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Celebrating Imagination and the Wonderful, Wild Ride that is Life

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New technique photos and fun in Pine City

Hey...I've posted the pics from the next 2 techniques in the 52 pick up class. This is really a lot of fun. Some of the techniques aren't all that new to me, but it is great to play and have them all in one chunky book for reference later. I can see going to this little deck whenever I need a creative spark. I have Friday's project to do so I'll post it later.
Speaking of creative sparks, I had so much fun yesterday. My good friend Julie had to drive her daughter down to Pine City which is about an hour and a half away. Pine City is the location of our most-favoritest scrapbooking store, the Pine City Scrapbooking Co. Of course I jumped at the chance to tag along...especially when Julie had the idea of us staying and scrapping at the store. It was awesome...we got there and asked if it was okay if we used the tables...but they had set up for a garage sale they were having today (note: it's killing me that I can't go!)...anyway, the owner, Marni (who is totally awesome!) offered to let us use the retreat center which is attached to the store. Wow, we had the whole place to ourselves! She has it stocked with all kinds of cool tools, great tables with ott-lites, cutting mats, and drink holders, and flat screen tvs with a library of chick flicks! We had a blast and I got a ton done! I am almost completely finished with a mini-book about our Crop for a Cure 2007. I'll post pics when I have it done! Of course while we were there we had to shop...Marni had gotten in a ton of new stuff. She always has a lot of samples and creative inspiration around the place, plus she mixes in a bunch of cool vintage things to get your creative juices going. (I loved the mini-bar with vintage buttons, serve yourself mini brads, etc.! What a great idea!!!) It stormed while we were there so we got to listen to the sound of thunder and rain hitting the roof as we worked. It was so great! It was hard to leave and we are definitely going to go back and do it again sometime. I am looking forward to Marni's hosted weekend in August. For Mother's Day Brad got me a spot for the weekend which includes two nights in the retreat, food, and three Tim Holtz inspired classes with all of the supplies. Woohoo! I can't wait...especially since I had this little taste of Pine City goodness!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

52 card pickup...little bits of creative goodness!

I am totally loving this new class I am taking through Big Picture Scrapbooking. It's with Tena Springer. Basically we are getting techniques that we try each week day. In the end we will have a card deck of awesome techniques that we can add to our creative tool kit. I hesitated about taking this class because I was already signed up for two other BPS classes and have a lot on my plate (as always!). Plus, Note to my Sisters: I have always hated the term "52 card pick-up" ever since they abused me with this game when I was little. Oh yes, they taunted me, promising to play with me for hours only to have the game be this cruel mockery.... I feel a visit to the therapist coming on! Anyway, back to the class... I am SOOO glad I signed up for this. It reminds me of being back in art school, getting messy, and exploring all sorts of new things. Only this is even's more controlled so you actually end up with a lot of successes and not so much trash for the heap. I had lots of fun making my deck. I decided to go with a back to school theme (for obvious reasons!) Our first technique was embossing a stamped image with clear embossing powder and painting over it, wiping the paint away to reveal the resist. It was cool. I tried embossing with a pen with my own doodles and handwriting too. FUN!!! The second technique was to create layered flowers. Nothing too out of the ordinary for me, but fun just the same. One of the big perks of taking the class is getting to see everyone's work in the online gallery. It's great!

If you haven't checked out Big Picture Scrapbooking yet, I really recommend it. I have taken a few classes now. One was the Art of Becoming More ( I admit I didn't keep up with this one, but will do it on my own time) and the other was the Library of Memories with Stacy Julian. They do an awesome job! You get handouts galore so you basically create your own book by the end. Plus you get chat time with the teacher and lots of emailing, the gallery, message boards, etc. I am signed up for Have More Fun (also by Stacy J.) and Photgraphy 101 to get to learn all the cool features of my camera. Seriously, I dig these classes. You get to work on your own time, when it's right for you, no driving...and you can go to class in your jammies. Who wouldn't love that? If you want to check it out, go to . There are some free mini-classes to get you started.

Well, I'm off to go do the next two techniques! I'll post 'em later!

P.S.: I'll write more about this later, but I'm thinking of applying for a manufacturer's design's just between us....

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oh, glorious summer!

Is there really anything as wonderful as summer in Minnesota? Perhaps it is the anticipation that builds over the months of winter, gray and cold. But truly, it is hard to beat Minnesota in the summertime. The temperature is perfect, getting up to the mid- to high-seventies...everything is green and still new, not faded in too much intense sun. The colors are magnificent. I went for a ride on my bike, pleasantly hot with exertion but fully enjoying a steady breeze that brushed through the pines the entire time. There was the sound of frogs squeaking in the ponds as I passed and birds greeting each other in the trees. Dragonflies landed briefly in my path as I went along, and I smiled as I passed horses in the fields. Buttercups were turning their faces toward the sun and I inhaled the scent of lilacs growing wild along the road. Best of all is the arrival of the lupines; they're just opening in their shades of indigo, lavender and rose. I am thrilled to see them every summer, thrilled to see where they will turn up each year like a hidden treat sprinkled along the countryside. This sounds a lot like poetry, but that is what summer in Minnesota is like: a poem. It's brief, startling, and beautiful. It fills you with excitement and emotion, and it is over much too soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chemical Dependency

