Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's Getting Better

Well, we are back from the craft show and I am exhausted so this is going to be short. It actually went pretty well. Once again the sales weren't super, but I used Tresa's suggestions and definitely saw a difference. It was a pretty good show too. There were people around all day long. I wasn't in the main area, but still had plenty of traffic.

I sold a few cake stands, a pillow, a couple of sets of coasters, some switchplates and even some pin cushions! I either have to get a nice display stand for my cards, or not even bring them. People won't take the time to flip through them in a display box. Not sure what to do about the photos either.

My next show is an indoor show in September. Irv and I talked today about what kind of displays we want to create. It will be entirely different than the outdoor shows under a tent. I'm thinking, dog eared cedar fence panels painted white for a oouple of the walls so we could hang shelves on them. The space at the next show is only 8 X 10....that isn't a lot of room.

Well friends, I have got to go get my jammies on and chill out for a while. We are going over to Michael and Bernadette's house tomorrow morning. They closed and moved in on Friday. It's their first house and they are so excited! I am so excited for them!!

Have an awesome evening and I'll chat with you tomorrow!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Adam's Adventure

We were cruising along on our first leg of our trip to Telluride. Adam was doing a fine job. We were constantly watching the little MPG graph to see what kind of gas mileage we were getting. We hadn't had Adam very long so we were still in the "get acquainted" stage.

We were in a nasty construction area when a little alarm went "ding"! It was telling us that it was time to start thinking about getting some gas. The manual said that when the alarm goes "ding" you have about 3 gallons of gas left. In a car that was getting 45 mpg, we figured we would stop at the next big town.

About 20 minutes later Adam started slowing down. He wasn't accelerating properly at all. We were losing all of our power! Construction lane each shoulder.....a long line of cars behind me...UH OH! We saw an exit and signaled to get off. My speed kept decreasing no matter how hard I stepped on the gas. 50-40-30-crap the exit is a up hill ramp!

Putt, putt....20-10....we're OFF!! We glided over to the shoulder. Now alarms were going off all over the place and lights were flashing! What the hell was going on with my brand new car?

The sweat was pouring off of me. All I could see is us sitting out in the middle of nowhere waiting for our cute little hybrid to be repaired. So much for our vacation!

Irv pulled out the manual only to read all of the horrible things that might be wrong with Adam. He checked the part again about the gas gauge alarm and says you have three gallons of gas left so there was no way it could be that. We hadn't even gone 40 miles!

I tried staring Adam again and the sweet boy started right up. We could see a gas station and decided to make a "run" for it. It would be safer than where we were pulled over and then we could call the Toyota dealer and ask him WTF might be wrong.

I started up the hill to the intersection and of course the light turned red. Oh, hurry up...I do NOT want to get stuck here! light....we went through the intersection and pulled into the gas station. Irv had me pull up to the pump since we were going to need gas anyway. He filled Adam up and I pulled him over to a parking place alarms still sounding....then one by one....they all stopped!

Are you kidding me? Could we have really run out of GAS????

We let Adam run for a while as we gathered our composure. My stomach was in a big knot. Adam seemed to be a happy little hybrid again, so we decided to get on the road and see what happened. Irv drove because I was too upset. I was mad at the gas tank, mad at the alarms, mad at the manual, mad at Adam, mad at the the dealer, mad at Toyota and I was mad that I was mad.

Not another problem the entire trip!

Yep, we had run out of gas...even though the gauge said we had plenty of gas left. We now fill Adam up LONG before the little three gallon alarm goes off because we now know that the alarm really means...fooled you!!

Chee hoo!!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

For The Love of Nature

I couldn't wait to see some wildlife when we got to Telluride, so Matt said, "I'll take you to where we are sure to see some elk." I am one of those people that can sit and watch a deer grazing on the side of the road for hours. I am mesmerized by their beauty.

We headed out and on our way to the spot Matt had in mind we spotted six elk in a field next to someone's house. We stopped and watched them. Matt decided to get a little closer so we could get some pictures by driving down a road that said, "AUTHORIZED VEHICLES ONLY". The road ran right along side the field where the elk were grazing. I said, "Maybe we shouldn't." Matt said, "No one will care," and no one did...not even the guy in the truck coming toward us on the private road.

