Saturday, August 11, 2012


Yesterday evening after having a wonderful lakeside dinner at Lake Isabella with Marcia, her folks and their friends, Marcia and I decided to go on into Oakley to stop and see Irene in her new shop and then take in some of Oakley's "Second Friday" events.

We parked in the lot across the street, then walked to the other side to Irene's shop. Two racks of clothing were outside on display. The "Open" banner beckoned. We were greeted by Irene's "Happy Hugs". We saw that she had a "browser" but didn't know if the "browser" would eventually be a "buyer".

Irene shared "her day" with us which had been an overwhelming experience. A person who presented herself as "market savy" interjected hurtful comments and had plenty of suggestions of why Irene "was not - this or that" and that she, the interjector, knew someone to consult with Irene. Marcia and I were not totally clear as to the exact reason why this person had become an advisor to Irene. Where did she come from in the first place? What were her motives? Was she drumming up business for herself or someone else? Did she have an alterior motive?

I'm thinking "alterior motive". Maybe because the high-end design shop moved in next door - Irene's place became an "item" for take over by someone who had their own plans for the shop and that Irene slipped in to buy the shop before this other person had the chance to negotiate and buy it for herself or maybe her friend had "her eye" on it. Sounded "fishy" to Marcia and me.

Irene is highly talented (in our opinion) making exquisite arrangements of scarves, jewelry, purses and accessories. Her shop is "eye pleasing". She has a "gem" if she can make it work. I'm willing to help out with my business and artistic thoughts, too. I watch many "do-over" business shows and I think I've taken in a lot of information of "what to do's" to save a business or turn it around.

Immediately - I know Irene is already worn out - from being the sole person running the place. Didn't choose to take in a "partner". Needs to do this soon. Or, enlist the help of caring friends to watch the shop when she needs a break. She could set it up that it's open when the flag is out and leave at that. People would learn to call first. She needs a "rest" area - where she can sip a cup of tea, read and relax. She needs to look "less busy" and ease back to gain her strength back. She needs to slip out of the shop for a walk to "meet the neighbors".

"Social Media" is the best way to build a business in today's world. Use Facebook and Twitter to the "max". Use for events & classes. Build the numbers and ask friends to help! Avoid the people coming in to sell ads. Always put a card in a customer's hands. Do not let them leave w/o something "in hand". Use that guest book now! Take those names and do a regular email out to them.

I'll help and see what I can learn about marketing in 2012! Onward!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Summer 2012 has been challenging for this "Widder Lady". Storms have knocked down tree branches again. Last year one of the huge oak trees "out front" was hit hard. A huge branch broke from it's "center" and required heavy "cherry picking" equipment to be brought in. Drove in across neighbor's yard. Oh my! Twenty five hundred dollars later, the tree still stands and put out "extra" coverage to hid its wounds.

This year, more limbs have fallen from weaker trees. I pulled one limb to the driveway and gradually lopped off the small limbs and twigs. Then, I used one of the new pruning saws that came as part of my being a member of the National Home Gardening Club. It worked, but I had to watch my shoulder muscles and not "over-do". I pulled the bigger pieces over the driveway ledge and led them fall. I will take them to the back fence line to rot away.

More overhanging branches from old trees along the back fence line "gave way" to the weight of wild grape vines a few weeks ago. I lopped off some of the branches and pulled what bigger ones I could over to the fence line. There is still a pile of branches and debris waiting for me or "someone" to remove. The yard mowing guys mowed over part of the smaller branches. I figure if they go back and forth over them again and again, my "work" will be even easier. Just a week before they had been doing the annual clean-up, prunning the bushes by the side of the house down to "small shrub size" again. They had taken several truck loads of branches, leaves, weeds and yard debris away. It was wonderful to see "things looking good again".

As I write this, I can hear mowers running around the cottage. Wondering if I will get out in time to ask them to use the blower on the two cottage porches - saving me from another outside task. I'm also thinking about the water running into the old hot tub area and what I can do to clean it up.

The pool guys and I discussed possible solutions for this "problem area". This "hot tub" worked many years ago - at least 25 years ago. It was added on to the main pool as a triangular shaped spa area. There were "seats" and a plexiglass divider between it and the pool. It required a separate set of equipment - motor, bubbler, heater, strainer. It was expensive to run! Then, somehow it was ruined - and I think it was because I had a huge bolder put in as a "design element" into another triangle-shaped bed. I think it broke the pipes.

