Week 43 Accomplishments

Monday and Tuesday were spent on vacation. The trip home on Tuesday was a bit longer than expected, the Nor'easter in the are delayed flights out of Philly to Allentown. The funny thing was, we could have drove home quicker, but we couldn't get our bags. If we cancelled our flight, they wouldn't send them on to Allentown, some 9/11 rule about bags having to match a ticketed customer. So if we cancelled out flight, we'd have to drive back to Philly the next day to get our bags. But, if we hung around for a few hours, and the last flight of the night was cancelled due to weather, we could find alternative transport and they'd send the bags on to Allentown in the morning. What a pain…. But we got home. M & B picked us up from the airport and even had a big welcome home sign waiting for us! It was really cool, first time that ever happened for me.

Wednesday: I met with the ladies at the UWBW for lunch. I got to show off my pictures of paradise and my tan lines (I actually have tan lines!). My thing to do for the next two weeks is to work on a press release… After I got home from the meeting I spent the day catcing up on orders, reading my mail, and answering e-mail.

Thursday: Errand catch up day: Post Office, Bank, Groceries, Target (had to get Halloween candy to give out), updated the blog and went to dinner with B & M at this great seafood place in Emmaus. Good stuff! Somehow, even though it was sort of their anniversary dinner, they paid. Something about the fact that we paid the last time… always disturbing to me to figure out who owes who…

Friday: Made C an eye doctors appointment for Monday. He keeps getting a dry redish spot in his eye. It’s the third time now, time to see a doctor. Show applications: can you believe that I am sending out applications for shows that take place next year already. I swear it gets earlier and earlier each year. I send out pre apps for shows in October, and full apps for February and April. And I have more to do. I need to start and try to find shows for weekends I'm free next year. This year was slow- only about 22 shows; I need about 10 more for next year if I can find stuff that's worth it.

Saturday: I was supposed to be at the VFMOTTC craft show, but on Friday evening I was really feeling under the weather. Really stuffed up, and scratchy throat. Not good signs. I was worse off on Saturday, so I didn't attend the show. I hate skipping out on shows like that. They are not only fun, but it is for a small organization to raise money and I like being apart of that. I also find that customers at shows like this are very loyal, which makes them great return customers. Instead I caught up on my homework. Fate was smiling on me, and the instructor had canceled the big paper I thought I needed to do. Whoo Hoo! C Vacuumed and did laundry, so the house is finally feeling normal again…

Sunday: We made plates. C and I went over and helped B make plates. She was really behind so we came over and learned and did. Wow, that is a tough process and extremely labor intensive. She needs a new craft…I washed, glued, painted, and edged, while C edged, sealed, and cleaned some others. Her husband M was there as well, so she had a little production facility going all day. In return she is going to come over in a few weeks and give me a day of labor in my shop.


Week 42 Accomplishments

Just 10 weeks left to the year, can you belive it! This week I did nothing but vacation. Ah, I did a little homework, but nothing was on time, LOL!

Vacation Day 6 Through Day 11 in a nutshell

Day 6:
Another day aboard ship. Once again filled with bingo, art auctions, some time by the pool, and lots of food. I won again at bingo, twice, and a little at the casino. I'm winning just enough to cover what I've lost, not too bad…

Day 7:
St. Martin. They forgot to tell us that the Dutch side was observing a national holiday, so barely anything was open. We went to the French side and explored an open-air market, had some great pastries, and generally just walked around. It got gray out and started to downpour just as we were getting ready to go back to the ship, so after the taxi dropped us off we got a little wet getting back to the ship.

Day 8:
St. Thomas. We went snorkeling in the morning. I got to see some really cool fish pretty up close, including a stingray, and some parrotfishes. The water was pretty choppy and I swallowed a little too much seawater, so I was feeling a little green on the way back. It rained on the way out in the boat and on the way back as well, but we had clear snorkeling which was cool.

Day 9:
Return home: The ship got in and luckily we were some of the first people off. They call by number so it was just luck we got off when we did. C's sister lives in Miami and had changed her flight the day before to an earlier one so she could get home before Wilma came to visit. Good thing to, they cancelled the flight she was on, she would have been stuck in PR for a few days till the airport reopened. She made it through just fine, just had no power and a 14th floor apartment, I think that's bad enough!

Day 10:
Relaxation. C went into the office and I just relaxed in the hotel room. I caught up on some sleep, watched a movie, and worked on class homework. Later we went to dinner over at his mom's and got to spend some more family time.

