15 hours ago
Monday, January 26, 2009
Oh, My God....we're so busy down here right now, O.K., not this minute because it's 7:31 a.m. and I'm still in my P.J.'s, but today we begin getting the shop set up for next weekend. The retreaters begin arriving on Thursday, so Friday our work really begins. We're so excited...this weekend is going to be so busy, so much fun, and great food (my favorite part), and then on Tuesday after Superbowl we leave for Nashville for a fun filled, action packed weekend running the aisles to pick up more needlework to bring back to the shop and we've already ordered some of it and it's wonderful. I haven't been this excited about Nashville in a few years. While we're always thrilled to see that much needlework in one place, there hasn't been a new project that really wowed us there. But this year we've already been wowed with the previews. So we're truly excited. This year marks the first time in 7 years that Sara and I will be traveling alone. 8 years ago Sara was 8 months pregnant and we went loaded with all kinds of baby stuff in case Micahel came early. After that Michael, & Mary and last year Solomon have always gone with us. We were like a gypsy caravan making the trip. After my mother died I also took my father for 2 years (that was less than pleasant for all of us as he was in mourning and just wanted to be left alone, but couldn't be). This year Michael is staying home, which means Mary and Solomon are also staying home. I'm not sure how well this will work as Michael looks forward to missing school by going to Nashville. He's going to be staying with Mary and we're hoping the fun of that will diminish his wanting to go with us, but I'm sure there will be tears in the end....from him not Sara who looks forward to the peace and quiet leaving Michael home will bring to her. All I want to do is get away for a little while. The show doesn't start until Saturday and we arrive on Wednesday, but they have a wonderful mall in Nashville that I look forward to, and a Cheesecake Factory (you knew food had to be in the mix somewhere). So...the quiet may drive us crazy, but I doubt it. I noticed on the weather this morning that Nashville got an ice storm this morning, so I'm starting to worry about the weather. We usually get a little snow while we're there and that I don't mind, because it's never kept us from getting home. I'm a little worried about the ladies traveling here for the weekend because they are forecasting snow flurries here starting Tuesday, which means we'll probably see rain, but if it's dusting here God knows what Pennsylvania and the Baltimore, Western Shore will see. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it won't snow Thursday, roads will be cleared and the stitchers will be able to make it to Ocean City with no trouble. Well, I'd better get ready for work so let me say now...Have a great day...and I'll talk to you later. Oh, yea, since this is a newsletter for the shop if you have a moment take a look at Victoria Sampler's new Heirloom Sampler...it's exquisite. It's hard to see on my site, but if you look at it on their site you can see the detail...it's beautiful and for anyone with a daughter, especially a daughter who is starting to stitch, well it's perfect. Needless to say it's in my tote, along with 3 million other things.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
(This was started on Tuesday) I thought I wasn't going to watch any of the inauguration on T.V., except perhaps on the nightly news, but since I got up this morning I've done nothing but watch this...and cry, oh, good Lord, I've cried more today than any other time in my life. I can't quite figure this out. I, like a lot of people, am excited for the change we see coming...it's exciting, but I've always hated just about everything about politics, so I really don't know what happened. But I have to say, I've never been prouder of our country than today. Knowing that crackpots are out there, I'm amazed that everything went so smoothly. You know, I had an African American man in the shop this weekend, a former Marine, married to a former Army officer and he comes from Washington. I was happily stitching when they wandered into the shop and he decided he had to sit there and talk to me(I don't know why people do that). Imagine how surprised I was when he not only began to give me his opinion on many subjects, but I was particularly shocked when he started bitching about our future 44th president. I couldn't believe that an African American was sitting there telling me I shouldn't be