Monday, November 28, 2005

Long Drive Home

George and I left Michael's house in Alexandria at 8 a.m. on Saturday, and drove 519 miles to our house and arrived at 6:30 p.m. A very fast drive considering that it is one of the most heavily traveled days of the year. We came to a complete stop twice on the dreaded New Jersey Turnpike, but then the traffic cleared and we zoomed through the tolls with our new EZPass, and we zoomed down the Garden State Parkway, across Connecticut and into Massachusetts. Even the Mass Pike was no problem. During one of the rest stops, I had to wait in a long line of women to get to the ladie's room, but the line moved relatively quickly, we grabbed a Starbucks and were off again.

We didn't stop for dinner, but had a snack of cheese and crackers in the car. I'll be cleaning up the crumbs for days.

We had a great Thanksgiving Dinner, made some new friends, and had a wonderful time in Washington. On the day after Thanksgiving, George and I braved the crowds and went to Tyson's Mall in Arlington VA, and even there, we didn't have any problems. As we left the mall at noon, the crowds were coming, and we were having trouble walking the mall, so we went to the car the got out of Dodge.

We are very grateful that our ride there and home was so easy. One year, we got to the New Jersey Turnpike on Saturday, and found that it was stop and go all the way, adding at least two hours to our trip. This year, maybe because of EZPass, we made it there and home without any trouble at all: 519 miles exactly.

Now it's a downhill slide to Christmas!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Trip to Washington

George and I left on Monday afternoon for Washington DC, and I am writing this blog entry from my son Michael's house in Alexandria, VA. We had a good trip, after a rather rocky start. There seemed to be a lot to do to get ready, and I had several packages to get into the mail. It is my mother's 96th Birthday on November 30th, and I had several birthday presents, as well as Ebay shipments to get out to the post office. I had to go to work on Monday, because our office had just moved, and that was stressful. The house had to be ready for the house cleaners, the bags needed to be packed, and to top it all off, George had a toothache.

George called for an emergency appointment with his dentist for Monday noon, and when I called him later in the day, he was home. Guess what. He'd had a root canal! I thought that would lay one up for weeks, but George is a trooper. He and the dentist both decided that he was fine, and it would be no problem to leave on a long car trip, so that is what we did! What a guy!

We packed up the car, and left at 4:00, drove to Fishkill, NY and stayed at a nice Hampton Inn where we had made reservations, and then drove through New Jersey and Delaware yesterday and got to Mike's house at 3:30. It rained a lot both days of driving, but it didn't seem to dampen our spirits one bit. We were shaved, showered and breakfasted and on the road by 7:15 on Tuesday morning. It was a very nice drive and we enjoyed seeing all the ducks in the fields in Deleware. I hope they have a good Thanksgiving too, but they sure looked like cannon fodder to me. It must be hunting season there, and I've never seen so many low flying ducks and geese.

We drove into Mike's parking are, just as he came home from work to meet us. We always have a great time here. We went for Japanese food last night, and tonight will meet Michelle for dinner and have Thanksgiving dinner at her parents house in Maryland. I have not met them and I'm really excited! We stopped at an outlet mall and went to Pfaltzcraft for a gift. I bought a cheese tray and knife, and we bought several nice cheeses to go with it. Today we will go to Panera for bread and crackers. A visit to the flower store will be on the "to do" list for today for flowers for Michelle's mom.

I'm also baking an apple pie to take tomorrow and brought along the beautiful huge gold Mutsu apples form New Hampshire to make a pie that is really special!


Sparkle and Charm goes to the Craft Fair

The craft fair on Saturday was a success! It was not a great success for my friend who makes jewelry, and had a table across the room from me. But, people like the necklaces and earrings I make, and I sold as much as I could have expected to, and was very pleased. I had set my goal high for this one, and realized afterwards that I didn't even have enough inventry to meet that high goal. I sold at least 10 necklace and pairs of earrings, and people liked the beaded gold swirl ribbon bookmarks too. Some of my items I marked down at the end of the day, and that was fine too.

