Such a Strange Day Yesterday!

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday, and I had planned to wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY in this blog, as she reads every day….however, I dashed out of bed (shortly after 4 am) and began labeling soaps and getting things set to rush to the little sale I was doing…..

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Mom! I hope you had a wonderful day filled with good fun! You sure had a nice day. How many birthdays have you had such warm weather?

Now, for that sale….it was a total BUST! There were only about 9 vendors at the sale, so that was pretty nice, I thought. There was a woman selling quilts and sweatshirts that she had machine embroidered. Next to her was a woman with a basket business and she had many little items from her business there. Across from them was a woman who did lots of knits….she had made hats, mittens, some shawls. Down the hall, across from us was a woman selling handknits for someone she didn’t know (hehehe) as well as cookbooks to support the facility. Next to her, a woman had singing (ad nauseam) snowmen and stuff maybe a little more pricey than stuff from the dollar store. One of her big “draws” was scarves for $6. They were a silk/cashmere blend, from China. We were directly across from this woman, and next to us was a woman who had really nicely hand painted glassware. Around the corner were some women from a beauty salon with hair goodies. Then, there was a spa with handbags and fun stuff across from another SOAPER! Yikes!

When we got to the sale, I needed to head out for some change. Michelle was my assistant for the day and she assured me she would be just fine setting everything up. I had taken a box full of soaps, some lotions and whipped shea butter, and I also grabbed my little Scottie Dog Ornaments. Micelle took a few of her little bracelets that she makes, as well. We had brought a little table top Christmas tree I had bought at WalMart last year for $5. When we unpacked it, I realized it had no lights. Ugh! It was supposed to display my Scotties!

Michelle sent me off to the bank, with instructions to go to the Dollar Tree a short distance from the bank, to pick up some candy and a dish. So, I set out…this was about 9:15. I went to the bank, and then scurried to the Dollar Tree. I grabbed a couple of pretty trays to set stuff on, a couple of doilies, a basket, tiny candy canes, lights for the tree, and an extension cord.

I got back to the sale at about 10:10. What I saw totally surprised me! Michelle had taken our goodies out of the boxes and had that table all decorated to the nines! The table looked as though it was groaning under the weight of all the goods! I never would have imagined everything would look so BEAUTIFUL! She had taken some white crinkle paper and mixed it with red and green metallic shreds and placed it here and there on the table. If an award would have been given for most “beautiful table”, it would have been ours…Michelle far surpassed my expectations. And, to my total chagrin, my camera was at home…RIGHT where I had forgotten it on my BED!!!

On Tuesday, I had convinced Mark to head out to the garage with Ben to make me a bunch of little soap crates. The two of them made the most wonderful little crates! I *ordered* two sizes….a two-bar and three-bar model.

They made these little crates so fast, it made my eyeballs spin!

Now, back to the sale…I was a little distressed because I had never given any thought as to how to DISPLAY the soaps. Michelle is one of those “cool” people who never sweats. She told me not to worry…she would display the soaps with no problem. And, as I had left, I knew she WOULD! And, she DID! She merely used the little crates like BLOCKS! Below is how she stacked the crates to raise them up, displaying the soaps so wonderfully well!

Here is how the soaps looked on display…

I was so thrilled, but as we sat….and sat….and sat, my heart began to sink! Traffic was so sporatic. The residents wandered by, little by little. The “big spenders” were all the employees of the facility. They all flocked to the table across from us, forking out their three bucks for the singing snowmen. By noon, the woman was sold out of her ss…..I sat, totally amazed, as this woman opened bag after bag of her Chinese wares, and folks just swooped it up.

This show lasted from 10 am to 4 pm. Michelle was such a trooper….minding the table as I left to go get some lunch, then once more, as I had to run an errand. She was totally at ease with people who came to the table, chatting with them and encouraging them to take a candy cane from the basket….

