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Celebrating Imagination and the Wonderful, Wild Ride that is Life

Friday, January 30, 2009

A head full of cotton and bees.

This is not right. As I wrote yesterday I have been down and out with what is most definitely the flu. I have been trying to be a good patient, I really have. I laid around for two days straight, barely getting up except to go to the bathroom or get a drink. The rest of the time I have been doing very sedentary activities like watching tv (daytime tv is torture!!!!), reading, working on the computer, etc. Booooorrrriiiinnnnggg! But, what is seriously harshing my buzz right now is that instead of getting better, I seem to be feeling worse. What's up with that? On Wednesday I felt like I had turned the corner and was going to kick this thing. Yesterday was the first day I did anything normal: I had a meeting I could not miss, so I went to it. Now, all I did was sit around a table for 2 1/2 hours. By the time I came home I felt like doo-doo. Today, I feel even worse. My head is crammed with cotton and bees. I honestly would not be surprised if I coughed and a hornet came out. (Sorry if that's gross.) And if you call me, you will hear "Froggy" from the Little Rascals on the phone. Only, it's so bad, it would sound like Froggy had a cold too, which, if you know Froggy, would sound pretty bad. Little that takes me back. That is a show for daytime TV. Racially insensitive? Yes. Dangerously exploitive of children? Yes. But darn entertaining. Honestly, can you see the kids make the "Prize" birthday cake stuffed with assorted items too many times? Can I get a "Weep-Wow!"? Does anyone know what I'm talking about? If not, you've gotta follow this link: . Unfortunately, it ends before the kids get to the prizes. There's nothing funnier than Buckwheat saying, "I got a hairbrush!" . Okay, that clinches it. The TV is no longer where it's at. The babysitter for kids home sick from school is clearly youTube. For another favorite of mine, you have to watch this one. Spanky is so darn adorable "Oh boy, I luv choclat clake!" And as a shout out to my college friend Marc Petrovic, (I'll have a coupla dem buns!" Enjoy!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Down and Out!

I have been sick all week with what is most likely the flu. It has been just terrible! I spent the first few days literally in bed or asleep on the couch, feverish and downright miserable. Now the fever is gone, but I have terrible sinus issues and a hacking cough. Not to mention I can't talk. I am going stir crazy. I don't do well with just sitting around and I really have a hard time forcing myself to rest. But this bug has kicked me pretty hard, so I'm trying to take it easy. I suppose the best thing I can say about it is that I haven't had to endure much of the recent cold snap we've been having. I've barely gone outside!

I have managed to finish up a few projects, and I wanted to get some pictures up ASAP, so here they are!

I started these two scrapbook spreads a couple weeks ago, but finally finished them. That's the way I work sometimes...I get 98% done and then wait until that last 2% comes to me. I don't know why, it's like I need time to really savor the finishing touches.

This layout was about the trip Brad and I took to New Orleans last February. It was our first vacation without kids. We had such a great time looking at all the cool things to see there. One day we just came upon this...a Zoltar Machine!!!! If you've ever seen the movie Big starring Tom Hanks, you know what I'm talking about. It was so cool!!!! I just loved the way these photos of Brad came out...and check out the pic of him in 1969!!! Wasn't he adorable! (Well, to me he still is!)

And the following layout is about when Cory was not even three years old. He had a habit of doing things that would turn any mother's hair gray. Often we would walk out into the backyard looking for him and we'd call his name until we'd hear this tiny voice coming from way up in the tree saying "Here I am!". Seriously, it was all I could do not to freak out. But all Moms know certain times are not meant for freaking out. I couldn't believe it when I actually caught him on camera making his ascent. He would end up about three stories off the ground. (Notice all of the sawed off tree limbs in the pictures. That was Brad's idea to try to keep him from doing this.) No wonder he had a broken leg before he was three years old!

Now, a few posts back I featured a teaser photo of something pink and papery "wreathlike" is what I believe my friend Kim guessed it was. It was something I was making for a project. Well, the project's done and I'm ready for the big reveal. Here's a couple more close up pics to tease you:

This is another close up of that pink papery stuff, but now it's in place...I'm sure you know what i is now, Kim! (Especially since you've seen what it's attached to!) Here's something you haven't seen:

....A little detail I decided to add at the end. And with no further ado, here's the finished piece:

So there you have it! My very first altered canvas. And definitely not my last. I've never thought of myself as much of a painter, but I really got into this. I allowed myself to be free and have fun and I really did. Note to my family: Do you recognize anyone? That's right, it's Laura!
Keep your eye may see this on sale at a location (or internet site) near you one of these days! That's right, I'm thinking about making myself a respectable woman. (Ha!)
Since I had so much fun on my Dream project, I immediately got started on another before that one was even done. In fact it's finished too, but since the teasing was so much fun, I'm going to do it again! And, Julie, if you're looking, you or Tim might notice something familiar!!!!

