Sunday, May 31, 2015

Enjoying Life at Your Own Pace . . .

Greetings from Syracuse, New York – where the high temperature can be 86 on Saturday and 56 on Sunday and the locals don’t bat an eye . . .


This is a long shot from the road at SRC Arena on the campus of Onondaga Community College.  This place is really nice – the whole campus is really nice and is now referred to as “Harvard on the Hill” (there really is a nice view from the back parking lot).  But it wasn’t always this way, I’m told – over the past several years, it has been turned from the butt of local jokes into a showplace.  It was also the site of “Runapolooza” on Friday while we were setting up our booths.

This was the sight in the back parking lot shortly after I arrived – by evening, they were expecting lots of runners and four bands along the race course and here afterward.


A few hours later, they were making progress outside – and so were we inside . . .


By evening, the runners were arriving – and we were just about ready for Saturday . . .


It’s all about what you enjoy.  The runners had their fun – and inside the building, about 100 crafters had theirs during a make and take party.


And some did both – Jen Matott is a member of Faber-Castell’s design team (and an art teacher in Syracuse).  She stopped by on Friday evening to say hi before running the race – and spent the weekend at our demo table.


Unrelated – this stuff has followed me all spring.  It looks like snow, but it comes from the cottonwood trees and coated the ground outside my hotel on Saturday morning.


And I just had to share the homemade air deflector that The Stamp Doctor is using – Mechele says it really does increase their gas mileage.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happy Birthday, Zoe . . . and a “Grandchild” in the Landscape

It was actually yesterday, but I preferred to leave Memorial Day uncluttered for those who have truly earned our respect.


Eight years old, but forever my puppy... Happy Birthday, Zoe.


And this sight is from the landscaping in my backyard.  There is a story behind it – this is a tiny version of one of those ratty bush/shrub/trees that grow wild everywhere in my part of the country (we actually used them for Christmas trees when I was a kid).  Ryan found its six inch tall “grandparent” in Mom and Dad’s yard when he was a toddler, and insisted that we plant it in our backyard.  So we did – and when it finally grew big enough, I put Christmas lights on it in December so Ryan could see them from his bedroom window.  But these things get oversized and ugly quickly – and finally I’d had enough and announced that it was coming down.  Ryan protested, until he went out to “protect” his tree and found a little offspring growing underneath it.  So the original was removed and the offspring grew, and eventually it also wore Christmas lights.  A couple of years ago, I told Ryan that the second generation’s time had come – and he protested again, but no offspring was found.  So I let it go – this Spring is was about 15 feet tall and really ratty.  Thankfully, it had finally gone forth and multiplied – so over the weekend it came down, was cut into pieces that were tied with string, and went off in the garbage truck.  And now the third generation has taken its place – someday to wear Christmas lights of its own.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Final Goodbye with Honors . . .

Karen asked me to share this with all of you – of course, if you are in our area you are invited to attend . . .


Friday, May 8, 2015

Cleaning Out My Cell Phone Pictures . . . and An Absence Excuse

Other than a brief appearance last Friday when the Distress Color of the Month came out, I have been off the grid – again – for a month.  So it’s time to catch up.  This will be in mostly chronological order, with some minor detours along the way . . .


This is my daughter-in-law Emily – I took this pic last Saturday as she prepared to drive off in her new (to her) car.  A frantic Ryan called me about 30 minutes before the Allentown show closed on March 29 to tell me that Emily had totaled her car and he was on his way home from work.  Thankfully, though the car was totaled, Emily and Anakin (the puppy) were not – they escaped with bruises and general soreness.  So for all of April, Ryan, Carla, Mary (Emily’s mom) and I ferried Emily back and forth to work until all of the hoops were jumped through and she was ready to car-hunt.  Her former supervisor now works at a car dealership and got her a sweetheart deal on a really nice car.


Meanwhile, my own car was approaching the magic 100,000 mile mark.  I knew it was coming for weeks, anticipated the magic moment when it would turn over – even knew it was going to happen on my way home from work.  And I missed it . . .

