating. It tasted SO good. I finished the bowl, then shamelessly grabbed more. Did I care that it was a “little’ spicy? Nah! It tasted so good, HOW could I care?

Oh boy….you guessed it. I was up at 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, and finally up to stay at 5am. My stomach was just not quite ready for that rice! I have been taking it easy today, trying not to stress out at all, hoping this “thing” will just go FAR away! So far, so good. I ate a piece of toast a couple of hours ago and am feeling OK. No cramps at all.

Hopefully, this miserable little bout is done now. My poor stomach is rebelling….it has made more noise today than I have ever heard! Perhaps another piece of toast and a ginger ale is just what I need….

Tomorrow is Only a Day Away!

And, I am thankful for that!

Yesterday was one those days when everything goes wrong. I have an account for which I am making 200 bars of soap. I have been working like a crazed soapier….get the soap out of the molds, then immediately rinse the mold and make another batch. I make rather small batches of soap, as I really like the feeling of being in control of the whole process.

Well, when I went to unmold yesterday, boy, did I get a surprise! The soap just hung in the mold, laughing at me. I pushed, shoved, ran hot water over the mold….to no avail. I finally got so angry, I just left the whole kit and kaboodle, figuring it would come out later. Now, mind you, I have made about ten more batches JUST like this one with no problems.

This set the pace for the entire day.

The UPS man came to deliver a custom order for us. We were supposed to receive three boxes. And, we actually got two! We need to hustle this order right back out, so we really didn’t need a delay.

Shortly after the UPS man left, Mark received a phone call from the guy he ordered a truck cap from. Joy of joys….the paint color on the new truck has been deemed “problematic”. The company that makes the caps sent the guy four “possible” samples of paint for the new cap. The salesman wanted to know if we wanted to drive the two hours to his business to match the paint chip to the truck? It was getting late, the sun was fading, and in the process of this wonderfully delightful day, I was having stomach cramps and experiencing the “green apple trots”. Mark was considering sending me off into the sunset, when he worked out a deal that we would be at his business at 8 am this morning.

Before going to bed last night, I was determined to get that soap out of the mold! I worked and worked….this is a plexiglass vertical mold. I struggled until I could finally hear the vacumm breaking on the soap and it ever-so-slightly began moving in the mold. As it was, I struggled to get every single bar of soap out of that mold. Ben helped me and between the two of us, it was all we could do to force that soap out.

When I went to bed, I was determined I was going to wake up “all better”! I fell asleep sometime after 10:30. I was awakened at about 11, when Ben excitedly called up to tell me that the Buffalo Sabres had won another game! (GO SABRES!) I was then awake again at 2:30, 4:30, and finally up at 5:00. We bustled about and were out the door at 6 this morning.

I was so tired. My guts ached from putting so much force on that soap mold! By the time we got to our destination, we were about 1/2 hour early. We stopped at McDonald’s and I made two trips into the restroom. Nope, my stomach was STILL off!

We went to the business to match the paint chip. It was so gloomy and overcast, we were afraid we could never match the paint. I finally thought that perhaps if we lowered the tailgate, we could put the chips directly on the truck and get an accurate match. The guy, Mark, and I all picked the same chip, so we were good to go. And, we did!

I stopped at a local grocery store and picked up some Immodium. Thank heavens for that stuff. It finally got rid of the cramping and running to the bathroom. We went shopping for a little and by the time it was noon, I was starving! I ate half of a lunch from Boston Market, and it tasted so good!

When we got home, the UPS man delievered our missing box….I asked if HE had mis-delivered it and we both giggled when he made a comment about not being able to get away with anything!

So, I made another batch of soap this evening and all is well in the Bristolwood. Thank heaven, the unexpected is not the normal here! And, here’s to tomorrow!

The Silence of the Morning

Ever since I can remmeber, I have always loved arising early in the morning before everyone else. In the autumn and winter months, I especially enjoy this, as it is still dark and it just makes things seem more “cozy” to me.

This morning, I arose a little before 5:30 when I was greeted by a wet kiss on the cheek. There was Murphy, hovering over me, happily wagging his little rear end out of control. How could anyone awaken to such a greeting and pull the covers back over their head?