Enjoy the sneak peak and let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Italian....Minnesota Style

Uff-da!!!! Ragu is always my preference over lutefisk!

I promised that I would post some photos from the show we saw while we were in St. Paul last weekend. I have been crazy busy, so I'm just now getting to it, but better late than never! (My personal motto!) For those who don't know, Tony & Tina's Wedding is an audience participation type show. You don't have to participate, but, believe me, it's a whole lot more fun if you do. The show is the actual wedding of Tony & Tina. You are invited and the first part of the show is the actual ceremony. The show is set up in two stages: the wedding and the reception. It is in two different locations, about a half a block from one another. The whole theme is very Italian, and to see it done in Minnesota adds a very unique twist to say the least! I can't be sure, but I think all the Italians living in Minnesota are currently part of this show! The characters are hilarious from the goofy groomsmen, the priest, the grouchy photographer, gay videographer, the Mother of the Bride who is in mourning for her late husband, the pregnant Maid of "Honor", and on and on. The best part was easily the reception. Everyone let their hair down and went crazy. Of course the characters over-imbibe and things get out of control. The funniest thing is that it's exactly like more than a few of my own family's weddings! The service at the reception is lousy, and the food is terrible, but that is all part of the show. Here is an example of our appetizer:

As you can see, it was very classy: cheez whiz on a ritz cracker, served on Chinette by a very surly waitress.
We all got into it and had a blast. Here's some more pics:

Brad with the jilted ex-boyfriend. (I know: he looks like he's part of the cast!) Sopranos...look out!

Brad dancing with "the Sister" who had a little too much sacramental wine!

The music was awesome: lots of Dean Martin and the like. One of my favorite parts was the champagne toast done to the "Thriller" theme. And the Bride's version of "Fergalicious" was to die for. We all got down and funky. Cory wowed the cast members with his crazy dancng skills. He is quickly becoming a legend. (You have to see him do "the Worm" and some crazy one-legged thing that has no name.) The kid is a blast! Here's a pic of the Groom's Father's Wife after we got through with her. (She is an ex-stripper and told us she "needed to stretch"!)

You had to make your own fun...I shocked everyone when they asked you to line up to dance with the bride & groom and I got into the Bride's line. They very loudly announced that I was a lesbian, but I told the Bride I was the only one there who would treat her right. Even Erin got into it when the Bride's brother drug her out onto the dance floor. You should have seen the look on her face! She was right there in the Conga line, too! Unfortunately, those pictures didn't come out too great.

A highlight was when Brad and I were seated at the table talking and looked up to see this:

Yes, that's right, Cory got plucked to conduct the band! He looks so Doc Severenson, doesn't He?

Anyway, we had a great time. If you are willing to let loose and have fun, it is a great show! Take the bambinis! Or else, fuhgetaboutit!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's here...and I couldn't be happier!

Yes, I'm talking about the Inauguration. My mind is back in DC with all of my friends, and at all of the places we love so much from having lived there for 7 years. I am jealous of those who get to be there, but it is completely overshadowed by my feelings of joy today. Of course, this has me thinking about my layout called Today that is just a few post backs. (I didn't want to bore you with the same image, so if you're interested, go look at it.) I made that layout the day Barack Obama was elected President, after having a talk with my two teenage kids about why this election was so important. I was able, right then and there to capture my thoughts and feelings about that day. It was a pleasure to make that page, which hopefully can in some way express to my children how far we have come, and, yes, how far we have to go. But it is very important to stop and celebrate these moments in our country's history, and in our personal history; moments that connect us, define us, and inspire us. I will write more about how I spend this special day later. (I'm still not really sure what's on the menu as I have lots of non-inaugural things to attend to, but I hope to find my moment among the evryday. I hope you find yours, too.)

First, I wanted to add a few more of the pics I took from our jaunt to the Cities.

