Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy last Monday of 2009!

This year has been a challenge for all of us, for me, it's been especially difficult this last quarter. As tough as it's been, it would be easy to write the whole year off as "bad" when in fact there have been many victories as well. Here are a few of the bright spots from 2009:

--ZipperBack Gloves were launched for sale in retail stores as planned. Many said the time was too short for the work that needed to be done, but I did it! I certainly have help on many fronts, but for the most part, it was my tenacity and optimism that kept the project moving.

--Dave is back in school! Hooray! Dave has been dissatisfied that he has not finished his college education and finally took action to get back in class. To say I am proud of him is an understatement. He lights up my life everyday and I still thank heaven that we have each other.

--Our family took a wonderful vacation this summer to Windsor, CA. Julie generously offered us a week in her timeshare and it was time together that we are still talking and smiling about.

--I joined Toastmasters and can see my speaking career coming to life, even if it's only at my weekly meetings and a service club here and there! We all have to start somewhere.

--We welcomed a new puppy, Spencer to our family and a new kitty, who has yet to be named as well. Losing Riley and then Inca just a few weeks later was really hard, but the joy of our new furry friends is certainly something to be grateful for!

--The biggest highlight of 2009 is the recognition of how many true friends we have. Dave and I have spent many days expressing our gratitude for how many people we have in our lives that are true friends, the kind of people you can call at 2 AM when you need to talk and they won't think twice about waking up to hear what's troubling you. Maybe you all feel okay about getting that call because you know we would never wake you unless it's extremely urgent! In any case, each and every one of you is a bright spot in our lives and when I say, "I love you" it's heart felt!

On a fun note, Dave's dad came to visit for Christmas. Last night we celebrated the new year a little early. We had a lovely delicatessen dinner, played some board games and then right at Mason-Midnight (9 PM), we put our hats on, blew horns, popped poppers and shared hugs and kisses! You can see the pictures below!

I hope you can find lots of things to be grateful for in 2009 and even more to look forward to in 2010. Happy New Year! With so much love, Kathy (Dave and Mason, too!)

Early New Year Celebration

This is our new kitty, the one with no name. Any suggestions?
Our early New Year celebration dinner.
Dad, Mason, and Dave getting ready to make some noise!
The Partak's
A very happy Mason!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

This week has been so hectic. I'm hoping that you have been so busy, too, that you've not noticed that no Monday Motivator was sent. No matter, it's just that time of year. We're trying to make sure all the details are tended to before Christmas and New Year celebrations, while still managing to work, run our households, and all the other daily tasks that consume our every minute. I'll share all about our Christmas on this coming Monday, pictures and all!

With that said, let me share with you my annual Christmas wish. This Christmas mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Write a love letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Keep a promise. Find the time. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Think first of someone else. Be kind and gentle. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it still once again.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Only ten more shopping days until Christmas! Are you ready? I'm not. This year has been such a challenge that the material part of the holiday just seems inconsiderate. I mean, so many people are out of work, struggling to keep their houses, and food on the table to buy gifts just because it's Christmas seems in poor taste. If you have the funds and want to give a gift, it makes more sense to me to bake a pie, pick up a turkey on sale, or just make time to visit. I'm in the mood for a more personal holiday.

Things have settled down for us after losing Riley and then having to surrender Brando. Dave reached out to all of you in a time of deep grief and many of you responded with such love and kindness that to simply say "thank you" doesn't seem like enough. Some of you chipped in to help us purchase a new puppy and I want you to know your love is now licking my face! His name is Spencer and he is a total character! Our house feels so much more like home with a dog. I don't know exactly how right now, but I will pay your generosity forward. Smiling.

Happy, happy birthday Lisa A., Terry L., Eric C., Chris H., Olivia who's 1, Brenda P., and Paul D. who shares my birthday exactly! All of us December babies get to celebrate during the most festive time of year!

I hope you are feeling joy this holiday season and not the stress that can easily overtake you when you least expect it! With all my love!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Record Snow in Auburn

"Baby, it's cold outside!" I'm loving this winter weather. The news is reporting that we may get snow tonight and by the way the wind is whistling, I'd say I believe it!

Dave has been fighting a cold and with work, school, and See's for Soldiers, it seems there just isn't time to get our Christmas decorations up. He's been putting them up one here, another there so I'm sure they'll all find their way up eventually. I'm not feeling the holiday spirit the way I usually do, but as I unpack our indoor decorations and decorate cookies, it's a little easier to make it fun for Mason.

Other than the busy-ness of our full life, things are good. The gloves are getting rave reviews, sales are up, and Christmas cookies are under way.

I wrote this on Sunday night planning to write the rest on Monday morning. Little did I know we would be waking up not feeling well, to more than six inches of snow, broken limbs on both of our oak trees and several olive trees, and no Internet! The Internet connection being down was the least of our worries. So after several hours on the phone with AT&T and a new wireless modem, here I am! Though I wasn't feeling well, Dave and Mason loved, loved, loved the snow day. I hope your Monday was as much fun as Mason's "school is closed for snow" day!

