Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas in a Hotel Room

We planned to bring our little tree, but we forgot it at home. It's probably a good thing, because our hotel room was tiny! In Williams we had a nice size room with two queen beds, a little dining table, a couple of chairs and a dresser with a tv on it. Of course the remote wasn't the right one for the tv so the xbox and the dvd player wouldn't work and the beds sunk down in the middle... but we could move and walk around.

Hotel Room in Williams

The hotel in Prescott? It was a teeny tiny hole in the wall. It had two full size beds. One bed was up against the window, the other bed was up against the wall. We had to push the beds closer together in the middle so that I could get out of the bed without climbing over hubby. There was no table. I think there was one chair. Once we unloaded the stuff from the car it was packed! We didn't even let the maid clean the room. We figured we wouldn't put her through that torture.

So this is what it looks like when you have Christmas in a teeny tiny hotel room.

Back to Williams

Bye Bye Grand Canyon
We stopped at the Imax theater just outside the Grand Canyon and watched the Discovery Channel movie. The dialogue was pretty boring, but the scenery was great. You really felt like you were flying above the canyon and riding down the rapids. I think going down the rapids will have to be on my list of things I need to do. It looked like fun!

Downtown Williams

There may not be any snow on the ground, but let me tell you, this California girl was freezing!

This is exactly what it was like during our entire trip. It was crisp, cool and perfectly clear. We couldn't have asked for better weather.

A good night's sleep

Ahhh... just what the doctor ordered. A good night's sleep. Hubby and son are at varying stages of the "I just got back from vacation cold," which works for them since neither of them have anyplace they have to go, or anything they have to do. Me? I have to work, so I'm not wanting to share this particular journey with them.

So last night they took over the living room and I took over the bedroom. I climbed into bed at 8pm. I think I fell asleep around 9:30. And while I woke up a few times early this morning, I convinced myself that sleeping in a king size bed, all by myself, with no snoring and no cpap machine noises was something not to be wasted. And so I slept. Ahhhhh.......

I woke refreshed and ready to start the day. I even did my walking tape.

So now let's finish the vacation recap.

The pictures are beautiful, but they just can't capture the true "awe" that you feel when you look across this great canyon. While the canyon is full of life and energy, when I look at it I feel a sense of peace and calm. I feel like time is standing still.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Fun for the Holidays

We hit the road on December 22 after I got off work and we got to Williams, Arizona around 2:30 in the morning, unloaded the car, slept for a few hours and then headed on to the Grand Canyon.

This is the road up to the Grand Canyon.

We started out at the Desert View area, where we got to go inside the Watchtower. The Watchtower was built in 1932 and is a re-creation of prehistoric towers that were found scattered around the Southwest.

And now we get to interupt this blog posting so that I can go pick up pizza. Apparently I have a "starving" child at home.

Stay tuned for more fun holiday/vacation pictures

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sigh of Relief

It's been one of those crazy days. The kind where you don't even realize how stressed out you were until it's all over and all you want to do is go to sleep.

Today was hubby's monthly doctor appointment. Last month I guess they kind of mentioned that he's been out a bit long for the type of injury he has. Gee, you think? Try living on disability for 14 months. It feels even longer when you're the one looking at the pay stub... but I digress. I guess that combined with the fact that we actually had travel plans, made us think they would send him back to work this week for sure. I think I've been holding my breath all week long. I want him to get better, but he isn't. I want him to go back to work, but I know he's not ready. I want to go away for the holiday, but I want our lives to get back to normal too. I want my husband to be able to put his arm around me without being in pain. I want him to be able to horse around with Joshua. I want him to be able to do the simple things like pull off a pair of gloves without experiencing pain. I think that if they sent him back to work now, it would be like admitting that this is it. This is as good as it gets. And for his sake, I hope there's still more to look forward to.

At lunch time I drove out to the hospital to be with my friend as her son went through brain surgery for the second time in his life. Turns out they moved the surgery up a few hours and by the time I got there he was out and the news was good!!! At this point they don't think it is cancerous.... which means no chemo. I even got to go in and see him and he was doing great. He was even goofing around pretending he didn't know who we were. Dork! I could see him forgetting me, but his sister? I guess it's a good thing his nurse has a good sense of humor because she's got her hands full with him.

They tell us to make sure we're quiet and we talk softly etc, and then we get in the room and he eggs us on. I guess they didn't damage anything when they were hanging out in his brain, because he hasn't changed a bit.

Now I feel like we can really look forward to the holidays and plan to have some fun!!!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Best Line of the Week

Joshua text messaged hubby and asked

"Do you have a hitchhiker's thumb?"

Hubby wrote back and asked what he was talking about.

Josh said "Nevermind."

Hubby said "Do you just send me random messages and then say "nevermind" just to drive me insane?"

Joshua's response......

You're already insane. I just shuttled you from your car to the front gate.

Friday, December 09, 2005

That job is mine

In the big bad world of taxes. I am the low man on the totem pole. I have various job titles, which would lead a person to think I was somewhat important, but they would be mistaken. The only thing those job titles do for me is make me busy, when no one else is.... so apparently, one would think I have a ton of spare time on my hands and can handle any and all new jobs that come up.

I am the...
Admin Asst. who works for men that still call them secretaries. I am soooo not a secretary.

I am the...
Computer fix-it-all person who doesn't really know anything except how to type errors in to google. Thus I look smart and learn as I go. Which means that when they come up with these freakishly bizarre problems, it takes me a long time to figure it out. Which ends up meaning that over time, I really do know what I'm doing, which means I get asked to do more.....

I am the....
talk to contractors during remodel girl. Also known as the "gee, I'm high from paint fumes." and the "what, I can't hear you there's a jackhammer here." Girl.

I am the....
bookkeeper who has several client's work sitting here that needs to be done...