I have to share some images from one of the greatest places on earth, called Hunt & Gather. It is not your Grandmother's antique store. It is a haven of inspiration and creative impulse! Seriously, it rocks. There is room after room stuffed to the gills with awesome goodies: full fledged pieces of art and the ingredients for someone like me who likes to dabble and play with odds and ends: flashcards, dominos, buttons, ribbon, old advertising memorabilia, knobs, door handles, oil cloth, you name it! And it is always changing and gives my creativity a charge like being zapped with the heart paddles on ER! I took a couple of pics of the outside and I'm posting one of them here, just to give you an idea of the way they display things creatively to draw you in:

There is a huge sign outside that reads, "Hunt & Gather" and the first time I saw it, I practically pulled the steering wheel out of Brad's hands to make him stop, and I squealed "I'm a hunter and gatherer!!!!" I love it!

But the piece de resistance has to be this amazing valentine they had. Someone must have really loved someone to make this awesome piece of art. It is a heart shaped candy box (about 6 inches deep) filled with cut up valentines, cards, ribbons, and beads...a true monument to love! It is so awesome. I am seriously kicking myself for not buying it. As a lover of all decoupaged, paper clipped, beribboned, altered, beaded craziness, this one was definitely a delight!

You really must go to this store to see it for yourself. The staging of all the merchandise is perfect. The first time I went in, I spent hours and finally, when I came up for air, I asked the owners if they ever had people pass out on the premises, because I was so high from the excitement ans stimulation that I actually felt light headed and nauseous!

Now, if that is not enough stimulation for you, let me give you some more....of the gustatory kind! As I said in my last post, we stayed at the St. Paul Hotel. They have the most amazing brunch! The prime rib was the best I have ever tasted, not to mention the waffles, the potatoes,and everything else. But they had the most amazing dessert tray full of mini tartes, cheesecakes, tiramisu and these fabulous cupcakes! I was so full, but I knew I would never forgive myself if i didn't take one to eat later. So, here it is happilly ensconced on the dashboard of my car (love the little sticky, no slide mat, but I doubt this is the intended purpose!) The cupcake stayed there through the morning, nicely chilled by the MN winter weather (a plus!) until I couldn't stand it anymore and dipped my fingers into the mousse-like topping. Seriously, it was amazing!

I will post again soon with the pics from Tony & Tina's Wedding...for now, I'm off to go watch some of the inaugural celebration on the news. Have a great day, no matter what your political stripe! This really is an historic day for all of us in America and around the world. Especially our children.

Monday, January 19, 2009

We went on a much-needed mini vacation to the cities over the long weekend. The kids deserved some time away since they have been working very hard on their exams. (They still have one left to take tomorrow, but then they're free, and the school year is half over. Wow. Hard to believe.) We went down to the Cities and stayed at the St. Paul Hotel (incredibly beautiful, but the heat in the room worked too well.) We planned on doing some shopping, hitting some of my favorite spots, eating good food, and seeing a show. We managed to do all of these and more! We went and saw the show "Tony and Tina's Wedding" on Friday night. I highly reccommend it, but you can't be a wallflower. You HAVE to participate to have fun. It was a blast. I'll post more about that later.

First, I must get to why I am a criminal. On Sunday we were in the Southdale mall, doing a little shopping. Erin and I were in American Eagle and when we were done, we walked out of the store to find Brad waiting for us, and giggling to himself. He said "You just missed it." Apparently there was a mall cop on a Segway scooter, patroling the mall. Brad said he looked exactly like the guy in the new movie "Paul Blart: Mall Cop". Of course, I am not one to miss out on the fun, so I went searching for the guy. (I had my camera with me and seriously itched to get a picture of the fella. At one point I found him, but he zipped away so fast on his scooter that I lost him. Mind you, this is not some big impressive mall. This is a run of the mill neighborhood mall. And it wasn't even crowded. Anyway, as I was in search of him, a nagging little voice started to tell me that this was not a good idea. So after I lost him, I started to tell Brad that I had remembered reading a story on a photographer's blog about being stopped from taking pictures in a mall under the pretense that it was a threat to security. That particular photographer had been told he needed to delete his pictures and was escorted from the mall. To his credit, the photographer stood his ground and refused to delete the pictures, but offered to put his camera in the car. (He knew that you cannot be forced to delete your photographs legally.) So, I was telling Brad and the kids this story, when lo and behold, Smokey the Mall Cop came whizzing past Aunt Annie's pretzels in the distance. Of course I could not resist. So I pretended to take pictures of Cory while shooting over his shoulder. The cop spotted me in an instant (mostly because Cory gave it away by turning to look at him every few seconds) and made a bee-line for us. When he got closer, you could see he was about 20 years old. Maybe. He very nervously told me I was not allowed to take pictures in the mall. Brad (always enjoying his role as the antagonizer) asked "Why?" The guy stuttered and mumbled that "I think, ever since 9/11, it's a terrorist thing...mumble...something incoherent..." Ha!!!!! So, that is where our tax money has gone, my friends! Not only is it keeping us safe from terrorists who are roaming our mall's food courts, but apparently, it is keeping 20-somethings fat and out of shape by putting them on Segways to do their jobs! I seriously wanted to tell this young man, "Dean Kamen (inventor) is not your friend!!!! Walk!!!!!!"