Snowy Pictures

Early AM pictures of the snowfall, not quite 2 inches.

A little later, but still dark...4+ inches.

One of the broken limbs from the gorgeous oak in our backyard.
The Subaru is under that branch! Unharmed, thankfully.

Mason and the snowman he and Dave created.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

It's official, the Christmas season is here! The season kicked off with shopping on Black Friday. Do you get up in the wee hours of the morning to save a few dollars? I don't but Dave does, every year! He doesn't just do it to save money, for him it's more about the energy that comes from the retail experience. He has a long history in the retail industry, primarily being the one preparing all the treasures you are getting there so early to gobble up.

We had our big Thanksgiving dinner and celebration this weekend and it just couldn't have been nicer. Mike arrived Wednesday night so that gave us three full days together. Mike and Dave did tons of work cleaning the yard, minor repairs around the house, and lots of cleaning and food preparation. Greg and Heather got here Friday night and did we have a ball with Josh (just days away from being one!). Saturday Diana, James and Lisa, Roberta and Steve, and Julie all arrived and we just fell in to a comfortable rhythm playing with the kids, visiting, and getting ready for dinner. The meal was spectacular and all of Dave's hard work in the kitchen was clearly appreciated. We all gathered in the living room for a spirited game of Trivial Pursuit before it was clear we were all fat and happy and ready for bed! Sunday morning found us at Awful Annie's for breakfast and from there, everyone headed off to travel home or to their next adventure. David and Lisa Anderson stopped by on their way home from Truckee and it was the perfect time to indulge in leftover turkey sandwiches! This part is almost as good as the main meal itself!

Now it's time to put away the turkey's and autumn leaves and get out the polar bears and Santa's. Christmastime is here. I'm not big on the material part of Christmas. I love baking cookies, decorating the house, sending and receiving Christmas cards, and gathering with friends. Of course, I love getting Mason the thing he's pining for that shows up under the tree from Santa, but I'm not big on so many gifts he can't tell you what he actually got.

Here's what I'm proposing; why don't we all spend this holiday season simplifying our idea of Christmas? On my Intentional Winning blog, I'm going to spend all of December sharing ideas on how you can get back to basics and enjoy this season with little or no money. More importantly, show the people you love how you feel about them without a boxed candle set, shower gel, or a make-up set valued at $79.99 for only $9.99! Join me and share your ideas for feeling more this holiday and ringing in the new year on a high note!

With love,

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Good With The Bad

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let me get the bad news out of the way; you all know we got a young cocker spaniel, Brando. We are not going to be able to keep him. Brando suffers from something called resource guarding. Basically, he feels he needs to guard certain things, from a toy, to a random pillow (that he's not using), or people. The problem is that this is completely unpredictable and random. Having a child in the home, this is just not something we can take a chance with. We are working with a rescue organization that can hopefully find a home qualified to work with this issue of his. We are sad to see him go, but know that we will have another dog when the time is right.

Now some good news, the Mandarin Festival was this weekend. Placer grown mandarins have been proven to have high levels of synephrine which is a natural ingredient shown to improve allergies I digress, I made my Mandarin Cranberry Oatmeal cookies and entered them in the recipe contest. When I showed up on Sunday there were nearly 30 entries in the dessert category alone! I expected that my cookies were a bit too ordinary to win, but win I did, third place! Whoo-Hoo and $25.00 to add toward our Thanksgiving holiday! If you're interested, I've posted the recipe below.

I practice gratitude everyday but I certainly feel more nostalgic this time of year. I hope you have many things to be thankful for and lots of friends and family to share them with. I'm grateful everyday for my marriage, Dave and Mason, and our extended family. I'm also deeply thankful for all of you, my true friends. I know I have more friends than most people and I'm sincerely humbled by all the love you send me every week! Happy, happy Thanksgiving!

Mandarin Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies


2 ½ C Flour
2C Oatmeal
1 Tsp Baking soda
¼ Tsp Nutmeg
6 Small Mandarins or 1 Large Orange
1 C Raisins
1 C Butter
1 C Sugar
1 C Lt. Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Tbs Mandarin zest
2 oz Grand Marnier
1 C Dried Cranberries

In a bowl, mix flour, oatmeal, baking soda, and nutmeg. In a food processor or blender, combine mandarins and raisins and process until finely chopped. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, mandarin zest, and Grand Marnier until completely blended. Stir in mandarin mixture and then gradually add flour mixture. Add dried cranberries. Mix on low until completely mixed. Cover and refrigerate dough for one hour. Spoon dough onto ungreased or lightly greased cookie sheets 2 inched apart and bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.

*1 C Chopped Walnuts - optional


16 oz Powdered Sugar
¼ C Warm Water
1 Tsp Orange Extract
1 Tbs Meringue Powder
1 Tsp Mandarin Zest

In a mixing bowl add powdered sugar and warm water and start mixer on low speed. While mixing, add orange extract, meringue powder, and mandarin zest. Stop mixer and scrape down the bowl making sure all dry ingredients are mixing in. Mix on medium speed adding more water if necessary 1 tsp at a time until desired consistency. Using a pastry bag, plastic bag, or spoon, drizzle icing on cool cookies and let icing set.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thank You!

