Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking Back...nope, Looking Forward

As always at this time of year we reflect on how the past twelve months progressed and run our checks and balances to see if we actually got out of the year what we intended. I am the kind of person that reflects A LOT. Thing is, it's always poor Ben who gets to hear my ramblings when I reflect. No doubt my neighbors think I am nuts talking to a Chocolate Lab as we walk by their house.

Ok, to my point...2009 has been a wonderful year. I have become reacquainted with more people on Facebook, gained more weight than I intended, visited Brazil (again), planted some new plants, became even closer to my baby sister (if that's even possible) and opened a little shop in downtown Farmville, NC. Not a bad year.

I could go on and on about the things I didn't do in 2009 (so glad I don't make resolutions, I just break them anyway) but I think I will spare you the details of those things. I just know that all the little mistakes I make are character-building exercises, or so I am told. I know, however, that this coming year will be the start of my 40th year and I do plan to make some changes. I will be riding the bike my sister gave me all over town, I will be smiling more, meeting new people, giving back more to my community and try to live the life God has intended for me.

I started 2009 knowing I would open MyleStone. Work had already begun on the building in the Fall of 2008 and I was pleased as punch when my dream became a reality in June of this year. What I didn't know is that opening the gallery would also bring the joy of meeting some fantastic folks. The artists, wine reps and customers of MyleStone are simply the best. I have customers I now call 'friends' and artists that have changed the way I think about art. It has been an incredibly enriching experience. For a couple of girls not from here, Brittany and I feel a part of this community and we could not be more proud. You can expect many more good things from MyleStone.

It has been a great year and I am very blessed. No doubt there will be trials and tribulations ahead in 2010. I expect those things. They only make us stronger.

I wish you all the best in 2010. May peace and happiness be yours. Remember all those character building exercises won't hurt for long.

Be safe and take care and come see us.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Taste of Farmville

Thanksgiving was wonderful and I will admit...we went through 4 bottles of wine. (1 Riesling, 2 Cresta Rosa and 1 Lambrusco) Well, don't judge. That equaled one bottle for each of us. Ok, I admit, my brother-in-law sort of had the short end of the stick. He didn't actually get as much as the rest of us. It is sure tough being the only guy with 3 Wright women. Poor thing.

But, let's not worry about that.

Tomorrow night is the Taste of Farmville and I am looking forward to the store being full of people and the feel of Christmas. Paul with Duck Rabbit brewery will be in the store to sample his fabulous beers. Its a fun night and it kick-starts me into the season. I love seeing the town bustling with people and everyone socializing. Small town America at its best.

Come see us - 6:30-8:30.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks...

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is a time for fellowship and to give thanks for all that is in our life. I wanted to say thank you for your support since MyleStone Gallery and Wines became a reality on June 13, 2009. It has been wonderful to meet you and talk with you and share handmade items and wine (of course) with you.

My mom is coming again this year to spend it with Britt and I and we can't wait for her to arrive. Ben is excited because he will get to sleep with her (I will truly be forgotten for 5 days) and she will give him plenty of treats 'just because'. No matter that his butt is getting big like his momma's, she will still feed him treats because he is pretty, sweet, a good boy, listened well (for once)...I think you get the idea. But nonetheless, we will be enjoying our time together and sharing some good wine of some even better food. She will be ready to help us decorate the store...yes, I refused to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving as to me it just rushes everything. And then, she will help us decorate our houses. It is a wonderful time with family for me.

This is a very special time of year and I hope you are spending it with those you love. Remember those who may not have that chance and always give thanks for all God has given you.

I hope you and your family and friends have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.

May you be blessed always...

Monday, November 16, 2009

I better get with it...

And not keep everyone on pins and needles wondering what I might write about next. I have admitted it here before and I will admit it again...I know I have been slack in writing. But gosh, I have been too busy planning our next wine tasting which is this Thursday, Nov 19th!

