Thursday, December 29, 2011

One Little Word for 2012

Many of my regular followers are familiar with Ali Edward's One Little Word.  She suggests you identify one word that can be your guiding light for the year.  Similar to a new year's resolution, but different in that it leaves things open for whatever might add to your life experience.  As Ali E says, it "...can be a powerful thing.  It can be a ripple in a pond that changes everything.  It can be sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow."  Sometimes the word picks you instead of you picking the word.

This is the fourth year I've identified a word that I would be my mantra for the year. My words have been Simplify (2011), Serenity (2010), and Gratitude (2009)

For 2012, my word is  

1.  sincerity in action, character and utterance
2.  conformity with fact or reality; verity
3.  a verified or indiputable fact, principle, proposition or the like

And it chose me.  As I was driving.  Talking to myself.  Asking questions about others' actions and then I turned it around and asked about my own actions.  And I realized that what I need in my life right now is for me to be honest with myself.  I need to take ownership of things for which I previously blamed (oh, how I dislike that word) others. 

I need to discover and embrace the truth about my relationships.  About weight loss.  About exercise.  About healthy eating.  About homemaking.  About time management. 

I need to be truthful with myself.  And I will not allow myself to believe what Jack Nicholson says...

Oh, yes I can.  Oh, yes I will.  I can't say this will be easy.  I'm a little anxious on moving forward with this.  But I see that as a good thing.  Being anxious heightens awareness.  And then...

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered. 
The point is to discover them - Galileo

And so the journey begins. 

I'd love to know if you have a word for 2012.  Feel free to share in the comments or to post a link to your blog.  C'mon...what's YOUR word?

Monday, December 26, 2011

"The Look"

As we were growing up, my siblings and I knew "the look" we would get from my mother if we were stepping out of line.  Many of you know about "the look".  Without a word being spoken, while your mother is at the other side of a room, your eyes meet hers and BAM!!  You know if you continue to do what you are doing, you are in BIG trouble. 

I swore I would never use it on my kids.  HA!!!  So much for promises made to yourself when you are 12 years old.  Yes, my kids will tell you that I used "the look" on occasion.  And I can tell that my eldest grandson experiences "the look" from either mom or dad or both, because I catch him occasionally looking up to "take a reading". 

I love how our eyes tell so much.  I love looking at pictures to see whether the eyes match the mouth in what's being told in the photo.  C' know what I mean!  Smilin' eyes!!  And how disturbing is it when the eyes don't match the mouth?

But the reason I tell you this is because I wanted to share with you my experience when I received the best Christmas present a grandma could get.  I received a gift card for a date at Make a Messterpiece with my 4 1/2 year old grandson.  But it wasn't the gift card that was the best gift.  It was this gift bag, handed to me with a special look.  A look that told me I was going to L-O-V-E what was inside. A look that exuded confidence in how perfect this gift was for me.

In actuality, I loved that he wrote all of this on the bag.  You see, I will scrapbook this.  I will take pictures of my date with him, of his Messterpiece, of our time together and I will scrap those pics right next to this bag.  And I will melt each time I see it. 

I am certain that I am the luckiest grandma in the whole wide world. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Wishes 2011

From my home to yours, may your Christmas be filled with joy and peace, may you enjoy your time with those you love, and may you know how grateful I am to call you "friend".

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Insane Courage

Have you seen any movie trailers for "We Bought a Zoo"?  First of all, gotta love Matt Damon and that smile!!!  But he says one line that just blew me away.  It's a quote that grabbed my heart immediately.  All I could think about was, I've GOT to share this with my blog buddies!!  Ready?? 

"All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and
I promise you something great will come of it." 

Think about that for a minute.  You can plan and dream and wonder and plan and when it gets right down to it, it's the 20 seconds you spend telling yourself you are moving forward with your dream that involves the insane courage.  Everything that follows is just support, whether it's self support or support from others.  I LOVE this quote.  Can't wait to see the movie.

Hope your holiday planning is coming along at a non-stressful pace. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dear Online Retailers:

I'm really quite impressed with some of your amazing deals this season.  Really some great pricing.  I can see where you are trying to get your fair share of my Christmas budget.

However, I'm very aware of how much you are charging me for shipping.  And if I think it's unreasonable, you aren't getting my business.

That's the bottom line. 

