Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. Eleven years. To an amazing man that I continue to adore more and more every day. He's responsible and generous, hardworking and loving, and he makes me laugh. I'm a lucky, lucky girl.

Let me just tell you one quick story about Rick. There was one time, back when we were first dating, that I happened to mention that one of my pet peeves is having to turn socks right-side out before putting them into the washing machine. I don't even remember how the subject came up, and it was a totally off-the-cuff remark, but to this day I have only had to turn his socks right-side out MAYBE half a dozen times. In more than 11 years. It's paying attention to those "little things" that keep a relationship healthy, don't you think? Oh, and he doesn't leave the toilet seat up, either!

We're going out to dinner at a local steakhouse tonight. Leaving the kid with Grandma and spending a couple of hours alone together. I'm going to be sure to tell him how much I appreciate not having to wrestle with nasty, dirty, inside-out socks!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Orange Blossoms

I love the smell of orange blossoms. Preferably the real thing. Yes, there are some nice essential oils that capture the fragrance pretty well, but there's nothing quite like sticking your face into a blossom-covered citrus tree and inhaling the "natural" perfume! (It IS the state flower of Florida, after all!) We have three citrus trees in our yard. One tangerine, one grapefruit, and one orange. All produce really nice, tasty fruit in the late fall/early winter. So for a few weeks in the spring, like now, they are covered in the little white blossoms and that fantastic smell wafts around the yard on every puff of breeze. Heavenly!

Last weekend I noticed that the tangerine tree was white. I'm talking white, like it had been sprinkled with snow. The orange and grapefruit trees are pretty "puffed up", too, but that tangerine tree has simply gone crazy this year! (That's a good thing--out of all the fruits we have, I like our tangerines the best!) Yesterday afternoon I went over and looked at it closer. Many of the blossoms' petals have already fallen off, and in their place are tiny little green dots--those are the baby tangerines, and there are a LOT of them!

I stroked a couple of the tiny tangerines, stuck my face into a cluster of the remaining flowers and inhaled a few times, and just smiled. Tangerine party at my house in November! Everyone's invited--we're going to have plenty!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Snowbirds and Cruisers

There are many things I like about this time of year. Spring in Florida can be a glorious thing. For a week or two, at least! (Then it starts getting so hot and humid that I stay indoors as much as possible.) One of the things I like about this time of year is that we are visited by our annual influx of "snowbirds". Snowbirds are those folks who live most of the year in more northern climates, who come to Florida for a few weeks or a few months, until the weather gets a little nicer "back home". Snowbirds are just as important to Florida's economy as tourists, and they tend to take a little more vested interest in what goes on down here because this is their home away from home.

I've been in my current retail location for more than 16 years. So I can boast quite a following of snowbirds! These are lovely people who have discovered me at some point over the years, and for whom my shop has become a "must go there" stop on their visit. I've got to say, it's very flattering! They come to see what's new, they ask about my family. Particularly my son. When Ricky was an infant, I brought him to work with me every day. He stayed most of the time in a portable bassinet/playpen behind my counter. I still have people come in this time of year, peer over the counter and ask, "How's that baby?" They're shocked when I point to the picture on the wall of my third-grader and say, "He's great--thanks!" Then we all giggle about it. (I don't know about you, but I measure the passage of time by other people's kids. You don't see them that often, then when you do, they've grown a foot! And you feel...really old!) My snowbirds inevitably leave with a new piece of jewelry, and leave me with a really good feeling!

Then there are the cruisers. Twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays, one of the cruise ships docked at Port Canaveral offers their passengers a "day trip" to Cocoa Village. I can't speak for other merchants here in the Village, but these cruisers do absolutely nothing for me except waste my time. They come in the door, refuse to make eye contact, take one "lap" around my store, and leave. Of course, I have to get up from my desk, interrupting whatever it is I'm doing (computer work, jewelry-making), to greet them. I smile. They don't look at me. I try to engage them in conversation. They practically run for the door. So it's stand up, watch them walk around the store, sit down. All day. There are usually between 50 and 80 people throughout the day, so that's at least 30 pairs/groups. Thirty times I stand up, watch them walk around the store, and sit down. Now I realize they're overexposed to jewelry on a cruise. It's on the ship, it's in every port. They're also probably exposed to lots of "hard sell" techniques, too, depending on where they've gone. Some of them I've even heard say they just wanted to stretch their legs on dry land. Fine. But come on, can at least acknowledge me! I feel like I get absolutely nothing done on Mondays and Thursdays. Except maybe a little "stand up/sit down" exercise...?


Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Plug For My Website

It's been awhile since I've directed my readers to my website. And I don't really have anything to write about today. (The only thing on my mind this morning is my 9-year-old son's recent penchant for lying, and I'd rather not get into that until I've calmed down a little!)

So if you've got a few minutes, go visit my website! It actually hasn't been updated in awhile, so I'd kind of like to hear what people think about it. My webmaster Eve and I have been working on some improvements, mostly bigger and better pictures. (You can tell which pages have been upgraded and which haven't.) The Stone Samples page is kind of cool if you want to see what a stone looks like or find out its metaphysical properties. The Great Gifts page is crappy--I don't think we've updated that for a couple of years. What kinds of jewelry items do YOU think would make great gifts? I'd really appreciate any input on any aspect of the site.

And if you find something you like, feel free to buy it!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Entrecard Changes

I'm sure most everyone who does any regular dropping on Entrecard has heard of the impending changes. At first, I had seriously mixed feelings. I didn't have a problem with the "above the fold" provision--I've always had my drop box above the fold. And I think I like the idea of being able to convert credits to cash. Not that I have a ton of credits, mind you, but the idea sounds like a good one. My initial problem was with the not being able to reject an ad without having to pay a penalty.

In the months that I've been a part of Entrecard, I've only rejected a small handful of advert requests. Most of the blogs out there are at least moderately interesting and not overly offensive. There have been a few requests from blogs that I didn't really think fit in with my overall "theme", which is mostly geared toward my jewelry customers. I'm not in this to make any money. You'll notice I have NO paid advertising on my blog. I just want to write about my jewelry and my life and try to reach the people who are interested in what I'm doing. I don't want to feel obligated to write anything specific, or to write more often, because I have advertisers to consider.

So when I first read that we'd pretty much be forced to take whatever advertising came along, my first reaction was that I didn't think I was going to be able to continue with Entrecard. Which is a shame, because I've found some really cool blogs with it. I'm pretty happy that there was enough of an outcry to get this particular "improvement" rescinded. I'll be able to keep the quality that I'm comfortable with, and not be penalized by having to "pay out" any of my hard-earned credits. I'm still adopting a "wait and see" attitude, but I think it's going to be fine. For me at least. (Obviously I can't speak for anyone else.)

And maybe some day I'll have amassed enough credits to "cash out" a few!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

What I Made Yesterday -- 3/11/09

I've been helping my son with a report and half-heartedly working on my taxes, so I haven't had much time to make stuff in the last few days. I did, however, put together a couple new dichroic glass pendants. Here's one. This and the others will be posted later today in my Etsy shop. Need a gift, or maybe a little treat for an Easter basket? You might want to take a look at all my items on Etsy!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

An Hour Behind...

I had absolutely no idea that Daylight Savings Time started today. I really can't say what rock I've been under for the past few days, but I was clueless. Instead of having nearly two hours to take a shower, get dressed, and do a little laundry this morning, I ended up throwing on some clothes and makeup and rushing out the door in less than an hour to get to work. So now I'm all frazzled, and I'll probably feel like I'm "behind" all day!


Friday, March 6, 2009

Online Venue #11 -- This Blog

A couple of months ago I started a little "series" about all the online venues I try to keep up with on a regular basis. This is the last one. This blog. I started it to keep my customers up-to-date on my jewelry and what's going on in my life. I've been in business a long time, and I've come to discover that people who buy handmade items like knowing a little bit about the artisan who creates the items. And creating a blog seemed like a good way to expose my jewelry to a new audience.

The benefit that I didn't anticipate showed itself as I made my way around the blogosphere trying to promote my blog. There are lots of other really cool blogs out there! Some business-related, some personal. Some informative, some thought-provoking. I've got quite a list of Favorites that I try to read at least a few times a week. So in a way, creating (and maintaining) this blog spawned a whole other "online venue" for me to keep up with.

No, there are not enough hours in the day to do everything I'd like. As I've written the posts for this series and examined each online activity, I've decided that I like and appreciate each of them in their own way. Each has its own merit, each has its own place in my overall business plan. So for now, I'm going to keep them all. It's not likely that the earth is going to slow its rotation enough to add any extra time to the day, so I'm just going to keep doing the best I can. After all, the way it is now, there's certainly never a dull moment in my life!