Monday, June 30, 2008

New Windows, June 27th 2008

Well, Rod and I try to get lots done in the summer time. The rest of the year, I am so busy that I kind of ignore the house maintenance...I kind of ignore the cleaning, cooking, shopping and the rest of it too--truth be told!

So, one of the projects we did this year was to have new windows installed. I had Home Depot come out and give us an estimate and it turned out they cost about half what I thought they might...and they might cut our electric bill by 30-40%. (We had the original awning style roll out windows from when the house was built in 1959!)

So, ordered them around the first week of June. They arrived on Tuesday the 24th and on that Friday, a team of two guys showed up and proceeded to work like hell getting the windows in before the summer afternnon showers started. As luck would have it, they got here at 8:30 and were done at 2:30--long before the rain started!

So, anybody need a referral for a Home Depot window/roof/siding or gutter installation? I get a gift card for sending you to if you are serious, let me know!

BTW, I LOVE them! I will have to let you know what happens to the electric bill!

Cubs Roadtrip to Tampa Bay, June 19, 2008

Rod and I took a quick trip over to St Petersburg to catch the game with the Devil Rays. They were playing some interleague games over our way, so we decided to see them here in Florida where you can still get seats for under $20.

We ended up with Box seats out at the curve of left field. Way out there, but, still in the nice air conditioned stadium--so who would complain. We picked them up at will call. BUT first we tailgated out in the parking lot (where they are back to charging $10 for parking once again!).

About a half hour into our little party, a couple cars pulled up next to us. Three gals and one guy got ouy carrying about 10 bags of food. LOL, one of the gals was a newbie to tailgating, but, my Lord, she did good! Can you believe she made JELLO SHOTS! LOL IN FLORIDA...IN THE SUMMER! BUT, she was prepared with lots of ice and they actually made it through just fine.

BTW, she is a grade school teacher and she brought them to school with her. I am so glad the kids didn't get into them and cause a stir that ended up being televised on every major national news station the day after--because that sweet grade school teacher even shared those jello shots with Rod and I!!! Yippee!!

Once the gate opened, we took off for our seats. Found them easily but to my dismay there was a really large guy sitting next to my seat. SO large he took up his seat, half of mine and half of the guys seat on the other side! I am NOT kidding! AND, I say this because most of you know I fill up a seat FULLY with no problem without any of it being taken up by the guy next to me.
Normally at this stadium, there are so many seats available, you can move anywhere you want, but, since it was the CUBS playing in Central FL for the first time, we were stuck in our section. BUT, it was really cool seeing the Rays stadium filled up!

About the fifth inning Rod discovered a "standing room only" area with leaning tables so we skiddaddled out of those seats--or I tried to but my back was so out of alignment from leaning towards Rod's seat I couldn't acutally move very well. LOL

We stayed at those tables the rest of the night. We both enjoyed the game although we didn't get a ball that night. And, since it was my Mom's birthday in Illinois, I made a sign that said "Happy Birthday MOM from your Orlando Cubs family"...and "GO CUBS".

Anyhoo, the Cubs ended up losing all three games in the series. If it had to be some team sweeping them, I am glad it was our local team. Maybe when we see them play in August they will win!?

The next day, Rod and I took a trip up the coast a bit to Clearwater and stopped in at Honeymoon Island State Park for the day at the beach. It was a beautiful beach day...and we weren't too hung over to enjoy it! I was really impressed with all the benches and swings on the beach for people to sit on and ponder the water and the waves.

While we were sitting on one of those big swings, an older gentleman came up to us and chatted. Turns out he had donated the swing we were sitting on in his wife Dotty's memory. He also told us that it had been filmed in the movie "The Pretender" (I think that was it?!) and that he came down to the swing just about every day to enjoy the beach. Aw, that is just so sweet!!!

Palatka Seafood Festival, Memorial Day Weekend May 24-26, 2008

Palatka is another Seafood Festival located in the North Central part of Florida. My spot in the show is adjacent to the courthouse which is fronted by a lovely park area with enormous live oaks. Usually this weekend--the show is always Memorial Day weekend--is hot as heck and the artists and craft vendors suffer because people don't want to carry ANYTHING other than a beer or a bottle of water.

BUT, last year was incredible weather and the forecast for this year is the same--low to mid 80's and small chance of rain--so I am hoping for the same kind of profit as last year.