Anyway, here is the illicit, not-so-good, but terribly incriminating photo. I will post the rest of our trip later, but this was definitely a highlight!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inspiration leads to....

I honestly don't know! Somethin's rollin' around in my noggin, but I don't know where I'm going with it. So, being that it's a new year, I'm going to try a new thing (At least I'm going to try.) Anyway, due to all of the creative energy I've been having, the same old voice keeps whispering in my ear about attempting to actually sell some of my work. You know, become a professional. Ha! I guess it would finally be fulfilling the goals I set for myself what? Forty years ago? Oh, Lord! I wish I hadn't written that. It makes me cringe. Oh well, like I said, it's just a thought. I'm not sure how to proceed, but I'm doing my best not to squash it.

What I'm getting at here is that, when this little voice arose, say, oh....six months ago, and I started my blog, I had the inspiration to name it Wild Onions. (The meaning of which is hopefully explained above.) Anyway, my daughter is also a creative bee like myself. I told her what I was doing, and being that she is such an awesome artist, I asked if she would attempt to make me a logo. Now, you should never turn something like that over to someone else unless you are prepared to relinquish creative control. (Note to self.) I had one thing in mind (being that it was myown "Wild Onions" memories that inspired the moniker.) I imagined a sketchy field, sort of a pen and ink drawing with the makings of a small tea party. It was just a wisp of an idea, but it was there. I did not communicate this idea to my "designer". Instead, she took the theme "Wild Onions" and ran with it in the direction it took her imagination. And, seriously, it depicts nothing about what I was thinking, but I absolutely LOVE it. It made me laugh out loud. And if you know me at all, anything that makes me laugh out loud is straight from the Gods in my book! I'm still not really sure how to use it, but I HAVE to. Somehow. If you've got any ideas, shoot 'em this way. I love divine intervention!

Without any further ado, here is the pencil and paper design created by Erin:

I realize I'm biased, but honestly, isn't that hilarious? I love the sketchiness of it! The movement! It's awesome. So, I wasn't sure how to actually use it. Erin used our drawing tablet and turned it into a cleaner, colored image. I used that to create the following logo:

I have to say, this is pretty cute, too. I like the fact that I could incorporate in the definition. But, I missed the "straight from the drawing board quality of the original. I'm trying a little at a time to learn how to use Photoshop. I am very pleased with myself that I figured out how to make a brush out of the original drawing, and with it I created this:

Of course I added some digital papers and other elements. It lacks the text, but I like it. So, what do you think? Do you have a favorite?

Like I said, I have no idea where this is going!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A whole lotta crafting going on!

This week has been an unusual one. It's finals week at the kids' school, so they have only been in school half a day each day this week, and spending the rest of the day at home studying. (And I must admit, for the most part they have really been studying. Hard. I'm very proud of them!) Because it has been an unusual school routine, my daily routine has totally been disrupted. I feel like I haven't gotten a thing done...that is, until today. I have had a burning desire to work on a few projects. I have been working a little lately, but this afternoon presented me with a good four hours of pretty much uninterrupted time in my work room. I have the stained fingers to prove it! I won't tell you why my fingers are stained right now, because I don't want to give away any secrets. But I can say that I have been trying a few new techniques. And I can happily report that things seem to be going splendidly!
I had such a creative bug today that I literally had four different projects going at once, in various stages of completion. (Actually that's the way I always work except this time I had all four projects going on my table at the same time.) That's a little unusual, even for me. But I was so impatient for one thing to dry or be ready for the next step, that I needed to move on to something else before I ruined something. Uh-oh, there I go again talking about things that I can't divulge. Hmmm....this is hard! I guess it's enough to say that the creative chemistry going on was really something to behold! I hope that there will be something if not awesome, then at least blog-worthy to show for it. Just to prove that I'm not making this up, I'm adding a couple pics of some things underway.

