Will they sell?

I spent the better part of Friday afternoon messing around with some of my photos. I mentioned a while ago that a few of my coworkers were planning a boutique to be held at the office. They had asked if I’d be interested in doing something with my photos and selling them at the boutique and I agreed.

Being the procrastinator that I am, I had done nothing to this point other than think about what I would do. I decided to simply print and frame some of my stuff. So yesterday, Black Friday, Mark tells me he wants to run to a couple of stores, one of them being a store where I could purchase the frames I had yet to buy for the boutique. So we braved the crowds and stood in a check-out line that reached the back of the store. But it was worth it. I purchased ten frames that were normally priced at $14.99 a piece, on sale for around $6.00 each.

When I got home, I had Kacey help me select some photos to include in the sale. Many of the photos were taken in my yard or around the neighborhood. I spent the next several hours editing them. The editing was very basic stuff because I haven’t even learned yet how to use PhotoShop which I just received as a gift from my awesome friend, Mike.

I then sent an online order for 5 x 7 prints to my local Target Photo Center and was able to pick  them up later in the day. Not all of them have been framed, and I ordered duplicates of everything, just in case someone wanted to swap what’s in a frame for a different photo. I have all the extras in an album. I suppose I could use the album to take orders for additional prints too, if it comes to that. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic.

I’ll need to charge $12.00 per framed photo just to recoup my costs, so I’m thinking I should charge a little bit more than that. I don’t know… what would you pay if you were to buy something like this? If I had purchased the frames at the regular price, I’d have to charge a lot more than $12.00. But I’m nervous now. I wonder if anyone will even be interested in this stuff.

Here’s a closer look at the pictures for sale.

Abundance

ThanksgivingWe can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures ~ Thornton Wilder

 

 

 

Sitting in the quiet while the rest of my family sleeps, enjoying the calm before the chaos of the day begins, and pondering thankfulness, it occurs to me that our lives are filled with ups and downs and joys and sorrows. Every single day of our lives we are met with challenges as well as rewards.

Today is a day set aside to remind ourselves that in spite of the ongoing difficulties life often brings us, we are not left to suffer it alone and without the encouragement and love of family and friends. Every day brings reason to be thankful if we only stop to realize it.

Most heavy on my heart today is the fact that I miss my mom. I miss sitting in her kitchen and talking with her. I miss sharing this day with her and the smell of the sweet-sour cabbage she always cooks for the Thanksgiving meal; a staple of her German heritage. And I remind myself that although I miss her, she is merely a few states away. I can pick up the phone and call her. I can get on a plane and go see her. And when spring rolls around again, she and my dad will be back within walking distance of me for the warmer part of the year.

So as I contemplate the sadness I feel at the distance between Mom and me, I also remember that one of my greatest blessings this year is my sister’s return to our home state. There are no more long distance charges when I want to call her. There are no more limitations as to the number of times I get to see her in a given year. She’s ten minutes away and I can go visit almost whenever I like.

My oldest son is home from school.

My children are all healthy, productive and happy.

Mark and I are both employed.

Our lives are filled with wonderful and loving friends.

My life may have its share of challenges but it is abundant and I am blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Winslow the Thanksgiving Turkey

Here were are, on the eve of Thanksgiving already. I never did find Winslow. Winslow is a stuffed turkey. Not the kind of turkey that’s stuffed with stuffing. The kind of turkey that’s stuffed with polyfill. The cute decorative kind with a beak and a colorful set of tail feathers. He looked kind of like this:
Gund Fun Gund Fun Gobbles Thanksgiving Hoedown Musical Turkey Doll
 He usually serves as a centerpiece on my table during the month of November. But when I looked in the Rubbermaid box labeled “Thanksgiving” that sits in the storage area (laundry room), he was not there. Where would a stuffed turkey run off to? I wonder if he was disgruntled about the working conditions. All I asked of him was that he sit there on my table and look pretty. Maybe he wanted to be appreciated for his mind and not just ogled and fondled because he’s such a handsome little dude.
 
Winslow, please come out of hiding! I promise, we’ll treat you right!
 
(Translation: Terri needs to work on her organizational skills.)

