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Celebrating Imagination and the Wonderful, Wild Ride that is Life

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sooooo tired....and excited.

Who knew that a week off from the regular routine could leave me so exhausted? Seriously, the kids were back to school today and it was a bit of a relief to get back to the regular routine. Mid-winter break is a godsend, though, especially now that they are deep into High School. These kids work hard!!!! Poor Erin, she got sick with a cold and was laid low for a few days.
Because of all the time we had to just make each day what it would be (I love that kind of lifestyle) I found myself working even more than ever. We took boxes and boxes of stuff to the new office (which of course meant I threw my back out) and then we moved the tables and chairs in. I have already made three separate shopping trips to buy supplies for the office. One to Office Max, one to Target, and one to Shopko/Office Max. It is very hard to resist the urge to spend, spend, spend and get it all up and ready to roll. So far I've been limiting myself to staples, labels, trash cans and scotch tape, but the itch to go hog wild and get a fancy desk chair is barely tolerable. And don't even get me started on a computer. Man, that's keeping me up at night! Besides getting the office open I've been busy on our next big project: the Mother's Day Walk & Run. For those who don't know, it is the 25th Anniversary of the event this year, the third year we've been involved, and a whole mess of work, no matter what way you slice it. It requires that I wear many hats from fundraising and data entry to graphic design and technology guru. Seriously, those are two words I would never have associated with myself: "technology guru". After all, I am the woman who kept her own diary of native plants and the dye colors each would make (usually yellow/green if you must know) and had her own homemade Navajo style loom. Didn't know that? Oh, yes, I'm very complex! Anyway, I have been working like crazy on the got so bad that the other day I realized it was 3:30 in the afternoon and I hadn't gotten up to change out of my pajamas....just another plus to having an office: I have to put on clothes to go there. (Yes, even if Duluth's unofficial title could be "City where you can wear slippers anywhere!") Now I need to get ready to go to Dallas for four days. I am going with seven other young survivors from the area to the Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer. This is the 9th year the YSC has had the conference, but the first time I'll be going. I am really looking forward to it, although I'm not sure I know what to expect. I know it will be very powerful. Each year the Conference keeps getting bigger, and last year there were at least 800 young survivors there. I am so proud that we are providing scholarships for so many women to go this year. It's going to be very exciting!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Please allow me to crow just a little...

This is totally unheard of: that I would actually write on my blog three times in one day! Three times in one week can be tough, so this is really something special! I just had to share something I'm very proud of...I have to start by telling you that one of my favorite scrapbooking things is my monthly kit club, Studio Calico. Not only are the monthly kits bursting with awesome creative goodness, but the attention to detail in the kits, their packaging, the phenomenal designers, and the incredible online gallery and blog are something I have become seriously addicted to. Well, imagine my amazement when I received an email this morning from one of the Studio Calico gals! She was asking if it was okay if she featured one of my layouts on the blog today because she liked my journaling. Okay? OKAY? I'll say!!!!! So, please hop on over to the Studio Calico blog and share my happiness! IThe post can be found here. It's not brain surgery or anything, but it sure does make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!!!

What did you do?

I realize this is total craziness that I am posting twice in the same day, let alone the same hour, but I must know: What did you do for Valentine's Day? My Hubby and I went out for a nice dinner at Midi Restaurant in Fitger's. The food was good, although we were a little disappointed that they had a special menu for Valentine's Day. (We had wanted to order off of the regular menu.) But it was yummy, anyway. The best part was that before and after we ate we spent some time in the Red Star Martini Bar. That place was a blast. The drinks are tasty and the decor is awesome! They have these huge 50's style couches that create these little romantic conversation areas. There are lights and lasers gong, and when we went in Billie Holiday was playing. It was totally like something out of an old movie, but very hip and cool. We went back after dinner, and there was a DJ playing this awful blend of disco beat, noise, and heaven knows what else. Brad and I laughed so hard we almost cried. Of course the crowd was all college age people or thereabouts. A good twenty years younger than us. We stayed and Brad forced me to dance to the awful mixed music. They were sampling Prince! Why do that? Just play the song! It was hilarious. We had a lot of fun together and it turned out to be one of the best V-Days we've ever had. So, what did you do?

Not so much.