I realize that this is completely different than my previous post. But, hey, that's the point, right? I'm supposed to write about random stuff...stuff in my life: what I'm thinking, feeling, doing...okay, maybe not everything. I promise, I will do a little self-editing! Anyway, here's what I've been doing...trying to find my normal state of brain chemistry! What fun! And let me just say that I am currently imbalanced to be sure. Here's the deal: some of you may or may not remember that I am on medication. It started out as a small amount of meds that have been found to help alleviate the horrendous, sleep depriving, sheet soaking hot flashes that I have been enduring due to early menopause. (I know I don't need to tell you what that is, but here's a refresher: I had my ovaries and uterus removed when I was not quite finished with my hormones, thank you!) So, like I said, it started with a small dose of an anti-depresant to help with my hot flashes. Only the small amount didn't work. So, I went to a larger amount. Then it became clear that I had been suffering some anxiety issues. (As evidenced by my worn down teeth from grinding them and inability to sleep.) So, cue up the anti-anxiety meds. Then it became clear that I was a wee bit depressed. No surprise there as I have always suffered from (what's the nice way to put it?) "melancholy". Not to mention cancer. Cancer makes you a wee bit depressed, but I suppose you already knew that. So...we upped the anti-depressants. fast forward to a couple of months ago. I go to see my doctor who, of course, reminds me that I am wonderful. I remind him that I have no sex life. (Oops! Belated parental warning: stop reading!) Anyway, he says "No sex life?" I say, "Uh, yeah!" (As in "Hell, no!!!!") And I'm grumpy as heck. My doctor gives me the Cliff's Notes version of a depression test and says, "Oh, Yeah. You're depressed." "And, I'm fat", I say. (Just to drive home the I'm-not-getting-any-and-I-feel-like-a-loser point a little bit more.) He states that clearly the meds aren't working anymore and I need to "WEAN MYSELF OFF OF THE ANTIDEPRESSANT." (I am using capitals when I wrte this to highlight the point, in case you didn't get that. Don't worry. It will all make sense at the end.) So, I proceed to WEAN MYSELF OFF OF THE ANTI-DEPRESSANT. I am supposed to taper my dose over a course of weeks. Let me tell you, that after only three days I felt like a huge, steaming pile of horse poo. I was: (check all that apply) a. dizzy, b. nauseous, c. sweating profusely, d. felt like I had a pair of dirty sweatsocks stuffed in my mouth, e. incredibly depressed, f. all of the above. Hmmmm...let me see...all of the above! Yippee! Not to be deterred I continue to taper the meds with these ongoing symptoms (to varying degrees) until I call my doctor's office the other day because other people are expressing their concern about my welfare to me. Let me say that again: other people are expressing their concern about my welfare to me. That tends to get a person's attention. So, as I said, I called my doctor. What I mean to say is I called his answering service because obviously he wouldn't answer his own phone. Ha! What kind of a doctor would he be if he answered his own phone? So, his answering service left him a message and his nurse called and I talked to her. Nurse phone lady proceeded to tell me that this ENTIRE time I have been WEANING MYSELF OFF THE ANTI-DEPRESSANT I was supposed to be taking another anti-depressant to help alleviate the aforementioned symptoms. That's right! Nobody would ever WEAN THEMSELVES OFF OF THE ANTI-DEPRESSANTS without having another medication to help take the edge off, she says. No! That would be horrible! That is, unless, their doctor had not prescribed or mentioned any drugs to help them WEAN THEMSELVES OFF OF THE ANTI-DEPRESSANTS. So, I have been in psychotic, nauseaous, sweaty hell. I have about five more days of this lovely process and then I get to go onto another medication. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. How on earth people ever get themselves off of illicit drugs, I have no idea! Nothing, no kind of high would ever be worth this kind of torture. But, I'm fine. thanks for asking. How are you?

Friday, June 6, 2008

The first time.

"I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit." -Dawna Markova

I stole this quote off of Ali Edward's Life Artist newsletter that was in my inbox two days ago. Sometimes it is so amazing to me when I am completely caught off guard by how beautiful, poignant, and perfectly apt something is for where I am in my life. I love those moments, when my skin prickles with excitement as if I have seen a ghost...when I have read, heard, seen or otherwise experienced something that truly matters. Something that lifts back the curtain of the everyday, the mundane chore of living and touches my soul.

This is the way I want to live. And ridiculously, as a cancer survivor, the way I should be living. After all, I have touched the end of life as if brushing by a stranger in a crowd. I have experienced the fear, the finality, the loss, the sorrow, the end of dreams. But what seeps in after years of knowing is: life. That is where the difference is most pronounced; The difference between those two small words: "life" and "live". They are both valuable and in some superficial ways, the same. But to me they are worlds away from each other. My life is what takes me away from conscious living...that is meant as neither good or bad. It is what is. But to "live" is to make guide life as much as possible and to do it with intention.

So, I just did a search for the author of that quote, Dawna Markova, and this is what I came up with: Apparently, she is a psychotherapist, researcher, and lecturer with a PhD in psychotherapy and education. She works with third world organizations as well as many others. She has published a book and a website of the name "Spot of Grace". The website can be found at . I think that I need to excavate these connections further. I am intrigued by another fine quote I picked up from the site which goes as follows:

"I have faith that each child, every human being, has a gift--a spot of grace--that they are meant to bring to the world. They deserve to have unlimited access to this seed in their soul. I have faith that each of us brings a unique value to the larger whole. This is my profession. If I give voice and energy to it, every one of the days of my life will count for something. If not, every day will be wasted." –Dawna Markova, author of 'Spot of Grace'

A spot of grace...I love that. It is very interesting, as I just listened to one of my favorite radio programs called "Speaking of Faith" and heard this same thing referred to as the divine spark or holy ghost. It was an excellent interview with Rev Dr. John Polkinghorne. The interview covered the Reverend's ability to marry his background in Physics with religion. The interview can be found at:

This is all definitely food for thought. I find it immensely interesting when a window is opened that brings me more knowledge, more choices, and more insight into my life and my effort to live everyday with intention.

I guess this isn't too bad for the first time.

Evidence of a Life