Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pieper has Company


And boy, what a pain in the butt that is -- according to Pie. The picture is of Charlie, our house guest -- my mom's cat - 17 year old Maine Coon. Steve is taking care of him and for the most part, things are calm. But the past few days, Charlie and Pie have actually passed within three feet of each other and fur has flown...Pie's tail gets the size of a shunks when she's scared! Funny stuff.


Mom continues to improve and we hope she will be going home early next week. She's had a rough month, but has come through with flying colors, actually better than she has been for a long time...almost 91 and counting!


It is snowing here today...14 or so inches due over the next 24 hours. Of course, I have been on vacation for a week, due back tonight...figures it would snow like heck!


PIEPER'S PET HINT OF THE WEEK:


Remember, Halloween is this weekend. Be sure to protect your pets - bring them in and put them in a quiet room. Don't take the chance they will run out the door to join the fun! Also, be sure that any candy, especially chocolate, is kept out of reach...that delicacy could actually kill your pet or at the very least make them extremely ill.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

JUST A NOTE FROM PIEPER


Hi everyone...just wanted you to know that my mommy's mommy is in the hospital, so mom hasn't been able to write anything to you. So, I'm filling in just to let you know that we will be back soon, with helpful Holiday hints to keep your pets safe!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

PET CARE EDUCATION

Hey, guys! I just found this great blog called "Pet Care Education." You can find them here - be sure to check them out. They have some great information for cat owners and Pieper is even learning something about her relatives!

Thanks to Greendog for inviting us to join in the fun!

Hope everyone has a great day. Pieper and I are off to work on the new website!

Monday, September 21, 2009

SNOW IN THE HIGH COUNTRY?

Woke up this morning, freezing. 50 degrees and rainy. Well, I fell asleep with the window open, which could explain it. Snowflakes reported just down the road a bit. Snow above 8,000 feet tonight. Winter is just around the corner...brrrr....and I LOVE winter...or used to until it got harder to move around! We'll either have a hard winter or none at all, as far as snow is concerned. You just never know.

So, Pieper and I are going to cook a turkey (her favorite) and work on her website, which has been officially named "Catnip-Capers." We are really excited about it and hope to get it published soon. There's so much information we want to include and we're meeting some nice people.

UPDATE ON PIEPER'S VET VISIT: After not being to the vet for more time than should have been, Pie had a few teeth extracted and was given a more palatable food. She's an old-lady now (I'm ducking, as a pencil just whizzed by my head - LOL) at 13 and can no longer tolerate the brand she was eating. She has NOT vomited ONCE in six weeks, so we know this is working! Her coat is so shiny and full and she's calmer than we've ever seen her. AND, she looks like she's put a little weight on her seven pound frame!

Ya'll have a great day and we'll be back soon!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

PIEPER ERIN - THE AUTHOR

Howdy folks...I've been pretty busy editing mom's material...she works so hard, you know, that every way I can help her, I do...like last night...I "quietly" walked over her about five times. I wait until I hear her breathing slow and become regular. Then, I delicately jump from one side of her to the other...oh, but I have to take a step in between cause I'm not as limber as I once was. He he.

Anyway, check out her two new articles at E-How. And have a safe weekend!
http://www.ehow.com/members/piepererin-articles.html


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

PieperErin the Author

Pieper here...well, it was bound to happen. Mom has decided to take all that extra time (yeah, right) and start her article writing career at E-HOW! Her first article, "How to Care for Your Aging Cat" is now pending approval. I'm sure she wasn't talking about 13-year-old moi!

Anyway, wait a few and then jaunt on over (or whatever it is you humans do to hurry) to E-How and look up Mom: PieperErin.

Oh, and I allowed her to use my name as her pen name...after all, I do most of the writing in this family anyway...he he...

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Thought I Was Going to Die!


Hi, there, Pieper here again...mommy is doing laundry, so I'm gonna tell you my tail of terror! Okay, so maybe I'm being somewhat of a drama princess, but really!

I had to go to the vet! I hate leaving my house! I hate my carrier! And at the moment, I wasn't too happy with mommy either! Why?

She left me overnight! Can you imagine? They did bloodwork in the afternoon and then some big machine came down on my little body and made this really weird sound -- the nurse was wearing an apron...I thought it was so I wouldn't scratch her...later I found out it was so they could look at my innards - x-rays I think I overheard Denise say (that was the nurse's name).

Then I got to stay in a nice, cozy little cubicle and watch all the other animals parade by...I really had to laugh at that big old German Shepherd - shaking like a leaf! So cool! Anyway, I digress.

The next morning, Denise came and got me again...I didn't really feel anything for quite a while, but boy! when I woke up my jaw was numb! And my tongue and my tonsils. Unbelievable! The room was spinning a little, so I closed my eyes. Next thing you know, my mommy was there to pick me up.

As soon as we got home, my jaw started tingling and felt really strange...I pawed at it and pawed at it. Finally, after about fifteen minutes I could feel my jaw again and guess what? I was missing two teefers!

Well, I am healed now and happy to be home. So, even thought I don't want to repeat that episode anytime soon, I am glad to be healthy and vibrant - at 13 years, you just can't beat it!

Ut oh...here comes mom...she'll get after me if she sees me on the computer again...the vet said the most interesting thing to her: "Mom, your cat appears to have carpal tunnel...very unusual in a cat...does she play the piano?" I just chuckled.

Friday, August 14, 2009

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL???


PIEPER'S QUOTE OF THE DAY: "A dog is a man's best friend. A cat is a cat's best friend." (Robert J. Vogel)

While our Rockies are doing fabulous, I'm actually having a little trouble (for a change) getting into the mood for football! Tonight is our first game, new coach, new era and I should be excited, but...rather blah.

Pieper, the silly little girl, is resting up so she can watch tonight. She has a vet appointment on Monday and I'm sure she'll just have lots to tell you then about her indignities!

I survived the latest layoffs, but the rest of the year is going to be tough as the "business model" will be changing, probably on a day-to-day basis; new hours, new days, new shifts...

In the meantime, I am studying at the Wealthy Affiliate University, learning to be a productive, successful affiliate marketer. The first eight-week course is an eye-opener, lots of work, but a focus that I enjoy, especially given the economic circumstances surrounding our country and my employer.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Pieper will be back next week to tell you about her vet visits and some of the interesting pet facts I'm sure she'll learn.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

PIEPER, the Senior Cat - Pffffttttt!




“Whatever poet, orator, or sage may say of it, old age is still old age.” Sinclair Lewis

Hi friends, Pieper here. Mom is in the laundry room, so I thought I’d sit my fuzzy bottom right here at the computer and tell you what happened to me!

The vet called me a SENIOR CAT!!! And worse yet, Mom agreed with her!!! I’ve rarely been this insulted, let me tell you!

I’m a proud 13 and one-half years old, almost to the day (supposedly 68 in human years). Sure, I sleep a lot, but my baby cat manual said that was what we cats do 90 percent of the time anyway! Why should I change now??? Pfffttt…

The vet actually gave her a book about “Celebrating Seniors!” This happy flap book told Mom that the most common senior diseases in animals (dogs AND cats) were:

Dental problems
Liver disease
Kidney disease
Heart and lung disease
Joint problems
Endocrine system problems (like diabetes)
Cancer
Ocular (eyes to you, and what the heck, we use them twice as much as humans – better at night even! Pfffttt!
Gastrointestinal

Great, so NOW I have to go back in and have a total workup: baseline blood work (I don’t think I like the thought of THAT much, unless the vet is going to squeeze it out of my toenail or something), identify existing health problems by doing x-rays, hormone testing, and EEG of my heart (and I have no problems with any of these now, but just these tests are enough to assure that I DO have one), and then monitoring me so that means even MORE visits to the vet! Oh, joy, oh, joy!