It really was only 3 weeks ago that we had our last tasting, but with Thanksgiving next week we knew we had to plan something for this week so everyone could pick up wines for their holiday meal. We have some very special and delicious wines in store for you! How does almond champagne sound? Or a divine Lambrusco? How about a refreshing Riesling? The only way you can find out how fun and delicious these wines are is to come visit us Thursday from 5:30-7:30.

You should start your meal preparations on Thanksgiving the way we do...with wine. A light breakfast, put the turkey in the oven, drink a bit of wine. Mix the sweet potato souffle, start some pies, drink some more wine. Food on the table, eat til you're full and drink...well you get the idea.

Good wine will make your meal even better as it enhances all the flavors...I mean not that you would need wine to make your meal better...as I am sure you are a much better cook than I. Simply put, if you eat my cooking on Thanksgiving...you are going to want plenty of really good wine.

Come see us Thursday, have a good time and pick up some wines to make your meal better...ah, I mean complete.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This One's for the Girls...Who dream with everything they have....

This Friday, October 30 from 5:30-7:30 we will be hosting our October wine tasting event and we are sure proud of this one! We will be featuring five wines, one of which is a special breast cancer awareness Shiraz...yum. We will have chocolates made specially for breast cancer awareness month, new jewelry created just for our event by Sandra Wills and other new items that have just arrived. Britt and I want to give back to our community and we are very aware that wine and chocolates and pretty things bring people together. Therefore, we thought it would be wonderful to help support a local organization which provides breast cancer screenings and mammograms for underprivileged women in Pitt Co. The cost for a mammogram is around $400 and many women without insurance and other means will go without one. This didn't seem fair to us, so we hope to help.

Proceeds from the event will go to this wonderful cause. Early detection is key and every woman should have the opportunity to get screened for breast cancer.

We have a new t-shirt that will be debuted that night and we are very proud of our design. (I think I might have a new career in t-shirt design) Picture this: Beautiful green fabric, wine glasses since we are a wine store too, a pink ribbon to indicate it is a breast cancer awareness shirt and a catchy saying, This One's for the Girls.

Call them what you will...boobs, breasts, tata's, 2nd base, the girls or whatever, they all deserve a lookin' after as they say 'round these parts. So, it's pretty darn simple. Come see us this Friday, sample some wine, check out our sparkly stuff, get your shirt, show your support.

This One's for the Girls, Who've wished upon a shooting star; You're beautiful the way you are; This One's for the Girls. If you love Martina McBride, you know what I am talking about. Gosh, I am such a country music geek.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cows, horses, sausage rolls, rides and deep fried EVERYTHING

Yes, for those of you who are living here in NC...it is State Fair time!!! I just love it. Today I went to the fair with my sister and brother-in-law and it has been way, way too long since I was last there. I believe the last time was in 2001. I know, a shame.

The NC State Fair holds many memories for me. My family and I went every year and the first stop was to see the cows. Yep, the cows. My Dad was a vet and we always stopped to see his clients that were there showing their livestock. The next stop would be to get cider, get food and then on to play some games and then off to see the horses.

The NC State Fair was an agriculture fair and to me, it always will be...well, that and a place to get fair food. Yeah, you know what I mean. Polish sausage, country cooking, cotton candy. Nowadays, they have added the turkey leg, fire roasted corn and anything you can think of that can be fried. I saw a vendor today with fried pecan pie. I mean, it was a smart person to combine two very Southern "foods"...pecan pie and grease. I just couldn't order one though. I was holding out for the NC State Dairy ice cream. Instead, I just stood there and watched everyone order the fried sweets and then I stared at their food to see what it looked like. No doubt they were thinking "Just order one already". I heard there was fried butter but I never saw it and probably best I didn't. I would have loved to have tried a bit. My arteries are closing just thinking about it.

I must admit that the fair has changed for me. It is still a magical place because of the sights and the smells but there are just too many rides and too many vendors. I wish the focus was more on agriculture. I miss that from my childhood. Being on a farm is blissful. While at the fair we were searching for vendors to provide us with NC grown products such as jellies, jams, peanuts and other sauces. Adding these products to the gallery will help solidify our desire to bring you quality handmade items from right here in our back yard. Products such as these will compliment the coffee, soy candles and wines we already stock. We can't all live on a farm, but I can bring a bit of that goodness right to you so we are working on that for you quickly.