This show is also one where I camp out and enjoy going to see a movie, get my nails done and just veg out after the show hours. This year my traveling buddy Eve decided to pass on the show, but, she did come to visit us as she lives pretty close.

The show was...well...disappointing. My numbers were way down from the previous year despite the decent weather. I don't totally understand what happened, but, it will remain on the schedule hoping it was just a freak happenstance. Cross fingers...

I went to see the new Indiana Jones movie, got a pedicure one night and had some pretty good food about town. I also discovered a new Wing Sauce that is rocking my world. Cracker House sauces was set up next to me and they were the nicest folks. They even set up a couple slow cookers full of chicken wings--one with mild and one hot wing sauce for people to sample their sauces. They are terrific...I think I bought one of each!!

The Keys, May 19-22, 2008

Rod and I left on Monday for the drive south. We really needed a getaway after the last few weeks of helping my inlaws as Rod's Dad recovers from a broken hip. It wasn't the physical part as much as the pyschological stuff--those of you dealing with aging parents know what I am talking about!

Monday morning was a rush of packing the camp gear, getting Bonnie Dog to the kennel and leaving word with the neighbors who keep an eye on stuff when we are away. I pleaded with my friend who comes to use the pool to please not forget to water the herbs. (Those new mints for mojitos are doing great so far!!!)

The trip from Orlando to the Keys can vary greatly depending on the traffic once you hit Florida City. Much of the drive on US 1 from there is two lanes...although the new bridge opened at Key Largo the day we left. If there is any kind of traffic snafu, the trip can take from 6.5 hours to 8 hours to get all the way to Key West. This time we were lucky--we were only going to the Middle Keys and the traffic was moving along fine.

I stopped to see my friend and customer, Susan, who owns a jewelry boutique in Tavernier. I had to drop off a wholesale order and just take a couple minutes to say Hi. But we were under a 5pm deadline to get to the state park to get our spot and get set up, so, it was a really quick "Hello and Goodbye".

Weatherwise we were looking at temps around 90 for the four days and nights maybe at 80 degrees. We got lucky on Monday--it rained a little while we were driving...and it stayed partly cloudy, so, the temps were managable. The best part was the sea breeze! It was blowing nicely, so even when it was hot, you didn't feel it as much. It also kept the mosquitos away...but not so much the no-see-ums! I am a magnet for anything that bites, and this trip was no exception.
Set up went fine...we have put this tent up so many times and in so many different wind conditions, that it is a piece of cake. The screen room is a different is newer and we just don't have the routine down yet. BUT, we did manage to do it with no ripped screens and no fighting match between Rod and I!

Because of the drought conditions, there was a no campfire rule in my gourmet "campground slop" dinner was done on an electric skillet. I had planned to use my backpacking stove, but, it is no where to be found--ah, the house gremlins are at work again. Luckily we had brought the skillet for pancakes. The dinner was great--although Rod is begging me to change the name of my favorite camp meal. BUT, it is a tradition so I can't!

The evening was an early one mostly because I was dead tired, but, also because it is turtle nesting season and the parks discourage you from using outside lights. (The turtles head for the light instead of heading for the water.) The breeze was still blowing nice and with our fan it was quite comfy in the tent.

Tuesday we mainly bummed at the campsite. We swam, snorkeled, caught up on our reading and just hung out. Despite sunscreen, parts of both of us got burned. Much of me was already bug bit BUT it was still a great day. We drove into Islamorada for a quick stop at the Bass Pro Shops there to see Hemingway's wood boat (actually the sister to the original boat) Pilar and to window shop. Then we watched the sunset from the Islamorada Fish Company drinking beer and mojitos (made fresh and excellent by our bartender). Then we ate dinner out on the patio by the water. Good food, good drinks...tired and very happy we headed back to the campground.

The only interesting thing was trying to open the padlock on the gate at the State Park. I know I am getting old when I couldn't read the four digit code on the padlock!!! Even with a flashlight, I couldn't see it. Then Rod jumped out and tried with no luck. Then the guy pulling the boat who pulled in behind us couldn't read it either. LUCKILY his much younger wife COULD!!! LOL So us "oldies" now have a magnifier added to the list to read the padlock. When did I get THAT old!!????

