Saturday, April 29, 2006

Another Saturday night.

What a pleasant day we've had...I did laundry and worked on projects all day, and Todd worked in the garage all day. After supper we went to Borders and I got a book and some Todd is watching a movie, and I am trying to distract myself from my headache by doing some light online putzing.

[This headache is becoming a problem...I don't know if it's eye strain or TMJ or sinus or some combination thereof, but it is AWFUL. And it won't go away.]

Thought I'd post the only decent picture I got last weekend...this is my brother's daughter Marissa with my sister's daughter Kylie. I love this shot, because these two girls are kindred spirits. Kylie was a super-active, super-independent, crawling, climbing, exploring baby--and Marissa is very much the same. Both are the second-born kids in their families, coming after more compliant, over-achieving, people-pleasing older sibs. I could immediately see the connection these two made with each other, now that Marissa is old enough to really respond to people. Love these girls!

I got three small projects done for the Fiskars insert today, and a fourth larger project about half done. I have two more projects in mind for tomorrow, and that should be plenty. I also need to make a few cards for various upcoming birthdays and get-wells. I wish I could lop off my head so I could think clearly, but I guess that would sort of defeat the purpose.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday night thoughts.

I'm sitting here tonight with my perfect cup of Constant Comment tea and a roiling headache. I've had it most of the day. I've actually had a headache all week and today was sort of the culmination of the all the headaches from the past five days. Delightful! The tea helps.

I've been thinking tonight about an acquaintance of mine on the Two Peas boards who seems to have come up against some cruel misuse of information she wrote in a blog a year or so ago. The blog is inactive, but someone seems to have unearthed the stuff she wrote, which was sexually explicit, and has used it to try to discredit her at her work and in a few other areas.

I can remember reading her blog at the time and feeling afraid that she would be sorry one day for putting so much out there. I hate it that it's actually happened after all this time.

My friend Cheryl told me last week that some ladies were talking about me at our other local LSS. Nothing bad, but they knew my real name, my Two Peas username, and my blog. These were not people I knew--I know very few local scrappers who are also Internet-savvy.

It freaked me out. First, because I had written some thoughts about my old job that were not really for local dissemination. Second, because there are people who apparently know me--who I don't know. It's a peculiar feeling, since I believed I pretty much flew under the radar in my real life as well as my Internet life.

Anyway, it's definitely food for thought. Just because I don't have any interest in tracking people down and learning about them, doesn't mean it can't be done to me. It's a fine line to walk--knowing how much information is too much.

In other news, I spaced out this week and found out today that the deadline for the final Fiskars/Paper Crafts insert is Monday. So I'll be creating this weekend! The way this week went, I probably would have procrastinated it to the last minute, anyway, so it'll be fine.

I had my mini-class this morning, with only one friend here, but we had a lovely time anyway. Maybe next month a few more of them can come. Here's the card we did...I can't open my software to stitch the layout for some reason:

The background papers are from the Urban Couture line from Basic Grey. Scrappers have been having ecstasies over Basic Grey ever since they debuted a couple of years ago, but although I have a few sheets from various BG lines, I've never gone gaga. Until Urban Couture. These papers are so drop-dead gorgeous!

One last thought--did anybody see The Office last night? When Jim gave Pam her Coke and looked at her and said, "Hi"? Did anyone else's heart go pitter-pat??? He is yummy-yum!

Wish me good creating, headache-free vibes for the next couple days, okay?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I wanted to show off the definite high point of my day yesterday--I pulled out of the driveway and slammed on my brakes, because the roses at the bottom of the driveway are blooming!

This bed was, according to our neighbors, full of roses, until the previous owners (aka The Plant Haters) ripped out every bit of trees and shrubbery that they could manage in their two-months' time here. All that's left are these two tiny bushes, which I thought were one bush until yesterday, when I saw that one has pink roses and the other, yellow.

I was taken aback to see that two of the roses were past full bloom--and how had I missed it? The answer, I guess, was that we'd been gone for three days over the weekend, and I hadn't left the house Monday. And since roses don't bloom in Ohio until June, I wasn't even casting any glances at our little bushes yet. After three springs in Virginia, I'm still surprised by how soon things sprout and bloom here. So it was quite a surprise.
And a really delightful one...I love roses. I mean, I LOVE roses. Not the ones you get from the florist that don't have any smell, but "real" roses, on bushes, in gorgeous colors, with heavenly scents! The pink ones smell stronger than the yellow ones--and they are absolute heaven. But the yellow ones are nice, too. I have always wanted to grow roses, and to have these little gems coming up is like a gift.

Flat Tanner.

My nephew Tanner's second-grade class is doing a Flat Stanley project, wherein you make a "flat" version of yourself, mail it to a faraway friend and have them take some pictures and send you a letter and souvenir from where you live.

Last week, my ten-year-old friend Matthew helped me take Flat Tanner around to a few places. On the left, Flat Tanner with the ships at Jamestown.

And on the right, Matthew and Flat Tanner in the stocks at Williamsburg.