So, there hasn't been a whole lotta craftin' going on around here. I have been busy, busy, busy working on my alter-ego stuff. That would be my work as the Chair of the Duluth Affiliate of the Young Survival Coalition (YSC). I am working on things related to our next BIG fundraiser and educational event, the 25th Anniversary of the Mother's Day Walk and Run (MDWR). It's very exciting, a lot of work, but always very worth the effort when it's done. I have spent days trying to create the perfect 25th Anniversary logo in Photoshop. (I try to dabble a little in digital scrapping so I'm learning a few tricks.) It isn't easy, though, and is definitely something I would love to truly know how to use. It is a very powerful program and I think I'm tapping into about .08% of its potential! I will post the logo once it has been approved. After much cursing, gnashing of teeth, and hair pulling, I think I've just about got it!

Besides working on the MDWR I have been busy in other ways as well. We are planning an art therapy workshop for the young breast cancer survivors in my group. So, I had a whole lot of fun on Friday shopping for art supplies! It was just like being back in art school. Besides getting some great supplies, I was introduced to a new source of art madness: the University of Minnesota Duluth Bookstore! I had no idea they had such cool stuff!!!!

Here's the biggest news of all: I am getting an office! (Well, our group is, but since I 'm going to be spending a lot of time there!) It is in an awesome location in downtown Duluth, on the second floor of the Electric Fetus building. (Cool, right?) The address is 10 East Superior St., Suite 203. Come check it out!!!! We officially took over the rental yesterday, but since yesterday was a Sunday I haven't moved anything in. It just so happens that it is mid-winter break from school this week, so my kids are going to help me take all of the supplies that are spilling out of the closets in the basement and boxes in the garage to the new office! Seriously, I have never been so excited about the concept of filing and organizing!!!! It is going to be phenomenal. Currently, it is so difficult to find what I need. I can't wait to get things organized and streamlined. Not to mention, to have a place to go to do my YSC work. I think it will (hopefully) help me be able to leave it for a while when I need to. We'll see....We have purchased a few pieces of used furniture...not much, just a desk, a filing cabinet, and a couple of tables. We may need to spend some money on things, but obviously it's hard to part with our precious resources that we have worked so hard fundraising! So if anyone is feeling generous and would like to make a donation, I''d be very, very grateful!!!! (Dell, Apple, or any other computer company that's listening, hear my prayer!) Once we get settled in I'll take some pictures and post them here. It may not be as pretty as a scrapbook page, but it is really beautiful and meaningful to me. I've worked very hard, my friends and family have worked very hard, and we are finally seeing some major results of all of that work!

Since this post is totally non-scrapbook related, I figured I would add this new video that the YSC made for it's website. It is very powerful, and it makes me proud of all that we've accomplished for the organization.

One final thing...if you haven't done it, please visit and become a supporter. It doesn't cost anything, and you won't be buried in junk mail. But you will be adding your voice and your support to this organization that means so much to me and all young women with breast cancer.

Thanks and have a great day!

Monday, February 9, 2009


So, there was an ice storm today and we have all been homebound. The kids didn't have school so they've been working on various projects. I had a very busy weekend so I have been enjoying a quiet day to catch up on laundry...wait a minute, did I just say I enjoyed doing laundry? Wow, I did have a tough few days! I managed to spend a little time in my work room and I created the following layout. I love this photo of my kids from back when we lived in Maryland. Both pics are of them playing on the cul-de-sac with the neighborhood kids. The first is a terrible picture, but I love the subject matter: they used to tie all of the Radio Flyers together and make a wagon train. I loved that! But my favorite is the picture of the time they decorated three lawn clipping bags and made themselves into life size puppets. Kids are so brilliant!

There was a challenge I found on a blog today to reuse or recycle something on a layout. I made the title by cutting up the packaging that came with one of my favorite paper lines. I really like how fun and different it came out. I am definitely going to be making more effort to recycle more stuff. I love creating my own unique way of doing something. It just adds to the challenge and fun of creating!

I always like to do some machine stitching on my layouts and this time I tried something different. I used vareigated thread to create the sun's rays and stitch around the outside of the page. I likke the way this turned out so much, I'm sure I'm going to be using that technique again. I love doodling with the sewing machine!

Well, it's time to go be creative in another way...I'm going to attempt to make chicken enchiladas from what I can dig out of the cupboards. Good luck to me!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is That You?

