Monday, July 30, 2007


I found this meme while reading the wonderful Red Molly Picayune-Democrat--I left a comment, she asked me five questions (thanks, Molly!):

1. What did you see on your walk?
We walk the same two-mile loop at the park every day, so what we see is mostly other people running, walking, rollerblading, biking, and sweating. And playing soccer in the field. Walking in Virginia is very different from walking in have to smile and say "hello" to every person you meet. If you meet them more then once, then a wave or smile only is acceptable protocol.

2. What's your favorite dessert?
Anything with cream cheese in it. Or chocolate. Or both. Cheesecake with chocolate sauce would be ideal. But I am in "no dessert" mode and not allowing myself to think such thoughts.

3. Which grade in school did you enjoy most, and why?
The last half of twelfth grade was awesome. I was good at playing the school game, but I never really enjoyed it. But the last few months, with all the college and end-of-year hubbub and slacking off and hanging out with friends...that was a fun time.

4. How's your garden doing?
Overgrown and leggy! I need to cut a lot of things way back, esp. some of the herbs. It's so funny how you plant these tiny plants and then turn around and they're three feet high and taking over. We have a morning glory that is making us both nervous, it seems to grow a foot every night. I think it may creep in the window and strangle us in our sleep one night.

5. How did you get into papercraft design?
I fell into it through scrapbooking. I had a bunch of friends at the time who were really into submitting their work. For fun I submitted a few pages to Creating Keepsakes and Simple Scrapbooks, and ended up on the designer e-mail list for Paper Crafts magazine, which was just being launched by the same company. So I branched out into cards and paper projects, and I've had periodic but semi-regular success with that for four or five years, mostly magazine related, but also a few projects here and there for specific companies.

Soooo...leave a comment--any comment--and I will ask you five questions. Copy and answer them in your blog and keep the fun going!

Swept out to sea.

I'm having a very peculiar time with my glasses this summer.

A month ago, we went to Ohio for a week. The first morning we were there, I got up, went to the kitchen for breakfast, took off my glasses at the sink to polish them, and the frame snapped right in my hand. Snapped in the round eyehole part, so no way to fix them. Talk about panic! I sat around blind till lunchtime when the Wal-Mart vision center opened, we went in, and miracle of miracles, they still had the frames in stock at that store, 18-20 months after I bought my glasses at the Wal-Mart at home. $40 later and I was good to go, they just popped my lenses into the new frames. SUCH a relief! I usually have to wait at least a week for new glasses, with my prescription and the extra frills like featherweight lenses; I still can't believe they had my frames right there. Thank God for Wal-Mart, and I never thought I'd say that! I honestly feared I was going to have to be blind for my entire week's vacation.

Because I am blind without them. I can make out blurs, that's about it.

So we went to the beach last night and the tide was coming in and the waves were high. I was standing in the shallows getting pounded with piles of sand, which hurt, so Todd told me to come out further past where the waves break. He was hanging onto me because I can't swim, and we would sort of jump and float as the waves came in. We've done this plenty of times before, but this time the waves were a little bigger, and a huge one came in, broke over us, knocked me loose and sent me crashing.

And it swept my glasses right off my head.

If you've ever dropped anything in the ocean, you know what your odds are of finding it again! So I was totally blind, coughing up seawater, and now I have NO glasses.

The whole long drive home we tried to think of what we could do, because I knew it would take days, at least, to get new glasses. The last time I got glasses I took my Rx to Lenscrafters, and even the "new glasses in an hour" people told me it would take more than a week to get the glasses in.

And I was sure I'd thrown out whatever old pairs may have been lurking about, when we moved. I always purge drawers and toss out old stuff when we move. I had this vision of myself sitting in a chair staring blearily into space for who knows how long.

We got home and I felt my way straight to the tub to wash off the sand...I'd really forgotten about even the possibility of old glasses in the junk drawer. And in came Todd with not one, but two pairs of old glasses!

One was a pair I'd gotten four years ago and stopped wearing early on because the shape of the lenses distorted everything too much. But who cares about distortion when the alternative is blindness? So that's what I'm wearing now. They're giving me a little headache, but I am just so, so thankful I held onto them. So grateful to be able to see!

I'm off to Pearle Vision this afternoon for an exam and new glasses--hopefully they can get them in soon. (Sadly, Wal-Mart isn't covered under our new insurance...this is one case where I would gladly keep going to Wal-Mart!) But I've definitely learned that it pays to have a back-up pair. I've worn glasses for more than 30 years, but I've never needed back-ups twice in one month before!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Study pics.

