Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Today is Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas son is home from husband is out shopping...we are going to Christmas Eve services tonight with our closest friends..and it snowed. There's only one thing missing. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL...God Bless Us Every One.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Well, it's been quite a while since I wrote anything, and so much has happened that I don't quite know where to begin, but I do have something that I want to share that is so important in these uncertain times.

Promises: what is the definition of a promise? I was listening to a radio interview a couple of days ago by an author who wrote a book by the name of "The Promises of God". She said that when she first decided to write this book she found an old Webster's Dictionary from the 1800s and here's what she found the definition of a promise to be: "a binding oath or contract". In this day and age when there are internet scams, terrorist threats, etc., etc., etc., one never knows whom one can believe anymore. I pray that when I tell my husband, for example, that I promise to love him in sickness and health, until death do us part that he can believe me. I want my solemn promise to be a binding contract with the person I am promising. After all, we are only as good as our word. Since that interview this week, I have thought long and hard about my core values and what it really means when a promise is broken. It literally means that a contract has been broken.

During this Christmas season we are reminded of the greatest promise of all: one that we can literally take with us for eternity. The baby born in a manger over 2000 years ago was born so that we might have life and have it to the fullest. Jesus promised us life; he didn't promise us a rose garden. He promised us his presence. The greatest gift of all was wrapped up in a manger in Bethlehem all those years ago.Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace and good will to all men.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Vacation of a Lifetime

My husband and I just got back from our end-of-summer vacation. We had a blast! We are timeshare owners, having a great one in Breckenridge, Colorado. We opted to trade our week for another we had never been to before. We chose Lake Tahoe and we were NOT disappointed. We landed in San Francisco on Saturday, September 6 and immediately I began to take it all in. I reminded myself of Johnny Five in the movie "Short Circuit". He always said he needed more "input". Well, I got enough input to last me until at least next vacation. I had such a great time that I cried ontakeoff when we got in the air coming back to Colorado. But I am WAY ahead of myself.

Let me begin by saying I had never been to California before this vacation so I didn't know what all the fuss was about. We have a lot of California transplants here in Colorado who always talk about how wonderful it is "back home", etc., etc., etc. I had no idea that I was about to become the next spokesperson for vacationing in Northern California.

We picked up our rental car at Fox Rentals, which was, by the way, the most awesome experience I ever had at a rental car store IN MY LIFE. We even got an upgrade because of the length of time we were spending. (10 days total).

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a mental checklist of things I needed to see and do while there. The first thing was to drive down that curvy little street you always see on television when people go on high speed chases in San Francisco, but we had not eaten since about 5 a.m. so our stomachs had other plans. We drove past Chinatown and into the Gaylord District and stopped at this little dive of a pizza shop. Never judge a book by its cover. This place had fantastic pizza (and it wasn't judge because we were starving and ready to pass out from low blood sugar) and the slices were so HUGE I couldn't even finish ONE.

After lunch we drove around and, yes....we drove down Lombard Street. How cool was that!?!?! We got in line behind several other cars because if you come to San Francisco you have to drive down that curvy little road. My life is complete! Well, maybe not totally complete, but it was on my to do list. Something must have been going on because everywhere we went there were huge crowds. Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square were so crowded we just couldn't get too close, but at least I got to do a drive by.

Second on my list was to go across the Golden Gate Bridge. I must be one of those embarrassing kind of tourists because I hang out the windows, yell and scream and get all excited at just the site of something I've waited my whole life to see. When we got close enough I started snapping pictures and didn't stop until we got completely across the bridge. Could it possibly have gotten any better than that?

Well, yes it could have because it did. We then went to Muir Woods, which is a fantastic state park with a wonderful walk through and lots of trails to hike. It is a awesomely beautiful and spiritual redwood forest. Now remember, I had never been to California before. I know there are people who see this stuff everyday and maybe they take it for granted, but I was awestruck at the beauty and complete majesty of the Redwoods. I don't believe I could ever get used to seeing those magnificent testaments to the majesty of God.

After that, we went to Highway 1 and drove to Stinson Beach and I put my feet in the Pacific Ocean and watched the sunset. (See picture) I spent a lot of my time in California crying because of the beauty and splendor of the scenery, the fresh fruits and vegetables unlike anything I had ever tasted and lots of water. Here in Colorado it is stupendously beautiful but we don't have much water to look at.

We stayed in Santa Rosa the first night and got up bright and early and drove over to Luther Burbank's Gardens and House. What an amazing thing he did for us! Horticulture is something that mystifies me and to think one man spent his entire life working with plants, flowers, foods, etc. and we get to reap the benefits.

