Friday, October 31, 2008

Just a quick drop-in to say...

...that my Grandma Clark in Missouri fell yesterday and broke her hip...she had surgery today. I know we'd all appreciate prayers and positive thoughts--she is a very special person to her family, and I love her bunches. I really hope she can get through the recovery and physical therapy okay. It's times like these that I wish I could just zap myself instantly through time and space to visit the people I love.

Hope everybody is having a fun Halloween--we had about 75 trick-or-treaters, and now I'm kicking back watching some MST3K.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Insert clever title here.

Well, I was in a cranky mood yesterday, wasn't I? I'll try to be nice today and spare you the rant on horrible Christmas music I was composing earlier today in a store which shall not be named. (Let's just say that if that was indeed Aretha Franklin, then she needs to retire. Now.)

Speaking of Christmas, I actually used a new scrapbook line right away, and not two years after it comes out, after everyone else has seen it eleventy-billion times, which is my typical creative arc.
This is Basic Grey Wassail, for those to whom that means something:

I got it all scanned and stitched (yes, I scanned! I stitched! And it worked!) and then realized I forgot to put on the journaling. So there's a little sticker with journaling attached over the three small squares. These "home decor" pictures are so pathetic, I thought I should really snazz up the page...the whole lipstick on a pig thing, which has far more uses than merely in American politics.

See, almost every year, we go out of town for Christmas, and last year we were seriously gone for three weeks, so this is the only decorating we did--a few bows on the windows and a swag and wreath by the door. No tree, no nuthin'. And I suspect this year will be just as bad.
I know someday I'll look back from the old folks' home and long for the exciting holidays when we traveled all over creation and never got to have Christmas in our own home with family visiting us for once...but till then, let me hold my seasonal grudge!

We went out to get Halloween candy last night and I jokingly told Todd that we had to go, before all that was left was Bit O'Honeys. Does anybody really like Bit O'Honeys? Or those caramel things with the "creamy" white centers that were actually flaky and gross? We got Tootsie Roll pops--delicious, but not pig-out-able in case there are any left over that we have to dispose of. You can't really pig out on lollipops.

I am holding out on turning the heat on...shivering in bed at night, sticking my hands in my armpits and holding them under hot water, layering on the clothes. I have no compunction in turning on the air conditioning as soon as the temps go over 80, but when it comes to heat I decide to get frugal. I figure I have to be frugal to make up for the wild, abandoned a/c use from May to September.

The nice thing about the early cold weather is that the trees are turning earlier, too, and drives around town have become opportunities to enjoy lone beauties here and there among the strip malls. Makes the time at red lights pass faster! The tree in our side yard (it's not an oak, it's not a maple, and there my knowledge stops) is just starting to turn burgundy and I can see the leaves against the blue sky from my desk--so gorgeous.

You know, I spent the whole fall of 1985 collecting, identifying and pasting leaves into a huge collection for tenth grade biology, and what was the use? I suspect if I had kids, I'd have a very hard time enforcing the homework rules, knowing how little I remember of anything I learned from K-12. My brain is the kind that latches onto random, useless facts and completely ignores vast patches of the kind of knowledge school is made to impart, like quadratic equations and what rocks are made of.

It was a peaceful way to spend the evenings after school, though--I had a table set up in the room off our garage, and I'd go out every night and paste leaves to big sheets of cardstock with rubber cement. The pressed leaves all smelled like tea, kind of sweet and mossy. My mom finally got me to take the leaf collection back with me when I was home in July (after about 15 requests) and now it lives under our bed. I just can't throw away all that hard work, even though the rubber cement has probably completely disintegrated the leaves by now.

I guess I should pull it out and find out what the tree in the side yard is.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where Oprah can stick her Kindle.

Every time I go to Amazon to look up a book or find a gift, I have to look at the ads for the Kindle on the home page. Which is moderately annoying. I don't want a Kindle, I have no interest in a Kindle, stop showing me the Kindle!

Well, now they've ramped up the annoyance factor; here's the new first line of the Kindle ad:

"This summer, Oprah received a gift that she says changed her life. 'I'm telling you, it is
absolutely my new favorite thing in the world,' she says."

Really, Oprah? Don't you mean it's absolutely your new favorite thing for ten minutes, until the next company comes along and asks you to push its new car, its $500 jeans, its latest wacko New Age religion?

And why do I suspect that Oprah received that life-changing gift from Amazon, and not from one of her BFFs? (Assuming she has any besides Gayle and Stedman the beard.)