I can promise you they will be good. And I can promise no deep fried batter of any sort. What you do with it is your choice.

Come see us.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New stuff to help bring in the Fall

We have wonderful new soy candles for Fall and I just love them! The colors are so pretty and we have several new scents sure to make you smile and think of home. The minute you walk in the store the warm fragrances envelope you and you immediately know that Fall is here. We also have other seasonal items and new baby blankets. Did I mention the wine...yep, we still have that too. Like Sangria?? Come on in then, we've got a delicious one!

Check out the new pics....taken of course, by Brittany Wright Photography.

We can't wait to see you!!

Finally Fall!

It is that wonderful time of year when the mornings are fresh, the days cooler and when you need a light sweater for the nights. Just perfect. I love the changing of the season and Fall is my favorite time of year. It is a time of starting over for me. To me, my year starts in the Fall because that is when the new school year started. I love the smells of Fall and the freshness in the air.

At MyleStone, we are busy bringing in new items for the season and for the upcoming holidays. We are very excited about the goings-on at the store. I am posting a pic of the latest event we had at the store on September 12. Mary Mac Gems had a special showing for us and we tasted several Spanish wines with an assortment of chocolate. It was a wonderful day!

What made it even more special for me was the surprise visit by some very dear people in my life. First, my best friend and 2nd Mama surprised me all the way from Virginia and I could have cried! It was wonderful. Then, a very short while later, my Aunt Diane and Uncle Joel paid a surprise visit as well!! I was so excited. Diane is my mom's older sister and I wish my mom had been here that day to see her too. I felt so blessed to have people come all that way to see me, Britt and the gallery.

Here are some pics from that day for ya....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sparkly gems, baubles, bubbly, red, white, Spain, clementines in chocolate...

What do these things have in common? Well, they will all be in the same place this Saturday at the gallery. Jewelry by Mary Mac and a wonderful selection of Spanish Wines for your sampling pleasure.

Come check us out on Saturday, Sept, 12 from 12-4 and see what we have in store for you. You will enjoy some Spanish Cava, a very unique white and rose with a hint of bubbles, a delightful to drink white and a luscious red. Did I mention the chocolates?? Oh yeah, we will have some, too. All of your senses will be delighted you came!

See you there!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ginger, Nola and Doughtnuts???

Today you get two postings from me...I know, woo hoo! I am inspired to write because I had two special treats today. The first treat came in the form of Nola, a super-cute, sweet, furry, four-legged girl whom I have only seen in pictures thus far. Such a doll baby. Next time I know I will win her over. The second treat was provided by Nola's mom, Ginger, as she brought Britt and I cream filled doughnuts from the Brownie Bakery in Little Washington just because she knew we needed it this week. There were 12 in the box and I promise you, there are 11 left and it is 11:00 in the evening. I have no idea why I haven't devoured say, five, in the eight hours they have been in my possession. Must be because I have been concentrating on the postings for the blog and being a very good girl. (Note to the Brownie Bakery...Yummy!)I had the pleasure of meeting Ginger after my sister, Brittany, photographed her and her sisters' (also named Brittany) dogs for a rescue dog book, a wonderful work in progress. At the photo shoot, my Brittany learned that Ginger sews bags in cool fabrics. Bells started going off and since we were looking for someone who sewed bags, we asked Ginger to bring some of her goodies by the gallery.

Little did Brittany and I know that Ginger is this incredible ball of energy and a plethora of information. We talk her poor ears off every time she comes into the store. (What? Britt and I talk your ears off? I know, what a surprise!) She can provide info for just about anything you are looking for and knows just the right people to help get you to where you want to go. We realized it was a very small world in many ways and that we also share a love of Africa. She even knows where Danville, VA is....Not only is she an animal lover and a creator of the cutest bags as seen here and for sale in the gallery, she is the founder of the non-profit organization, Hope Aid International. After visiting Uganda, Ginger realized something needed to be done to assist and as a result, Hope Aid was founded. Proceeds from the sale of her bags go to support Hope Aid.