Santa Rosa is also attributed as being the home of Charles Schultz (Charlie Brown). But did you know that he originally lived in Colorado Springs. Friends of his here say that when they used to get together and play cards or whatever he would always be doodling on a piece of paper making his characters. Anyway, there are statues all over downtown Santa Rosa of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, etc. It was so much fun to see.

We got back on Highway 1 and headed up the coast and stopped at Bodega Bay. That's where the Alfred Hitchcock movie "The Birds" was filmed. It was kind of cold and dreary, but it was fun to see, to get to experience it all. Right on the pier between and fishery and a restaurant there was a huge old jawbone of a whale that someone found about 40 or 45 years ago. I've never seen such a thing! Gross!!!

And it seems that the seagulls love me. I was standing on a cliff a little further up the road feeding gulls some cheese crackers and before I knew it there were about 25 or 30 of them all gathered around. All at once I started hearing this hideous bird-like sound and this huge bird runs right up the middle of them all with his wings all spread out and stopped right at my feet just yelling at me. All the other birds were quiet and were watching that bird and me to see what would happen, I guess. I reached in my cracker box and dropped one in his mouth. He ate and left. Then the others proceeded to talk and push each other out of the way as my husband and I threw crackers up in the air for them to catch. When the box was almost empty, we started back to the car, because it was a little chilly and the wind was cold. Don looked back and said, "Honey, look." I turned around and all those birds were following me. When I stopped they stopped and sort of looked around like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. You know, "what? I didn't do anything." So I started back to the car again and they followed me again. They followed me almost all the way to the car. It was really funny. Something I will always remember.

Next we went to Fort Ross, a little further up the coast. It was an old Russian Fort back in the 1800s. It was awesome to see how well built the buildings were. We picked up some eucalyptus leaves off the ground and put them in our car. It smelled like Vicks Vap-O-Rub in our car for the rest of the trip. Oh, least we didn't get stuffy noses.

After a bit, the fog lifted and the temperature climbed to the mid-seventies and we decided it was time to make our trek to Lake Tahoe. So we followed a road that went along the Russian River and saw beautiful country until it got dark outside. We arrived in Lake Tahoe about 10:30 that night and what a place it was. We stayed at the Olympic Valley International Lodge in Squaw Valley (site of 1960 XVIII Winter Olympics). What a great place. So pristene!

Like I said before, we traded out our timeshare for this lodge and it was the best. There wasn't a coffee shop or restaurant with it, but across the parking lot was the Olympic Village and that was good. We visited a local farmer's market and bought some fruits and veggies to get us through the week (we are vegetarian) and we had a little kitchen in the condo so I was able to cook. I was in heaven! The produce was outstanding.

The lodge, which shall herein be called OVI, because that's what the locals call it, had mountain bikes free of charge for the guests/owners to use. So one day we took bikes and rode the bike path along the Truckee River and had lunch at a local place. Great food. We met a young man at the restaurant who had moved out from Boston less than a year before. He had lost somewhere in the range of 60 pounds since moving there. He was in training for a long distance bike trip and apparently is quite a skier as well. Kudos to him for shaping up. He looked great! He was in love with Tahoe and Squaw Valley and I can certainly understand why.

Lake Tahoe....what can I say about Lake Tahoe? Well there isn't enough I can say about it. I've never seen such beautiful water. And such history! We learned all the history about the Washoe Indians who called it home in the summer way back when. We learned about settlers and early "cosmopolitan" tourists who frequented the area. We saw pictures of Model A vehicles that tried to trudge through 12 foot snow drifts. We learned about the Donner Party. (One night at the resort we had movie night: guess what the movie was! That's was a documentary on the Donner Party! UGH!)

The rest I'll show to you in pictures. We spent a glorious week in Tahoe right after the big summer season ended so it wasn't too crowded. The best vacation of my life.

Monday, August 25, 2008

And the Winner IS,..... Part Deux

Ok..just real quick like...I entered a cranberry-colored hand knit afghan in the Colorado State Fair and won first place in my category. SWEET! Pictures coming! (along with my much-awaited for commentary on the whole ordeal).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And the Winner IS...............