Okay, that’s it for today. I’m so depressed, I think I’ll go eat a sardine or something, have a clump of catnip and then sleep it off. Mom’s on her way back to the office and we sure don’t want her to know that I type or else she’ll want to test for carpal tunnel syndrome!

Monday, August 3, 2009

On Little Cat's Feet??


Feline Metaphors Notwithstanding by Bridget Collins
Published in CATS Magazine, January 1993



The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems (1916) “Fog” US Biographer and Poet (1978-1967)

I could not resist this story. Anyone with felines will definitely know what Ms. Collins is talking about in this story:

***Carl Sandburg wrote about a fog that crept into a city on “little cat’s feet.” If that fog had crept in on my cats’ feet, a panicked populace would have fled their beds, screaming, “Earthquake! Armageddon! The end has come!”

My cats do not creep or slither. They do not glide noiselessly or steal furtively. My cats gallop. Sometimes, they clomp. No brave, clever mouse need ever gird his courage to bell my cats. It would be wasted valor. The ringing of the bell would be lost to the thrum-thrum-thrum of the vibrating floorboards. In my house, “cat-like” and “elephantine” are synonyms.

Are you imaging that these two cats must be huge, lumbering beasts? If so, you are half right. They do lumber, but they are definitely not huge. Seeing them at rest, you might even describe them as slight.

Their mother was a dainty Siamese. Their father was an unknown, errant tom, whom I suspect carried either a Clydesdale gene or a primordial allele hailing back to the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

They were kittens when I named them. I never expected that the years would prove me a sardonic poet. I called the female Isadora, after renowned danseuse Isadora Duncan, because she was lithe and loved to frolic. The irony is that, if a dancer were to move with my Isadora’s grace, critics would applaud her mastery of slapstick and mourn with her the passing of vaudeville.

The male, who is coal black and all but invisible in the night, I named Shadow. In a darkened room, he is undetectable, unless of course, he moves. A cat burglary with Shadow’s talent for stealth would be well-advised to cultivate a palate for prison food.

When my cats walk across a table, the dishes quake. When they jump from a bookshelf, they land with a thud. When they run across the living room floor, each footfall is audible from the back bedroom. I have examined their paws, and found there no traces of jackboot or football cleat. They are both house cats, and so do not sport even a respectable callous. I cannot explain how they manage on padded paws to produce sounds one might expect from a shod mule. I suppose it will remain a mystery. For the time being, I will continue to live with the catcophany, and to laugh out loud every time I hear feline metaphors that liken the movement of cats to a silent, sinewy ballet.***

What else is there to say?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pieper Goes to School

Well, I've finally had it. Enough of waiting for the City to make up their minds whether they want me to stay or not. If I stay, I want to retire in five years and with the economics and the money I'll be getting from my 401K, it's not encouraging.

So, I got this idea from the new Bonanzle affiliate program. Years ago, I dabbled in affiliate marketing, but never had any training. You know, I bought one of those get-rich-quick volumes for $97, learned bits here and there and of course, lost money, and hope.

Yesterday I joined an affiliate university - it's called Wealthy Affiliate University and I am overwhelmed with information at this point, but thrilled with the education provided. If you're interested, you can visit my website at:

http://www.downsizingproofzone.com

And, Pieper says hello...she's been sleeping a lot...missed the visit by her little squirrel friend who came to the window looking for her.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pieper in Oz

Hi, Pieper here...it's been awhile since either Mom or I have been here and we apologize. There has been a LOT going on in Pieperland. Here's a short recap:

Monday, July 20 - Tornado in our town, almost unheard of. Instead of cowering under the bed, as I usually do when strangers are in the house, I was in Mom's arms, on her lap and generally following her from window to window to figure out what was going on...I figured the safest place to be was with my Mom.

I was right, of course...trees came down, narrowly missing Mom's car, trees uprooted, fences defeated, but I was safe with Mom! We had no power for almost TWO DAYS - no air, no lights, nothing...what else was there to do but listen to the ballgame by battery-operated radio and snuggle up with Mom?

Then on Wednesday, July 22, Mom goes back to work only to learn that 5 people out of their 14 person department are being laid off, plus one supervisor! We'll know in a week or so if we're going to eat again...no laughing matter, of course...Mom has been at the City for seven plus years and is excellent at her job, but some things you just can't take for granted.

So, that's our week in a nutshell. We'll be back in a few, with more news about what is happening at Bonanzle, our marketplace, with information about a new affiliate and syndicated seller program they have just added.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

BAD HAIR DAY


Hi! Pieper here...mom is ironing something, so I thought I'd just write a thought I had...the bathtub...something we can talk about later, but for now, I think the thing I hate most about an actual bath (as if!) is not the bath, but the fact that I have to spend a good part of the rest of the day putting my hair back in place!

Here she comes...gotta run!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

STUPID QUESTIONS


Have you ever really thought about those stupid questions that people ask in what would ordinarily be considered an abnormal situation? For example, you may be in the middle of the reception area at the doctor's office on your hands and knees, nose pushed to the floor -- invariably, some smart-elbow comes in and says, "Are you looking for something?" You take a deep breath, look back at the floor, and then brightly say, "Well, no, actually. I just ran out of tissues and I'm wiping my nose on the carpet."

Or how about the time you were sitting in a meeting and spilled hot, hot coffee on yourself...coffee so hot that your blouse was steaming, and someone says, "Is it hot?" Rolling your eyes, you respond, "No, those aren't blisters. I had implant surgery last weekend."

Amazing, it really is!

Monday, June 15, 2009

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Good Monday morning everyone...Pieper here again reporting on my Mom...I just love to play with the mouse when she's not around...

Mission accomplished? And just what mission was that? Well, as reported here before, Mom had been working diligently to clear up clutter in our lives, clean the house thoroughly and create a more relaxing environment. And she is DONE!!!!

Boy, I'll tell ya, I was a little nervous at first -- things flying out of this house so fast, your head would swim! I was afraid we were going to move and I hate that - moving! It's so disruptive! But once I realized this was just a reorganization, I relaxed and had some fun with it...like taking her water bottle and hiding it under the chair - she didn't find it for three days! Hilarious...she talks to herself a lot! He he...

Anyway, new curtains for me to climb (if I had front claws) - white and soft and billowy...but we are doing just fine.

And by the way, did you know that I actually smell with my mouth???? It's true! It's called the Flehmen reaction (notice how close that sounds to phlegm? LOL). I suck in pheromones through my nasal cavity to a place where cells process them. Some genius cat told me this area is known as the Jacobson organ and it's in the roof of my mouth...no wonder I hate it when peanut butter gets stuck there!

Well, that's all for today...I hear her coming back from storage. Time to curl up next to her as she starts her stitching! Wahoo! I got my relaxed and creative Mommy back.

Have a GREAT week, love, Pieper

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

PLANTING HOPE


If you planted hope today in any hopeless heart
If someone's burden was lighter because you did your part
If you caused a laugh that chased a tear away
If tonight your name is mentioned when someone kneels to pray

Then your day was well spent.


