Merry Christmas

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I was not able to post last week because Kuochun and I took an impromptu 48 hour trip to Galena with Vivi and Margot. Rachel and John are here with Tootsie and Ozzy so we are taking care of Vivi. Monday happened to be cleaning day. Normally we go to Mother's house because our house cleaner has been working on her own since the pandemic. It takes her 6-7 hours to clean the house herself and it is just easier for everyone involved for us to make ourselves scarce. I figured I would just work out in the garage but Kuochun said "why don't we just go somewhere and stay in an Airbnb?" I asked him where he was thinking and he said, Wisconsin or somewhere. I looked up pet-friendly places in the Milwaukee area and either they weren't that nice or were charging a ton for pets.

I have never been to Galena and thought I would see what they have to offer. They had a cute home available which looks like a little red schoolhouse - reasonably priced and surprisingly did not charge any extra for pets. I understand charging extra for the average dogs that shed, smell and make a mess but Schnauzers do not shed, it is like they were never there. I booked the place and we headed there Sunday afternoon. The drive was only 2 hours and 20 minutes, about the same length of time it took to go to the lake house in Oconomowoc. The home was exactly as advertised - fully decorated and the hosts even put out some Christmas decorations. One bedroom was on the first floor and the other was on the second, along with the bathroom and laundry. Vivi and Margot absolutely loved it there, running up and down the stairs and sitting on the stairs peering through the bannister to see what we were doing. I lifted the photo of them sitting on the stairs to make the Christmas image.

The original plan was not to continue any of our estate sales to Monday but the Glen Ellyn homeowners asked if we could extend their mother-daughter sales. I did not bring my lap top because I did not think I would need it but luckily we had access to the owner's club on the property (Eagle Ridge Country Club) which had a computer room. It was way easier to create Monday's ads on a real computer than on my phone. After that, we went for dinner at a nice restaurant, also on the property.  Kuochun had a shrimp dinner and I had chicken and pasta, we each enjoyed our meals.

Monday we went to town and walked the "Helluva Half Mile." I had heard that Galena has become more commercialized over time. I have nothing to compare it to since this was my first time there but we both really enjoyed it. I thought there was a nice mix of shops, specialty foods and restaurants - something for everyone. Walking it from beginning to end was easy as well. Originally we were going to go to the Courtyard Restaurant at the Desoto House Hotel for brunch but we just missed it, they closed at 11:00. I love a great sandwich so instead we went to Big Bill's Sandwich Shop. We each ordered a different roast beef sandwich and split them and the sandwiches came with homemade potato chips. The sandwiches were both great and I said my only complaint about the potato chips was there were not enough!

After lunch we continued to walk and stopped by two of the antique shops on Main Street. Kuochun normally does not buy anything but he could not resist this vintage Schnauzer wall hanging. We put it on our front door for Christmas. The shop had a bunch of vintage cameras at reasonable prices. I had wanted to start a collection to put in the display cabinet in my office and we have not had any at estate sales that I know of. I thought about buying them but decided to pass at that moment. We went to the popcorn shop and bought popcorn and candy. It was tempting to go to the pasta shop but since I am on Seattle Sutton I do my very best to stick with it and not miss their meals.

We went to a bakery on one end of the walk that I thought looked cute but when we got in we found there was very little to choose from so we walked out. Then Kuochun said "what about that place across the way?" The sign said Chew Chew and then I said "DOES THAT SAY COOKIES???" I am a horrible cookie monster so we just had to check it out. Chew Chew Cookies is a very cute Art Deco style shop with a train setup. All they sell are homemade cookies, cookie bars and brownies. One of the brownies is called "Better Than A Boyfriend." We picked out some cookies including these sea salt caramel snickerdoodles. I have to say these cookies were outstanding, probably the best I have ever tasted and that is saying a lot!

We did not want to leave the girls alone too long so we headed back for the house. There are no street lights in the area and it is in the country so it gets very dark at night. We decided to stay in and eat Seattle Sutton meals for dinner. I did some jewelry work while we watched the Bears game.

Before we knew it, the trip was over. Kuochun wanted to go back and get more cookies and popcorn so after we checked out we went back to town. Unfortunately there were none of the small snickerdoodles but we found others. I decided to go back to the antique shop and get four of the vintage cameras as well. It was a short but sweet trip. I knew Kuochun would enjoy the old-fashioned charm and we would definitely visit again. We were lucky that the weather was mild for this time of year but regardless, right before Christmas was a great time to go. There were some people but it was not crowded. I know they have a country fair my birthday weekend every year (second weekend of October) and I bet the town is swamped at that time. The area is very hilly, there are some rock formations and lots of trees so I am sure it is beautiful when the leaves change colors. We still have cookies and popcorn but Kuochun is ready to order more!

The rest of the week has not been as eventful - estate sale paperwork, transferring blog posts to Shopify and a short visit on Christmas evening with family. I also started the project to retag all of the jewelry caravan with the P-touch labels and/or computerized dumbbells. So far I retagged the Thane DeLeon gemstone pendants and the Bali and Russian amber jewelry. It is going to be a big undertaking but worth it. The end of the year is a good time to evaluate existing inventory and see if any of the older items should go to a final clearance of 75% off. I will see how much I can accomplish before it is time to go to the Gem Show.

Speaking of which, time to get back to it! Looking at the calendar this will be the last post of 2021. I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!