so excited, but should be weary of Obama. He started citing conspiracy theories that I didn't know anything about. The more he spoke the more I thought I should call the FBI and report this guy. He lectured me for about 45 minutes on the problem with Obama in office. At least we know who he voted for...he loved Sarah Palin. Go figure. That's the kind of day I was having...it was Monday, no one in town and I was watching my DVD and stitching my lamb and all of a sudden one right after the other I had two of the most annoying people in town walk in. Good Lord, that's what I get for missing church. I promise I won't ever miss it again if you just don't let these people back in my shop....I promise! I really didn't expect much business this weekend because it's so freezing cold down here (as I'm sure it was where you are too), and who wants to be here when it's 14 degrees. But surprisingly, the stitchers did not let me down. They showed up and shopped...actually many of them came from the D.C. area and were getting out of town because of the inauguration. We got a slight dusting of snow on Sunday, but of course that was it for us. And thankfully the 14 degrees has risen and we're now seeing 32 degrees again with a forecast of 50 by Friday (of course it's going to be here only for a short time but we'll take it). I hate to bitch but I just don't do well in 14 degrees. I don't know how to dress for that and after sitting in the shop stitching I start to feel really cold and then to add insult to injury our pipes froze in the shop so on Sunday we couldn't use the bathroom. Good Lord, I had to tell everyone who called that they had to use their bathroom before coming as ours wasn't working. That's such a lovely thing to tell a customer...but we often see people who come running through the door asking if they can use our bathroom before they look around. I couldn't do anything for them so we thought it wise to warn them. For the 3 days we are closed this week Vernon and John are replacing our ceiling and lights in a section of the shop. I walk in today(Tuesday) to check on something and Sara says, "Watch what you say(apparently I've become famous for dropping a cuss word especially when I think the shop is empty) because there's a customer in here." Apparently closed 3 days a week means nothing to Vernon who left the front door open so he wouldn't be inconvenienced by having to turn the knob to unlock it when he wanted to get out, and a customer walked in and started looking around. The men were so focused on their work they didn't notice her until she said something. Vernon told her she was welcome to shop but he couldn't do anything but ring her up. (would have been interesting since I had the money bag, but Vernon was obviously not worried about that). I ended up waiting on her thank God since she needed fabric cut. Anyway, no harm done...years ago I use to post my phone number on the door and tell people to call me and I'd come over and open up for them, so letting someone shop on a "closed" day isn't that big a deal, but you can bet I let Vernon think it was. Anyway, he and John did a fabulous job of replacing the lights and ceiling in one section of the shop. They are going to do it in sections on the 3 days we are closed, so that we don't have to close down even one day for them to replace it. What this means is that we probably won't see the whole ceiling done this winter since John leaves for Florida this weekend and by the time he comes back next week he won't remember what he was doing before he left. But I'm use to this so I'm grateful for what I get done. We're getting excited about the Superbowl, not the football game of course but our annual once a year sale. We have two groups retreating here and a third group staying with Stacy S.in her condo. Debbie L., Phyllis Y., will be coming with 7 other stitchers from Pa., Kay F. is coming with 3 from Baltimore , and Staci B. is coming up from Virginia. Oh, it's going to be fun. So if you are in the neighborhood stop on by...you know there will be refreshments being served on Sunday in the shop. Oh, yea, I have to tell you a miracle happened today....I got all the Christmas Decorations put away...and it's still January. While yours have probably been put away for almost a month, this is a first for me. If you remember I still had the tree laying on its side in my living room until March, when Vernon finally came and put it in the workshop. But with Sara's old Charlie Brown tree I was able to handle it myself, and it fit in my closet it was so little. Yippie!!!! So