Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Warning: Grandson Now Mobile . . .

I was at the store most of this morning getting ready to load the truck for this weekend’s show at the Big E in Springfield, Massachusetts (that’s a reminder, New England – 10:00-5:00 Saturday, 11:00-4:00 Sunday – it’s going to rain Saturday so you have no excuses).  I tend to have tunnel vision when I’m working on a task, so I didn’t even hear the patter of little feet for quite a while . . .

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It appears that Karen & David’s grandson Bryden is now mobile.  Cap all of your outlets and put the breakables on higher shelves . . .

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Third Way to See If Anyone Reads This Blog . . .

My inbox overflowed yesterday after the blog post went out via e-mail.  It seems that all of you noticed what I didn’t – and yes, I really do realize that Zoe is a CANINE (as I said, it’s a good thing she can’t read).  I was trying to play a cute little trick with alliteration.  On my Facebook page, I posted a picture of Zoe and referred to her as my “faithful friend” – by the time I got here, I thought I could do better but I stayed with the alliteration.  And I never saw it – until you did.

So now I have learned a third way to see if you are reading.  The first two were obvious . . . (1) Write About My Dog and (2) Write About My Mom. Now we have (3) Write Something Really Stupid (or Do a Lousy Job of Proofreading).

And for that, it was worth it.  I am always grateful to those of you who find what I write interesting.  Have a great weekend, stay safe, and to those of you who served or love someone who does – thanks.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Name Was Missing . . .

There is a sheet posted in our classroom listing the birthdays for the month among the “regulars”.  This month it looks like this . . .


Thankfully, my favorite canine can’t read – because today is Zoe’s fifth birthday and she isn’t listed!  But she still got to have a special visit.

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Debbie Cosenza was having a class in the back room and Zoe got to beg a piece of pound cake from Karen.  And yes, that big ski book Karen is sporting serves a purpose – two weeks ago she bent over to pick something up and tore a calf muscle (ouch – hurts just to type it).  I’m told that Chris Mach was behind her when it happened and the “pop” was loud enough to scare her.


So Karen is on “light duty” for a few weeks – but that didn’t stop her from taking Debbie’s Pan Pastels Workshop.  See, we have gotten talented by osmosis – this is the project she was working on today!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day Through a Closed Door . . .

Mother’s Day has always been very special in my family.  We usually meet at my brother’s house, where we visit and play games.  My nephew Tyler usually makes a dessert and I make homemade ice cream.  And we all gather in the living room while Mom opens her cards and gifts.

This year, it’s even more special – for obvious reasons.


But this will be my view of Mother’s Day this year.  It’s a rotten picture, but there is a story behind it . . .

Ryan’s girlfriend Emily stopped by our house on Thursday between shifts at the vet clinic where she works.  While she was there, she came down with a nasty stomach bug.  Ryan said he had never seen anyone throw up so often in such a short time.  He ended up taking her to her doctor, where she got a shot and a prescription to calm her nausea.  Unfortunately, all of this happened after they had shared a soft drink from the same bottle (along with the obvious swapping of saliva when they greeted each other).  So we figured it was inevitable that Ryan would be next, even though I aired out the house and sterilized everything I could get my hands on.

Even though it has been more than three months since Mom’s last chemo, it wasn’t worth taking a chance that her resistance was still low.  So I called my parents and my brother and told them that we would give them the gift of good health this year – by staying away from them.  That picture above is a shot of my parent’s front door – those are my feet in the reflection and that brown envelope that you can barely see in the corner is full of your happy e-mails of support (along with a card from me).  I called this morning and told them I would drop them off after church.  I would much rather miss a Mother’s Day gathering and have a healthy mom.

The irony in all of this is that more than three days later, Ryan still hasn’t caught the bug.  We may have dodged the bullet – hopefully it will stay that way.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you – and thanks again for the part you played in making ours special this year.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Last Call for Presale Distress Markers . . .

Did you order your Full Set of Distress Markers yet?  We expect a shipment to arrive Monday that will finally allow us to ship the last of the preorders – that will empty a file folder that has been bulging since January!  And once the last preorder ships, the price goes from the presale offer of $92.00 to the regular price of $115.00.  So here’s your last warning to take a few minutes this weekend to order yours!

Tim Holtz® Distress™ Markers - Complete Set of 37 Markers

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I would like to wish all of you the very happiest of Mother’s Days!  It will be a very special one for my family – and so many of you have played a part in that.  I have been buried in e-mails and comments since Wednesday, and I assure you that Mom will read every one (and cry).  Thanks again for being part of our family.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Two Greatest Phrases . . .

“Cancer Survivor” . . . and “Your PET Scan was completely normal.”  I won’t make you read all the way to the end.  Mom’s fine . . . we’re ecstatic.  And now I’ll tell the story.

Mom’s appointment was at 9:00 this morning.  To completely appreciate this story, you have to understand how our internal clocks work.  I am always on time – exactly on time.  So for a 9:00 appointment, I will arrive between 8:58 and 9:00.  Blake is always ten minutes early.  My dad is even earlier than that.  And Blake picked up Mom and Dad this morning, so he was on their clock.  No big deal – doctors are always running late.

So imagine my surprise (and heightened stress) when my cell phone rings at 8:45 and Blake tells me they are in Exam Room 4.  Of course, I am still on I-75 and ten minutes away.  By 8:58, the suspense was over – I walked into an Exam Room 4 full of happy people rehashing the results and discussing plans for checkups in the future.  Other than being disappointed that I missed the announcement, I couldn’t care less – I was dreading a 45 minute stay in the waiting room while the tension mounted.