Wednesday was a repeat of Tuesday's swimming/reading until lunchtime. Then we got cleaned up and made the hour drive down to Key West. If you have never been--you have to go!!! Like much of the Keys, the charm is in the diversity of the surroundings. Part old world fishing port, part Bahamian village, part top of line resort, part gay bathhouses--there is something different around every corner and something for every taste. Great restaurants (our favorites are Pepes and Turtle Kraals --and it is so sad that Pancho and Lefties is gone!!!) We were a little weirded out by the gay culture the first time we went over 20 years ago, now we look forward to the outrageousness of all parts of the community.

We made our mandatory stops at Key West Books (513 Fleming St.) for used books and things Rod loves (Hemingway, beat generation authors), then for my shopping at Fast Buck Freddies (corner of Duval and Fleming Sts), Margaritaville (next door to Freddies) and finally to our favorite Hangout Sloppy Joes (Duval St. you can't miss it). Both of our favorite music acts were there--Terry Cassidy playing excellent banjo and guitar and "Pete and Wayne" who are just too hilarious for words. We also walked by our favorite haunts--Eden House (the best place to stay in Old Town), Pepes and Captain Tony's. Then enjoying a beautiful sunset on the way home (only slightly ruined by paying $3.00 for a 10 pound bag of ice and $4.07 for gas!!!!) we headed back to the tent at Long Key.

Thursday morning we were up and about early. We got our camp packed up, got the van loaded and headed out. A quick stop at McDonalds and we were heading home. We made the trip in a speedy five and a half hours. Bonnie Dog survived puppy jail. We are happy and wishing we had just one more day in paradise!

May 2008--From North Florida to the Florida Keys

Well, not in the whole city of Orlando, but, just in our neck of the woods things have been hopping. :)

First my nearly 90 year Father-in-Law fell and broke his hip. He is in really good shape physically so he will be getting out of rehab this week. He is still showing some signs of dementia, so we are hoping once he gets home and gets back into his normal routine, he will snap out of it. We are hoping that his license will be revoked--the man memorized the eye chart to get his license this time after his eye doctor told him he wouldn't/shouldn't be driving. I imagine this is really hard for someone to lose one of the last forms of freedom and independence. BUT, to risk your assets is just idiotic. And, yes, I would tell him that to his face. Trouble is he won't hear me...he definitely has selective hearing. :)

I spent a week up in North Florida helping my Mother-in-Law get to and from the rehab center, doing projects and cleaning the house. I was also up there for the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival where my Sister-in-Law and I walked the show on Saturday and made notes of things to buy later. I went back by myself on Sunday to talk to artist friends and then made my big purchases--thinking they would go in the newly redecorated botanical living room. I spent big money in two places--at an antiques booth that had a set up three botanical prints in cool silver frames. Then at the "Pottery Boys" booth were they guys had leaf themed designs that I fell in love with and bought. I picked up other little treasures too--from a textile artist who had cool sea turtle notecards I can use in the master bathroom, a fused glass suncatcher and some painted "Gator" wineglasses for my hubby!

Back on the homefront, I bought some killer new chairs for my dining room. They are awesome--from World Market--beautiful sage green upholstered chairs that you could sit in all day while you are drinking Mojitos and chatting with friends. Trouble is that the new dark chair legs (think mahagony or walnut) don't match the light pine stain on the round table. So what's a girl to do?

Well, refinish the stupid thing! RIGHT?!?! Actually, there were no veneers involved and the table had very simple lines that in theory would be easy to redo. The chemical stripper I bought was not the greatest though. I thought it would be much more of a scraping job, but the chemical thing basically just broke up the surface and we used an orbital sander and sanding blocks with coarse paper to get the rest off.

NOTE: two new projects came up when we had the new furniture in place. First, we really need to PAINT. I am thinking an Eggplant color but maybe not that dark with cream on the trim. Then, the wood window blind is now the wrong color too. So we may move that to the bedroom and order a new one for the dining room. OH, and all that pottery stuff may go in the dining room too!

Then I had jury duty yesterday. Luckily the jury pool I was in didn't want me (YIPPEE) and so I was released early (3pm) to go home and sleep. I have done three shortish trials over the last 6 years or I think when I answered, "NO, I don't really want to serve on this jury, but, I will serve fairly if called", it may have been my ticket out!

