April 29, 2010

Crafty...at Work

Just sharing that although I've not been posting much regarding crafty projects, I have had to create for my crafty job at the store.  I say that as if it was a boring ol' job, or something.  I have to say, it is a great perk to teaching and working part-time at a scrapbook store! Sadly, it's not something I go home with (unless I recreate it), but hey, it's still part of me, right?

Anyway, I thought I'd share a few of the cards from my last card class at the store, now that it has passed,   just to prove to you that I have carved out some time to create, even if it hasn't been "for me".  Boy, do I miss that!

Happy Father's Day.  I love this card.  It's so clean and simple, yet, pretty darn masculine. I  have to say that because I struggle with "masculine" cards. I love bling and flowers too much!  It consists only of cardstock with a bit of old Basic Grey patterned paper.  Oh, and brads.  This card is actually quite heavy for all the layering.  I suppose that makes it more "manly". It's sturdy AND it has metal on it!  How much more "manly" can you get?  The layers continue inside the card but, *sob* I don't have a photo of that.

Happy Mother's Day.  Butterflies are all the rage this year, aren't they? I  couldn't resist when I was pulling supplies for this card.  Cardstock and American Crafts patterned paper.  What better way to thank your mom for giving you wings than this butterfly card?  I love how bright it is too.

You Did Dandy!  Cardstock and GCD patterned paper.  The card series was a "Celbrate Those You Love" theme.  So how about a lovely little "You did it!" card to celebrate some special accomplishment.  Well, along with butterflies, dandelions also seem to be the hot ticket, and here I am following along.  I love this card though.  Plus anything that lets me use my DYMO label maker is bonus! 

I actually ended up using my dymo on three cards in this series, but sadly, you only get to see pictures of three.  The other three were "Oh the Places You Will Go" for a graduate, a generic "Congratulations" and a "Two Hearts, One Love" wedding wishes.  I finished creating them on a different day in a different place that did not include my camera. 

Most of my cards, as you can see, are pretty simple.  I'm a big believer in the "less is more" on cards, for some reason, and teach to that.  Someday I'm going to force myself to really junque up a card to see if I can get myself on that side of the fence. 

Hmmm... I wonder if I can.

Keep YOUR Breast

Y'all already know I'm walking in the Susan G. Koman 5K Race for the Cure in May. Just wanted to give another shout out about breast cancer awareness.

A friend of mine was just diagnosed this week with breast cancer. They found it early, which is good. But your world kind-of tilts when things like this happen. While I, personally, have yet to be directly affected with a cancer diagnosis, I have sat beside several people who have. My mom was one of them (although it was Ovarian cancer, which I talked about in a previous post).

Please, if you are a woman and reading my blog, get yourself checked on a regular basis. Breast cancer is one of the highest rated cancers that you can BEAT! Especially if it is caught early.  Don't think that if you have no family members who have had breast cancer that you are immune.  You're not.  ANYONE can get breast cancer, whether or not your family is predisposed to it.  Honestly, all it takes is one tiny cell in your body to not develop correctly and open a whole can of worms.  Don't put off and ignore your annual exams.  When you are older - between 35 and 40 - start getting mammograms.  Seriously, I say this as a person who puts these things off

Today I will be scheduling my first mammogram.  I have put it off for months.  I'll be 40 next month.  Time to make sure my body is working right.  I hope you do whatever it is that needs to be done, to make sure your body is working right.

Thanks for listening.  Infomercial off.

April 27, 2010

So Much Time & So Little To Do...

Wait... scratch that, reverse it.

The past week or so has been a whirlwind of "stuff for me to do".  I previously talked about all of the tasks roaming about my brain, and I finally wrote them down.  When I got to 50, I stopped but there's more there, truly!  I just started to feel even MORE overwhelmed. 

Anyway, hopefully things will start to calm down after this weekend.  What's this weekend?  I'm so glad you asked!

National Scrapbooking Day (NSD) is this Saturday, May 1st!  Yes, we do have our own holiday celebrating our favorite obsession hobby/business.  I'm so excited I feel like a kid in a candy store.  I have been working hard to help get things ready for the store where I work and for the other Local Scrapbook Stores (LSS) in our area.  We are banding together with a Passport to Scrapbooking (I should have called it the Golden Ticket to match the theme of this post).  The passport has all of our NSD deals for each LSS in this area, plus an area map with each of us pinpointed for everyone's convenience.  Should be fun and hopefully bring in a bit more foot traffic to all of our store.  We hope.

AFTER this Saturday, I am hoping to start crossing some things off my list and to get back to scrappin' at my own table.  It's a mess and I need to spend many hours down there putting things away and organizing again.

I hope you decided to do something fun for NSD.  Even if you aren't a scrapbooker, c'mon and help us celebrate this Saturday. Support your LSS (they all need your patronage!)  Or, glue a few pretty pieces of paper together and slap a photo on it!  You won't regret it.  And you might even decide to join our little cult club.  Muhaawahahahahaa!