A Smart Shopper

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The ABC's of Thanksgiving

If the only prayer you said in your whole life
was "thank you", that would suffice. 
- Meister Eckhart

Wishing you a restful day, filled with family and friends and good food and fun.  And here's my ABC's of Thanksgiving.  Since I wasn't able to come up with all of them on my own, I enlisted the help of my grandson, Cormick.  He's quite helpful when it comes to ABC's. 

Abundance & Appreciation
Bread (homemade) & Broccoli Casserole & Butternut Squash & Bailey's
Cranberries & Corn & Celebration
Desserts & Dressing (thinking of my Texas family)
Everyone gathers together & Early June Peas (that's for you, Jerry)
Family & Friends & Feast
Gratitude & Gravy & Green Bean Casserole
Happy Thanksgiving & Healthy Living
Jams & Jellies
Kin & Killing animals for food (thank you for this one, Cormick!)
Living (not just existing)
Mashed Potatoes
Nuts (family and otherwise)
Orange leaves & Orange candles
Pumpkin Pie
Quail (for some, not for me)
Roasted corn
Sweet Potatoes & Stuffing
Thanks & Turkey
Venison (not in our family, but at the first Thanksgiving, according to Cormick)
Whoopie pies (my new pumpkin favorite) & Wine
Xcited to be with family (don't judge me. I challenge you to come up with something better??)
Zzzzz (once the L-Tryptophan kicks in)

Thanksgiving day comes, by statute, once a year; 
to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.
- Edward Sandford Martin

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Are You Prepared to be Wrong?

Are you familiar with TED?  It's a non-profit that is dedicated to spreading ideas.  (When it first started, the focus was on Technology, Entertainment, and Design).  Their mission is to spread ideas.  It's grown.  It covers just about any subject you are interested in.  Check it out at Most are very entertaining and usually funny.

Lately, I've been sort of hooked on watching the videos regarding education.  My daughter and I have had a number of discussions on how best to educate her kids.  Although she's an elementary school teacher, she finds that she's exploring ideas on alternative options for her own kids.  I like that she's open minded enough to consider different things. 

Anyway, these TED presenters usually present for 20 mins.  The latest one I found was Sir Ken Robinson. 

In this particular discussion in 2006, he talks about how kids aren't afraid of taking risks.  They aren't afraid of being wrong.  And what he says is, "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original."  And when we get to adulthood, we have grown to be afraid of being wrong.  So companies are run that way.  And now education is becoming that way.  Largely, in part, due to legislators who decide that certain test scores are required to prove that a school is doing its job.  So teachers and schools teach to tests instead of teaching to interests. 

Sir Ken talks about how having a degree now isn't necessarily what it meant 10, 15, 20 years ago.  It used to mean that if you had a degree, you had a job.  Not anymore.  We know there are plenty of kids who graduate with B.A.'s and M.A's and have to live with the parents because they can't find a job.  And by then, creativity has been taught right out of them. 

Now, I'm not saying that school isn't necessary.  It is.  But what we should never forget is that creativity is necessary, too.  If you have ever interacted with a 4 year old with a crayon in his/her hand, you'll know the discussion about "coloring within the lines".  And no doubt you know and/or pondered the controversy about it.

I am one of those people who cringe whenever I hear the proclamation, "We've always done it that way."  No doubt uttered by those who are just to afraid to be wrong.  How about you?  Are you prepared to be wrong?

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Smile for Today

What's not to love about this smile?  Contagious, isn't it??

So many languages in the world, and a smile speaks them all. 
(Author unknown)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween - Revisited!

Last night, I got to experience Halloween thru the joys of a 4 year old.  THIS is what Halloween is all about.  Mom and kids went door to door with neighbor kids and I stayed back at their place to hand out treats.  Here's a good place to note that everyone who came to the door was dressed in costume, nobody over the age of 15 showed up, and most were very courteous.  Parents waited at the end of the driveway, waved and said thank you as well.  How VERY refreshing to experience this blast from the past!!  SO different from my neighborhood experiences.

Anyway, by the time Spiderman got back from his door to door escapade, Daddy was home.  Daddy and I got to witness the biggest grin (seriously, ear to ear) and the best story about what it was like going out trick or treating.  Oh, to have had the video camera ready.  But that might have ruined the moment.  Thankfully, it's burned in my memory. 

"And Grandma, some people said,
'take one' and some people said,
'take two pieces'". 
Break me off a piece of that
Kit Kat bar.

Even Wonder Woman needs
a little snuggling!