Of course the pool is perfect right now. Hurry down if you want to enjoy the refreshing water because it will be HOT in no time. Be sure to ring the bell at the gate, because, it is clothing optional when I am here alone. LOL Believe me it is will want to ring that bell!

Today was cavity day at the dentist. From the short length of the appointment it was a tiny little bugger. BUT, I am still dealing with that whole right side numb face thing.

We leave to go to North Florida on Thursday (to help bring FIL back from rehab) and then we will be back for a day and then we go to the Keys for a few nights of camping at one of the state parks down there. I can't wait to be alone with hubby for those nights and enjoy the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. AND of course to spend some time at Sloppy Joes listening to the music and getting drunk. We also plan on eating at a couple of our fav places--Senor Frioles in Key Largo, Turtle Kraals and Pepes down in Key West. I will be snorkeling some...although after last year's news story about the hammerhead shark being right off shore out there, I doubt I will be going out very far or for very long. I am a weenie when it comes to swimming in the ocean...I MUCH prefer my swimming pool.

Apopka Art and Foliage Festival, April 27, 2008

OK, we used to go to this local show for the money we would make while not having to shell out a lot for travel expenses. Then, we started going back for the local church ladies bake sale tent. NOW, we do this show every year to get more plants!

This year's show was set up a little always changes a bit each year. I have always had a good view of the goings on in the gazebo...usually little kids tap dancing and teenagers trying to sing the latest Mariah or country songs. But this year I was turned a bit towards the inside of the I faced artists and not the gazebo. It was ok, but, I did miss the activity.
NOTE--the church ladies bake sale is still MIA! Darn it!!

We had a pretty good show but the best thing at this show is the herbs and plants. NO, not that kind of HERB!!! I am on a Mojito kick, so I want to grow my own Spearmint and Peppermint. SO, I bought several of those. With the price of a few sprigs of organic Mint at $3 in the grocery store, I think it would be a very good thing! I also picked up a new basil plant to replace one I had killed and a couple others.

I also picked up a new plant that kind of looks like a hibiscus. It is called "Little Red Riding Hood" Mandevilla. It is beauteous! I will put up a pic shortly for those of you interested.
My hanging baskets in the front of the house had started falling apart so I ditched these and bought the fixings for three new baskets which will have a couple different varieties of diffenbachias (dumb canes, for those who are not gardners). I think I can keep these alive...with some help from my yard dude who is going to set up some spaghetti driplines so I don't have to remember to water them.

So, the show was fun. Lots of friends were in the area and dropped by. And this year there were no fires locally, so we didn't have to smell smoke all day! Only one more show to go before the
summer officially starts for me!

St Simon's Island, Georgia April 13, 2008

I just love making the four hour drive to this South Georgia island. Just north of Jekyl Island, this Georgia paradise is other worldly beautiful. It is one of the few places I know that you can shed your workday life the minute you make the drive over the causeway bridge.

The show I do here is in a park, down by the pier in the old downtown area. The lighthouse is just next door. The park has these beautiful old oaks with Spanish moss hanging off them. The sky gets this incredible shade of blue and I hope my pictures can come close to showing the majesty of this place.

Yea, I had to work for two days, but, somehow it just doesn't seem like work in these surroundings. We had great crowds on Saturday and pretty good traffic on Sunday--resulting in a good show profit-wise. The weather that was supposed to blow in on Saturday night never materialized. That meant the city could hold a movie night on the other side of the park on a big 36 foot projection TV.

I wandered over at about 8:30 Saturday night to see the families all snuggled up on their blankets or sitting in their lawn chairs. The movie was "A Night at the Museum" which I had seen, but, I came in at the part where the dinosaur skeleton was trying to play fetch with Ben Stiller. :) What a great place this must be to raise a family. And certainly a wonderful place to visit.

I walked the beach front at the pier each morning and snapped pictures. Many snowbirds are still here, along with the proverbial oldies from the bus tours and of course, my favorites--the locals. Even gas prices could not keep the tourists away...and lots of Atlanta area license plates were seen parked in front of our tents.

On the way home Sunday night I stopped in at Fernandina Beach where my inlaws live. Cody and I stayed up late talking before I collapsed into bed. The next morning we ran some errands, had lunch with my SIL and then I helped my FIL with his computer. A nice but quick visit. I had to get home to finish up the taxes and right out that God-awful check to the IRS. Bummer. BUT, great to be making money and a nice living when so many are in jobs they hate with no satisfaction.