I am girl who is supposed to be the gearing up for tax season. You know, the one who licks and sticks all the envelopes, sets the appointments, matches the labels with the mailings that go out to clients, orders supplies, prints off fancy smancy labels that say "Open me now or suffer the consequences, get your taxes in early," order postage, toner, paper - Oh my!, print out and bind new client directories, and I'm sure I've forgotten a few million other things girl

but today... no..... today I'm a paint sniffing, jackhammer listening, photo printing (for boss' special project that has nothing to do with my job, but is pretty fun), contractor talking girl who is freaking out, wondering when in the world she's going to get all the other stuff done.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Piano Recital

Ok, so we're halfway through my crazy week and I'm still breathing. Today I just need to work, hope my package from UPS beats me home, pull the contents out of the package and create a gift basket with them and get to the meeting by 6:30. Oh and sometime between now and then I have to think of what to do take for the potluck. Anyone want to take bets as to whether I make it on time?

After a little recital hiatus caused by illnesses, broken fingers and summer camp, Joshua finally performed at the piano recital. I have to admit I thought it was pretty cute when we walked in the door and two or three girls uttered a shocked "Josh?!" Apparently they didn't know he played the piano. And since they were all in a play and had to leave early, I suppose they still don't know that he can play the piano.

The recital was interesting. I don't think I really noticed the difference in the music he plays, compared with the other students, as much as I did last night. First of all, he was one of two boys. The other, much younger boy, played March Militaire. A very strong, boyish piece of music that Josh played a few years ago. The girls played all of these light, peaceful songs, filled with parts where they used the pedals; and then there was Josh. He played a waltz, Good King Wencelas and Pink Panther. The music thundered through the room. He has gotten more mature with his playing and he fluctuates through his "pianissimo" and "forte," but still it thunders. It is all boy. It is masculine. The teacher does a beautiful job of picking music that suits the student.

The other thing that stood out for me was the level of difficulty of the music. I love to look at the music as the students place it on the piano. I am often surprised by how a simple arrangement sounds so beautiful. Every student shined because they were able to master the level of music they played. I was also shocked to realize that Joshua played some of the more difficult pieces. The teacher has told him over and over throughout the years that he has incredible talent.... if only he would practice. I think he finally understood that for the first time last night. One can only hope that that realization will translate into more practice.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Another Blog, Another Life

I think I started blogging about 4 1/2 years ago. It was a hard time in my life. I was angry and I was hurt and I needed a place where I could vent. I was afraid to keep a written journal. I was afraid that something would happen to me and those who love me would find those angry words and think that was all there was. And so I guess I was searching for a place to vent. I wanted to be heard and yet I didn't.

I created a place for myself, a place where I was anonymous, and it was safe, and I could scream and yell and cry and heal.

I didn't realize that I would end up connecting with other bloggers and how much their comments and their blogs would impact me. I laughed with them. I cried with them. I disagreed with them and somehow my world became a little bigger.

As I began to heal and to leave behind the hurt child that was inside me, I started to notice that my old diary didn't fit anymore. I wasn't the only one. My diary friends all went through some changes. Some stopped writing. Some moved their blogs. Some wrote less often. There were some that I simply drifted away from and some that I missed terribly.

Today I reconnected with a favorite of mine. As I read her words again I was reminded of all the great entries I've read in the past. It was as if no time passed. I recognized the main characters. I recognized the style. And I laughed when I realized how close she had been all the time. I should have known that she would've been reading and loving the writing style of one of my favorite bloggers.

Thank you my friend!! Reconnecting with you gave me pause to reflect on all that has happened in the last few years; and in some strange way, it has kind of opened up the writer inside of me. I have struggled to make blogger my home. I write here and I share what's going on, but it's not the kind of writing I did in the past. I guess it lacks the pain. But today... today I feel like writing.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Laugh at Yourself

It's tough being related to a "blogger." Because suddenly, everything in life becomes a "bloggable moment." Of course the people in my life are often protected from this problem because I usually end up being too busy to actually blog it... but this one...oh this one I won't forget..

I will protect the identities of the guilty parties. I was given permission to write it, as long as I didn't say who did it.

Some teenagers were sitting around talking about the latest controversy - to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." Now anyone who thinks that teenagers only talk about fashion, or ipods, or music, or how much they hate their parents....hasn't really listened to teenagers recently. Sometimes they actually have some very thoughtful and intellectual conversations. They are finding themselves. They are figuring out what they believe and they often discuss/debate things....

and so.....

they were discussing

"Merry Christmas"


"Happy Holidays"

and the discussion turned to how people have distorted the Christian holidays. Who is that fat man Santa? and what does he have to do with Christmas? And what about that Easter Bunny? Was he visiting at the cross? and then someone said... "And what's the deal with a bunny and eggs. Bunnys don't even lay eggs."

"They don't?" uttered one teenager

"Are you serious? Don't tell me you thought they laid eggs." said another teenager

Then, in a sheepish, oh I'm never going to live this down tone... the first teenager said "Unfortunately, I did."

I laughed until I cried. I don't know what's funnier. The fact they he/she believed it or the fact that he/she owned up to it and then told me about it.

In between laughs I figured we'd better make sure he/she had other things figured out.

"ok, so do you know what a reptile is?"


"the definition of a mammal."

Thank goodness he/she has a great sense of humor. There's nothing better than someone who can laugh at themselves.

The Schedule

In case you're wondering if I'm busy... I present the schedule for the week.

Monday - Work, finish the recharter for the boy scouts, take the boy Christmas present shopping, finish up some of our shopping

Tuesday - work, knitting class

Wednesday - work, piano recital

Thursday - work, team meeting/holiday party

Friday - work, book club/Traditions of Christmas play

Saturday - Decorate the tree/house, work on the quilt and various other presents

Sunday - church and rest because it is the Sabbath and man....I'll need it this week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's that time of year......

It's not quite the new year, but for some reason I seem to be buckling down, setting goals and getting my life back on track. Maybe it's because this is my favorite time of the year. I love the holidays. I love the cooler weather. I love blankets, scarves, jackets, the smell of chimneys burning, seeing my breath in the air, getting together with family and friends.... love it..... Perhaps it's that happy positive energy that makes it easier for me to get the rest of my life on track.