Try to plant hope wherever you go - you don't have to know the person - a smile at the grocery store - letting someone go in line ahead of you - letting someone in the lane ahead of you on the highway - there are any number of ways to reach out.

You just never know how or when your kindness will touch a heart and make someone else feel better. You may never know that you did...but God will know...and the person whose heart you touched will know...and be thankful for your kindness.

Friday, May 29, 2009

MOM KISSED HER TEE SHIRT!


Hi, Friends ... Pieper here. I just had to share this with you: My Mom kissed her black tee shirt last night! He he! I laughed until I threw up a hair ball!

See, usually I sleep on her - or in nearby proximity on her bed during the night (unless of course it's summer and then I sleep directly in front of the AC, effectively blocking anyone else from the pleasure...{insert evil feline grin here}) - anyway, I digress...

Well, when Mom makes one of her numerous trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, she sees me on the bed and leans over and kisses my head...it's real sweet and even though she interrupts my slumber, it's a nice kind of interruption, ya know? And, she's usually half-asleep, so this was an honest error on her part.

Here's what happened...I decided to sleep on the pillow next to her head; she got up to do her "sandbox" thing, saw this black shape at the end of the bed and leaned over and "SMACK" - right on the tee shirt's forehead! LOLOLOLOLOL. Seems she had left her folded shirt on the bed in error...thought it was me. I love being able to see so well in the dark because the look on her face was priceless!

And speaking of the sandbox, did you know that cat owners spend $215 million on cat food and $295 million on cat litter in one year? I've got my calculator out trying to figure how more comes out than goes in...hmmmm.

Well, I hope you all have a fabulous weekend...and don't tell Mom I told on her!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

LIVING BY THE RULES



Well, Pieper and I have been busy this month, cleaning, renovating our lives and keeping busy at it. But we wanted to share something with you from a friend of ours on Bonanzle - Ziggy Zool. For some reason, this wonderful lady has been so kind to us, not really knowing us - I mean consistent nice and for no apparent reason! One day, I decided to visit her profile at her Bonanzle booth and this is what I found:

FROM ZIGGY ZOOL'S PROFILE ON BONANZLE:

Put on your 'big girl' panties and deal with it... that's life in a nutshell. I'm Zig and I've been an online seller for a lot of years. Customer service as a seller is my number one priority... my motto is nothing more than the golden rule... Treat every living being with respect. Live Simply. Love Generously. Care Deeply. Speak Kindly. Work Hard. Have Fun. No Drama.

*Rules for Being Human*

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.

2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called LIFE. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant or stupid. It makes no difference, you will learn lessons.

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works".

4. A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.

5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

6. "There" is no better than "here". When your "there" has become a "here" you will simply obtain another "there" that will again, look better than "here".

7. Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

8. What you make of life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources that you need. What you do with them is up to you. The Choice is YOURS.

9. The answers to life’s questions lie inside of you. All you need to do is look, listen and trust.

10. You will get what you ask for. It may not be what you wanted...but it will be what you asked for.

~ Unknown Author


This touched me so much...I hope it touches you as well and inspires you to be all that you can be.

PS: The picture on the left is from Ziggy's booth and is from Geobel's 1982 Seashore Collection and the one of the right is from her husband's booth, Masonic Treasures at Bonanzle, a 2008 Masonic Hand Stamped Penny Tie Tack.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

NEW DIRECTION - AWAY FROM OVERWHELMED



Okay, today my life takes a new direction...I spoke to Pieper about it and we decided that I don't relax enough...unlike her who just loves to lay on her back with her little paws stretched up to the air (nap style - The Blob, Prone), showing everything she has to whoever is interested enough to look! She's such a princess, she thinks we all care, but hey, whatever keeps her little meowy mouth shut works for me!

The Rooster tray pictured above is just one of the new items we have added to our Bonanzle booth. And this tray is one of the reasons for changing our direction, in a roundabout sort of way (I found it at a store sale, fell in love with it and just knew there were lots of beautiful, unique things out there just waiting for me to discover). Because Pie and I originally thought we would hone in on only homemade items, we have been spending every free minute creating, sewing and crafting items for our booth. Now, while Pieper lounges at home basking in her window seat, I work a forty-hour, four-day work week outside our home. The other three days, I sewed, crafted and generally made a mess of my small apartment; hence, the overwhelmed status of recent weeks.

Yesterday, I made a decision to spend more time loving my kitty, taking care of me and taking care of my house. I won't neglect my Bonanzle booth or my family there - it is my home away from home. But, I am going to redo my living area to be less work-related and more relax-oriented. I figure it will take most of the summer (and I'm NOT joking). But surprisingly enough, I am looking forward to washing walls! (I can't believe I just said that!), changing up pictures, maybe sewing a new table cover or making new pillows for the sofa, and occasionally sitting down and working on a cute counted-cross stitch picture I picked up of (what else) a pair of kittens in a knitting basket! Not the 18 x 24 inch counted cross stitch on tiny little squares that I would usually go for, but a small, finished in a summer, relaxing little cat picture!

Well, I feel better already! But, as usual, Pieper has something to say about what I wrote today. She is taking exception to my comment about her nap style. Here's what she had to say about that: "As a consequence of being handfed, my raison de'etre has for the most part been removed now that my prey comes pre-killed in a Whiskas can. As a consequence my alertness is less required and I am able to both conserve my resources AND remain decorative, a uniquely feline feat!"

Friday, April 24, 2009

OVERWHELMED

It was all I could do today to drag myself to the computer. I miss reaching out to everyone, but it's been a particularly trying week for several reasons. Well, I am pulling myself up by my bootstraps (whatever THEY are ... LOL) and moving into a brighter place. So, of course, what else can make me happy but kitties - every color, shape and attitude.

Pieper has recently been reading a book called The Cat's Manual, aka the cat's eye view to the human world, and she shared some very interesting facts with me today. Did you know that, according to the cat author of this book, it's bad luck to cross a stream with a cat in your arms?

This inane French proverb is not too hard to understand. You might as well say it's bad luck to light a match in a firework factory. Anyone with a modicum of smarts knows that nearly all cats hate water. (There are exceptions, but we don't talk about that side of the family.) Therefore, if you are foolish enough to try to carry a cat across a large body of the stuff, you'd better be prepared for some serious lacerations (my thoughts exactly). The cat would obviously be concerned that the human, whom most of us cats consider clumsy at best, would drop us, and really, don't most all of us prefer our water measured into bowls?

I have talked with Pie at length about why this water thing is such an issue? She has no problem lounging anywhere in the house, on her back with her four little paws stretched up in the air, unafraid that we will trounce on her by mistake...she doesn't mind sleeping right at my back, never giving a thought to the fact I could crush her if I turned over...or laying half on/half off the windowsill, apparently unafraid of falling several feet if she turns over in her sleep...but mention water to her and she turns into a ballistic little hairball with claws that could well ... scratch your eyes out.

Little good it does me to talk to her...she smirks at me through one half opened eye, stretches, rolls over with her back to me, and gets on with her lazy little life...such a princess...what would I do without her?

Monday, April 13, 2009

NICK ADENHART - August 24, 1986 to April 9, 2009

On Wednesday night, April 8, 2009, Nick Adenhart debuted as the starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels in the 2009 Major League Baseball season, throwing six shutout innings. Nick was 22-years old. His father flew into LA for the game; they spoke about it after. Nick was “living his dream” after overcoming serious Tommy John surgery at a very early age, but going on to grow up in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm team system, finally debuting in 2008, and pitching the first game of the 2009 season.