April 23, 2010


Yesterday was "Take Your Son and Daughter to Work" day.  One of the gals at work did a lot of planning and organizing to make something like this work and go smoothly for our employee's kids.  It is the first year (in my 15 years there) that there was a collective effort to get something like this accomplished.  We have had other TYS&DTW days... not that successfully executed, though.  I remember one where the kids all went outside to clean a no-longer-employed employee's van!  THAT'S teaching the kids what we do!

Then there was the time I took The Boy to work with me.  At the time, I worked in a separate office from the rest of the group, with only one other person in the suite with me.  It was very, very quiet, and as I work on the computer all day, not a whole lot to show The Boy.  I think he slept much of the day.

So I admit... I didn't plan well for my own "take a kid to work" day.

But the gal who planned it for yesterday had quite an agenda.  The kids were always involved in some activity or the other, which was helpful to keep them going.  They got a tour of the offices and met everyone there.  Then they went outside and planted little marigolds in cups and quietly (for the most part) went around and slipped them in on everyone's desk as a gift to all the office workers.  They got their pictures tak en with their parent (and the office manager went and got them developed quickly).  The did some project with the HR person (I don't know what it was).  Then they went on a scavenger hunt from office to office for specific items (prearranged).  I had made up little business cards that had a picture of a computer monitor with a laughing cartoon mouse on the screen.  My "business" is computer training, so I use my "mouse" a lot and we have a good time together.  The kids went around from office to office and asked each person what they did there, and what they did was supposed to lead them to a clue to something on their scavenger hunt.  It was pretty fun.  Our accounting gal plastered pictures of $100 bills all over her office.  Our HR person pasted paper doll shapes to sticks, because she was in the "people business". 

Some kids took this pretty seriously, others not so much.  I have to admit that the age group that got into the whole thing was right around 8-12.  The teenagers were having mostly nothing of it.  We had all ages there, too, so the younger kids were just out to follow the leader.  And the baby was there to be cute.  And cute she was!

After the scavenger hunt, we did a scrapbooking page put on by yours truly.  They all got their photos back just in time to create a scrapbook page commemorating their day and our office.  It was a cute page, but getting fifteen kids to all be doing the same thing was quite interesting. Even with parental help, it was a roller coaster ride.  But fun was had by all. 

And after my class was done, it was PIZZA TIME! 

SUCH ENERGY from all of them.  It was quite a morning.  It was fun, but you appreciated the quiet of the office so much more after the kids left!  I would definitely do it again!

April 22, 2010


For over a week now I have been making lists (in my head) of things… things I need to do, things I need to buy, things I need to cook, things I need to make, things I need to tell my friend or The Hubs or the Boy, things I need to remember, things I need to remind The Hubs about, things I need to blog about, things I need to mail, things I need to email, things I should do to be healthy, things I shouldn’t do to be healthy, things I need to collect, things I need to photograph, things I need to donate, things I need to throw away, things I should eat, things I shouldn’t eat…so many things to think about that I am utterly exhausted. EXHAUSTED!

So, whenever my mind is overactive like this I try to put it down on paper…uh, when I finally realize it’s overactive, that is. I figure if I have it down on paper, I won’t need to think about it anymore. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t (especially when I lose the paper and then get mad because I should have just kept repeating it in my head). Over time, the “things” become much more negative, and that becomes more tiring. It has taken me 10+ days to get here, but I finally realize that it’s time to let “things” go. I have to write “things” down and if I lose the paper, so be it. This is my one-little-word year of Release after all… and so far I don’t feel that I’m doing very well at it.

Anyhoo… time to get my mind back on the right track. I have begun to write down some of the things above, and I have begun to let go some of the other things that just spin around in my noggin. But, to celebrate lists, I thought I’d take a cue from my friend Nancy and share a few fun lists with you today:

10 Things that Make Me Happy
  • Water. I love water. I love drinking water, I love swimming, I love touching water, I love, love, love water. It makes me happy. 
  • A sunny day with a cool breeze (like today)
  • Music – specifically “my” music.
  • My furbabies… 2 dogs and 4 cats that make me so happy!
  • Clouds in the sky that form shapes that only I can see.
  • My new scrapbook room… I’m not over the novelty of having so much space yet. Still rearranging and organizing, but that makes me happy too! And while I haven’t shown a whole lot of what I’ve been doing, I’ve been down there creating way more often than when everything was in my bedroom corner!
  • Walking in the park with my friend C-Tina… haven’t been doing it much lately and I do miss it.
  • Email. Sending and receiving “real” emails make me happy.
  • LOST. I will be very sad when it ends but my anticipation of all the questions getting answered is practically tangible!
  • The smell of paper… even regular office or school notebook paper. Magazines, books, scrappy supplies…I love the smell of paper and printing on paper. Smelling paper puts a smile on my face. Guess it’s a good thing I like papercrafts huh?