Day 11:
Home. Our flight left in the afternoon, and the connecting flight was cancelled so we had to take a later one. It was only about 12 hours from destination to destination. Blech…


Some Pictures

Some Aruba Humor

The Ships's Promenade

Aruba from the docked ship

Vacation Day 4 & 5

Day 4: Aruba
On the whole I was a little disappointed in Aruba. If you just want to lay on the beach this is the perfect place to go. I love the beach but I hate the sand. I also turn lobster red after only about an hour, so by the time I get there and get comfortable its time to go home. The shopping on this island is the thing to do. But I'm not really into that either, and we learned that the prices are better on other islands, so this was much more just a window shopping experience. We went on a tour, but the tour guide had a lot to be desired so we really didn't learn as much as we would have liked.
The ship didn't leave until after midnight, so we explored a little and had lunch at a place called Iguana Joe's. It was good food, but nothing special and not as "local food" as I would have liked. We were going to go to this local place for dinner, but we were so full from lunch we ended up back on the ship for a late dinner instead.

Day 5: Curacao
C's sister and I started the day at the spa. I had a 25 minute massage and a Ginger and Lime Sugar Scrub. It was nice to be pampered and I love seeing the products they use and the ingredients they have so I can go home and try and make it for myself and make it better.
We then went on a tour of the island. It is a very small but interesting place. The downtown still has its Dutch influence and is very pretty. After the tour we started walking around the shopping district. It is just a really cute island.

Vacation Day 2 & 3

Day 2
First Day on the ship
We awoke in the morning to a huge list of things to finish before being able to embark on our journey. After finishing packing and repacking we checked out of the hotel and went to see C's parents and pick up his sister. From there we returned the rental car to the airport and then went to a gathering of family and friends. When C was very young his oldest sister had a few very close friends, over the years one passed on and another was lost touch with. When she regained contact she was destroyed to find out her best friend growing up is loosing a battle with Cancer. Her friend just returned to the island this week to see all of her old pals. One get together was on Sunday and L wanted to be able to introduce and "show off" the entire family. It was important that time was made to stay and visit before going on the cruise.

It took us a while to get onboard, but once we did we were greeted with a large room with porthole windows that over look the bow of the boat. We quickly started exploring and grabbed some much needed lunch. There is ice skating, roller blading, mini-golf, rock climbing and a grand promenade of shops and bars. The ship is amazing and huge.

Dinner was casual since we didn't all have our luggage yet. But it was very good. Our head waiter, Oliver, is excellent. But our assistant waiter is a little obnoxious. It just reminds me of someone who is trying to hard to be "American", or like Americans. He is just a little over the top. He also tends to end his sentences quieter than he started them, so it gets harder and harder to understand him as the conversation progresses.

After dinner we just explored the ship. There are a few clubs, a casino, and a Johnny Rockets amongst a bunch of different bars and places to stop and eat.

Day 3: A Day at Sea
Every other ship I have been on I have been bored to death on sea days, but not this one. C's sister and I went to play bingo, and between the two of us we won three games! We also went to the onboard art auction. This is one of my favorite things to do and we have quite a few artworks at the house that we have bought this way. It was good to find out that one of our favorite artist's works have appreciated over the past few years; we can barely afford him now. Luckily we won a raffle, so we can still bring home one of his newest works! C's sister bought some stuff for her new apartment too, so it was a fun time.

Dinner was formal, so it was time to get dressed up and get our pictures taken; we got a great picture of the three of us. We need to get some copies so we can give them out to C's mom and family.

After dinner we went to see the show. I have to admit I have been disappointed by the caliber of shows on board. But the nice thing is there are many other things to do, so we don't just sit there bored. Since its Monday I went to the onboard cyber café and posted some homework. I wanted to blog but the darn thing was so expensive (and slow on top of it!) I decided to wait till the end of the cruise.


Vacation Day 1

3:00 am- get up,feed the cats, get dresed, take out the garbage

4:00 am- "B" comes and picks me up to bring me to the airport. I still can't believe that she volunteered to do this. Man its early. And I'm so excited I just rattle on and on, it must have been annoying...

4:30 am- arrive at the airport. Not even the people who work the check in counters are there yet. I'm told they'll show around 5am. I turn on my I-pod and start listening to "The Wish List" by Eoin Coffer. It is one of those kids books that also works well for adults and is all about a kid who gets killed and sent back to help an old man complete his wish list before he dies so she can get into heaven. Needless to say, Satan would really like her as a resident of hell and sends another demon to try and stop her from doing good.

5:00 am- check in, surrender my bags, and go find my gate. I pick up a really bad crossiant for breakfast and can only eat half...back to the book..

6:00 am-on the plane for boarding. the first leg of the flight is so short I don't even get the chance to turn on any electronic devices, so I just read the magazine they have. Interestingly enough there is a long article about Lancaster PA. I'll have to bring home a copy of the mag on my way home.

7:00 am- in philly for my connection. Take the bus to the A gate. Scrambled eggs and some hash browns for breakfast, and back to my book....