We made it back home. Take it from me: Las Vegas in August is NOT the where you want to be. It was hot! It was %*&@! hot!! And for those of us who live in higher elevations, the heat is PAINFUL! So here's how it went. We landed just before midnight and I was the typical tourist. I was holding up foot traffic in the airport trying to see everything. (And by everything, I mean advertisements of who was performing in Vegas now and who will be. I was the one you've always wanted to slap or push out of the way. Then we went outside and I was done! "Please tell me it won't be this hot the entire time we're here. I feel like I have died and gone to HELL!" My hubby said, "No tomorrow in the daylight will be much hotter!" I knew I was in for a treat. So from that moment until we stepped off our plane on our return trip to Colorado Springs I lived for one spritzing fan to the next and one air conditioned building to the next. I'm a quick learner. I loved the monorail. I could have just ridden the monorail for 4 days and been happy. Just get off once in a while and buy a bottle of water and get back on the rail.

The best thing was the Fremont Street Experience. But don't go in the daytime. Go at night and watch the tribute to Queen. It was amazing. And I won a bundle at the Golden Nugget. I sat myself right down at a slot machine, put in my big $5.00 bill and VOILA! I hit the 7s on all the rows and scored a big 1,376. That's pennies for all of you big time gamblers out there. That's right! $13.76 plus my $5 so I more than tripled my money. Yeah, that's right. I'm the last of the big time spenders. Then I sat down next to Don at a slot machine he was feeding and started playing one that was called "Menopause". Can you believe that? A slot machine all about the change of life. Instead of lucky 7s there was the sign for female. Instead of cherries or some other fruit, we got a picture of a guy, who when you got three in a row of his mug said, "I'm Dr. Love." (UGH!) Instead of the normal slot figures we had baseball bats (I wonder if that was for beating your husband), a bottle of aspirin and I women obviously in the state of distress. What I want to know is, where was the air conditioner, the box of chocolates, and the estrogen?!? It, it wasn't! And that's all I have to say about that. We then went back out into the heat until the next time we felt the need to sit for awhile in the air conditioning. (We only played slots whenever we needed to cool off, so we basically played slots in every casino on the strip and downtown Las Vegas. And we're the casinos favorite kind of gambler, too. We don't smoke or drink so there's nothing to distract us. You could see it in the cocktail waitresses faces: "Great! A nondrinker! They know when they're losing!"

There was a man playing saxophone on Fremont Street who was actually very good except for some of the notes he played..well, let's just say some of those were sounds only dogs should hear. Somewhere in the background I could hear the yowling of some lone coyote begging him to take the pitch down a notch.

On the way back to the hotel on the Deuce (the double decker city buses) Don asked me why I had a choke hold on my purse. He said, "Babe, really! It's leather. The cow's already dead!" "But, Honey, the bus driver said on the way here to watch out for pick pockets. Do you know what's in your wallet?"
When he thought I wasn't looking he checked out his wallet. (It'll just be our little secret that we've discussed this when he wasn't around.)

The first night we were there we walked down to Circus Circus and had dinner in their 24 hr cafe. GOOD FOOD! I mean, REALLY GOOD! And not so expensive. We are vegetarians so sometimes it's hard for us to eat out. The wait staff is always very quick to tell us we can have a salad or a baked potato. (Just between us, I have scratched off salad and baked potatoes from my list of favorite foods now.) I ordered a fruit plate that came with banana bread and my choice of either yogurt, cottage cheese or sherbet. Now, quite honestly, I expected it to be a small dish. So nothing really could have disappointed me except maybe if they dropped it on the floor. So when the waiter brought out this HUGE PLATTER (not was a platter) of fruit my mouth dropped and I said, "Is that all for me?" There was fresh grapes still on their stalk and they took up about a quarter of the platter, half of a fresh pineapple, watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe and a large unpeeled banana right on top of it all. Then he put down the cottage cheese in the bowl that was about the size of a cereal bowl. And the banana bread? Well, let's just say it was a muffin that took up the entire bread plate that it was on. I ate about 1/3 of the fruit and cottage cheese and wrapped up the bread and took it and the rest of the fruit back to our room and ate on it for about 2 days after that. It was amazing. Oh, and the price? $9.95. Yep, that's what I said! So the waiter brought me a big old grocery bag to carry it all back to the hotel. I looked like I had been to the market. Well, I guess I sort of had been. That was the best meal I had the entire time we were gone. No, I suppose that really isn't true. We ate at P.F. Chang's Sunday night and the vegetarian lettuce wraps were to DIE for!

Now, I read somewhere that one should NEVER, I repeat, NEVER take anything offered to you by anyone on the strip. Having said that, there were these guys all up and down the strip handing out what looked like business cards. Now, you don't have to be Einstein to figure out what it was! You could see the same business cards all over the sidewalk. SMUT! Naked ladies! Yeah! I don't need to draw a picture. So there was this elderly couple walking down the street and one of those guys hands him a card and we started to laugh. There were two ladies behind us and one of them said, "Ok, so she's going to knock the crap out of him when they get to their room." We all laughed and laughed. Honestly, though, these guys need to get a REAL job. On the other side of things, however, it isn't call Sin City for nothing!