I have been wanting to take on a daily project, something small and quick that would not really have any purpose other than to get my creative juices flowing. So, I decided to finally jump in and start an art journal. Here's page #1!!!! Woo hoo for me! You can't really see it in the pic, but inside the translucent envelope is a little mini tag with the word "desire" on it. Cute, huh? It's up to you to figure out what it means! Well, to be more to the point it's really up to me, isn't it? Anyway, it was a good thing to do while the paint, glue, and other stuff dried! And it wasn't at all painful to do once I got my feet wet.

These two pictures remind me of a favorite part of a kid's show called Wonderama that my sisters and I used to watch on Sunday mornings. The segment was called "What the heck is it?" And they would show you pictures of stuff like strange alien looking vegetables and tools and stuff and you had to guess what they were. Well, this is my "What the heck is it?" for you! It may not be too clear from the picture, but I can tell you it was a lot of fun to make, turned out exactly liked I hope it would (how often does that happen, I ask?), and you will be able to see what it is when I feature the finished item here in (hopefully) a day or two.

Well, that's it for today. I had so much fun all juiced up with my creative mojo that I hate to go to sleep! The good news is that it's a snow day tomorrow, so that holds the pleasant promise of more time in my work room! We'll see!!!!!!!!

I have to give a shout out to my main man Calvin K. who told me how to insert a hyperlink into my posts. (He's in 8th grade, by the way.) Because of him I was able to hyperlink to a YouTube video of my very own beloved Wonderama! Check it out!!!! Just click on "Wonderama" in my post. Thanks, Cal!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happiness is...a new box of crayons

Seriously, is there anything better than a brand new box of crayons? Oh, I might be able to think of a few things that compare, but a brand new box of crayons is pretty incredible. The smell, the feel, the colors, and the possibilities.....oh, yeah. Now ordinarily I am turned on by the giant box with the sharpener in the side, but when I went to Target to purchase my new box, lo and behold I found this fabulous piece of human invention...the Crayola crayon collapsible tower/holder. (With sharpener!) It is so beautiful, so perfect, that I can't bring myself to collapse the tower. It truly is a thing of beauty. I love these crayons so much that I haven't even been able to bring myself to use them yet. (Silly, I know.) I just love looking at them! And dreaming of what could be. And, by the way, my love of crayons really only extends to the Crayola variety. I have never found another that can even compare. (And no, that's not just because the Crayola factory is located a few miles from my hometown in Easton, PA...where you can take an awesome tour...I loved on Mr. Roger's when he showed you how crayons are made there! Wow, I do digress a bit.) I love the names of the colors, the feel of the paper covers, everything, everything about them! I have been in love with crayons ever since I got my first big fat one for learning how to write in Kindergarten. (If anyone can hook me up with those monster Crayolas, I'd be tremendously happy!) As far as a favorite color goes, I couldn't possibly pick. And that is what is so incredibly joyous about this huge tower full. Even though my kids are 17 and soon-to-be 16, they still get a new box of Crayolas at the beginning of every school year. And here's the funny part of this story: when I was in the Target aisle, mesmerized by all of the crayon choices, one of my daughter's teachers spotted me and stopped to say "hi". I didn't see him at first, but he must have seen the look in my eye. He asked "are you picking those out for you or for your kids?" Like it was a big joke. I looked him straight in the eye and without the slightest note of embarrassment said, "Oh these are definitely for me!" Joy!

In keeping with the topic of a childlike love of art and all art materials, I recently made this 2 page spread of some old photos I have of Erin as a toddler. She was, from the beginning, a budding artist and loved to draw and paint. I would often find her seated at my artist's table drawing...sometimes on top of something I was working on! She hates me for using these photos of her in her birthday suit, but I think they really tell the story.

This 2 page spread is of Erin doing one of her other favorite things: playing soccer! I can't believe how many photos I have of her playing from all of these years. These pics were taken when we lived in Damascus, MD by the Dad of another gril on the team. He took such great shots!

I guess the theme is Erin today, and all of the things that she holds dear. A topic like that would not be complete without this page. Her greatest pleasure these days is definitely her group of friends. I should say they are my pleasure too. I could not ask for her to have a better group of girls to hang out with. They're supportive, funny, down to earth, and each one of them is not afraid to be themselves. They value their differences. I admit I'm a little jealous! I wish I had as big a group of great friends as she does, but I do enjoy living vicariously!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Some projects and...?