We sold a total of three bars of soap and one lotion. We spent six hours there, struggling to stay awake in the WARMTH of the building. We had to take turns walking about, chatting with the other vendors. I did manage to befriend the other soaper. He was very nice, and we spoke for quite some time. He has a store in the small town where this show took place. He also sells candles.

The bottom line is that as the show was coming to an end, it was evident we were not going to do very well! We took a little consolation in the fact that everyone was in the same boat, save the woman across from us. She made out well, selling much of her stuff totally out. The woman with the glassware was so disgusted, expressing that “junk” should not be allowed….ah well………

One of our customers was a woman who looked as though she had wandered in from outside. She was beautifully dressed, and just had a very delightful look about her! Michelle spoke with her, and it became very evident that she was taken by Michelle….she chatted with her for some time. Suddenly, she picked up a bar of Lavender soap and purchased it!

As we were coming up on the close, a couple walked in front of the table…Could it BE? Why, YES, it was! There stood Annie and Sheldon, a couple I had not seen in YEARS! We had met them years and years ago at church. We visited, and it was just the highlight of this whole thing!

Bottom line, I got to visit with old friends and I also may have a new customer. My soap making friend was amazed when I told him my pricing on shea butter! You just never know….perhaps there will be more good from this little show, but the warm memories and meeting the dear people from this facility was great!

The Things We Do For Love….

Yesterday, I had a couple of minutes to fiddle around….nothing TOO important to do. So, I told Murphy we would have a little fun with the camera….note the expression “little fun”…..I tried to explain that we need to get a good picture for the CyberScots card exchange. Murphy could care less…..First, I tied a pretty bow on his collar. Was Murphy impressed? I should say NOT!
So, I grabbed out the cute little reindeer ears I picked up at WalMart. Oh goodness? See those eyes? We call that “the look”!

Remember, my little Angus will sit up and wear a hula skirt for a cookie….the jury is totally out as to whether we will get a halfway decent picture for the cards! Murphy has SUCH Scottietude.

We had to take a ride to Rochester to pick up some supplies late yesterday afternoon. On the way back, Mark wanted to stop by a small floral shop across from the cemetary where his dad is. The store is so cool. It is a huge log “cabin” with a fireplace filling one of the end walls. They had really pretty wreaths so Mark had one custom made for his dad’s grave. It was truly a labor of love, as I could see Mark thinking about his dad and fighting to keep the tears back. Christmas was his dad’s favorite time of the year…….

Tomorrow is the little craft show I decided to do. I sure hope it does well. I worked liked crazy getting things reaydy today. I am still a bit behind, but we will see how it all works out!

Cannot Wait Til Friday!

Yes, I know…don’t be wishing time away, right?

Well, every year, I sign up to exchange Christmas cards with my Scottie friends. This is always fun, as most people find cute little Scottie cards, and the cards usually begin arriving the first of December. What could be more fun than going to the mailbox and finding several cards from all over the US and Canada? (and even Europe?) Oh, this year there are about 60 people participating.

Every year, it seems I am faced with the same dilemma of late….that is, no SNOW! Since doing this exchange, I have always sent a picture of Angus in each card. I always try to make it a snow scene, as I LOVE the snow!

Today, we met my parents to get Benjamin back. We met at a McDonald’s with a sign on the front that displays the time and current temperature. Somehow, the temperature of 67 just did not seem POSSIBLE! For heaven’s sake, it is NOVEMBER! So…..where is my snow?

When we arrived home, I grabbed the laptop and headed to Weatherbug….the warm temps are supposed to continue through most of this week, then rather rapidly fall into the 30’s on Friday. To make it even better, there is a 70% chance of snow! Now, I am hoping that this isn’t going to be one of those wimpy melt-as-it-falls-to-the-ground type of snowfalls. If I could just get a decent amount to take a snow picture of the boys wearing their reindeer head thingies, I would be a happy camper!