I need to download my pictures so I'll check back in when that's done.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Las Vegas Here I Come!!!

I wanted to check in before I go to Las Vegas this week. My hubby and I will be going to Vegas for a meeting. We own a pack and ship and are going to a convention for shipping. (Yawn!) We'll see. I'm not much of a party girl and my husband doesn't go to see showgirls (because he wouldn't live to see tomorrow) (I almost said my husband doesn't "do" showgirls but that has another meaning altogether; it isn't like "doing lunch" and this IS a family blog, after all).


I really would like to see Barry Manilow. Now, that says something about me, doesn't it? (I write the songs that make the whole world sing.....) All of you Barry fans (Manilow, not White)stand up and cheer! The rest of you take a time out! Manilow was a great 70s kind of guy, wasn't he? I mean, while the rest of the world was listening to music that made Garth and Wayne (Wayne's World) bob their heads, Manilow was putting out melodic, easy to listen to, and most importantly, MUSICAL tunes. (Yes, I know this officially makes me a nerd, but oh, well.) I mean, seriously, who else could have come up with that great American Bandstand lyric?!?...or the McDonald's "You Deserve a Break Today"?!?

On to Barry White, since I mentioned him earlier. But let's get the necessary out of the way first. Let's take a moment of silence in remembrance of the soulful Mr. White.............................................................................
......................................................................Ok, that's long enough. Mr. White took the bedroom and moved it into the Top 40. Then, he took the bedroom and moved it to the disco floor (Baby..I Can't Get Enough of Your Love). But in all seriousness, Mr. White scared me. Not his music, but the man. You've seen him, right? Well, there you go. And having said that I now quote the famous words of Forrest Gump, "that's all I have to say about that"!

When we get back to Colorado, I'll fill you in on our trip.

Until next time and don't send me a quarter to play for you in Vegas (My hubby says we won't accept anything smaller than "a hundred bucks"),


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Observations...Life Experience or Personal Opinion?

When my husband and I first took over our pack and ship store there was a man who came in who shall herein be referred to as "Mr. Observation". My husband, who shall herein be referred to as "my husband", was repeatedly telling me about this man and his more than unwelcome comments about the changes we were making to the store in order to bring more business into it. Now, let me preface this by saying, our business was already a 20+- -year-old business, starting to fail, and never updated in appearance in all that time and no marketing tools or promotions were done to keep things moving in the black instead of the red. In other words, it was still painted wannabe-post office green. Ok. NOW we're up to speed.

Just after the first of the year a mommy comes in to ship something and brings her darling little boy, who shall herein be called Eddie Munster (if you catch my meaning). Mommy was not paying any attention to Eddie Munster and he began to "play" with one of our printers (we own a printing company as well and have large printers). While my husband is trying to weigh, get the dimensions of the items and determine the best shipping options for Mommy, Eddie breaks, (YES, BREAKS) the feeder off of one of our printers. She laughs and says, "oh, my. Honey, you shouldn't do that", in her sweetest "I am not going to pay for that" voice. Anyway, she DIDN'T pay for it either and the piece was irreplacable. Shortly after that a lady, who shall herein be called "I couldn't be bothered with my child" comes in and lets her little girl go WILD in the store. We have postal boxes and a large camera we take passport photos with and I caught her as she was just about to pick the camera up off the tripod and said, "Sweetie, you need to come back out here with your mom, ok?" She looked at me with sort of a devious look and marched herself right into the postal room (can you say privacy violation?). So I went and got her and brought her back out and explained to I-couldn't-be-bothered-with-my-child that HER child needed to stay with her so she "wouldn't get hurt with our equipment". (Instead of IT'S YOUR JOB UNTIL SHE'S 18.) I-couldn't-be-bothered needed to go to her car to get something and child stayed in the store and that's when I noticed she was barefoot. I told her she needed to put her shoes on and she said, "NO!!!!!!!!" I said, "you have to wear your shoes in here because there's no telling what's on the floor". (I mean seriously, can you imagine what's on the floor after people trample God knows what in on the bottom of their shoes!!) She never did put her shoes on. So I made a corporate decision: we would make a sign. A sign pertinent to all parents. The next decision would be how to say "watch your child" in a way that was humerus, yet got the point across. Here's what we got: PARENTS PLEASE DO NOT PLAY WITH OUR PRODUCTS. CHILDREN LEARN FROM OUR EXAMPLE.

