Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ghosts of Easters Past

I've found myself all over the place in Easter memories today. I have such fond memories of childhood Easters in Horse Creek. We would get up in the cold early morning dark, dress quickly, and drive to the hillside with the white cross, where Dad usually had a nice fire burning. There wasn't usually much of a crowd, but those who found their way to sunrise service were always glad they came. Mom would always give the starting note and we would sing "up from the grave he arose" with all the fun echoes, and "Christ The Lord is risen today, with rolling a-a-aleluias in abundance.
Breakfast in the church basement always consisted of bacon and eggs and all sorts of cinnamon rolls. After the meal, it was time for a quick bath and clothing change into the new flowery Easter dress. Then it was time for church, and the crowded celebration feeling.
I always loved the bouquets of Easter Lilies, and there were always tulips and daffodils blooming in our yard. Spring existed to the it utmost.
The rest of the day consisted of egg hunts for candy in the house, and for those lovely boiled eggs we'd spent so much time coloring the day before. There was always at least one egg that had taken the all night soak as well. The eggs would make colorful salads and sandwiches in the days to come. It never bothered me when the dye leaked through to the edible parts inside. That only made those boiled eggs even more special.
In the years since childhood faded to adulthood, I've spent a good many Easters far from the comforts of my early memories. I will never forget joining friends from The Vine Church in Hong Kong for an Easter lunch of dim sum. My first Easter abroad was a far cry from the norm, and yet the heart of the celebration remained the same.
Then there was Easter in Poland with my old roommate, Naomi. We were amazed by all the monks and nuns walking around, a sight which would have been highly unsual in Czech where we lived. We enjoyed the Marketa, strolled by the Vistula River, and enjoyed the fabulous markets full of colorful wooden eggs.
I could go on, recalling Easter with the Wendels, or Easter in Prague with Marek and Malin, but it is nearing midnight, and I want to post this before Easter ends. Those who want the picture show should check the Aprils of years past. They're highly enjoyable if I do say so myself.
This Easter we had fabulous weather. We didn't make a sunrise service but did get to church, then spent the afternoon redoing most of the store. Perhaps not the most inspiring Easter ever, but being able to relive those past moments, and having a chance to continue working out our future was still a good way to spend this special day.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Today's Thoughts From the Shoppe

Is it better to start super slow, then have things pick up and get busy in the afternoon, or have a good busy morning only to have everything come to a standstill by noon?

How can one maintain a cheery attitude when people come to your CARD store, to mail cards they bought somewhere else? Do they not realize there are still impersonal drop boxes in the city?

Is it really worth updating a facebook status more than once in a day just because you can?

If our shoppe gains an online presence, will that negate my ability to have a blog where I can complain with candor? Has that, maybe happened already, and I should learn to deal with it?

Why can't blogger and Apple get together so I can easily post photos from my iPad so this could be more interesting?

When it rains, people don't want to go out, when it's sunny people want to go out, but not back in, so when is it optimal for shoppers to show up?

Is it better to focus on business type projects on slow days, only to feel even more bored by the gloomy topic, or to spend time catching up with pretty/fun/interesting things online to get your mind off it?

End note, business is not bad, just slow at times, and my mind wanders, so I thought I would share. Is is not a pity post, but anyone who wants to come shopping, rain or shine, would be welcome ;)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A House in Lafayette

On the edge of town, shrouded in trees, sits a two story white house. The porch is rickety, sagging with dejection, the wooden panels a dingy gray. The whole thing looks tired, lonely, and mysterious. It is impossible to pass without turning to take a look.
When we first saw the house, abandoned seemed the best description. Every night when we passed by, the porch light was on, as if protecting the neglected residence. It went on like is for several weeks, until one day, the light was out. Now, it might seem that compulsion to check on the place would slowly fade, especially as it faded into even darker obscurity, but this was not the case. Instead, quite the opposite took place. Each day in passing, we craned our necks to get a view, feeling ever the more curious.
Lafayette is a sleepy sort of antique town. The old two story school has been repurposed into a literal antique mall. It seems the primary goal of the tiny strip is to slow life down and recall another era. The past just seems so close. Perhaps this is why we felt so compelled to watch, to wonder, and to wait.
The light came back on. No longer on a timer, it was on all the time. It seems someone wanted to highlight the darkened dwelling in the wood. Looking up through the arch of the white front gate, it seemed that something had been altered. That night, when we drove past, the change was brought to light. The upper left hand window was illuminated. A bright glow emanated through the lacy window treatment.
Who could possibly have taken up residence in the ancient place? Had some grandmother been returns to her home to sit quietly in the evenings, reading with her heavy glasses perched on her nose? Had a family moved in, ready for a new beginning?
But here's where it gets interesting, the lights are only on at night. Some might think that sounds normal, but it is more than something so basic and simple. On a dark morning, not a glimmer to be seen, except the porch light, which still blazes at all hours. But come sunset, the upper light is there, and so it goes all night long. Curious? I say, indeed.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

One of THOSE girls

I've never been one of "those" girls. You know, the ones who are always so put together and fashionable. Like they could literally look at pictures in a fashion magazine, go out and buy those clothes, and look exactly as amazing as they envisioned they would. (I remember once in High School when those cardigans with camis underneath were super popular. I thought the look was really cute and dressy, so I tried one on. Just. Did. Not. Work on me. Not at all. I looked frumpy, off kilter, and just wrong.)