now I've got my house back to normal (whatever that means), but my office has gone to hell in a handbasket. I can't get a handle on the mail. I've been working 3 days a week in there and yet it's still a mess. And now I'm panicing because I have to get the taxes done and to the accountant and we all know I don't get that done until the last minute but I worry about it for 3 months prior to getting the job done. We have Superbowl sale coming up, and then we have Nashville. And of course, I'm still fighting with IRS who seems to now be looking at 1997 & 1998 and can't seem to find some of my reports. Honestly, this drives me crazy...but I'm back to corresponding with them on a weekly basis....and this year I've added phone calls to really set my brain on fire. I find it hard to believe that my tax dollars are being used to drive me this crazy. It doesn't seem right that I pay these people to do nothing but drive me crazy. I don't think this is a good use of my money. Instead of driving those of us crazy who pay our taxes, wouldn't it be better to go after the ones who don't pay. I mean look at all the big wigs who have stolen investors money, you know they didn't pay taxes on that money...are they being hounded? Go after their asses for once and give me a vacation...please! Anyway, I've got to run...so have a great day and I'll talk to you later.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I'm in my office thankfully getting confirmations for Spring Retreat out (I'm trying to get timely), when I called Mary to have her plug the names into the reservation system. She says, "Oh, Mom, by the way, someone has been trying to get ahold of you and she got testy so I got testy.." and all I could think was, Oh, Oh...here we go. So I waited why she went into some long involved story and I could hear was the end...Mary telling me she thought the woman hung up so she said, "Asshole" and then the woman said something and hung up. But then the woman called her back to say how she didn't appreciate being called an asshole. Of course I am cringing down here knowing I've got to handle the fallout of this. So after giving Mary the lecture about no matter how much anyone aggravates you...you never ever call them names...until you hang up the phone. So then I said you have no idea who this is? And she then says, "well she asked for the American Exress travel office"...so I said, "Well I'm not that why didn't you tell them they had the wrong phone number." She says she tried telling the person but they kept insisting they had to have my number. By the time she got done telling me all she said to the woman who apparently wasn't listening to the fact that she had called a hotel even I was calling her as asshole....however that was O.K. for me to do because the woman wasn't on my phone line. I remember Sara sitting out back with me telling when an annoying jackass one of our tenants had been at the front desk just as the man walked around the corner and heard it so he felt he had to defend himself. When will my girls learn...you never ever talk about tenants, customers, friends, etc., unless you are behind locked doors far beyond the reach of their ears and by that time you will have forgotten what you locked yourself in for. Other than that I'm having an absolutely fabulous day....well until Sara came into the office unexpectedly and found me eating the McDonald's #4 Value meal. And she thought I was going to eat healthier....well I did have yogurt for breakfast.....along with my peanut butter toast...does that count? Have a great day stitchers.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Tonight we had our monthly Stitch 'n Bitch meeting and I have to tell you, we're in sad shape. Tonight there were 9 of us there. It rained this afternoon so the boardwalk was wet which meant it was slippery so Sara and I were a tad concerned about the stitchers trying to walk the boardwalk to get here...but our group is filled with "troopers" who wouldn't consider a wet boardwalk as anything else but a challenge. But when we were all there we had to laugh about our conditions...Sara had a root canal done in the afternoon, so she was still feeling numb with the knowledge that pain was on it's way, although she brought her drink from home with her to sustain her in case pain did kick in. I had work done on my tooth a couple of weeks ago and have been experiencing nothing but pain for two weeks as we've (my dentist and I) have tried to deal with this. Jennifer H. decided to get healthier this year so she signed up for a gym membership