 5 Pieces of Trivia About Me
  • I am a compulsive corrector. If someone says something wrong (mispronounces a word or uses incorrect grammar), I often correct them before I can stop myself. My kids hate it when I do it and The Hubs mostly tolerates it. I don’t mean to be a jerk about it, but it really bugs me. Especially when someone (like one of the kids) consistently and constantly says something that is wrong. It makes my skin crawl. I try to hold back… really I do! Except with my kids… if an adult (parent, teacher, stepparent in my case) doesn’t take the time to ensure kids are speaking and writing in a correct manner, how will they ever know?
  • I say “excuse me” when I burp, even if no one is around to hear.
  • My heart hurts when I see animals dead by the side of the road. I am so sensitive to it that I have finally had to come up with a “be peaceful now” type prayer to say when I see them so I can feel better and stop obsessing over how that animal felt when it got hit. Yeah, I’m pretty sensitive. And weird.
  • I’m a closet bohemian spirit. Sometimes “she” gets out. Mostly not.
  • I yearned to be a gymnast when I was a kid, but never pursued it because of my (perceived) weight issues. That, and I couldn’t even do a headstand in Acrobatics class.

 How 'bout you?  Got any lists you'd like to share?

April 19, 2010

One of THOSE Days...and an Announcement at the End...

Did you ever have one of THOSE days?  You know... where everything goes wrong for no reason whatsoever? 

Today was not one of those days for me.  Not today, but the majority of last week was one of those days.  The whole week was one of those days.  I think I have figured out the reason why.

Bad Hair.  Yes...bad hair versus good hair can dictate whether or not you have one of those days.  See... every day last week I hated how my hair turned out in the morning before going to work.  I just wanted to pull every strand out at the root.  Some days I was very close to doing just that.  Over the weekend, it was slightly better, but still not good.  I had to wear it clipped back in one way or another. 

But today... even though I expected it to be another bad hair day, and therefore another one of those days... but when I was done blowdrying my hair, I looked in the mirror and was pleasantly surprised to be extremely happy with how my hair had turned out.  It was straight where it was supposed to be straight; it was wavy where it was supposed to be wavy.  It was shiny and not frizzy.  It held the shape and style I had hoped for.

It was a Good Hair Day.  And today, other than being terribly tired, was a Good Day.

Isn't it crazy how a bad hair day can affect so much?  Have you ever thought about your good or bad day and tied it back to something as simple and as crazy as a good or bad hair day?  I think I've solved the reason for 50% of womens' moodiness!  All men need to do in the future is ask, "is today a good hair day, or a bad hair day?" and they will instantaneously know a woman's mood until the next hair event.

Hey...I really believe in this theory and I'm sticking to it!


Scrapbooking from the Inside Out has published a Design Team Call.  The deadline to apply is May 14, 2010 (that's just a few days before my birthday!)... so hop to it.  Read more information here, and also visit the site here.  What are you waiting for?  Apply! 

April 18, 2010

Weekend Mania

Hey, hey all. This week, for some reason has been out of control, and the weekend was no different.  I haven't walked since my photo-shoot Saturday trek, and I'm feeling out of sorts.  I hope to get back into the swing of things this week.  In the meantime, this is how I spent this past Saturday:

The store where I work had a scrappy garage sale.  We had eight sellers this time (we hold it twice a year) and all were very successful!  One gal sold over $300 of schtuff!

I  have never been so lucky.  Yes, I was a seller, but either I don't have that great of stuff (because I'm a pack rat and won't get rid of it) or I didn't have as much stuff there as other sellers (because I'm a pack rat and won't get rid of it).  But I did sell enough to net me a little over $80.  So not too shabby.  Obviously SOME people liked my stuff, 'cause here they are shopping at my table...

I had to use most of my $80 to pay off the tab I had sitting on the store register.  I just "pre-shopped".  Yeah, that's it.  I'm sticking to that.  But hey... that still leaves me with a little over $30 to play with!  Can't wait to see the next new shipments coming to the store...at least $30 worth of them. 

Anything fun in your weekend?

April 17, 2010

Keep A Breast...

I'm short, so it's hard to get a good "aerial' shot, but if
you look toward the top of the photo you'll see the "wave" of people.

