December 31, 2009

I WANT to believe...

Craig Newmark on his unintended successful creation Craigslist: “All I can do is suggest people could return to basics, in the sense that our site is about meeting people’s every day, real needs, like getting a place to live or a job. We operate in a culture of trust and a lot of that has to do with our core values, like treating people like you want to be treated. That means being serious about customer service and listening and following through.”

I want to believe in the innate goodness in people. I desire to feel comfortable trusting someone who extends a helping hand. Even more, I want my husband to believe.

It’s hard, though. It’s a scary world out there. And it isn’t helped by shows like CSI, Without a Trace and the like. Or movies… those cinema thrillers that mimic, or sometimes envisage, real life and cast doubts and fear into the minds of the viewers. The worst is the actual news. Reading about abductions of children who are found years later after serving as a sexual slave to their typically devout (read: religiously fanatic) captor. Or good people who are active in their community with large families filled with biological and adopted children, some with special needs, who are murdered during a… ROBBERY attempt. Great the kids are unharmed. But seriously… this is the payback those parents get? Or even Craigslist, as mentioned above. A community of people helping people. And yet, “Craigslist Murder” captured headlines everywhere when a masseuse-for-hire is killed by a man who, according to his fiancĂ©, “could not hurt a fly”.

I want to believe in the general goodness of humans. I am a fan of Craigslist, despite the Craigslist Murder this year. Of course, I would not be selling my body or looking for a partner on that site (or any site)… but goods, yes, I have looked, I have sold, and I have purchased. I prefer Craigslist to e-bay because Craigslist is free. It’s a negotiation between two people who have the power of being honest, fair and honorable without third-party fees and intervention. Now, that said, e-bay’s securities are a nice fallback, and I have done my fair share of purchasing and selling there as well. But Craigslist is cleaner; to me… it is a bare-bones negotiation. No bidding and over bidding and losing. It’s a straight up “here’s what I have” and “here’s what I’m offering”. Maybe a slight banter back and forth. But I’ve gotten some great deals, and received some too.

Seriously… we broke up half of our concrete block porch last year. A pile of cinder block in my yard is not conducive to happy neighbors, healthy dogs, or lawn mowing. We couldn’t afford a dumpster and we didn’t want to haul one or two pieces to the curb every week (we’d still be doing that) in the hopes that it would get taken away in our normal trash. Enter: Craigslist. I posted an ad that basically said “Free to good home, cinder block, slightly used. You haul.” WHO in the heck would ever respond to something like that?! I’ll tell you… I had no less than 6 people respond and that cinder block was gone by the end of the following week. No money out of hand… and the last person to pick it up even “cleaned up” my yard for me by piling the little pieces up against the fence. OMG!

So, last night, I sat in bed on my laptop and browsed through the “barter” section of Craigslist. Are people really successful at trading goods and services? I don’t know. Many of those ads really sounded hokey. But some sounded SO sincere. Did I dare post? What kinds of crazies would come out of the woodwork? And for those who might respond… could I trust them?! I posted. “Needed: Car Repair. In exchange for trade – no cash – we can offer computer/laptop repair, refurbished computer or laptop, computer software training or scrapbooking services”.


I went to bed just knowing that no one would respond. Seriously… car repair services for scrapbooking? How high is my head in the clouds?

This morning I check my email. FOUR responses. FOUR! Three serious responses (one just diagnosing my problem, not offering to fix it). Now I’m in a quandary. I want to trust that they would do a good job and not screw up my son’s car even more. I want to trust that they aren’t just out to “case my house” or get a laptop from us while they toss some chewing gum on a gasket (or something… I’m not car savvy, but you get my drift). But I’m stuck. I don’t know how to proceed.

I just really want to believe…

December 29, 2009

Non-Scrappy Scrappy Gifts...

I just had to share that my Christmas was Spectacular! Wii notwithstanding, my family was GREAT at getting me some gifts that are perfect for scrapbooking.  But they weren't scrapbooking supplies.  Imagine that!  My top three favorite non-scrappy, scrappy gifts are:

1.)  By far, the one I'm most looking forward to is this one:

Image from HoMedics online site

A heated, shiatsu massaging chair insert.  How exciting!  I can't wait to get my scrapbook room (yes, yes, more coming on that) complete so I can set this up and try it out during an extended scrappy play day.

2.)  But that's not all.   The Husband ... knowing how cold it gets in our basement during the winter and knowing that I'm getting OLDer, he got me a space heater to keep my tootsies and ankles warm. 

3)  And last, but not least, my third favorite non-scrappy scrappy gift was given to me by my dear daughter.  A lovely little Lazy Chuck (that's a Lazy Susan for all of you out there not named Susan... I have friends who didn't like that term so we renamed it to a Lazy Chuck).  I wanted one of those so I can put my scrapbook tool bag on it and spin it to whatever side I need.  Yep, the epitome of being lazy, but ... isn't that the point of a Lazy ... uh... Chuck?

