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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pressure Cooker Season

No, I'm not talking about old fashioned cookware, but rather how when we get to this point in the year, the days seem to go into hyperdrive to the new year. The pressure is on... tomorrow is the big turkey cook off. Got through my last big in person event for this year and Melody's birthday. Paid for their marriage announcements. Wedding on the 12th. Still need to take care of the photos they'll be sending out as well as the registry announcements. Need to remember to shop for Christmas for everyone - everyone is expanding at our house with a soon to be new son in law and a boyfriend for my 17 year old. Everyone should have at least one present to open on Christmas eve and I'm in torment trying to decide if I need to get 2 extra stockings this year. Not bad enough - how about the company I work for during the day is doing some layoffs that are being announced Dec 1 & 2. With corporate work force cuts, you never know when they'll decide your department is expendable - YIKES! In week 8 of my 12 week class - almost finals time. Need to finish and upload group project this weekend. I guess I need to let the worry go and move on... Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future... now if I could only in the lottery to pay for all this - guess I ought to buy a ticket once in a while, huh? BTW, the keywords on the labels here suck - they refused to let me have wedding - insisted on the Wedding Date - guess that's a movie?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Whale Watching

The weekend at Nags Head was beautiful (albeit cold!). Thankfully, we had a table near the beachfront window and had plenty of time to enjoy the glorious view. On Sunday, we even caught a glimpse of a whale out toward the horizon slowly cruising by as well as a pod of dolphins frolicking in the waves. It was so beautiful!

Celebrated Melody's 21st with dinner with friends at Ryans. It's a charming restaurant with excellent food. Melody had a pink kitty for her christening drink served in one of their souvenir hurricane glasses. Lynn had a hurricane in the same style glass. After the waitress rinsed them out, Lynn gave hers to Melody as well so now she has a matching set just what everyone needs.

The class went very well. Although collage type classes can get chaotic, between the written instructions and one on one time after the class ended, everyone learned to use the bind it all and went home with bound mini books ready for their holiday photos past or present.

Black Friday - coming right up - I'll be having a sale in the store so those of you shopping from home on Friday can relax and get stuff you really want. Drop me an email at rizamerk@cox.net if you want to be copied on the store sale newsletter.

Gotta get ready for the day job. Check in with you all tomorrow!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another Cropping Weekend Away!



Melody and I are off tomorrow for a Nag's Head scrap retreat. We'll be packing up the Explorer and taking the store on the road for some weekend relaxation. I am so hoping the papers I ordered arrive today or we're out of luck on them, but oh well.

We have these really fun Teresa Collins Christmas mini-book class kits that we'll be teaching at the retreat. Melody is building the prototype today. I only have a dozen kits, so it will be first sign ups only get to take it, but I think we'll have fun with it. Need to practice my bind it all technique on scrap so I don't wreck the real book. We'll see how well Melody's sample comes up - maybe she can teach the class.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Taxes and Business

As a new business owner, the state is requiring monthly taxes and I've got to say, it's my most dreaded part of the business. I understand that keeping track of your money in and out is critical, but it's the least fav thing for me. I'd love to hear from other shop owners on how you manage your inventory and keep up with all the paperwork that's required. Somehow, we're not doing well with piece by piece inventory - scrapbook paper and little odds and ends are hard to keep an exact record without a scan system, yet the hand scanner I bought shortly after I got the store died a sudden death in the middle of an event and we were left scrambling to manually price out all the products for sale. Yuck. I have QuickBooks, but entering into that is less than my favorite thing as well. I got 1/2 way through a month of receipts then surrendered in horror at the idea of quantifying each transaction in that detail. There's got to be an easier way... if you have advice, I'm all ears.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christmas comes early

This school year, my middle daughter will be graduating. She's been deep into a graphic design program at school, so, for her Christmas/graduation/birthday present this year, I got her a Macbook. I let her pick out which one. She says nothing compares for graphics to a Mac. Generally, I don't spend that much money on any one kid for Christmas, but in this story, it seems right. This is actually the career path she's working toward (graphic design) so giving her the right tools seems like a smart choice. She's very happy. We rounded off our Saturday morning shopping trip with breakfast at Cracker Barrel - they have some smooth coffee there.

Another holiday plan we girls have is to take in the Russian Ballet when it comes to town. I think they're doing Snow White - we're planning on the week after Christmas. Should be a very pleasant event. I love the grace and style of ballet. Wish I was lithe and talented, but since I'm not, I'll just get lost in the beauty and share it with my daughters.