Happy Monday, and it really feels better.

So many of you reached out to me with kind words, cards, calls, and so much love when you heard about Riley's death. It's been a tough three weeks, but the heavy sadness has lifted and I'm accepting the reality. I've been learning a lot about grief and as a mom here's what I can tell you, I will never suppress Mason should he experience real grief while he's in my care. It seems to me that I've been trying not to grieve, like it's not okay on some level. It is okay, it's what you need to do to heal. I'm healing.

Thank you my friends for showing me that I am loved. What more can I ask for? Not a single thing. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Part Two - Good News

Monday was our 8th wedding anniversary. I've shared over the years how much I respect and love Dave but you know what, we've never been through a loss and heart break like the one we're experiencing with Riley's death. Through this tough time, I've seen a side of Dave that I suppose I knew about, but until I needed it, it's not been obvious. It's how he holds me when I cry, not a hug, an all-encompassing embrace. Or the way he doesn't just hand me a tissue, he gently wipes my cheek. While I sleep, he not only puts his arm around me, he holds my hand. As deeply as there is heart break, there is sincere comfort. This is the message the old married couple gives the young newlyweds, "Marry someone you like, and loving them will come easily." Loving Dave has come easily (when it finally came!), and it gets easier every day! Happy anniversary!

Some of you may have known that we learned about a young cocker spaniel in Palm Springs that needed a new home. I don't believe in coincidence, I more so believe that things are as they are meant to be. The woman from the cocker rescue organization didn't know where he was, but sent me the e-mail because he is a young dog and she knew that's what we wanted. He was living just 15 minutes from where we were staying! I've never been to Palm Springs and here I am, with my car, and this sweet dog needs a new home. We had an additional passenger in the car on Sunday for the long drive home.

His name is Brando and he was abandoned as a puppy. I don't know how long he was in the shelter, but the couple that adopted him had two other dogs and two cats. Add Brando in and that made five all together in a one bedroom apartment! He spent most of his time in a crate (not a bad thing sometimes, but all day and all night?) and it's clear already he's loving his freedom. I'm very grateful to the people who recognized that he needed more than they could give him right now and let him come live with us. There's lots more to come from this character so stay tuned!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Some Rain Must Fall

In a really wonderful life, some rain must fall. The rain being tears shed. I'm crying less at losing Riley though still riding the ocean of emotions missing him. I guess this is my time to learn about grief because in a very Déjà vu moment, I got a call on the way home from Palm Springs that my dear friend Eileen passed away on Saturday night. Just two short weeks after Riley, and both notifications while traveling home from somewhere fun. I absolutely refuse to believe this nonsense about things happening in three's and will simply choose to know that people lose their loved ones everyday. I've been so incredibly fortunate to not have to deal with loss in my life until now. I get it. This is not to say I haven't lost a loved one, I have. The difference has been that my father and my grandmother were both very old, and lived long lives. This losing those too soon, well, we can all agree it's not fair and it's very painful.

I have more to share but not now, tonight. Stay tuned for some good news. In the meantime, don't miss an opportunity to show your love, give a hug, make that phone call, or just smile at people you encounter walking down the street. You never know who's day you might make with a simple kind gesture.

With all my love,

Monday, November 2, 2009


I struggle with writing today as I'm still so sad. I'm crying less but just because the tears aren't falling doesn't mean I'm done grieving. Mason and Dave made Halloween so much fun. Mason was Darth Vader and Dave decorated like he always does. Sunday, the sun was out and the sky was a most gorgeous shade of blue. Mason and I walked to town, got a hot chocolate (I had decaf), and picked up a few groceries. The fall colors were so beautiful, yet my eyes were still wet.

Here's why I'm struggling; I don't want to be writing about my heart break and sadness incessantly, it's so personal and though you all love me, you're not feeling the loss like I am. I can hear you all telling me it's okay, that you understand, but do you really want to keep reading how sad I feel? I don't think so.

The flip side is that I am real, and that means real in joy and in grief. Many of you have commented over the years about how I paint my life picture so rosy and there's a hint of can it really be that good all the time? in your voice. My answer is, "Yes, it really is that good." Sure, I see the bright side so I don't always acknowledge the hiccups and when I do, I make light of them. I decided to write this because I am real, and I'm really soaked with sadness right now. I'm still crying, my chin quivers when I talk, my voice all but disappears when someone asks me how I am, and I miss biting my Riley every morning. I can't help but think this would be easier if he were 15 years old and his time had come. 7 was just too young.

With all that said, life is made up of so many things, one of them being sorrow. The cutting, uncontrollable emotions will get easier and the good will soon outweigh the sadness. Bear with me while I get through this. With love.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mr. Riley 2002-2009

“Living the life of Riley” In memoriam from October 4, 2002, everything in between, to October 24, 2009.