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  And yes, Peggy, there is a fun part of Halloween.  And I got a glimpse of it again, with my two little super heroes!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hello, It's Me...(cue Todd Rundgren)

Yes, I've been quite absent lately.  Too many irons in the fire.  Not that I haven't been busy creating!  I have been.  And as I've said in the past, when I ramp up on one creative thing, another one gets temporarily tossed aside. 
Things like cardmaking (40 shower invitations for my niece's wedding shower).  I like that this doesn't look like your typical wedding shower card.  Thanks to my younger sister, we got these done in a day once they were colored!

And working in my Soulbook that we started at the Scrap Cellar.  This is a book that is good to pick up whenever you start doubting your self worth, or when you lack the courage to take on something totally new.  It has statements in the book that truly speak to your soul.  That truly make you aware of how awesome you really are.  Anyway, the goal was to finish by the next time we got together.  And that time is coming fast!  We used old boxes, lots of masking tape, and acrylic paint to create this baby.  Then added our "speak to the soul" statements.  Here are some of the pages I created. 

And then there was this fun page I did in my soulbook to prove to myself that I really do have some artistic talent.  One of my colleagues at work has this beautiful sweater.  She walked in one day and I asked if I could take a picture of it, because it inspired me so.  Here's the back of the sweater:

And here's what I painted in my soulbook.

And here's just a glimpse of one of the handmade gifts for my niece.  Can't show you the whole thing, though.  Wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.

Oh, and I put together a slide show with music for my girlfriend's husband.  It was his 50th birthday. 

These are some of the things that have kept me busy enough to not be able to have a solid idea of what to blog about.  I figure now that these are done, maybe I can get back to giving you a little piece of my mind occasionally.  (Not that I can afford to give it away!!)

Anyway, this Halloween edition finds me once again proclaiming to you that I'm not a fan.  Not at all.  The only true joy I get from this holiday is that I love to see how my grandkids dress up.  But the candy thing...not so much.  The Cellar Chicks laugh at me because I call it a "beggar holiday".  Seriously folks, here's the scenario:  Adult at my door not dressed in costume, holding a bag out for candy, and when I ask who it's for, they point to the 6-month-old in the stroller.  A 6-month old!!  Yes, I'm serious!!

Monday evening, while my neighbors stay at home and hand out candy to those 6 month old, candy craving infants, I will be headed to my daughter's where I get to party with two SuperHeroes!!  Spiderman and Wonder Woman!  Pictures will follow, to be sure!

Oh, and one more thing before I go...My friend, Leanne over at From Chaos Comes Happiness has opened an Etsy shop with canvasses, prints, bookmarks and greeting cards. Many of the items feature Annalee, a character Leanne has developed.  (I swear this is Leanne's alter-ego.)  She's also got a line called Random Thoughts From Chaos that have beautiful, inspirational thoughts.  Check it out.  Let Leanne know I sent you.  (I LOVE hearing her voice when she calls all excited that someone I know purchased from her shop).

Okay, I'll try to show up a little more often here.  Have a happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

An Unexpected Gift

Let me begin by saying I'm not a fan of Oprah.  There's just too many things I don't like about her.  All to do with actions, actually.  Loved her in her very early years.  Not so much now.  However, I was directed to her website by my good friend Leanne over at From Chaos Comes Happiness.  What made me take that trip was the subject:  What I Know For Sure.

And I have to say, Oprah's on target with what she knows for sure!

Lately, it seems that some of my blogging buddies are struggling with a crisis in their lives.  Some are quite angry with what they have to say.  And I know some of it is just venting.  I get that.  We all need to vent.  But if I could stand in front of them, look them in the eye, give them a hug, I'd probably throw some of Oprah's "knows for sure" statements at them.  And hope that they really listen.  Things like, "What you put out comes back all the time, no matter what."  Or "You define your own life.  Don't let other people write your script."

And to that point, I want to share with you a gratitude moment I had.  My PG called me the other day and asked if I saw the rainbow.  Yes, I'm a rainbow freak!!  Take pictures of them all the time.  So I looked to the east and saw the right side of a rainbow.  Full spectrum.  ROYGBIV and beyond!!!  GORGEOUS!! 


So I grabbed the camera and ran outside to get pics.  And that's when I saw it.  The left side. 


Sitting before me was a complete, full spectrum rainbow.  I don't remember ever seeing one this big.  So wide I couldn't capture it in one shot. 