A few short hours later, Nick Adenhart was critically injured in a hit and run accident. Two of his friends in the car, Courtney Stewart, 20, and Henry Pearson, 25, died at the scene. Nick died in surgery hours later. Another friend, Jon Wilhite, 24, survived and was hospitalized, but on Sunday his condition was upgraded from critical to serious, while remaining in ICU. Hopefully, his physical recovery will progress.

I didn’t know Nick Adenhart. I didn’t know his friends; I didn’t know his parents. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of him since, although I enjoy baseball, I was not an Angel’s fan. I didn’t live close enough to be one.

I didn’t know the person who murdered those three young people. That 22-year-old driver ran from the scene, was later apprehended, found with alcohol three times the legal limit in his body, and was driving on a suspended license after conviction on another DUI charge. He went through an intersection against the signal. Since he ran from the scene, I can only assume that he was conscious enough to know that he killed three people and critically injured another. I hope he remembers. I hope he suffers. But probably, numbed up by alcohol, he will be able to “forget” or “not remember.” He is being charged with, among other things, three charges of murder. Well deserved, but sadly, another young life ruined.

Not everyone who is the victim of a drunk driver is a “celebrity” or “sports figure.” And while Adenhart was known by more than some, he is still a victim, one among many. His story made the national news – millions more of these tragedies don’t and the stories are only known by those left behind - parents, siblings, extended family and friends. The pain, the suffering, the endless torment of “Why did this happen to them? What was that person who hit them thinking?”

Accidents such as these illustrate the useless waste of lives by people who insist on driving drunk! I have a hard time talking about this subject because I so vehemently oppose the concept of drinking and driving…yes, I understand that alcohol lowers your ability to reason…but hasn’t anyone who has driven drunk ever planned ahead? Rides to and from the bar, designated drivers, the bus, a cab? (Yes, I know that many do and I am not talking about responsible drinkers.)

I guess the only way to attempt to protect yourself from people who insist on endangering your life by driving drunk is to follow something my father taught me at a very early age: defensive driving.

Dad taught me to never enter an intersection without looking both ways (even if you have the “right-of-way”) – this need not slow you down all that much, although some drivers behind you will get annoyed. Too bad, it’s your life you are protecting and perhaps theirs as well. And never assume that the other driver sees you, or knows what you are going to do. When in doubt, slow down until one or both of you is aware of the other and understands what the other is doing.

People don’t have to be drunk to make bad decisions. We all do from time to time. We’re tired, we’re late, we’re stressed … we’ve all done it. But this isn’t about those people. It’s about the victims of irresponsible, drunk drivers.

May Nick and his friends who are gone rest in peace. May God bless their families and friends and fill up the spaces that are left with the comfort of His love. May God heal the hurting hearts of all those who are left behind by tragic circumstances such as these. Whether we knew the victims or not, we feel the pain. I know I do…deeply.

Monday, April 6, 2009

UNIQUE STAINED GLASS


After a winter of careful spending, I decided to cheer up my home a little for Spring. Since I work nights and get home at 3:00 a.m., my family leaves one of the kitchen lights on for me. I hate to think what that costs me energy-wise, but it is comforting.

I love to peruse the Hand-Picked Lists at Bonanzle and found this adorable Ladybug Night Light on one of the lists and decided to order it! It comes from Unique Stained Glass and the items there are all handcrafted. She has a wonderful selection from birds,cats, insects and flowers, to unique items like the 3-D Eyeglass Holder pictured on the right!

You will find Lyn's workmanship impeccable and her customer service is extraordinary. My little Ladybug arrived in a few short days, so well packed the delivery truck could have run over it and it STILL would have arrived intact.

If you are looking for a unique, affordable, handcrafted item for Mother's Day, Graduation, Father's Day or another special occasion, please visit Unique Stained Glass at Bonanzle! It will be a wonderful experience!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SANDYPAWS - BEACH CAT RESCUE



Last month, Pieper talked about Sandypaws and her friends at the Beach Cat Rescue. These pictures are from Sandypaws' booth. You can donate to neuter a cat, feed a bunch of cats, or buy one of the beautiful items that Sandypaws makes to benefit the cats.

Beach Cat Rescue is a NJ Non Profit Corporation with 501c3 pending! Their rescue was created to address the needs of abandoned stray and feral cats in our community. They are a small home based rescue that focuses on the rehabilitation and adoption of abandoned, homeless and stray cats and kittens. All of the proceeds from Sandypaws and Willow Blue, their other booth at Bonanzle, are to support the cats and their needs.

So much energy and love goes into the beautiful handmade creations fashioned by Renee and sold on Bonanzle. Pieper and I hope that you will visit either Sandypaws or Willow Blue and perhaps help a cat or two. It was a hard winter on the beach; summer may be coming, but with it comes a whole new set of challenges. We thank you for looking and loving these little critters in your heart.

CAT FACTS: Did you know that cats smell with their mouths? It's true! It's called the Flehmen reaction. The cat sucks in pheromones through the nasal cavity to an area of cells that specializes in processing them. This area is known as Jacobson's organ and lies in the roof of the cat's mouth...And here I thought Pie's mouth was always open because she was just so in awe of me!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A CLEAN CAT IS A HAPPY CAT



A clean cat is a happy cat...a clean cat's owner...maybe not!

No matter how good Pieper is at cleaning herself, she always has something to share with me later...also known as "the hairball!"

It's a good thing that cats don't normally need baths (although I've heard there are some who love them) because Pieper would NOT be a clean kitty...but generally kitties clean themselves quite well with their rough tongues. They spend about 30 percent of their time grooming themselves (how is that possible when they sleep 90 percent of the time?).

Nevertheless, all cats benefit from regular grooming. Longhaired cats should be brushed once a day, shorthairs, once a week. Pie loves to hold onto the brush and just rub the sides of her face against the bristles. She fairly purrs doing it...all she needs me for is to hold the brush! I tried putting velcro on the wall at about her level, but no, she likes me holding the brush better!

Anyway, supposedly having us groom them lessens the chances of them swallowing too much fur and leaving us gifts...LOL.

PIEPER'S PLACE NOW MAKES CUSTOM BOOKMARKS

Need a special gift? How about a set of five bookmarks, personalized with pictures of a cat (or dog) you love, check out Pieper's Place booth at Bonanzle to see bookmarks like the ones pictured above. You simply e-mail me your favorite pictures. Pieper and I will fit them to bookmarks, add sayings, and put them in heavy-duty plastic covers with coordinated ribbons in the top. The price is $10.00 for five personalized bookmarks! Don't forget Mother's Day! Easter! Or that Special Birthday!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

BRAINSTORMING BONANZLE

BRAINSTORMING BONANZLE – MONDAY MARCH 16, 2009

Bonanzle booth owners and other interested parties gathered last night at the Brainstorming Bonanzle podcast, hosted by auctionwally and attheboutique. We meet every Monday night at www.talkshoe.com at 8:00 p.m. EST for a two hour community discussion; on alternating weeks, we have special guests – either Bonanzle booth owners or others in the ecommerce business world.

Last night, we were delighted to welcome John (ColderICE.com) Lawson, the CEO of 3rd Power Outlet and a Platinum PowerSeller on eBay. John spoke to us about social media, i.e., using YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other network services to promote our businesses.