I can't even begin to know what exactly triggered me jumping off of the work-out bandwagon. It was a slow spiralling descent. Here is my long list of excuses. I think it all started out with...

Gas costs too much so I'll work out at home - (Ha, yeah right!)

Then there was the toothache for a couple of weeks while I negotiated the insurance hurdles to get my wisdom teeth out.

Next up was the....dang it... they were right... I'm too dang old to deal with the trauma of getting my wisdom teeth out. Hey, wasn't this only supposed to hurt for a few days? (I'm not in pain anymore, but I'm still dealing with the damaged nerve/numb lip thing. I thought that would go away in a few weeks, but no such luck for me.)

Then there was the mystery illness that wasnt. Was I sick or wasn't I. Am I a hypochondriac or not? I felt like hell, but I really had no discernable symptoms.

Then I just got so lazy from being lazy and pitying myself that I barely made it to my morning walking sessions while Joshua was in seminary.

But this is it. I vow that I have expelled the whiny, lazy, doesn't feel like it personality. I (the happy, loves to go to the gym and get a good workout) personality am taking over.

I think maybe watching the season finale of The Biggest Loser last night was what finally gave the new me the final little push I needed to take over this body. Those people looked absolutely amazing! I've been watching all season long and I had totally forgotten what they looked like at the beginning.

So today I....

dug through my crap and found my Book of Morm0n companion book and dang it I was only in like 2nd Nephi....

With the aid of my dear hubby I dug through all the dvd's and found my dusty Leslie Sansone walking dvd.....

and I even had time to walk for like 10 minutes.

Ok so that's not that much, but if you knew me and my normal morning routine, that was downright productive. Heck, I even made it to work on time! That is a miracle.

Speaking of work. I think lunch time might be over.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Home Stretch Cram Session

Pres. Hinckley challenged the entire church membership to re-read the Book of Morm0n before the end of the year. (I believe he said it at the April general conference) I worked at it for a while and then life got busy and I got side-tracked. Well the end of the year is quickly approaching and I know I'm going to regret it when I hear everyone share all the great experiences they had by following the prophet's counsel.... so it's cram session time for me. My biggest problem is I cannot remember where I left off. I've contemplated getting back on track for a week, but I can't find the companion book I was marking my place in. Finally I decided I would start back up in Alma and if I find out I skipped a little, I can go back and read it when I'm done. That was a huge step for my little perfectionist self.

My boss' son is getting ready to return home from his mission in a couple of weeks, so my big "work" project right now is to type all of his missionary letters. It's a grueling job, but I love it. This is the second time I've had this opportunity. It is so fun to read their letters, learn about their experiences and see how much they grow while they are gone.

Joshua will be the first missionary in our family in many generations. (We have pioneer heritage, so I'm sure there were some missionaries back there somewhere, but none that I know of.) Reading their letters has really helped me to understand some of the things I can do to support Joshua in preparing for and serving a mission.

Well break time is over. It's time to get back to work.

Thanksgiving Weekend

My Thanksgiving weekend was great. It was wonderful to get away from the dusty office for a few days.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at Dad's again. My, what a long way we have come when we think that 30 people is a small turn-out! Now that Dad has a computer, we were able to take a group photo and print it right away. It was fun to be able to see it and share it with everyone.

Friday I hosted a big "project" day at my rec room. I invited my friends, family and customers over to work on whatever craft projects they wanted. Some worked on their Christmas cards and gifts, I taught my niece (Leah) how to knit and I worked on Joshua's quilt. (Hopefully that child doesn't read my blog!)

Saturday I finished piecing the quilt top together and took it over to Candace's. She helped me to pin it to the backing so that I can start quilting it. Rick and Joshua cleaned out the shed!!! It was a very productive day.

Sunday was church and relaxation day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Please Save Me

I can't take it anymore! The saws, the smell of sawdust, the hammering, the contractors yelling/talking, the rock music. It has to end. I'm about ready to scream!!!

Hark...did the music just turn off? Could it be possible? Ahh....sweet relief......

There was a short period earlier when I saw no contractors, yet heard music blaring. I peeked around. I saw no one and I..... turned the music down. Oh yeah, that lasted all of about five minutes. They came back. They turned it up and I was once again reminded that I do not like hard rock. I do not like it in the car. I do not like it in the house. I do not like it in the office. I do not like it at all......

I'm thinking that my next paycheck should reflect the following hazard pays...

$50 for talking to and coordinating contractors.
$50 for dealing with dust.
$500 for listening to rock music all day long.
$50 for each time that I had to answer the phone with saws and hammers making noise in the background.
$50 for every hour that I was stuck here all alone while everyone else escaped all the noise and chaos. Um...if it isn't that bad, and I should be able to work right through it... ummmm... where is everyone else???????
$50 for having to bring in my own "shop" towels to clean up around here.
$200 for every time I had to pack and unpack my office
$50 for every piece of equipment that I've had to "inherit" since there is no longer anyplace else to store it.

and we haven't even started the painting yet. I'm sure there will have to be some hazard pay when I get to sniff paint fumes all day long.....

Thank goodness tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I can use four long days to rekindle my patience....before I..... explode!!!!!!!!!!!


BytheSea asked if I let Joshua cook with me. I think that just might be one of the things I've actually done well with as a parent. My child can definately cook. He's been helping in the kitchen since he was two. I used to think he actually had an interest in cooking. I quickly learned that his interest lies in EATING...ok... he likes to be helpful and hang out with mom too... but I think he likes to eat more.

I wouldn't say he has a really long attention span when it comes to cooking. Especially things that require multiple batches. I pretty much get help with the first batch of pecan tarts. Once they are done and cool and can be eaten.....he tends to disappear.... but I think he could definately make them start to finish, without my help, if he had the recipe.......

which brings me to a Scrapbook Challenge......