I got up and took both dogs outside, where they were good boys. The wind was blowing like crazy, and there were even some white flakes in the air. Dressed in my nightgown and a sweatshirt, the cold air seemed to blow right through me. Both boys seemed to understand, and we were back inside in a jiffy.

I got a nice fire started in the woodstove, and sat down to just enjoy the quiet….

And suddenly, it happened.

Once again, there was that hair-raising screeching noise of a plastic dog dish sliding across the ceramic tile floor in the kitchen. I commanded it to stop, but it just went on….moving from one side of the kitchen to the other!

As I got up and went in one door of the kitchen, I heard feet scampering, and the offending bowl being dragged out the other door and over the hardwood floor. As I tried to catch the little bugger. Muphy just sat down and gave me that “oh-so-innocent” look. Mind you, Angus was never this playful once he reached adulthood….

Do you see the little chip missing in the bottom of this dish? It was NOT missing earlier.

As you can see, those are BIG Scottie teeth. And, the ONLY way that this little man was going to STOP was for me to grab the bowl and capture it!

So, as you can see, I am spending my mornings busy with the little guy. So long to enjoying solitude and peace….but, would I change things were I able? Nooo way! Murphy is such good company. And, just like little children, pups do grow up….and then our hearts long for the good old days when……….

My New Scottie Soap!

Ever since I bought my first Scottie mold several months ago, I have wracked my brain trying to think of the “perfect” scent to go with the soaps. Sometimes it seems like we streatch those old brain cells for nothing! One day, while replenishing our supply of black licorice Scottie candies at TJMax, it suddenly ocurred to me! Why not make Anise Scotties?

Upon making this decisive turn of events, I called my fragrance supplier and he sent out a sample bottle of Anise oil. Yesterday, I received the fragrance. With hands trembling with anticipation, I mixed my heated oils and cooled lye water. I had already prepared some black pigment….this is where I most often goof…it seems so hard trying to determine how much soap to remove for swirling.

After trace, I added the Anise. Wow! Although I would rather eat cherry red Scottie licorice, there is something about the black licorice scent that is so yummy…So, here is a look at a dish filled with the new Scottie soaps. I only wish you could smell them. They really do smell great!

Here is a closeup of one of the bars.

As I was feeling so pleased with these soaps, I got a fax for my Scottie soap account. I had made up about 200 bars of soap in anticipation of this order. Boy, was I a bit surprised when the order called for 312 bars! Time to make more Scottie soaps!

I just have to close with a picture of Murphy. When we got Murphy from the breeder, she sent home a really cute little Scottie dog toy. It was made of a stretch fabric with a squeaker inside. It didn’t take Murphy more than a few minutes, or was it seconds?, to de-squeak his little toy. He still has the little Scottie and sometimes he just brings it over near him…almost as though it is a reminder of his breeder and momdog. So, last night, I could not help but snap a picture of Murphy lying on the bed, little Scottie toy under his head….

The Closing Days of Autumn?

The weatherman is saying that the warm weather we have been experiencing might well be coming to a close. So, I decided to take a few more pictures while there is still some color in the woods.

This is what the woods behind the house look like now….how NAKED! But, we can see way up into the woods!

This is a really pretty maple located on the west side of the house. When we built the house, I never even had to think about the color I wanted the walls painted in the living room and dining areas. Even though I am *true blue* through and through, I wanted these walls painted a pale buttery yellow. And so they have remained for 14 years! In the winter, spring, and summer, they provide a cheerful backdrop to the daily activities. However, in the fall….ah, the magic! As the sun passes through the golden hues of the leaves, the rooms are awash in the most spectacular display of sunny gold….No one can remain in a foul mood once safely inside this sanctuary. Yes, I am a believer that color does indeed set our moods!

Here is a picture of the contrast between the pretty golds and yellows of the maples and the bold reddish-wine and rusts of the oak trees.

Standing on the front porch and looking south, the little camper is now very visable.