I am walking in the Susan G. Koman 5k Race for the Cure on May 15th.  This will be the second time I have done this.  Last year was my first and it was...amazing!  A sea of pink that stretched for MILES!  I was afraid I would be "left behind" because I am so out of shape and not a fast walker... but nobody is left behind in this event.  It is an experience that still leaves me searching for the right words to describe it.  Some things that stick out in my memory:
  • The runners were returning across the finish line before I was able to cross it to get started... there were that many people!
  • The number of men there was amazing... very, very, very cool (The Hubs was there, and he's going again this year with me).
  • People on their balconies cheered us on as we walked through the streets.
  • I got to see the elephants from the circus, which was in town... and they were outside as we passed by where the circus was showing.
  • Bikers for a Cure were awesome ... along the last mile they line the road with their motorbikes running and rev their engines as women pass.  Very cool... uh, except for the exhaust!
Anyway... if you ever have a chance to join this event in your town, I strongly encourage you to do so.  I'm not the type of person who asks people for donations...I know everyone has it rough in these times especially.  So consider this just an announcement for moral support... and if you want to donate a buck or two to "keep a breast" cancer research, click the breast cancer ribbon under my profile picture in the right-hand column -->

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

April 14, 2010

I Am Stan!

I am on Facebook. But I don’t “do” Facebook. In fact, the only reason I joined Facebook was as a way to find my eldest after she disappeared from our world. Knowing I wouldn’t ever be accepted as her “friend” on Facebook, at least I could watch and see when she was changing her picture, and then know that she was still alive. Sounds sad, and somewhat stalkerish, but that is what I resorted to a few years ago.

Anyway, since I “joined” for that reason, I have found more and more people requesting me as their “friend”. Mostly family… and that’s only because I don’t make myself well-known on Facebook. I use my initials, not my name, and there are no photos of me there. I choose to be as invisible and as hard to find as possible, because, I just don’t want to get sucked into Facebook.

I am not against Facebook, as an ethical “thang” or anything… it’s just not my cup of tea. I have a sister who is very fond of Facebook (I love ya sis, don’t be mad at me if you ever end up reading this post) and she, uh… she “encourages” me to get on Facebook more often.

Simply put, I don’t want to. I have explained to her that Facebook is not my thing… it isn’t something I enjoy…and I really don’t have the time to put the effort into Facebook and often I get angry just thinking about Facebook. Keep in mind, that I also have a Twitter account, and don’t update that often, if at all. My sis continues to…uh…”encourage” me anyway, because it is something that she really enjoys and she wants to share that joy (and convenience of global communication) to everyone. Our one-on-one emailed conversations usually go something like this:

Me: How’s life?

Her: Did you see my pictures about {insert event here} that I posted on Facebook?
Okay, I’m sighing by now. Of course I didn’t. Have I logged ON to Facebook? No.

So I reply: “No, I didn’t.”

Her: You really should go check them out.
Or, another example:

Me: How’s life?

Her: Well, {insert brief answer about what’s going on}, but you’d know that if you’d checked my Facebook account, because I updated everyone on that two days ago.
Another sigh. I have no room for Facebook in my life. When I do find time to log in, I do enjoy seeing other peoples’ updates, but I feel no need to go out there on a daily basis (or multiple times daily) and check. And I don’t want to play Farmville or any other “ville” game out there. Facebook is just not my thing. I don’t ask that everyone else stops… I just don’t want to do it. I enjoy email. When I get a chance to write, I do. I hope that who I write to will respond, but I don’t expect it (unless I’ve asked a very important question). When I am online, I typically do the following things:

1. Visit Scrapbooking from the Inside Out and catching up with the day’s posts.

2. Visit blogs that I am following or like… and I admit that I don’t do this daily, but I do try to several times a week and get comments out there.

3. Check my main emails (2) and once or twice a month, my other emails (2).

4. Work. I often do work for my 2nd job in the evenings, such as updating their website or sending out an e-newsletter.

5. BLOGGING on my own blog. I really enjoy writing and I enjoy the comments all of you leave for me (they MAKE MY DAY)… and I am ever-so thankful that I joined Shimelle’s Blogging for Scrapbookers last November. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be blogging still.

Okay, consider that I often work until 8pm or later on a weeknight. I try to be in bed by 11pm at the latest (which doesn’t always work). So tell me, where does Facebook fit in? I get home at 8:30-ish, talk to The Hubs for a few minutes, and maybe The Boy…sometimes I break down and do the dishes, depending on how long I’ve ignored them. Each one of my furry children need attention, and they do suffer with brief pets, I must admit. I go to my bedroom, open my laptop (if it’s not a LOST) night and 1) check my email, 2) check SFTIO and respond to posts, 3) blog on my own blog, which can take time if I’m editing photos to post. So. Let’s just pretend that only takes an hour and a half to do all that. Still, now it’s 10pm. Technically, I should be in bed by then to get a full 8-hour rest before my alarm goes off in the morning. THAT never happens. So… WHEN do I have time for Facebook?? I mean, don’t get me started on the gardening/weed-pulling I put off and hardly ever do, the laundry piled up that needs to be done, or taking out time to walk/exercise, or oh! What about scrapbooking?! Or reading a book? Or… just being a couch potato (I won’t even mention the shows that have my DVR hitting 80% full at this point in time)

So… last week South Park put out an episode about Facebook. Now, as a general rule, I am not a big fan of South Park. But The Hubs was watching the repeat this weekend while I was cleaning and organizing around my scrapbook area so I was listening to it. The more I heard… the more I kept saying, “That’s ME!”