This is where Mr. Observation comes in. Our first "encounter" with him was when he tried to convince me I needed to hire his son to do graphic designs for us. His son is 14! Uh....NO! Next he comes in one day after we painted the inside of the store. Now we went with a Colorado/territorial style. We painted the walls kind of a rusty red which looks awesome with the paintings, etc. that I picked out. He came in and he said, "Expletive.....this place looks like a whorehouse!" It took my husband back so much that he started keeping track of the positive comments.(Positive to date: 3 million, Negative: Mr. Observation.) I actually wanted to ask him if he knew this by experience or was it just a personal opinion. Next: he saw the sign about parents keeping their hands to themselves and he said, "do you know that there are three women who won't come in this store because of that sign"? I said, "Really? Well, now that sounds like a personal problem to me." Another time he came in and saw the pursehooks we are selling (which by the way have sold like hotcakes) and he said, "Expletive...I could go to KMart and buy these ten for a buck. I walk by, pass him, and roll my eyes.

Now, my husband says I sound a little angry with the guy. My office staff kills him with kindness and he still acts like we are something he pulls off the bottom of his shoe. There's something that keeps him coming must be because he gets to vent in here. OK, so let him vent. Please understand we love our customers...we'd starve without them. We say all of this in jest and the names were "herein" changed to protect them and the innocent.

So my question is this: Observations: Are they from life experience, personal opinion or just observation?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Miss Clarisse the Cow

What can I say about Miss Clarisse? She has the biggest udders in the known universe? Well that goes without saying. I mean look at those things.

Miss Clarisse is one of several original art drawings I have to offer for notecards at She's sure to bring a smile to the recipient of your card just because she's so darn cute and all.

Thanks for reading,

P.S. The other picture is yours truly on a really bad hair day modeling (or not so much) one of the prayer shawls I knitted to show at the Colorado State Fair. (This, too, can be yours from (Notice the hoodie I have tied around my waist. Tres Chic!)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pikes Peak or Bust

Yesterday Don and I went hiking on trails between South and North Catamount Lake, on the Pikes Peak Highway, then went on up to the top of the mountain (14,110 ft above sea level). And yes, today I am wearing my Got Oxygen/Pikes Peak 14,110 feet socks. When we got there (and may I remind you of the date, 8/3/08 yesterday) and it was sleeting and snowing and the mountain goats were glaring at all the passersby as if to say: "feed me or else".

I always get really amused at tourists, and we get lots of them. Yesterday my husband was really feeling his oats. When we got almost all the way to the top (and there are NO guard rails and the road is dirt, NOT paved) he said, "watch this". So he'd stop the car, wait for a car to come the other way and look at them a point up the mountain and say, "LOOK! LOOK! LOOK!" Everyone would stop, look, crane their necks and he'd drive off just laughing. I'm sure we got a lot of one finger salutes! But, I guess you had to be there, but it was TOO funny! Think about it! We're almost 14,000 feet above sea level on a road that isn't paved and, let me say it again, has NO GUARD RAILS! People were out of their cars, hanging over the edges, trying to find the mountain goats and taking pictures of anything that moved (or didn't). And my husband chooses that moment to say "isn't this where that old man drove over the edge last year?" I said, "you felt the need to remind me of that right NOW?!?!?"

And we were hot and sweaty from hiking, not really knowing how cold it was on the top of the mountain. IT WAS FREEZING, SNOWING, SLEETING and I was the ONLY one who was smart enough to have a winter coat in their car. (After all, we do live here.) Oh, and just so you know, it is perfectly acceptable in Colorado and a much sought after fashion statement to wear shorts, hiking boots, socks and a ski coat.

And why do people go to the top of Pikes Peak? No....the answer is NOT because it's there. It's because they have AWESOME DONUTS!

See you next time,

Friday, August 1, 2008

Who Knew? VooDoo in Manitou?

Last night it was HOT! It was DANG HOT! So Don and I decided to take a drive. (Yes...I am aware that gas is now 4 dollars and whatever-cents-they-add-to-it-today.) I had been home most of the day knitting, trying to finish my afghan for the Colorado State Fair and I was miserable...not from knitting, but from the heat of sitting under a wool afghan all day in a house with no air conditioning and only ceiling fans to circulate to air. My only consolation is that nobody has air here because there aren't that many days that we need air so anybody home yesterday was as miserable as I was. Is that sick or what!!!