The day after I got home from Allentown, Carla went to her mom’s to spend a week helping her through her second cataract surgery (the first was in early March).  This left Zoe, the cats and me Home Alone again – and we had a really nice Easter week, until I got sick the day after Easter.  This actually worked well for me – I prefer to be left alone when I’m under the weather, and Zoe is a great nursemaid.  But even after I thought I had recovered, I was uncomfortable off and on for the rest of the month.  It wasn’t enough to keep me from doing my job, but by the end of the day I was exhausted and cranky, and unable to do much else.  I finally started going to doctors and practitioners trying to get an answer, and it wasn’t until two weeks later that tests determined that I had passed a kidney stone.  Most people have their agony and discomfort before passing the stone and feel great after – my “agony and discomfort” lasted only about 20 seconds.  But I learned that there are an unfortunate (or fortunate) few that experience several weeks of discomfort after the fact – and that was me.  So that’s why I disappeared.

But I still did two shows in April, and thought I put on a pretty good act in spite of myself . . .

The first was in Cambridge, Maryland the third weekend in April.  My brother-in-law and his family live about 2½ hours from Cambridge, so I arranged to take his middle daughter, Mary, with me and visited with them for a couple of days before we left for the show.  Mary doubled up with her older sister and allowed me to use her room, and while I was there I realized how much she was looking forward to our trip together.


Her calendar told it all.  And she was pretty excited about bouncing down the road in the passenger seat of our truck.

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This was Mary’s first experience at a show – and fellow vendors were amazed.  They thought she had been doing this for years.  I told her afterward that we have had professionals at our demo table who didn’t do half as well as she did.


Cambridge also featured a Kathy Krivitski Sighting – Kathy spent the entire show pushing her walker in circles around the convention hall chasing after her granddaughter, Gracie.  Longtime blog readers will remember that Gracie and her parents (Danielle and Chris) were on our prayer list for a while before she was born – I can attest to you that Gracie is one constant ball of energy today.


The next weekend, we were in Akron for Adventures in Stamping.  Karen made the trip along with her own personal support group from the store (several of them pictured here), and spent the weekend collecting hugs from fellow vendors and other shoppers.


And I had to get this – this is Linda Malcom from Lost Coast, and the hitchhiker is her best friend Daisy.  You would be amazed – Daisy never strays from Linda’s side, no matter where she goes.  And she came that way – Linda never had to train her.

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Way-too-long awaited items are finally starting to arrive – we got some Dylusions Paints in mid-April (not nearly enough, Ranger – you have done a pitiful job of releasing your products this season, but more are expected from another supplier next week), and Mixed Media finally arrived from Sizzix a couple of days ago after the dockworkers out west finally freed them from the shipping container they had been sitting in for months.

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Earlier this week, I went on a much-needed golf trip to Hard Labor State Park near Rutledge, GA.  Such a relaxing time with good friends – and I haven’t laughed so hard in years.  I took these pics on the same hole – not a common sight on a golf course.

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This is a bridge overlooking another hole – the road that led to it is long-gone, but I was able to walk out and get a close-up look.


The local inhabitants were not afraid of us at all – that speck at right is a squirrel (black in the front and brown in the back) that spent all three days greeting us on the same hole.  No matter how close we got to him (?), he just watched us and continued with his own business.


We stayed in a brand new cabin – there was still sawdust on the steps leading to the screened-in porch.  And one evening it was just too nice to stay inside – we played a board game on the picnic table while grilling.


One final view and I think I’m caught up – Zoe is shedding mightily, and this is the pile of fur that I removed from her hindquarters with a curry comb last night.  To give you some perspective, I filled a three-gallon bucket with that pile before I headed to the garbage can.

So if my health permits, I’ll give you short bursts on a more regular basis for a while . . .

Friday, May 1, 2015

May Distress Color of the Month

Here it is – the May Distress Color of the Month . . .


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And yes, I know I have been off the grid again – several of you have asked about me.  April was pretty much a “lost month” in many respects – I’ll bring you up to speed at some point . . .