9:00 am- on the plane again. we are delyed due to some last minute luggage, so I take this time to finish my book, and then start "Skinny Dip' by Carl Haiseen. Interesting enough it is about a woman who's husband flips her overboard on a cruise ship in the effort to kill her. Out of all the books I could have chosen, I choose one about murder on board...

1:30 pm- Finally there! C comes to pick me up with two of his sisters, M & C. C is coming on the crusie with us. We go back to the hotel, freshen up, and then pick up his niece C and go to lunch where his last suster L and one of his other nieces meet us. It have this great meal called crab bisque, but its made with land crab, not sea crab, which tastes completely different. It also isn't like any bisque I've ever had- no cream in it- not even a soup per say. It reminds me of a Manhattan Clam where they've taken out all the broth, and added 10x the normal amount of clam. It comes with rice and plaintain fritters... yum.....

5:30 pm- back to the hotel, time to do homework and take a nap

8:30- go and visit mom and dad. C and L come back from shopping and its just some really nice family time. even with the language barrier, just the looks on their faces, and tone of their voice is filled with love for one another. that trancends language.

10:00 pm- back to the hotel, and I find the last of the NASCAR race on and sit and watch it until I fall asleep.


Another Baby "M"

Naming your baby starting with the letter "M" must be popular this year, especially for girls, I've had two in a row! This is my niece "M", my step-sister "J" and her husband "M" are the proud parents of this beautiful little one. The dude in the picture is my step-dad, better known as "Rad"..


Week 41 Accomplishments

Amazing I got anything done with my mind planted firmly on vacation. I promise I'll take lots of pictures and share :)

Monday: Dentist appointment (no cavities!), Post office, bank; buy sneakers for the cruise, pay bills, blog, and I tried making whipped soap. It was a lame first attempt, but it came out better than I thought it would and gave me a really good idea for what to do for my upcoming soap swap.

Tuesday: Made rejuvenation soap, labeled soap and products to bringto stores and to boutique shows this fall, did some homework

Wednesday: horrible migraine, made one batch of Coconut soap before I caved in and gave up and went to bed

Thursday: Went and dropped off inventory at DCCA, picked up oils to make soap from, and stopped at CDM, this interesting wholesale store. They have some cool baskets and containers I think I will be using in the future for gift baskets.

Friday: Printed my boarding passes, ironed, did laundry and more homework. Finished packing for the cruise and stuff.

Sat-Tuesday: VA-CA-TI-ON… Puerto Rico, Aruba, Curacao, St. Thomas, and St. Martin here I come…


Week 40 Accomplishments

Monday: Made Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey Soap. Went to Home Depot and bought a big Rubbermaid storage shed for the car port. It holds all my tables and displays perfectly (including the tent!) so now we don't have to carry everything up and down stairs and take up room in the basement either. Everything else was typical post show stuff- run credit cards, do inventory, catch up on this blog, etc.

Tuesday: Grocery store, post office, bank. Then I worked on the web site and got it all updated to reflect the October Free Shipping Sale, and got the Fragrance of the Month Survey working and posted to the blog and the web site. Finished my newsletter (hard copy) as well. I did lots of overdue home work, and finally got the new TiVo programmed with this years line up.

Wednesday: Milled soap and made more Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey. Also made Raspberry Fizzys and Rejuvenation Bath Salts. Finished getting all the names and addresses into my mailing list, and did more homework.

Thursday: Paid my sales tax (since it is due while I am on the cruise and I'd hate to pay the penalty if its late), answered the pile of e-mails that I hadn't gotten done, made Rejuvenation Soap, emptied out all of my containers from my last show and got all my inventory put away where it belongs, made more bath salts, fizzys, and got my newsletter in the mail *whoo hoo!*

Friday: Cleaned the house, did launder, and more homework (I can't wait till I am doesn't with these classes!)

Saturday: Finished the laundry. Learned that the basement leaks when it rains over 8 inches in 24 hours. The leak reminds me of those fountains with the little boys peeing...comes out of the wall just like that. Went to Home Depot to find something to stop the leak, bought groceries for the week, chatted online with some of my soapie friends, and started to pack for the cruise

Sunday: More packing, run to Target to get important things like stockings and a garment bag, come home but a bunch of other stuff. Watched the MASCAR race (go #6!) and cooked beef stew for dinner. I really hate packing. I hate having to decide so far ahead of time what I am going to wear. I hate having to plan for just about any weather, and I hate the process of folding, and getting it to fit into luggage. Why is it that the week before a vacation is always so darn stressful?


Little Baby "M"

I FINALLY got some pictures of my new "niece". The first one was when she was about 10 minutes old, the second is with her big sister "K". K has been a great big sister so far, helping mum as best she can. I get to see the little one in about three more weeks. I can't wait!


