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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

The Weekend!

Hello, friends!  

Sorry I kept you waiting for the Chicken Mama Designs Christmas sale and open house report, but you'll forgive me if I was a little exhausted and needed a couple days off.  Matter of fact, I hardly opened my computer these past two days.

Saturday went WELL!  A good, solid "well".  It wasn't fantastic, and I didn't sell any of the big ticket items, but I sold quite a lot of cards . . . enough to cover what I paid My Girl for her FANTASTIC help on Thursday & Friday (thank you, thank you, thank you, my dear!) and then some.  To my disappointment, the calendars did not arrive (by 11:30 on Saturday) as I'd hoped, but I got a lot of pre-orders . . . which strikes me as kind of bizarre since no one's seen them yet!  But, as my oldest girlfriend said when placing her order via e-mail, "I love your photography, so I know I'll like it!"  I'm hoping they'll be waiting for me today when I get to work . . . at which time I'll video it and post that for you all to see!  I'm super, super excited about seeing them!

One of the reasons I probably didn't sell as much as I might have was that I didn't have time to get prices on everything (duh)!  Folks who were very interested in particular prints did ask how much they cost, but I'm sure others who didn't know me didn't ask.  So, putting all the very final touches on the gallery is on my list today.  At least I got it all looking good via "smoke and mirrors", and that was the ultimate with-time-constraints goal.

Thinking about not getting things to look how I ULTIMATELY wanted them to look makes me think about how I normally would have REALLY been stressing about that and the steadying influence My Girl had on me during those 48 hours previous to the sale.  Had she not been there, I certainly wouldn't have taken time for meals.  I wouldn't have worried about keeping my mood up for anyone.  I would have been head-down, nose-to-the-grindstone as I have (always!) been in the past.  And, how has that worked for me?  Ummm, not so well.  So, because I wanted to be "up" for her, because I knew she needed to eat (therefore, I ate, too), because she kept telling me how proud she was of me and asking, "Do you REALIZE what you're doing here?!!" . . . I was kept on an even keel.  While I don't know what I would have done without the truly lovely sidewalk sandwich board she made (to draw people in), I know that the greater assist was her keeping me grounded.  If we all had an (adopted) daughter like that, the world would be a better place!

I know, too, that the sale provided a lot of free advertising.  People who stopped in but didn't buy assured me that they'd spread the word about my little gallery.  And, once news really gets around town about Chicken Mama Designs, that will help.  Out of town friends who didn't know exactly where I'm located (and hadn't grabbed the address) weren't helped much by asking around town.  Since I'm tucked into a set of pre-existing business offices, it wasn't like the locals had seen a changing of the guard at one of the shops in town.  So, more advertising will help that, too.  And, to tell the truth, I purposefully neglected to do a lot of local advertising because I was afraid I was going to be woefully (un)prepared.  And, had the 14 new large pieces & canvases I'd ordered NOT arrived in time, I would have been.  So, six of one, half a dozen of another.  In the end, I feel it was a SOLID START to becoming known as a new business and one of the many galleries in town.  End of story.  :)

(Re-reading this before I post, I've remembered that I also snagged the confirmation of one expected web design job AND two brand new ones at the open house!!!!!)

After a good lie-in and lots of mindless movie time (watched 'Leap Year' and cried - I'm so damn mushy) on Sunday, I went back into town.  Had to put the common area of the office building back to rights and clean up a bit.  Returned the rented coffee carafes to the local coffee shop, etc.  

That night was the annual Christmas concert in town (primarily songs from Handel's 'Messiah'), and I had an unexpected treat taking care of Bundle of Joy for a while before the concert.  Her folks had just driven the 3 1/2 hours up from his maternal family's in north central Minnesota where they'd been celebrating a matriarch's 80th birthday.  Bundle of Joy's mama sings in the choir each year and needed to go right to the church, but Dad had to get the dog home and get the fire going, etc. after having been gone since Friday night.  Talking to them on the phone to plan when to meet up (I'd been planning on sitting with Dad and Bundle of Joy to help keep her entertained - she'll be 1 year old in 8 days), I learned of his rush-rush plans and said, "Oh!  Why don't you leave Bundle of Joy with me?  That way, she won't have to spend another hour in the car and can get a little of her energy out!"  With a huge amount of appreciation and relief, her daddy immediately accepted, and I told her to meet me at Mama & Papa Pea's house (which would be a lot nicer than my office).  So, Mama Pea got some unexpected baby time (which we ALL love, right, ladies?!), and Bundle of Joy and I both got dinner, too!  As Papa Pea returned from the garage with The Yellow Chair and I placed Bundle of Joy in it, Mom said to Dad, "Who would have ever guessed that we'd have such a revolving group of little girls* sitting at our table in this?!"  

(*For no particular reason, all the little ones I've taken care of for long periods of time have been girls, but soon (yayyyy!) there will be a little baby brother arriving to The Peanut - around tax day in the early spring!)

