Monday, November 24, 2014

A Holiday “Imagine” . . .

This is what was going through my mind this morning as I filled my gas tank, trying to beat the “Hey, It’s Thanksgiving Week!” price increase I just knew was coming (and which did two hours later – 25 cents a gallon) . . .

Imagine what would happen if groceries acted like petroleum companies ... "There's a holiday on Thursday ... lots of people will be eating ... quick, raise all of our prices 10% ... we'll blame it on supplier shortages or unrest in Iowa"

I know ... someone will blame me for giving them the idea ...but just in case, I got my gas this morning ... and my groceries yesterday.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Children Are Our Future . . .

It was the beginning of a Whitney Houston song, and it fits so many situations in life . . . “I believe the children are our future … teach them well and let them lead the way.”

This phrase came to mind this morning after the phone rang at the mail center about 11:00 this morning.  On the other end was a nice lady inquiring about the Make & Take Project that was just starting at our store.  She wanted to know two things – was this something where she could just drop in and participate (yes), and would an eight-year-old girl be welcome (absolutely!).

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About an hour and a half later, she brought three of them – and when I left the store, Judy Kennard was hard at work introducing them to the art of cardmaking.  Hopefully they enjoyed themselves and learned a new hobby, and perhaps someday they’ll come back with friends – or even children of their own.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Walter White – 1914-2014 – Honoring a Life Extremely Well Lived . . .

We have been expecting this news for several weeks, and preparing for it for much longer.  Gary’s father-in-law, Walter White, died this morning at the age of 100.

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Regulars at our store knew Walter well – he spent most of the last 15 years of his life there, wrapping packages and doing odd jobs.  Those of you who visit our booth at shows got to know a little about him during the past four years, since the tubs of his dollar packs started appearing next to the demo table.

There is so much more to Walter than that, and I have shared stories about him a couple of times in this blog. There were several instances this summer where it appeared his time was coming – but I was certain that there was no way Walter White would die in the middle of baseball season, which he loved as much as I do.

Today, I am struggling a bit with how to feel – it is hard to mourn the passing of someone who experienced and enjoyed such a full life, especially since he had reached the point where life was no longer enjoyable.  As I type this, what I am feeling most is a sense of gratitude that I was fortunate enough to know such a fascinating man and consider him my friend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It Begins Again . . . Free Shipping with a $30 Purchase

I started getting questions like this at shows in October – “Are you going to do your free shipping thing again this year?”  Oh yeah – it usually starts about the same time every year . . .

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And that time is now!  Between now and December 16, we’ll ship retail orders over $30 free in the Continental U.S. (and for 1/2 the USPS rate to many foreign countries).  So get busy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Oh the Weather Outside Is Frightful . . .

This is mostly for those of you who never experience weather like we’re having today.  You northerners know the type – they look at pictures of snow scenes and wax rhapsodic about how wonderful they look, but never have the “pleasure” of going outside in subzero wind chills (we’re going to get those tonight).

Yes, I know – there are even some northerners who live for winter – even southerners who travel north in search of snow.  As much as I grumble, I used to love it as well – but learned how to shiver as I grew older.  And by then my roots were just too deep.

This was the view outside when I got up this morning . . .

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And a similar shot after it got light out.  I hadn’t noticed until a friend brought it to my attention, but my original predawn shot had some artistry to it.

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Those are very symmetrical lawn mower lines in my front yard – believe it or not, I mowed yesterday.

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Two more shots from my front yard.

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And one from my side yard, along with a close-up – yes, this stuff is wet and heavy.  That piece bending toward the ground is usually standing up straight with the rest of the bush.

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Backyard view.  These pics are not black and white, but it’s hard to tell except for the few orangish leaves still on my maple tree.  My neighbors two houses down the street left for their winter home in Florida two days ago.  I envy them . . .

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This is from the shopping strip across the road from our mail center.  Last year, there was a massive pile of snow and ice on that spot well into April.  But it didn’t start this early – on November 17 last year, the high temperature was 61.

Global warming . . . yeah, right.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Make & Take Instructions Continue . . . and More from the Weekend Grab Bag!

I assume you have been paying attention, but just in case . . . there are now six projects from the Wednesday/Saturday Make & Takes in our store that have been posted on our site with instructions and a list of materials, with more to come.

Here are the most recent four that you may not have seen yet . . .

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There are no links on the individual pictures above – save this link so you can go to the “cover page” and see all of them – then pick your favorites and click on the links there for more information.

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It’s coming again – I almost forgot about Small Business Saturday until I read an ad on my Facebook page this afternoon.  This is the fifth year that American Express has made the Saturday after Thanksgiving a holiday – and has been willing to pay you to join in the fun!  In past years, Amex would give you a $10 statement credit if you spent $10 or more at a participating small business (for you folks in Dayton and the surrounding area – that’s us!) on Small Business Saturday.

But this year, it’s better – Amex is giving three $10 statement credits per card! I haven’t found all of the fine print, but I assume that means you “have” to go shopping to three different small businesses on November 29 to get the full credit – that will be rough, won’t it?

You need to register your Amex card to be eligible for the statement credits – the registration period opens this Sunday, November 16 at 12:00 a.m. MST.  I haven’t seen a specific website to visit to register, but I suspect if you go here on Sunday you’ll be able to find it -- https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/

Every year, I enjoy giving you a tip that puts free money in your pocket!

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On an unrelated note, here is your tease for the weekend.  This is a picture that I picked up last week and at some point over the next few days I’ll tell you a story about him . . .

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Birthday Greetings . . .

I was raised to be a gentleman – and as such, to never ever make reference to a lady’s age.  However, there are milestones in life that should be recognized.  Therefore . . .

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Please join me in wishing Karen Ihle a very Happy 60th Birthday!  I realize that most of you live way too far from Dayton, Ohio to stop by in person, so you can send birthday wishes to her electronically at marcosretailstore@gmail.com

But if you are close enough, please stop by the store after the morning Make & Take for a “day after” carry-in luncheon/birthday celebration on Wednesday, November 12.  Plan to arrive with a dish to share at 11:30!