Craft fairs are not really all about the vendors. They are really all about getting the customers to come in a shop, but organizers don't know that yet. I think they put so much effort into the vendor side of things, that advertising gets second place and the crowds that we expected at this recent fair never materialized.

I have a lot of fun talking to everyone. Lots of people stop to stare at my necklaces, since they have never seen anything like them before. Then I tell them how they are made, and some people move on, and others love them too and want to buy one or two. I have even had some teenage girls buy them, which REALLY pleases me, since they are very sophisticated shoppers these days.

After the fair, George and I packed up the lamps, tables, cloths, inventory that was left, and baskets, and went home to a pizza and bedtime at 8:30 p.m. We were exhausted and happy. A good day.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A busy week

My office is moving this week to a new building, and all the packing was up to the seven of us. They brought in big orange bins, which are stackable, and are on wheeled carts, and we just put everything in the carts. It hasn't been hard at all, but it is still hard for me to leave the old office with the huge windows that I have enjoyed so much.

George is going to his flying club meeting tonight where he will be nominated for President of the club. That is exciting and I hope everything goes well. Go George!

Saturday is the craft show in Wakefield, and I have been making jewelry like a madwoman, and putting it in the "box" to go. I have about 30 necklaces and 200 pair of earrings, as well as 20 bookmarks, which I will sell for $4 each. My feeling is that not everyone brings a lot of money, and sometimes you just want to buy something that won't break the bank.

We are busy at every turn, and enjoying thinking about our drive to Washington DC on Monday for Thanksgiving. I went to a sale and bought five new sweaters in pretty colors, so I'm all ready for the fun week with Michael.

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Mug Shots

George and I had our picture taken yesterday at the church for the new church directory. Before we got there, we drove to New Hampshire to buy apples and squash. We stopped at a few stores, and then on to the church for our 5:15 appointment. When we walked in the door, we knew something was up. Everyone there had a dour expression and looked pretty unhappy. Turns out, the photographers were more than an hour behind, and everyone had nothing to do but sit there in their pretty dress-up clothes and visit. It was enforced visiting.

We drove off to a hobby store, and I looked at beads for thirty minutes, and then we went back to the church and I changed out of my Red Sox sweatshirt, and into a jacket and scarf. George changed in to a tie, shirt and jacket. We both were wearing jeans from the waist down, but the photo wouldn't show that.

Everyone laughed about being dressed from the top up.

They took our picture and we went into the room where the saleslady was. Turns out, they took lovely photos of us, and now all we had to do was choke down that the cost of the "lowest package" cost about $200. We didn't want to pay anything. In the end, the good pictures of me, and of us, spoke to us, and we ordered three 5x7's of one and one 5x7 of the other. We had already stood up to go when she offered us a lower price. She said it would be $90, but by the time she added shipping and handling and insurance, the cost flew up to $140. By that time, George and I had already invested about two and a half hours of our Veterans Day holiday evening into this production, and he handed her his credit card. We felt a little ripped off, but we also saw that the pictures were really beautiful and framable, and would be nice for...Christmas presents?

Get ready Mom and Mike. Santa's coming.

Have a great day.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A holiday on Friday, woohoo!

Today is Veteran's Day, and I am very happy. Even though I always have Fridays off, I found out yesterday that for every holiday that I am already off, I get a floating holiday, which means I can use that time any other working day. That seems like a pretty good deal to me. Of course, I'm not getting rich, but I do have a lot more time now to do the things I love to do, like make jewelry and list it on Ebay.

George is home today and we have no plans at all. He is going to work outside on the garden and I am going to clean out the pots on the deck and get ready for winter. We have a lot of bulbs to plant today, both here and at church.

Time to get started.

Have a great day!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Thanksgiving Plans

November is here. The trees in New England are not nearly so colorful this year, but most have changed now to a deep orange rust color. The air is crisp and people have gotten out their LL Bean velour I've noticed. The sky today is a white, cloudy sky that looks like winter.