It’s a sad day in the Partak household. We woke to the news that Riley died last night. He was at our friend’s house while we were in Monterey for a National Guard function. How he died is immaterial, rather how he lived is all that matters.

Riley lived life to the fullest. He was always happy, unless he did something wrong and was punished but he would soon forget and be happy again. He always greeted you as if you had been gone for years even if you just walked across the street to get the mail. Riley loved to sleep and he would always be the last one out of bed, but once we were up and moving he had to be with us. He also loved to eat. He would paw at the freezer for his favorite Bowowlicious snack or get up on the kitchen table to take a little taste of my pie...he got in trouble for that! He was always up for a good game of tug. He made sure that the deer and turkeys kept their distance but was friendly to everyone else he met. There wasn’t much he didn’t like. Kathy had to think hard but she finally remembered he didn’t link to be sprayed with stuff that made him smell good, he preferred to be a little stinky. We won’t have to worry about keeping the gates closed or calling him in for barking late at night. We will have more room in the bed but I don’t think we will sleep as good. Riley was a unique dog, a one of a kind that will be impossible to replace.

Riley left us too soon but he left some lessons for all of us. Say good bye like it’s your last day on earth. Say hello as if you had been gone for a long time. Be passionate in all you do. Take advantage of the little pleasures. Play hard and rest well. Find a sunny spot on a warm day or lay by the fire on a cold one. Nothing is better medicine to cure your ills then a furry companion. Go for a walk or a run every day. Love the ones you’re with.

The first song we heard when we decided to turn the radio up was Clay Walker’s “Live, Laugh, Love,” a song that fit the way Riley lived. After I picked up Riley’s body, Randy Travis’s song, “Three Wooden Crosses” came on. One of the lines in the lyrics goes “It's not what you take when you leave this world behind you, It's what you leave behind you when you go.”
Riley left us a lot in his short life.

Feel free to email Kathy but please don’t call right now. Don’t ask what happened, we don’t even really know and don’t want to. All we can say is it was an accident and there is no one to blame. Kathy will return your calls when she feels up to it. Dave

Rest In Peace Riley 2002-2009

This is one of my all time favorite pictures of me and Riley.


Riley didn't like to be dressed up, but he loved to make me happy.

Riley loved his toys! We got the purple squeaky dragon on one of our trips to Alameda.

He even slept with his toys. Sleep well Riley. You will be sorely missed.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Mason!

Happy Monday!

Mason's birthday is tomorrow but we celebrated on Saturday and will again tomorrow. If you want a chuckle, visit my Intentional Winning blog to read all about adventures in birthday cake. I guarantee you will smile!

It's been a jam packed week and weekend. We survived the torrential rain last week and had gorgeous weather for the weekend. On Saturday morning, Mason and I went to the Auburn Community Festival where we dropped off pumpkin sugar cookies Mason helped make (his entry), and a caramel apple cheesecake I made. From there, we went to the Zoo where we met some of my friends from twitter at the Zoo TweetUp (like a meet-up, but since you are twitter friends, it's a tweet-up). The Sacramento Zoo hosted it and boy, did they do a nice job! We got 1/2 off admission, a private room, food, drinks, a private animal encounter, a ride on their beautiful carousel, and we got to meet new friends face to face. Mason had a ball and so did I!

We got home and hustled to put the finishing touches on the house and Mason did his cake before his friends started arriving for his Star Wars birthday party. We grilled some hamburgers, had cake, opened presents, and then the real fun began. Dave made popcorn and the kids watched The Clone Wars in the backyard with goodie bags of candy and popcorn from an old time popcorn popper! The adults who stayed gathered around the fire with a beverage and a story. It was lots of fun.

Sunday morning Dave had to be up early for drill and Mason and Mike were up with the sun putting together Legos. I took my time, had some coffee and read the Sunday paper. Guess what? I won second place in the recipe contest with my caramel apple cheesecake! Whoo-Hoo! $50 and a smile! I hope you had a fun filled weekend like we did. Well, Dave did have to work, but when he wasn't working, he had fun, too! Here's a quote Dave sent me. I like the quote, but I really like that Dave thought about it and sent it to me to share with you. Happy Monday!

"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser" John Garber

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Caramel Apple Cheesecake
2nd place winner at the 2009 Auburn Community Festival!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Fall Y'all!

Hi Friends,
This has been a busy, wild, fun, and hectic week. The bright spots were date night for Dave and I on Saturday night. We went to a wine tasting fundraiser. Dave wore a suit and tie and I wore a dress with stockings and high heels! Indeed, it was lots of fun.

On Sunday we were invited to join James and Lisa Leis invited us to join them on a limo trip to Apple Hill! We took Mason's friend Zachary and there were two other kids with us as well. It was a luxurious, fun, family trip! We didn't have a moment to rest and this morning we were off to Bishop's Pumpkin Farm in Wheatland, CA. A little town with a great place to spend a day with your family and come home with pumpkins! This was a field trip with Mason's class and our first time visiting. I can say with certainty, we will go back as one of our fall traditions for years to come!