Matthew and I had a great time seeing the sites. He's such a sweetie-pie, and I was glad he was on his spring break so we could hang out togther.

I'm putting together a small mini-scrapbook with the pictures--VERY simple--and I need to get it mailed out by the end of this week, but I have no energy this week. None at all. I think it has to do with the hormone supplement I'm taking and where I am in my cycle, but OY. I hate feeling so uninspired and unmotivated.

I am also having a few of the ladies from my stamp store classes of yesteryear over to my house Friday morning for a mini class, simply because I miss seeing them on a regular basis, but again, no inspiration/motivation, and it would be good to get that mini class prepared! The clock's a'ticking and I'm puttering aimlessly. I need a B-12 shot or something!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Checking in.

Someone linked this Myers-Briggs site
in a thread at Two Peas today, and I had my first guffaw of the day reading this little prayer for my personality type:

"Lord, help me to be more laid back and help me to do it EXACTLY right."

Scarily accurate! I'm an ISFJ in the Myers-Briggs personality test. You can find your type on this site, without having to take the test, and see what your characteristics are, as well as find your own little funny prayer!

We took the Myers-Briggs test as part of our freshman orientation in college, and my type hasn't changed since then.

Had a very nice weekend back at Jeremy and Tracy's house...Marissa's dedication at church was on Sunday, and my parents and my syster's family also came down from Ohio for the weekend so we could all be there for her dedication. In the Mennonite church, since we don't baptize infants, we have a small ceremony during the service where the parents bring their baby up front, pledge to raise her in the faith, and then the congregation also takes a pledge to nurture the child and her family.

I like it that the congregation has a role in this dedication. I felt loved and nurtured by my church family as a child, and that was very valuable to me. In the world of today, I think a kid needs as many loving adults in her life as possible, don't you?

If I could track down where Todd secreted the pictures from this weekend, I'd post 'em. Maybe tomorrow.

I was lazy today, but I have so much to do this week, I need to find my mojo! Maybe tomorrow. LOL.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Playing around.

Thought I'd change the photo on my sidebar to something slightly more current--the old one was almost four years old. This one is about 6 months old. Maybe I can get something decent and newer soon. I'd like to change my header to something cool and custom like all the bloggers have, but I have NO CLUE how to do so. Just getting this blog set up was a total test of my computer ability, LOL.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sites to see.

The blog challenge at Two Peas today is to list a few of your favorite websites, so here goes: The website of James Lileks, a columnist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Lileks is a lover of all things ephemeral, and has several sections of the site devoted to old cookbooks, old matchbooks, old comic strips, old photos, old's a history-lover's dream, complete with witty comments. Check out the Institute of Official Cheer, featuring the Gallery of Regrettable Food.

Prints and Photographs Reading Room at the Library of Congress site. I could spend hours looking at the past on this site. Plus, you can order prints for yourself!

American Memory
collection, also at the Library of Congress site. I've barely stuck my toe into these waters--tons of pictures and documents and films to look at.

Threadbared:This site just makes me happy. I love smart-alecky comments.

The Garden Path: Lots and lots of thumbnail references about various herbs, flowers, and types of gardens.

Rotten Tomatoes: This is where I go to see if a movie is worth my time! I love reading the reviews.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter pics and a recipe.

We had a really nice, relaxing Easter with Jeremy, Tracy, Natalie and Marissa, and Jeremy's friend Chris Yoder. We didn't do anything spectacular, just had lunch, hung around, played with the girls, and then had supper, which was a repeat of lunch!

Here's Natalie in her Easter dress and hat:

And Marissa playing with plastic eggs:

Todd, Jeremy, Tracy and Chris, who were standing around looking perfectly nice and natural until I picked up the camera, and then got all weird and self-conscious-looking!

Me with my squirmy girls. Marissa is the squirmiest baby ever, and Natalie wasn't much better at that point. This picture cracks me up.

And a close-up of the pretty dogwood outside their house:

I made some cheesecake cookie bar thingies for lunch, and they're good, if a little rich. Perfect with a cup of coffee.

Cheesecake Cookies

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
2 cups flour
2/3 cup melted margarine or butter

16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all crust ingredients until light and crumbly. Remove 2 cups for topping. (*Note: I remove less than 2 cups, or else there's not enough to make the bottom crust.) Press remainder in 9x13" pan. Bake crust for 12-15 minutes. While baking, beat cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Beat in eggs, lemon juice, milk and vanilla. Pour into crust. Top with reserved crumbs, and bake 20-25 minutes. Cool thoroughly, cover and refrigerate.

Hope everybody had a great Easter!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Life in the neighborhood.

Busy but beautiful day today. Todd worked in the garage and shed, continuing to put things away and get organized...I made potato salad for dinner tomorrow, did laundry, and got hanging baskets for the front porch and some flowers for the planters on our deck. It was warm and sunny...all the neighbors were out cutting grass and working on projects...the neighborhood kids roamed and played...and a breeze blew through the open windows. Heavenly!