and after her first visit, she was walking and slipped on something and broke several bones in her ankle (that's why I would never join a gym...I'm sure broken bones come from that...any excuse I can find not to join will work for me), so she came in with a brace on her foot and a crutch. Fortunately her husband brought her up to make sure she arrived without falling. She would have come with Hedy C. except Hedy is recuperating from back surgery so she didn't want to take a chance on falling with Hedy. Joyce C. arrived with a walker, Connie arrived with no cane even though she just had surgery last month...a knee replacement. Jackie J. arrived announcing she would be having her shoulder surgery next month and Kay F. announced her surgery on her foot would be sometime this spring. Pat W. is the only one that arrived whole with no problems...lucky Pat, although she might be rethinking be part of this rag tag militia. When it was time to leave the people who were mobile took one of the others who were less mobile and walked them to their car so we were certain everyone got to their car without falling. We may have to hire a nurse to attend our meetings, not sure, but it looks like it might be necessary. However, once we're here we are all fine. Hedy brought the food this time and what a spread...oh, my God, have you tried the new Parmesan & Garlic Triscuits? They are wonderful...and I should know. Since I didn't have dinner I just pulled my seat up to the food table and spent the entire evening there, however I did share. We had fruit, cheese, a delicious cheese log that Hedy made, brushetta, a variety of cookies...oh, yes, I had a delicious time at Stitch 'n Bitch. We did miss our regular members who weren't in attendance, Beth J., Linda W., and Candi W. who is on a cruise this week. Geez, a cruise or Stitch 'n Bitch...don't know how she made that decision. I'm not sure what everyone worked on, except Pat who showed us her knitted tube socks which were so colorful and pretty, but in two different colors...her theory being...if she stitched both the same color she would probably only knit the one pair, but by stitching from two different colors she was sure to get 2 pairs. Of course my theory is, after you stitch the 3rd sock what happens if you decide to knit no more and then you have one pair and an extra sock. (I always think of the negative aspects) As I was leaving I ran into Kay F. & Jackie J. unloading their car next door (they drive down from the Western Shore for Stitch 'n Bitch), at the Paradise Hotel. I wish you could have seen their car...it was packed from floor boards to rooftop. They had stopped in Salisbury and shopped til they dropped. There seriously wasn't room to spare....I'm not sure if Kay F. was strapped to the top or not for the ride home, but that may be the only place left for her. But one thing I do know...she doesn't need any new clothes for awhile. Due to the problems with my tooth I haven't been stitching lately...don't ask me what the tooth has to do with it but it's so distracting that I seriously cannot concentrate. But the pain is getting to be more manageable so hopefully I will be able to concentrate soon. I've got so much stitching to do and so little time. Oh, My! I've had some inquiries regarding the Superbowl Sale...we are having one this year, Sunday, February 1st (I believe...isn't that the Superbowl)...however, I am not sending out the postcards this year. I found that wasn't cost effective, so I'm just going to keep reminding you about the sale. You can walk in, call in, order over the internet, I don't care how you do it, the sale will take place. Lizzie Kate arrived Tuesday and how cute are her Halloween pieces? Usually I can't do Halloween again until around July, but I have to tell you these are to cute. We also got the Erica Michaels over one in and again cute but not for the faint of heart since it is over one. But it is our first Valentine's piece (although not strickly Valentine but we're calling it that). But these are the first two shipments of 2009 so we're excited. It gets kind of boring around this time of year as the designers are usually holding their new designs for Nashville which is a month away and we want new. So we're excited to be getting anything right about now. Anyway I'll try to get them up on the site in the next day so you can see them too. I have to go to work now...so have a great day and try to stay warm....I heard their was a chill coming, although we are snowless and I know the north is getting snow...crap when am I going to get a snow day.