I could tell you about the organization but I know it would be worth your time to visit the Hope Aid site at http://www.hopeaid.org/ to learn more. Her blog I See Hope will inspire you and make you laugh too http://iseehope.blogspot.com/.

MyleStone Gallery is so pleased to have Ginger as one of our artists. She has become a fast friend and earned big points today by bringing Nola and the doughnuts. No really, we would still like her even if she didn't bring doughnuts. Really, we would. As long as she still brings Nola to see us.

Now, eight hours is plenty long to have gone without a doughnut. You have your two postings, I can have my two doughnuts.

Ben...dreams of being a model for a wine/beer label or is he just jealous??

Ben (also known in our family as Chocolate Dog or Brown Dog) is a shop dog today to see how it goes. I got the worst puppy dog eyes when I went home to let him out and I thought ok, come on. So he gingerly jumped in the car (it was hot) but once he realized he was going to the store, he was so happy.

He came in and checked everything out to make sure nothing or no one had come in that wasn't supposed to be and then he sat down nice and calm. He sat down in front of the Duck Rabbit beer and I grabbed the camera because I think Ben is hoping he will be the next model for a beer or wine company. He was curious why there was a duck/rabbit on the box instead of him but now understands how Paul, the owner of Duck Rabbit, came up with the name and he is ok with the logo. Ben did ask me why they couldn't have worked something out with him though as a Chocolate Lab would have also been a huge selling factor. He was appeased though when I showed him the Ellie's Brown Ale from Avery Brewing Co. which, rightfully so, has a Chocolate Lab on their label. However, he has taken offense with the labels on some of the wines we have here, Chateau Morrisette. First, a little about them...The Chateau Morrisette winery is on the Blue Ridge Parkway of VA and is absolutely gorgeous. I recommend anyone visit there at any time of the year as it is a very special and beautiful place. The wine is wonderful, the food is wonderful and the view cannot be beat. We carry their Our Dog Blue (white), The Black Dog (red) and the Angel Chardonnay. The people that own the winery are huge animal lovers and have labs and since they are their mascots, include them on their labels. I noticed Ben kept staring at the bottle and snarling and then it dawned on me, he's jealous! He wants his own label.

So here is Ben in various poses and also with his Va Tech collar trying to show people that he has talent. He could be a model for a label. He wants those dogs on that mountain in VA to know, he's just as handsome (spoiled too) and has what it takes to be a star DOG. He is also very modest. He personally thinks they need a Chocolate Lab on a label. He's dreaming about it now...they can call it, Chocolate Dog Dessert Wine. What a hit it would be!
Silly Ben! Come on down and check out our wines and beer. Maybe Ben can help you pick something out, when he isn't preening and posing, that is.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Things Happen for a Reason

Ever had one of those days where you just knew someone was watching over you and bringing together things and people in your life at the same place at the same time. I did. Today.

I had an old friend (let's call him "A") from my much, much younger days in VA and a 'newer' old friend ("B" shall we say) and a new acquaintance ("C") all at MyleStone at the same time. The old friend and his family from VA surprised me on their way home from Aurora. Yes, Aurora. I had no idea people from Southern VA even knew about Aurora, but they did. They were kind of enough to stop and see me and the store and I was thrilled! They picked up a six-pack of Duck Rabbit beer so they will surely get a good taste of Eastern NC, specifically, Farmville!

My 'newer' old friend, "B", was also a dear, dear friend to my Dad. She became a life-line for my famiy in 2003 and her friendship has become one of my most treasured. She had her dog, Sadie, with her who also has a special story.

Then a new acquaintance, "C", came in the door and there was a connection as well between "B", "C" and my dad, sister and I, plus a few wild horses. Confused yet? Well, simply, it's a darn small world and although I shed some tears today, I was warm with the thought of why we were all in the same place, MyleStone.