Hard to believe Christmas is almost here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Twilight - finished book one

Okay, so, it's not TrueBlood (which unhappily didn't record while I was watching Dexter last night, so I have to catch it after work today On Demand). I guess I'm relieved by that considering that Bella starts out at 17. Took me the first 200 or so pages to find it interesting, but by the ending, I was hooked. After reading the teacher, I had to head out to Target and get the next book. This one is reading much easier now that we've got all the boring preliminaries out of the way. My brain keeps coming up with all these questions and scenarios - what if.. when will.. what about...

Dexter - I think he made a tactical error sharing that deeply with the DA. I see messy stuff in his future and a possible termination of a friendship/life coming up.

Weekend - passed to quickly. I ended up locked out of the quiz and couldn't take it - sent prof an email - waiting for a response. We drove up to Richmond yesterday for a browse through their mall. Nothing much jumped out at me screaming buy me, buy me. It was rather funny, though - the parking lots at the gun shops my husband visited were much more crowded than the mall. I bet the retailers are wanting to cry with the economy as bad as it is. Mark said they were 5 deep in the gun dealer waiting to purchase and that this is a much denser crowd than is normal even for hunting season. We attribute it to the president coming in. His regime is much less gun friendly and the hunters and others who get into guns are worried about what policies they'll bring in next year. Stock up and save, I guess. We had a large venison roast that we did in the crock pot. It was very lean (okay, dry). Anyone know some good venison recipes? Mark didn't get a deer, but his buddy did and since his freezer is full, Mark brought home most of the meat from the last event so even with a bad economy we won't go hungry. At least since it's not all that, it's not a huge overeating temptation for me...

Looking forward to hearing from you, particularly if you know how to cook game that actually tastes great.

Later!

Friday, November 14, 2008

TGIF

It's been a long week at the office and I'm definitely ready for the weekend. While the week was busy, it wasn't all bad. Discovered the joys of pomegranets and got my youngest daughter addicted to them as well. Got a flu shot yesterday. Received the cute pink Susan G Komen lunch bag in the mail from Lean Cuisine (1/2 of the cost goes to research), got in the Christmas paper line from Sassafrass Lass for the store (TOO CUTE!), and got in my order from one of my distributors - rack, all the stickles to fill it, some adhesives and class kits for the crop on the 20th. Ready to go have some fun.

Looking forward to Saturday though... I've got a bit of Christmas shopping on my agenda. Need to take a quiz for my biz class. We're talking about driving up into the mountains to see if there's any color left on Sunday... haven't done that in ages... life is good...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Twilight

Everyone's talking about it... have you read the book? Are you planning to see the movie?

Melody and I had been ignoring it because we usually like our vampire books to be about adults, but since this one is getting so much air time right now, she bought the book. I've just begun reading it... want to find out what all the fuss is about. As long as it doesn't end up as sexually aggressive as TrueBlood (since the story is about high school kids) I'll probably end up enjoying it...

What thinkest thou... ?

We're big vampire novel fans. Some of our favorite are:
Lindsay Sands (funny)
Sheryln Kenyon
Laurell K Hamilton
Charlain Harrison (Sookie Stackhouse series - TrueBlood on HBO)
Keri Arthur

So many more who's names are currently outside my memory - we're serious readers in our house... watching tv is a new thing for me - it's only in like the past year that I've become addicted to evening shows. Before that it was either computer or in my cave with a good book. Who are your favorite authors?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The future looks bright

I know the economy is horrible, but some things give me hope. My middle daughter is one of them. She's a senior in high school completing her advanced diploma. She's in her 2nd year of technical academy learning graphic design and says she's on target for honor grad. Besides doing well in school, she's also working almost full time at Target. She's learning all the departments and becoming independent. Watching your children grow to adulthood is a wonderful, terrible thing. Your hopes grow, but your heart gets nervous about them leaving you. Some birds need to be shoved out of the nest to fly, others practice while they're young and then soar off to their own lives and futures when the time comes. Amanda is the latter. I'm relieved to see she's doing so well and has such great internal motivation. My nest is starting to empty out... who knows what will be next.

Monday, November 10, 2008

End of another great weekend

Ah how swiftly the weekends pass...

Had a great day out cropping with some local scrap friends. I did a nice 2 page spread with some fun Margaret dress up pictures, a one pager with a vintage family photo, made the December overview calendar from this edition of Memory Makers magazine to populate with photos next month, prepped a 2 page Thanksgiving layout in the new Bo Bunny fall line of papers, and set up a coffee page scraplifted from another scrapbook magazine - just need to add the java photo... maybe I'll break down and wear make up one of these days and have a daughter do a photo for me...