The glove business is off the hook! We have sold nearly all of our inventory. Retailers are reaching out from all over the globe. We ordered some more inventory to be here by Thanksgiving. If you know someone with kids, who can use snow gloves, please refer them to us and our web site. Now more than ever we need your help to sell the gloves we have coming. The more people who know, during the winter months, about ZipperBack Gloves can only mean success! I'm counting on you to help us spread the word!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Everybody's Happy!

Happy Fall Friends!

Dave was off this weekend at a civil war reenactment. I'm so glad he went. Marriage and family bring so many wonderful things, but all the additions mean some of our existing hobbies get pushed to the nether regions of God knows where. Dave loves reenacting and it's been more than six years since he's been able to really participate. Next year it's my intention that Dave will go to more events and Mason and I will go, too!

Mason and I did some busy work at home, went to the Auburn Home Show, and did several crafts together. Mason made a bird house, decorated a skeleton, and made a foam gingerbread house. I started feeling "not so good" on Sunday and I'm bummed to say I'm still not feeling so good. I'm gonna go take a hot bath and see if the heat will not only take the chill off, but make my achy bones feel better.

Sunday was Riley's 7th birthday. We had a Bowowlicious Barkday cake and we all made his day really special!

Next week it's time to get out the fall decorations and get the graveyard put together. Happy fall!

Monday, September 28, 2009

One Weekend, Two Firsts!

Happy Monday!

It's officially fall but it sure doesn't feel like it! Today temps reached 100 so we made a trip to the river. There is so much to talk about, it makes me tired just thinking about all of it!

I think I shared with all of you that the gloves are just about sold out...didn't I? Well, the inventory we bought to sell from our web site and to consumers this winter was nearly all bought up by the retailers we met at the ABC Kids Expo. I'm working this week to determine if we want to buy more inventory. I'll let you know, but for now, if you want gloves for this winter, buy them now! I can't guarantee that we will have any left as of October 1st. Leo, I know you want a size small and I have those for you! I know, I know, it's a good problem to have!

This weekend was good. A nice mix of work and play. There was the usual stuff like laundry, groceries, and glove stuff but there was fun stuff, too. Dave went to a reunion of his Civil War buddies and then took Mason to a NASCAR sanctioned race in Roseville on Saturday night. It was Mason's first race and they both had a great time. I stayed home and Mike came up to work on glove business. It's always nice spending time with Mike, but then he headed off to Folsom to do the night out with the guys. That left me home alone and happy! I started catching up on my blogs, read some magazines and talked with Tania in BC and Julianne in MN. Dave doesn't give me grief for talking on the phone, too much anyway, but it's just so nice to talk as long as I want with no one looking my way and then at their watch. A Saturday night all to myself was heavenly!

Sunday brought another first for Mason. While we were at the river, Mason skipped his first rock! It's the simple things that make me smile like Mason saying, "Did you see that one mama? It was a two-skipper!" He did a few three-skippers and was really wow'd when Dave did a five-skipper! Other than our trip to the river we stayed home. Dave brought me coffee in bed and then watched the race. I spent the day reading and writing. Mason played with Legos. We went outside and made S'mores (had to use the last of the home made smoshpellows!) by the fire before calling it a night. Just another day in the life of our happily ever after!

How was your weekend? Drop me a line and share something fun. Have a great week and take this with you, find one thing you can do this week that makes someone else's life better. Write to me and share what you did or didn't do! Happy Monday!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back Home!

I'm home and rested. It took a full three days, but worth every exhausting moment! Last week we were in Las Vegas for the ABC Kids Expo. We introduced our ZipperBack Gloves to the world of kids retailers and they loved them! In fact, they wanted to buy them right then and there! We were totally planning to only take orders for next year not realizing that buyers for this market want their product now and will order again for next year. Our snow sports buyers buy in January for the following winter season. No matter, it was a huge success and all of my (our) instincts that this is a great product were validated.

On another note, I got to meet some of the wonderful people I talk to on facebook at twitter in Las Vegas. Some people think these social networking sites are just a mindless waste of time, and I can see how it can be like that, but not in my experience. Julianne, Christine, Josh, Jessica, Ginelle, Jim, Julia, Leslie, Bill, Chris, Kendra, Lisa, and so many more are real people who are doing business and having fun meeting others on twitter and facebook. The fun is worthwhile but the other side in business, well, there is business happening that would never have come to life if not for casually networking on line. All I'm really saying is I love these people and can see myself keeping in touch for a long time to come.

Dave, Mike, Julianne, and I all had a ball in Vegas. Back home, Julie, Cris, Kelly, Charlie, and Robin made sure Mason was cared for (how would I ever do the things I do without this incredible team?) so we could do what we needed to do and Mason could stay in school. There has been more work in bringing a product to market than I could ever have dreamed, but I'm so proud that we've made it this far and it makes the stars I'm reaching for seem so much more in reach! Look in the sky in your life and reach for your stars, too. I know you can do anything you dream of if you just take one little step each day. Big smiles, happy Monday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Away On Business

We are at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas intorducing ZipperBack Gloves to the world. So far so good. More next week!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Today Is The Day!