Monday, January 5, 2009
I promised you I'd show you what Sara stitched for me, so here it is. This was a piece from Ellen Chester. We were invited to join the stitchers from the Delaware Guild as this is a group project, so of course we signed on ... that was 2 years ago and mine hasn't seen the light of day since. However, my Sara pulled hers out and stitched it for me for Christmas. Horray....and I'm thrilled. It's an over one piece and the stitched portion is only 3 1/2" x 2 1/2" with the hornbook approximately 5 1/2" x 4". She did such a wonderful job, didn't she? Anyway, I just love it. Most of the projects Sara and I give each other as gifts end up in the shop as models, so lately we've decided to stitch things we don't carry in the shop so we can keep our new treasures in our homes. I'm thinking about shadow boxing this one and hanging it on the wall. I really need to get that display coffee table I keep talking about, I just haven't done it yet, but with the wonderful treasures I'm receiving I need to do something quickly. I don't have a picture of the other project yet, because she needs one more skein of a color to complete the tassels on the closing, but as soon as the weeks dye works comes in she'll be able to finish it and and then I'll get the picture. Meanwhile it's gloomy this morning, and I've decided to stay home and work today. I've moved my computer table to the opposite side of the sofa so that has become my office and the left side is where I stitch. I think I need to make the distinction or my office time gets mixed up with my stitching time. Before I forget, we have firmed up the date for Jane Timmers to come teach her "Finer Points of Finishing" and that is Palm Sunday, April 3-5th, 2009. So if you are interested in taking that class....it's the one several people asked about during the Jamboree. I'll get more on it and let you know the specifics of what you will be learning, as well as a price, but I wanted to let you know asap so you could mark your calendars. Also, have you seen the Petit Sampler Etui...the collaboration piece from With My Needle, Praiseworthy Stitches, etc...oh, my it's wonderful. However, it's a limited edition chart so if you are interested in it you need to let us know so that we will have plenty on hand. We've already taken orders and we didn't even have it up on the site yet ( we are fortunate to have several very loyal customers who come to us to check if we have something before ordering from another shop....for which we are so grateful.) Weather Update: I heard from Stasi B. in Virginia and it hasn't started snowing there yet. Are you getting any? We're in the rain belt so we've had a little rain and it's cold down here although tomorrow it's suppose to be up near 50 and then go down again for the weekend (of course), but when I say down I mean 40's during the day and 20's at night if that. By the ocean the temps are usually higher in the winter and cooler in the summer, so when Salisbury (45 minutes away) has 29 degrees we are usually around 35 or 39. Yes, the ocean is a blessing in the summer but won't let us have much snow if any. For those with 6 feet of snow already you are probably wishing to live near the ocean. While those of us near the ocean are wishing for a little snow. But just let me go on record...not 6 feet of snow. We want enough snow to close everything down and let us sit inside stitching...but we want the sun out the following day to melt it all so we don't actually have to do anything with the snow. I don't think anyone here even owns a snow shovel...heck we don't own snowsuits, we barely own gloves, and I think we like it like that! Have a great night and keep those needles moving. Lots of stitching to do and so little time.
My God, it's like the party ended and no one told us to go home and here we sit in the midst of the mess. I was suppose to have Solomon overnight on Sunday, however, I forgot I had to get my crown put in again (when will I learn not to eat caramels)...so I asked Sara if I could drop him off with her at 8:30 a.m. to make the appointment. She said it would be better if Solomon stayed with her (does she know something I don't?) and she called his father and arranged for Solomon to be dropped off at her house so I was Solomon free..which meant I came home and instantly fell asleep on the sofa..my usual routine. Then I woke up around 7:30 p.m., tried to figure out whether it was morning or still night and then tried to make up my mind if I was going to work or stitch. Stitching has won out lately, but tonight I decided that I needed to get some work done...so here I am again. Anyway, today was bleak, everyone has left town basically, ut those of us who never leave. I started out my day at the dentist...the day could only go up from there...and still arrived for work on time. There was a fog delay (you folks get snow...we get fog) so I knew Sara was going to be held up getting Michael on the bus, especially with Solomon tagging along. It wasn't long before she showed up, Solomon ate