Then a week goes by...

We had a call from my SIL Debbie that my FIL had fallen and broke his hip. He was to have surgery yesterday and we are still waiting to hear how it all went. Now this guy is about 90 years old--he had a quad bypass 25 years ago...and the guy is so disciplined in his eating and exercising that we are hoping that he only spends a short time at the rehab facility. That is if the surgery went well...I wish someone would call!

Fiesta (more like Siesta) in the Park, Orlando April 6. 2008

I have been going to this show twice a year for about 8 years, so I usually expect to see a couple things. First, people I used to work with at the bank or Home Depot--sometimes ones I liked, but, most often ones that remind me of why I quit those jobs. Second, I expect sunny, warm weather with bright blue skies. Third, I expect to have the Brinks truck pull up on Monday morning to take all my cash to the bank. Strangely, this was a weird year on many fronts.

Delray Affair and Kanapaha Botanical Gardens aka Where in the World is Jackie! March 31, 2008

Wow! This was a huge weekend for the soap biz. I double booked shows on a weekend of my biggest show of the Spring. Yes, it's been Spring in Florida since January!

My parents did the smaller of the two shows up in Gainesville (where the Univ. of FL is located) at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. I took the big three day show in south FL with 250,000 customers. We did ok at the G'ville show--my parents had a good time and some of my buddies checked in on them and made sure they weren't working too hard. BIG thanks to Jay and Kathy for helping to load the vehicle and to Lynn for taking down the tent.

The show down in Delray Beach was not as big as it was billed--I think it has been a couple years since we saw crowds of a quarter million people. BUT, it was great weather and great sales for Friday and Saturday. Sunday was a lot slower, so I missed setting a new Delray record, but, it gives me something to work for next year.

A couple interesting things happened down there. If you checked out my pictures, I posted a new one with a yellow lab laying down in a tent. That's Gracie Lou and her owner came out during a rain shower and let Gracie Lou off her leash while she spent 45 minutes and $600 buying earrings from the guy across from me. Must be nice to have a dog who doesn't run if she gets off the leash...and to be able to afford spending $600 on jewelry!

Anyway, Gracie Lou pretty much layed down at her master feet and just let the rain get her. She is a Lab after all--water dog. She would get up and sniff around and then go back to Mom. Eventually she wandered into the dry tent next door, settled down and groomed herself a bit and then layed down and took a snooze. Cool dog. Mom says she is actually a service dog to help with her seizures. So, Miss Gracie Lou is not only cool, she helps her Mom stay safe.

The other thing that happened was not actually cool. My friend Eve is going through a divorce and is evidently trying to find herself. It is kind of painful to see someone you have always thought of as grounded and self assured acting so reckless--like she has no self esteem and has to "paint it on" every morning. I can only hope she gets through this phase quickly, safely, financially secure and relatively painlessly before I loss my friend. I am one of three of her friends who are just trying to be supportive, but, boy did I want to shake some sense into her this weekend.

Wine consumed--half a bottle of reserve Merlot

Sangria consumed--1/3 a picture of red sangria homemade with Brandy. Yummy.

Best Restaurant (maybe the best ever for seafood) Phyllis G's Enigma in Delray Beach on US 1. OMG, the stuffed snapper was to die for...and that Sangria!

Miles put on van since Thursday 803.

Easter 2008

For a nice change we had people over on Easter--Rod usually works (Sun-Thurs is his regular Disney shift). We had my parents over from the condo at Ponce Inlet and my sister, Jodie, and my nephew, Travis--who are visiting from Wisc. on Trav's Spring Break. He is a HS freshman.

We had beautiful weather, good food and even a trip to IKEA and Bass Pro Shops after the dinner cleanup was done. Oh and they helped me get ready for a show...trimming and wrapping soap!!

It was a good day to spend with family!

St Augustine Seafood Festival aka Tornado Anyone? March 9, 2008

St Augustine is usually a really cool place (for a place that doesn't get much snow). There is lots of historic places to explore, nice beach and lighthouse, quaint little downtown and cute bungaloos, good local winery (!) and the people there generally come out for community events--like this weekend's Seafood Festival put on by the Lions Club. BUT, this weekend was a bit out of the norm.