Scrapbook your holiday. What do you have for Thanksgiving dinner? What's your "special" dish that you are required to bring to family gatherings? What are your cooking secrets? Who makes the best pie in the family? Consider collecting the recipes for all those must have holiday dishes and add them to your scrapbook page.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Knitting Class

See.... even though I haven't been posting much lately, I've still been busy. This semester we graduated from Knitting I to Knitting II. We're 2's now and we're finally working on the beautiful heirloom afghan. I believe there are 48 squares total. We make 1-2 squares per week. By the end of this trimester we will have 19 squares I think.

So far my most difficult square has been the signature square...and's not pictured here. That would be because I still haven't finished it. I knit a couple of inches the first time, only to realize I needed to drop a needle size and I was doing some weird kind of yarn-over that closed the lace holes.

Effort #2 - Down to a size four needle and it was still too big!!

I've now purchased size three needles, but I just haven't found the inspiration to try it again.

We seem to be on a cabling kick right now. Cabling is still awkward and slow going for me, but I love the finished product.

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Using up scraps

I've been on a mission to use up some of my leftover yarn. I've been making 7x9 squares for warm-up america afghans. The green and yellow are the leftovers from last semesters knitted toddler sweater. I've been trying to complete at least one square a week. Of course that's easier when I decide to crochet the square instead of knit it. It's been slow going, but I'm really starting to get a nice stack of squares.

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Book Club

Well I'm a little behind on posting. Book Club was last Wednesday (November 16th).

We discussed last month's book, Losing Julia by Jonathan Hull. While it ended up being a great book for discussion, it was definately not one of my favorites. I didnt' care for the author's writing style and I was really put off by all the gruesome descriptions of war. I struggled, trying to finish it in time and ended up being a few pages short. I just couldn't bring myself to finish reading it.

That being said, there were some very interesting topics brought up in the book that made for some great conversations.

War - this could have been a difficult topic. Luckily we all had very similar views. I was embarassed to realize how little I knew about WWI. It was interesting to compare and contrast what happened then, with what is happening now.

Love - Did the main character really love Julia? Why? Was it through his own experiences and observations? Would he have loved her if he had met her on his own?

Old Age - rest homes, visiting the elderly, dealing with issues with our parents. Great discussion.

This month we are reading (well listening....Jane opted for audio books this month) to The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty.

Below is a picture of the cute bags Jane made to hold our books and goodies. She lined black canvas bags with some great fall leafy material and even hand stitched the gorgeous leaves on the front! They are beautiful. And of course Jackie spoiled us yet again with some fun holiday treats. The chinese carton was filled with candy. On top of the box is a glass leaf ornament/hanging.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I know I'm a little early, but I figure I better strike while the iron is hot.....or while the muse is working.

Last Monday I watched the Thanksgiving episode of Related. Faced with a powdered gravy, canned cranberry sauce dinner, the girls took over the reins and decided to make all their mother's traditional recipes. Throughout the episode they flashed back to memories of their mom and thanksgiving.

I don't know why I was so moved by this episode, but it has stuck with me all week long. I have thought about what I consider important about the holiday. What are my traditions? What are my memories? What memories will my son have?

Growing up we had two very different styles of Thanksgiving. The ones at Grandma's house and the one's at home. Grandma's was filled with family, card games, cooking, relish trays and eating until we were going to burst. I guess I wasn't old enough or there wasn't room in the kitchen. I never remember helping or learning. I just remember Grandma and my aunts bustling around the kitchen all day. I remember thinking I was going to starve before that turkey was done.

I loved being there. I loved hanging out with my aunts and my grandparents, playing cards, reading books and watching grandma crochet.

I barely remember Thanksgiving's at home. They weren't quite the production of the one's at Grandma's. While there might have been a time when Mom made everything from scratch. I remember boxed stuffing, canned gravy, instant potatoes and canned cranberry sauce. The only thing I remember that was always made from scratch was the candied yams.

I'd love to say they were always happy memories, but the truth is that even at the best of times there was this underlying tension. At Grandma's there was always someone who was missing or currently cut-off from the family, someone's name we weren't allowed to mention. Everyone was on edge, wondering if Grandpa would pass from the happy go lucky drunk, to the mean, angry drunk. And Me? I never knew when Mom would lash out at me. There was this fine line between having fun and interacting with everyone and trying not to draw too much attention to myself. If I was quiet and in another room I could go unnoticed. If I was in the thick of it, I could draw her attention.... and that was never good.

Home was pretty much the same. If I tried to help in the kitchen I got in trouble. If I hid in the bedroom I was avoiding the family. The dinner was delicious, but we weren't what you'd call the happy family. By the time dinner made it to the table mom had surely complained about all the work she had to do to prepare the dinner, how ungrateful I was, how unobservant my father was and my brother....well he was perfect.

With that background, one would wonder why I am so enchanted with the holiday. I started hosting Thanksgiving when I was 19. The year mom and dad got divorced. I made boxed stuffing, canned gravy, canned cranberry sauce and asked mom to bring the candied yams. I stopped up my plumbing with potato peels and learned that you never put them in the garbage disposal.

Over the years I have learned to make home-made rolls, gravy, stuffing, pumpkin pies and pecan tarts.

Most years we have two dinners. One on Thursday at my Dad's. A small meal for 30-40. It isn't what you would call intimate. It is an EVENT, complete with a buffet line where we get to enjoy everyone's specialty. And on Friday or Saturday I cook a traditional meal for my family. A girl's gotta have leftovers you know! When you're one of 40, you don't really go home with a doggy bag.

As I reflected on that episode of Related, I asked my husband. What do you think Joshua will remember about Thanksgiving? He laughed and said "I think he'll remember the pecan tarts."

I hope he's right.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Office Remodel

It's lunch time and I'm currently writing from my newly remodeled office. It's not quite finished. We have to paint, put in the windows and we're still waiting for the new glass door, but I have a chair to sit in and I've unpacked most of my office. I have my computer set up.... that's the important part, right? Here's a view from my chair.

Notice I just had to put my little flowers back in the window sill. A girl can only handle so much dirt, dust, grime, unfinished walls. I needed something pretty to look at. The window on the other side of the room belongs to my co-worker. We have strategically set up our monitors and such so that we're not actually staring at each other all day.