Happy day after Monday!

Today is a red letter day in the Partak family. Today, we officially have a working web site that you can actually buy gloves from!

I'm extremely proud that we have come from me sitting at our kitchen table cutting up a thrift store glove to having a great new product for sale!

Dave, Mike, and I are leaving on Friday for our first trade show to introduce ZipperBack Gloves to the world of children's retailers. I feel a bit like, "We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz!" I don't know if the road we've taken has been yellow bricks or paved with gold, but I can say with certainty that no matter what the ultimate outcome of this venture turns out to be, I have no regrets. I feel fortunate beyond belief that the people who have rallied around us to make this happen believe in this as much as we do, and even more, they, you believe in us!

Tell all your family and friends to visit our site and buy some gloves! E-mail, Tweet, facebook, pull out all the stops! We have limited numbers for this maiden voyage so think Christmas, think snow, and think ZipperBack Gloves!

Today's motivator is my motto: "Whatever you think, you're right!"

Monday, August 31, 2009

From Wildlife To Wildfires

Hello Friends!

Happy Monday. Next week it will be September and summer will officially be over, at least per school schedules that dictate our personal schedules.

Many of you know there was a devastating fire here in Auburn yesterday. Many of you called to make sure we were okay and we are. The fire was in north Auburn and really did some damage. Last I heard, sixty homes were burned to the ground and many area businesses. I sure hope those families have friends as great as you guys! You made us feel really good reaching out.

We spent this weekend camping in Coloma on the American river. It was a really great time. We went with Steve, Roberta, and Julie. On Friday night, there was a group of firefighters doing water rescue training and their victims decided not to show up. Julie and Roberta were happy to help! It was quite an experience to watch these guys work in an ice cold rushing the dark! The other exciting thing that happened was while we were visiting by the campfire. We were listening to satellite radio, hair bands from the 80's reminiscing about where we were and what we were doing back then when the dogs went crazy! Monty went running off and Riley was pulling his lead tight. The guys looked around and determined, it was nothing. We went back to laughing when Dave got big eyes and said, "Look!" As we turned to look, we saw the rear of a skunk, tail strait up and positioned to fire. We all tried to move away quickly, except Dave who realized that Riley was in his crate just to the right of the skunk and Mason was asleep on a lounge chair directly in the line of fire. As I climbed over Dave, literally, over the top of his head, the skunk scurried away. I'm a little embarrassed that I completely forgot Mason was there until the skunk was gone and it occurred to me that I wanted to be out of "spray-range" so I could assess how best to rescue Mason and Riley! Yeah, right! As the critter made his way down the line of campsites, we saw lights focus on the riverbank, and squeals and screams just like the ones we'd just let out. It was a very funny moment, and for the record, skunks are not as cute from that angle! We slept under the stars, ate s'mores, and panned for gold. We didn't strike it rich, but we had fun!

For the next two weeks, I am up to my eyeballs in gloves and trade show preparations. We are planning to have our pre-sale live on the 1st, but I'll send out an official announcement so you know. Hopefully, I'll remember to post some pictures of our weekend and when I do, I'll send you the link. I hope you are well and thank you for calling to make sure we were okay!

With love,

Monday, August 24, 2009

I'm Not MIA

Hey friends, I'm up to my eyeballs in details for the upcoming ABC show in Las Vegas. We are only just over two weeks away from packing up the car and the list of things to do is growing by the moment! I have some exciting news and updates, but I have to be in a place where I can sit quietly and write. I'll get everything updated before the end of this week!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Baking Contest Winners!

Happy Monday!

We had a lovely weekend. Saturday Dave had drill and Mason and I stayed home baking cookies. As it turned out, we made cookies and pie for the National Guard picnic on Sunday. They had planned a baking contest and all three Partak's were in the running. Dave made a peach-blueberry pie, I made a lemon-blueberry pie, and Mason made sugar cookies. They had a clown twisting balloons, face painting, and took the kids to the petting zoo and to ride the train. Dave played horseshoes, and I got to meet some of the people Dave works with. After a great barbecue lunch, the contest was judged. Dave took third place, Mason took second place, and I took the blue ribbon! It may seem that the contest was rigged, but in fact we were three of only four entries! It's all in fun!

Mason starts school on Wednesday and he is SO excited! As many of you know, Mason started kindergarten last year but wasn't quite ready. I'm glad we decided to wait because he is so much better equipped this year. We have to get some new shoes and a haircut this week, as for clothes, we'll just wait and get them as he needs them. He's still so hard on clothes, I hate to buy anything brand new!

Have a great week and write back to let me know what you did this weekend! I love to hear what's new!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Monday!