First during our Friday morning setup we were plagued with the knowledge that there were storm warnings and tornado warnings. The whole two hour drive up my friends were calling with weather updates and Rod was doubtful we would even have a show based on what the Weather Channel was saying. BUT, my buddy Eve and I didn't let that stop us. In fact, most of the vendors were there setting up, getting ready for a great weekend. We were taking our time as we had until 3pm when the festival opened. We stopped in and chatted with Russ the Candle guy--until I noticed a really dark bank of clouds moving toward us.

Eve and I took off quick for our tents--which of course were the first tents to be hit by the storm. I just had enough time to get the little spikes in the ground (I had already put tie downs and spiral stakes in) and get the four sides zipped up. We got lucky though...there was a ton of lightning, thunder and lots of rain...but the tents held solid. Both our cars were right outside so we had a questionably "safe" escape route, but, we choose to sit up on our high wood chairs and keep our feet up off the ground.

The storm lasted about an hour. At the first break I peeked outside and noticed fog on Eve's van windows, so I ran out and jumped in her van. About 15 minutes later, Lynn joined us and we spent another half hour riding out more rain until it finally slowed up enough to continue setting up. I decided to get my van off the festival grounds and buzz down to the hotel to check in and change clothes.

On the way back I passed through more rain...and by the time I got back to the festival, they had decided to not open on Friday as the grounds were all mud by then. Bummer. Bright side is I had a chance to do some shopping and check out the movie times for the next night while Eve painted at the room. It continued to storm the whole night, but, nothing too strong.

Saturday morning--OMG the wind was blowing about 30 mph sustained! I got to the show about a half hour after Eve arrived and was happy to see our tents still standing. Several crafter tents were already destroyed and many people were packing up. Two huge tents that had tables and chairs for the customers had been blown over too. The pic below is one of them...the other one few across the field to "rest" against the stage!

We decided to try to set up for the day but about 15 minutes into setup, the wind gusts got so strong that we were worried Eve's racks weren't gonna stay up. She decided to take stuff down to be safe, so she went to get her van and break down. I stayed in my tent putting stuff away so it was safe...until one of my four tables got hit with a gust and tipped over sending my soap samples and lip balms into the mud. BUMMER.

Then I heard things really rattling in Eve's tent so I went over to hold things together until she got back with the van. Unfortunately shortly after I got in the tent, the gusts just pushed the tent over with me in it, and I barely made it out. Eve's beautiful artwork...dumped onto the wet, muddy ground!!! I was sad and I knew she would be devastated. (The pic below is what was left after removing the canopy and sides.)

But, in the meantime, my tent was really starting to strain too. The good news is that soap really does not like rain--but Saturday dawned a perfect blue-sky-no-rain-in-sight kinda day!! I just didn't want the tent to collapse and send things to the ground. SO, Eve had a brillant idea--get the top canopy off the tent frame--before it blew over. It worked and then I had time to help her rescue as much of her product as possible. The Lions Club guys helped break her destroyed tent frame down into a small enough pile of pieces to fit in the dumpster. It was so SAD!!

Once we packed up we went back to the hotel to check the weather on her laptop and try to make a decision what to do for the rest of the weekend. The room was already paid for...but I had until noon to cancel the room for the night if I needed to. We went out for breakfast and she decided she couldn't stay as she needed a tent to shade her paintings. I decided to play it by ear and see if I could recoop some of my expenses. Before Eve left, she decided to check with one of her local wholesale accounts and luckily they decided they could use some of her pieces--so at least her weekend wasn't a complete loss!

At about 1pm I headed back to the festival site and my two buddies Russ and Lynn were either set up and selling. SO, I decided just to grab two tables and four trays of soap...and just see if I could find a relatively mud-free place to squat. I did reasonably well--selling enough to cover all my expense by 5pm. Which is when I left.

I decided to stop into Gander Mountain to pick up some cold weather gear (gloves, windshirt, long undies) so I would be ready for the 36 degree temps in the morning. I must have been a sight--when I got back to the hotel, I looked in the mirror and about died. MY HAIR!!! Eeekkkkkkk!!! Now my hair has never been described as sleek, neat or even "under control". IT was so wild and wind blown I didn't know if I would ever get all the snarls out. Oh, and my eyes were so wind and sunburned they were bright joke..ouch they felt like sandpaper! I took a picture, but, I don't know if you will be able to tell how WILD it really was. LOL It was awful...awfully funny!!! I am not a gal who worries about these things.