As you look out the window to the right you currently see some exposed wood and a lovely wooden door. Soon it will be a nice glass door and my window to the world. Yep, I'm moving up and I will now have an outside view. Hmmm.... I think I see a new blog feature coming soon... I have a feeling I'll have some um... interesting sites......stay tuned!

And here's my desk.... complete with the blogger screen on my monitor. And for fun.... I've put myself on a tax guide workout. I have to file a few tax guides so I'm forcing myself to file an hour a day. Ick...ick....ick.....

Stay tuned for crochet and knitting news.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


The smell of wood.
The pounding of nails.
The sound of an air compressor.

Yep, we're remodeling at work.

I'm exhausted and I'm not even the one doing all the work.

Today is the first day in about a week and a half that I've actually been able to sit down at my desk. First we were packing up boxes, moving furniture, drawing diagrams of where to put our furniture, and scratching our heads... wondering.... where we were going to put the furniture.

Next it was time to call the phone guy, the internet guy, the computer guy and the oops I almost forgot alarm guy. I think I remembered to call the alarm company around the time I realized I couldn't set the alarm if the door to the new area was open.... hmmm... that door is going to be removed soon. You think maybe I should call and get that fixed?

My office is now the end of our space so my window to the reception area was walled up and a new wall extends out from my doorway (I'll try to bring my camera tomorrow.) Soooo... for the time being I'm in a little office...with no windows.... It's actually kind of nice. After 6 years of feeling like I was in a fish bowl, I kind of like being off by myself. That time will end soon. In a few days they will be flipping all my cabinets and counters to the other side of the room and adding a new doorway and window on the left side..... but for now.... I'm hiding from the rest of the chaos.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

How Sad....

I actually got a couple of comments about my blog a few entries ago....

Too bad they're spam....

At least they are polite spam...

They started out by complimenting my blog. They said it was one of their favorites. They said it had a high ranking....

I think maybe they are mistaken.

I saw through their devilish tricks. I will not believe fake flattery...

But for a moment, I was happy. I had comments. Me.... comments.... I should've known it was a fantasy. hahaha...


As you can see, I'm attempting to bring things up to date with the blog.... I've been a little blog lazy lately.

This month our book club is reading (well actually we're listening to...) The Promise of a Lie by Howard Roughan. I listened to it once and I remember it being very suspenseful. It grabbed my attention and I wanted to see where the story went... but there was a problem with the cd's and the last few tracks of each one were garbled. Being the impatient, I want to know what happens type, I suffered through it. Now I'm kind of left with a sour taste in my mouth so I'm planning to re-listen to it this week (the book hostess gave me a new copy on mp3, so hopefully that will be better.)

I think the book club is now going to create a new rule.

No audio books.

Personally I love audio books and I've never had this problem before, but I've always purchased my own copy. I believe the hostess burned us copies to listen to.... not such a good plan.

I'm also reading Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann. Athena (knitting teacher) recommended it from the knitting class libary. Ok this book is opening up a whole new world to me. You mean there are knitting books that you're supposed to READ? I thought knitting books were just patterns. I'm loving the book. It's a quick easy read and I've learned sooo much.

I tend to knit a bit loosely. I always have to drop a needle size or two to get guage. I envied those nice little perfect stitches that belong to those tight knitters. I thought I was a bad knitter.... well according to Elizabeth Zimmermann, I'm a mighty fine knitter. LOL. If one were to pick a style she said it is much better to knit looser. As far as the uneven stitches? They add character and tend to settle in after a few washings. Her theory is that the remarkable stitching we admire from long ago.... has simply been washed more. I don't know if her theory is accurate or not, but it works for me. I'm choosing to believe.

Little Italy Festa

We went to the Little Italy Festa this weekend and saw the "Chalk La Strada." It was absolutely amazing. Artists worked for two days to create these masterpieces on the street.... and then... at then end of the festa... they wash them off!!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Premium Seats

Oh no, it's time to confess. I don't do this to relieve my conscience. I do this because someone is forcing my hand.

There are times when I can be quite entertaining. Well, I think I'm entertaining. I make up words. I make up songs. I tease. I laugh. And when my husband gives me "the look," I just smile and say "you know you love me."

I don't know what was in the air yesterday, but I was in prime form. I found everything funny. As Rick and I drove to and from his doctor appointment I proceeded to share all sorts of hilarious things. I thought I was quite witty. I might have gone too far though....

See I've been reading The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks. It's a beautiful love story that really makes you think about and appreciate all the little things about those you love. It's a little predictable, but very good. On the back of the book is a big picture of the writer. After watching me with my nose in the book at various times over the last few days, Rick happened to mention that he wished I'd hurry up and finish the book because he was tired of the guy on the back of the book staring at him.

I found this to be hilarious.

I have taken to pointing the book at him....often. I just point the back of the book at him and wait for him to notice. Sometimes the book will follow him around the house. Yesterday, in the car, the book kept um, joining our conversations. The guy wanted to see what was going on.

I think maybe I went too far.

Hubby says he's starting a blog.

He plans to share my wit with the world.

He said he's going to call it something like the random ravings of a lunatic mind. I think I might be afraid.

It was while I was in this particularly witty mood that I stumbled across this.....
Posted by Picasa

Apparently they've upgraded the local ball fields. There's another option besides bleacher seating.

I had to beg Josh to take a picture of it for me (I didn't have my camera). You would think he would be more grateful. If I'm blogging about couches next to a ball field, I'm not blogging about him.... or scrapbooking him.....

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

So much for a good start...

I win mom of the year award again today. I woke up at 5:22 am and thought...oh good, I can sleep for 8 more blissful minutes. I woke up at 6:06 am and exclaimed "oh, no the alarm didn't go off." I ran into Joshua's room and asked him if he still wanted to run up to seminary even though he was late. (It's not a stupid question, really... he usually WANTS to go.) I apologized. I felt sooo bad.

Then I went back into the bedroom to figure out why the alarm didn't go off. Turns out I set the second alarm; the one that goes off at 7am. I climbed back into bed and woke up when the alarm went off.