(Time for a break - go outside). Met with landscaper guy "chief" to discuss hot tub situation. We turned off the water that I was running through to clear it all up. Suggested some Clorox (may not do it - fumes).  He will call his cement guy for possible solution of filling it in with cement and "be done with it". Would give me a nice area to set the long outdoor lounge chair again. Used to set it down on the rocks, but it wasn't the best solution. Struggled with this "problem area" too long. It's time to solve it! Onward!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rainy Saturday - July 14, 2012

Life moves along "swimmingly" (I do swim) here at this place I call "home". Critter update: two does with youngsters here. I think the does were twins and now they have their own offspring. One has twins and the other has one. For awhile I was confused and thought it was just one doe and one fawn, but I think I have the situation figured out now. But to be sure, I would like to see two does together with 3 fawns, total.

Chipmunks are everywhere - holes to their tunnels are under the patio, around the edge of the house and outside in the "beds". I see them scurry and run back and forth. They like to roll in the dirt, so I had a few pots that I never planted flowers in this year. The dirt gets thrown out, so that means they have had a good dirt bath. One pot had Freezia bulbs in it, but nothing came up! Not one single sprig or sprout! Figuring that a squirrel or one of the chipmunks enjoyed a bulb dinner. Thinking, though that I ought to go up and dig around to see if the bulbs are still there!

Hornet Story: I had several pots sitting near the Topsy Turvy stand. They were filled with odds & ends - some chives, a wild strawberry vine and some lemon balm. I did plant one basil plant in the square pot and left the other alone and now a tomato plant is growing and blooming in it. I was cleaning up the magnolia leaves and debris that gathered around those three pots when several buzzing hornets came out of the one with the chives, etc. I pushed the pot with the broom handle and "pow" - out came some mad hornets after ME! I ran as fast as I could - knocking off my glasses (didn't know I'd done it) as I was being stung on my nose and knocking away the one that was stinging my right shin. Got them off and ran into the kitchen, grabbed some baking soda, made a paste and put it on my nose and leg. Talk about HURT! Those stings hurt for hours and hours. I used ice packs, cold washcloths and took some Ibuprofen. I took time to look up some first aid cures. I also immediately put lemon halves on the wounds to take out poison.

Thought I wouldn't get over the pain! Awful stuff! Luckily my nose didn't swell too much. It was sore, but my leg was sore for quite some time. The situation was under control, except now I didn't have my glasses! I was afraid to go back out to find them! I found a pair of glasses which I had prescribed to me last year, but I never wore - so for several days I was "off" with my vision. I finally found my regular pair in the pot of Thyme!

Did I leave the hornets alone. Not! I got some Hot Shot that had been around here - and opened the door off the dining room and aimed! Made the hornets mad again, so I retreated. Then I kept hitting the pot with the hose jet to see if they were still there - they were! I told the yard guys to "beware of the hornets"! The pot was turned over one morning and I wondered if the raccoon did it or if Knee-Hi did it. Could have been the squirrel! So, I figured they were gone (all of this took place over a week's time). Not so, a few more were buzzing around.

Asked the yard guys about hornets moving somewhere else. The fellow said the queen will move far away to safety and that seems to be what happened. I looked for evidence of dead hornets, but they outwitted me, the Hot Shot, the water jet! Now, where they have gone, I don't know. I sure hope someone else doesn't experience a hornet hit from these traveling demons!

So, life goes one around here. The fellows got a lot of pruning done - took many hours of labor to cut through overgrown shrubs. I had hacked at several shrubs - testing out my ability as a pruning genius! I belong to the National Home Gardening Club and got all kinds of saws in a kit to be a professional. Those big loppers take a lot of strength and I hurt for days "after". I swacked off the three burning bush out front that were blocking the new Siberian Spruce trees. I also cleared out another bush (can't recall name as I write). Guy said the branches should be "open enough for a bird to fly through". Did it!

Then today, opened up another bill from Madison Tree for "Hydraulic Feeding" of all the trees around here! OMG! Over $700.00. Talk about tree care! They get sprayed, they get fed, they get groomed. I spend more money on trees than I do on myself! This fall more tree work will be done - removal of the willow tree and an ash tree (maybe). Keeping the crabapple tree - still blooms and the squirrels eat the crabapples and shakes "extras" for the does and their fawns. As Maude said, "We've got to save this tree"! (favorite movie - Harold & Maude).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Life goes on.