I had bought a bottle of wine on the way home and then discovered my corkscrew was missing from my bag...and the one from the car glove box was MIA I used a pair of scissors to push the cork down and then got it to slowly pour out of the bottle into a plastic cup. LOL I was pretty desparate!!!

Sunday morning dawned but it didn't feel as cold as they said, so I just put on an extra fleece and headed to the festival grounds. It was cold but NOT WINDY. Yea!!!! The show opened at 10am and over the next 8 hours I only sold a couple hundred dollars of soap...BUT I was so happy to have made expenses and a little profit after such a disappointing weekend.

Grant Seafood Festival and Beyond! February 29, 2008

There is just nothing more I can say about Grant--the music, the food and making some money while you are doing the other two. This is life. It is truly the best Seafood Festival in the state. I still haven't talked my hubby into coming over to this festival. Next year--he swears he will! I hope!

We had an amazing time this year. The weather was great most of the day on Saturday...although it did start raining about 3:30--we still had a profitable day. Sunday was picture perfect. The shrimp, the chowder, deviled crab...OMG. :)

The "we" this weekend was my traveling buddy Eve and my parents. Eve is in the process of divorcing and she has started dating again, so, I got to hear about her current exploits. I am kinda reliving my dating years thru her vicariously, but, dang I would hate to be in her shoes at age 50+.

Since Grant, we have had a week off and we are just having fun. Not snow, cold weather fun...but fun in the sun. OK, life is not all fun here. My dog, that cute little Jack Russell Terror...eats cat poop. My cat, Emily, who is usually a princess is peeing all over my new IKEA sofa. What gives?!

I just want to sit down at the computer, check how Bode's races went and chat with my ski friends. Crap. OK, the good news--on a scale of life's miseries, these couple of things don't even register as annoyances. So get over it, move on and make the best of what life throws at you. Maybe some snow in Florida...sweet!

So back to the fun. Crocs--you know those ugly but oh-so-comfortable foam shoes--we went out to the Disney shopping village this week and bought a couple replacement Christmas presents for family members this week. I love those Crocs. They got me back to walking/exercising again after 18 months suffering with Plantar Fasciitus. They are to just get back in shape.

We also did the Plant City Strawberry Festival today. Not so much fun unless you really like country music--which I can take or leave. BUT, the fair food was good...and the strawberry stuff was awesome. Rod and I split a strawberry shake and my folks got the shortcake...both were delish.

We even went to a fabric store--which since I love sewing is like going to a candy store. In finding where the old JoAnns had moved I discovered a new shopping area on my end of town which I didn't know existed. It is out of the way--which I like--and it has many of the big box stores, but, a couple smaller shops are what will entice me back down the road.

So, that is most of what has happened in the last week or so. The really good news is that my folks who snowbird with us for a few weeks are at the end of their 6 week visit. They head over to Ponce Inlet for a month at the condo now...and we have our house back to ourselves. Naked City, here we come! :)

Festival of Lights, Ft Myers, FL March 1, 2008

OK, continuing on my quest to fill up your cold, snow filled world with a little sun and surf...this weekend we were set up on the west coast of South Florida. We were in a little park off the east bank of the Caloosahatchee River right in downtown Ft Myers. Nice little park on the edge of said river...filled with homeless guys laying on blankets and only a few brave office dwellers walking off lunch. That was the first red flag.

The second red flag was that when check in time rolled around there was no one to give us any direction. Luckily though, our spaces were marked, so I unloaded the van and by the time I was done, a gal on a golf cart had come on the scene. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to help with any of our questions--most importantly, why was the back half of my booth in the vollyeball sand court???? Why was there no room for the lady next to me to actually rise her tent up to the full height because of the tree in the back of her booth??? Said lady--who had an amazing number of LONG WHITE chin hairs--had also left her paper work at the office, so most of our questions could not be answered.

The most important red flag came a little later when the art vendors started realizing that our contracts did not match the brochures and press releases that went out to the public. Our show was to run 10-5 Fri and Sat. and until 4 pm on Sunday. The public received info that read Fri 1-4pm, Sat and Sun 10-4. Argh. Idiots sometimes seem to run the world.