at the shop buffet (cereal snacks, etc.) and then he went home. For the rest of the day it was Sara and I sitting looking at each other with a drizzle going on outside periodically. And this will be our month! We did see several of our friends over the weekend, Hedy, Jennifer, Stacy, Linda and Candi (just to name a few) all showed up to spend some time with us. It was fun catching up to everyone. Even Connie hobbled in with her cane (she had her second knee replacement done but is rehabing beautifully). But today...gloomy...the party's over and they forgot to turn out the lights. I thought I'd show you stitchers what I did over the holidays, or some of what I did. I forgot to take pictures of the Just Nan over the top tins I stitched along with their biscornu's, needlebooks, etc. The second picture is the Christmas sewing set I made for Renee. I loved stitching this piece, however, putting it together was too daunting for me so I looked very gloomy at our November Stitch 'n Bitch and whined enough that Jackie J. finally say, "Just give it to me." And I did and I was thrilled to do so, especially when she returned it in December with a report on how long it took her and I can tell you if it took her a while I'd never have gotten it done. So I am so grateful to Jackie J. Anyway, it turned out beautifully and I couldn't have been more pleased....and best of all...it looks just like Renee's house..very Victorian. The first picture shows the scissor holder and the scissor fob that goes with the set. The last picture shows the slipper open and reveals the green wool needle page. You can also see the miniature hornbook with the loop for a thimble which slids into the slipper (as in the center picture). Loved it!!!! The other major accomplishment for me for Christmas was the gift to Sara. Yes, folks, not only did I give Sara a completed project, she gave me one as well as finished the last part of what she presented me with last year so I actually ended up with two stitched gifts from her, which I'll show you, but first, I had taken a class on-line called "My Treasures Workstation" by Judy Odell and amazingly enough I finished the stitching by November. During the process I thought it would make a wonderful surprise for Sara, who knew I had taken the class but had no idea I was going to finish it for her. I enjoyed the stitching but then as always, it had to be assembled. As you are aware, that is not my forte...nor do I envision myself doing the finishing on any project. But knowing I had two difficult assembles to do I decided if Jackie did one then I had to do the other. I feel it's important if I'm going to do the smalls I do need to know how to assemble them. The only problem is....I'm a procrastinator. So with all the crap I had to do 2 days before Christmas, I decided that on the night of the 23rd I should start trying to assemble this piece...yes, I said it...done by the 1st of November and waited until 2 days before Christmas to do anything about it. I have to say, while a seasoned finisher would be able to see things they would have done better, I was thrilled with the assembly in the end. I did make a couple of changes, but that's allowed and wasn't because I couldn't do what she told you to do, I chose a different look. You can also see the white headed pins which are stuck around the top as it's a pin keep. The second picture shows the workstation as it looks when you first open it. The needlebook is now visible and you can see the scissor handles stitcking out at the top. A white headed pin is used as the catch to keep the needlebook closed. The third picture shows the workstation completely open. On the top is the needle book open revealing the needle pages, then nder the needlepages you see the hinge and then the bottom piece with her name and date attached to the base which is a wooden thread station. The original way to attach the stitched piece to the base was with ribbon, but you had to put 3 holes in your needlework to match the holes on the base and I just couldn't do that, especially with the cardboard in between...I just knew I'd make a mess of that so I glued the piece to the wooden base as instructed and then I made cording long enough to go around the stitched piece as well as up through the handles of the scissor which you can see sticking out of the top of the piece. A sheath for the scissor is stuck in the top of the piece for your scissors. The cording through the handles of the scissor then are tied to keep your workstation contained. The next picture is the needle mattress which is stored inside the station when it's closed. Is this not the most fun....? Judy's directions were wonderful and except for a couple of things I clearly didn't understand, but it was easy enough to go around them. While I did understand about the ribbon placement, I'm just not a ribbon kind of gal, so I figured out a way to not use any. But that's O.K. as Judy encourages you to do the finishing any way you like to . Anyway, I had a ball doing it, and couldn't be prouder of the finished piece. And Sara was also thrilled with it so that was wonderful. And now that I've figured out how to get the pictures on the web site from the new computer...well I'm going to pat myself on the back. I've got to go now and get my hot chocolate...I'll return later...perhaps. Have a great night.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
