Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jane’s Grandchildren, TV Stardom, and Other Stories from Texas . . .

I have been so busy . . . and I am so far behind.  In the past few weeks, I have been to Texas and back . . . have put nearly 200 new items from CHA on our website . . . have planned another Grand Canyon hike with Dad and Blake for September . . . have held Ryan’s hand as the closing on his condo purchase was delayed (again) . . . and I’m probably missing a lot.  Now I’m getting ready for a show in Detroit this weekend . . . the Stamping Gala in the store next week . . . Stampaway in Cincinnati next weekend . . . a show in Collinsville (St. Louis) the week after that.  My brain is spinning.

So where do I start?  Since I need to dump pictures off my cell phone, let’s head to the Lone Star State . . .

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I have made this trip enough that the truck pretty much knows the way by itself.  But once in a while, I see something different.  This qualifies as “something different”.  I am not a “car guy” but I love the look of classic cars.  And there was something ironic about seeing this one on a car carrier with other cars from a much later era – it was like a fish out of water.


During setup in Grapevine, we had lots of quality help.  Left to right – Jane’s granddaughters Ginny and Devon, Suzanne’s son Sean, Jane’s grandson Trey, and Ann’s grandson Morgan.  And for a short time we put all of them in one area and they had to be very quiet . . .

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Because we were on TV!  Good Morning Texas did a live shot from the convention center on Friday morning and the hustle and bustle in our booth was the background for the tease for the piece during the show open at 9:00.  So we may or may not have been visible – that part of the program wasn’t archived on their website.

But this was – so feel free to watch Dave Carlson from Heirloom Productions become a TV star, along with Mechele Rudd from The Stamp Doctor.

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And of course I snuck a couple of pictures while they were shooting the piece.


We finished with setup early, and I went golf course hunting – wanted to try something new.  This one was great – Texas Star Golf Course in Euless – one of the nicest I have ever played.

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Later in the evening, I got a text from my brother – Blake and Lisa spent Friday flying to San Francisco to spend a week exploring NoCal.  They texted me the pic at left at lunch near Berkeley – the pic at right was my return text a few hours later from my post-golf banquet near my hotel.

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Saturday was a busy day.  Jane and Ginny were demoing Envelope Punch Boards, and Suzanne was demoing Faber-Castell’s new Gelato Kits.  I love the stage area at the Grapevine Convention Center – we have lots of room for demos and even more room for the customers to move about in our booth.

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This was my Double Take of the Day – I had this nice lady pose so I could take pictures from both angles.  The pic at left is what I saw when she got to the front of the line at the cash register – and I loved it!  I was actually a little disappointed when she turned and I saw the “S” I had missed . . .


Kept myself occupied during the very rare times that I could glance at the British Open or the Reds game on my Slingbox.  If you travel, Slingbox is the greatest invention of all time – you can watch your home TV anywhere.  And sometimes you get a weather report – the Reds game was about to be delayed by strong thunderstorms, so I looked at the radar on my phone and the area around my house was a sea of red.  I got to clean the branches and such out of my yard when I got home.

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Pat Larson the Stealth Photographer got shots of our booth during the day and the giveaway an hour before the show ended.

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Ginny was a hard worker – spent most of the day at the demo table.  But even she found a few minutes to retire to the playground in the Toomuchfun booth . . .


Once the show was over, it was time for the semi-annual high school reunion.  This time, I met Becki and Devela and their husbands at Fred’s Texas Cafe in Fort Worth – famous from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network.  Fun times – and I so enjoy catching up with them.  True friendship is the ability to just pick up where you left off, even if it has been a long time since you were last together.

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I took several large items back to Ohio with me – Jane’s son and daughter-in-law are missionaries for Athletes in Action and now live about two miles from our mail center.  So Natalie and Lucia came to the mail center last Friday to pick everything up.  Lucia was last seen on this blog two years ago – she was only a few weeks old and spent setup day in a carrier on the floor in our booth.  Some of you will be insanely jealous – she got to meet Zoe.  I didn’t think to take any pictures while they were visiting inside, but when we were headed to the car and Lucia realized that Zoe was watching her through the window, it was just too good to pass up – so I got shots from both perspectives.


Later on Friday, I got this picture in a text from Blake and Lisa – it has nothing to do with the Texas show but is still a neat story.  They spent Friday in San Francisco before taking the redeye home, and I suggested that they stop by Jasper’s Corner Tap – four times a year Jasper’s gets Brown Bag Paper from us for their menus, and of course we like to support those who support us!  I told them to give my regards to Matt the general manager, and found out that in the three weeks since he and I had last e-mailed back and forth he was promoted within the company that manages several restaurants in various cities.  Sabrina is the new GM – she and I had e-mailed just the day before but I had missed the new title under the signature on her e-mail.  So I sent Sabrina a note and the picture yesterday and got a nice reply from both Sabrina and Matt overnight.


And this was last night in my kitchen – this is my niece Mary (her family is visiting from Maryland) making ginger snaps.  I called it “Bakery 101” – it was her first effort at baking by herself.  All I did was supervise while baking the snickerdoodles I had already mixed before I went to get her.  She chose ginger snaps because in her school’s marching band, her nickname is “Ginger Snap” (apparently it has something to do with the hair color).  She did a great job and the cookies turned out wonderfully, I’m told (I don’t eat them) – but I wish I’d had a camera ready when she took the first bite of her new creations – she hated them.  I think it was quite a letdown after going through the whole process – we’ll try something else next time.

So now the travelogue is complete and I have room for more pictures on my cell phone.  I know there are some of you out there who would prefer that I spend more time on the new items and the Stamping Gala and such, and that will come over the next few days.


  1. I so enjoy reading about your travels! Looking forward to seeing you in Michigan this weekend....time to stock up for Christmas cards.

  2. Have missed your updates - thanks for getting up to speed with your goings on!