The story of The Yellow Chair is a neat one.  Mama Pea will have to weigh in on where it came from, but, when I was little, they had this chair for me.  It's kind of like a high chair . . . but more like a bar stool in height and without a tray.  The back is low and curved, like a captain's chair, and it slides right up to the table . . . at a perfect height for a little one.  The seat isn't large enough to encompass a tukhus like mine, but a petite, skinny person could probably fit into it.  Anyway, I'm not sure why Dad's always kept it (sentimentality?  again, Mom, please weigh in), but after it was clear that I wouldn't be having children, I'm sure my folks were disappointed that it would never serve a new generation.  But, as the wonderfully silver lining to that particular cloud, I know I'd never be able to be auntie, nanny, and Bopee to so many little ones had I had my own . . . and I thrill at the relationship I have now with all of them.  :)

Yesterday, I was a completely lazy slug for the majority of the day.  Even though I woke thinking, "The world is my oyster!" (or, more accurately, "Swamp River Ridge is my oyster!"), I couldn't quite get myself moving until well into the afternoon.  About all I got done was the kitchen cleaned up from the week's accumulation of stuff dumped, the dishes done, and two pillar candles made for Christmas gifts.  Oh, and a healthy dinner (Taco Appetizer) made for myself.  Too, I got outside and tried to do some clean-up shoveling, but, at 5 degrees, the packed snow wasn't budgin'.  Fed the wild birds and took care of chicken / goose chores (hey, Dad, those chickens haven't laid a single egg yet!!!).  Unloaded the car from the extra stuff I'd emptied from my office prior to the sale, and finally shoveled in front of the garage so I could park the car inside.  Drove the Yaris up and down the driveway to warm it up after sitting in the cold for a 24 hours and before it sat in the garage overnight.  Good way to get the dogs warmed up and out for some exercise, too, as they ran alongside.

Then, knowing I wanted some inside fires and needing to cut some large pieces of birch to fit in the woodstoves (vs. the size they're cut to to fit in the huge outside furnace), I argued with the chainsaws for a while.  I just CANNOT get the larger one started.  I'll have to bring that to my technician (Dad) again.  (If you ever want to know how to warm up - and end up sweating and panting - in 5 degree weather, just struggle with starting chainsaws.  It'll heat you RIGHT up!)

After refilling the gas & bar oil and then flooding (that's a negative) the chainsaw, I finally got the small one going.  Ahhh, the satisfaction of that blue smoke FINALLY filling the workshop!  Nothin' like it!  ;)  I didn't cut long - only until my arms and back protested for an end.  Then, I split wood.  I LOVE splitting frozen wood!  SO damn easy and rewarding!  :)  (Just re-read that, and, for someone who doesn't know, that could have sounded like sarcasm.  I'm actually completely serious:  dry, frozen wood splits incredibly cleanly and easily.)

Anyway, after accomplishing all that outside stuff in the time it went from afternoon daylight to completely dark, I headed inside for the night.  I was considering watching my latest Netflix movie, 'The White Countess', before bed but, it being 11:00 already by the time I finished the dishes, I opted for a cup of tea here in the kitchen rocker and a couple more chapters of my latest audio book.

Now, today, back at it in town!  I'll post pictures when I download 'em (at my office).


  1. I wish I could have been there - from Mama Pea's pix, it looked so nice. You really did a great job, CM. And your new header picture is absolutely beautiful! How did you manage to get such a perfectly detailed ornament??? You sure deserve a little down time. We are ALL waiting for the arrival of your calendars.

  2. Glad to hear that your Girl was there with you and kept you grounded! I have an 'adopted' daughter too and they are such fun to pal around with and in my case corrupt! ;o)

    You need a good break! Splitting wood, dishes, chickens (no eggs?) Return to sender? Kidding!

  3. Wow, busy! Can't wait to see photos! I see all those cute little girls and am about to raise you 2 rowdy boys! I'm sure they won't cry a bit when I leave them there and all they see are my taillights..... LOL JUST KIDDING of course :)

  4. Glad it went well and you enjoyed yourself. I hope you've been able to rest up. I know we'll all love seeing the pictures of your day when you're able to get them up. AND-finally, substantial snow here in Kazoo! I'm in the minority, but I love it so!!

  5. K (K!) A (A!) L-A-M-A-Z-O-O (oh)! Becky, you're our gal (a real pipp-a-roo) in Kalamazoo! :) I'm so glad you finally have snow, and I HOPE it sticks around until Christmas! Think it will?

    Susan, I didn't even notice / think about the ornament being a perfect one. That said, I did pick one out of the box that I thought would look nicest. I dunno, it's just one of my decorations. Antique, I think. I'm a sucker for antique glass Christmas balls. Thanks for the compliment, too! I used that image for the December page of one of my previous (small) calendars.

    Ms. Apple Pie, "corrupting" our adopted daughters? NEVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! ;) And, yes, I HAVE thought about "return to sender" regarding these worthless chickens!

    Erin, funny you should say that about the boys. On my list of Stuff We Can Do *was*, actually, "overnight for the boys at Swamp River Ridge" if they got to the point of feeling comfortable enough with me . . . so Mom & Dad could have (gasp!) a night to THEMSELVES!

  6. Auntie, nanny, Boppee and UNA!!!!!


If you are familiar with me and where I live, please respect my right to retain some anonymity by not referring to me by anything other than Chicken Mama nor mentioning city/town/villages by place names. Thanks!