WOW!!  Just what I needed!!  Not sure what I've done to deserve it, but I must be doing something right!  And I know it wasn't there just for me.  But if you aren't grateful enough for things around you, you're likely to miss a gift that just happened to show up for your enjoyment!!

This has been a beautiful autumn this year.  Colors on some trees, others hanging on to their green a bit longer.  Plenty of sunshine to enjoy those colors.  We have truly been blessed in the Midwest. 

With that, I leave you with a quote by Rose Kennedy: 

"Life is not a matter of milestones, but of moments." 

Monday, October 10, 2011

I Feel Like A Millionaire!!

Okay, so if you've ever thought that going to a grade school reunion would be lame, please consider this advice.  It's probably a hundred times better than a high school reunion would be.  And here's why (in my humble opinion, of course):
In high school, you are in a room with kids who may or may not have been in your elementary school.  You spend 45 minutes with them, the bell rings and you go to your next class.  In that next class you may or may not be with the same students as the last class.  But definitely, the demographics changes.

Now in grade school, you are with the same set of kids for the entire day.  You bond with them.  You know their personalities.  They are imprinted on your brain.  So when you get together 45 years later, you have so many memories that surface. 

More pics to follow!!

Needless to say, we had a blast.  It turns out my fear of being an outcast was unfounded.  Or at least the years melted that away. 

And another know how you think you've changed so much since you were 13?  Got news for still look like you.  At least that's what our experience was.  I can honestly say there was only one of my former classmates that I would not have been able to pick out of a lineup.  They all look like an older version of themselves.  But I knew who was who.

All in all, we had so much fun.

I have one more theory about reunions.  The farther you get from your graduation date, the more you realize what's important in life.  I believe that at the 10th, 20th, 30th reunion, you spend a lot of time talking about what you do and what you've achieved.  But by the time you hit the 45th, your kids have grown and you very likely have grandkids.  And you realize what is really important in life.  Relationships.  With your family, with your friends, with your former classmates, with your God.  Relationships are what make your life rich.  And I walked away from this reunion feeling like I won a million bucks!!

Looking forward to planning the 50th!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reunion Time

Today's the day!  It's been in the planning committee's hands for six months already.  All because one classmate decided that it's time we get together. 

Me...not sure which grade
Today, 45 years after we graduated from eighth grade, many of my former classmates are getting together to talk about old times, talk about what has happened in our lives for the last 45 years, talk about our kids and grandkids, talk about those we couldn't find, and those who have passed.

When I was in grade school, I was convinced that I was not a likeable person.  In fact, when we were first approached about getting a committee together, I came right out and admitted that to the girl who started this up.  But seeing what I've seen raising my kids, and seeing how my daughter's 5th grade students act, I now know that it's part of growing up. 

So I'm looking forward to seeing these people who experienced some of the same doubts I did all those years ago.  I'm looking forward to hearing what their memories are.  And I'm excited!!

I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years of Angels at Work

Ten years.  In some ways, it seems like it was yesterday.  In others, it seems like it was 25 years ago.  To those who lost a loved one, it probably feels like eternity. 

At my current job, the PR person sent out an email to ask if anyone wanted to be interviewed by the local paper about what they were doing on 9/11/01.  I gave it some thought and quickly dismissed responding to that email. I talked to a former coworker about my feelings later that week, to see what her feelings were.   You see, we worked for a company that played a role in communication with some of those passengers during their last moments.  And my former coworker is pretty much on the same page as I am. We choose to let that day be in the past.  At least as far as talking about it to others.  That being said, I want to re-post my 9/11 post from last year.  Because I still believe it to be true.  And it warms my heart to give this some thought.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

As I sit here thinking about what I want to say in today's post, I'm overwhelmed. How do I say something unique to honor those who lost their lives nine years ago? What I want to say has been said so many times, by so many people. It feels trite. But to not say it seems disrespectful.

You see, I feel the way to honor each of those lives ended on 9/11/01 is to allow each of those angels the opportunity to create the peace in this world that we so desperately need.

This may seem simplistic but if you don't mind, follow with me for a short journey. Imagine you lost a loved one that day. (I know this is not such a stretch of the imagination for many of you). Think about the things you did, the fun you had, the way they made you feel when they walked into the room. When you think of that, are you filled with peace or anger? Chances are you feel the joy of that relationship. You feel the peace in your life that your guardian angel would want for you. You feel the peace that this world needs.