It all makes sense, really--Oprah exists to sell American women useless things they don't need, and there could be nothing more useless than the Kindle. I already own too many things that constantly have to be recharged or renewed with fresh batteries. Sitting down with a book or a mag made out of paper is actually a refreshing change--I don't have to make sure it's charged, I can read it in the bathtub, and if the zombie war ever happens, I'll still be able to read my books when the power grid goes down.

The other nice thing about the zombie war will be that Oprah will either be holed up in her bunker or torn limb from limb by a zombie audience and I'll never have to hear of her again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SB pages.

Here's what I've been working on the past couple of weeks. Sorry about the bad pictures on the new scanner just isn't that great for scanning/stitching, so I just plop the biggies on the floor and snap a pic. I used to be such a pro at stitching 12x12s...sigh!

It feels good to get some of these pictures scrapped...or as my friend Janet used to say, "Another memory saved, baby!" I'm working backward through 2008, then I'll hopefully move on to 2007, for which I only have a handful of layouts, and then finish off 2006, which is about half done.

Can I just say here how bad I hate postbound albums? My gosh, are they hard to deal with. I'm putting all the 2007s and 2008s into one giant D-ring album, all different sizes, and that is SO much easier than trying to find post extenders and cram a million layouts onto the posts and then simultaneously hold it all together and screw it shut. If you've ever done it, I know you feel my pain!

I have taco soup brewing in the crockpot, since it's quite chilly today. It's supposed to have chicken in it, but I had a little package of stew beef in the freezer, so I used that instead. And you put in a whole bottle of beer. I just went down and stirred it--it smells very beery! Todd will turn up his nose at the beans, but he'll live.

I mailed in our absentee ballots this morning...I'm not sure I've ever said a prayer when voting before, but I actually did close my eyes and mumble a little blessing before I dropped the envelopes down the chute. I really hope that whoever wins, that will be the best choice for the times our country needs to navigate through. It's been an exciting election year--in a good way--but it's also been sobering to see the full scope of what we're up against, economically and globally. I think most of us just want what's best for America. Hard to remember that sometimes.

I'm out, see ya later!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Catching up.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes on my Facebook and in my e-mail last week!!! I felt very loved.

I've had company here for the past week, so not a lot of time to get online and catch up with people. My in-laws came and we got so much accomplished--that is, my mother-in-law and I did! (Todd and his dad got a lot of fishing accomplished.) She helped me put up curtains in the living room, dining room and downstairs bath--talk about a difference. We've lived here almost three years without any downstairs curtains, so it really looks much more soft and finished. When the sun comes back out, I'll get some pictures of everything.

I do have a couple of pictures on my camera right now, are the Halloween cards I made for my nephews and nieces:

I got the paper piecing patterns from the Better Homes and Gardens Scrapbooks Etc website. You're supposed to hand stitch the details, but who has time for that? And I don't think the originals had googly eyes, but I love googly eyes, so I used those. Most of the papers are from Imaginisce, with a few scraps from other Halloween lines.

There was a stamping/scrapbooking show in town this weekend, and I went on Saturday morning...took a few pictures of Tim Holtz projects at the Stampers Anonymous booth:

Stampers Anonymous also carries a line of stamps called Studio are a couple of things that caught my eye:

Here's Studio 490's blog...looks like lots of inspiration and ideas!

I would have taken more, but of course I always forget to check my camera battery before I go out, and then of course, it's always down to the last drop and I only get a handful of pictures. These were the most impressive project booths, though. There weren't a lot of vendors there this year, but I managed to get some Tim Holtz stamps and a bunch of Adirondack inks, plus a few other odds and ends. Spent my birthday money.

Hope everybody has a great week. I can't believe it's the end of October already!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wed. stuff.

I'm afraid I need to clarify something from my last post...I don't want the zombie bear for Angelo. I want it for ME. Yes, I am a shameful excuse for an aunt. He can have a zombie action figure or something--I want the bear!!!
I want to pull out its intestines and stick them back in. Plus, it could keep me safe at night from the zombie squirrels and rabbits that assuredly prowl the back yard.

We went to an estate sale last weekend and I picked up a couple of things:

This pin box (love the prim little lady) which leaks tiny pins all over the place every time I pick it up...and...

A McCoy planter and a vintage Christmas tree cookie cutter, which is one of the few vintage (handled) cookie cutter shapes I didn't have, yay, and...

This light green wool blanket which I fully planned to felt and chop up to make little stockings and tree ornaments, but which now seems too nice to do that to--decisions, decisions...