SO, I pretty much had written off the show by the time my booth was set up on Thursday. I was not happy. It was Valentine's Day and my hubby was gonna be four hours away. I was stuck with my parents and my friend Cindy (NHCindy on SkiSpace) who I was staying with in Naples (about an hour south of Ft Myers--depending on how many wrecks the grey hairs got in on I75).

Now being "stuck" with my parents on Valentines Day isn't as bad as it sounds. We ate at the Cracker Barrel (aka Crapper Barrel) and had good cheap food and a waitress who kept my tea water kettle filled with hot water. I am a great tipper for these kind of gals! My friend Cindy wasn't actually on the scene until nearly 11pm as she was "stuck" babysitting some kidlets. By then I was pooped so I asked her to come to the show with me so we could hang out like old times.

Cindy is from a little New Hampshire town called Laconia. Her family is apparently big into boats and vehicles (the Irwin Zone) and she loves being from NH. She is a to be around and she never lets anything (but bad manners) get her down. We walked to downtown for lunch once my parents showed up and found a Starbucks (yuck) and a Quiznos (that will do) for lunch. Some food vendor forced us into eating a handful of Kettle Corn...which was great...but dang I hate pushy salespeople.

Fridays sales were pitiful, but, I did cover the booth fee. We drove back to Naples and met my parents for dinner at Tin City's Riverwalk. The big thrill was all the private planes buzzing in from parts unknown. Cindy informed us that Naples had more celebrities than any other part of Florida--like Judge Judy, Tom Cruise's Mom and Gloria Estafan...LOL! Remember folks...this is FLORIDA and not Hollywood. I am not sure Miami's South Beach would like to be compared to Naple's reputation for Snowbird Capital of the South.

The sad thing is that Saturday's sales were awful too...we had maybe 2000 people both days and the event was billed at 200,000. LOL Who is doing the crowd count for God's sake---a 10 month old?????? SO, I made the decision to pack up at 4 pm. Unfortunately my vehicle was stuck in a place that I would not be able to get out until after the big parade. SO, I road back to Cindy's with my craft buddy Lynn. We had to do a little illegal maneuvering to get out of the lot she was in too...but we made it! :) We also got stuck in ANOTHER accident on I75 between Ft Myers and Naples. :(

This night it was Cindy's choice and where did we go again??? Crapper Barrel! We had an even better waiter and the grilled chicken salad was about perfect...again. LOL Nothing I couldn't live without in the store part though. We headed back to Cindy's condo and watched movies (Miracle on Ice) and we all decided that we liked sports movies. I also tried to tell them about the Deadliest Catch, but I don't think they were feeling it. If they just watched it once...they would be hooked.

SO, Sunday morning I packed the booth into the van and was on the road by 10am. My sister called from Minnesota to say they were stuck in a blizzard...or would be shortly. They were chaperoning 50 kids who were participating in "show choir" competition--think High School Musical for those of you with pre-teens and teenagers. So, they were going to entertain the kids by going to Mall of America for a while before they tried to drive about an hour south of the Minneapolis/St Paul area. LOL Glad it was her and not me!

Next week's show is a great one...the best Seafood Festival in Florida--in my opinion. Come on down and eat...and buy some soap too...pretty, pretty please! :)

Pretty City Beauty Sale, Orlando FL aka You Know You Are Getting Old When... 2/7/2008

So, Wednesday night we had an event in Downtown Orlando for and sponsored by Shape Magazine. I was there representing local artists in the beauty industry and I hoped to make lots of contacts and hand out a bunch of soap samples. There were free drinks and sweets and about 500 women sampling products, getting makeovers and haircuts at about a dozen different booths representing national makeup companies and local spas.

The only problem was that it was impossible to hear anything because the music was so loud. Think dance club at midnight LOUD. Now, this wasn't a dance club, and although it was a party atmosphere--we were there to sell our products. I don't know if the customers heard maybe every fifth word I said, and I know I didn't hear them very well.

By the end of the night, I was ready to put my earplugs in and close up shop, but, luckily we were only opened for four hours and the time went pretty quick. I handed out a ton of we will see what happens from this event.

The best part of the night was watching the gals who had been there four hours drinking strong Cointreau drinks all night. Their dancing was say the least. LOL