Any fave scrappy (or non scrappy... or non scrappy scrappy) gifts that you got?  I'm so interested... please do tell!

December 27, 2009


Image from Stock.xchng photo sharing site

Wheeeeeee!  We got a Wii!  This year as our "family gift" we got a Wii for Christmas.  Now, to be very honest, I have NEVER ever touched a Wii... never played a game, never held a controller.  I've watched people play.  I have heard reviews.  But I, myself, had never touched one prior to December 25, 2009. 

And now, I can't stay away!  How addicting?  I've barely gotten past the bowling portion of the game that comes with the system!  There's still baseball, tennis, boxing (I did do one of these), and golf!  AND I bought EA Active (a fitness game) for it.  I did play that for (watch out!) six minutes and was dying.  I'm hoping I can stick with it, though... 30 days at a time with their 30 day challenge.  I already asked my hub for Wii Fit for my birthday in May.  I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope that this will keep me on my feet.  I hope, I hope, I hope that I will commit to this. 

But for now... the bowling calls me.  I.  Must. Bowl. 

Anyone else Wii?  I'm telling you... it's TOO much fun!  If you don't have one... find a way to get one.  Really!  I double-dog dare you. 

December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I'm not too late... I have 6 minutes left in Christmas day.  Merry Christmas everyone!!

It was a great day here.  Everyone was very happy with their gifts, the major main family one a Wii.  We played Wii for many hours this afternoon and evening to the point that our dinner wasn't ready until almost 9pm!

Exhausted here, so I'll keep it short.  I hope everyone had a peaceful and happy day.

Hugs all around!

December 23, 2009

Not Your Traditional Christmas Cut-Outs

Boy, oh, boy was I tired yesterday.  I just crashed out for about 10 hours of sleep. I needed it!  I promised I'd be back to shed some light on my family's take on Christmas cut-out cookies, and here I am.  If you missed the first post about this, I highly recommend reading it first... before you read this post.

Not that I expect anyone to "get" my family.  Okay... on with the show.

First, here is what I consider to be "traditional" decorated cut-out cookies - a Christmas tree, a Santa and a Wreath:

Now, let's look at what my family does to express their inner freak:

This is a Christmas tree... but my husband decorated it as a rocket, or a shooting star.
I haven't confirmed which yet.

Not your typical snowman, thanks to my son.
He was going for The Joker, but said he messed up so he added the "heart".

The Ginger-dead boy... that's apparent, eh?  Cut in half, bleeding heart.
Anyone want to eat this?  Oh, and trust me, this is mild compared to some years.

Another Christmas tree, only my husband transformed it into a Pirhana.
(Nice call/catch, Christina!)

This looked like a submarine to me, but my husband corrected me.
It's a gun.
The original cookie shape?  The Santa you see in the first picture above.

It wouldn't be Christmas without something creepy from my son.
How about a set of "voodoo babies"?
They're upside down snowmen cut-outs.

A Heinz ketchup bottle.  It's upside down, but dear hubby wrote the name on it upside down.
Someday I'll have to share my husband's relationship with Heinz ketchup.
It's very important to him.
Oh, and the cut out shape?  It's a gingerbread boy with the arms and legs... uh... cut off.
I hope they were cut off. But they very well could have been bitten off.

Now, I don't watch South Park, but I was assured that this little dude is from there.
This head is the head portion off a snowman cut out.  Where's his bottom half? 

My daughter made a fish bowl, complete with bubbles coming from the fish.
This was the bottom half of the snowman.
I love this one!  Very cute!

This little cut out is Rudolph, or any reindeer. Apparently when I baked this one, the cut-out wasn't 'clean'.  A little piece dangles below the reindeer, which my daughter so lovingly decorated as ... you guessed it... poo.  Thanks, dear son, for pointing it out for us.

I saved the best for last.  I asked my daughter to make my gingerbread man cut out "nice".  She very sweetly agreed to do so:

She made me!
Although, I'm not sure if I'm wearing a Madonna bra or not. 

There you go.  Welcome to my world at Christmas-time.  Good thing that no matter what they look like, the cookies taste most delicious! 

I'm off to find my family some psychiatric help.

December 22, 2009

Twisted Humor - Part Deux

As my last post indicated, I was exhausted this weekend after making cookies.  Sunday was not relaxing either, as we had company all day and then I worked 6-midnight.  Too little sleep last night as I got up for work this morning and... at 12:05am right now... it looks like another short night of sleep.  I plan to remedy this on Tuesday night.

But first, I thought I'd share a tradition that was adopted by my family the first year I ever made Christmas cut-outs.  It is a tradition that I did not really like at first, but now... hey, if you can't change 'em, love 'em and leave 'em.  And I do... I love them while I am baking the cookies, and then I leave them while they frost and decorate them.

Because, you see, my family likes to decorate Christmas cut-out cookies... uh... non-traditionally.

Have a look at Exhibit A:

And... how about Exhibit B:

I have two questions for you:

1)  Overall, what do you see?  How did my loving and talented family destroy these innocent cut-outs?