I'm sitting here wishing I had something profound or iincredibly thoughtful to write, but I'm left vacant. I will say that I am horrendously sore-muscled again, this time not from the Wii, but because Brad and I went on the longest and most grueling (and simultaneously exhillirating) cross country ski treks yesterday afternoon! We went over to Superior, WI where there are some perfectly groomed trails. It was our first time skiing there. We were on the intermediate course and were thinking about heading over to the advanced course. Let me tell you, I am awesome at picking up speed on the straight aways, and I am even a good hill climber (I don't know, I work harder when I'm in a bull.) But downhills (big ones) frighten me. I'm a faller. It's true. Embarrassing, but true. Well, this course had the steepest down/up combos I've ever seen! And they were on the intermediate course! I actually didn't fall that much on the downhills (personal success...yay for me!), but there was no skiing up the other had to herringbone it for quite a ways! And then we did something really crazy...we actually switched to the advanced course. Those hills were serious. And it was just one right after another. We were so exhausted! And every muscle hurts...especially my shoulders from having to use my poles so much. BUT it was an absolutely gorgeous day for it. It was warm, in the teens, and the sky was perfectly blue. Just an absolutely perfect MN winter day. Well, we ended up skiing almost ten miles so we got back to the car shortly before sunset. That is one of my favorite times of day, when the light turns everything pink and rosy. It was gorgeous. There were awesome views of the river and bay, and the birches were lit up like birthday candles. So today I'm tired, but incredibly relaxed and at peace.

I thought I'd add a couple more recent project pics. So here goes:

These are some more oldie but goody pics of my kiddos...caught in the act of playing with an entire family size box of Kleenex. I love working from pics that are from all different times...jumping around where my whims take me. It's like floating on a sea of memories. And you've got to love that Sassafrass Lass paper! It reminds me of when I was a kid.

These two pics are the left and right pages from a two page spread I made about Erin's 16th birthday party. I love that I actually got a series of photos of her blowing out the candles. I am so lucky that she has got an awesome group of friends! I love these kids!

This layout has really gotten me thinking about why I scrapbook. Now, honestly, ordinarily I don't really like to think about such things. Thinking too much definitely gets in the way of my creative process. I am always much better when I am going with the flow, just feelin' it. Seriously, I think one of the reasons people tend to think they aren't creative is because they think about it too much. We're all creative as kids, but it's growing up and learning to question ourselves that gets in the way. One of the reasons I like scrapping so much is that the results are so immediate. In a lot of other creative mediums there is a process that makes you wait...and gives you too much time to think. Anyway, I realized when I did this page that I will scrap anything as long as it is important to me somehow. I use bad photos (obviously...just look at some of those old ones!) I'll use no photos, and (like in this case) I'll use a photo that was laying around...something that illustrates the subject. But this was taken years ago! For me, it's about telling the story, getting it down in a way that REALLY tells it. Because I think that's pretty much what all creativity is about, what art is really, telling your story. Even if it doesn't feel like it's your story, it's your take, so's your story. Wow! I need to get over myself ...this stream of consciousness writing is powerful stuff! I guess I did have something thoughtful to write after all.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The brain baby has been delivered and freedom is mine!!!

Yes, that's right, brain baby. That is what I am affectionately calling the Grant application. My mind was so tortured and worn out by the time the package was in the mail yesterday, the only way I could think to describe what I was feeling was that it was like giving birth, but with my brain...hence, brain baby. I went all the way down to the wire in order to get 12 copies of the massive document printed, in specific page order, bound per instructions and mailed off in time to have yesterday's date stamped on the package. Seriously, I had to read the date three times just to confirm for myself that it was actually meeting the requirement of being posted by January 9, 2009. Ahhhh, sweet release. Baby delivered. Mother recuperating nicely. If I'd had a cigar, I'd have smoked it. I won't hear if we were awarded the Grant until March 27, so that is a whole other kind of labor. It's like delivery first, gestation after. Okay, enough with the baby analogy!
Today, I am a new woman. I slept the sleep of the dead last night, and although I woke up with a headache, a couple of cups of strong coffee later and some heavy duty Excedrin, and I'm feeling at the top of my game.

Uh oh....the dogs are barking, that means the ladies are here to continue work on my next project. (They never end!) More on that later.....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bleary eyed!

I have spent the past two days working on trying to get a Komen grant for my local Affiliate of the Young Survival Coalition. I am exhausted!!! It has to be postmarked tomorrow, so I'm almost there!!! I feel like I've run a marathon. It will be such a wonderful feeling to get all 12 copies printed and shipped off. I really want to get it, but right now I just want this process to be over!