I trust you had a wonderful holiday, a safe New Year and we're all back at work! I'm sorry I worried so many of you by not blogging or answering your e-mails...I'll try to do better next year. In the meantime, I frantically trying to catch up. I frankly need a vacation from the exhaustion of the holiday, although I did take 3 days and didn't get out of my p.j.'s nor did I get off the sofa except to get some food and stitch. I spent the three days watching a British Comedy called "Keeping up appearances" which is funny, funny, funny and stitching. What a great vacation that was. I had so much fun. But let me fill you in on my holiday. The week before Christmas I took off work and concentrated on getting the house finished, getting the food together and wrapping gifts. I thought I was doing well, O.K., I wasn't even close but kept telling myself I was close to being on schedule. Since each Christmas Day I've had to call Sara in a panic and ask her to come down and help me, she kept in contact with me asking if I needed her to make anything, to which I kept saying, "No, I really think I'm O.K. this year...I had my serving pieces in sterling shined (although not the individual settings), I had my table set and serving pieces out with the serving pieces in place and each dished named so we didn't have to wonder where to put anything. Yes, I was living with the allusion that I was going to get it all done. And I might have if I didn't decide I didn't have enough boxes for C.J. to open (money wise I was fine, but because his items were so expensive there weren't that many). So two days before Christmas I hit the mall again, and I was so astounded at the prices I ended up shopping for everyone again, you just couldn't resist the prices...I mean things were 50-70%off. Of course that neccessitated that I then spend 4 hours Christmas eve wrapping the damn presents. Crap...there went the time line! But I was still optimistic, that is until around 2:00 p.m. on Christmas eve when I heard a tapping at the door. Knowing that Sara and Mary wouldn't have dared to come over here knowing how crazy I had gotten I couldn't imagine who would have the nerve. And there stood my sister, Susan and Chuck and Kelly, who were suppose to arrive Christmas Day in the afternoon. Now I try to be gracious at all times, however, this was almost more than I could take....my time line, my time line...it was going down the drain. So after my usual pleasant holiday greeting, "What the hell are you doing here," Susan always a quick assessor of the situation said, "Would you like us to go to the hotel and stay there?" But that wasn't a possibility because she may put her luggage there but she'd be right back on my doorstep to help, but really would only be in my way. So I said, no, but only Kelly's room was ready since their room was my wrapping room, so they should put their things in Kelly's room and get lost for a few hours. Such a gracious hello, and not lost on them as they decided to go to Chuck's sister's house for the night and come back Christmas Day....oh, yea, my time line is back on schedule. Chuck did look at the wreaths sitting on the porch and asked, "Sally do you realize tomorrow is Christmas?" Smart ass...no one said the wreaths had to be on the doors before Christmas day. Anyway, I knew without sleep I just might get the time line back on schedule. So I brined the turkey, wrapped the gifts I purchased the day before (4 more hours out of my life), got the yeast sweet dough made, cinnamon rolls forms and in the refrig, yes I was moving right along, I messed up the Chocolate Damnation cake...which has a multiple parts, I got the mocha meringue done, the brownie cake didn't rise correctly and I had to do the chocolate mousse twice...forget about the mocha mousse and the ganuache...I decided that dessert would have to wait, after all I had the New York style cheesecake made and in the refrig. I worked diligently through the night (reminded m e of when the girls were little and we worked all night putting their toys together)...and at 5:30 a.m. I crept down to the church (I'm on altar duty in December) in my p.j.'s and did altar duty. (I hope my mother was right when she said God doesn't care what you wear to church as long as you show up). Came home and continued the cleaning and cooking and decorating, hell I even washed my front windows so I could see through them. Then at 8:00 a.m. C.J. came down and we went to Sara's to watch Michael open his gifts and have breakfast. That's also where I open my first wave of gifts from Sara, Vernon and Michael...such a slew of gifts I was opening for an hour. I was now feeling the results of no sleep, so as