After six months, I think I can finally say my study/scraproom is pretty much done. Done enough for pictures, anyway.

Walking in the door:

Further left:

In the room now and continuing to turn left:

Now standing in front of the chair and looking at the opposite wall. Paper is in the cart, stamps and misc stuff in the stacked drawers:

And then looking back toward the doorway:

Another shot of my desk:

And my ribbon rack on the back of the door, and (most of) my scrapping stuff in the closet:

Isn't it funny how the color of the walls looks totally different depending on the light? It's called Glass Green, from Laura Ashley/Lowe's.

Looking at these, I think the only thing left to do is to replace those UGLY brown doors with white paneled doors, which we will do as soon as humanly possible. So, say...three years from now? Heh.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

All about me.

Well, how is everybody? Life has honestly been so uneventful here I feel like I have nothing to talk about!

I've begun working on losing a whole pile of weight. So far, I'm down three pounds as of my last weigh-in. The tip of the iceberg of fat, I assure you, but it's a start. So my main topics of thought lately are food: what to eat, what have I eaten, and what should I eat next. Part of what I'm trying to do here is keep my blood sugar on an even keel, which requires stopping to eat pretty regularly. But eating GOOD things rather than bad, of course. I'm avoiding empty carbs, cutting way back on sugar, and looking for lots of protein and veggies and whole grains and nuts. And drinking a veritable ocean of water. And working on finding a good pair of walking shoes. But these are not vastly interesting topics of conversation, however much of my own time they do consume.

My neck, shoulder and arm are feeling much better, although I'm not sure it's due to the painkillers and semi-regular heat I've been applying or if it's merely due to the fact that I haven't been out and about much or using my arm strenuously. I'm doing some very gentle weight work to try to strengthen those muscles a little bit.

I read HP and the Deathly Hallows in seven hours, from 10 am to 5 pm last Saturday. I was desperate to get it done before it got spoiled for me somewhere, somehow.

I liked it! I won't spoil it as I'm sure there are still people who haven't gotten to it yet, but I was mostly satisfied with how things came out in the end. Now I need to re-read at a more sedate pace and really form an opinion, but not until Todd reads it. He's finishing HP and the Half-Blood Prince as I speak, to refresh his memory before going on to the last book.

That's absolutely all that's going on here. How are YOU? Leave a comment and let me know!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Got it!

We went to a great Harry Potter party at Barnes and Noble last evening, from 8:00 to 9:30, with my friend Cheryl and her son Matthew. They had lots of crafts (make a wand, make a monster book, make a snitch) and most of the kids and many of the adults were in costume. I have some pictures but I'm having a computer issue, so I'll have to post those later. But we had a good time and then it started to get just a little crowded for my comfort, so we took off.

I headed over to Wal-Mart at about 11:30, thinking I'd just waltz in and grab a book, but the line was out the door and across the front of the store! The ladies in front of me said they'd been past the two big bookstores in town, Barnes and Noble and Borders, and there were hundreds and hundreds of people in line, so I just stayed put at Wal-Mart. I think we had maybe 200 people there at the most.

Once midnight hit, they started moving us through pretty quickly, so I only had to spend 40-45 minutes in line, and it was pleasant. Nice and cool outside, and I chatted a bit with the people around me. Everyone was happy and excited.

I took pictures at B&N, but I wish I'd thought to take my camera to Wal-Mart and get a shot of the promotional poster, and the HUGE pallet stacked with books behind the register!

Now the book sits downstairs, waiting for me to come down and crack it open. Part of me is dying to, and part of me doesn't want to start the journey to the end of the series. Silly, no? It's just a kids' book.

But obviously it's more than just a kids' book to all the people standing in lines last night. I know people who aren't interested in the books are sick of the hype and can't understand what the hoopla is about. And even if they could possibly understand why little kids are excited, they certainly can't see why grown adults should act so silly about the whole thing.

I figured out what the reason is, for me, anyway. It's not very often, as an adult, that you get to re-live the good feelings you had as a kid. For me, many of those good feelings came from books and from being swept away in a story and feeling like what I was reading about could really be real, somehow. It's hard to describe that feeling, but if you were an avid child reader, then maybe you know what I'm talking about. Maybe it's similar to the feeling some grown-ups get at Disneyworld--the wonder of looking out through their childhood eyes, if only for a little while.