This morning, as I watched out my window, I saw a squirrel hopping from branch to branch in what seemed like a frantic frenzy. What was causing this furry little critter to act like that? As I watched, I could see it zipping about, eating the maple seeds left on the tree. It worked so quickly, looking like it was starving! Hmmmm…..I suppose it is saving all the acorns buried all over the yard until spring, so it can make really big gouges in the turf! I was going to try to get a picture of said critter, but my optical zoom is so minimal……

And, speaking of squirrels…..Michelle came into the bedroom this morning with one of her hair scunchies around her wrist. And, what does Squirrely, er, Murphy think of this? One word……
ATTACK! Remove from limbs by any and all force necessary!

And, tug….tugggggggg…….tug some more!
And who do you suppose will win this tug of war?

Puppy ABUSE! How very humiliating! But, that’s OK, because he still is my pretty little boy!

Christmas Came Early to the Bristolwood

This afternoon, I had to run out for a few supplies. As I passed by the mailbox, I saw a package! A package is always a way to get my attention… Sure enough, the priority box had my name on it! I was so excited, as I hadn’t ordered anything lately…..what was inside?

A while back, a soap friend of mine questioned me about some Cairn Terrier soaps I had made for a special order, as she has a Cairn. I told her I would send her some bars. It took me forever, but I finally got her box off!

To my surprise, she sent me a sweet note, saying that she wanted to send me some Scottie goodies. I had forgotten about the box I had sent, and I was never expecting anything like this.
In the box was an adorable pitcher with Scotties on it, the cutest crystal Scottie, and two pins!

I would not embarrass my friend by mentioning her name, but I was so blessed by this. I was having a bit of a tough day earlier in the day, and that box was so full of thoughtfulness and love, it really made me shed a few tears!

The New Ride

After spending several hours on the telephone the past few days, Mark worked out a deal for a new truck! He has been looking at these for quite some time, and we decided the time was finally right to grab one.

We have driven quite a few different models of Chevy trucks over the past two or three months. It seems like there were so many options available, I often got confused trying to remember which truck had which options!

Last Saturday, Mark called a dealer to buy one. He called early in the morning, and asked what he needed to do to secure the truck. The salesman told him to just give a call, and he would mark it “sold”. When Mark called an hour or so later, the salesman told him someone was there “physically” closing the deal on the truck. I got so bummed!

Mark remembered the truck he had seen at another dealership….It was the same color and had even a few more “gizmos” added. This dealership said they would meet or beat any other dealership. We decided to try them out. When Mark called, he told them about the truck he had been looking at and the bottom line….the selling price. The salesman gulped, and said he would get back. And, he did! Within what seemed like minutes, the ball was rolling!

Here is our 2001 “Old Faithful” truck. It is getting very near to 100,000 miles on it and it needs a little bit of TLC. We got it in May of 2001 and it has been so great.

The biggest reason for getting a new model is we needed the crew cab with four separate doors. The extended cab made for little knee room in the back seat. With the kids getting taller, this meant that their knees were rubbing against the front seats. Another strike against the old truck is that being 5’1 1/2″ tall, I was barely able to see over the hood of the truck. The new model has a power driver seat! Hurrah!!! I can actually see way over the hood!

We plan to get a “bed rug” for the new truck, along with a cap. We bought these for the old truck, and they were so wonderful. It is nice to have a dry, secure area in the back for carrying supplies and such.

One of the cool “gadgets” on this new truck is self-dimming mirrors! OK, I am going to admit something here. I saw those cool little LCD lights on a GMC truck….the little turn signal “arrows” that point left or right…..Well, the new truck has those. I thought Mark would think I was nuts, but he is a good man who wants to please his wife. Little did we know that the dimming mirrors, as well as “heated” mirrors were all part of the package! So, that was cool!

We arranged to meet my parents after getting the new truck, because we were already a good distance towards their home. They were having some problems with their printer, and Mark thinks he can fix it, so we wanted to pick it up. We made plans to meet at a McDonalds.

I never told them a word about the new truck. Because of a slight “glitch” at the dealership, we left a little later than expected. I got crazy with nervousness….Mark told me to call my parents to tell them we would be late, but I decided to just wait.

We pulled into a parking spot at McDonalds just as my cell phone rang….My mother wondered where we were. I told her we were at McDonalds! She asked what we were driving, figuring out we did get a new vehicle! My brother and parents all gave the new truck a big thumbs up!