Blake told me later how it went – Dr. Merl (the oncologist) walked into the exam room, handed a sheet of paper to Blake, and said “Let’s see how your eyesight is this morning – read the last line.”  So Blake read -- “No signs of malignancy or any other irregularities.”  And at that point, the oncologist looked at Mom and said “You are in complete remission.”

Mom will go back for a checkup in three months, and probably another PET Scan in six months.  She is thrilled that there is no more chemo (and also that her hair will continue to grow).  I wish I had been prepared to take a picture just after the oncologist left the room, when Mom did a very un-Momlike thing – she threw both fists into the air and shouted “YES!!!”


Instead, you get the posed shot in the parking lot shortly after.  I have said it so many times, but I can’t begin to thank all of you enough for your cards, e-mails, and prayers.  You have touched my mom and my family so much, and I have no doubt that each of you played a part in her recovery.  God is truly good.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Signs of Life . . . Everywhere

There are little ones all over the place – I really have to be careful where I drive these days.  When I pulled up to the back door of the store on Thursday, there was a little one hopping around on the walk – obviously too young to fly yet.


He (she?) didn’t seem to mind me stopping to watch, and was a photogenic little tyke.  But some of the little ones have more adult supervision, like this bunch that I saw driving in my Mom & Dad’s complex yesterday after church . . .


I like ducklings – they don’t grow up to be annoying like Canadian Geese.  Used to think those were cute, too – back in the days when there were only a few of them.  Now, they’re everywhere.  When Ryan was playing football in high school, they had to share their practice field with a flock of Canadian Geese (and their droppings).  I washed his practice uniform in hot water every night!

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Update on my mom . . . we get her PET Scan results at 9:00 on Wednesday morning.  I will not kid you – she is scared to death and preparing herself for the worst.  I guess that’s to be expected – better to be pleasantly surprised by good news than devastated by bad.  I made a comment yesterday morning about how pleased I was to see that her hair had come back “salt and pepper” – she has had it colored for so long that I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was completely white.  Her response had something to do with “we’ll see how long I get to keep it.”

This all caught me a little off-guard – I tend to think that way at times, but I didn’t realize that she did as well (though I had to get it someplace).  My mom can always put on a cheery front – I can remember when I was little, at bedtime she would always tell me to “wake up with a happy face.” 

As always, we appreciate your prayers.  We have been pointing toward Wednesday since early October.  Now we’re only two days away, and it can’t get here fast enough.  One way or the other, the next post you read here will share the details.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

They’re Here, But . . .

Over the past two days, the new Distress Pads and Reinkers have started to arrive.  And we have started collecting them on a table so we can package them together – since most of you took advantage of our special and ordered the new pads and all nine reinkers.  But we’re finding that none of our suppliers realized that the reinkers for the Fall and Winter Sets would be as popular as we suspected . . .


This is what the table looked like about noon today.  Those three looooooong rows of reinkers are for the Spring colors, the shorter rows are the Fall and Winter colors.  And I was going into panic mode once I noticed (I’m sure you did as well) that one of those rows was dangerously short.  But shortly after, Gary walked in with a box from another supplier, and the short row became much longer.

So the first 30 orders for Spring Pads and All Nine Reinkers will be shipping today and tomorrow, and we will keep scrounging for more so we can fill the rest of them as quickly as we can.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Two Desk Chairs Lead to a Good Night’s Work . . .

One of these days, I will get around to telling stories from the shows in Akron and Allentown (or maybe I won’t – after a while, they probably get a little stale).  But this is an Akron story that I promised to tell.


This is a shot of my room at the Country Inn & Suites in Cuyahoga Falls, OH – I took it just before I checked out on Sunday morning.  This hotel is about four miles from the Knight Center and is very convenient – we always use it if I remember to make the reservations early enough.  But my room didn’t start with two desk chairs – it started with the bigger one in the corner.  And it hurt my back . . .

I had spent three days on a golf trip in Georgia – in an area so remote that we didn’t have internet access or a cell phone signal that was good for more than an occasional text.  I got home late Wednesday night, spent all day Thursday getting ready for the show and packing the truck, drove to Akron Thursday evening, got up early Friday morning and set up all day.  What this meant more than anything was by Friday evening, I had a week of e-mails to work through.  But I have back trouble – and five minutes after I sat in that desk chair, I was in pain and knew it would only get worse.

So I went to the front desk and asked if I could borrow a chair from the breakfast room for the evening.  Kelly at the front desk did even better.  He told me to go to the business center and try the chairs there – and if I found a comfortable chair there, I could take it to my room and keep it for the weekend.  I did, and I did . . .

And it gets better.  Saturday morning, I needed to print some signs to announce the new Limited Edition Distress Inks.  Printers in hotel business centers are usually black & white, and color signs are simply better.  So I found a FedEx Office (I still call them Kinko’s) nearby and drove there at 7:30 in the morning.  But I didn’t realize there were Kinko’s that weren’t open 24 hours – this one didn’t open until 9:00!

Oh well – back to the hotel and black & white signs from the business center.  Or so I thought – until I got there and found that there were people at both computers.  So back to the front desk I went, where I explained my dilemma to Lia.  She took my flash drive, went to the manager’s office, and printed color copies for me.

I travel a lot, and usually am treated well by the hotel staff.  But these two went above and beyond the call – and I told both of them that I would send an e-mail of thanks to their manager when I got home.  And it seemed only fair that I share it with you as well.