ANYWAY.....we hopped in the car and drove over to Manitou Springs. What can I say about Manitou? Ok, we loooooovvvvveeee Manitou. We go there almost everyday because it is a cool place to be. There are a lot of old hippy- and metaphysical-types and a large Christian ministry in the midst of it all. The town sits at the bottom of Pikes Peak and it's so cool because the houses all go up the sides of the surrounding foothills of the Rockies. One of my favorite things is Barr Trail, which is the hiking trail to the top of Pikes Peak. By the way, we appreciate the Earth Spirit Pagans who so faithfully maintain the upkeep of the trail. Blessed B...I mean, God Bless You!

It was fastly approaching nightfall when we drove through Garden of the Gods. We got to Balanced Rock and there were two young boys standing on top of one of the rocks. Everything in me wanted to cry out, "watch out. Don't fall!" But these rocks are really big and no one is supposed to climb them without a permit and I didn't want to hear "splat" as we drove by. Now that brings up something else: every year there are a lot of people who vacation here. Hiking is a big thing here because, after all, it IS the Rocky Mountains and they are REALLY big mountains, but someone always veers off the trails and ends up falling. I have noticed, almost without fail, that these people are from Texas. What is up with that!!! It says one of two things: (1) all of our tourist population is from Texas, or (2) the Texans are the only ones who read the "stay on the trail" signs and wander off anyway. (I don't know...I could be wrong!) So we finally make it to Manitou and Don says "Do you want to you to Fatso's?" "Who?", I say. "You know...Chubby's!" I say, "You mean, Tubby's?" "Yeah..that's the one." Then he says, "if you're praying, can you pray for my memory to get better?" We drive in to Tubby's, which is a convenience slash grocery store in downtown Manitou, to get an ice cream bar and a soda. There's a new guy behind the counter. He has no hair. (That is not pertinent to this story.) When we went to the counter to pay for our snacks we said, "You new here?" "Yeah..about 3 months." "Where did you come from?" He said, "well, I put a map on the table and tossed a dime in the air and where it landed I drove because I was sick of L.A. My girlfriend drove from Virginia, I drove from L.A. and we met up here." Then he told us about his new business venture. Apparently he and his girlfriend have an internet business together that is doing fairly well. We had to ask..."what kind of business?" "Oh, we sell occult parephenalia". (Yes..that how to spell that word. My hubby and I had quite a discussion, I googled it, he still said no, googled it and STILL said it was wrong. So go figure!) Back at the store: I looked at the guy and said "cool". Cool? Cool? Why did I say cool? As we walked out the door he said, "there's a lot of money to be made in voodoo." Who knew? Voodoo in Manitou?

Now as things often happen, something occurred that would make the voodoo thing feel more apparent and almost comical. In the summers on Thursday night local drummers meet in a park in Manitou and drum togeth. Last night was (you guessed it) THURSDAY. And their drumming sounded like tribal mystical drumming from the jungles (you know, like what you see in the movies or from National Geographics). So I sarcastically thought "there's voodooing amongst us. We stopped the car and sat and listened for a while laughing about the irony and coincidence of voodoo and drumming that sounded as if it were calling up the spirits. (There is a longstanding rumor that witches, covens, etc. reside in Manitou.) We go there because there's always something "interesting" to see.

Manitou is known for its "healing" waters. There is a system of artesian springs and back in the day, people came from all over to drink these "medicinal cures". They would go from spring to spring drinking for their curative benefits. We take water from these springs (which have all been tapped now) and some of them are amazingly good. In fact, did you know that Colorado Springs has no springs at all? They are named after the springs in Manitou. But let me warn you...there is one spring close to the Manitou Incline (railroad to top of the Peak) that tastes like you just put an old rusty pipe in your mouth. So skip that one, will you?

Until next time...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ode to Craig's List

I won't be available next week due to some prior commitments, so I wanted to check in ahead of time because let's face it....I know you've been waiting with baited breath for the useless information I have to share.

Craig's List...what shall I say about Craig's List. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes I just don't know. My husband is continually placing ads on Craig's List for printing. He's a printer by trade and has had great success with the internet. Anyway, lately somebody keeps flagging his ads to be removed. There's nothing questionable, there's nothing objectionable...that is except for The Great Craig's List Bandit. The Bandit also hit me. Wait til you hear what for...I advertised a stuffed bunny rabbit on the site and I got dinged by the Bandit. This person obviously is a bandit because he (or she, as the case may be) steals the right for us to advertise on Craig's List.