They're also the ones who can scatter trinkets on a table and have it look like art. When I try, it generally looks like I really need to de-clutter.

They can throw their hair up in a mess, and it looks adorable. Every time. Every style. It just works for them. I, on e other hand, never figured out anything beyond the wash and go look. Sure, I'll straighten my hair every now and again (not nearly as scary as using a curling iron) and the classic ponytail is my number one standby.

But there are days, especially after perusing the blogs of my lovely friends, or flipping through this, st and the other site online, where I wish I could somehow morph into one of those girls. I long for real ankles, rather than cankles, that would be highlighted by a classy pair of heels and a fun skirt or dress. Or I think how fun it would be to have silky smooth hair that flows, rather than being frizzy, but still sticking to my head at the same time. (Sigh)

Now, honestly, I don't want to come off as whiny. Maybe what would really be best if some of those oh so perfect ones could just have an honestly bad hair day. Or maybe they could try a style that they can't pull off? I know, I'm grasping at straws, but a girl can dream, right?

Guess I'll just have to settle with knowing how to look friendly and comfortable, rather than stylish and trendy. (Sigh). Of course, the other option is having my books becoming wildly famous so I can employ a stylist. Take a look at pictures of Sthephanie Myers pre and post Twilight fame and you'll get my drift ;)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

16 Hours In A Car...Totally Worth It!

There are ALWAYS more productive things I could/should be doing. If I was drinking 5 hour energy I would no doubt figure out how to run a successful business in person and online, write/edit/and publish my newest novel, update (and keep up to date) all my social media sights, maintain my creative exercises and physical exercise, cook three times a day from scratch, keep my house immaculate, and have a social life. But the copious quantities of Dr.Pepper and Coke I drink unfortunately have not promoted me to "able to perform miracles" status. So while I should be researching business ideas and new product ideas, the past couple days I have been reading up on my favorite blogs and just indulging me-ness.

Maybe I started feeling the need when I went to the little high school reunion/get together a couple weeks ago. I had expected to relive awkward old memories, and see how much we had all aged, but, instead, was swept into a surreal time warp where almost everyone looked the same as they did 16 years ago, and yet none of us had to act like awkward teenagers. Okay, there was one exception to the rule, but on the whole it was a pleasant experience that reminded me of good things, like how much fun drama was, how amazing Becky Lee Coon was, and how much I still want to be an author.

Beyond that, this past weekend was a barrel full of nostalgia. At long last, we had a weekend free. We opened the shop as usual, but cut out around 1 and headed east. I tried to add a photo, but blogger clearly hasn't figured out how to function with an iPad yet... Anyhow, the 8 hour drive was long, but the weather was perfect, and we got to Lewiston just early enough to catch a $1 movie, for old time's sake.

No one was awake at the homestead when we arrived, but, with a little persistent nudging, Sumatra did accept being petted. You'd never believe that pesky wonderful cat is 17 years old! The next day was divided between time with family and trips to our old haunts around the Moscow area. All good and entertaining.

Then came Sunday, and the arrival of the Shaw clan. How perfect that we were able to come up the weekend they flew down from Alaska. My teenage nieces are beautiful, hilarious, and straight up amazing. The day was spent catching up with the generations, and was concluded with a massive bonfire. I really wish I could post some of the photos, but, alas, that is not to be today.

We spent a bit more time with the family on Monday, not wanting to go, yet knowing that another 8 hour plus car ride was looming in our future. Thankfully, the pleasant weather held, and after photos documenting that my two oldest nieces now tower over me (thankfully not by quite as much as my three oldest nephews!) we were on our way back to Oregon.

As exhausting as all that driving can be, it was well worth the trip, and managed to be refreshing as well. The whole thing put me in the mood to reconnect, reflect, and get back into traveling...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Once a month...

When did I become that person? You know, the one you can never count on to update. The one you check over and over, only to discover there is still nothing new? Even as we seem to be about caught up on our store makeover, we keep discovering more and more ways to keep busy. I'm excited by the progress we have made, but I do miss being me sometimes.

The other day I wrote myself a self help/motivational speech. I feel like I still have to convince myself that I'm a business owner, and then make myself believe it and act like it at the same time. I just have to learn the art of salesmanship, because if people don't buy things that's the end of it. We're definitely receiving a lot of positive feedback on the new look and merchandise, so we're very hopeful that this year will be much better than the last, but it's always a gamble, and I've never been much of a gambler. I've always liked the sure thing, the one I could control. Thus, I was a good student, but that doesn't translate we'll into risk taking...

I think we've finally removed enough dirt and grime to have earned a Sunday not at the shop, but there is a gift show, so I guess there will still be work to do.

On a random note, I'm going to a Philomath High School Survivors party tomorrow night. I was in Pasadena training for my first year in Czech the summer of my (gulp) 10 year reunion, so I figured I should check out this little get together. Should be entertaining.

Well, I'm sure there is something business related I should probably be doing now, rather than reconnecting with the old me, so off I go again. Still hoping I'll attain self normalcy at some point, but not really counting on it as the journal I started last year is still not complete...