If you have followed my blog, you know why I named the store MyleStone and what it means to me. I was nostalgic today and re-lived some very good memories and I also remembered that we are where we are in life for a reason. I believe people are brought into our lives for a reason and we end up in places for a reason. I'm here now to share MyleStone with you.

I had a good day today. Come see us.

Monday, July 27, 2009

So how did the ribbon cutting and wine tasting go??

Fabulous! Simply wonderful! More than I expected!

I could go on and on. I was touched by the turnout and by the folks who seemed to have such a genuinely good time. I had a blast meeting new people and watching folks socialize with old friends. Ms. Mary Morrison Dixon played the piano for us and I thought the whole thing was was just very classy. (If I must say so myself.) I believe this might have been Farmville's very fist wine tasting event and what a pleasure to be the one hosting the evening.

I am very thankful for my dear friends who came to support me, some I haven't seen in years! I guess it didn't hurt that I had wine there either?? No really, they were there to see me and the gallery right? RIGHT? No way could it be just the wine.

I was simply undone by the outpouring of support from the community and MyleStone patrons. The mayor said some very kind words and the tears were right on the verge of spilling over. I couldn't look at Britt or Mom because they were both brimming too.

I will have more pics to post once Britt hands them over.

We will be hosting another wine tasting in early September. School starts in August and we want to let people get back into the swing of things. We are already looking forward to a wonderful event again!

I hope to see you there at the next one!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Where have I been???

Ok, I admit it. I've been a slacker. I haven't kept you updated on the goings-on at the gallery. I have made honest attempts to write, I truly have. I have logged in and started putting thoughts down. And then, I don't know, I just never finished the post. I will do better, I promise.

This is our sixth week open and I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I walk in and become assaulted with all the sights, smells and sounds of the store. I just love it.

Tomorrow is our ribbon cutting with the Chamber of Commerce and then afterward, our very first wine tasting!! Very excited and happy! No doubt there will be plenty of pics to post after tomorrow's events!!

I have posted some pics my sister, the lovely photographer, Brittany Wright-Thompson, snapped today. I will admit, from now on, she is taking all the pics. Mine come out looking pretty pitiful next to hers.
Look for the pics from the wine tasting....should be fun!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How to get what you want....

First you.... Then you breathe deep, take that first step and....
We have been open three weeks now and I couldn't be more pleased. It has been exciting and stressful yet all I hoped it would be. Thank you to all who have supported us. We hope to see you very soon again!

Thanks to Jean Skipper and her copper jewelry for helping me illustrate how to go for it!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Hello all, I hope today was a wonderful day for everyone! It was a great first week at the store and I am very pleased with the traffic and response thus far! I am confident each day will bring new ideas from our heads and new people through the door. We want to keep people interested and therefore we will be changing things up a bit so people will always find a small surprise when they come in the door. We are hoping to add some fabric and glass artists soon!

We are featuring some wonderful wines as well, Twin Vines Venho Verde and Snap Dragon Red...I love it when people want to sample...because I get to join in! Shame. It's tough work.

We are going to be in the paper this week for an article on our opening so I will post that for you to see.

I am also hoping you shared this day with your loved ones and that you soaked up every minute of togetherness. I planted five flowers today in honor of my dad. He would have loved knowing I was playing in the dirt. Three of the shrubs I planted were actually from the farm he grew up on in Cumberland Co. He would be proud. Gardening is a thing in our family and it is my form of art. I've told you before I can't draw or paint, but I do love being creative in my yard.

I think he would also think it is cool having a store named after him.

Be good and stay in touch.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Well, it's about time!!!

MyleStone Gallery and Wines is now officially OPEN!!! We opened the doors yesterday morning! Yippee!! It is beautiful and everything I imagined it would be and more. It wouldn't have come together without the help of my mom and sister. Ben helped too and was very patient while I spent many hours at the store. His people-watching skills have definitely improved!! I couldn't ask for more support and generosity. Thanks guys for helping me realize this dream.

