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/ 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)

Monday, April 6, 2009

And now for the lights!

Ok, if I haven't piqued your interest with all the crazy talk about the ductwork and the ceiling paint, then this will simply blow you away. My lights. I love them. Brittany picked them out in the very beginning and we knew the look would be simply perfect for the store. We couldn't be more right. They are fabulous.

If you come into the store and look up...I will know you read this post. You will agree. It's pretty cool.

Now on to the paint for the back wall

So, as you can see from previous posts, I was quite excited about the HVAC and the ceiling paint! I know a bit silly to most, but it's so much fun to see things coming together. Now I am in a bit of a dilemma with paint for the back focal wall. See, I have a problem deciding at times on just the right color. When I decide I want to paint something, my sister has a tendency to look at me and say, "Just pick a color". Easy for her to say. My mother thought it was funny one day when I was trying to decide on the color for my bedroom in my very first house among the various shades of blue I had sampled on the wall. We walk into the Sherwin Williams store to decide on this blue, I pick up a color chip from the yellow family and point to a color and say "This is what I want for the kitchen." She just sort of looked at me with that puzzled look you moms tend to give. She thought we were picking out a blue for the bedroom. I just wanted to keep things interesting is all.

The same applies to the gallery. I want a certain feel and attitude. I want people to experience something when they enter the store. I want them to be interested. With that said, I have gone through a few different shades to determine what is right.

As you can see from the pic, I have a few colors I am trying to decide on. This weekend I decided on green. Yes, green. And no, your eyes aren't failing, you don't see it on any of the colors on the wall. But that's just me. I sometimes have to try all the things I know will not work, knowing all along what will work. Hmmm, sounds a lot like life.