Sunday, May 1, 2016

An Empty Chair in Our Classroom . . .

Our retail store community was saddened this week by the passing of longtime friend and customer Dolly Haley.

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Lisa Nelson described Dolly as "a much loved and talented woman. Dolly was a regular attendee of the Tuesday night coloring group at Marco's where she readily shared her talent and her smile. She will be sorely missed."

A memorial service will be held at her church at the end of May.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Please Shower a Friend with Cards and Love . . .

This is the post no parent ever wants to share. A lot of you know Connie Williams -- either from the Stampaway USA convention in Cincinnati, Verses Rubber Stamps, or when she had Stamp Your Art Out in Kenwood. Connie posted the following on her Facebook page Wednesday morning . . .

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“Our son, William, at the age of 30, passed peacefully at 4:52 am after a two year struggle with congestive heart failure. From the beginning my prayer was...he is in your hands, Lord.  I know my prayers have been answered.  Amanda flew in late last night and was able to say she loves him and a few hours earlier our priest came to give him the sacrament of the sick.  He is in God's hands now.  Thank you for the prayers and support you have given to Bob, Amanda & Matt and me.”

I have known Bill since he was 12 years old, and my heart breaks for Connie, Bob and the rest of their family. In recent years, he drove to our mail center and brought me Connie's booth to take to shows for her -- always accompanied by his dog, Baby.

What most of you do with this hobby is make cards -- and Connie has spent years making it possible for you to learn how to be more creative in making them. It seems fitting to shower her with your creations at this most difficult time . . .

Connie Williams
Stampaway USA
5669 Creek Road
Cincinnati, OH 45242

Thanks.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Product Testimonial of Sorts . . .

Thought you might get a kick out of this tidbit from the Allentown show three weeks ago – as I get ready for the Akron show this weekend . . .

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The batteries on one of our cash registers died between the shows in Indianapolis in March and Allentown in April, so I had to reprogram it and put in new batteries. The other register was working fine, but I figured it might be a good idea to change them too. These are the batteries... the Energizers that expire in a year are dead... the Duracells that expired SEVEN YEARS AGO were still going strong.

Have a great day – hope to see lots of you in Akron this weekend!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Updates on Ellen from Tessler’s . . .

An e-mail I received today reminded me that while I have been posting updates on the progress Ellen from Tessler’s on our Facebook page, I haven’t said anything on the blog.  And I should have done that – especially since the news gets better each time – my apologies.  So here are the three updates I have posted since I first informed you about Ellen’s ordeal in February . . .

From March 11 . . . Update on Ellen from Tessler's... I talked with her sister Cristina today... Ellen is doing well and working on rehab... and get this, insurance TODAY approved surgery to attach synthetic bone to replace portion of her skull removed to release pressure from the aneurysm (2 1/2 months later).

From April 1 . . . Another Ellen from Tessler's Update . . . Cristina told me today that Ellen had surgery a couple of weeks ago to replace the missing portion of her skull (after three months!) with artificial bone, and the staples from the surgery were removed yesterday. Ellen says she feels so much better and for the first time since her aneurysm she is not having daily headaches. Keep those prayers coming -- we want Ellen back on the show circuit with us as soon as possible!

From April 4 . . . As I started the truck to leave the Allentown Fairgrounds after teardown yesterday, Cristina Tessler climbed up on the step and leaned in the passenger window. She had a message from her sister Ellen that she wanted me to share with all of you who have been in her corner these past three months, and she asks that you do the same.

Here is Ellen's message...

I wish I could send a card to each of you. Your cards and prayers have meant so much. I am getting better, and I will be back on the road to see you at shows next year!

Ellen

Three Day Extension -- It Was Gary’s Idea . . .

When we set up the Sitewide Sale last week, the “end date” just seemed logical.  It was a week – I didn’t pay a bit of attention to the date.  And then Gary noticed that it was Tax Deadline Day – except Tax Deadline Day isn’t Tax Deadline Day this year.  That date was extended until Monday, April 18 by an obscure holiday (only in the District of Columbia) called Emancipation Day.

So Gary decided that if it was good enough for the IRS . . .

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You now have the weekend – we encourage you to make the most of it . . .

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Arizona Dreaming, Part 2 . . .

Dad has taken us to so many breathtaking places in Arizona during our visits.  I won’t kid you – the Grand Canyon is far and away the most spectacular.  But this year, we went to Chiricahua National Monument (about two hours southeast of Tucson) – and it’s the next best and completely different.

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Had to know it was going to be a memorable experience when the sun came up as we were traveling along I-10 toward Chiricahua . . .

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Chiricahua is spectacular – from a distance, the entire area looks like thousands and thousands of rock “totem poles”.  But up close, a lot of them have personality . . .

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Lots of them have faces – and yes, even the signs refer to this one as looking like a duck . . .

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This is not a strenuous hike – probably less than ten miles round trip from the Visitors’ Center.  But there is also a road that leads all the way into the “monument”, with short hikes from the parking areas to spectacular views.

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Like the Grand Canyon, pictures do not do this place justice.

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On the left is one of the signature Chiricahua rock formations – I bought a t-shirt that featured it.

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Lots of tight spaces with rock formations visible behind them – and they just screamed “take my picture” . . .

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Sometimes, so did we . . .

Monday, April 11, 2016

Arizona Dreaming . . .

I woke up to 2½” of snow on the ground Saturday morning – not quite what I was looking for on the second weekend of April.  Except for remnants in shady areas, it was gone by evening, and it’s back in the 50s today.  But days like that make me long for the winter warmth of Arizona – which reminded me that I wanted to share more of our hiking pics from our trip in late February.  So if you’re not a fan of my travel anthologies, it might be wise to click on that “X” in the upper right corner of your screen.

I have already shared our first hike and Dad’s mishaps – he’s fine now, and a year older (he turned 80 last week).  The day after those 20 staples graced his scalp, we took Blake with us to the top of Mount Lemmon, about 6,000 feet above Tucson.  This was a hike that Dad and I took two years ago without him and I wanted to share the sights – but I forgot that it took nine hours!

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This is part of a sign on top of Mount Lemmon – it explains how a 1,000 foot change in elevation give you an environment similar to driving 300 miles north.  Amazing . . .

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We parked at the same spot near Summerhaven (the town at the top of Mount Lemmon) where we parked two years ago, but quickly lost the trail and had to bushwhack our way to the top – didn’t lose the remnants of the scratches on my knees for nearly two weeks.

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Rough life – the ski lift was running all day in case anyone wanted to ride to the top even though there wasn’t enough snow for skiing.  So this guy was mostly playing games on his computer . . .

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Wanted Blake to see the observation shack, out on a windswept rock overlooking the mountain forest.

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Looked very different – actually, the belt wrapped around it made it look like the shack was in danger of blowing apart in a stiff breeze.

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I love “what he saw . . . what I saw” pics . . .

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Same thing, part two – this time I was enthralled by a tree that appeared to be growing out of the rock . . .

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Lots of changes as we hiked – many areas were scarred by a fire about ten years ago, while others showed the progress after scattering pine seeds from the air to restore the forest.

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The north side of the mountain was different – and treacherous – especially when hiking laterally.

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Best memento of the day came when we encountered four other hikers along the trail – two of them were Ohio natives.

Tomorrow I will take you to the most beautiful area I have encountered in Arizona that isn’t the Grand Canyon, and after that I should be caught up . . .