Tuesday, May 15, 2007


My bonanza day started yesterday afternoon, when I got home from work. One of the things in the mail was a totally unexpected birthday card from an internet friend. We share list space on one of my many lists, and have recently started corresponding on a fairly regular basis. We’ve found that we have a great deal in common, including the fact that our birthdays are in the same week, and I think quite highly of her. I thought it was so very kind and thoughtful of her to send me a card …and it was one of those surprises that take the breath away for a second, and make the heart sing!

Today, I received a huge gift order for the shop. The 2 huge boxes are sitting there, waiting for me to open them, and, even though I bought everything inside them, and know exactly what the boxes will contain, looking at them, and thinking about ripping into the boxes, drawing out each item, admiring it, deciding where it should go, and what should go next to it, feels like Christmas morning! Of course, I hope for positive “fan” (read customer) reactions, too …and I will be just as happy to see all those pretty things find good homes, because, then …I get to get more boxes of goodies!

I’ve noticed that same thrill of excitement when unpacking from a move. It doesn’t matter that I *packed* the box, or that it was carefully labeled (at least until the end of the packing process, when every box seems to be marked “misc”), I still find myself surprised by what I discover, sometimes, because I’ve either forgotten I had the item, or hadn’t looked at it in a while, or thought I’d lost it. The whole moving process, from packing to moving to unpacking *needs* all the bits and pieces of fun one can manage, too …because each move is harder, more onerous, and exhausting!

Then, I came home …and found …books!!!!!! My cooperating network library finally answered my pleas, and sent me both the Aubrey/Maturin series (at least some of it), *and* the Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullagh! Oh, my! I’m going to be a busy, happy girl! Anyone who wants me this weekend should search for me either in Ancient Rome (or on one of the many foreign battlefields), or on the high seas during the Napoleonic war! I’m not sure that a cell phone will be able to reach where I’m going …passenger pigeon, perhaps?
And it feels like summer! The sun has that certain “I’m serious about heat” feeling, and walking half a block reminds me that it really *is* different here, in the South …it’s hotter than I’m used to!


Monday, May 14, 2007


I was thinking the other day about different sodas I really liked, which are no longer available, or which I just can’t find. Foremost on the list was one made in my home town (I think) called Almond Smash. I’m not sure when they stopped making it, sometime back in the 70s, perhaps, but I loved it! It was red, and despite the almond in the name, tasted, at least to me, more like Maraschino cherries. It went beautifully with salted peanuts, and I have very fond memories of that combination, imbibed standing up at the counter, after our high school play rehearsals. We were exhausted, psyched up, and needed food, drink and wind down time. So we got a credit at the “pop stand” which sold drinks and snacky things (not candy bars) and donated the profits to the Boy Scout troop at our school. Whenever I think of Almond Smash, I think of those relaxed late (for us) evening sessions in the otherwise empty school building, with our director (also our librarian) our prompter (one of my favorite teachers) and the cast, cutting up, and thoroughly enjoying our treats. Somehow, it always felt just the slightest bit illicit, though it wasn’t, in the least. I wish someone would find, then buy that formula, and start production again, just so I can have an Almond Smash!

I am currently ISO a really *good* cream soda, too. Again, something I love, and I think they might still be around …but since neither Coke nor Pepsi have the good sense to produce one, I have to really *hunt*.

Old treats bring to mind …old music (well, not exactly *old*, but certainly from a different era. I happen to thoroughly enjoy Big Band music …Glenn Miller, Woody Herman, and all the other “orchestras” that held firm sway during the 40s. My stepfather had some lovely 78 records, which is how I, as a little girl, got to know and appreciate Glenn Miller and others. I’m delighted to find that music services such as Rhapsody (love that service!) have them available, too, because I would hate to think that such music would fade away completely. Every time I hear music like that, I can’t help but think of some of the old movies I saw as a child, (especially the black and white WWII movies that were so popular on late night TV during the 60s), and one New Year’s Eve, when I was allowed, perhaps for the first time, to sit up until the ball dropped in Times Square. While waiting, and afterward, too, they showed several parties at some of the fine restaurants and clubs …and they seemed *so* elegant, to me in my pajamas! I *so* wanted to be one of the beautiful ladies all dressed up in long gowns and long evening gloves, dancing to Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians. Sorry, but modern clubs, with their light shows, loud music and barely dressed patrons just don’t have the same cache with me.


Saturday, May 12, 2007


I’ve been very lax. I had intended to write something each day …and got distracted, so will try again, with a jumble of things that have interested or impressed me over the last week or so.