Now here's one we found on "The Best of Craig's List". There is a man who advertised on Craig's List to take care of all the abandoned pets who are left when all the Christians are raptured at the Second Coming of Christ. He said that since he was an aetheist, he would be left here and would gladly take care of all of our poor pets who are "left behind" for a mere $50 deposit per pet. And the goofy thing is, IT WAS A LEGITIMATE AD. Now my question is twofold: if the guy is indeed an aetheist how is he SO SURE there WILL be a rapture? and secondly, where was the Craig's List Bandit when we needed him?!?!?!?!?

Until next time,

Monday, July 21, 2008

The County Fair

El Paso County Fair in Calhan, Colorado is in the middle of NOWHERE. But it is so much fun. I love the livestock and the exhibitions. I love to watch the people. But it was so hot on Saturday when we were there. I was searching everywhere for something to drink. I spotted a smoothie concession. I ordered my favorite, pina colada. My mouth was watering. The concessioneer (is that a word) handed me the drink, I took one drink and voila! SOAP! The drink tasted like soap! My husband tasted the drink and he said, "soap". We took it back to the concession and the man said, "taste like soap? I thought so, too.". He took it bad, no problem, and gave me my favorite: DIET PEPSI!!! I was in heaven. I held on to that drink as if it were the last drink I'd ever have! Out there on the prairie? It could have been. I mean, it is desolate out there! No trees. Just prairie, wind, cows and rodeo!

Now on the the most important thing of all: my afghan. Did I place? Did the judges hate me or love me? Where was that exhibition hall? My hubby and I searched and searched for Swink Exhibition Hall. That was where the creative arts entries were judged. We were hungry and all the smells were getting to us. Then we walked by the livestock and lost our stomachs.

I was nervous because I was afraid Old Lady (please read previous entry) was the judge for my afghan. We found the hall, entered and wandered around and found the knitted afghans. I PLACED! I WAS SO EXCITED! There were lots of really good ones so, I was already nervous because I'd never entered anything before. Then I got the gurgling tummy kind of nervous when Old Lady was so "excited" to meet me and my hubby the previous Friday (NOT!). I looked down with one eye open and TA! DA!....there was a ribbon on my afghan. Third place, but still, it was a ribbon! I was so excited. But guess who the judge was. You guessed it! OLD LADY! She didn't like the yarn I chose. Oh, well. "Ding! I don't like red yarn! DING! I don't like the texture! Even she can't get me down. I was THRILLED.

When I get the afghan back I'll post a picture of it.

Take a look at the new items on Ladies, I put "Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman" by Elizabeth Buchan on the site today. Buy it, read it. It's a hoot!

Until then,

Friday, July 18, 2008

El Paso County Fair 2008

I got up this morning, took a shower, got dressed, fed the cats and the bird. Today is the day to take all entries to the county fair in Calhan, Colorado. So I pulled out my daytimer (yes, I still use one of phone is just too complicated to put all that info into) and discovered I had 1 hour and 15 minutes to go 20 miles to enter my afghan into the fair. For some reason, I thought the deadline was 5 p.m. It's tough getting old...memory is the first to go. So my husband did a Mapquest of the location and we hopped into the car and drove to Calhan.

When we arrived, we were greeted by two very nice women who pointed me in the right direction. I thought to myself that it was fairly simple just checking in. They were pleasant enough. I received my labels for the afghan along with a safety pin to attach it with and proceeded to the knitted items area. Now, this is my first entry EVER so I had no idea what to expect. But everyone appeared to be having a sort of good time so I thought this would be a breeze.

Ok..first of all, never underestimate the power of a little old woman in a position of power. I guess the better way to say that is this: never underestimate the power of a little OLD woman in the position of ASSUMED power! My husband and I were looking to see where the afghans were to be placed for judging and this tiny, little, hunched-over, gray-haired lady comes over and gives me a look that basically said, "what the hell do YOU want"? She was twirling around one of her fingers a key on one of those plastic wrist chains. I should have known...keys are power! We gave her the label so she could see where the afghan should be placed and in the meantime my husband took a look around the table. Everything was displayed numerically. He said, "oh, here's where it goes!" and she stood up (well, she stood up all hunched over), shook her finger in his face and said in her most imposed upon voice, "Excuse me!!!!!" (you know that voice, it's the one your mother used when she called you using your first and middle name) and pushed right in front of him. (When I was a child, we had to go to the end of the line if we cut.) I looked at my hubby and said, "don't make any waves, please. These people might be judging my wares later and I don't want a problem."