The news media these days certainly throws a lot at us to stir up anger. Whether it's about building a mosque at Ground Zero, or burning Qurans in Florida, it seems they want to keep those fires burning. Sometimes, the best way to extinguish those fires is to turn off the news.

Today, I choose to honor those angels who are working double time to combat all the anger in our world. Today, I choose to live a peaceful life. Today, I choose to thank those whose lives were given involutarily so that they can be the angels that remind us that peace in our world starts with each of us individually. Today, I choose joy and peace. And today, as always, I will not forget.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Things I Think I've Learned This Week...

Courtesy of
Angels among us!!  My brother went for his radiation yesterday and met with the oncologist after.  The nurse on duty explained to my brother that her dad had the same cancer.  She made sure my brother understood some points that will speed up his recovery.  Something he really needed to hear. I'm always in awe when I hear of the right person being in the right place, to say the right thing at the right time.   It's amazing when you really look at your life and realize that there really are angels in our midst.  
Courtesy of

All this talk about whether or not to bring technology to the classroom has some good points on both sides.  But until the decision is made to teach kids what they need to know instead of "teaching to the tests", we aren't going to grow as a nation. There's no getting around the fact that technology is here to stay.  We just need to learn how to make it work for us.

We need more business owners to be politicians, and more politicians need to learn how to run a business in order for the craziness in Washington, D.C. to stop.  I'm convinced that career politicians don't understand that you have to have the money before you spend it.  You don't create the money by giving back to people what they earned to begin with.  So, my solution...switch jobs.  See if you can understand how things work on the other side.  Then make decisions.  Or we'll vote your ass out!!

Courtesy of
Being the geek that I am, I printed and reviewed the President's Thursday night speech.  I took each paragraph and decided whether it was rhetoric, a suggestion, or a solution (does it give an answer, a "how" something needs to happen).  And here's what I came up with:  Out of 54 paragraphs, 45 were rhetoric, and 9 were ideas/suggestions.  None actually outlined anything new (but we were told that THAT would be coming next week).  In my humble opinion, that was quite a bit of hot air. Too bad for us, I guess.  We need solutions.  

I'm so grateful to my daughter's sister-in-law, Anna, for taking a beautiful picture of me with my grandkids.  She is an extremely talented photographer, and it truly shows that she loves capturing life.   
Photography by Anna Buti

I have had the honor of offering my input to the business plans of one of my very good friends as she develops a business that will offer her creativity to the world.  I can't wait to see what comes of it.  Maybe I should ask for stock options now, before she makes it to the big time!!!

I miss following up on everyone's blogs, and will probably take some time this weekend to catch up.  Also need to create a little to keep that part of my spirit fed. 

This weekend, each and every channel seems to be spending some time airing 9/11 "stuff".  I know I'm not alone in still grieving deeply on this anniversary.  But I truly wonder why they have to show some of the stuff they show.  Are they hoping to get the prize for "most gory details"? 

Okay, enough of my opinions and things I've learned this week.  Just leave me a comment with yours.  I'm off to read some of your blogs.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Couple More Pages

Can't say there's much going on here.  I found out yesterday that there's actually woodgrain on the top of my desk.  Who'da thought???  Yep...that means I'm getting thru the stacks.  Can't say I'm doing it alone.  I'm lucky enough to have my buddy Margo helping me!!!!

I've worked on a couple digital scrapbook pages.  I'm trying out a white background, but once I print them out, I'm feeling compelled to add something with a little dimension.  But here are the pages sans embellishments.

A few years of birthday cakes for grandson #1. 
I'm not that good, but he enjoys them.

Funfest at Indian Trail
June 1, 2011

So that's all for now!  I'm trying to make it a point to do a little blogging, a little visiting, a little scrapping, a little painting and a little photography each day.  Well, make that each week.  And if I'm not DOING it, I'm reading more to learn.  I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Happy Hump Day.  We're halfway to the weekend!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Week in Review - For Sanity Sake

Nobody I know - just makes me smile
Courtesty of
Another week in review.  A little reflection of my week.  I love how it puts things in perspective.  Because when all is said and done, coming home and enjoying family and friends is just about the ultimate in joy for me.  So without further ado, here are some things I noticed last week:

Parents who decide to wait til the last minute to reregister their kids for school and then try to be extremely rude and nasty to me and try to blame the postal service for not receiving something that was mailed out in May only teach their kids that it's okay to not accept responsibility for something that is clearly their fault.