So I wanted to share this episode of South Park. I don’t mind if you don’t watch it… South Park is well known to be vulgar and offensive. I typically don’t watch it but every once in a while they come out with an episode that makes me want to scream, “Hell, yeah!” As a warning for those of you with sensitivities, the F-bomb is dropped several times (as happens in my own head when I think of Facebook) so please view at your own discretion.

And know – I am Stan!

Click the image above to go to the South Park Studios site... it should
land you on the correct episode, although you'll have to watch a short
advertisement or two.  It is the full episode, though... and oh-so funny (to me).

EDIT/UPDATE:  For those of you who can't see the video due to copyright
issues (or outside of the USA), click here to read a script.
It isn't as much fun, but it gives you the story behind my post here.
I hope you can at least see this...

April 13, 2010

Snack Attack!

So... today was interesting.  I participated in a marketing focus group on snacks.  But my mind is churning with snack thoughts now.

Let's start with the group itself.  There were 8 of us in the room talking about snacks.  Let's please note that I was the, uh... "biggest"... gal there.  It would appear, just from looking at me that I like my snacks.  So the first question was - introduce yourself, what your favorite go-to snack is and the time(s) of day that you find yourself snacking.  Gal #1 says, in a nutshell, "100 calorie packs."  Really?  Yeah, well, looking at her, I guess I can "get" that.  To me, 100 calorie packs are a waste of money. Get the damn bag, get some ziplock baggies and portion out the chips yourself.  If you feel the need to eat from a big bag of chips, put the pre-portioned baggies back in. Viola!  You saved yourself a buck or two. 

That's basically the gist of what Gal #2 said, only her go-to snack was fruits and veggies.  And she claims to spend hours every week on a Sunday, cleaning, chopping and bagging her veggies in portion-controlled baggies to grab and go during the week.  A part of me wished I could be just like her.  A part of me wished I could stab her in the eye with a carrot.

And so it goes around the table.  Then, let's ask the fat girl what she likes to snack on.  My answer?  Pretty much anything within reach.  Which is true.  Now, when I'm trying to "be good" I try to surround myself with healthier options.  100 calorie packs are not it.  I might as well eat the whole box of pre-portioned items.  So I say, honestly, "cheese and pickles" (not necessarily together).  The person in charge of the study looked shocked at the pickles.  *shrug*  They're salty, they're crunchy, they're very strongly flavored (cutting most further cravings) and they sorta-kinda count as a vegetable.  I mean, they were cucumbers once.  Anyhoo... let's continue.

One gal says she tries to pick up an apple if she wants to snack, but admits she has teenage boys and that there is always junk food in the house.  One gal says she nibbles all day long but has an 6-month old baby so a lot of her "snacking" is baby food.  One gal said she just doesn't snack.  She only eats meals.  Really?  Is that possible?  Are there really people there who ONLY eat 100 calorie packs as snacks, or ONLY eat fruits and veggies as snacks, or DON'T snack at all? 

I feel like I'm on a different planet.  I really tried to be honest, at least, but now I feel like I'm such hog.

Long story short, after we went round-robin about our go-to snacks, we then had to analyze this possible new "snacking" product by Lean Cuisine, including packaging (as I said, it was a marketing research study).  Interesting stuff.  I'm such a people watcher...I think I got more out of this group-study than the people behind the one-way mirror did who were recording the session!

Needless to say, I left there with my stomach screaming at me.  I ran through the closest drive-through and got myself a 'snack' that was most unhealthy.  In Weight Watchers terms, I ate my entire daily points in that one meal!  Ugh!

But I got paid $125 for my opinion.  Hmmm... that could buy me a lot of snacks...

April 11, 2010

You Were There!

"Doesn't this look like a picture that would have an
inspirational quote beneath it?"  C-tina
And so it does.

I went for an early-morning walk again yesterday.  After stopping to pick up a coffee for C-tina and a hot chocolate for me, we drove to the park.  And it was there that I thought of you, and even spoke of you now and again.  You were there.

Here is the beginning of the path, winding through the woods.  It was such a beautiful day.  The sun was shining, the air was that crisp cool with a hint of warm that comes with a spring day.  Birds were chirping everywhere.  Now and then the echoing rata-tat-tat of a woodpecker finding his morning feast.  A lovely day for a walk.

In parts, the sun glowing down made the woods alternatively shadowed and highlighted.  The new green of spring such a contrast to the fall leaves still on the ground, and the trees standing tall with few leaves on them yet.

We found these funky little plants growing near the path, about 8-10 inches high, looking like little chipmonk palm trees.

I have a thing for moss, so I had to point out to you the roots of this tree.  How cool is that?