2)  What do you think my son is pointing at in the second photo?

Again, I remind you.  My family has a twisted sense of humor. This "tradition" has never changed... but at least now, after years of my pleading, they give me one or two "plain" cookies so I'm not completely at a loss.

I'll be back tomorrow to show you some details...

December 20, 2009

Cookie Overload!

I'm exhausted!

6 hours of baking today.

6 hours on my feet.

3 types of cookies

3 people frosting the cutouts now.

At midnight.

1 person in bed.


I will be back with a better post tomorrow.  G'night!

December 16, 2009

The Tree (The Finale... Almost)

Who ever knew that decorating a Christmas tree involved blood, a swollen nose, a bitten finger and Michael Jackson?  Interested?  Read on!

But first... the tree:

Okay, so, kicking and screaming my "boys" finally came out to the living room to help me decorate the tree.  I had to crack the whip, yell, plead and cajole, but they finally dragged themselves away from their nap and computer to get the tree done. 

I jest.

Sort-of.  The Hubs really was taking a nap and I woke him up to get us going on decorating, and the son really was engrossed in a "really good movie" on his computer.  It had subtitles.  I think it was animated too.  Really? I don't think it was that good. 

I jest again.  Sort-of.  Maybe it was a good movie, but I didn't care.  The tree MUST get decorated. 

Our family has a very sarcastic and sometimes sick sense of humor, so ... well, needless to say, my holiday times are never warm and fuzzy.  And they are often just off the wall.  Often we are just harping on one another.  An outsider would probably think we were bickering and arguing.  Inside the family, it's how we show we love each other. 

I think. 

I hope. 

We listen to "Twisted Christmas" carols.  One of the worst (and a favorite in the family) is a little girl singing, "There's something in the chimney, and I don't know what it is, but it's been there all night long..."   She goes on to sing about how it's there all week long, all year long... well, you can guess who's up her chimney.  Poor ol' Santa.  On top of the crazy "carols", you just never know what inane chatter will come out!  One piece of our conversation was about Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five singing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus".  Bits and pieces:

My son:  I always forget that Michael sings this song.
Me:  Uh, why would you even know it... he sang it before you were born!

Later... same song...

Son:  Why wouldn't Michael know who is mom was REALLY kissing?  Really?  He couldn't tell it was his dad?

(Did I mention my son is 20-years old?  And yeah, he's pretty much serious.)

Me:  It wasn't his dad.  It really WAS Santa.  Really!  His mom and dad were separated by then.

And then my husband degenerated the conversation into some pretty lewd and graphic comments about Santa Claus, "mommy" and what they were doing beyond just kissing.  Yep, we get that way.

Disclaimer:  I really love Michael Jackson.  I miss him (the 80's and 90's version) and really felt his death.  We lost a lot of great celebrities this year.  But I digress.

Somewhere in the night as I blew my nose (sinus issues ya know... tis the season), I realized that, well, it was a nosebleed, and not sinus issues.  Joy.  I can't remember the last time I had a nosebleed.  As soon as i got that back under control, back to the tree.  More banter.  More... "bickering'.

Anyway... the night culminated to me trying to "pants" my son (who is always wearing too-big clothing) and him bringing his arm down fast to catch the pants but instead, caught me HARD on the bridge of my nose with his elbow.   (Think Marcia Brady getting hit in the face with a football:  OH MY NOSE! only my son's elbow is harder, pointer and bonier than a football). 

I cried. He was very sorry. The rough-housing and jokes stopped. The tree got decorated pretty quickly after that. All except those ornaments we saved for the daughter who comes back home on Friday...which makes this the almost-finale.  The photo above was without any lighting in the room except the tree lights.

As I couldn't move much after being smashed in the face (OH MY NOSE!), I sat on the couch taking pictures.  I messed with the settings on the manual option on my P&S camera and took a few zoomed-in on the tree.  I thought these turned out okay:

While we were sitting there, enjoying the fruits of our labor, Kitty #4 jumped up on my husband's lap and sacked out as if SHE had done all of the work and deserved a lovely little cat nap:

See that paw hanging out there?  The one turned up to the sky?  Please tell me you're not tempted to touch that little paw.  No?  Well, I sure was.  Sadly, this little kitty does not like me.  She's very much The Hubs' cat.  She didn't really appreciate my 'tickle, tickle, tickle', nor did she smile upon my 'high five'.  Especially when I kept repeating them...

She's quick.  I have teeth marks in my hand and finger. 

Yeah.  I deserved it.  But only THAT one.  Not the elbow to my nose!

I'm dizzy now.  I think I'll go lay down.

Happy Wednesday!

December 15, 2009

The Tree (Day 2)

This might  be the longest it has ever taken us to get our tree up and decorated!  It is typically a 2-day event... the first day we hunt for it, bring it inside and get the lights on it.  The Husband is a stickler about lights - gotta be perfect!  And he's good at them too.  But, it does take him several hours (like, six) to get it done to his satisfaction.  As this takes up most of the night, Day 2 is when we finally get to decorate it.