I am writing this in celebration. Celebration of times past, things remembered, and moments shared. But I am also writing this with an eye to the future. Moments yet to come, achievements to be made, milestones to be reached. A celebration of possibility.

What has me in this frame of mind you might ask?

I am literally sitting at a very pivotal moment of my life; a moment that, to me, feels distinct like no other. I feel like I am at a virtual mountaintop where I can look backward and forward simultaneously. It's simple. My baby turns sixteen tomorrow.

The inevitable "My, how time flies," does not do this moment justice. I am struggling to find words to express how I feel. And by no means should you think that I am more awestruck by this moment than when my daughter turned sixteen. It is just that his turning sixteen seals it. Childhood is over at my house. I have known this for some time, of course, but this really is a change of which I need to take note.

To some of you this might seem like a relief, a signal that things have gone according to plan. Some of you may share my note of melancholy. In fact, I have a lot to celebrate. Cory was only six years old when I was diagnosed with cancer. I am not exaggerating when I say that for a very long time I did not believe I would live to see this day. There is no way that I can express how grateful I am to be here.

And that, I suppose, gets to my point better than anything I can say. I never thought I'd be here. So every moment has been a delight. In hindsight, even those moments that weren't, are. In every way this boy has been a gift from heaven. So, too, Erin, and Brad. My entire life is a gift. I am so grateful for the time I get to spend with these wonderful creatures. I am heartbroken at how quickly our time together passes. I am even indulging in dreams about the wonderful things that will happen next.

Ironically, over the past two days I have been working on the following layout of Cory. Only when I was finishing and ready to journal did I realize the significance. Here it is:

The journaling reads: "Cory, it's sheer coincidence that I'm completing this on the Eve of your 16th birthday. I look at these photos and they take my breath away. Not just because of how quickly the time has gone, but because of what a truly wonderful time it has been. I love being your Mom. I am so lucky."

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Well, since I've had plenty of time to lay low while I try to kick this bug (Go, antibiotics!) I have been busy scrapping. I am having fun using up a lot of kits that have been stacking up from my Studio Calico kit subscription, and having even more fun using photos that truly are some of my favorites.

First I got to use two photos that I seriously LOVE. They were a little hard to scrap because I didn't have any other pics from the day. I had to use these to try to tell the whole story. They are pics from 1998. That year Erin and Cory were 5 & 6 and were huge fans of the TV cartoon show Rugrats. That year the Rugrats movie came out and they loved it, of course. Both of my kids have always had strong imaginations. It was so much fun to watch them use theirs to create their very own version of the Reptar wagon that was in the movie. I wish I had a photo of both of them working on it, but the end result will have to do. They're great pictures of what two great kids with great imaginations (& one cardboard box) can accomplish.

I had a lot of fun pulling out all the stops on that layout, using paint and even actual cardboard from a box I had laying around. But it was a nice alternative to make my next layout straight forward and simple. This features three photos of my brother-in-law. I love these pictures because they capture all of the parts of his personality: his quiet introspection and strenth and his infectious smile. I've had these for a while, knowing I wanted to scrap them, but I was waiting for just the right inspiration. I really enjoyed doing a more subdued layout with just two colors that focused on the photos and the journaling.

The next layout was one I was really looking forward to. Last winter Brad and I took a trip to New Orleans and had a fantastic time. We particularly enjoyed the food. A trip to New Orleans would not be complete without treating ourselves to a few beniets and cafe au lait at the cafe du monde. We loved it so much we made sure and visited more than once! The papers in this kit were absolutely perfect for these photos. I added a few things from my stash like the clock face and hand cut the clock hands, but other than that it all came from the kit. Brad helped me come up with the title "C'est si bon!" which means "It feels so good." And, boy, does it ever! Yum!

The last layout is very different for me because it isn't usually the subject matter I would scrapbook. Normally I'm all about telling the deep stories about my family, capturing what is most important. But these photos were so awesome I had to scrap them. I took them last summer of my sister Sharon's cat, Potter. He is an absolutely beautiful cat and I was thrilled with the way I caught him on camera. But he is a terror! He makes you think you want to pet him and will sometimes let you, but other times, he goes for the jugular. We have all fallen victim to his cuteness trap! So, it's not the most important of subjects, but it really is a part of our life. In the end, that is what it's all about!

Evidence of a Life