There goes that perfect record. We didn't even make it one week. Sheesh....

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

School Started

I have always loved school. I look forward to the beginning of a new school year whether or not I'm going to school. It's a time of new beginnings. It's time to add structure back into our lives. It's time to say goodbye to the hot days of summer and welcome the cooler autumn nights.

But not this year. This year I was depressed. I did not want school to start. I was in a funk all night on Sunday. I didn't want to go back to getting up at 5:30 in the morning to take Joshua to seminary. I didn't want to go to bed early so I could get enough sleep. I didn't want to go back to asking the dreaded question "Did you do your homework yet."

Sadly I didn't have any control over the passing of time and Monday morning came anyway. Surprisingly it didn't hurt so bad to get up when the alarm went off. I actually enjoyed getting back to my early morning walks while Josh was in seminary. I had fun visiting with Kathy as we walked around the parking lot. The whole day went smoothly. My boss even sent me home an hour early.

So why was it so dreadful in my head and so easy in real life? I think I was just feeling overwhelmed. Rick had his surgery last week so I was doing everything. And everything felt very overwhelming, without adding back in all the school stuff. I enjoyed summer. I enjoyed the routine I had created. I liked going to salsa class on Monday nights, aqua aerobics on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I liked sleeping in until 7am. When I looked at school starting, all I could think of was all the things that I could no longer do. I think I was feeling a little bit selfish and stubborn. But it looks like I'm "over myself" now. I'm enjoying what we have today and looking forward to the new experiences that this school year will bring.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Winding down of summer

Where have I been? I've been lost in a whirlwhind of planning and organizing and stamping and scrapbooking and working and cleaning and going to the gym and.... Somewhere along the way I kind of lost the writer inside. She's been busy making lists and emailing and creating flyers. She got tired of words and of hearing herself and couldn't find one word to sit and type for fun.

But today I feel the writer emerging again, ready to tell the tales of summer before they fade into fall.

Joshua came home Saturday. It's good to have him home. We got smacked right back into parenthood mode though. We had to tighten the reins, set some boundaries and be parents again. It has been much of parenting is.... but there's nothing better than walking by and seeing him stretched out on the couch sleeping away all the tiredness of a busy summer. As much as he thinks he's a man and doesn't need to be "mothered." I know the truth. There's still a young boy inside that manly body that needs his parents; needs direction; needs structure. I think deep down, he knows it too.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Busy Busy

My poor neglected blog. I have been so busy working on some big projects that I haven't had time to blog...

#1 - The next phase of my website is up and running!! The online ordering is awesome. You can click on the thumbnail of a stamp set and a larger picture complete with a sample using the set will pop up. It's very cool and very user friendly.

#2 - I've been working on setting up the community section of the site. I have bulletin boards set up and ready to go and I'm busily creating the art gallery and adding pictures. Currently I have to set people up and enter their user name and password. Hopefully they will fix it soon so that you guys can set it up I'm kind of waiting to see if that gets resolved.

#3 - The mini-convention. 9 other consultants and I rented two hotel meeting rooms and are putting together a giant open house/mini-convention. It is sooo cool. The hands-on projects are awesome and there are 10 different demonstrations repeating throughout the day. Raffle baskets and much much more.

It was my big brain storm so I've taken on a lot of the organizing, sending emails, and coordinating things. Lots of work, but I couldn't be more excited about how it's coming out.

If you're in the San Diego area let me know and I can send you an invite. It's free!!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Neighborhood Watch

I'm here. I'm typing financials, preparing sales tax returns, going to neighborhood watch meetings, going to book club, pulling weeds, watering plants, sweating in the heat, following up on company referrals, organizing a mini-convention, going to water aerobics and reading blogs. For some reason I just haven't really had the desire to write about anything. Sometimes it all seems too dull and boring. Other times it's too exciting to put into words.

Yesterday was our neighborhood watch meeting. In the 6 years that I have lived in our mobile home park I have never attended a pot-luck or meeting. There have been a few times I've considered going, but they seemed to conflict with something else on our schedule. This time I could make it. I had to skip water aerobics, but I really wanted to meet the new park manager and I know they've had a hard time getting this whole neighborhood watch thing off the ground...and besides... the rec room is air conditioned!

As soon as I sat down I started to wonder if I would regret this decision. The information the rep from the Sheriff's dept was sharing sounded very familiar. I started having a vague recollection of attending one of these things many many years ago. But she was nice and she had some good tips. Everything was fine until she opened it up for questions or comments. Oh I remember why I would rather be at home. What followed was a painful 45 minutes of the most random conversations I have ever heard. Yes, we had the man who told us all about how homeless people used to take showers in the pool showers....years ago!! Those showers have been closed since I moved in. We had the busy bodies who must keep constant vigil looking out their windows at the rest of the residents. There were the mom's that are hooked up into the gossip hotline and then there was me.... I felt like a foreigner in a foreign land. Suddenly my little section of the park sounded like an oasis in the middle of the most crime ridden area in the town.

I listened intently to each little complaint. Some of the people must truly have some interesting neighbors. Others...well I think they need to get a life, get hooked on reality shows or read a book. Anything to occupy their time so that they can let go of some of their petty complaints and observations. As for me... I'm thinking that I really like my neighbors. Maybe we're the only ones that pull our hoses out at night, water our yards and threaten to hose each other down. If it doesn't start cooling down below 80 degrees, we might stop threatening. At least we can give the watchers something new to talk about. I'm sure there's some kind of rule about water fights.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

10 Years Ago

The other day I started scrapbooking my pictures from convention. I started with the pictures from the longevity luncheon. For some reason, I thought they would be the easiest, but now I'm stuck. I like the layout. I like the pictures. It's all sitting on my stamp table ready to be glued. So what's holding me back?

The Journaling.

I preach journaling. To me journaling is THE number one important thing in your scrapbook. So many times we get caught up in the embelishments and the design and we forget to tell the story. My family is probably tired of me saying.... "You have to tell the story." "Take pictures that tell the story." But think about it... no story and you might as well be sitting in someone's basement watching a slide show from their vacation. BORING.