Not Everyone is a Fan of the Ball Busters

It was a rather uneventful Monday night for the Ball Busters, at least in comparison to previous weeks. There were no undergarment mishaps to speak of, so as far as I know, there was no bra-less bowling taking place on our lane.

Our first game was neck and neck and we beat The Sleepers by one. The next two games were won easily and our hold on second place is solid again, though we’re going to have to step it up if we are ever going to knock the Mattie’s Lanes team out of their first place position.

It was brought to our attention that our celebratory WOOT-WOOTing is not well received by some of the men’s teams, and since we were playing directly next to the men this week, we toned it down. Unfortunately for the men who aren’t appreciative of our enthusiasm, the WOOT-WOOTing has caught on and could still be heard from the women a few lanes down from us. Also unfortunate for the disapproving men, it seems there are other men’s teams who rather enjoy the noise we make. When returning from a trip to the ladies’ room, one of them stopped me and asked, “Why are you guys so quiet tonight?”

I told him we were shushed and pointed out one of the guys on his opposing team. He asked me, “Did you tell him to stick it up his *ss?”

I laughed and told him that one of the other girls just looked at him and said, “Bite me!”

We are not to be intimidated, but we know enough to lighten up when our enthusiasm is under-appreciated. Not to worry, the Ball Busters famous antics are likely to resume just as soon as we are safely positioned between two women’s teams again.

What a Headache

My Sunday was a total loss. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. in a cold sweat and my head feeling as if it were on the verge of exploding. I’ve never had a migraine before, and if this wasn’t one, it had to have come close. The pain was so severe I grew short of breath. It hurt to lie down. It hurt to sit up. I went in search of a cold pack, thinking it might help. Before I could find one, I took some Tylenol, then ended up in the bathroom where the Tylenol promptly came back up.

It took a while for me to finally get back to sleep, and I only woke up later when Mark came to check on me at 11:30. I thought I should get out of bed and do something with what was left of the day. But after sitting and talking with Mark and the kids a bit, I still felt a dull pain and ended up sneaking back to bed for another couple of hours. I finally felt human again around 2:00. I showered and dressed, did a couple loads of laundry, and then…parked myself in the recliner with a blanket and pillow…and slept some more. I never left the house at all yesterday. I just felt as if I’d been put through a wringer. I have a new appreciation for people who suffer migraines on a regular basis. I don’t know how you do it!

Since I wasn’t my usual entertaining self, Mark and Jake spent the afternoon stringing Christmas lights on all the pine trees behind our house. The trees are behind the privacy fence, so we won’t even be able to see them, but they’ll be very visible to all the traffic on our road, which is a lot. Late in the day, Mark turned the lights on and reported that they looked great. Kacey has strong opinions about the appropriateness of Christmas decorations too early in the season. Her response was a disgusted, “I can’t believe we’re one of those houses with Christmas lights lit before Thanksgiving!”

I’d have been inclined to agree with her, but I was too wiped out to care. Thankfully, I feel much better today.

Life is Good – November 20, 2009

I started my post yesterday with the words, “Happiness is…” It reminded me of a book I had as a kid. Anyone remember Happiness is a Warm Puppy by Charles M. Schultz?

The book was all about simple pleasures. It serves as a reminder that it’s often the little things in life that make us smile. Even in the midst of all the chaos, bad news, the kids bickering, the demands of work and home, there are little things that see us through each day. So I got to thinking about all the simple things that made me happy or brought a smile this week…

  • A phone call from a friend and a long, easy conversation
  • Reading and getting lost in a good story
  • Hugs from my kids
  • The prospect of a short work-week ahead
  • Knowing Brad will be home for the holidays
  • Sleeping in
  • Being asked by Jake, “What can I help with?” Then he dusted the living room!
  • Coffee with hazelnut creamer
  • Bowling with the girls
  • Getting a chiropractic adjustment just when I needed it most
  • Having my hubby leave with my car and bringing it back washed and detailed
  • a down comforter on a cold  morning
  • a snuggly cat
  • laughing with my sister
  • Singing along with the radio in the car

Life is good!

What were your simple pleasures this week?

Sometimes I wish they could just read my mind. But it's probably better that they can't.