Setting aside 15 minutes to write, just write. I follow "43 Things" which is a constant reminder list of "to do" choices. This list pops up everyday in my email list. I figure it will eventually sink into my subconscious to the point that it will be an "automatic" choice. Will definitely add it to the booklet that I re-list all that I "choose" to do each day. Included in my daily list is: RMR - regular morning routine, Emails, PCA - put clothes away, TTC - trash to compactor, OG - Organo Gold (a Chinese mushroom pill), Tea - usually some green tea, Water - drink water throughout day, Yoga - do Yoga stretches or Swim - summer choice. The rest of the page is filled with other daily tasks - get ready for class, office work, cleaning, etc. or Meetup group activities.

This year is proving to be interesting. More students are coming in to Karen's Studio 125 on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon classes. I'm helping out the West Virginia Cultural Center with some of my late husband's history (now mine, too) digging through archived papers, scrapbooks, etc. Also helped with Summerfair history (big art fair here in Cincinnati) which I co-created with two other people 45 years ago.

Here at home I feel like I'm living in a jungle - and it is! Shrubs and plants have "taken off" and are huge. Waiting, waiting for yard/landscape guys to "hit it". I took on the task myself last week, but it's risky for me to lift those loppers and hard prune overgrown shrubs down to their "nubbins". Glad I removed 3 Burning Bush (red-leaves - in the fall). Opens up the area by the mailbox. Will rework the plants out there. Someone on Freecycle today wants perennials. Hooray! They can take bunches of Iris rhizomes - purple, white, rust. I have plenty to share.

I'm staying healthy and continue to keep "good health" as an important choice. Drinking more water really helps to keep my energy level high. Oh, and the green tea, too. Just bought some more Kuchika green tea from Essencha Tea House. It's a smoky twig tea. "Discovered" it in NYC at TeaNY down around the corner from Orchard Street. I choose to keep in touch with Edgar Gibson of The Strategy Group who is an incredible counselor/teacher.

A certain healing is taking place between my first husband and myself. I take him flowers from my "garden". He has been in the hospital and nursing home - often. He now is in ICU (no flowers allowed). Prayers for him to make it to Father's Day! It's a long history of personal indulgence that led to diabetes and the gradual deterioration that takes place from this horrible affliction!

Knee-Hi is my companion here at home. Shes' a Jack Russell Terrier with spiked ears. I think she looks like "Bella Goosie". She is going on 14, so blind that she sometimes steps in her own poop. Otherwise, she goes out and "suns" herself on sunny days. She likes Ezekiel toast in the morning. The excitement for her (and me) is when the local raccoon comes in to finish off her supper. How does this happen? Well, the raccoon comes through the breezeway and slips through the dog door, has his dinner, washes his paws in the dog dish and leaves. Sometimes Knee-Hi barks him/her on out, but sometimes Knee-Hi doesn't hear - either from being in a deep dog sleep or maybe, just maybe she's dog deaf.

OK. I've passed 15 minutes. So that's a choice met for today. I'll be doing more writing. Yes! I am choosing to write, write, write. Write on!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Widder Lady's New Year 2012

Now that I've made it 'round the bend (that's how my mind sees the calender - as a loop) into a New Year and have completed 75 years upon this planet, I'm rethinking "to what purpose" should I spend the last quarter century? I have plenty of great ideas (I'm always thinking of one idea after another - on and on).

Stop: Take a long, slow deep breath before I go forward with this writing. Do not react, do not react, do not react. Respond. Stop and have a cup of tea, use the new foot massager and relax!

Continuing with my groups taking risks of adding new people, new events to "the mix". Continuing teach adult beginners at Karen's Studio 125 in Essex Studios.

 I am choosing to "Simplify My Life" - moving from accumulating and acquiring to a home that reflects choices that are healthy. I follow several web sites that offer support and caring toward this goal. I've made some on-line friendships that mean a lot. Found a fun one called "I Done This". It's a way of keeping an on-going list.

Hoping you all are starting out 2012 with enthusiasm and energy. Here we go again!

Here is a picture taken from the back porch of "The Cottage".