My envelopes are addressed and ready to go. All I need to do is write in a Christmas greeting, then add a picture of the *boys* and I am off and running!

In between, I am going to do a very small show with my soaps and some Christmas ornaments on Wednesday. This was a rather “spur of the moment” deal. I received an invitation from a Senior Living community to this gift and accessory show on the 29th. It is only from 10 am until 4 pm, so I figured it would be a fun way to spend some time out and about. I do need to figure some packaging, make up a few little gift baskets, whip some shea butter, and make some lip balms. I did attend one show several years ago, but was totally unprepared. Even if I don’t break any records at this one, it will be fun, to be sure. The small city where this is held is also invited, so it could be promising….

I think perhaps I will begin writing my greetings in those Christmas cards right now! My goal is to have them ready to send out shortly after the snow starts flying!

Somehow, I MUST Have Lost My Mind!

Sure, I hear you….she didn’t have a *whole lot* going on before! Ah well….

Late Thanksgiving night, after my family had gone home and we were relaxing (it was such a great day, after all!) Mark made the comment that perhaps we should get up *early* and go shopping…did I HEAR that right?

We had gone shopping early one Friday morning many years ago. We went to Hills to grab a Tonka Truck for Ben for Christmas. We even stood in line to wait until the doors opened so we could grab our little treasure….In the end, that little truck was well worth every moment we stood in that line. Ben played with that truck for several years, often sitting atop and scooting about…..

And so, in a moment of total insanity (having lost all common sense and sensibility) I said I was game. The catch? Well, Mark had seen a laptop that was at a very good price at Office Max. AND, the doors were opening at 5 am. Mark assured me he would happily arise at 4….I decided I needed to be in bed by 11, so I grabbed my cell phone and set it for alarm at 4 am. By 11, I was in bed…..however, I was unable to sleep! I NEVER have trounle sleeping! Perhaps it was my Macy’s Gift Card I earned with points from my business charge card….

At 4, I faithfully got up. Not wanting to rouse anyone too early, I awakened Mark and Michelle at about 4:15. We were off and on our way a little late, at about 4:30. We arrived at Office Max at exactly 5:08. Mark asked me to “rush in” and see if any of the laptops were left.

There was NO *rushing* this day! As I entered the store, I was alarmed to see people with hair in place, neatly dressed, casually shopping as though it was midday! I looked for the laptop, but couldn’t find it. I asked a nice associate, and he directed me to the customer service desk. I waited for three people in front of me. While waiting, I spotted one box with the laptop, sitting on a pile. When the associate came forward, I asked, and he handed me the *last* one!

I hurried (hahaha) to the checkout, firmly grasping the box in my hand, braced to punch anyone who might try to grab this baby! I waited in line for what seemed like an eternity! Finally, the woman in front of me checked out, paying about $285 for three Kodak C433 cameras, three starter kits, and three 1 G cards for the cameras. I was impressed! As soon as I checked out (I must have been in there for 45 minutes!) I raced to the truck where Mark praised me and my successful trip!

We headed to the mall across the street, but somehow, I was just not in the mood to shop. I noticed that others had sales fliers in hand, diligently searching out specific items. I admire folks like that….I am so impulsive…I feel like a buckin’ bronco when cornered with such meanial things like shopping lists! I like to kind of linger about, looking at everything. Of course, shopping trips where I can *graze* are getting fewer and fewer…seems I am always hurrying about anymore!

By the time we were finishing up, Carly called on the cell phone. It was her birthday, and I wanted to see her, but figured she was busy. As it was, her kids were at her hubby’s parents’ house….ahe had gotten up early as well, to buy a microwave at Lowe’s. Her local store told her the black units were special order, although the ad clearly listed them as available. Mark told Carly if she wanted to meet at *our* Lowe’s, he would talk with the manager to check out the situation.

