Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Wishlist

Well, it is almost Christmas. The last couple of years have been a new exercise in 'frugal' for us. Starting a new business right before the global economy goes up in flames is a pretty tough deal. If you keep up with our blog, you know that we are OK with whatever comes our way. Overall, the shop is barely holding its own. Tracy's compensation for all of her hard work is a brand new Honda CRV, leased through the Nemo's business, and whatever she gets in tips. My salary as a Project Engineer pays the bills on the domestic side of things. My earnings on the side for photo and video projects is filling the gap for some major purchases including our new lighted sign and making up for any budget shortfalls. We are making it, and we hope to continue to make it. It is in God's hands, and Tracy and I are both OK with that.

Now, if I were to use my imagination a little, what would I like to buy with my photo/video earnings, if they were available to spend? My biggest want/need/desire is a new camera body. I am currently operating with two Canon EOS 20D bodies. I would love to upgrade, but the 30D was not much of an upgrade when it came out. The 40D was tempting, but not worth spending the money at the time. The new 50D is an impressive camera, but I am ready to step up to something better than the higher end pro-sumer models. Megan left her Canon 5D with me while she was in Italy. She took my Canon G9 with her for that trip. I did a couple of photo shoots with the 5D and I loved it. Canon recently released the Canon 5D MkII. It lists for $3999, but can be purchased from a reputable dealer for $2700. It is a full frame sensor, 21 Mega-pixel still camera, and it also shoots HD video! Here are a couple of images to slobber on:

Hopefully I'll be able to grab one of these in 2009. The only thing good about waiting on technology products is that the price drops as more time goes by. The original 5D is selling for $1500 now. If things don't pan out for a MkII, I may go ahead and grab a 5D first generation body. Either way, they are great cameras and I'm looking forward to eventually having one in my gear bag.

As for Christmas this year, I'll take my lumps of coal and be happy. I have too many blessings to count, and it is not really about presents anyway.

Take care,

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Anniversary!

Today is Tracy and I's 12th anniversary. I'm not going to say much, other than this is how we survive and stay strong:

1 Corinthians 13 4-8 New King James Version

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13 4-8 New International Version

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

If you ever find yourself at a difficult point in a relationship, test your love against this definition shown above. Whenever I do so, I find that I need to give more of myself, and expect less of others. That ALWAYS fixes whatever problem I am having.

Take care,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nemo's Photos

From Day One, I had planned to post photos taken at Nemo's on a regular basis. I always seemed to be too busy to get it done. I would either not get photos taken, or if I did, I would not have the time to sit down and post them. Well, today I decided to take a couple of photos, and MAKE SURE I GOT THEM POSTED HERE!

Before anything else comes up to distract me, I am going to upload the images! Click on an image to see a larger version. Use your back button to get back to the main page.

This is a shot of Tracy and Rachelle (one of our employess who stopped in, but was not working today).

...and a shot of Matt, who was working today.

And a few shots of the cafe:
In this shot, you can see two movie theater seats tucked in next to the half wall. People LOVE these seats! You can also see a big stick to the right of the loveseat. When you have three boys, you end up with sticks everywhere. If you read the Drudge Report, you might remember a story about the thousands and thousands of flags that got thrown in dumpsters after the DNC convention in Denver. Many people were appalled by this. The flags you see in this image are two of them. McCain/Palin had a rally here in Colorado Springs, and they heard about the DNC flags in the dumpsters. They sent people up to Denver to get them all. Tracy brought these two back from the rally.

This half wall originally separated the two storefront spaces. Ryan had an idea to put a water feature in this space. It was going to be a textured glass plate that water would run down. With colored lights, it would have been a really cool water feature. As constuction got behind schedule, we decided to put in shelves instead. I think I like the shelves better. Most of the books are my Photoshop technique books, and other art books. A number of the nick-nacks came from Tracy's grand parents' homes. The antique dog on wheels belonged to Tracy's dad when he was a toddler. He can remember sitting on it and riding it. The raku fired sphere on the top shelf is one of the first items Tracy and I bought when we moved into our first home. The Colorado book is a photo book showing scenes around Colorado from the 1870's, and shot again from the same location in 2000. The wooden book stand was a Christmas gift from my Mom a few years ago. The enamel popcorn bowl was a Christmas gift I got for Tracy a couple of years back. The solid maple a walnut checker board on the bottom right was from an estate sale. Tracy was able to speak with the man in his 80's who had made it. Most things in life have a story to them, but hundreds of people come an go without any of these details. I made the table sitting under the bookshelves. It is Padauk, with two strips of Maple inlaid. The apron and legs are Ash. The pine chairs were part of the dining set from Tracy's childhood.

The table on the right came from Tracy's grandfather's home. The round table in the back came from Tracy's older sister's house. The table on the left was the table Tracy owned when I met her in 1995. The fourth table in this image came from an estate sale for $25. The estate sale was in the same neighborhood where Tracy's father grew up.