One of the more interesting facts I learned was that YouTube is actually a more popular search engine than Google! I had never thought of looking up information on YouTube…have you? I always thought YouTube was for fun stuff, like watching cats play the piano, or people falling all over themselves. I never spent much time there because I never had much time to spare! Now I find that you can search for just about anything there and find out something about it just by viewing a video that someone has made.

John named three components that we can use to network: words, voice and video (which we just mentioned). Words would be blogs, voice is chat rooms and forums.

About blogs: John said that a blog is three things – not about YOU, not about YOUR STORE, and not a MONOLOGUE. I respectfully disagree with him on this point. I think a blog is about YOU – it is a revelation into your character, your beliefs and your world view; it’s about what you care about, what means something to you; what makes you “turn on.” Is this a bad thing for potential clients to know? I don’t think so. The Internet is very impersonal and quite scary when you hear some of the things that happen there. Building a following in a blog should be about people getting to know the real you!

Another, and more important point, is that you, as an ecommerce business person, need to define what works for you. If you aren’t comfortable with a blog, but love to mess with your video camera, do YouTube videos about your products or ways to use them. If you’re scared of Twitter, have tried it and found it not to your liking, then don’t do it. If you love Facebook or MySpace and are comfortable there, then by all means use it.

I always come away from Brainstorming Bonanzle with a head buzzing with ideas; it takes a couple of days to digest everything. Open forum nights are also very productive – last week we talked about the changes on Bonanzle which enhanced our selling abilities. If you’re interested in talking, you call in and share your ideas or thoughts via phone.

For me, the bottom line is get moving – don’t just THINK forever about which direction to go – just go. If it’s not for me, then I can turn back and try something else.

“You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind.” (Thanks to my friend, Susan (Renagade), who twittered this quote this morning!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

B.U.S.Y. - BEING UNDER SATAN'S YOKE

B.U.S.Y. - Being Under Satan's Yoke...or busy but productive?

I'll tell you friends, I'm doing this blog today totally off the top of my head, from my heart, so forgive my little rant if you can.

I find it harder and harder to keep my center, to keep my eyes on the Lord, to keep my wits about me. The economy is bad, people are losing jobs and I worry about everyone. How will they survive? Can I help? What would I do if I lost my job? What if I can't pay the electric bill? What, what and what??? It is driving me crazy.

I cannot seem to find a minute to call my own, which, of course, is not true. My family is grown, I have several hours a day that are my "own" and despite the fact that my 90-year-old mother demands almost no attention, I get overwhelmed by the amount of hours that are consumed by her paperwork, doctor's appointments, taking her cat to the vet, and other minutia, as well as my own.

So, I was thinking...why am I allowing myself to be so consumed by all the stress around me? Yes, I do have an anxiety disorder, but that is managed with meds. Every day I throw away precious hours that I could be enjoying what I'm doing, whether it's the "must do's" of life, or a hobby which I consider "fun," because I am running under someone else's priorities.

And that "someone else" appears to be Satan. Now, my idea of Satan and yours may be two different things - is Satan a guy in a red suit, with horns and a pitchfork? Or, is Satan the thoughts and actions that rob the joy from your day? Perhaps both.

So, now, when I get overwhelmed and resentful of all I have to do, I stop and ask myself: "Are you B.U.S.Y (being under Satan's Yoke) or are you busy being productive. Are you enjoying what you are doing? Will you feel good when that task is done, no matter what it is?"

Life is fleeting; enjoy each day to its fullest; have joy in your life no matter what!

Have a wonderful day and thanks for letting me vent!

Monday, March 9, 2009

INSTALLING LOVE ON THE HUMAN COMPUTER

INSTALLING LOVE ON THE HUMAN COMPUTER: HOW TO INSTALL


Tech Support: Yes, how can I help you?

Customer: Well, after much consideration, I've decided to
install Love. Can you guide me through the process?

Tech Support: Yes. I can help you. Are you ready to proceed?

Customer: Well, I'm not very technical, but I think I'm ready. What do I do first?

Tech Support: The first step is to open your Heart. Have you located your Heart?

Customer: Yes, but there are several other programs running now. Is it okay to install Love while they are running?

Tech Support: What programs are running ?

Customer: Let's see, I have Past Hurt, Low Self-Esteem, Grudge and Resentment running right now.

Tech Support: No problem, Love will gradually erase Past Hurt from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory but it will no longer disrupt other programs. Love will eventually override Low Self-Esteem with a module of its own called High Self-Esteem. However,you have to completely turn off Grudge and Resentment. Those programs prevent Love from being properly installed. Can you turn those off ?

Customer: I don't know how to turn them off. Can you tell me
how?

Tech Support: With pleasure. Go to your start menu and invoke Forgiveness. Do this as many times as necessary until Grudge and Resentment have been
completely erased.

Customer: Okay, done! Love has started installing itself. Is that normal?

Tech Support: Yes, but remember that you have only the base program. You need to begin connecting to other Hearts in order to get the upgrades.

Customer: Oops! I have an error message already. It says, "Error - Program not run on external components." What should I do?

Tech Support: Don't worry. It means that the Love program is set up to run on Internal Hearts, but has not yet been run on your Heart. In non-technical terms, it simply means you have to Love yourself before
you can Love others.

Customer: So, what should I do?

Tech Support: Pull down Self-Acceptance; then click on the following files: Forgive-Self; Realize Your Worth; and Acknowledge your Limitations.

Customer: Okay, done.

Tech Support: Now, copy them to the "My Heart" directory. The system will overwrite any conflicting files and begin patching faulty programming.
Also, you need to delete Verbose Self-Criticism from all directories and empty your Recycle Bin to make sure it is completely gone and never comes back.

Customer: Got it. Hey! My heart is filling up with new files.Smile is playing on my monitor and Peace and Contentment are copying themselves all over My Heart. Is this normal?

Tech Support: Sometimes. For others it takes awhile, but eventually everything gets it at the proper time. So Love is installed and running.
One more thing before we hang up. Love is Freeware. Be sure to give it and its various modules to everyone you meet. They will in turn share it with others and return some cool modules back to you.

Customer: Thank you, God.

God/Tech Support: You're welcome, anytime.

- Anon

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

MAKE GROWING YOUR BUSINESS A HABIT

I was invited to speak about my Bonanzle business on the Monday Night podcast called Brainstorming Bonanzle, co-hosted by Auction Wally and Phaedra and was very honored to do so. This is a weekly podcast sponsored by Auction Wally at Talkshoe from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST. We have so many participating members at Bonanzle, this is a perfect forum to put our heads together, share ideas and work on ways to build or grow our businesses at Bonanzle.

After the show, each podcast is stored, both audibly and in chat room format, and maintained by another Bonanzle member, DeDe of Brightest Blessings. When you visit the Brainstorming Bonanzle site, you will an wonderful Avatar for us, done by the very talented Bonanzle member, Jamiro. I just love the orange ideas popping out of our heads!

So, I thought I'd share a few of my ideas for time management with you, dear reader. As with anything offered up by anyone on the internet or elsewhere, take what you can and make use of it, but only if it works for you! How do you know if it will work for you? Try the idea out for a few days; try it on for size; adjust or discard to your needs. Okay, so here are some of the points I think are important.

MAKE GROWING YOUR BUSINESS A HABIT

First thing everyday I
- check my regular emails for sales or inquiries that need immediate attention;
- check my Bonanzle mail for the same things;
- update my booth message DAILY! Something simple, such as "Good Tuesday morning" is sufficient;
- blog - ideas, post, research, etc.;
- check other sites I may participate in.