soon as Michael was done I took the two boys downstairs and gave them one of their gifts from me...electric Razor scooters. So they took off, I said good-bye and went home to work on the dinner. Sara called me and asked if I needed her to come down, and while I felt I might get it done, I was fading fast so I thanked her and said I would appreciate the help. So she arrived champagne bottle in hand and asked if I minded if she kept drinking (she has champagne and orange juice with her breakfast on holidays)...and of course I said I didn't care if she got drunk I just needed her help at this point. So Sara really took over. I sat down and kept working on the dinner, but Sara took over the stove. Since I had put the turkey before I went to her house, we just kept making dish after dish, and when I explained I gave up on the damnation cake, she and Chuck devised a way to use the three parts, Sara made the gaunche and the dessert was delicious. Anyway, when Chuck arrived they told me to sit down as I wasn't looking too hot and my ankles were the size of grapefruits. So I said, "Well for just a moment perhaps." I woke up sometime later to see the dinner was well in hand. Sara came in and said, "Mom why don't you go take a shower and get dressed." I just looked at her and said, "What makes you think I'm showering or changing...I'm eating in my p.j.'s." Sara said, "Well I have to go home and change." To which I said, "Why bother, call everyone up and tell them the dress code is pajamas." She's had enough to drink (after the champagne ran out she opened the wine)...that she called everyone and said, "Mom's wearing P.j.'s and suggests everyone else do the same." So with my mother rolling her eyes up in heaven and my father clutching his heart in heaven, the women and children went along with the program and had dinner in their pajamas...the men just wouldn't get with the program, although as soon as dinner was over Chuck did change into his. It was a wonderful way to enjoy a dinner with family. None of us were wearing pants that were a little too tight, or tops that were constrictive...yes, I suggest to you all...next holiday make it a p.j. only event. You will be thanked by everyone, except the men. It really does make sense in our case, because a tradition for my family is everyone gets to open one gift Christmas Eve...and it is always a new pair of p.j.'s to wear so everyone has on new p.j.'s Christmas morning. (You can imagine how thrilled the children are with this tradition, however, the girls appreciate it today and carry on the tradition with their families). So most of the people showing up have on their new p.j's to begin with. The day after Christmas Sara told me to stay home and she'd open the shop. I thanked her as at this point I was trying to get my ankles back to normal size. Saturday I did go to work even though my ankles were not going down but by Tuesday of this week I decided to sit on the sofa until they reduced to their normal size. After 3 days it happened. My ankles are now back to pre-Christmas size...whoopee! That's how I know Christmas is over. Now, of course, I have to put everything away. By the way, my tree...well it's pitiful but my Charlie Brown tree is easy to move around so I'll have this thing put away in short order. I'm hopeful I'll have things put away this week...but I wouldn't swear to it. I just tried downloading pictures into my new computer...it didn't work so I'll take this down to the office and do it on that computer. Sorry about that. I'll try tomorrow. Although I'm already stressing over having Solomon overnight tomorrow night. He never sits down...however, he does go to bed at 8:00 p.m., so I'll just have to chase him for 4 hours...oh, no, my ankles, my ankles...I think I can do it...although Sara is just a phone call away. She's already anticipating my call I'm sure. I'll let you know how it goes. Oh, just heads up. While you are going wild with the January sales, please make sure you get your discounts. You remember my computer experience at Best Buy? Well Sara had a similar experience at Vernon Powell. She purchase shoes supposedly at 50% off, but didn't check her receipt. She had purchased a few pairs of shoes and just assumed she got the discount. Luckily she had to return a pair and that's when she noticed she didn't get it. She mentioned it to the gentlemen and was given the discount when she took the shoes back..she ended up getting $50 back. I had the same thing happen in my store today. A woman was buying multiple items, and one of the leaflets didn't have the charms with it, but when it was originally put into inventory it had the charms and was priced accordingly. I've gotten use to looking for these problems and when it scanned $10 I knew that was wrong and made the correction. I don't think any store does this on purpose, but when it's your money they are screwing with it's aggravating. So be vigilant shoppers and keep the money in your pocket not in the shops pocket. Have a wonderful weekend, and I'll be talking to you.