For some reason, my calendar for November is filling up with appointments, dinners, and meetings. It is a busy time. Then, Thankgiving comes, and it all seems to start a fast slide into the hoiday rush. I am very excited about our Thanksgiving car trip to Washington DC for Thanksgiving. It is a crowded time on the highways, but we have decided to go anyway, and will make a stop in Atlantic City to put a few quarters into the slot machines. One year we did that, made a haul of quarters at one machine, and used those quarters for tolls all the way home. It was fun. I always have a box of goodies to cook with and a few extra pots and pans that I need at Michael's house. The doorman in Atlantic City that year didn't seem to mind at all when we had him park our car, and I said, "don't let anyone steal my turkey that is in the back".

We enjoy the drive through Deleware, and don't enjoy at al the drive home on the New Jersey Turnpike, but...we will allow for 2 days for a 1 day ride, and we will make it home fine I'm sure. No matter what, it will be worth it to see Mike at Thanksgiving!

Have a great day.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A little busier than I like it

Time to let my blogging audience, (if I have one), know what is going on. I have been very busy with my jewelry business. Over the past two months I have worn a path from the diningroom photo studio to the computer to list hundreds of pictures on Ebay. I do not have this down to a science. Each photo is labored over, edited, color balanced, thought about, and each description is hand written with a lot of thought. Ebay told me that when you open a store, it is best to sell items that are the same, so that you can write one description and then just keep relisting. I'm not doing that yet. All my jewelry is different. Each piece comes right from the heart, and I take a lot of interest in making each piece different. I am a jewelry designer and creater, not a robot.

Will this worn out patch of carpeting between the two rooms lead to anything? George said this morning, "well, you are having fun with it." "Trying to make money on your hobby is a little different". I'm not making money, of course, but I am making just enough to pay my Ebay bills. Urg. Not enough money to pay for the beads yet.

But my life has taken another turn I think, and I am committed to making jewelry and getting it out to people who love to wear it. I make far more than I could ever wear, and I love making something that someone else likes enough to pay for it. I lay awake and think about new designs, and I love shopping for beads, of course. Doesn't everybody?

My prices are low. My hopes are high. I feel like the hours that I spend doing what I really love to do are worth the effort. My favorite times are working quietly at the jewelry bench with a cup of herb tea and some classical music. Oh, and of course, when I do that happy dance when something sells!

Have a great day.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Friday, November 04, 2005

Photo editing for hours and hours

Today I worked on new logos for my jewelry business on Ebay. I have Corel Paintshop for another two days from my free 30 day trial. It is a complicated program and gives me a headache. This morning Michael told me about another program that is free, called I downloaded that and started playing with it. It took hours. I don't know what I'm doing, but...this is what I have to show for about two hours work tonight.

See Mike?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

"More caffeine?" "Yes, please."

My mother took me aside when I was at her house in Oklahoma. Taking me by the shoulders, and looking at me square in the eyes, she said, "Yvonne, you are drinking too much caffeine." She really took exception to my preference for dark coffee. She likes her coffee rather caramel colored, so you can see thought it. I like mine so you can stand a spoon up straight in it, as they said in cowboy times.

I know that everyone in Massachusetts is addicted to Dunkin' Donuts coffee. It is not hard to tell that, since there is a Dunkin on every corner. I got used to having a medium tall coffee every morning, and now that is a very hard habit to break. Today I went until 10 without coffee, and then broke down and walked to the convenience store for a coffee. Aha! They had run out of regular roast, and had Pumpkin. It was GREAT! I now have a new addiction--pumpkin flavored coffee.

I take mine with a little real half and half. That too, is probably not a good thing, since that little bit of cream every day adds up in unneeded calories. But, that too is something I like which I am not ready to give up.

My mother is much better at giving up things than I am. Hence, she is going to celebrate her 96th birthday at the end of this month. She gave up sugar in her tea and cream in her coffee years ago. Now she uses plain iced tea, with nothing in it, a habit I can hardly think about. She gave up desserts recently when they started monitoring her blood sugar. "No thank you" are her favorite three words I guess. Mine are "Bring it on!"

Have a great day!