The path, itself, is so pretty.  Wood plank fences run alongside in certain areas, keeping us away from slippery slopes, and other woodland 'dangers'.  And, of course, it keeps out the dangers of us from the nature around.  It's pretty, though, and the sun's angle caused really interesting shadows on the path.

No matter how often I walk here, I can't stop peering into the woods.  So many new things to see every time we walk.

We were there early enough on a Saturday morning, that for a long while, there wasn't another soul in sight.  The only other "footsteps" we heard were the rustling of the squirrels in the leaves.

Occasionally, these public parks have little signposts  near the path, sharing information about the nature and life around us.  They are always fun diversions.

I love to see the little things.  There were violets blooming along the path, and some bell-like flowers.  And then there was this one.  To me, it looked like it had specifically opened and raised up to soak in the morning sun.  It was very little, and very pretty.

I cannot help myself, but I love to notice the way shadows are cast by the sun.  The path looked permanently striped by the shadows of the trees. 

Look at this... such a cool hill. I could imagine sledding down it, and C-tina could imagine sledding and crashing into a tree.  This prompted a lovely memory and shared story of sledding in my childhood.  Perhaps I'll share it here again sometime.

I once shared with C-tina that I am a forest child at heart and sometime hate the restriction of the paths. when I see the woods like this, I want to jump the path and go running wildly and freely through the trees, returning only when I am muddy and have sticks and leaves tangled in my hair.  

We laughed at the imagined picture.

And I know that there must be so many others like me out there, otherwise, why would they feel the need to post these lovely signs every now and again?

In fact, just a few yards down from that sign, was this sign:

While I detest the restriction of those "reminder fences", I completely understand the need for them... and for the signs.  For while I would try and not damage my surroundings should I step off the path, I know there are many others who would litter and vandalize.

Like these people... who stepped off the path to carve all of their initials into this poor tree.  Stupid people can't read, apparently.

We couldn't fit all of you in the photo, but here we are.  Sing with me... "Me, and my shadow..."

There was a big hill coming up, and we had never gone this way before... it was a pleasant and welcome surprise to see stairs.

Yes, the stairs were very welcome.

At the bottom, I turned around and looked back up.  I had to snap the shot and just as I did, C-tina made the comment that it was that type of photo that looked like it would have an inspirational quote.  I thought that statement was perfectly inspirational. 

I love to see that even though there is desth in the forest, shown in this fallen tree... that rebirth is all around, as demonstrated by the green growth.  How true to life.  And not just with the death of somone and the birth of someone new... but the "death" of one day, even, and the new morning that comes.  Or the change of a job, and the adventure of a new one, like The Hubs has been experiencing this week.  Or the upcoming end of my 39th year of life... and the unknown wonder of my 40th still ahead of me.  It all walks hand in hand.

We stopped, just before the end of the walk, to rest upon a bench.  Looking up, the sky was just so brilliantly blue already in the morning.  Don't you think?

Well, we're ending our walk together... let's give it one more glance before we move on to our day..

I hope you have a beautiful, wonderful day.  And thank you for walking with me yesterday. I truly enjoyed every second.

April 9, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

Can I just tell y'all how sweet your comments are, and that they give me such warm fuzzies when I read them. Thanks for all of your uplifting words on my post yesterday (and so many other posts).  I went through my day today feeling so good thanks to all of you. So, thank you, thank you, Thank you.

I would write a whole lot more, but I have decided it's time for me to go to bed.  I'm getting up early to walk with my friend tomorrow morning and I want to have at least 7 hours of sleep under my belt for once.  Hmmm... I think I might take my camera and see what I can capture.  I haven't the last few times and have missed some golden photo opportunites...

... like this past Wednesday when a deer ran across our walking path no more than a fifty yards in front of us.  It startled us (or we startled it)... but how so very cool! 

So, I wonder what we'll see tomorrow.  I'll be sure to come back and let you know. 

Again... thank you.  You are all very cool, sweet people... thanks for being there for me during my low points.  I'll try to keep them to a minimum.  =)

April 8, 2010

I Cried Today

Over the past couple of months I have been feeling very, very, VERY down. You see, I turn 40 in a little over a month.

But that’s not why I cried today.

Turning 40 shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. I have never had a problem with growing older. Even as a child, I never had that “dread” that my life would be “over” when I hit 25, 30, 35, 40, 50, 60…well, to be honest, I had a problem when I turned 27. I just didn’t like the number, so I kept saying I was 28. But that should be proof. If I had a problem at 27 with growing older, why wouldn’t I have kept saying I was 26, instead of leaping forward a year? Anyway, for some reason, turning 40 is hitting me hard.

But that’s not why I cried today.