Being busy working on the computer, doing office type tasks just makes me hungry for creative pursuits! I have tried to steal a couple of moments here and there, but I am dying to become whisked away by inspiration. Inspiration actually hit me today even though I was so tired and bleary-eyed I almost missed it. I was entering Target just as it opened and I was struck by a thing of beauty. No, not awesome home decorating goods at insanely low prices (though that would be inspiring and most definitely a thing of beauty.) No, it was something else! It was so awesome that I actually whipped out my phone and took a few pictures. I got some strange looks from one of the team members, but I didn't care at all. Of course, I cannot figure out how to get the darn pics off of my phone!!!! We are too cheap to have internet capabilities with our phones, so I am at an impasse. But, I'm not giving up! I will post those pictures and share my moment of divine inspiration at Target, January 8, 8:00 AM!
In the attempt to download those pictures, I realized it has been eons since I put any of my work up here. So, with no further ado, I will add some pictures of some of my latest (if not greatest) work.

This is a two page 12 x 12" spread I did of some old photos of my kiddos when we visited a pumpkin patch. We lived in Tacoma, WA then, and my sister Sharon was visiting. The pic on the left is one of my all time favorites.

This is a 12 x 12" page about my beautiful daughter and her 2 beautiful cousins, Nicole & Morgan. I love this page because it features photos of the three of them from two different time periods. I was especially fond of this patterned paper, and added a detail pic so you could see how I created a 3D branch and added lace blossoms and gems along with the chipboard bird. I also did some hand sewing to give it a little more detail.

Of course I had to prove that I do make pages about Cory as well as Erin! Again, these are some older photos, but some of my absolute favorites. We were living in Germantown, MD at the time and Cory's best friend was a boy about four years older than him. I remember this day very well. Cory wanted to be a big boy so badly that he had me take his picture while he posed on all of his friend's stuff. I absolutely adore the photo on the left where he is trying to make it look like he's actually skateboarding! What great memories! I love, love, loved this background paper, and I wanted to feature it in my continuing effort to use negative space. I think the result is pretty good...I hope you like it too!

I'll have to post more another time. Right now I need to try to chip my contact lenses off of my eyeballs! They are so dry, they're stuck like glue!!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Facebook Connections

I don't know how I have become so wrapped up in things computer-y. It doesn't seem that long ago when we got our first computer and I tried my hand at surfing the internet. I remember waiting for hours for quilting pictures to download. Now it's cell phones, Nintendo, Blogs, Digital cameras, and my newest adventure...Facebook. I don't love all of these new frontiers as much as I should. I have a definite love/hate relation with my cell phone, and as you can tell by the giant gaping hiatus in my blog postings, sometimes I just don't have the time for all of this technology! It's kind of strange, come to think of it, that these things that are meant to make your daily duties more efficient really end up taking more time. I mean, seriously, surfing the internet and reading blogs just gets on my nerves after a while! It cracks me up when I have to stop my kids from e-mailing someone to ask a question and say, "Just call them, for heaven's sake!!!" I have always been one to love information gathering, but I have a much bigger love affair with searching the yellow pages and flipping through card catalogues than I do for Wikipedia. Ahhh...those were the days. But, I do marvel at the relationships and discoveries these new inventions have brought to me. (Besides, if I have the internet and email to thank for the election of Barack Obama, then I'm certainly not complaining!) I recently started a group for my affiliate of the Young Survival Coalition on Facebook. (Facebook was something that up until now I dreaded like the plague and had only the mildest curiousity some dead thing in the road you'd poke with a stick.) But, I've had a YSC group on yahoo for a while now. It takes quite a bit of upkeep and has been difficult to get everyone to warm up to. (Some people are even more old school than I am!) At this November's YSC Affiliate Conference they gave a presentation on "Social Neworking Sites" (ie: Facebook and MySpace) and how important they were for growing our organization. Yahoo was old, it was time to join this "new" thing. So, I started a group. Of course to start a group, I had to make my own page. Well...I am not making this up... within seconds of signing up, I had two messages from a couple of old friends. Withiin an hour I had messages from people I know from all different walks of life, including my old college roommate. Getting in touch with these people has been an unexpected joy. Of course, there has been the occasional contact from someone I would prefer to remain lost to, but for the most part it's been fun. And not at all hard. A little scary at first, but not too bad. The biggest surprise came two nights ago when I received a message from another college friend. She was asking "are you the Alane Davis that went to the Cleveland Institute of Art?" But then she really blew me away when she said "Did you have breast cancer? Cause I did, too!" Seriously, I know that's not an out-of-this-world-possibility, but it's just weird, you know? So, I've been in contact with her. She had Stage 3 breast cancer just like me. Only hers was in 2005. She's still scared, still angry. (Aren't we all, really?) But it was nice to be able to write to her and say "it's been almost ten years for me", and know how good that will feel for her to read. So, it's cold technology, yes, but there's a lot of flesh and blood warmth that can be had if you just open the door to what's out there, a little crack at a time.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Soreness and goodness all at the same time.