The Raggedy Ann doll sitting on the blanket, I found at an early spring yard sale--she is exactly like my own much-loved Raggedy Ann that I got for my third birthday, except that she's not filthy dirty and she still has all her clothes.
Poor old dirty naked Raggedy Ann is tucked safely away in a box with other childhood treasures.

I took this picture for an album of fall pleasures I am contemplating adapting from a Two Peas class, since spicy candles are a big fall pleasure of mine. These are from Wal-Mart and some of the Peas were raving about them, but so far I'm "eh" on them. At least they were cheap! I like the Glade candles a lot...they have a pumpkin one that's really great, and the apple cinnamon one is nice, too.

I've probably mentioned this before, but my chronic Ohio homesickness gets worse in the fall. Ohio is very blustery, apples-and-pumpkins, gorgeous leaves--it's the perfect place to be in the fall. We have a few pumpkins here and there, but no good apples, the leaves don't get really nice till Thanksgiving, and it's supposed to be 85 degrees tomorrow.

So I'm racking my brain trying to think of some pictures I could take to illustrate fall pleasures. Maybe I'll just concentrate on making Halloween cards instead--time is getting short! How I love Halloween!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Will somebody give me $100 so I can buy...

...this little guy?

I'm surfing around looking for zombie-related items, and I found him on Etsy. Oh, how I want him! I love how you can stuff his intestines into the little pouch on his tummy!

Why am I looking for zombie items? Because I got this literary masterpiece in my e-mail today, written by my nephew Angelo:

Angelo and the curse of the living dead.

Ones Opon a time ther was a boy and two girls. They were on a mishin to find the crystl skull but they got lost and ran into a grave yard.

It had bones laing arawnd and they herd a nowes it sawnded like it was behind them a bone hand landed on gianna she turnd arawnd she saw a skeleton she scremd we ran to her.

I wesperd the living dead we all tock awt ar sords and fot in till all the scelaton wer gon and we won the batel and we fownd the crystal scal AND THAT WAS THE STORY


I think such a talented author deserves a nice zombie present for Christmas. Unfortunately, most of the zombie stuff out there isn't exactly child-suitable.

I was so tickled when I saw the title of the story. I'm the biggest wussy you could ever find, but I have a real fondness for zombie books, and the only zombie movie I've ever made it through, "Night of the Living Dead." The rest are too scary for me. Wussy, I tell ya.

I wonder how hard it would be to adapt that bear design...

Monday stuff.

Look at these cutie-cute pictures I got in the e-mail today...

My in-laws went to Pennsylvania for "Grandparents Day" at my nieces' school. Here's my father-in-law with Evelyn:

And Anna showing off her family picture:

And here are my in-laws with the girls and their grandma on their dad's side, Judy:

It's so fun to see the girls in their schoolrooms. Seems like a really nice thing for the school to do, too, they had a little program and everything.

Todd is in North Carolina till Wednesday on his bi-annual windsurfing trip with the Central Ohio Wind Surfers (COWS.) However, it doesn't sound like there's much windsurfing going on--no wind. He took his kayak, so he's been floating around trying to kayak fish, but not having much luck at that, either. He fished from 8 to 5 yesterday and didn't catch anything but a sunburn. Still, he's not at work, so I imagine that's all that really counts.

I've been doing some cleaning and straightening (still have lots to do, though) and some scrapbooking. And some reading. I was watching The Colbert Report last week, and he was talking about how all the pundits, on both sides, go on and on about how McCain and Obama have such compelling personal stories.

So Stephen started comparing Obama and McCain to Shakespeare characters (Obama = Hamlet; McCain = Macbeth--this is all
extremely tongue-in-cheek, of course) and he brought on this Shakespeare scholar from Harvard to talk about it. At the end of the segment, he held up the expert's book, and--no lie--I had just gotten it in the mail from PaperbackSwap that very day!

The book is called Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt. Books about Shakespeare are always interesting because so much of what we "know" about him is pure speculation. What this author does is link historical events and personal experiences that probably occurred in Shakespeare's life to similar events and experiences in his poems and plays...speculating about the ways that Shakespeare must have taken what he saw and felt and used that in his creations.

It's a very readable book, and so interesting. In some ways the speculation is frustrating, because it runs against so much of what historical writing and biographical writing should be, but since it's unavoidable in this situation, it makes the character of Shakespeare that much more compelling. He's fascinating
because we know so little about him, I guess is what I'm stabbing at.