Five-thirty, Tuesday evening. I’ve survived rush hour and pulled the car into the garage. Grabbing my tote bag and purse, I walk through the door into the house. I manage to kick one shoe off and my jacket has barely left one shoulder. The purse has yet to hit the floor.

“Hi Mommy! What’s for dinner? I’m starving!” The voice of my darling daughter asks me the last question I want to be asked after ten hours, sitting on my *ss at a desk.

A quick assessment of the home situation and it’s clear that both televisions are on. Two teenagers are lounging in the living room. One husband is lounging in the family room. And no preparations for dinner have begun.

(Okay, technically…. they were not just lounging. Well… they were lounging, but they were also folding laundry. In front of the televisions. You know how that goes. So, in all fairness, they weren’t just lounging. But I wasn’t feeling fair at the time.)

The “what’s for dinner” question rang in my ears. The little voice in my head was saying, “Are ya kiddin’ me? Three people at home and not a one of them could have at least gotten something started?”

The voice I allowed to leave my mouth said, “I guess we could have grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.” “Again.”

Spying the loaf of Texas Toast style bread on the counter, Kacey’s eyebrows shot up and she asked, “Can we have French Toast?”

“Sure. That sounds good,” I replied. “Why don’t you get the pan out, and the eggs and stuff, and a bowl to mix it in…”

“Orrrrr,” she teased, “YOU could get the stuff out because I’ve been working SO hard folding all those socks.”

“ORRRR,” I shot back, “YOU could do it because I’ve been at WORK for ten hours and just walked in the door and would like to take three seconds for a potty break.” “And everyone KNOWS how much I love coming home from work and heading straight to the kitchen to cook after a long day!”

“Okay, okay,” she laughed. I’ll get the stuff out.”

SO… I head for my bathroom… (Side note: I ALWAYS need a potty break when I come home from work. And everyone in my family is well aware of this fact.) So I head for my bathroom, and my darling husband decides to be cute and block my path, spreading his arms across the hallway so I can’t get through and insists on teasing. “Where ya headed? Did you have to use the bathroom?”

“YES,” I asserted, trying to worm my way around him and make it clear I was not going to play along today. He wasn’t getting it.

“WHY? Why are you in such a hurry? Is it because you won’t use the rest room at work?”

Ducking under his arm, and slipping into my bathroom, I shot back, “Not if I can help it!” “The four o’clock pooper prevents me from using the ladies room in the later hours of the day.”

Five minutes later, feeling a bit relieved (ha-ha-ha) I head for the kitchen where it’s clear that Kacey has a full grasp of my not-so-playful mood. All of the necessary items have been arranged on the counter and stove for the French Toast preparations. I crack some eggs, and open a drawer to grab a fork with which to stir them up and find… NO forks. With a sigh, I slide over to the dishwasher, and pulling it open, find it bursting at the seams with clean dishes and silverware. Since none of us were around Monday evening, I knew this was the load of dishes that had been run Sunday night. This time, the sarcasm wasn’t contained to only the voice inside my head.

“Are ya kiddin’ me,” I asked of no one in particular? Jake had been home during the day on Monday. He worked Monday night but was home again all day Tuesday and I was exasperated. “Do you mean to tell me that in the past 48 hours, not a single person in this house could put the clean dishes away? Kacey, please unload the dishwasher for me.”

“Can I do half and Jake do the other half,” she asked?

“Fine. I don’t care. Just get it done.”

So Kacey unloaded the top rack, which was quite full of cups, glasses and bowls. The bottom rack only had a few very large bowls and a couple plates. The silverware basket was full.

“Jake,” she called over to him, “you get the rest.”

Coming over and spying all that clean silverware, he turned to Kacey and sneered, “YOU do the silverware. I’m not doing the bottom rack AND all that stuff!”

And then the bickering began… With all the resolve I could muster, I bit my tongue and tried to ignore them.

“I’m not doing it, YOU do it! There’s hardly anything on the bottom rack anyway!”

“YOU do it! I folded way more laundry than you!”

“JAY-AKE! Just do it!”

“NO! Do you know how often I unload the WHOLE dishwasher all by myself???”

The thread of patience I’d been hanging on to snapped.

“Jake! Just do it!”

“MOM,” he began to argue, “she hardly did anything!”