I was completely out of sorts yesterday. There was no good reason, I was just simply out of gas. The day still needed to be addressed though so we moved onward and upward. Let me go back to Saturday though because Dave and I had a ball! Mason got an invite to sleep over at Zack's house. You know what that baby sitting and Dave and I get a date night! We headed out on Saturday afternoon to Apple Hill. We went to Patrick's Berry Farm and picked blackberries. Oh my goodness, they were SO good! I'm not much of a blackberry girl as I've never really had any that were this good and the seeds didn't make the so-so flavor worth it. Not so with these! The Navajo variety tasted like blackberry soda and the Triple Crown tasted like candy. We picked enough for Dave to make a pie, and make pie he did! He also made sorbet in two floavors; orange and nectarine. So good! We did some wine tasting in Apple Hill, toodled old town Placerville and then had a nice dinner out.

As I've already mentioned, I was pooped on Sunday but we had planned to have Monica over to shoot Mason and Scottlyn in snowsuits pretending to be in a snowball fight. We plan to use the images to create life size photo stand-ups of the kids for our trade show booth in September. It was classic, 85 or 90 degrees outside and the kids are in full snow gear throwing Styrofoam balls at each other! You'll see more about that in the coming weeks.

What did you do this weekend? Hopefully you had some fun. Don't forget to nominate ZipperBack Gloves in the Intuit Love A Local Business contest and help us gain some much needed free business capital. Have a great week and remember to do something that moves your dream forward, just a little bit! Consistency is what will get you where you want to go. Happy Monday!

Apple Hill and Berry Picking!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Things Are Starting To Happen!

Happy Monday and welcome to August!

Summer is in full swing and we are busy, busy, busy! I worked a temp job with Julie on Thursday and Friday and though we were working, we had some time to visit. We went to the Lodi Thursday night farmers market and met Greg, Heather, her parents and Josh for a nice evening of music, fun food, and a great glass of wine.

On Saturday, Dave, Mason and I were getting the ball rolling for our trade show in September. We are looking for two kid mannequins, a counter top spinner rack to display our gloves, and so many other things. We scoured Denio's Farmers Market & Auction and found a pair of children's skis and then we also found a pair of kid's cross country skis at a thrift store. From there, we went to TAP Plastics and got an earful on how to make molds and castings of children's hands. We bought our resin mix and headed to Michael's craft store to get our alginate mold material. We made two castings of Mason's hands and it worked beautifully. Now that we've done it once, we now need to do it again to get exactly what we need to show buyers why our gloves really are the best!

In addition to all the ZBG work we did, Dave worked in the front yard, I cleaned our room, and did loads of laundry. Mike came up and we had a ZipperBack Glove meeting over pomegranate margaritas while we sat by the fire in the backyard. It's exciting to know that in January 2008 this glove project was just an idea. Here we are in August 2009, preparing for a pre-sale, a trade show, and to have our gloves for sale in retail stores in just a few short months. WOW! It just goes to show you, if you take small actions on a consistent basis, you will create something...something more than small talk about this great idea you have. Stop talking and start doing and you, too can be busy, busy, busy, and say, "Things are starting to happen!"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Fun With Mason!

Happy Tuesday!

I'm late, I know. There was a time when I would have stayed up until 2 AM, writing anything that would fill this space other than post a day late. Am I maturing? Laughing! Who knows, but I do know that you would rather hear something entertaining, than read just any old thing. As it turns out, it's a good thing I waited because Mason was cracking me up this morning.

We spent the weekend in the bay area and had a ball! We went to the Park Street Art & Wine Faire on Saturday. It was fun to see Bettie, Tracy & Rob and their two babies, and David and Lisa put us up in their lovely guest room. We enjoyed a bottle of wine on the deck looking out at the beautiful Alameda bay, had my favorite Chilean sea bass from Kamakura, and we went to the movies at the gorgeous Alameda theatre. WOW! Talk about an experience that makes you want to stop and take it all in, this theatre is gorgeous! On Sunday, we drove to San Jose to see Dave's mom and sister's family. We went to a local park with great play grounds, a train, and a carousel. We had lunch in the park and had a lovely visit!

Monday snuck up on me and I hit the ground running. Before I knew it, the day was gone. So here I am writing to you on Tuesday but you're in luck because Mason is playing in the living room. He is playing with his imaginary friends Johnny Test and Johnny X. The two Johnny's are apparently picking on him because he is in the living room laughing and asking them to stop giving him a wedgie. Oh, you know it's coming, he's pulling his own underpants up his butt, pretending that they are doing this "to" him....and, yes, I took a picture! Laughing!

Here's my challenge to you this week; Can you have this much fun by yourself? Do you have imaginary counsel that you can talk to about what you want, what you could do, or just share your happy thoughts with? If not, maybe you can think about who you would put in your mind to have on your team. I have Napoleon Hill, Oprah, Jack Canfield, and more on my team in my mind. I ask my question and imagine what any one of my team would advise me to do. It really creates a different line of thinking when you are looking for clarity or answers. Let me know what you think of this idea! Have a great week and make something special happen!