What was special about that day? What did you learn? How did you feel? When my son grows up and looks at his book will he remember dressing up like Barney? Not likely, since he doesn't really believe it now...even though I have the visual proof. Will looking at that picture really mean anything to him. He looks adorable and the smile is priceless. But isn't it better if I include journaling about how he wore it around the house for days and was enchanted with wagging his tail? One shows what he looked like in the costume. The other tells more about who he was. Together they tell a story.

So I have pictures from the luncheon. Pictures of three of us that earned our 10 year charm; two of us that earned our five year. I can write down the names. I can specify who earned what. But does that tell the story? Does that even begin to tell how much my life has been influenced by the 10 years that I have been a consultant? So now we get to the crux of the problem. I am stumped. I have writer's block. I don't know what to say about these last 10 years. I don't know how to put into words the experiences I have had.

I remember when I first started out. I remember how much I admired the talent of the other consultants. I kind of felt like a little kid that got to hang out with the adults. I remember the first scrapbook convention I went to. If I'm not mistaken, it might've been the first scrapbook convention...ever..... I got to hang out with the people I idolized in the company. They talked to me. They laughed with me. Me, I was this little small time consultant. They were directors with huge sales and huge teams.

I remember my first convention. It was the first time I went on a vacation by myself. I roomed with people I didn't know. I loved extravaganza and all the booths and all the techniques. I was amazed by the teachers. I felt a burning desire to teach there myself.

I remember the next convention and my first time teaching. Worrying over the boards that were in my suitcase. Would they arrive in SLC with me? Why did I put a six pack of soda in the same suitcase? What if it exploded all over my work? I remember meeting Carol. She loved my booth. She asked me a ton of questions. I was thrilled that my art inspired others. Now I call Carol my groupie. Every year she finds my booth. It wouldn't be the same without her.

I have changed so much over the years. I am much more confident - and talented. Somewhere along the line I switched roles. Inside I am still the girl that is amazed when people remember who she is. I am shocked that my artwork and my teaching inspires others. I am surprised when people at corporate know who I am. I'm just little ole me. Why would anyone remember who I am.

Every year that I submit my application to teach, I am sure I won't be chosen. How could my artwork be good enough? How strange is that when I have had nothing but success every time I have submitted my artwork. Once I submitted an article and box of artwork. It was published. I have been chosen to teach every time I've submitted. This year two pieces of my artwork were sent to corporate (by someone else). Both pieces were featured on the artwall at convention. Why is that so shocking to me?

Even though I have learned and grown so much over the last ten years, I am coming to realize that I could do even more.... if I had a little bit of faith in myself.....

So maybe I'm not so different from that girl I knew.....10 years ago......

Monday, July 11, 2005

4th of July Pancake Breakfast

Pancake Breakfast Posted by Picasa

It was a scrapbooking marathon at my house on Saturday night. My husband took a MILLION pictures at the annual 4th of July pancake breakfast at church. Now that wouldn't be so bad, but then he had a bunch of them printed on Saturday night and wanted to display them Sunday morning.... eeeeekkk.. I couldn't let him just stick a bunch of pictures on a piece of posterboard. That's just wrong in so many ways.

So I pulled out pages and pages of red, white and blue and got busy scrapping. It's not my usual style. There was no time for fancy embellishments and long journaling. It was simply "scrap as many pictures as you can." Once the pages have been up for a couple of weeks, I'll bring them back home, finish adding the journaling and then give them back for the Bishop's scrapbook... But for now, they're done and everyone loved checking them out on Sunday.

For me, it was good to flex my scrapping muscles. I had to remember all those creative ways to use a ton of photos. I had to find some balance and try to find pictures that showed all the elements of the big day... the preparing, the cleaning, the eating, the fun.

Now I'm ready to do some fun scrapbooking for me. You see, I printed out my convention photos on Saturday... but those are still in the photo envelope.....

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

What Happens In Vegas.....

Get's Scrapbooked.... Yep, send 1708 Close To My Heart consultants to Las Vegas and you'll have a ton of flashes going off everywhere....

Guess which one is me?? Hmmm... I don't wear glasses and I really like the color pink.... Posted by Picasa

Convention was AWESOME!!!!

Even though I taught on the last day....during the last half of the day.... when everyone is exhausted and tired. I can proudly say that I did not see anyone dozing off in my class. The seats were full and there was standing room only for many of my classes.. whew... Every year I'm just sure I'm going to be the booth that is empty. I guess it's kind of like that fear of throwing a party and no one showing up.

As I went through my pictures and compared them to my buddy Candace's... I noticed something very interesting. Candace went on a vacation and I went to a convention. I never even left the Mirage. Ok, once I went across the street to buy a burrito at Chip*tle's.. a very yummy burrito I might add. Candace had pictures of the white tiger, of the C*ca C*ola Store, MandM store and other places that apparently exist in Vegas. My pictures??? Well there are pictures of people at convention... and ummm pictures of people at convention.. In my defense it was my BIG year so I went to a lot more meetings than she did. I attended leadership meeting and I got my 10 year pendant complete with a little diamond....

So here are some of the highlights of convention....

Awesome Roomies! We had a blast. And even though we had 19 pieces of luggage in our room by the end of the week... we never felt claustrophobic... (ok, some of it wasn't actually luggage...but there most definately were 19 pieces, just ask the bellman!)

Workouts - No need to go to the gym. The Mirage is a great big track all by itself. Just walking from the room, through the casino, past the retail stores into the convention area once was quite the walk.... Most days we made that little trek 3 times a day.

Catalog - I love love love... our new catalog... It's smaller, it's lighter, it's less expensive and we get three new catalogs every year.... I loved em soooo much I ordered 100 of them. (contact me to get one!)

Ooops, I've run out of time... until tomorrow...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Catalog Crazy

One week from today we'll have our new catalog!!! I've been a consultant for 10 years and this is the first year that the company has not told us how much the catalogs will be. We will not know how much they cost until the day it is unveiled at convention. Such secrecy invites speculation...