Well, this year, Day 2 was lights day.  We brought it in the house yesterday (as you can see a few posts down), and tonight, The Husband strung it up with lights.  It still sits, in the middle of our living room, unadorned of ornaments.  Tomorrow we shall put them on, the son and I, saving specific ones for when the girl-child returns this weekend.

However, progress MUST be documented and thus, here is our tree, after lights and garland have been draped upon it:

The Hubs always strings plain white lights inside the tree, close to the trunk, so that it is brightly lit within.  This really highlights the ornaments that we place deeper into the branches.  Then, six more strings of colored lights, some slowly blinking, some steady, are wrapped around.  Lastly, the garland gets spiraled around.

The photo doesn't do it justice.  And so, I do have to ask all of you photographers out there, what is the best way to take a photo of a Christmas tree to capture the lights without it being too dark and too fuzzy?  I have a P&S camera, so don't get all techie on me with lenses and metering.  Well, you can mention metering, but please, explain it in simple, one-syllable words, if at all possible. 

And later, I simply must share with you my Christmas Tree Quirks!  Trust me, I'm a little weird about my tree's ability to "breathe".

And now, some shout-outs:

Photographing Mom asked what kind of tree this is.  It is a White Pine.  Growing up in western NY state, my father would select only Austrian Pine trees as Christmas trees.  The Austrian Pine is an awesome tree.  It does NOT drop it's needles, no matter how dry it gets!  The downside is that it has needle-sharp, stiff needles, causing many a piercing wound when I was decorating it as a child.  Since moving to the midwest, no one out here seems to have heard of an Austrian Pine, but since I grew up with them, I'm extremely partial to long-needled trees.  The White Pine has the longest needles of the trees they sell in our area, but they are soft and bendy.  Not stiff at all and never will it poke into you.  The tree almost looks fuzzy, like a fuzzy, stuffed bear.  While I love the look of the White Pine, I miss the Austrian's sturdy branches and needles.  You could hang an ornament off a single needle and it would stay for the entire holiday.  And I really miss the no dropping of needles.  But, well... you have to work with what you get here, and White Pine it is for me!

And Cheri - thanks for not running screaming from my blog because of my mutant tree's "excess" branches (LOL).  The spider plant has a temporary new home for now, but it's not as safe in its new location from kitty teeth.  So I have to watch it a little closer. 

Unrelated to my tree saga, a shout out to Maria who keeps me inspired to keep working on Tim's 12 Tags of Christmas.  I just received in the mail better reds and a black alcohol ink so I can make my plaid paper more traditionally Christmas-y.  I might have to redo my Santa tag!

Happy Tuesday!

A Giveaway Reminder!!

Scrapbooking from the Inside Out - the blog - is giving away freebies every weekday this month of December.  Go and leave a comment... THREE chances to win today!

December 14, 2009

The Tree

We couldn't get it this past weekend due to many different circumstances all happening.  The stars, the fates, the whatever was against us.  So, we went tonight.  Our first stop was the tree lot we typically find a tree, but last year we had very bad luck.  But they are the cheapest around, and so we tried again this year.  I kid you not, we were there all of FIVE minutes when we found her.  The hubs pulled out a total of two trees, and the one that caught us was the second one.  So, we quickly paid and and brought home this baby:

My four kitties are taking turns as "look out" and eating it.  Ugh... regurgitated pine... but...

Isn't she a pretty little tree?  Just wait until the lights and decorations go up!  I'll post that later in the week.

For now, I shall enjoy the pine scent permeating through the house.  Yum!

(PS, the little string pieces sticking out of the top right are not part of the tree... that's my spider houseplant hanging in the background.  Didn't want to confuse you with a mutant tree!)

December 13, 2009

Inky & Icky...

Here's the other tag I made while at our little mini-crop on Friday night... it's based off of Tim's day 3 tag. 

I'm a little disappointed in it only because my embossing powders didn't fuse, they blew off.  I guess 10-year old embossing powders lose something after a time, eh?  The photo isn't great either... sorry about the glare.

The best part of this tag is creating the plaid background using the alcohol inks.  My friends loved it so much I ended up just playing with colors and making the each a sheet!

So, the icky party of this post is that I've been in bed most all day.  Just feeling totally blah.  No energy and a tiny bit of congestion. The worst part is my voice, though... it comes and goes and has a weird pitch to it.  Ugh.  I hope whatever it is, it goes away quickly.  On top of that, I didn't get a bit done toward Christmas.  We were supposed to get our tree on Saturday and put it up, but plans went awry.  So we decided we'd get it today, but woke up to rain and my feeling icky.  So, still no tree.  Depressing.

Well, back to bed.  Hope everyone had a wonderful Sunday!

December 12, 2009

I Got Inky!

Had a mini-crop tonight in the conference room of my day job, with just a few friends.  A farewell crop for a friend who will soon be moving to Wisconsin.  I was not up to scrapbooking, in the literal sense, so I thought I'd play. 