Mason Being Picked On....

Mason getting a wedgie from his imaginary pals!
Enjoying the Art & Wine Faire
This is the first time Mason made it to the top of the rock wall!
The gorgeous view from the Anderson's deck!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Faster I Go, The Behinder I Get!

How far behind do you have to get before you decide to quit? Behind in what you may be wondering, to which my answer would be, "Anything that's important." I'm currently behind in filing my monthly paid bills, my monthly newsletter, Mason's cookbook, my exercise program, and several other pressing projects. When I start to feel this way it makes me just want to throw my hands in the air and start new at the beginning of something completely different. The reality is, no matter what I'm doing, if I'm not staying committed to the timeline, I'll fall behind again!

As a family, we're doing more trying to make the most of the long summer days, but yesterday, Mason and I scheduled nothing. Not a single thing on the calendar, Mason watched SpongeBob and I talked on the phone with my girlfriends...not all of them, but a few that I haven't spoken with in more than a month. Yet again, I've fallen behind on keeping my relationships current!

In years past, I've felt a strong sense of balance, like I was doing enough outside and spending my fair share of time at home. Of course, there have also been the times that balance was way out of whack! The out of whack side is rearing it's ugly head this month. I've been working to gain more consulting clients, looking for a regular paying job, along with any other way I can earn a living. Our glove business is moving along with Thursdays delivery of our first shipment of retail ready gloves! We have a trade show to get ready for in September and Mason starts kindergarten on August 19th, just about a month away. Our life is surely no different than every other working family, but some days, it just all seems so overwhelming. It's hard to feel like you're succeeding with anything when you reach a point of completion, all you can focus on is all you still have left to do! I know you know what I mean.

We're not quitters and we will keep persevering no matter how hard it gets. Are you finding that your lists are longer and your check-marks fewer? Do you have any tricks or tips for coping when it seems like there is so much more to do than you can ever accomplish? Please, do tell!

Have a great week. My motivator for today is this: Take some time each day this week to tell someone something about you or your situation that will reveal to them that they are not struggling in this economy alone. Though we all logically know we're not alone, it sure feels good to have the ones we love share that they are coping in some area of their life as well. You can start with me if you want!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy As A 5 Year Old.

Happy Monday Friends!

While on vacation, I made note of something that I may not recognize while at home. The simple things that make a 5 year old happy and how they express their joy. There are some obvious things like a Popsicle, staying up 15 minutes later than bedtime, or a handful of M&Ms.

What I noticed while on vacation was that Mason took advantage of all the amenities that we came across. Like what amenities you may be taking a drink from a water fountain on the sidewalk, or stopping to look at the new design on a soda can. Really! We don't drink soda, but Mason noticed the new designs on a soda vending machine.

There was the daily ritual of anticipating being able to put the card key in the slot and open the door at precisely the right moment to let us into our condo and then again at the pool gate. Getting close to the pool and hearing kids laughing and splashing, Mason lit up and said, "I hear fun!" Can you be that happy while hearing other's joy and knowing you will be a part of it? Mason was and did! He went right over to the vacationing children, jumped in the pool and introduced himself. "Hi, I'm M-A-S-O-N. Do you know what that spells? Mason."

On the one day we planned to stay in, Mason came out of the bathroom and said, "Hey guys. What are we gonna do today? Maybe we can know, in some town, a little look, a little see. Wouldn't that be fun?" All while smiling his crooked little smile nodding his head. How do you say no to that?

The resort had a playground and Mason made it a point to get out of the pool and go play at least one time before we left, "Because it's a play ground and that's what kids do, they play." He said. Dave took Mason to the arcade where he played each game and it seemed that was enough to check off his list of resort amenities. Of course, you all know Mason and know that being on vacation is not the same without a bath in a bath tub! Yes, we have two bath tubs at home, but there's something about a hotel bath tub that has a special quality. I think it's that it's clean!

Here's my question for you; What do you have right under your nose, everyday, that you can take advantage of and really be joyous about? Can you be as happy as a 5 year old?

I have many things, but first and foremost is the keen eye and wonderfully simple sense of humor of my sweet Mason. He is far more my teacher than any educator I've ever had!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pictures From Sonoma

Our second taste of the trip, Rosenblum in Healdsburg.
We started at Toad Hollow!
Mason and Dave with the bear!
Dinner with Joe at Bear Republic Brewery in Healdsburg, CA
Ladies, if wearing a two-piece, get the shot while in the water!
We all enjoyed the hot tub and pools!
Dave creating his vision for The FAT Bee wine. Stay tuned!
Does this not scream "Americana?"
Pretty places to shop, even just window shopping was fun!
Having Mason with us was really a lot of fun!
I loved this pretty place. Driving along and, BAM! Gorgeous!
And more pretty places to see!
All was well until...."No you may not have a balloon."
The "Yes I am grateful!" meltdown. Video to come!
It's a new day. Feeling Strong.
Train Town in Sonoma, CA
Vacation's over.