“For god’s sake,” I shot back. “Just go. I’ll do it myself. It’s not like I just walked in the door, or worked all day long or am trying to cook dinner or anything…”

In a huff, Jake sulked off to the family room. I finished unloading the dishwasher then returned to the stove to fry the french toast. Watching the first pieces sizzle in the pan, I crossed my arms over my chest. Lips pursed, I sat there stewing. I soon became aware of Mark cautiously approaching from behind.

“Why is Jake mad,” he asked?

I shrugged.

“Why are you pouting?”

“Oh, maybe because I’m trying to cook dinner and he can’t even unload HALF of the dishwasher. So I can cook dinner! When I just got home! And I have to cook dinner because no one else did!”

(Are you getting the idea I was a little unhappy about having to cook dinner? Especially when the kids have recently proven they are very capable?)

“You’re both being kind of petty, don’t you think,” he suggested?

“Yeah. That’s helpful.”

Oh good. At least the inside-my-head voice was back.

“I dunno,” I shrugged, pouting.

He knew better than to push. When I’m in the mood to pout, just ride it out. And let me just tell you, when I start pouting, look out! Let the martyrdom begin!

“Come and eat before this starts getting cold,” I told Mark.

“Hey, why don’t I finish cooking and you can sit down and eat,” he suggested.

“Nope,” I said. “Kacey, come and eat.”

“Want me to finish cooking so you can eat,” she asked?

“Nope.”

Oh, I was layin’ it on thick! Defeated, the two of them took their plates to the table.

“JAKE,” I yelled down the stairs.

“What,” he asked flatly?

“Are you eating or what?”

“Nope,” he replied in that same flat voice. (Like mother, like son.)

When I finally joined Mark and Kacey at the table, Mark tried again to smooth things over.

“What’s wrong?”

Without looking up, I mumbled, “Nothing.” (Stock pouty answer. Ain’t nothin’ or nobody getting through the wall of poutiness.)

“Are you really going to let this stupid little incident ruin your whole night?”

“Maybe.” “I dunno.”

“Can’t you let it go?”

“Sure thing, Dr. Phil.” “Yeah, I guess.”

My words agreed with him. My body language did not. Defeated, he let it go and later, I went to the gym and took out my frustrations on the treadmill. (I forgot to warm up and cool down so my muscles could get a good stretch. Anyone wanna give me a calf massage?)

Early, early this morning, as I was putting on my face and hair for work today, (and feeling in a much more pleasant mood, I might add,) I heard the most pitiful howling coming from the living room. Clearly, my Holly-cat was experiencing some discomfort or frustration. Maybe her buddy, Tigger had neglected to replace the roll of toilet paper in the litter box? I don’t know. The howling continued and I was afraid she was going to wake the kids. I tiptoed into the living room and as soon as she heard me coming, the howling stopped. I knelt down beside her, asking, “Whatsa matter, baby? Does your tummy hurt?”

I reached out to pet her, but she shot me a glare and with a snippy little “Meowr!” she shot off to her hiding place behind the chair.

“Geeze,” I thought. “Someone is feeling a little surly today!”

She reminds me of someone… but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

p.s. Dinner was in the crock pot as of 6:00 a.m. this morning and I’ll be calling home later with any chores I want the kids to complete before I get home.

Cancer SO sucks

We attended Kacey’s volleyball team banquet last night at a local Italian restaurant. The food was great. She was recognized very nicely. The coach mentioned Kacey as a player from whom she expects big things next year. My parental pride was in overdrive.

On the drive downtown as we were heading to the banquet, Kacey said, “Oh, Mom, you’re Aunt Chris called for you earlier.”

“Yes? Did she leave a message?”

“No. She just said she’d call you later.”

“Did you tell her I wouldn’t be home later because I’ll be at your banquet?”

“Ummm, no.”

Mark chimed in. “Do you want to call her back right now?”

“No,” I said. “If it was important she would have left a message. Besides, I don’t know her number offhand.”

If it was important, she would have left a message, right? She would have at least asked me to call back, right? I didn’t wonder until later why an aunt with whom I have little phone contact would call, then not leave a message.