Here's one of my 12 Tags of Christmas inspired by Mr. Tim Holtz:

It is inspired by (and extremely similar to) his Day 1 from this year.  Okay, I'm tuckered, but wanted to share.  I have another, but I'll post that later.  G'night to everyone, and ...

I love my inky fingers.

December 10, 2009

Twisted Humor...

Warning:  I know that not everyone will enjoy this as I do.  Please know that I'm okay with that... and hope you can see this for what it is... just a little twisted fun.

Are you familiar with those motivational posters that many offices tend to purchase and hang in their team meeting rooms?  I've heard many a groan over them in my life working in an office environment.  I have three things to say about them.  One, the photography/digital design of them is simply amazing.  Two, many of them have very real, positive, motivational "things to really think about".

And three... DEMOTIVATORS!

See the photo?  Even the title is the same.  But really look close at the caption... "it's over, man.  Let her go."

I find these things hilarious! And so many of them are true to real life!

Except after reading the ENTIRE catalog, I was a little overwhelmed with the pessimism, but overall... it's a fun twist on a popular item.  Anyone in your family need a little twisted humor? They sell calendars where you can pick your own demotivators.

Just sharin'.  I really do have a twisted sense of humor and honestly, this doesn't even touch the surface.  Hey, just keeping it real.  Whew!  Sorry for the detour... back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Happy Thursday!

December 8, 2009

Tim's Tags...

Tim Holtz is da Man!  If you have never seen his 12 Tags of Christmas... you must visit his blog sometime soon and check them out.  Not only are they absolute works of art, but he writes out detailed step-by-step instructions (with photos) on how to mimic them.

I love these tags.  Heck, I love almost everything t!m does.  And I just had to share my excitement when a few Tim Holtz products came in the mail today so that I could start working on my versions of Tim's 12 Tags of Christmas.  WOOOT!

I'll post them here as I get them done.  I'm 7 days behind as it is, but it is a mini-goal of mine to do them this year.  Check back.... but please, don't even think I'll compare to the Distressing God.  

I bow to t!m's artistic ability! 

Anyone else attempting a tag or two this season?

December 5, 2009

An Adventurous Day...

So, it has been a looong day for me, and I was busy almost the entire time.  But a good busy.  I just had to share a few of my adventures today, because it really was eventful and, in some ways, a very odd day for me.  In chronological order:

  • I took my son to work this morning and chose to NOT get a chai tea latte, even though I really wanted one.
  • On my way back to the house, about a block away, I saw two police cars sitting outside a house - no lights.  As I passed them, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a third police vehicle pull up.  No lights.  Weird.
  • A friend whom I haven't seen in a long while came over and brought me a chai tea latte (good thing I didn't get one).  For over 5 hours, I helped her hand stamp, stickle and sign at least 500 (possibly close to 1000... sheesh, maybe even more!) holiday cards for her employees/company.  Needless to say, my hand is sore.  So is my shoulder.  But it was fun to spend so much time with her.
  • Had to work at my LSS at 4pm, so I left to head there and on my way, about a mile away from my house, I notice something going on in the traffic lanes flowing opposite to mine.  I turn a corner and see THREE police cars (one plain-car and two sheriff cars) with their lights on, moving relatively slowly... it almost looked like a funeral escort.  I turned in front of them to see that they were "escorting" a white mini-van who, as I was driving by, slammed into one of the police cars and then tried to drive around it.  Now I'm feeling like I'm in a (sing it, "bad boys, bad boys, what ya gonna do?") COPS episode.  I drive by and as I hit the next, very close intersection, I see two more police cars fly by me, I assume to help the three trying to corral the white mini-van.  Being ever curious, I totally wish I could have watched it unfold even more.
By the way, I have to interject that this is not a typical scene in my neighborhood.  One cop car with a car pulled over for whatever reason, yes.  FIVE police vehicles on one van?  PLUS three police cars earlier in the day in my neighborhood for who knows what?  No, not really.
  • I get to work and deal with some customer challenges but by 7:30pm, it was pretty dead in the store, so ... I decide to quickly check a few things online AND, guess WHAT?!  I head over to Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas to see today's tag and as I'm reading through, I scan the winners of his giveaways and I WAS ONE!  I was shocked.  And psyched!
Does anyone else use that term?  Psyched?  Or is that a western New York-ism?

Speaking of giveaways, has anyone checked out the SFTIO blog for some scrappy fun in their Fa La La La Freebies?
  • After work, I head to have a late dinner with a co-worker and friend who I have barely seen outside of work in ages... and it was awesome!  Great food, great conversation. 
  • I head home and my son is playing a game on the Playstation 2 that I bought for him last Christmas and started excitedly saying something that version 3 (sequel to the game) was out and did I know that?  Of course I didn't, BUT what makes so cool is last year I had asked The Hubs if these games were good choices (they were cheap, and it was version 1 and 2 in a bundle), and he told me no, that he didn't think our son would like them... and he LOVES them.  Of course, this truly isn't a big deal other than something I chose off the cuff was a good present. 
  • Then, I come upstairs to check my email and a good friend of mine from my day job sent me this super-lovely email about how a gift I had given her some time ago (a year or more?) was rediscovered by her today as she was packing (she's moving).  And how the gift was perfect timing and that it was very welcome and needed.  It was a lovely message, and I'm so glad that gift was in the right place at the right time to provide needed comfort. 
It's now almost 11pm and I'm just feeling like I'm spinning.  It's f-f-f-f-freezing outside (I just walked inside about 20 minutes ago) and I do believe I'm ready to crawl into the warmth of my bed and snuggle in for the night.