We stopped the car and rolled down the windows. I pulled out my camera and we sat silently watching a scene like none of us had ever witnessed before. See, we were thrilled with the six elk, but as we watched....out of the ravine they came....more and more and more elk. Big elk, baby elk...magnificent creatures each and every one!

The babies stayed close to their moms except one that pranced around in circle as though he/she was looking for attention. One baby nursed as it's mom grazed. Some of the elk wandered over toward our car. We knew they could hear us when we spoke and we knew they could smell us...but they seemed to know we meant no harm.

They continued to come up from the ravine. We snapped picture after picture because we couldn't believe what we were seeing.

A couple of times, one of them would lift it's head, let out a snort and in unison...all of their heads would come up. Once they knew everything was okay, they went back to their dinner.

We sat for a long time...watching....listening...we could hear them chewing...they were that close.

Dusk was upon us and it was time to leave. Matt did his best to count the herd and said he gave up at eighty! At least twenty of them were babies. It was one of the most awesome things I have ever seen.

We didn't get an opportunity to go back, but next time we visit can be sure we'll heading down that private road again!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Here We Go Again!

My first craft show a couple of months ago wasn't a tremendous success monetarily, however I learned a great deal from my daughter....the "master of marketing" when she stopped by that day. So, as I prepare for my second show this Saturday, I am making the changes that she suggested.

The first thing she suggested is to NOT price things $5, $10, $15, $20 and $25. Of course, that is exactly what I did because I like things nice and neat and tidy and those prices looked so "clean". She said to always price under those numbers like $4, $9, $14, $19 and $24. It's all about price brackets and how people budget and perceive prices of things. So, I have been changing a lot of prices this week.

She also said never to put your price stickers on the front of your items. If possible, put them on the side, the back or the bottom. Of course, I thought I was making it nice and easy for people by putting all of my prices right on the front of every item.

You actually WANT people to pick things up, to touch them, to feel them and therefore "connect" with them. Think about when you go into Hallmark. You have to pick up every item to see the price. At a jewelry store, the tags are always upside down or tucked neatly under the jewelry. Even in clothing stores the prices are inside the collar or the sleeve.

Lastly, when I set up my booth last time, I had my things grouped neatly on the tables. That meant as people strolled by, they could easily see my cake stands and my light switch plates....but nothing else. If they weren't interested in those two things, why would they even come in?

So, Tresa used the front part of the table and put up an assortment of everything I was selling...a couple of these, one of those, a few of these etc. The funny thing is, that more people stopped to look and more people actually came into my booth. So, I already know that works and I will be setting my booth up with that in mind this time.

Something else I learned is NOT to put things in plastic baggies unless absolutely with the pillows. I had all of my light switch covers in zip lock bags and first of all, it really took away from the beauty of the colors of the fabric I use AND when the sun hit them, condensation formed inside the bags and we had to open them all up anyway. So, this time they won't be in baggies at all. If they get dirty, they can be wiped clean with a damp harm done.

I have never been to this show. It's in McHenry, Illinois at Veteran's Memorial Park right in town. If any of you live in the area, come on by! Hopefully the fact that this is the 29th year for it means that people like it. I'm thinking of it as another learning adventure! We shall see.....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


When we got to Telluride, I noticed that Matt was wearing one of those plastic bracelets. I wear a blue one that says, "Believe" in honor of my Chicago Cubs and life in general. I wore a yellow "Live Strong" Lance Armstrong bracelet until it finally fell apart. The one Matt had on was red, green and yellow.

I asked him if I could see it and what it was for. On the outside it said, "Be the Best You!" and "Chee Hoo!!!" On the inside it said, "Make a difference".

Matt's best friend, Chris is also a grade school teacher. Like most teachers, he is always looking for ways to encourage and inspire his little learners. He made up the "Chee Hoo" to serve as their own little celebratory, happy cheer, like my "Woo Hoo" or "Yippee" or "Hip Hip Hooray". He had the bracelets made up and gave them out to the kids in his class.