That, to me, is the joy of the Harry Potter books, and I'll never forget reading the first one, on the porch of a bed-and-breakfast in Maine in 2000. Since we didn't have kids and our only nephew was just a toddler, we weren't clued in to the Harry Potter phenomenon until midway through the series. We were on vacation and just starting to hear the excitement about the fourth book coming out the following month, so I picked up the first two books on a lark for some light vacation reading.

And I was hooked!

Anyway, I guess I'll go down and have some breakfast and get started reading. I don't want to, but I can't wait!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Update and pics.

I don't know why I feel so un-chatty! I'm not in a bad mood or's just that there's so little happening in these hot humid summer dog-days.

Todd and I are working on our diet and exercise levels, but that's not terribly exciting. I'd like to lose a big old mess of weight, but it's early days, so nothing to report on that front--yet!

My neck/arm/shoulder problems finally drove me to the doctor...I asked about a breast reduction, but he wants me to try some anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers first, and apply heat several times a day. If that doesn't help, then probably physical therapy. This is all to show the insurance comanpy that I do indeed have a problem and have tried other treatments, should I need to go the breast reduction route. I wasn't 100% positive I wanted to try surgery, but on the other hand, it makes me so irritated to have to jump through hoops to prove to my doctor and my insurance company that I really do have a problem.

I just got a mini book and a card picked up by Paper Crafts, so I guess I've got my toe back in the designing/submitting waters. Just my toe, though!

How about some Ohio vacation pictures?

Here's my brother and my dad with my brother's little Marissa.

My nieces Kylie and Natalie:

Marissa is besotted with her cousin she insisted he push her on the swings.

My mom with Miss Marissa:

Marissa looks a lot like her mom, but that tiny smile on her face in the picture above is the exact replica of her dad (my baby brother) when he was that age.

Now for the other side of the fam...these are pics from Todd's folks' house at the lake. Todd's parents live about 25 minutes from my parents, so we spend a lot of time on the twisty country roads between homes when we're in Ohio.

We were blown away by how grown-up Todd's sister Julie's kids are--we hadn't seen them in a year, so the change was dramatic.

Here they are, Gianna and Angelo:

Gianna with the first of many, many bluegill she caught that week, with her trusty Barbie fishing pole:

Oh, how this kid cracks me up! For the past few years, there has been a group of people at the lake with a pontoon boat all decked out like a pirate ship. For the Fourth of July boat parade, they all dress up like pirates and toss candy and treats and beads to everyone on the shore. This year they gave Angelo a faux pirate sword. He was already dressed like a pirate with his bandanna, but the sword definitely completed the look. He LOVES pirates!

In keeping with the pirate theme at the lake, Todd's dad has been leaving treasure on one of the tiny islands in the middle of the lake. We all hop on the pontoon boat and take a ride to "Treasure Island" and the kids find their "booty." This year I got a nice picture of John with the kids on the island.

As you can see, I have plenty of pictures to scrap now. But then there's always the shots I missed that bug me forever after. I mentioned below that I never got a pic of myself with any of the fish I caught...I also neglected to get any pics of the girly outing I took my niece Kylie on, where we got mani/pedis and had lunch. And I had some quality time with my aunts that was great fun--but again, no pics. It is so hard to find the balance between enjoying the event and getting the pictures! For the past few years I've definitely strayed more toward just enjoying myself without having to worry about the camera...but then I always have these little regrets. Ah me!

Sunday, July 08, 2007


We are back from nine days in Ohio...I didn't want to mention we would be out of town here since you never know who's reading, but now we're back in lovely 100-degree Virginia. How I missed it. Uh...wait a minute, no I didn't.

We had a great visit with a large assortment of family members, rode in my father-in-law's pontoon boat, played cards with my niece and nephew, played badminton, pushed various nieces in swings, had lunches and dinners with some of my various aunts, swam, read, fished and otherwise vacationed. It's tiring to try to cram a year's worth of quality time with many people into one week, but I did my imperfect best, as usual.

One major missed photo op: my very first fish ever, caught with my niece Gianna's Barbie fishing pole. I ended up catching and releasing 12-15 little bluegill off the dock, quite a milestone! It was certainly the perfect fishing situation for little kids or impatient adults--you basically dropped your hook in and reeled in a fish!

Anyway, we're home and I'm tired. I'll check in later, hope everyone had a super holiday.