Anything fun happening out in your corner of the Earth?

Wow, what a day!

December 4, 2009


Hey friends, spread the word... Scrapbooking from the Inside Out is doing scrappy-fun giveaways all month via the blog.  All you need to do is visit every weekday, read the post and leave the comment requested... FUN FUN FUN stuff all month.  So sorry I didn't post earlier, guess I got sidetracked... but Go Right Now and SEE!

Remember... go to the BLOG and win some freebies... AND come back to the site and peek around.  You might find a new home. 

I did!

December 2, 2009

In memory of you, Mom...

This is my first layout of my mom.  Ever.
She never knew me as a scrapbooker.
I just did it in October.

December 2, 1998.  Eleven years ago today.  My mother lost her battle with ovarian cancer.  Ovarian cancer is considered the "silent killer" because there are few symptoms that cause a woman to get checked out for it.  It does not get discovered with your annual PAP exam.  The onset of ovarian cancer is typically middle-age and it's symptoms are scarily close to menopause.  This is what my mother thought she was suffering from... that time of life when women transition from child-bearing to non-child-bearing.  Instead, after feeling particularly unwell, and after I moved out of my parents' home permanently, she discovered that she had ovarian cancer.  Stage 3-c.  Women in this stage typically live six months or less.

Thanks to Scrapbooking from the Inside Out, I've started
to express some of my inner feelings toward her,
and my dad.

Never let a doctor or a statistic tell you how long you have to live. This is a big lesson I learned from my mom.  She fought repeated battles valiantly for almost 4 years before the cancer won the war.

I wouldn't say that we were super close before she was diagnosed.  I was 24 at the time, just two years out of college, and still fighting to become independent and spread my wings.  We fought a lot.  I was frustrated with her a lot.

After she was diagnosed, I wanted to immediately move home.  She wouldn't let me.  It would be the first time in her life with my father that she and he would be living alone as they both had children from previous marriages when they married and then had me.  I understand she wanted that time, but I felt so helpless.  And I was the farthest away from home than I'd ever been before. 

I read a book, recommended by a friend, called Final Gifts - Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying.  I didn't need to read it when I did, but it was oh-so helpful when my mom neared her end.  I strongly recommend it to anyone, even if you are not near someone you love who is struggling.  It helped me to understand to not waste the time I had with her.  It helped me listen to her statements to me, "between the lines".  I still look back and recognize what she really meant, these many years later, thanks to that book. 

And, because of this book, when she chose to return to the hospital, even though she had expressed a desire to die in her home... that I eventually went up to see her.  Three of the four of my sisters, and my dad, were holding vigil near her bedside.  I could not.  I was "home base'.  But I knew she was holding on... and because of that book, I knew I had to give her my permission to let go.  So I did.  I went up to the hospital, and I talked to her in her morphine induced coma.  And I let her know that I would be okay.  I was a "big girl" now (her words).  She was just a shell of herself that day.  It was hard.  She died the next day.   I didn't feel like a "big girl".  I felt like a small child again, only very, very lost.   I was 28 years old.

Eleven years have passed as of today.

And I still miss her.

November 30, 2009

Do... Shoot!

This is SO an experience I must scrapbook!

This past Saturday, we went to the ex-laws to celebrate an early Christmas, before cold & flu season really settle in... and before snow. 

Oh, "what is an ex-law" you ask?  Aha... therein is quite a story, but for this post, I will give you the down and dirty details.  My dear husband was married before I met him.  Actually, he was married when I met him.  The wife before I met him was ex-wife #1.  The wife I knew when I met him is now ex-wife #2.  Me?  Well, so far, I'm "third time's a charm"... and hopefully will NEVER be "third strike, he's out". 

Anyway, before I go into any more gruesome details... the long and the short of it is that our elder two children are from his first marriage.  And skipping all kinds of nasty details, his ex-wife no longer talks with her family (mother, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew).  In fact, her kids no longer stay in contact with her either.  So, at some point in time, her family contacted me for "permission" to see the kids.  I'm not in the business of coming between families, as I told them, so arrangements were made and over the years, this family has embraced me instead of their own daughter/sister, et al.  So, twice a year we get together... their family reunion and at Christmastime.  Not knowing what to call them, as they are not my family, and "my husband's first ex-wife's mother/sister" is a little cumbersome, I now refer to them as the ex-in-laws... or, the ex-laws for short.