We met, and Carly and Michelle ran into the store before Mark and me. By the time we were getting out of the truck, Michelle came out to tell us Carly was buying the model she wanted!
We looked around a bit, then headed to a local hamburger joint to grab some lunch.

By the time we arrived home, it was nearly time for the Buffalo Sabres game! I managed to stay somewhat coherant during the game, only *passing out* a couple of times. The game was a bit of a disappointment as Buffalo lost. The good news is that they are STILL number one! Yay!

After arising at 4 am two days in a row, I have decided that I would rather sleep in until a bit more of a respectable hour. After all 5 am *is* one hour later!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I haven’t been able to post recently, as life seems to be moving so rapidly! Yikes!

Today was a great Thanksgiving…we celebrated here at home with my parents and brother traveling to our house. This made things easier for us, as we have been running so much lately. It was nice to kind of catch our breath and relax for a day!

Mark’s mom had given us a certificate from a local market for a free turkey. (up to 20#!) We went to the store…I was really hoping to get an Empire turkey. These are kosher turkeys, and they are quite tasty. However, when I got to the store, they were sold out. The man at the meat counter said he bought a Marvel turkey last year and it was great. So, I left the store with a BIG almost 21# turkey.

After not being able to clean as I had wanted yesterday, I decided to just go to bed and get up early this morning to do the cooking. This proved to be a great idea! I got up at 4 am and took the dogs out. As soon as I was back inside, I began cooking. I made stuffing, sweet potatoes gratin, garlic mashed potatoes, acorn squash with butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon, and cranberry sauce. I did the stuffing first, then stuffed the turkey and got it ready to go into the oven. I put all of the other sides into the refrigerator while the turkey baked. As soon as the turkey was finished, all the sides went into the oven. While they baked, I kept the turkey covered in foil. I washed all the pots and pans as I worked, and the kitchen was looking pretty good!

When my family arrived, everything was pretty easy, and I actually got to sit down and visit with everyone. No frantic running around, or anything! I decided to eat early as opposed to waiting until late in the day. We sat down to eat at about 12:30, and this proved to work quite well. I washed most of the dishes afterward, then we watched the movie RV with Robin Williams. It is funny…I don’t really enjoy sitting and watching TV, but this movie is so funny, I nearly laugh myself onto the floor! Each time I see it, I see or hear something I missed before.

My family left shortly after 5, and Ben went with them to visit for a bit.

This was one of the easiest, most relaxing Thanksgivings I have experienced in a long time. I guess one thing is that the older I get, the more I realize that the world isn’t going to stop if I forget something! I DID forget two things….I forgot to make a salad, and I also forgot to get the acorn squash out of the oven! Ah well, everything was good, it went smoothly (even though I didn’t have a roaster that was really big enough for that big turkey) and I actually enjoyed relaxing and there was more than enough food on the table…no one left missing anything, nor were they hungry!

As I think about this holiday, I cannot help but be thankful for the rich blessings that have been so lavishly poured out on us. Sometimes life gets us to the point that we feel beaten up, and even spent, but on a day of reflection and giving thanks, we come to the stark conclusion that we have so much more than we can even use….we are so very, very blessed!

And, may you be blessed with love, health, and happiness this day and many, many more to come!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s a Dog’s Life…..

Poor Angus. Poor Murphy. Why do they feel so sad? Well, let me give you a hint…..
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………………………….Nope, not a bee. But, clippers!!!

Unfortunately, one of the “downsides” of owning Scotties is that they need frequent maintenance in the *coat* department. Scotties have two coats. The outer layer is less thick than the inner layer. If left on its own, this coat is very coarse. The inner coat is more like goose down…kind of insulating and very thick.

I generally groom the boys every month. This is to help them not to freak every time they hear the clippers. Angus doesn’t like the clippers at ALL, and Murphy is more or less “tolerant”. If you merely make a “bzzz” noise, Angus hightails it away. He refuses to be consoled, and clipping him is similar to a “greased pig” contest!