First, I was coming home from work one day, and to my amazement, heard a mockingbird! In the city! In Atlanta! I stopped still in my tracks, right there beside the trash dumpster near my apartment building, and listened avidly, with a huge smile on my face. The irony of standing there, next to the trash, and hearing that wonderful, exuberant song didn’t escape me, but, when I lived in Northern VA, mockingbirds were a part of each year’s Spring, and a welcome, wonderful part. Too. Sometimes one would even awaken me around 2 or 3 in the morning, bless his heart (most of the songsters in the bird world are male, if not all of them), and, despite the interrupted sleep, the need to get up early the next day and all that, I would lie there, smiling, reveling in that fluid glory.

I *never* hear bird song here, so this was one of those tiny miracles which give me hope that the Universe isn’t an unfailingly unfriendly place, after all. Sometimes one finds a mockingbird in the center of a big city, and sometimes, he sings!

I’ve discovered a new and wonderful mailing list! Now …I blush to admit this, but, I am an email list junkie. The lists have to be on subjects that interest me, and I don’t read every post on every list, in fact, I use most of my recipe lists like a ready reference (and yes, I have lots of recipe sites bookmarked, too). This means that I really do know what I like, and, usually, I’ll stay on a list for a while, and if it doesn’t suit, I quietly, and without comment, leave. Well! It so happens that I love sea stories, and have read and loved the Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin series (20 books in all), from which Master and Commander was taken and made into a movie. That is a movie I’ve never seen, but will be amending *that* lack also, fairly soon, I think. At any rate, a friend from yet another list, this one on the life and times of Mary Stuart, recommended the Gunroom to me. I joined, I read, I laughed, I even got misty eyed once …and dumped the whole idea of a “getting to know you before I start participating” policy I’ve developed. It’s absolutely wonderful; with well-written, intelligent, thoughtful, funny ladies and gentlemen who have wide ranging interests, an amazing depth of knowledge on an astounding array of subjects, and can disagree courteously! Topics range widely, though the Aubrey/Maturin series is the pole star for the list, and we always come back to it, or touch it as we pass. True, it’s a *very* chatty list …we can generate 100 posts a day, and often do...but what posts!

Finally, happy Mother’s Day to all mothers …of children, pets, plants, books, or anything else! I hope someone pampers you a bit tomorrow, and I hope someone tells you that you are dearly loved. Just in case there is no one to do that,

I love you!


Monday, April 30, 2007


We mammals speak in many ways, and, sometimes I think what we say with voice or pen are only the tip of the communication iceberg. Most people think of body language as the movements of face, arms, hands and the entire body …and it is, at least for most of you. I’ve had to study that some, not because it does me any good as a reader, but because I need to know what I am communicating.

Of far more importance to me are things like tone of voice (it is *extremely* hard to hide much from someone who knows how to listen, because the voice carries its emotional undercurrent, which can support or contradict what someone is saying, mostly without their knowledge. Trained actors and other trained speakers can hide their true feelings or project things they don’t feel, but they have to be “on stage”, so to speak.

Laughter is another give away to what’s really going on inside someone’s head. Have you ever considered the many kinds of laughter there are? There is the nervous giggle that says “I’m really uncomfortable, maybe a little scared, so I don’t know what I should be saying right now”. There is the sarcastic laugh that says, “I’m better than you are, and we both know it” (um hum). There is the “pretend” laugh that says “This is *not* funny, but you expect me to laugh, so I will”. There is angry laughter, lascivious laughter, and hysterical laughter, which always has a background of tears, just below the surface. There is the laugh that says “I don’t believe a word you are saying” and the one that says “I don’t understand a word you are saying”. Best of all, though, is the laughter that springs from true joy, and *that* is an outpouring of love!

But consider …we humans aren’t the only non verbal communicators! Listen to the different purrs of cats, like the frightened purr, the nervous purr, or the “Come here, kittens” purr of a mama cat. The best, of course, is the contented soft buzz of a lap cat, all curled up and comfy in my lap. She’s enjoying the stroking, feels safe, is in the process of falling asleep, with a full tummy, and no cares in the world.

Watch a cat’s tail, too! She can tell you if she’s about to beat the stuffings out of something, wants to play, is itching for a fight, or strut her glorious stuff!

Dogs have their non verbal language, too, but I don’t speak much dog …so I can’t really comment on that!

Someone, (I forget who) told me long ago and yes this is a cliché, but …”talking is only 1/3 of the communication process. Listening carefully and attentively is the 2nd third, and observing closely is the 3rd third. How often, in my desire to get my point across do I forget 2/3 of the process of communicating and how very sad that is.

I read on a blog today (I don’t know how to post the link to it, but it’s called Flotsam and Jetsam” that Eastern Market in Washington, D.C. burned down yesterday. That is very, *very* sad, and I fervently hope it will be rebuilt! It was a wonderful place, on many, many levels!