MAKE IT FUN

If you're not having fun doing what you're doing, then you need to consider why you are doing it. Fun doesn't necessarily mean you are chuckling all day; what I mean is that you enjoy it (whether it's listing, doing research, gleaning info from forums and other social networking sites) and that it contributes in a positive way to what you want to accomplish in your business. Hard work doesn't have to be a drag.


ORGANIZE AND PRIORITIZE

I keep ONE steno pad by my keyboard. ALL NOTES of any kind go in this notebook, including new passwords, websites, etc. Even my grocery items I may need to add to the original list. (Later in the day or when I have a moment, I can transfer the info from the steno book into the appropriate place and cross it off the list in the notebook). The idea is to keep me on track, instead of going helter-skelter, chasing links and ideas until I totally forget where I started and where I was going. In other words, STAY ON TASK! Take a break, walk around, have a cup of coffee, but go back to were you left off and keep moving on with that task.

Note the things you would like to participate in. I would like to do more RSS feeds, more SEO optimization, learn more about Twitter and decide if it's for me, use the new promotion tools available at Bonanzle (awesome things like an auto Craig Lister tool and the Google attribute tool).

I know that my time is limited and I can't possibly do everything, but I try to spend some time each day or week looking into things that might work for me.

KNOW YOUR STRONG POINTS AND WEAK POINTS

And work with them, instead of fighting them. My strengths are organization, keeping master lists of everything, and being disciplined about the time I have. My weaknesses are many, the greatest among them is HATING TO FILE PAPER! Isn't that silly? Organized but doesn't want to file? Yep, but it's a biggy for me.


DON'T COMPARE YOUR EFFORTS WITH ANYONE ELSE'S

In the beginning days at Bonanzle, this was a real problem for me. I would read about all these great people who had six booths, two or three blogs, listed in Craig's List every day, belonged to every group available to them on the net and thought if I didn't do all those things, I wouldn't be a success! To this I say, NONSENSE! It took me awhile, but I finally realized that I needed to be realistic about what I COULD do, would be interested in doing and what would help MY business. As a result, I am a happier business person.


BE REAL ABOUT WHAT TIME YOU DO HAVE EACH DAY

I try very hard not to overload myself with expectations of what I can do for the business on days when I have to take my mother to the doctor, or I have appointments, or I'm not feeling well. Which leads to my final point:


READJUST YOUR TIME SCHEDULE IF IT'S NOT WORKING

And that means on the fly if necessary! There are just some days when the neighbor decides to visit for an hour, the water main breaks, the Internet connection goes down - we could go on and on. Life happens. Feel free to reevaluate and reprioritize as needed. Don't feel guilty; don't despair. There is a reason for everything!

So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Make your business a fun habit, something you look forward to; organize and prioritize, know your strengths and weakness and let them work for you, not against you; temper your expectations with reality; and most important of all -

MAKE EVERY DAY JUST THE BEST IT CAN BE - IN EVERY ARENA OF YOUR LIFE!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CALL ME MELLOW YELLOW!

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the strain of all that is going on about us in the world today -- new government administration, lost jobs, stock market causing havoc with everyone’s retirement -- and just life in general.

I am normally a very upbeat person – confident, happy, looking to make someone smile, if only for a minute; and I am getting darn tired of letting myself be negatively impacted by all the “bad” things happening around me.

I found this article and ripped it out of a magazine at the doctor’s office (YES, I did that—it was THAT important to me to share it with more than just a few people). I hope it can help you as it helped me.

HAPPY HABITS

LAUGH. This simple act releases endorphins and makes you feel good. Laughing also invites laughter from other people – a social connection that will boost your mood, too.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. People who concentrate on what they genuinely have to feel happy about are – surprise! – happier than those who dwell on the negatives. If you’re in a bad funk, you might have to start with “I’m grateful I have legs.” Before too long, you’ll see how much you really have going for you.

SAY THANK YOU. Expressing gratitude ratchets up the happiness quotient even more. In one study, research subjects wrote a thank you letter to someone who had helped them in a significant way. Their happiness levels shot up immediately afterward and, amazingly, remained higher than normal for a month.

PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS. One measure of happiness is the ability to become absorbed by a task, and we’re most absorbed by new activities that we’re naturally good at. If your strength is social connection, find a hobby that allows you to interact meaningfully with other people. If your strength is self-expression, consider starting a blog or taking an art class.

DO GOOD. In study after study, any form of generosity – simple acts of kindness, donations or volunteer work – raised happiness levels.

Feel happier today, despite what’s going on around you. It’s what is INSIDE you that makes the difference!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

THE STIMULUS PACKAGE: PIEPER'S VIEW


"There are no ordinary cats." (Colette)

Sshhh...Mom is in the other room, sewing, I think. But I have to tell you about my Stimulus Package which arrived the other day! (Mom isn't happy when I climb up here and use her desk...I'm not allowed on the desk or her work table you know--hehe--little does she know--she can't be awake 24/7). Anyway, I digress.

Well, the stimulus package arrived at our house. Mom ordered some nice handmade pictures and a couple of books from our friend, Sandypaws, at her recent Bonanza sale at Bonanzle! (Try saying that with a mouth full of whiskers!)

Sandypaws included in the box a cellophane bag of handmade toys just for me. I was (uncharacteristically--LOL, right...) sleeping. Mom put the bag on the table, thinking I would be up before she went to work and she could give me a toy.

Well, off to work she went...I hadn't gotten up yet...but when I got up...well, I just couldn't resist investigating this package! Oh my gosh! It was wonderful! Handmade, snuggly fabric, toys just for me! You should have SEEN mom's face when she came home after work...but then she laughed and saw the new decoration scattered in every direction, in every room, and I knew all was okay. You know, there is just so much power in being just the cutest thing in the family!

Oh, and the best part? Well, for a cat anyway, was trying to crawl inside the cellophane bag to get out every last morsel of catnip! Zowie! AND, I was able to attempt to make a home out of the flat rate box the goodies came in...I just felt a tug of comradeship with all those critters (8) who live in the house and attempt to help sew and ship the goodies (but they don't have much more luck than I do)!

And speaking of cutest things, Sandypaws runs Beach Cat Rescue in New Jersey. If you would like more information about what they do, please visit their site. They are currently pending New Jersey Non-Profit status. The program is run by the family from their family finances - what a wonderful, giving way of life. The following is just a portion of what their mission is at Beach Cat Rescue:

Beach Cat Rescue is a NJ Non Profit Corporation with 501c3 pending! Our rescue was created to address the needs of abandoned stray and feral cats in our community. We are a small home based rescue that focuses on the rehabilitation and adoption of abandoned, homeless and stray cats and kittens.

Beach Cat Rescue has a very specific mission which makes us unique in our approach and our needs. You can read much information online about the humane treatment of feral cats. We at BCR agree that feral cats have very specific needs and their treatment should be much different. TNR is a wonderful triage tool for that population as well as providing shelters and daily feedings.

However, BCR would also like to address the population that lives in that grey area somewhere between housecat and feral cat! There are so many stray and abandoned cats without socialization who are not feral. We would like to help educate people as to ways they can help with this specific population! There is a very big difference between a true feral and the stray you may be seeing in your neighborhood. Please see our article entitled "The Myth and Confusion of Feral Cats" to learn more.

Thanks to Renee and her family for what they give back to our lovely cat communities!