Last night, I began grooming Murphy. I was a little tired and Michelle came into the room and asked if she could finish. I REALLY need a grooming table. I get down on the hardwood floor and clip away. This was fine when I was more flexible and could SEE better! Now, I feel like I am being punished sitting there! When I get up, I feel like the tin man!!!! So, I gladly turned the clippers over to Michelle, and I helped her along.

Tonight, Michelle decided she would go after Angus. Oh BOY, did she NOT know what she was going for!!! Angus was relatively good for her, but he decided when he had enough!

Angus will allow the clippers on his body, shoulders, chest…but do NOT touch his HEAD with them. Do you have any idea how LONG it takes to get that “scottie look”using a pair of scissors? Ugh….

Now, just because Murphy is younger does NOT mean he is a fool!!! Look, he retreated to a safe place where no one could find him…..

Ha, ha! Little Murphy….I got down on all fours and peeked inside the tent with my camera! (I love the way that camera can shoot in what is the lowest of light!) Oh, and the reason I was taking pictures of Murphy instead of Angus was because Michelle (very kindly) asked me to l-e-a-v-e with my camera…..poor sport, eh?

Well, Angus had his dose of “primping”, so I told Michelle to just let him go. We will finish tomorrow. In the meantime, she took Angus down the hall and put him into the bathroom. She was going to bathe him, but decided not to, as he is “unfinished”. Instead, she vaccumed him!

So, as Angus headed into the bathroom, what did Murphy do?

Yup, he came out of the “pup tent” and decided to stretch out on the big plump doggie bed! In this picture, you can see how nicely Murphy turned out after Michelle’s grooming!

Now, for those of you with dogs, you cannot IMAGINE the fun of trimming toenails! Murphy HATES, hates, hates getting nails trimmed. When he was still a very small youngster, he would snarl and nip at me…actually, I think he was going for the clippers…not me. Anyway, I got out a muzzle and told him we were going to put on a little “mask.” Now, when we clip, I always get out the “mask” and he gets excited. Kind of funny. Angus used to give me such a HARD time. By the time we were done, we were both so tired, we SLEPT! Since getting Murphy, Angus now allows me to trim his nails without trouble.

Bottom line, these Scotties are sure a lot of work, but I cannot imagine life without them. They give far far more than they take!

What a Long Day…or, Was it Night?

Yesterday, we covered a lot of ground. We had basically winterized our camper, except we needed to empty our greywater and blackwater tanks. We discovered that a nearby (yeah, right….about 30 miles away!) town has an RV dump station located at their wastewater treatment plant. We decided to hitch up with the new truck and take the camper out to dump the tanks. We fiddled around a little…we needed to adjust the hitch a bit. Of course, the weather decided to really get rotten as we worked, with raindrops falling on more than our heads!

We finally were on our way! We drove to the town, and looked where we thought we were supposed to “dump”. Hmmmm…..all we could find was a manhole cover located in the center of a small road. Was this the “dump station”? I thought about what I had read on the internet, and told Mark I thought it was correct. We needed to lift a manhole cover!

In the midst of this, just imagine a new factory being built, with cement trucks and dump trucks traversing this narrow little road! There was a mailbox located on the side of the road directly across from the manhole cover, so we looked inside, thinking *perhaps* we might discover a clue? And, yes, we did! We found a little metal rod to use to pull the manhole cover aside.

Ben was my faithful assistant. YIKES! We managed to pull the cover sideways, so as to “crack” the cover just a bit. What we saw below our feet was not for the faint of heart! Roaring under us was a vast river of waste….yes, SEWAGE! BLECH!!!! I quickly drained the tanks and we headed towards home again.

When Mark began to back the camper up into its little niche, he realized that doing it with the new truck was totally different. It took nearly 45 minutes to get the little camper placed in its winter home.