People have been asking me why 40 is bothering me so much. I haven’t had one answer… I’ve come up with many, but no one single thing. One, I feel old. My body feels like it’s breaking down on me. But when I’m honest within, I know that is because I carry too much weight, more than the actual age of my bones. Two, I don’t like the meanness of people who make fun of aging. I know I should have a good sense of humor, but “over the hill” cracks and the like… I just don’t find funny. I don’t know that I ever have. My kids once bought all “over the hill” and “you’re 50!” stuff for their dad for some odd-ball birthday – I think he turned 42 – and it royally pissed me off… and hurt… and started me dreading that they’d do the same for me. Three, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything worth mentioning. I don’t feel I have made a mark that is worth being proud of. I don’t feel like I have treated myself as I should have for near-40 years now…yeah, this one hits most closely to the mark. This one really makes me feel bad about turning 40 in a few weeks. Yes, I’m really struggling with this.

But that’s not why I cried today.

You see… I receive these wonderful, uplifting emails in my inbox most every day. A lot of them make me think hard and long… a few of them don’t feel that they apply to me… and one, every once in a while, speaks to me so crystal clearly. It’s as if someone really was thinking of me when they wrote it.

The emails are part of The Brave Girls Club… and this one made me cry today:
Dear Just-Right Girl,

Every age has its gifts. Every decade brings new opportunities. Every season of your life has its purpose.

Try not to wish your years away…wishing you were younger or older…wishing the signs of aging would go away, or wishing you could get through this phase in your life in a flash.

The world needs more women who embrace their wrinkles, or who love their time at home when their children are small, or who know the power of their wisdom gained through being alive for many, many years, and who are absolutely comfortable in their skin. The world needs more women who sing through life’s winters, who dance even though their bodies jiggle, who count the laugh lines as decades of wonderful memories.

We are women. We are brave and we are beautiful and we are real. Let’s be happy exactly where we are…now and at every age. When we can adore each phase of our life, we give each other encouragement to do the same…wrinkles, cellulite, crying children, loads of laundry, bifocals and all.

You are absolutely gorgeous and your heart is even more stunning. Don’t ever forget it.
I’m going to try not to. I don’t want to forget it.

Disclaimer: This is not an advertisement for The Brave Girls Club…they haven’t paid me nor do they even know that I am posting on my blog about them. I don’t have any stake in it other than I am a girl and I honest-and-truly want to be brave. Eventually I’d like to participate in one of their Brave Girl Camps. I really like what they stand for.

April 6, 2010

My Discovery Zone...

Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to be more health conscious.  I have started to change some of my eating habits... I have started to follow Weight Watchers' points system... and I have started walking.  I'm still not walking on a scheduled, regular basis, but I've managed to get out for a good walk in a local park twice a week for two weeks.  This week I'm aiming for three.

Here are some things I have discovered, or rediscovered:

I really have missed nature.  As a younger girl up until I started working full-time after college, I spent a lot of time outdoors.  I grew up in a fantastic house that had a lot of land to roam, including farmed fields, a most excellent barn to play in, and a few miles of wooded areas.  During my walks out in the park, I have begun to remember that nature makes me feel peaceful.  I love being surrounded by it... even though it frustrates me some that I have to stay on the path. 

Deer are amazing.  I have seen a family of 5 deer during one of my walks... they were really cool to watch.

Rebirth of green things... I watched a dandelion seed float through the air a few days ago and couldn't believe it, because I hadn't seen any dandelions yet.  Today, I saw dozens.  The leaves are popping on the trees... smaller bush-like plants are definitely filling out.  Looking through the wooded part, there is green popping up on the ground and in the air (trees).  It is so amazing to think that while today I can see people walking on a parallel path to my own, in a few weeks, they will be obscured by the lushness of the regrowth.

Squirrel!  Every time I see a squirrel, I cannot help but think of the talking dog from Up!  I haven't seen the movie  yet, but I have seen the commercials.  Every time I have seen a squirrel during my walks, my mind has shouted, "Squirrel!".

I can't breathe or talk while walking uphill.  But I'll be able to in a couple of weeks if I keep this up.

Wild Turkeys do exist!  Not that I doubted that, but I've never been within 5 feet of one before this past Saturday.  :)

Bunnies play.  We saw some wild bunnies today chasing each other through the woods near our walking path.  We startled them. I have a feeling the boy bunny was a little disappointed... I believe he was out to -ahem- start a family.

Something about nature makes people more friendly.  I can walk down any given sidewalk or street and people around me avoid my eyes and avoid greeting.  Walking through the woods, I have met every person's eyes and said hello and they have greeted me back with a smile... if they didn't beat me to the "hello" in the first place.

Oh... and no matter what, bugs still know exactly how to fly up my nose!  Why is that?!

I hope you are finding some time in your life to get outside, breathe in the fresh air and soak in the sights, sounds, scents and scenarios around you!

April 5, 2010

Blog Love...