Since Todd is gone, I'm taking the opportunity to not cook, or at least, to cook very little. I made a giant pot of soup on Saturday and have been eating it for a couple of days, and tonight I'm going to make another giant pot of soup and eat that till he comes home Wednesday night. And since he's not here, I get to eat stuff he doesn't like, like chili with lots of beans!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Disclaimer: I didn't watch the debate except for a couple minutes here and there. This still makes me laugh:

I think the only thing they left out was the "winsome wink" option.
Maybe that falls in the "something really cute" category. Hearing about the winking makes me glad I didn't watch, because vomit stains would be hard to clean out of my carpet.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

My Ohio trip.

Two posts in one day! Surely this is a sign of the EndTime!

I'm finally able to access my pictures from our Ohio trip of two weeks ago, so I thought I'd share. We went home to be there for the sale of my grandparents' possessions and a small family reunion the next day.

My grandparents moved into assisted living in the spring, and sold their property to their neighbor, who will farm it. This past summer my mom and her siblings have been going through everything in the house and outbuildings and dividing up the heirlooms and getting everything else ready for a big yard/estate sale. Since my grandparents have lived in the house ever since they were married in 1943, you can imagine how much stuff there was to go through.

Here are all the tables set up in the yard. We grandkids used to swing on that big weeping willow all the time, back before it was pruned. Just grab a handful of branches and take off!

All the kids and grandkids who could be there worked the sale. This is my mom with my uncle Ron (her brother) and my cousin Melanie (Ron's daughter.)

My dad talking with my mom's cousin's husband. (How's that for complicated?)

My aunt Charlotte and my grandma. My uncle picked up my grandparents and brought them over for the sale, but it was hard on my grandpa, and he left after a short time. Grandma hung in there all day, though.

My aunts Molly and Doris:

This is the orchard, which back in the day was a big grove of plum, peach, apricot and I'm sure other fruit trees that I've forgotten. Cherry, I think, and apple too, probably.This is all that's left. There was a huge blueberry patch to the right as well, and every summer Grandma would beg everyone to come pick the blueberries!

Here's a picture I took in the morning of the view just to the left of the orchard. People don't seem to think Ohio is pretty, but farms and fields are plenty pretty to me.

Morning glories blooming on the summerhouse, which was a summer kitchen way back in the day, and which sits right outside the front door.

I was running the cashbox at one point and had to take a picture of this wagon when someone brought it up to's one of several red wagons around the place that we used to fill up with little grandkids and ride down the hill beside the house. The "hill" seemed like Everest when we were of course it's just a gentle slope. Funny how that happens!

Here are my cousins Alan and Krista who came up from Charlottesville and Atlanta, respectively, for the sale.

My aunts Carol and Kathy, who are my mom's sisters:

My sister Jenita and me:

Todd directed traffic in and out of the long he is at a lull:

My uncles Bill and Lowell, Krista and Grandma taking a break:

My niece Kylie (with school spirit day face paint) was very fascinated with helping me count the money:

And my nephew Tanner decided to price himself (one sticker says "$10" and the other says "Make Offer.")

And a last shot of the mailbox. This used to be way down at the end of the driveay, several hundred yards down the hill by the road, but when Grandpa and Grandma started getting "up there" it was moved closer. I remember walking down the driveway with Grandma to get the mail, though.

Well, it was a bittersweet kind of a day, that's for sure. Lots of emotions and lots of laughs and a few tears here and there. This house has been "home" to a very large family for 65 years, and that's a lot of memories to say good-bye to. I was so grateful that I got to be there for one last day.

Random treats and thoughts.

I got a delightful envelope in the mail today--Mimi's ATC swap! Seven little rectangles of art--the theme was "a favorite quote."

Mine is the one with the tea cup--the others were made by Stephanie and Molly (top row), and Kristina, Mimi, Nancy, and Sue (bottom row.)

Thanks for hosting this, Mimi! Such a nice treat, getting art in the mail!

My neighbor across the ravine in back is mowing his grass and wafting the smell in through the back windows. My favorite smell in the whole world.

I'm trying to decide whether to watch the debate tonight, since they've pre-empted "The Office" for it, so I won't be watching THAT. (Grrrrr.....) I don't like Palin, but I'm not a fan of Biden, either, so it should be fun to watch 'em go at it. Or excruciatingly uncomfortable. Whichever...

On a sad note, we found out today that Todd's former manager at his job in Ohio is in the hospital, in the final stages of liver and kidney failure, and will be going into hospice very soon. His name is Rick, and if you have a prayer or a good thought to spare, please send one up for him and his family. He's a lovely man, and he has a wife and two daughters.

That's all for now...I have pictures and a couple more scrapbook pages to share, sometime later.