Gotta run... I've been on the move all day (about 10 hours straight) and my shoulder/broken collar bone are KILLING ME.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Update 12-15-08

Well, so far our sales have been higher this month than in December 2007. That is a good thing. We are still experiencing a downturn in sales for November and December overall, but not nearly like last year.

I was able to finish two of my three video projects recently. I have to get the last one out very soon. I also have four photoshoots to edit and get prints out to customers before Christmas. I was recently hired to design a company logo. I keep getting side jobs, and thankfully, my injuries are healed enough to work at the computer. I went to the doctor today for x-rays. He said my clavical is healing slower than normal, and that I need to keep wearing the sling for another four weeks. I wonder if the slow healing has to do with me using my left arm for too many tasks, instead of letting it rest and heal better??? I guess that is an acceptable trade off. I would rather get things done now and take longer to heal.

Gotta run. We are all doing well, and I hope the same for you.
Take care,

Friday, December 5, 2008

Continuation from yesterday

Anyway, this is what I really wanted to say about TV yesterday, but I ran out of time. There was a new show on Wednesday night. I caught some previews a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been looking forward to seeing it. The show premiered Wednesday night, and it is called The Secret Millionaire. Basically, multi-millionaires agree to give up everything for a week, and agree to live in a poor community with only one week’s worth of welfare wages.
Their goals are to survive on just those welfare wages, and also to interact with people in the community. At the end of the week, they are to give away a minimum of $100,000 of their own money to people they feel are in need and worthy of the help. I really enjoyed watching this show! It was very powerful and moving. I’m not a sappy person, but this show brought tears to my eyes several times. The main premise of the show is powerful, but it is not what impacted me the most. What really captured my attention were the people in these communities who have absolutely nothing, and yet they spend all of their time and limited resources to help other people in their communities. Tracy and I give to a couple of charities, and we volunteer at our church. However, this show made me realize we can do even more. Looking back on my life, I know that the times I have felt the best in my life are times when I have done something to help others. The feelings and emotions after helping others are so much more enriching than just about any others I can remember. If you are in the habit of helping others, then you know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t done something like this in awhile, then I challenge you to do something nice, helpful, and maybe even unexpected for someone in need. You will be amazed with the results for yourself, not to mention for the people/organization you have helped.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Last year our sales took a dive towards the end of October, worsened around Thanksgiving, continued to decline through Christmas, stayed soft in January 2008, and finally began to rebound in February. This year, October was our best month of sales ever, breaking the $15,000 for the first time! November 08 has continued to show strong sales compared to last year. We are consistently showing $650 to $775 days, with an occasional $500 - $600 weak day thrown into the mix. Considering the horrible economic outlook and dreary financial news we are being inundated with daily, we are especially happy with Nemo’s performance. However, we are taking things one day at a time, knowing that the sour economic news could impact us at anytime. All we know to do is continue to provide top notch quality product, excellent customer service, and to continue strongly in our faith that God knows best. God continues to provide, and we are very content with that, even though we are not paying ourselves. Tracy works incredibly hard without reward, other than her own satisfaction in a job done better than expected. We have our hopes that the economic crisis will eventually pass, and that our sales will climb as a result. For now, we are patient, diligent, humble, grateful, thankful, and trusting…

As for my recovery, I get better every day. I no longer take Motrin, and I do OK throughout the day. In my past, I typically ignored pain and continued with my life, regardless of my injuries/condition. I can’t count the number of times I ripped stitches out playing sports (when I was NOT supposed to be active following knee/ankle surgeries, etc)… I’m not nearly as tough as I used to be, but I think I have weathered this injury pretty well. Going back to work just 10 days after re-breaking my clavicle was a real challenge, but I survived it. Today is four weeks of healing. I have loosened my sling, and I’ve started supporting the weight of my arm with my muscles/collar bone. It is painful, but I’m very much in tune with how much stress and strain I can put on it without causing any damage. I tried to open a new jar of grape jelly yesterday, but I couldn’t do it. I felt the strain on my broken clavicle and gave up prior to hurting it. I am still injured and severely limited in what I can do, but I’m getting there!

As I mentioned before, I was forced to watch a great deal of TV while I was immobilized. That goes against the grain for me, and most of it was poor quality content. I enjoyed watching various shows with Gordon Ramsey. He is rough around the edges, but he is absolutely brilliant! He knows how to get people to perform at his level of expectations, and he does so in a very short period of time. If I were to make a list of 10 people I would like to meet, he would certainly be on the list. Some others would be Glenn Beck, Norm Abrams, ummmm… that’s all I can think of. I don’t care too much about celebrities, but there are a few who I think are quite remarkable. Well, three anyway.

Gotta run.