I am currently nursing a VERY sore body from doing our brand spanking new Wii Fit for over an hour yesterday. Mind you, this is not the first time I've spent over an hour doing the Wii Fit, nor the first time I've been sore'd think I'd learn a lesson. But, darn! That thing is addictive! And, as evidenced by my post from yesterday, I had a lot of time to kill and A LOT of negative energy to expell. But my back muscles are sore!!! I'm not sure what I did to use my back muscles to such a degree...perhaps it was the bajillion hula hoop circles! Let's just say my 41 year old body is definitely not functioning like my ten year old one did. Of course, back then I didn't have a hula hoop...don't know why...I had a lemon (yes, a lemon) on a plastic thing that went around your ankle. You had to spin it and jump it and try to keep it going. For some reason, I loved that thing and would spend hours on the back porch. I can still hear the sound it made. Whoa!!!!! How's that for digression?
So, to follow this theme of nostalgia, I have to tell you what we did to salvage the night last night. The kids and I went out (in the "blizzard"), picked up dinner and rented a pile of movies. The very first one we watched is an all-time favorite of mine: Parenthood. I love it and have waited until the time I thought my kids would appreciate it. Well, they didn't disappoint. It was awesome. When it was over, Erin turned to me and said "I don't want to leave," with a little choke in her voice. Needless to say, the whole big looming concept of college is heavily on her mind. I told her that it was still a long way off and that no matter what she'd never really leave. God, my heart hurts sometimes! Anyway, we decided to stay up late and watch another movie after that, but it was so cute... We all sat on the couch and decided to wait a few minutes before we put the next movie in to bask in the feel-good glow of Parenthood. It honestly doesn't get any better than that.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

When will the blizzard come?

So here I am, sitting at home, mulling over my shattered weekend plans, which were to take my kids on an overnight trip to the Cities. The three of us were really dying for some out of town time with shopping, eating out, and yes, staying in a hotel...there's just something so fun about an adventure when it's just the three of us. This is the last weekend of their Holiday break, and it's been a great one. We've spent tons of time relaxing, laughing, playing games, and visiting our cabin. They've even managed to volunteer at the animal shelter and dissect a shark all while entertaining their visiting grandmother! Does that tempt you to come visit us?
So, anyway, my plans have completely fallen apart. Yesterday was Erin's 17th Birthday. Yes, that's right, seventeen. My heart stops just for a moment everytime I say it. I remember seventeen very well...and the weird thing is that I remember feeling old at seventeen. Ugh. More on that another time. I need to process these emotions. They are way too raw.
Back to my spoiled plans. Erin had her friends over for a party and sleepover last night. They played games, ate, watched movies, and generally had a great time. I spent a great deal of time watching the weather report (something I never do...I could care less if it's snowing somewhere else...and if I want to know what the weather's like, I just go outside.) But anyway, I was warned that there was a MAJOR STORM WARNING WITH UP TO A FOOT OF SNOW PREDICTED FOR TODAY BEGINING AT NOON AND GOING THROUGH NOON TOMORROW. So, last night I'm thinking, "Well, as long as we get moving BEFORE noon, we'll be fine." (And of course Brad was no help because HE was leaving early this A.M. to go ice fishing at the cabin with some friends. Bugger.) So, I wake up this morning, and the weather report is even more dire, saying things like"DO NOT DRIVE THIS AFTERNOON OR EVENING WITHOUT SAFETY ITEMS IN YOUR CAR LIKE CANDLES AND FOOD." Despite those dire predictions, I was still considering going but first I had to make waffles, bacon, and eggs for a bunch of hungry teenagers and they continued playing. By the time they were fed and on their way, according to the weather report, we would be leaving right in the middle of the storm! Suffice it to say, it began snowing at 1:00. It snowed about 1/4 inch. Mostly, the wind blew. Our plans were shattered, and the three of us are moping around here like we're at a funeral. I hate the weather channel!!!!! They suck!!!!!!! I'm spent. I will have to come back later and write something much more positive when I'm in a better mood. It doesn't help that while I was writing this rant, my hubby had to call from the cabin to say "Yeah, that sucks." Nobody wants a call like that from someone who is doing EXACTLY what they want to do!!!!!!!!! Aaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!

Evidence of a Life