I adore parents who come in with checkbook in hand and say to me, "Man, I blew it this time.  I lost what you mailed me.  What do I need to do now?"  Way to teach your kids how to own it and live with it!!  Kudos to those parents.

The love of my life is a wonderful man.  He's good to me.  He just has this "time" thing that is okay for him, but frustrating to me.  When I get past my frustration, I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world that he loves me.  Because as a former coworker advised me, "we've got to call him 'Poor George' because he lives with you, and we know what he's up against."  I know...I probably shoulda been offended...but coming from this coworker, it was funny.

You probably all know I don't believe in coincidences.  I believe that things happen by design.  Whether you name it God's plan or something else, there are reasons things happen.  This week, a woman stopped into my office to enroll her granddaughter in our school.  After five minutes of reviewing the paperwork, we realized that the gram and I went to school together.  And she was one of the persons the reunion committee was looking for.  Right in front of me.  Yep, things happen for a reason.

Only a couple weeks after I made a declaration that I was going to try to mail things more often, I fell off the wagon.  Time to get back on.  I love it when people tell me how happy they were to receive something in the mail from me.  Happy heart!!!

I have not embraced my affirmations and gratitude (A&G) statements lately.  "Too busy, no time."  Such b.s.!!  Because when I don't take time to embrace my affirmations and express gratitude, my world turns to crap.  I can't tell you what a difference it is.  But A&G can take a nasty day and turn it around in a matter of minutes.  I know... duh!!!!

Sometimes, you can get the wrong doctor.  I found out this week that something that has nagged me for a number of years is something that could have been addressed a long time ago.  But every time I asked about it, the doctor brushed it off.  The doc is no longer in my life.  I think that's a good thing. 

Teaching hospitals are good and bad.  Good because you feel like your case is able to give the next group of doctors some hands-on experience.  Bad because you sometimes feel like you are an object while the teaching is going on.  No, I wasn't treated like a guinea pig.  But it's surreal to be the object of discussion yet not join in. 

Courtesy of

Have an awesome Monday!!  Try not to lick a pig.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just Another Homework Assignment...

Taking another class online over at Big Pictures Classes.  This one was a free class entitled "Words to Live By".  I'm trying to make the entire album a digi or at the very most a hybrid (part digital/part traditional).  I'll end up printing these out as 8x8 pages.  Here's what I've got so far:

My friend MF's wedding day

Yeah, I know I'm still focusing on that darned fire. 
I'm still in awe of nature!!

That's all I got for now, my dear friends.  I'll check back in a couple days to reflect on the week.
Make today a great one!!  Just remember, you only get to enjoy this day once.  There are no do-overs.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

This Week's Reflections

I know I haven't told her yet, but I do love the concept of wrapping up a week with a review of sorts.  Nicole over at Destinations Unknown has a weekly post about Things I've Learned This Week.  I like that. 

I like the idea of a short and sweet list of the week as I reflect on it.  And I have maintained for many years that I will be a lifelong student.  So why not reflect on what I've learned?!  (Thanks, Nicole). 

Things like:
  • It's been 3 months since my kidney surgery.  Man that time went fast and I'm feeling great!!
  • When you get diagnosed with cancer, it's okay to not like what you are hearing.  But it can be inspiring to others to watch how you handle it.  And my big brother is amazing!!  (Love ya, Larry!!)
  • I really am getting better at working on damaged photos in Photoshop.
  • I need a new cell phone.  My flip phone takes its sweet time pulling in text messages.  I end up getting them 24 hours later. 
  • Mother Nature is simply amazing.  In less than a month, she can go from this
July 3, 2011

to this
July 31, 2011
  • My daughter knows how to touch my heart.  And it's the little things that touch my heart in a big way.
  • I'm not good at computer repair.  And I need to have the ability to view videos on my computer.  It's been a over a month that I've tried to restore my video capability since loading a new version of Adobe Flash Player and I'm not getting anywhere.  Therefore, I'm handing my computer over to my favorite IT guy so he can make it like new again. 
It might be a few days before I visit your blogs and leave comments.  But once my IT guy does his magic, I'll be back taking online classes and showing you the results!  Have a happy week!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Creative Avenues - The Road Now Traveled

My friend Leanne over at From Chaos Comes Happiness once said that she doesn't multi-task very well when it comes to creativity.  I think I'm the same way.  Sometimes it's art journaling, sometimes it's card making, sometimes it's writing/blogging and sometimes it's scrapbooking.  But I don't seem to be able to do more than one of those and feel like I'm putting a part of myself into them.  Does that make sense?  I guess it's like driving.  You can only be on one road at a time!