By the time we got home from the banquet, it was late. Too late to be calling my Aunt Chris. I checked the caller I.D. and answering machine. There was no sign she had called again. I figured I’d just catch up with her in another day or so. I checked my blog and then Facebook. On Facebook, I saw my cousin’s status update.

“Cancer SO sucks. Another relative diagnosed…”

I am so slow sometimes. Suddenly I realized why my aunt who rarely calls me might not leave a phone message when she suddenly did call. It was too late to call her, but not too late to call my mom who is two hours behind in Arizona.

It’s my Uncle Greg. My dad’s brother. My Aunt Chris’ brother. He’s only fifty-five. FIFTY-FIVE! It’s his liver and pancreas. I don’t know much more, but I have an idea that with pancreatic cancer, by the time they find it, it’s already pretty bad.

This poor man has been through so much. He had a brain tumor and surgery as a kid. He’s had kind of a tough life – whether that be due to his own choices or those of others. We all have our faults. I love him regardless. A few years ago, he had another brain surgery due to some affliction they thought might be related to that first surgery. After his second brain surgery, he became paralyzed on one side of his body. It was hoped that the paralysis would subside, but it didn’t. He also suffered some major hearing loss. He can’t hear and the paralysis makes it hard for him to talk. He’s now wheel chair bound. He lives all alone. Thankfully, his ex-wife is kind of a saint and still looks out for him.

And now, cancer.

Cancer SO sucks.

Weekend Suprise

When I returned home from work Friday night, I stood in the entryway and kicked off my shoes. I could see through the railing into the living room and recognized Jake’s legs hanging over one of the chairs as he watched t.v.

“Hey, Jake,” I said. “I thought you had to work tonight?”

“Not until seven,” he responded.

It was at that moment that I realized there was another set of young-man legs dangling off a piece of furniture. I shifted my position to peek beyond the chair that was blocking my view of the love-seat on the other side of the room. Much to my surprise, sitting there grinning at me was my oldest child whom I haven’t seen since August! I squealed and went running to Brad and plopped down right on top of him, giving him a big bear hug! The lovely Heather was sitting comfortably in the other living room chair, smiling at the whole scenario, and my favorite puppy, Dacotah was waiting for her turn to get some attention.

Dacotah has grown so much since I last saw her and she has really mellowed out. She is also one of the smartest dogs I’ve seen in a long time. She knows all the basic commands and can even roll over. But the best trick is the way she gives hugs. She lies on the floor and when you lean over to hug her, she wraps her front paws around your shoulders. She’s SO cute.

This family doesn’t have a good track record with keeping secrets from me, so when they saw the sincere surprise on my face at these unexpected visitors, they all wanted to know if they had really pulled one over on me. I assured them that they really had.  They did well! And I was thrilled!

Now, had I known Brad and his crew were coming to visit for the weekend, I probably would have bowed out of the bowling tournament.  But there was no way I could back out on such short notice, so on Saturday, I had to break away for a few hours to bowl with Gina. The kids came down for a while to watch and I bought them lunch, so I didn’t feel completely guilty.

Gina and I ended up bowling with a group of women that were just fabulous! We probably won’t win any prizes for our bowling. We each bowled about our averages. But win or lose, we had a blast with our new friends. They were a mother-sister-daughter-friend team and they were all about the fun. The tournament began at eleven o’clock in the morning and while Gina and I opted NOT to partake of the beer at least before noon, our friends decided it was noon somewhere. Why wait? They started with a couple of pitchers of beer while we bowled doubles. Once we moved on to the singles games, they moved on to the Eight Ball.

See that? That’s a big tube full of beer and the eight ball has a tap in it. Things were getting pretty wild at this point.

By the time I took this picture, Gina and I were done bowling and our friends were starting to bowl in the teams portion of the tournament. There had also been a round of shots by this point and as you can see, they were feeling no pain! I’m sure there were some hangovers on Sunday morning!

I left for the bowling alley long before the teams were done bowling and headed home to rejoin the family for dinner and spend some time with Brad and Heather. We picked up some movies later in the evening and watched a couple of them together.

Brad, Heather and Dacotah left this afternoon to head back to school. The weekend flew by way too fast and it was hard to say goodbye already. But the holidays are just around the corner which means Brad will be back home again soon. I can’t wait!