Thursday, April 26, 2007


I love it when a customer brings me a creative problem …especially when I get to do something neat in the process of solving it.

A customer came in today, wanting a pink and blue balloon to use as a thank you for her March of Dimes project. Apparently, her group was celebrating the end of the campaign, and many of the children (well, some, anyway) who benefited, and, I assume, participated, were going to be there. Well, I didn’t have any pink balloons (between orders), but we really wanted little boy and little girl colors. She decided to get just one balloon, so I fixed her dilemma by doing a blue balloon (the poster child was a boy), with a darker blue ribbon, and tied with a pink star weight. Problem solved, and one absolutely delighted customer, and one warm and fuzzy shopkeeper!

I needed that, too …today was a paper work day, which always suck, because I love what I do, but detest the paper work involved. However, it’s done and ready to mail on my way home from work tomorrow, so all things come to an end.

Special thanks to my ‘Zebos (you know who you are!) for your support! Right now, it’s more helpful and encouraging than you could possibly guess!


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I just finished reading LA Dead by Stewart Woods, and I enjoyed it. I’m about to start McNally’s Dare by Victor Sardo …and expect to enjoy that, also. One of the things I will enjoy is that, once again, I get to read about a character that continues from book to book. This means that there will be 2 story lines. The first, of course will be the mystery, but the 2nd will be the development of the main characters, their lives and interactions and such. I like this combination. If one keeps up with books about these characters, they take on depth and texture (if the author knows his/her stuff), and getting to know them is as much fun is watching them solve the mystery and deal with the villains (or have them dealt with, usually by law enforcement).

It seems that these continuing characters are a feature of “genre” fiction (I hate that term, but that’s a rant for another day). Sometimes it doesn’t work, because sloppy authors don’t keep track of what happens to the character, or when it happens, or because the author doesn’t balance plot development in the main story with character development. But when it works (and mostly, I’ve found that it does), it’s one of the joys of good “escape” fiction. I think all fiction is escape fiction, if it’s good enough, because it picks you up out of your day, good or bad, and drops you down in another place, time, and set of problems.

And …Eleanora’s proverb for the day …

She, who wears new, cheap shoes to work and has to stand up and walk a lot, will suffer for hours after she gets home!

Now...to find some pretties to give visual interest to this little endeavor!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

One of the measures I have always used to determine my level of acceptance in a group of sighted friends or associates is whether or not they will tease me or play little, harmless but funny tricks. I’m not talking about the sometimes snide, condescending remarks labeled “humor” and intended to belittle and hurt. I know all about those, but that’s a discussion for another time. I’m talking about things that are actually funny, and presented in good fun, equal to equal, not sighted superior to blind inferior. I delight in them, because they acknowledge my blindness *and* the fact that it is accepted as part (and not the most important part) of me. It also says something, I think, about the way I handle it, and acknowledges my own comfort level with my condition.

All this to introduce an incident that happened today at the shop...that still brings a grin, despite the fact that I’m exhausted. I have a motion sensor. It’s portable, which means I can put it where I need it to be, and I use it when stocking for running back and forth between the shop and the store room across the hall. If I have my head (and usually my upper body) inside a large cooler, all I hear is compressor noise, so I don’t know if someone has come in. Well, this little thing has a tone that sounds like the doorbell from hell …and it’s *loud*! Today, one of my customers picked it up, and followed me with it …wanting to see if I could tell it was moving. I could of course …but when I first heard it, I half turned, and must have had a fairly classic WTF look on my face, because the whole place burst into laughter, including me.

A very small thing …but it warmed my heart (and I’ll get him back, one of these days, just because I’m as mischievous as he is, and I owe him one!). Yes, I’m still laughing, just a bit.

On another front, but equally delightful, my helper left me a present! I knew about the piece of home baked pound cake …but I did *not* know about the sweet potato pie! And she baked it herself. I have, it would seem, birthday cake *and* birthday pie, too! Another customer and I had been talking about snowballs …you know, those sugar filled, definitely junk food, absolutely non-nutritious, chemical laden “cakes” that have cream filled cake, topped with marshmallow fluff and shredded coconut? Yeah, those! Well, she brought me 2 of them! And you know what? I enjoyed every bite, too! It might clog my arteries and lie dormant in my tummy, with a half life of 200 years …but I don’t care. Certainly, I wouldn’t want one every day …but every once in a long while, a lady just *needs* cream filling, wrapped in chocolate cake, wrapped in a layer of fluff, and covered with pink coconut!

Now …to figure out how other bloggers get pretty backgrounds, neat fonts, and all that good stuff!