Sometimes when he wants the kid's attention, he will yell, "CHEE" and the kids will yell back, "HOO!"

Somewhere along the line, they decided that it would be cool to get "CHEE HOO" to catch on outside of the being the kid that I am....I offered to help them.

With my promise to spread "CHEE HOO" across the nation, I received my awesome, "CHEE HOO" bracelet!!

It was kind of funny because on the 4th we were sitting on Matt's front porch watching the fireworks and we kept hearing neighbors yelling, "CHEE HOO!!"

So my much used, "WOO HOO" has been shelved and replaced with, "CHEE HOO" in an attempt to spread the cheer and happiness for the children of Telluride!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Telluride....I ROCK CLIMBED!!!

As we drove by, Matt pointed up and said, "That's where you will be rock climbing this week." I looked up and thought, "Hmmmmm that doesn't look too bad."

When climbing day arrived, we pulled off the main road and went a short way down a "side" road. We pulled up in front of the rock and I felt the excitement. (You can click on the pictures to enlarge them. Matt is about 5' 11" tall so you can get some perspective.)

Irv decided to stay by the car and not hike to the rock with us. His hip has really been bothering him and the hike was a bit steep and some of it was on loose rock. Irv started getting the camera ready, Matt grabbed his bag, I searched for and found my courage and off we went!

The closer we got to the rock, the more little nervous flutters I started feeling. We zigged and zagged as we hiked up the steep hill to the rock and soon we were there....Matt all happy and me huffing and puffing! I looked up at the rock and in the fashion of "The Little Engine That Could", I heard a little voice in my head saying, "I can do this. I can do this."

In order for me to climb, Matt had to climb up the rock himself first and hook up the pulley/rope system to metal "eyelets" that were already in the top of the rock. He put on his harness and climbing shoes, took all kinds of equipment with him and up he went...not connected to anything...nothing to catch him if he fell. Watching Matt climb and then seeing him up at the top, I realized this was NOT going to be quite as easy as I had hoped.

After getting the system all set up, Matt repelled back down. "Okay, let's get you set up." It was a process, one that you could tell he had done many times. I stepped into my elaborate harness and Matt helped me tighten it. Everything he did came with an explanation of how and why. He took his time and made sure I understood how things worked.

He tied the figure 8 knot that would keep me safe, and then he had me untie it and tie it again myself. He checked it and rechecked it.

I put on my fancy little climbing shoes, we checked everything again and it was time to see if I could get my fat butt off the ground. That was my goal and I hoped that Irv could get at least one picture from the road so everyone could see me achieve that goal.

The idea is to locate places to hold onto with your hands, then find places to put your feet and then pull yourself up...hands, feet, repeat....over and over and over again.


It wasn't too bad at first until I looked down. Not only was I seeing where Matt was at the base of the rock, I was seeing the 75 feet further down where Irv was, AND I was seeing another 20 feet down to the main road AND I was seeing the valley on the other side of the main road. I felt like I was high in the sky and now I needed to pee!!!

I kept working at it and I could hear the little voice saying, "I'm doing it! I'm doing it!"

I paused when I reached this larger slab of rock and asked Matt, "Where do I go?"

He said, "To the right."

"But how do I get over there?"

"Walk along the ledge."

This was the first point where I actually felt scared. The ledge was big enough to walk across, but there was no where to hold on. The rock in front of my face was smooth. You can see me trying to find a spot to hold on under the rock!

Take a second and stand facing a wall....get as close as you can. Now imagine that the floor is a ledge about 20 feet in the air and not a floor. Now, with nothing to hold onto with your hands, shuffle your way along the "ledge". You get the idea?

I was happy and relieved when I got across, but still scared. I started groping around for a handhold and couldn't find one to continue my journey. The next rock was smooth. I had to have something to hold onto and I wasn't finding anything.

I tried to find somewhere that I might be able to put my foot to lift myself a little higher so I might find something but no such luck.