Here are some pics of what we've done to the front of our house so far. Here's the house as it was when we bought it in December:

Here it is after we added the boxwood "shrubberies" in March:

And here's the stone border Todd built last week:

I love this border. Love it, love it! Once we get some more soil for the bed, I'm going to load it with flowers. Not sure what yet, though. I can totally see white alyssum fluffing over the wall at the front, but I have no idea what to put behind it. Petunias seem so...obvious. But they are cheap and would probably do okay in that full sun exposure.

Meanwhile, the back yard is really getting "leafed-in." The trees in the ravine behind us are filling out so much that it's getting harder to see the houses on the other side of the creek. Todd cleaned off the wooden steps that lead down the hill to the creek:

The chain link fence to the left is a dog kennel--I can't WAIT to get that out of there, but I'm afraid it will be a major undertaking. When we get that cleaned out, I'd like to do a little woodland gardening down there...nothing formal at all, just some ferns and maybe some blossoming trees or shrubs (rhododendrons?). Stuff that will look like it came up naturally in the wilderness! It would be lovely to have a bench or picnic table or some sort of spot to sit and enjoy the shade, too...although the neighbors say that the mosquitoes swarm around the little creek down there. Ugh.

One of the neighbors on the other side of the creek told Todd the other day that that neighborhood was where they housed the Mercury astronauts when they came for their training at Langley. Thus I assume that neighborhood is much older than ours, but I've never actually been over there--just gazed at the backs of the homes through the trees. Our library up the road is named for Gus Grissom (and is pure 1960s industrial-grade architecture--ug-LEE) but I never figured there was such a close connection to this neighborhood. Kind of cool!

Friday, April 14, 2006


Scrapforums is holding a cybercrop right now; it started last weekend, and I managed to get a few things done for it.

My nieces at Thanksgiving, when they practically lived in their fairy princess dress-up stuff...the large photo is one of my very favorites. The title is "Princesses in Our Family"--the word "family" is a little hard to read in the scan because I covered the stickers with silver-leaf pen to make them match:

Todd and our niece Natalie last fall...he brought his remote control plane to their house, and she was really fascinated with watching him fixing a crack so it could fly. I called it "A Meeting of Minds" because they are both so smart and curious:

And a shot of our niece Marissa, also from last fall. This was the day we got to meet her for the very first time:

Last and least, a couple fall scenery shots:

I am basking in the glow of my first work-free to the grocery store for me, after a morning of puttering around the house. Bliss. Well, except for the grocery store part, heh.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A sigh of relief.

Today was my last day of working at the LSS. I've been holding my breath for three weeks until I could slip away, and I think I've finally done it.

The job was not a bad job. It was the easiest job I've ever had. The owner is a sweet person and easy to get along with, and she really relied on me. Which was a bit of the problem...

The store is failing. It's been failing since I started over a year ago. At first I tried to come up with ideas...kits to promote and sell, classes and make-and-takes to offer, cleaning things up, rearranging and organizing....but none of that will work if the person who makes the decisions isn't backing you up. I had responsibility for maintaining day to day, but no power to make the decisions and changes that could have helped. And I felt, and still feel, I knew the things that would have helped.

One thing I learned from my 13 months at the LSS was that I know more than I thought I did: both about the SB industry in general, and about running a store in particular. I hadn't realized how valuable the past eight years of being steeped in the scrapbooking world has been for my knowledge and experience. And I found that my common sense is real and deep and that I need to rely on it more. I pinpointed problems with that store, then came across business articles and trade journals, weeks or months later, that completely affirmed my instincts. I know more than I gave myself credit for.

It was a mostly good and valuable experience. But I felt myself getting more and more unhappy, especially after I decided to stick it out after we bought our house. Business had picked up after Christmas, which helped, but soon I was back to sitting in an empty store for hours at a time, bagging die cuts in the back room. More of a punishment than a job!

I felt so guilty, being so unhappy at an easy and mindless job that could bring in extra money for the house. What did I have to complain about? Meanwhile, the house was filthy, we ate out way too much, and I couldn't keep up with anything at home--because I was coming home every night exhausted from my empty day. It was like I was absorbing failure through my pores, working in that failing store and powerless to do anything about it.

So one day, I took an old Somerset Studio magazine to work for something to leaf through while eating lunch, and I got all weepy while I was looking at it. The magazine is total eye candy, lots of paper art pieces from artists big and small, and although I don't aspire to that level of artistry, I got teary-eyed about halfway through it, overwhelmed at the nice things other people were creating while I slid die cuts into plastic bags 8 hours a day.

That was when I finally, finally realized it was time to let it go.

Todd said tonight, "So are you going to pick up your blog again, now that you have some free time?" Isn't that DARLING of him, to miss reading what I write??? He's so precious.

And indeed I was and am planning to start writing again. I felt like I couldn' write, talk, or think until I had that job out of my life and was safely away. And now I am, and now I am going to enjoy having my life back in my own hands again. Hooray!