But I digress.  We went to the ex-laws to celebrate their Christmas before all kinds of illness and snow took over.  Now... the ex-laws live in a rural part of the state, and thus... well, they are very down-to-earth people who enjoy hunting season.  Since deer-gun season opened today, they were going to spend some time this past weekend sighting their guns.  I, not being a person who has ever touched a gun, guessed that this meant they were making sure the gun was shooting where they thought it was shooting. Good guess!

After "the Men" (cue Tim Allen caveman grunt here), went out and shot off several rounds at a target, they came back inside.  I don't know HOW this happened, but the bro-ex-law said to me, "do you want to shoot?"


Not a long pause, because my mind does travel fast.  But a pause.  My mind spun... it is a "Do" year... this is an opportunity to do something I've never done before... when would I have an opportunity like this again... "Okay, sure, I'll shoot."

Pause.  A slightly bigger one this time.  I think I surprised people.  Then loudness... people talking all at once.  "Okay!"  "Let's go."  "I've got to see this!"  "Get my camera!"  And my husband,  "You sure?

Out we go.  I throw a heavier shirt on (it's cold).  And then, they pulled the target in.  It was out 100 yards, but they pulled it up for me... 40 yards.  Still a respectable distance, I think.

A quick "how to work the gun" course by my husband.  The bro-ex-law (picture, Larry the Cable Guy), heads out to tape up a target.  He comes back and they all start telling me to look for the orange dot (the bullseye) and cracking jokes.  I'm laughing and can't see the target through the sight on the rifle.  I'm laughing and can't keep the gun steady. 

Okay... I *think* I see the target, so I say so (everyone laughs) and I pull the trigger.  Uh.  Nothing happened.  My dear, loving husband reaches over my shoulder and disengages the safety.  Heh.  That helps.

Shot #1.  "Did I hit the target?"  Everyone laughs... no one can see but they think they heard it hit a tree.  More laughter.  Photo op.  Shot #2.  I can NOT keep the gun steady enough to keep the target in sight.  Shot #3, #4, #5.  I have to rest my arm.  This piddly rifle is heavier than it looks!  Okay... hold my breath (helps to keep the gun steady), shots #6-10.  I'm out.

"Let's go see if you actually hit it!"  Bro-ex-law reaches the target first and ... he really sounded impressed... says, "you got quite a few in the black!" and then counts off the holes "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9..."  Yep, one shot unaccounted for.  I chalk that up to my first shot.

"Look," says the girl-niece, "look how proud she looks!"

She wants to try so she shoots off a bunch.  Of course, she shows me up.  And I want to go again... I sit down this time and shoot faster after being able to better steady the gun.  I felt good.  I really felt like I was aiming well. And...
Check It Out!

One Bullseye!!

November 28, 2009


So... anyone who knows me well, knows I LOVE The Muppets, especially Animal.  I was very saddened when Jim Hensen died so many years ago and they haven't been the same for me but... BUT...

My sister posted this on her Facebook page a few days ago, now I'm seeing that it has "gone viral" so I had to share it here too... LOVE IT! 

The Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody:

Oh! And tomorrow, I'll be back to tell you about my 'one little word' moment (remember, my word is DO this year). We visited the ex-laws today and I had a Do moment...

November 26, 2009

Turkey Day Desserts

It's nearly midnight on Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving day.  I just got out of the kitchen for the first time since 6pm.  And I still didn't get all the desserts done.  I promised a friend a pumpkin cake for their Thanksgiving dinner since she has had some repeated health issues and surgeries lately and I did not get that done.  I feel guilty, but I have offered her other options... as in I can make it tomorrow, or Friday and they can have it for their anniversary on Sunday.  I hope that's okay.

Want to see what's on the menu?  While I am NOT the best food photog out there, here's what we've got going on for dessert this Thanksgiving:

First, the one I didn't make:

Peanut Butter Pie

My friend made me that one.  Although, I took the richness one step further and added the chopped up Reese's peanut butter cups on top.  My youngest, a Reese's cup fanatic, will love this.  Although she's not one for rich desserts, so we'll see.

Next up, was my pound cake.  Had a little trouble so it's too dark around the edges.  My racks weren't set up right in the oven.  That makes all the difference sometimes.

This isn't a dessert in and of itself... it's for the Dessert-With-No-Name.  These have since been cubed up and will be layered, tomorrow, with pudding, fruit and Cool Whip.  Yum.  Too tired to finish it tonight.

Next up... my pumpkin pie.  Or, as my son says, Punkinpie. 

This smelled soooo yummy while it was baking.  Believe it or not, I don't like pie but the scent of it baking... MMMMmmmmmmmm... it sets my mouth drooling.

And last but not least, my apple pie.  I had a discussion with my son today as we were making this.  He was such a champ and peeled, cored and sliced my apples for me.  That job kills my hands so I was super grateful for this.  He asked me many questions.  One of them was, "do you know how many apples you need for this?"  He was asking because as he was peeling and cutting, he didn't think we'd have enough but as it turned out, I had bought the exact number of apples needed.  I told him that  I'd been making the pie for a very long time and I have a good idea on how many apples I need, depending on the size of the apples.  He was impressed. 

