Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Newsletter

Merry Christmas, Everyone! It's my second yearly blog newsletter. If you read my blog from time to time, it's just a recap of many of the events I've already written about. Still, it's nice to take a break before the end of the year and reflect on the past 12 months. To keep it simple, I've left out photos, but if you click on the labels at the bottom of the post, you can see the photos already on my blog.

2008 was my second full year of working on my greeting card business, Clee'. Many pieces finally fell into place. Minneapolis went wireless, so I got connected. I bought and assembled all the storage cubes I needed for my studio, so my supplies are finally organized. More importantly, I discovered Etsy.com, a website for artists and craftspeople to sell their wares. It was a thrill to upload a card design to "my store" and wait for my first sale. That honor went to cousin Sara (thanks, S!), but I soon had several other sales, including 3 cards mailed directly to Minnesota recipients bought by a woman in Singapore! Ah, the power of the web. :) I also sold a needlepoint pin I had made 30 years ago! Once I thought about all the handmade things I had just waiting to be used and loved by someone else, it wasn't hard to list them for sale. The Etsy shop is still in the beginning stages, and my next step will be to do some marketing.

Mom, Craig and I vacationed in Hawaii (Maui) in April. There's a short video on the right side of the blog that shows one of the highlights of the trip. But there was no day that was not as wonderful as the day before. We rented a car and drove all over the island, from our base on the southwest side near the ocean, to the top of a volcano (Haleakala) and along the precarious, but breathtaking Hana Highway with its 54 bridges and 600 hairpin turns. The weather was perfect, even with the bit of rain we got the day we hiked in Iao Valley. We went to the best luau in all of Hawaii (according to many reviews), a cocktail cruise (during which we spotted the whale in the video), and a snorkeling cruise (Craig had more success than I, but Mom and I got to view some ocean life from the glass-bottomed boat). We had a week and Maui isn't that big, but we felt we could have stayed another week!

The hairpin turns of a Maui highway were nothing compared to the twists in our family life. Craig had quadruple bypass surgery in June and Mom broke her ankle in August (on her birthday!). So, summer included many trips to the hospital, a nursing home, doctor appointments and therapy. The good news is that they are both fully recovered and back to work (Craig) and bowling (Mom).

Summer was also time to celebrate several BIG birthdays - Mom turned 80 and Minnesota and Bloomington turned 150! We had a Hawaiian-themed family picnic at Minnehaha Falls for Mom's birthday. I found plates and tablecloths with tropical designs, and everyone wore their best Hawaiian shirts. For the Minnesota and Bloomington Sesquicentennials, I tried to visit as many historic places as possible, including Stevens House in Mpls, the re-dedication of the Bloomington Town Hall, and Dakota-Pond Mission Park. Our almost mild summer weather was conducive to playing hometown tourist.

It's been a beautiful Fall as well. And a busy one. For my birthday, I was treated to lunch at 3 Fish (thanks D&K and Mom), lunch at Olive Garden (thanks Mom), and a performance of "Wicked" at the State Theater (thanks AJ). I finished my Christmas cards just days ago, and happily completed another large card order (thanks Aunt C!!). As I write this, snow is falling and we are guaranteed a white Christmas. That may not put everyone in the holiday spirit, but it is always my wish-come-true. I don't even mind shoveling...and I've shoveled about 6 times already! :)

Whatever the weather and whatever you may be doing, I hope you are healthy and happy, enjoying the holidays and looking forward to the New Year. Happy 2009, Everyone!

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