No Such Thing As Blind Faith

In another conversation about something totally different, a friend of mine said, "Faith is like a muscle, it has to be used in order to become stronger. Faith is not a blind hopefulness; faith is a strong leaning on or dependence on." This just rang my bell.

I have been contemplating the meaning of faith a lot lately, but faith outside of a religious context. You see its been banging around my head the last 6 months or so that with C working and traveling and being gone so much, the experience had to be part of my life for a reason. To be cliché, everything happens for a reason, and that which does not kill you only makes you stronger. His being away has been very hard, it has brought up things in me that I have had to deal with: like fear of abandonment, fear of loss, and my perception of faith. I had been thinking that the last two years has taught me faith, and I realized today that it didn't teach me faith, but it has caused me to exercise it and make it strong.

Until a few years ago I had very little faith in most people, probably because I never gave myself a reason to practice it. If I had a problem, I left, I ran, and I blamed it on people in general, that people shouldn't be trusted, that it was a bad thing to put your faith in someone. But these last few years have been different. It has been hard, and I have been tested. But my faith remains. My faith is stronger. It is a good thing. I see that I have grown a faith in others, and a faith in myself that I have never had before. It is empowering.


Bedford Fall Foliage Festival

This show requests that you set up on Friday and gives you a specific time that you can drive into the festival to set up. The area that we are in though, is not on the main road, so we were able to come in and set up a few minutes early, thus avoiding the rush and getting unpacked very quickly. One drawback is the fact that the booth is on pavement. It always makes the tie down difficult and usually we can drill into the topcoat, but not this time. Luckily the air couldn't get any stiller and it remained so all weekend. The drive was about an hour longer than we had expected due to construction, but besides that it was simple to find and simple to find our spot and hotel. We had done a show in Bedford last year so we have a working knowledge of the town and how it is set up so it was easy to get around once we were there.

The portion of the show that we are in is down by the river, there is one huge hill to go down/up to get there but it is a nice area and (maybe for the better) has fewer crowds. The hill is so steep it keeps the least interested shoppers from coming into the area, keeps the crowds down, and I think, keeps the sales down. The main street is packed with people, so packed that some crafters claim that the shoppers can't stop at their booths and look, but I think that I would have had better sales with more traffic. My booth is set up so people can actually come in the booth and get out of traffic, there are many booths that don't have that option and are hindered by large crowds.

Sales were mediocre at best. If this was a local show I would come back for sure next year, but it is a long drive and two nights hotel as well. I also have to look for a less expensive hotel for next year. C suggested a bed and breakfast so we could make the show a little more of a vacation as well. Since the days are pretty short and we have to go out on Friday anyway, I think that is a good idea. But this is one that I have to look at for 2006. It may be better next year, it does deserve a second chance, but if there is something closer that I am sure will be better, I may just do that instead.

Decisions Decisions...

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Week 39 Accomplishments

Monday: I drove home from the Eagle Mills show. In the morning I stopped to see my cousin for a little bit, and then went on my way. I always love seeing Beth. I have a sort of fractured family and I really like the idea that staying in touch may heal that rupture in a generation or two. Keeping in touch keeps me in touch with her son, A, and I love watching him grow into a little man. I then drove to this little out of the way place in Stamford, NY to pick up some supplies for B. It was a beautiful drive and I wish it wasn't raining on and off. Like so many places on my trip, I really just hate being without cell phone service, in the middle of nowhere, where I've never been before. I got home and rested from the long drive and just tried to catch up on e-mail and the like.

Tuesday: The UWBW meeting. The ladies looked at my new, soon to be released newsletter, and gave me some great ideas.

Wednesday: I made a special order of bergamot soap. That is a really nice fragrance. Its much more lemony than I thought it would be. It's also a little different recipe than I usually make, but the bars look and smell great. Maybe I'll make it as a fragrance of the month next year…

Thursday: I had a doctor's appointment. I have been feeling a little under the weather for oh, about the last six months, but I tend to avoid doctors at all cost. According to her it was a simple side effect of a medication I was on, so she switched my prescription to something new. I have to see how that goes for a month or so and keep her posted.

Friday: Packed the truck and drove to Bedford for the Fall Foliage Festival. The three-hour drive took four because of construction, but besides that it was uneventful.

Saturday: Bedford Fall Foliage Festival

Sunday: Bedford Fall Foliage Festival


Bedford Fall Foliage Festival Recap

Well, I'm not sure if it was worth the 3+ hour drive, the two nights in a hotel, and the cost of gas & tolls. I wish the show was closer...

Best Sellers:
Soap: Rejuvenation & Oatmeal, Milk & Honey
Bath Salts: Love Potion
Bath Fizzys: Love Potion & Oatmeal, Milk & Honey
Lotion Bars: Autumn Amber & Patchouli & Unscented
Lip Balm: Raspberry Cream