And to everyone else who has watched the store evolve over the past 9 months, thanks to you too. I have enjoyed your comments and your support. I hope you continue to watch us grow and evolve even more. Stay tuned for more as I keep you updated on the gallery artists, events, wines and more.

MyleStone has been a dream of mine for a very long time and I am very proud of this moment. I know my mom and sister are proud and I know my dad would be too. I think this has proven to be the best 'milestone' in my life so far.

Thanks for sharing the journey with me so far. Hang on for more as it's gonna be a good ride!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed. Dr Seuss

I think that is a great quote for this posting. Tonight was a big night...my signage went up on the door. It made it so real. Brittany and Ben were there and that made it complete. I'm excited and scared and happy and scared (I said that already haven't I?) and oh my gosh!! It's finally here. Fingers crossed all!

Yes indeed, yes indeed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How many little things can there possibly be left to do????

I kept thinking the little things left won't take long to finish. But I would be wrong. They take FOR-E-V-E-R. I only want things to be right as I only have one time to make a great first impression. So I vacuum and I mop and I move things around and I put Orange-Glo on my newly varnished floors. I mean, really, any idea why I do that??? They were just varnished two months ago. This problem can simply be called obsession.

I obsess because I want everyone to enjoy shopping at MyleStone and to tell all their friends who will tell all their friends and so on.

My dear mother came down this past weekend to help us set things up. She keeps me on track. I had found this great tobacco basket and varnished it and she had to decorate it for me. We had some left over butterflies from the window display and we thought it would be nice to somehow add them into the basket display. She ended up adding these branches from a tree we had cut and then she added the butterflies. She was like a little kid and we all loved her creation. She manages to get a PhD in Accounting, run the entire finances for a small university and she still makes great displays???? Wow, what a talented star!

This has been such a family effort and my sister has been a gem with helping me. She also keeps me on track. She has organized the jewelry and the wine and the pottery, set-up the card display, designed my business cards...whew. I know you are asking yourself, "well, what has Meredith done?" I just supervise. And take pics of Ben in the store. And sample wine. (See why I need to be kept on track?)

What a dream store!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Catching up...

Gosh...it is so hard to write when you are watching a tribute to your most favorite singer ever...George Strait. Isn't he just the best-est!!

Here's a quick update about the store for you though (I think I can at least put together a few coherent sentences while the camera is panning over him) so that you will know how things are coming along. We are so close to opening and I am getting more excited every day. We have some wine and beer in now, soy candles have arrived, did I mention the wine and beer???? I am now the only store in the town of Farmville to sell Duck Rabbit beer, a wonderful beer brewed right down the street from me. I have more pictures for you, but thought I would show you the store mascot and his new favorite wines.
It's all very exciting and I can't wait. It sure makes you proud to see something come together doesn't it?
You all take care now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm Floored

Time for a floor update...I know you are excited. I have shown some before pictures of the floor in a previous post but I have kindly included some before shots again for you. I want everyone to see just how much fun we have had throughout this process...

We were delighted to find concrete and what looked like brick pavers under all the layers (this ranged from vinyl and cardboard tiles) of old flooring!
We, (well, not really we, but my contractor) scraped and sanded each tile in the front of the building to reveal my wonderful floor. The pic here shows the floor before I put my sealer on this week.

Now, the creme de la creme, is the platform yours truly designed :) I passed on my grand plan to my contractor who worked his magic and made it all happen. (I love being the thinker-upper of all things wonderful.) The concrete at the back of the storefront area was not in good condition and something had to be done. With so much brick and concrete I wanted a different texture and this is what we came up with...

I love it. My friend wants me to add a pole in the center....