To all of my blogging friends out there, I want to send you some blog love.  For every person who has commented even once on any of my posts, I have visited and read your blog.  At least once, if not many more times than once, I have commented or tried to comment.  And I want you all to know that I visit frequently.  Unfortunately, I have had some difficulties commenting or "following" some of your blogs out there. I don't know if it's a problem on my end or yours, but I did want you to know... I have visited... and I have tried to comment.  If my comment didn't work, I have tried to find a way to contact you... but some of you don't have an email link. 

I'm sorry... I really have tried. 

So for those of you who haven't seen me lurking around and commenting on your posts... it isn't for lack of trying. But I wanted to make sure you know, I am there... reading, supporting and commenting (to myself at the very least).  Thank you for being open and talented and willing to share your lives, experiences and families. I find it inspiring and engaging...and please consider linking a valid email to your profile so I can at least send you comments that way. 

Thank you!

April 4, 2010

Some Gratitude...

I am so grateful to have a friend who walked with me early Saturday morning.  It was a good walk and I hope to enjoy many more with her.  There's nothing like being up early in the morning, outside in the fresh air.  We saw some wild critters... no deer... one wild turkey.  I really, really enjoyed our walk and our conversation and I can't wait to do it again, both because of the health benefits and because I really enjoy her company.

I am so grateful to have two awesome and talented friends that I joined at an impromptu private crop Saturday afternoon and evening.  I'm also grateful to the owner of the store where I work who allows us to have the table space even after the store is closed.  It was a great time, filled with food, scrappin', movies and fun.  I can't wait to do it again!

I am grateful to have a husband who is working hard to bring some extra cash in right now... and who can fix things on my computer when they go wrong.  I lost something very important to me on Saturday, and this evening he was able to restore it.  Woo Hoo Hubs!  While he was working today though, I was sad to have to spend the entire Sunday in the house without him. 

However, because he wasn't home it forced me to get some of those things done that I had wanted to do on Friday.  I got through about 3/4 of our laundry (yeah, I had really let it pile up), got the dishes done and started some major spring cleaning in my scrapbook room.  We have a scrapbook garage sale coming up and I wanted to clear some things out and get it priced... and it felt good to have all that time down there without bumping into The Hubs at his computer... so while I missed him, I'm kinda grateful that he was gone, otherwise I might not have gotten as much done as I did.

And I am grateful to the Boy who got a bug in him to bake cupcakes.  Hmmm... I think I'll go have one now.

Happy Easter!

April 2, 2010

Nature's First Green is Gold...

I had the best of intentions tonight.  I was going to come home and Get. Things. Done.  Did it happen?  Not quite...

I was going to cook dinner...
Instead, I ate leftovers, and was satisfied.

I was going to start laundry...
Instead, my son has the machines occupied with his and even now that they are back available, I just don't feel like getting it started.

I was going to clean up my corner of the room that is a total mess from when I moved my scrapbook room downstairs...
Instead, I sat on the couch and talked with The Hubs about his upcoming job change (new company, starting this coming Wednesday).

I was going to take a walk at the park with my dogs...
Instead, I plopped down on my bed and dozed while listening to a re-run of NCIS in the background.

I was going to clean out the linen closet...
Instead.... I just didn't.  Yet.

I was going to take some photos of my budding leaves on my trees...
Instead, I discovered my trees are leaf-ing yet.  My neighbor's are, but, well... I felt odd walking across the street to take pictues of her tree.

Speaking of her tree versus my trees.  Our trees in our yard are the last trees to lose their leaves in the fall, and the last trees in the neighborhood to show their new leaves in the spring.  Why is that? 

And speaking of noticing this in the first place, am I the only person in the world who watches nature?  I walked out of the house on Thursday morning and looked across the street and WHAM! It caught my attention completely that my neighbor's tree had a green "glow" at the tips of the branches.  New leaves out... today... there are so many!  (Of course, it probably helped that we had 80-degree weather yesterday and today... what the heck happened to spring??)  Anyway, I pointed the green glow to The Hubs and it was like 'huh?' ... like he couldn't care less.  I am so excited to see the first green that I look for it for weeks before it starts peeking. After it "peeks" it just explodes!  A week ago, I walked to the place where I had planted some Hostas.  Not a single indication that they were growing back.  I lamented to one of my sisters about it (because she had split one of her hostas to send two with me back home) that I had killed it.  She assured me I hadn't and to wait.

Lo!  And behold!  I walked around the house tonight and they are inches above the ground!  Check it out:

Anyway... and nothing I had intended to do tonight has gotten done. I  have a gift to wrap, and I really wanted to check some of my list off because I'll be cropping all day Saturday and I wanted to relax some on Sunday and not have to worry about 7 loads of laundry, etc. 

Oh well... what do they say about the best of intentions pave the road somewhere?  Yeah... I think I've paved a billion roads that way by now.

Ah, well... at least I took time today to enjoy my daffs!  I realize that's not the same as stopping to smell the roses, but my rose bush is just leafing now... it's too early... so I stopped and sniffed the daffs instead.

Happy Spring!


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