Many of the profits (if not all) from the sales at sandypaws booth at Bonanzle, as well as Willow Blue booth at Bonanzle, go to help care for, feed, spay and neuter feral cats, as well as socialize those animals that are able to interact with humans.

Friday, February 13, 2009

IN GOD’S ARMS: Douglas Wheatlake - April 3, 1952 - February 4, 2009


“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31.

On February 4, 2009, after a seven year battle with multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer), hundreds of arduous treatments, including bone marrow transplants and stem cell treatments, Jesus came and lifted Doug upon His wings and carried him home to be with Him forever.

Doug “fought the good fight, he finished the race, and he kept the faith. Now there is in store for him the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to him…” 2 Timothy 4:7

Doug was preceded in death by his Mother, Estelle, and it’s been rumored that they are now riding a bright red motorcycle together through Heaven!

He is survived by his wife, Vickie, and two children, Patrick and Burton, his father, Burton, stepmother, Phyllis, two sisters, Linda and Chris, a brother, Don, and many nieces and nephews.

And, as God would have it, He is replacing Doug’s light on earth with a new baby, Paul, due in August, to Doug's niece, Kim, and her husband, Jake.

Doug was a special educator, a special brother, son, husband and father. He lived his life with grace and strength, just as he carried on throughout his illness, an inspiration of hope through Jesus Christ to all who crossed his path.

You will be very missed Douggie…but we know that you lived your purpose fully…that Patrick and Burton were able to grow into young men in the past seven years, and that your lessons in courage and love of the Lord will be a blessing to them in years to come.

God bless you! We will see you in the sweet bye-and-bye.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

SANDBOX LOVE


“All kittens, from the very first, set out to teach their humans to adapt to the needs of a cat. As a reward, they grant them the position of honorary cat.” (Pam Brown)

The above is a true enough statement; Pieper thinks that I am a cat and that I don’t mind sharing my “sandbox” with her. I try to sneak into the bathroom and get the door securely shut before she figures out where I’ve gone. I guess she thinks there is a secret exit from the bathroom that only I know about…and that if she isn’t in there with me, I will just disappear!

The few times I do get the door shut and leave her in the hallway, she meows, tries to turn the door handle, and runs her paws under the doorway, hoping somehow to pull or push it open. It’s quite comical, really.

What is NOT exactly comical, however, is when she does manage to get into the bathroom before me and insists on “helping Mommy” go potty. (Before my son, Steve, moved back home, we never had this problem…I simply left the bathroom door open unless I had company.) Now, however, it has become an issue between Pieper and me.

Pieper just loves to crawl up in my lap from the edge of the bathtub…and then she insists that I hold her in my arms. I have no idea why she thinks this is a safe place to be, except that she can be fairly certain I won’t be jumping up in a hurry! So, I patiently hold her, pet her, nuzzle her little head as she pushes against my chin…she drools on my hand and looks up at me with the most adoring look…how can I not be so happy?

Then, when she has absorbed just about as much “sandbox love” as she can stand, she primly jumps down from my lap and strolls over to HER sandbox, turns her back on me and does her thing. She expects privacy! Of course!

Friday, January 30, 2009

LETTER TO MY EMPLOYEES - A PERSPECTIVE

Before I publish this and get hate mail, I want to assure you that this story is not my attempt to blame any one President over the years. I do not believe this letter is about the big CEOs, who are not accountable to anyone, for anything. I do, however, hold a lot of legislators accountable for going along with a laissez-faire approach to governing. The Presidents don't do it all themselves; Congress and the House are fully as accountable as the President, perhaps more so...looking out for their special interests, the perceived "influential" people around them...instead of looking out for the people who got them where they are.

Someone posted letter "Letter to All My Valued Employees" on a Bonanzle forum and I wanted to share it here. It makes me very sad, but it is very, very true.

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.

However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.

First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You’ve seen my big home at last years Christmas party. I’m sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.

However, what you don’t see is the back story.

I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn’t have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business — hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom’s for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the Goodwill store extracting any clothing item that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70’s. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.
So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don’t. There is no “off” button for me.

When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden — the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations… You never realize the back story and the sacrifices I’ve made.
Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.

Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds.

Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:
I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here. I mean, why should you? That’s nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.
Here is what many of you don’t understand … to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.
When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don’t defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.

So where am I going with all this?

It’s quite simple.

If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child’s future. Frankly, it isn’t my problem any more.

Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

If you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about….

Signed,

Your boss

Monday, January 26, 2009

NEW CAT ITEMS ON BONANZLE



Is that call for kitty? When you are talking on the phone, does your cat suddenly become playful, overly friendly, rub against your legs or swipe at the telephone cord? Pieper climbs up on the arm of my office chair, snuggles her way under my arm, puts her little paws on the desktop, and looks adoringly up at me..."Aren't I the cutest mommy?" She then rubs her little silky head against my chin, forcing me to fall in love all over again!

The reason many cats try to interfere with their owner's telephone conversations is because they think WE are talking to THEM! So, they respond in an appropriately friendly manner. Cats have no way of understanding there is someone on the other end of the line.

Okay, I'll buy that...but what if you are just looking at the computer, clicking away on the keyboard...does she think I'm typing her an e-mail?

Okay, so the two items pictured have just been listed in my booth at BONANZLE! I've been sick with the flu/cold for the past several days, but did manage to get this done. Hope you will take a look!

We'll be back with more cat facts and fellow sellers from Bonanzle in a couple of days. In the meantime, have just the greatest day you can!

Monday, January 19, 2009

DID YOU REALLY MAKE THAT YOURSELF? HONESTY IN THE MARKETPLACE

Recently on a Bonanzle forum, I asked for opinions on homemade vs. handcrafted and what claims of “handmade” should or could be made by a seller.

The questions I posed were:

1. Should sellers refrain from claiming “handmade” if, in fact, they are actually embellishing ready-made products?
2. Do you buy handmade because you appreciate the talent and work that has gone into the product?
3. Have you ever been disappointed with a “handmade” purchase that you have made?

WHEN CAN A SELLER CLAIM HANDMADE OR HANDCRAFTED?

“Handmade” vs. “handcrafted” – is there a difference? The terms are very similar, but there is a difference. Many crafters claim their items are “handmade” when, in fact, they have been made “en masse” using machine stamped parts, sewn on with an industrial sewing machine, embossed by a mechanical press or hand-cranked machine or otherwise “embellished”. Yes, they may have “technically” been handmade, but they may still fall into a category known as “mass produced in order to make a buck.”

Handcrafted items, on the other hand, are made wholly by hand…they are cut, finished, stained, painted, punched, stitched, tooled or embossed…by hand. But wait…here’s another point…and a good one.

In today’s market, there are tons of craft items that can be bought separately and then handcrafted into new creations. You could buy a wooden plaque (instead of making one because many of us don’t have access to power tools or a place to use them), sand, paint, stain and finish the piece, apply decals, transfers, appliqu├ęs or other purchased embellishments, and it would still be considered “handcrafted” and “original”. Why? Because the seller used their imaginations and talents to create something new out of a variety of products. Is this any different that going out in your back yard, picking up a piece of wood and working on that? A little, perhaps, but as I said before, many of us do not have access to a yard, or a garage where we can work.