Sneak Preview

I am a slacker for not writing over the past few weeks, but it's been just a little bit crazy! We had a sneak preview the weekend of our local Dogwood Festival here in Farmville, NC! My main goal for the weekend was to gain exposure for the store. I had items from several of the artists that will be featured in the store on display. I really enjoyed seeing the items out of their boxes and on display. Helped to give me an idea of how things are going to look for the real thing!! I have old wooden shutters and ladders for the jewelry and I must say the jewelry hanging on the chipped paint shutters looks awesome! Thanks to mom and Britt who helped a lot! I have no idea what I would do without you girls! Girls ROCK!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chocolate...a girl's dream

I have a secret to tell you....I am a chocoholic. I love everything about chocolate from the way it tastes to the way it makes me feel once I have indulged. I smile and then I am nice to everyone around me. Needless to say, they also like it when I eat chocolate.

Therefore, I am thrilled to have found a wonderful pastry chef/chocolatier from a small town near Asheboro NC who is sending me some chocolates I can keep all for me, er, umm, I mean to share and sell, in the store. I will have Luca brand chocolates available beginning next weekend for the sneak preview/teaser we are having during the Dogwood Festival. I cannot wait for the Lavender honey buttercreams and the bacon caramel. Got ya thinking now don't I....

If you are nice, I will share. A little bit.

Typical Ben

So, by now you may have realized I am crazy about my animals. I adore them and have no doubt that they adore me. I wonder if those of you with animals often talk out loud, and not in a baby-voice to your four-legged kids too? Come on, admit it. Well, I do this often. I half-way expect Ben and Max to answer "I had a wonderful day too, Mom, thanks for asking" when I walk in and ask how their day has been. I even know what their voices would sound like in my head. Max would have a monotone sounding voice while Ben's would be slightly higher pitched, sometimes excitable and sometimes non-chalant.

In the past, I have said goodbye to them in the morning, told them I loved them and to not have any friends over for a wild party. I had thought this positive tone of voice and conversation might prompt them to get up and do something constructive. See, many times I have asked Ben why he doesn't do something productive to bring money into the household like model, sing, act...anything!!! Lately, I have begun trying a different, more direct, approach. I now ask if they could mow the grass, mop the floors, dust, clean the bathrooms...basically anything to help mom since she is busy chasing her dream with the gallery. I get no response as you can imagine.

Today, while getting ready to go clean the floors at the store I asked Ben if he would mind mowing the grass. The picture here shows his response. Don't laugh. He did it on cue and then turned away from me as noted in the 2nd pic.

I asked Max the same question and got his typical cat-like response. In other words, a flat-out stare.

I told Ben if he couldn't be productive and contribute at the house then he was going to come with me. That did it. He hopped off the bed, did his little wiggle-butt dance and whined. Off we went to the store and I cleaned and cleaned. He looked at the children coming out of the building next door and chased them from the window when they ran from him. He thought it was great fun and that they wanted to play with him. He was on the inside of the building and they were on the outside and the door was locked so Ben couldn't eat them. I laughed, told them not to run and not to scream so much. They didn't listen and I finally told Ben to come help me. He did so happily and followed me with every step I took while cleaning.

He finally gave up and sat at the window doing what he does best...being pretty and looking out at everyone and occasionally looking at me.

I sometimes wish he were a famous dog model but that would only go to his big head even more. Maybe I will put him to work at the store when it opens. He could be the greeter. Heck, I would just love it if he picked up a broom every now and then. But that's ok. He can't clean a thing, but he can make you smile while you do. Wiggle-butt Ben...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happiness Is...

Some folks don't know that I am a devout lover of all things horses. You can see this by the hat I am wearing in the picture. (Yes, it was 1980-something and my sister thought I was cool in my hat.) I grew up riding hunter jumpers and thought there was absolutely nothing better than riding and being around horses and horse-y people. My Dad was an equine vet and that just led me deeper into the equine world and I loved it. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful, leathered, tough lady as my riding instructor, Mrs. Wiseman. She was everything a coach and mentor should be. She didn't baby her students and she told us exactly as it was. And what we didn't know at the time was she was always right. I was taught how to care for the horse, how to groom, how to ride but most importantly, how to respect the horse. Along with all these lessons, I learned an awful lot about myself and gained a great amount of self-esteem. I think that comes being a horseman/woman...you develop confidence because you have to trust the animal and they have to trust you. It's a very fascinating relationship.