Lately, I've been having some fun taking up Design Challenges over at Big Picture Classes.  We are issued three challenges a week, roughly every other day.  And I've really been doing a good job of keeping up.  I thought I'd share with you some of the layouts I've completed in this class. 

The first challenge was to take something common and use it to design your layout.  I came up with this:

A checkerboard layout
(I love how the flash caught the center of the flower)
Photo courtesy of Colleen Buti

Challenge #2 was to use your photo as your base.  (I'll probably re-do this one by handwriting instead of computer writing). 

Cormick's Imagination

Challenge #3 was to use orange:

What a happy little girl!
Photo courtesy of Christine Buti

Challenge #4 was to use vintage font/type in your layout

So Silly
Photo courtesy of Christine Buti

Challenge #5 was to use a symbol as part of your layout (I think I may tweak this a bit).

The Door - left page

The Door - right page
Challenge 6 was to do an almost monochromatic layout.

Challenge 7, one of the most difficult for me, was to use bold/busy paper. 

Challenge 8, use a sign.

Photos by Edward Fox Photography

We've got three more challenges to go.  Can't wait to see what they are. 

But I guess that's all I have for you today!!  Sorry I can't think of any deep, probing, life changing question to post!  It's just not in me right now!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tricks of the Trade - Marketing Version

Saturday, my BFF Murph and I went shopping for bridesmaid dresses at David's Bridal.  She's standing up for an "across the pond" wedding of her friend Andrea.  Since Andrea is having a civil ceremony PLUS a church ceremony, Murph needed to try on dresses for each event.  I got to be the photographer and first-round judge.  Andrea gets to make the final decision. (And just for the record, there was not one dress that Murph tried on that DIDN'T look good on her! )

But as I sat there looking around the store, I discovered something.  Nothing earth shattering.  And actually, not really NEW information.  Just proof that the display marketing they do in stores has nothing to do with real sized girls.  I wanted to show you.  

Dress on display at David's Bridal

Dress on display at David's Bridal

Note the back of the mannequins/dress forms.  See how they don't can't even have the dress zipped up all the way.  Now, we're not talking plus size dress forms here, People.  We're talking about those thin microscopic waisted dress forms that they use.  And then they use the smallest sized dress available to display.  Hence, the inability to zip it up all the way. 

WHY do they use them instead of the forms that are closer to the size of a real woman?  Because they think they won't sell as much.  Because our society has saturated our thinking that if you're not an itty-bitty thing, you're not sexy.  Are we ever going to get past this thinking?  Are we ever going to realize that "having a little meat on those bones" is not necessarily unhealthy or unsexy?  Y'know, we can change it, don't you?  We just need to be aware of these things.  We need to be aware of what marketing is trying to drizzle into our brains shove down our throats.  And then let those stores know that you'd like to see something on display that looks more like the people you know. 

It's nice to know there are some stores out there who "get it".  David's Bridal apparently is not one of them. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Little Tree That Could

When the world says "Give Up",
Hope whispers "Try it one more time." 
-- author unknown --

Over the July 4th weekend, my neighbor had a garage fire that totally destroyed the garage and destroyed a lot of their belongings they had stored there.  The fire also damaged a portion of my garden.  I blogged about it here.  This week, the owner's insurance adjuster told me there was nothing in the owner's policy that would cover the actions of his tenant.  So there was nothing that they would be doing to repair the damage to my garden. 

After feeling sorry for myself for a couple of days, this evening I took another look at the garden.  

A couple weeks ago, I was convinced this hydrangea was a goner.

But this evening, there is hope.  I see growth.  I see promise. 

It may not be this year, but I'm sure next year, it will end up looking more like it used to.

Same with the ornamental pear trees --  What started off like this a couple weeks ago:

is showing signs of new growth amid the burned and charred branches and leaves.

I now envision my tree saying to itself, "I think I can, I think I can, I KNOW I can."

What's not to love about the perseverance of nature?  Maybe we could all use this lesson at some time in our lives!!

Where flowers bloom, so does hope.
-- Lady Bird Johnson --

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pros & Cons

Refuse to accept the many reasons why it can't be done
and ask if there are any reasons why it can be done. - Hanoch

Have a happy Saturday!!!