First and most important – if you have forgotten or neglected or put off placing your order during our annual Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday Weekend 25% Off Everything on Our Site Sale, this is your reminder that IT ENDS WEDNESDAY AT MIDNIGHT – at least on the west coast – the east coasties get until 3:00 a.m. Thursday – but if you’re on Hawaii Standard Time you only get until 10:00 p.m.
Of course, if you’re a bit of a gambler you may be able to stretch a few more hours – the odds of me dragging myself out of bed to shut off the sale at 3:00 in the morning are extremely remote, so it will probably stretch until I get up on Thursday morning.
But you have been warned . . .
Now on to other matters – I spent the weekend before last at a show in lovely (especially if you love snowstorms and single digit temperatures) Madison, Wisconsin. Hadn’t been to this show in several years, and it gave me a chance to touch base and catch up with my dear friends Chris Mode and Denise Pernetti (some of you may remember them when they were on our show circuit doing business as The Creative Mode).
This is neither of them – this is my wife’s cousin Carol Pappas. Carla found out recently that Carol works at a Sam’s Club near where she lives in northern Indiana – and about halfway between Indianapolis and Chicago on my trip to Madison, I remembered this. Guess who had the classic look of shock and surprise on her face when she turned around at her post at the jewelry counter and saw me?
This is what happens when the promoter tells me to grab a couple of props and stand in front of her “selfie stand” at the entrance to the show.
Faber-Castell generously sent their design team member Margie Higuchi to dazzle the customers at our demo table all weekend. This was our first time working together and I’m sure we’ll do it again.
This was the view out of the breakfast room window in my hotel on Saturday morning. Eight inches of white death in Madison – up to 18” 50 miles farther south. And yes, it did have an effect on the attendance on Saturday – even hardy folks from Wisconsin and northern Illinois are affected by the first snowfall of the winter.
One of the best perks of my travels is the friendships I have made. In the Fall of 1999, I met Roy and Tyra Smith and their three children for the first time (Tyra was demoing for us at a show in St. Paul, MN). Over the years, we have become more than friends -- we have become family. Their oldest daughter, Shyekara Shroeder, was 10 then – over the weekend she turned 27. On Saturday night in Madison, Kara and her husband welcomed me, her parents, and her sister Angel into their home. There, I met their eight-week-old son Parker -- and held an infant in my arms for the first time since my nephew Tyler was born nearly 22 years ago.
Of course, last weekend was Thanksgiving – a busy baking occasion for me. The first two of these have appeared on these pages before – Chocolate Mint Cookies and our family favorite Cheeseball. The last one was a first effort – Pumpkin Cheesecake Lasagna. I saw it on a friends Facebook page and gave it a shot for my family – it was very well received. If you want to give it a shot for yours, you can find the recipe here.
And this is just a shock to me – this is what I paid on Sunday and there were no discounts involved. Here in Ohio, gas is usually higher than it is in surrounding states, so we usually envy you folks in South Carolina and Texas and other states where it is traditionally cheaper. But last weekend, Indiana and Ohio had the cheapest gas in the country. A month before, a Midwest refinery went offline and for a few days ours was the highest. So I guess this is our compensation – until someone sneezes and the price goes up again.