Sunday went well too - watched Ghost Whisperer with my youngest daughter - she was weeping at the ending - guess she's growing up. Then I did my mid-term (got a 92), paid bills, and went to a friend's house in the afternoon to stamp a Christmas card and visit. She makes the best baked brie dish. I also got introduced to pomegranets, so now they're on my shopping list. I gather (from Tropical Smoothie) that they're supposed to have a lot of nutritional value. At the very least, it's another fruit to add to my rotation in season.

Got to watch my two late shows last night - Dexter then True Blood. Dexter is excellent as usual. True Blood is kind of making me sad. It's a lot different than the books and I kind of miss the characters I thought I knew from reading all the novels. Such is life, though...

What about you - enjoying your time as it keeps slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Here comes the rain again

Second rainy day in a row. The trees have all turned pretty shades and I really wanted to take time to take some photos of the long, tree lined boulevard that runs through my neighborhood - the wet dark trunks and soft lighting make some gorgeous photos... but the rain just keeps coming. Around here, it's summer for a long time, a few days of fall, then winter, the rainy season sets in. Maybe I would be okay in the Pacific Northwest?

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. My only regret is that the trees won't cling to their vibrant wardrobe for just a few days longer. I love the crisp days. I love the smell of the leaves on the ground and the wisp of wood smoke from those with fireplaces.

Change is good, change is good, change is good. Sure hope that's right...


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Die is Cast

The voting is completed, we're in trouble now - since the Dems took over Congress 2 years ago, the country has been on a downward slide. Some religious crazies called Obama the Antichrist (his charisma, world leader, etc). I have concerns about those advisors closest to him, terrorists, radicals, and those who would turn the US into a Muslim socialist state. I worry about bureaucrats deciding if I'm sick enough or have enough chance for a good prognosis determining my medical care. I'm worried that he'll take away the little incentive I have to work hard and take away even more of my money and raise taxes on my puny little job and business.

The only comfort I have is that if it does turn out he's the AC, at least I'm not going to hell for bringing him into power... then again, I guess if I was more of a history student, I'd know that most likely there have been other world leaders who came into power and the religious thought they were the AC too (Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin)... probably we're not in end times just yet... although if the country goes as badly as I fear, maybe we'll wish it were Rapture time so we could just get out of it all...

Sad but funny joke someone emailed me yesterday... "If Obama gets elected President, I'm moving to Cuba - same government, but the weather is nicer..."


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Off to the polls

It's such an importnat day in our country - today, we the people, can make our voices heard in this most critical decision for President of the USA. I've got to say, I've visited Russia and lived in Cuba, and the idea of living in a socialist country where government micromanages my life, where my pay is the governments pay and bureaucrats decide when and what kind of medical treatment I can get are just too scary to be considered. I'm wondering why everyone is not seeing that Obama will trample over our constitutional freedoms and bring his posse of terrorists and radicals in with him to take over the country.

Anyone from somewhere else besides the USA that can tell us about their great place to live? I'm considering a move in my future...

Monday, November 3, 2008

The busy-ness of life

Friday, Halloween
Saturday, all day fund-raiser crop for a sports group
Sunday, quiz for my International Business class; cleaned 1/4 of my office, watched a ton of the shows I had missed all week.

Frustrations:
I ordered a refurb phone from AT&T online - a cute Samsung pink Blackjack II... sounds great, right? Unfortunately, the only part of the phone that worked was the power and the scroll up and down wheel... today I need to get with them about returning it. Sigh. Some savings, some service... I'm not even going to start talking about my call in to tech support and working with someone who speaks heavily accented English.

Went to run some credit slips from the event - the software from the company I have an account with had a corrupt database error. Called in to an Indian call center - turns out their software is not compatible with Windows Vista Home edition - they recommend I upgrade to the business platform... I don't think so... regular billing and customer service is naturally closed on the weekend. Aggrivating.

Then, I've got a Cricut Expression. I also like and use their software to get better vision with my creations... it worked great when I had the little bug. Now, I can't even get the program to open on my computer. I need to remember to call in to their tech support after work. Thankfully, they're in Utah, so with the time zones, I should be able to sort this out without having to take a weekday off from work.

Life is good, it's also busy... what about yours?


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween


Ended up having a fun day on Halloween. Dressed up as my alter ego and even wore it to work. Several co-workers thought the look suited me. Amazing how your appearance alters how you feel about yourself. As Goth-mom, I was ready to tackle anything and not put up with any grief while doing it. Sometimes it's fun to step outside of yourself and enjoy life.