As soon as this was finally accomplished, we were off on a long journey to Erie, Pennsylvania. The kids had signed up to attend a night of fun at an indoor water park called Splash Lagoon!
The fun was set to begin at 11 pm. Yup, that is 11 at NIGHT! And, the activities eneded at 3 am.

We stopped and visited with my parents before going off to Erie. We visited with them until nearly 10, then left for Splash Lagoon. We arrived in Erie in good time, and the kids were so excited….especially Ben.

After making sure they were safely inside, Mark and I went inside and watched for a bit…WOW! It felt like it was about a zillion degrees in there! We watched for quite a while, then after seeing the kids (and they TOTALLY ignored us!!!) we went to the gift shop to buy some little souvenirs, and then we went to the truck. I was tired and slept from about 1-3. When the kids came out, we drove down the road a bit, and finding a safe place, we “camped out”, sleeping in the truck until the daylight broke. Michelle and I slept in the back of the truck on the new Bedrug, with a sleeping bag over it, and covered with a king size down comforter. Amazing how warm and toasty we were, considering the temps were about 40 during the night! Murphy slept with us, and I awakened to a little Scottie sleeping on my back!

The kids slept a bit more as we fiddled around. Then we headed out, going back to visit my parents again. We visited, then headed home. We got home just before sunset, and it was great to be home, but the house was only about 58 inside! I made a fire in the stove, and ah, life is feeling so good about now! The bed hasn’t looked so enticing in a long time, and oh my…I forgot what it is like to nearly miss an entire night of sleep!

The good news is that the kids had a ball, and it really wasn’t that bad. They are beside themselves….Family Life Ministries is planning a REPEAT of this in March!

In Loving Memory…..

Of my father-in-law, Albert Catalano. No, it isn’t his birthday, or anything like that, but as I sat in the living room surrounded by the early morning darkness, I thought about him….

With the holidays coming up, I guess it is natural to think about my father-in-law, because his family was so very important to him. Mark said as he was growing up, his dad always attended his hockey games. Al was always there…for support, advice, you name it! Even when Mark was all grown up, he spoke with his dad by telephone nearly every day, seeking advice and just enjoying his company.

When we got little Angus, my father-in-law fell in love with him right away! In 2003, Al spent time in a nursing home recovering from a surgery. The home had a special picnic in early summer, and he invited the family to attend! Mark and the kids took Angus and BOY was that Scottie dog a HIT! My father-in-law placed Angus on his scooter and proudly took him around to show the residents!

That same year, Al was home again in time for Thanksgiving. So, we had Thanksgiving at his beautiful apartment. I was a little concerned, as we were watching Angus’ mother while her family went to visit relatives for the holiday. Al wasn’t the least bit concerned about having two dogs…..bring them both, he said!

And, we did! Michelle crafted a little headpiece for Sadie to wear, and we giggled and laughed as my father-in-law invited “Pochahontus” and Angus to the dinner table.

As we gather around the Thanksgiving table this year, may we hold those who surround us close to our hearts and lives. We have all been admonished to do this, but on that Thanksgiving in 2003, we never would have believed that in January 2005, Al would leave this world behind. We sure do miss him….

Eeeewwww! What an UGLY Day!

No kidding! This picture was taken from our front porch at noon today! The fog did eventually roll away for a couple of hours later in the day, but it is back again….along with drizzly, damp weather!

For being a Monday, this day was somewhat quiet. I remember seeing a tee shirt a few years ago that teased about “cancelling Mondays”. After last week, I did NOT want to crawl our of bed this morning, but it did turn out to be a decent day! The weather made it kind of “cozy” to just hang out inside the house without that feeling of “missing something”!

This morning, I dragged all of the little candle type lights out of the storage area, and put them up in the living room and dining area. I couldn’t wait for the darkness to set in tonight, as I love the glow of those little lamps! We have six windows, so it gets pretty “bright”.

Well, this was one of those mundane, rather ho-hum kind of days. It would have been a great day to curl up and read, but alas, other tasks called.