Mrs. Wiseman told us things like, "Don't let that horse know you are scared." (ah, ok) or "You will not ride my horse with that attitude." (that was directed at me when I was 11) or "Get right back up on that horse." (can't count the number of times I heard that while looking up at my horse from the ground) or "Sit up straight, suck in your belly, stick out your chest and breathe." All of her sayings were applicable to real life of course if you looked at it closely. My favorite thing she ever said to me though was this..."Put your heart on the other side of that fence and go for it." This of course was something she said to help us get over whatever fear was gripping our heart. Just visualizing this worked as my levels of confidence fluctuated and it helped me tremendously.

My all-time favorite horse was named Happiness Is, aka, Izzy. He was part Saddlebred and part Thoroughbred. What a combination for a girl who loves a Thoroughbred! He would jump whatever you pointed him toward and he loved it! He was happiest when he was doing what he loved. We had a very special relationship. (I will post a pic soon of he and I.) We were buddies. We had trust.

My whole point to this rambling is that fear has gripped my heart in the past few months over starting my business. I have panicked and asked myself many times various questions such as, "What are you doing??" "What if this, and what if that??" "Are you SURE??"

The answer...yes, I am sure. I have to trust my instincts. Because the road to Happiness Is...putting your heart on the other side of the fence and going for it.

I am learning you will never, ever know until you do.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ben again...

As you know, things are moving right along. I spend a lot of time at the store getting things ready and it seems all I do is move something to another part of the store just to move it back out of the way again to the same spot. It's crazy and it's fun and I can't wait. The other day I had Ben up at the store with me. He now thinks this is his very own play space. He runs around and jumps on the platform and then chews on some tape and then gets in my way and then...I captured him in these beautiful poses. He was watching all the people walking and driving by. I seriously believe he thought they were coming by to look at him. And truthfully, I do too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Let me introduce myself, my name is Max...

And, as you will soon find out from the entries I will post, I am far superior to that Chocolate Dog who is also otherwise known as Brown Dog, Pickles, and various other names my mother decides to call him. Honestly, he isn't all that. I am completely self-sufficient and take care of myself and don't even have to 'yell' at her when I have to have a bathroom break. I have a cool little igloo shaped thing I get to go to. That brown, furry, long-nosed creature cannot even open the door for himself. I understand why I can't, because I am not as tall and cannot reach the door handle, but him....please. He could reach the handle if he tried hard enough. I secretly laugh when mom scolds him. Heck, I thought his name was 'NoBen' the first 3 yrs he was around our house....had no idea his real name was just Ben. I mean all I ever heard was No Ben, No, No, No.

But enough about him. I was happily hanging out in various yards in a neighborhood when a previous boss of mom's decided I needed a good home. They wrangled me up and off I went to live a life of luxury. I never had to search for my food again, it just appeared every day. I have been with mom for 15 yrs and I love her. I really do. I don't show it much because that's just how cats are. Non-chalant and unaffected by things. I am very much the perfect animal because I don't fuss at mom, she doesn't have to walk me and I curl up on her chest when she is sad. She's a sucker for that stuff.

Now, enough about me. I wanted to tell you that mom is getting very excited and nervous about her store. She just oohs and aahs over so much of the artists work and she is so happy when someone lets her know they want to be in her gallery. She is one funny lady. I am the Advisor and get to help pick out the artists. What a cool job.

I am just glad for it all because she is happy. And when momma is happy, everyone is happy.
And my favorite part of it all is I get to curl up on her lap while she works on the computer. My favorite place to be is on mom's couch on a blanket or on the back cushions on a blanket or on a chair on a blanket. See a pattern here? Mom just loves it when I have my little paw stuck out. She thinks it is because I am reaching out for her. But really, its just because it's comfortable, but if it makes her happy....

All the best,
aka, Smartest Animal (ever) in the Wright House
(No worries about Ben, he is well aware of this fact as I tell him everyday)