There was another lady there helping and she came over and asked me if she could help. She asked for the labels because I needed to attach them personally. I said, "she's got it", and pointed to our much distressed helper. The new lady looked at her and said, "you're going to have to give that label to her". Old lady then wrapped her hands around it as if it were her most prized possession and said, "I gave her the other half." New lady said, "she has to have it back". Old lady stood there for quite a while, I looked at the new lady and made a face that said, "boy, this is awkward."

Eventually, she gave it up, I attached the label and she informed me she knew what she was doing. NO DOUBT! She was asserting control over the knitting section.

When we walked out, my husband said, "man, I can't believe how rude she was. And did you get a load of all those people in there. They acted like no one had better touch their entries for fear of losing a limb." I said, "what about the greeters? They are the Gestapo of El Paso County, Colorado.

One man was bringing in some pictures that had been mounted but not framed. The check in lady asked him if they were framed. Well, duh! Nothing was framed. He stood there and said, "I don't know." I don't know? I guess he could have been sight impaired or something. Anyway, she said, "no sir, they aren't framed and you can't come in here unless THEY ARE FRAMED. I can't let you in." I looked at the man....blank stare...I mean there was nothing. He just stood there with all those pictures. After our ordeal with Grandma (and I mean that in the most affectionate terms) that man was still standing there. But no more blank stare: you could see the the wheels turning. In my mind I was thinking he was trying to figure out a way to fake out the greeters and get those pictures in there. Sort of like, oh look up in the air, and sneak in while everyone was looking the other way.

We left. I'll go back later and see how I did. (I HOPE SHE WASN'T MY JUDGE!!!)

Will I do it again? Yeah, I guess I will. Next month is the Colorado State Fair and I have two entries there. If little old ladies get power-heads at the county fair can you imagine what the state fair would do? Their heads will explode.

Until next time,

Monday, July 14, 2008

Christmas in July

Today I started filling our store with Christmas items. My house has been full of snowmen, moose (or is it meese), and Santas and now it is time to share them with you. I think our holiday items are great and more will be coming as the summer progresses. But you really must buy them because there is NO way I could possibly decorate my house with all this WONDERFUL stuff! If you live in the Monument/Palmer Divide area of Colorado, please come in our store at 481 Hwy. 105, Suite B to shop or pick up your online purchases.

Other news: I finished a prayer shawl for a friend of mine, who owns Innovations Salon next door to our pack & ship. She has cancer and is currently in treatment in Oklahoma. I can't tell you how moving it was to see her face and experience how overwhelmed she was to receive it. She said to me, "there's no way I can ever repay you for all you do for me". I told her to "just get well". The shawls aren't about self-gratification or to receive praise from anyone. It is about blessing someone's life. You can order one from me and bless someone, too.

If you are in the Calhan, Colorado area next week and the week following please stop by the El Paso County Fair and see the afghan I entered. I've never entered anything before, but I wanted to get a feel for what people thought of my efforts. I have also entered an afghan and a prayer shawl in the State Fair in Pueblo. I am so excited about it, even if I don't place at all. It has done a tremendous amount for my self esteem to bring these projects to completion. Soon I will be offering both large and smaller afghans and baby blankets online at

Hope to see you there soon,


Thursday, July 10, 2008

The First Day's Thoughts

Opening day of Pikes Peak General Store was Tuesday, July 8, 2008, and we are so excited we can barely contain ourselves. We have had 903 hits to our site since that date. That's amazing!

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging while I've been building this site. It's been a dream of mine for some time to have something I can do while living with rheumatoid arthritis. I'm awed by everyone's kindness, congeniality, hugs, encouraging words, and patience with me while I have made this transition in my life.

My husband, Don, has been loving, kind and supportive during this time as well. He's the one who has to live with me and when I've been confused with the world of computers and wanted to throw the thing in the trash, he has consoled me, pulled me away from the computer, bought me a strawberry shake (my favorite), or whatever it took to get me through the moment. I am so blessed and fortunate to have this man in my life.

On to other news: I just got a huge shipment of Christmas items which will be making their debut in the general store as well as our storefront, 1st Class Pack & Ship in Monument, Colorado. I think you will love them. I've been impatiently waiting for them to arrive and I'm going to have a little bit of Christmas in July at my house while I do the inventory, cataloging,photographing and filling our shopping pages for you.

The prayer shawls are an item you can order from us and I will hand knit it for you. This is a unique type of gift as while I am knitting it, I pray for whomever will receive it. I have knitted them for people with illness, going through divorces, and "just because I love them". I have seen people cry with the emotion of receiving such a gift. The experience is awesome and one I cannot adequately explain.

Any feedback is welcome.

Best wishes from PPGS,

Hazel Peterson