Another question was, "was your pie always this good?"  I told him that it was as good as the first time I made it... in Home Economics class in High School... when I was 16.  I think it surprised him a little that I have been baking it for so long.  I told him that my dad only made two suggestions when I made it for him... 1) tone down the sugar (depending on the apples) and 2) chunk, don't slice, the apples.  And I've been making it that way ever since. 

I also don't make a two-crust pie.  I use a crumbly topping.  Here I am putting the topping on... my favorite part:

My son took the photo.  Look at those yummy apples.  I'm a little concerned how this will turn out because I didn't use my old stand-by apples for this pie.  I typically use Mutsu/Crispin apples, but I missed the season to get my half-bushel.  So... we'll see how it turns out this year.

Oh yum, this pie was smellin' up the house with cinnamon-y, apple aroma wafting around.  Finally, out it came and here is the result:

Look at that gooey appley juice dribbling out.   As it cools it will flatten out; right now it's still heaping.  But yum!  Too bad I don't eat pie.  LOL!

My son asked me, too, "if you don't eat your own pie, how do you know it's good?"  I laughed and said, "you've requested it every year and everyone I've made it for has liked it so I go by that indicator."

I wish I had been able to make the pumpkin cake and take a photo of that... it is my pride and joy.  My sister made it when I was a young to mid-teen.  I was afraid to try it because it had pumpkin in it (I detested pumpkin at that age).  But she enticed me because it also has chocolate chips in it.  I have been HOOKED on it ever since and have many people ask me for that every year too.  YUM!  Well, when I get to it, I'll try to remember to take a photo and post it.

Anyway... as I sit here yawning... I hope you have yummy things planned for tomorrow, whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving.  I know I'm ready for turkey and peanut butter pie! 

Enjoy all... and Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2009

I Went, I Survived... I Created!

So... most of last week was devoted to working at my local scrapbook store's "scrapbook camp".  As always, it was a blast and as always, it was exhausting.  I get very stressed leading up to this retreat, just because there's always so much to do to prepare for it... not to mention just general life, my day job, my family and being in the midst of the holiday season.  Every time, I take everything including the kitchen sink and every time, I get sorely disappointed about how little I get done.  This time, while I still was packed to the gills, I did purposefully leave things home and I set a very small set of goals:

1)  Complete a calendar for a Christmas gift for one of the ex-laws
2)  Complete a pack of handmade cards and gift holder for one of the ex-laws
3)  Start, if not complete, creating my Christmas cards.
4)  And with all of the projects above, I set a goal to K.I.S.S.  (Keep It Simple, Sweetie)

What did I get done?  #1?  Check.  #2?  Check.  #3??  CHECK!  Well, I didn't get ALL of my Christmas cards done, but I did complete two sets of cards (two different designs), which is a huge start for me.  Wanna see?  I knew you would! 

Okay... lest I bore you with twelve months of calendar pages, here is January and July so you can get an idea of how well I kept it simple.

Nothing major, but I liked it when it was all done.  Let's see... here are a couple of the cards I made for the gift set.  I made a set of 6, two of each design:

And, last but not least, here's one of the Christmas cards I created.  I'm only showing one of the sets so far, because the other one may be going to a few people who might just glance at this blog, and really... why ruin the surprise?!

It was very flattering, too, that as I was making some of these cards, some of the women who were at the retreat were very flattering and complimentary.  One woman, in particular, bought all of the product I was using for one of my Christmas cards (not shown) to scraplift my card for herself.  I was very flattered and a little excited.

Is that wrong?

Anyway, I just wanted to share what I'd been up to since I've been missing in action recently.  I hope to get a little more scrapping done ... the rest of my holiday cards at least... this Thanksgiving weekend.  I do have some travel and work over the weekend and into next week, but I'd love to carve out a couple hours to get that done.

Wish me luck!

November 19, 2009

Before They Arrive

So... here we are at scrapbook camp.  We are in a new location, as I explained yesterday, but it's pretty nice digs. People have plenty of space to spread out with a full 8-foot table all to themselves.  We have a large projected screen behind where my co-worker and friend (who shall now be known as Scrap Goddess - her term, not mine... sorry!) and I sit.  We brought a bunch of DVDs and CDs to watch and listen to.

Here's the room:

If you can see the screen all the way at the end, there are two tables in front of the screen - that's where we are sitting, facing all of the campers.  We get a little crick in the neck when we want to see the movie but ya know?  They're MY movies and I can just go home and watch 'em, right? 

And here is where our classroom is:

You can see the mini-store behind the class tables.  Here's a better look:

After we got it all set up last night (putting up tables, unpacking the papers and embellishments and putting pu the store, placing out handouts on the table and setting up all of our own supplies), we were exhausted!!  Here... here's the Scrap Goddess after we were done setting up - she crashed...

I felt the same.  Okay, I'm off to be PRODUCTIVE... more later...


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