If, however, someone purchases a ready-made ornament (for example) that looks handmade, but is not, cuts off the tags and then claims that it is “handmade”, that to me is fraud and false advertising. Maybe someone did hand make it; however, if it is being sold in any of the chain stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, Target, K-Mart or JoAnn’s, you can be certain that the “hand-crafter” surely didn’t make millions of that one item for sale in all those venues; therefore, it falls in to the “mass produced for a buck” category and is most certainly not “handmade” by one person.

One forum response probably summed up point two (Do you buy handmade because you appreciate the talent and work that has gone into the product?):

“I like buying “hand made, home made” items because it was done with meaning. The factory made items are just that, made with cold hard steal machines that could care less if someone likes what they get or not. Whereas, handmade products from real people are done with more tenderness because they want their product to make the customer smile when the customer receives it!”

HOW TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT IN PURCHASING HANDMADE PRODUCTS
I hand make a lot of the items in my Bonanzle booth and I strive to include in the description what the item is made of (100% cotton, for instance), what method was used (hand-embroidered, crocheted), that my home is smoke-free and the pets are not allowed to sit on the product. I never, ever put something up for sale that I would not be thrilled to have and use myself. Quality is important to me. I want the item to last. I want my customer to be totally happy with the product. I want them to enjoy it for years. However, if a buyer has questions about a product and how it was made, those questions are answered straight-forwardly. It would then be up to the buyer to decide if they wished to purchase it or not.

Product quality is every bit as important to the seller as the price or the fact that it is handmade. I have made online purchases of handmade items that just amazed me…unfinished or raveling seams, jewelry with pointy edges, items that “break” after one use – poor quality workmanship will damage a “handmade” reputation faster than anything.

WHEN IN DOUBT IF SOMETHING IS HANDMADE…Ask! Ask the seller, “Did you make this?” “How did you do this?” “Where did you get the idea?” If you are not happy with the answers, then move on.

HONESTY IN ADVERTISING
So, is this what it’s all about? Honesty and integrity of the seller? I think yes, that is the answer. No one can really judge a “handcrafter” because there are so many creative ways to craft all kinds of things – but one has the right to expect honesty and integrity from a seller in representing their creations.

Our Bonanzle marketplace is filling up with wonderful handcrafters of all kinds and I welcome you to come to our community, do a search for the items that interest you. I think you will be clearly impressed with the variety of goods, dedication of these crafters, and the professional quality of their specialties.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

BONANZLE PREMIER SELLER - SOFYBLU2



Good Morning all - as promised, I am featuring some of my favorite sellers on Bonanzle right here! There are many, so much entertainment is ahead for us all.

Today, I introduce Sofyblu2! Pictured above on the left is a beautiful 1950s Bavarian Gareis Porcelain silver luster 16 piece set; and on the right is a Christmas lighted blowmold from 1988. These featured items barely scratch the surface of this wonderful booth!

Sofyblu2 carries an assortment of vintage items--including Christmas ornaments from Europe, yard blowmolds, china, crystal and the ever-popular Fiesta ware. In fact, Sofyblu2 is in the process of opening another booth at Bonanzle called "Sofy's Choice" which will feature Fiesta ware only.

Sofyblu2 is a long-term online seller with an impeccable reputation. We hope that you will take the time to visit her shop (http://www.bonanzle.com/booths/sofyblu2) and while you are there, check out Bonanzle - as a seller or a shopper!

Bonanzle is the newest and fastest growing online commerce site on the web today and we are proud to also be members of the community.

Monday, January 12, 2009

THE GENTLE (and not so gentle) WAYS OF CAT PERSUASION


"To sit in a comfortable chair means getting there a split second before the cat--and having to suffer its resentful stares as a consequence. IT may infiltrate behind you--and shove. Or sit on the arm--and lean. Or wrap itself round your neck--and throttle. Or touch you light with persuasive paw or gentle nose--until, of course, you give in."

Or, in the case of Ms. Pieper, give you the death stare...LOL. Yesterday was NFL Playoff day at our house and as a result, Ms. Pieper and I jockeyed for position on the couch...after I settle down and get covered up, she assumes her rightful position at my left shoulder...she "gently" nudges me with her behind until she is just right...then she gets up, looks at me, jumps on my chest and lays there...for about three minutes...then it's back to the rightful place...bump, bump, bump goes her rear end...my shoulder moves...she settles down...and of course, by this time I have to go potty, so it's me up again...and the whole scenario plays again...

And at the end of the day, I feel as though I have played the entire afternoon of football!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

BONANZLE ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!


You can only realize too late why the cat was on top of the fridge when you notice how smooth the butter is. (Peter Delaney).

Pieper and I are so happy at our new home, Bonanzle, selling our handmade items and other treasures that we have picked up here and there. Bonanzle is a wonderful place for sellers, as well as buyers, our wares are "everything but the ordinary." We currently have over 18,000 members!

Today, I'd like to feature: Midwest Emporium! They sell one of a kind new, used, vintage and antique products. The item pictured above is Marx U.S. Army Tank #3 Wind Up Toy Vintage. Two pair of movable machine guns mounted on top. Great graphics in avocado, orange, yellow, and black.

Measures 5 inches high X 7 3/4 inches long X 3 1/2 inches wide.

This Marx Windup Toy U. S. Army Tank #3 has some scratches & couple of tiny dents. Very little paint loss.

Windup works - tank rolls when wound and lever is released. Although the machine guns were supposed to make sparks when the tank is operational, the abrasive is worn off and it no longer sparks.

Very nice example of a Louis Marx toy. If you don't have one of these in your collection, this is a nice one.

Midwest Emporium carries some of the most amazing china and collectible glassware that I have seen...and at VERY reasonable prices.

Please check them out at http://www.bonanzle.com/midwestemporium

Whether you like to collect or just window shop, your eyes are in for a treat!

Monday, January 5, 2009

SEW IT'S THE NEW YEAR!


"Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause the most inconvenience." (Michael Stevens)

And this was never more true as I begin sewing and crafting again. If Pieper cannot be on my lap, then she wants to be on my pattern, or on my fabric (a no-no when they are for resale) or on the phone or texting...honestly, she's such a princess!

SELLING ON BONANZLE!

In late October, I discovered a wonderful new selling site called BONANZLE. I heard a long interview with Mark Dorsey, a member of the creative team, and he convinced me to take a look--and I LOVED what I saw...

*my own booth
*no listing fees
*four pictures allowed - no fees
*customer support extradinaire
*very reasonable (VERY reasonable after-sale fees)
*helpful and informative forums

to name just a few. I had previously sold on Etsy, but found that it was only for the things I created and what was I going to do with the stuff that I had around that was not handmade by me? I branched out, but like many others, made little profit for my efforts.

I decided that I needed to start crafting and sewing again to relieve the stress of my everyday life. I am very creative and when I can't be, I get frustrated. And, my favorite subject is cats, so my focus would be on cat-themed items. I have, it seems, not limited myself to that venue, but have, instead, created what appealed at the time.

If you are selling in another venue, or would like another place to shop, I encourage you to check out BONANZLE (www.bonanzle.com). It is growing (the members have more than doubled since I joined in late October of 2008), but we are a warm and welcoming bunch and you would be very welcome to join us.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 - A CLEAN SLATE


2008 rolled by like the tide...onward and onward and onward. I cannot believe it is gone.

Many good wishes to all for a better 2009 than 2008, for our country and for each of us personally who have had a rough time.

God Bless and we will see you tomorrow with a whole new bunch of cat facts, introduce our sales booth at Bonanzle, as well as share some of our friends' booths and fun stuff for sale at Bonanzle, the hottest marketplace on the Internet!