I had watched Matt when he went up, but he had taken a different route . He had suggested I try this route because the other was a bit harder. I looked down again and shouldn't have. It looked so high and with nothing to hold onto I decided I was done.

I was disappointed that I had not made it to the top so I could "slap" the pulley....the sign of a completed climb, but I was proud of myself for stepping WAY out of my comfort zone and trying something new at the age of 57!

I put my emotions aside because I still had to get down! Matt told me to walk across the ledge again and get to where the rope came down......carefully.....I crept.

When I got to the rope, Matt said, "Okay mom, now this is where you need to trust me and the rope. Let go and lean back."

"WHAT??? Can't I just climb down?

"You can if you want to."

"Dammit! No, I'll do it the right way. Tell me again!"

So, I put my arms out and leaned back. I could hear Matt saying, "More," and I thought he was nuts, but little by little I leaned until I fell back away from the rock. As I swung back toward the rock, I pushed off with my feet as Matt lowered me down, down, down to the ground.


I had very mixed emotions when I "landed". Happy, sad, excited, mad, proud and disappointed.

Matt was proud of me though and his smile told me I had done a good job! When I said I was pissed that I didn't finish, he said we could always go again.

Matt had to climb back up to undo the pulley system. This time he took the route I took and I watched his every move. When he got to my stopping point, he looked, felt around, paused and then he took one of his feet and placed it about 3 feet up on an adjacent rock. He pushed himself up with his foot and reached a place where he could hold on and pulled himself up.

After seeing what he did, I didn't feel so bad. Not only would I have never thought to do that, I don't think I could have done it if I wanted to! When Matt came back down, I commented on how he did that and he said it did get a bit "dicey" at that spot.

So.....that is the story of my first and probably my only rock climbing experience and all I can say is "CHEE HOO! I DID IT!!!"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Telluride......It's FREE

Something I found very interesting about Telluride is that even in this day and age, there were things that were FREE. By FREE, I mean no charge, no money exchanged....FREE.

Matt was always talking about the FREE BOX. He said it was a place in town, sheltered, where people could leave things they didn't need anymore, and other people could come and take what they needed or wanted.

I kept picturing a BOX and was surprised when we came upon the FREE BOX on our trip. It isn't really a BOX at all. It's a wooden wall of bins that are labeled. It's located right off of Main Street right in the middle of town! People drop clothing, shoes and things that they no longer need or want into the bins.

See that covered green turtle sandbox up on the top of the bins? We were in a store shopping a while after I took this picture, and someone walked in carrying the turtle! What a great way to get rid of what you don't need.....and for someone else to be able to use it. Sure beats the landfill!

One day while we were in town, Matt asked if we wanted to walk back to his house or take the bus. We were tired and said we would prefer the bus. I figured it couldn't cost that much. He didn't live that far. Oh, it didn't cost much. It was FREE! I didn't get a picture of the bus, so this one is from There is actually a history behind the "Galloping Goose" buses and you can read about it here.

Another day Matt decided to take us on the gondola up to Mountain Village. Mountain Village is a little "town" that lies higher up the mountain. There are condos and houses and stores and restaurants. I was leery of the gondola since I really don't like heights at all, but I promised myself that I was going to step out of my comfort zone this trip, so off we went to the gondola.

I asked Matt how much it would cost, and he laughed. He said Michael and Bern had asked the same thing....and's FREE. It was an awesome ride with a spectacular view! That's Telluride down below!!! Oh and yes, there are cars where you can bring dogs with and Luna went with us!

Mountain Village also put in this huge boulder with hand and foot holds for people to climb.

When we got there, there was a family climbing it and Matt joined in. It too was FREE. Not only would our town never put in something like that where people just go use it....because someone would get hurt and sue....but if they did put something like that can be sure it wouldn't be FREE.

Now I realize that Telluride is a tiny little town, and a very wealthy little town at that....and that most things there cost you an arm and a leg.....but how cool is it that you can really go somewhere and get something for nothing? I say, "Chee Hoo!"

How about your town? Big? Small? Anything FREE?

Blog Archive