What are they doing to the catalog???

Is it going online?

Are they redesigning it?

Is it changing sizes?

I've dreamed up several scenarios in my mind.... each of them somehow incorporates our bi-monthly mailing of Expressions... Our last Expressions covered three months, where normally it only covers two months.... things that make you go hmmmmm........ I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think Expressions holds the clue.... They are really successful. It allows us to constantly introduce new product.... How can we capitalize on that????

So... since I'm bored... and can hardly wait until I have that catalog in my hands in one short week.... Why don't you tell me what you think they're doing to our catalog?? Let's dream big... and see how close we get to the truth.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Psst.... Leave me a Note....

We had another fun crop on Saturday. (I took the camera, but got so involved in the fun that I forgot to take pictures...)

About 8 or 9 years ago I started holding monthly crops for some friends from church - they are now called the "Thursday" group. Over the years I started to get requests from other customers for a crop night and the "Friday" group was born....

For a long time I did the two crops back to back. I figured that way I only had to clean the stamp room once a month. But then I got called to work with our youth at church and that one week a month hit me hard because it made 3 big nights in a row... so I kept the church group on the first Thursday of the month and moved the Friday group to the second Friday of the month.

Everyone was happy. I was sane.... it was good.... until I stopped using paper tablecloths and switched to cloth covered with plastic. I thought it was beautiful. The room always looked clean. I could throw away the scratch paper and have clean tables in seconds. I thought my customers would LOVE it. They all did....except for Jean.

Jean loved to see what the Thursday group had stamped. She loved to see the color combinations they used, their writing, their scraps. It was her only connection to the other class. So I did what any teacher would do. I no longer threw away the scratch paper at Jean's spot. Every month she'd come check out what Heather (from Thursday) had stamped. She'd read the little notes where Heather practiced her journaling or tested the spelling of a word. It made her happy...

Heather moved to Utah so now a variety of people sit in that chair. Jean still checks out what they stamp and sometimes she'll ask me "who sat here on Thursday?"

Well I had a pretty big turnout on Saturday. Everyone who RSVP'd showed up and we even had a couple of bonus people come. As they filtered in throughout the day the tables started to fill up, new friends were made and there were fun conversations all over the room. Suddenly I realized I hadn't introduced the last two guests that arrived to the girls at their table. By the time I checked on them they had done it themselves and realized that one side of the table was the Thursday group and the other side was the Friday group. They've heard about each other for years.... and now they finally met. Jean had fun getting to know them and sharing her passion for seeing their artwork each month. They laughed and they giggled and now the Thursday girls are planning to leave little notes for Jean every month.....

And why I love my job. I have the best customers in the world. They are creative, talented, kind, funny, accomodating, loyal..... and just plain fun. I love seeing the friendships that have grown over the years. As they scrapbook they share stories about their families and their adventures. They ask for advice. They help each other create beautiful layouts that celebrate the lives of those they love.....and sometimes....they reach out and leave notes for a fellow scrapper.....that follows along behind them.....

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Things learned at the ice skating rink....

1. It may be hot outside, but it's always cold at an ice skating rink. You will be miserable if you wear capri pants and sandals.

2. Teenagers never cease to surprise you.

3. I thought they would be embarassed if I took pictures. I didn't know they would actually pose and wave everytime they went by.

4. I thought they'd ignore me and wish I wasn't there. I didn't expect them to stop every couple of laps to pound on the glass in front of me and make faces.

5. It makes me happy to know that the kids are comfortable around me, and don't mind when I chaperone.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Book Club Night

Well my husband reminded me that I haven't done a blog entry in a while.... He's probably the only one that reads this blog anyway. LOL So here you go dear... a new blog entry....

Tonight is book club! We read City of Masks by Daniel Hecht. I loved it and can't wait to see what the rest of the group thought about it. It's a mystery, ghost story and romance all mixed together. I have an incredible sense of intuition and I've had some interesting experiences in my life, so I'm always fascinated when psychic abilities and intuition etc. show up in a novel. Sometimes it helps me feel more normal because I've never had experiences even close to that... other times... well it's nice to know I'm not the only one who has those kind of experiences. It makes me feel more normal.

Only one and a half weeks until I head out to Las Vegas... I'm excited, yet I have a pang of anxiety in my chest. I have sooo much to do. I've been trying to strike a balance between working on my projects and taking care of myself. When I go to the gym at night I just don't seem to have the time or energy to stamp.... and if I don't go to the gym.. I feel guilty... and tired... and grumpy.... I think the only thing that can be done to remedy the situation is to quit my job...... yea well that isn't going to happen. LOL.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Happy Birthday Joshua!

I've been struggling with what to share on this blog. Me, I'm an open book, but my poor family? Did they know that their lives would become a series of "blogable" moments? Rick and Josh both know about my blog. In fact Rick even bookmarked it and sneaks by to read my entries. Sometimes it makes me a little nervous, but mostly I think it's cute. He seems to get such a kick out of the things I write. Josh? I'm not sure what he thinks. He might think it's some sort of odd punishment when I exclaim "soon to be read in a blog near you." But then again he gives me the same look as when I walk through the house speaking in one of my made up languages. (Of course he forgets the times when he has jumped right into the fun and participated in the conversation.... I think that's when Rick get's that "look." Yea, buddy, you're surrounded and we outnumber you.)

So.... Joshua turned 15 last weekend. This has been a hard birthday. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he's 15. In fact, for him, I wish he was 16. He's much younger than all of his friends, and at this age it causes a ton of problems. His friends can date - he can't. His friends can... well actually that's the only problem. He's not old enough to date. He's decided he's old enough to have a girlfriend, but I still haven't given up on the no dating rule.... So I have become the ultimate chaperoning mom.

This has created a ton of conflict for me. Am I doing the right thing? Should I just say "No," you can't go because girls are there?

Well I got my answer last Friday. We all went to the movies.... And we see someone else we know. Someone who is also 15 and not allowed to date. Someone who looked extremely guilty and didn't say "hi." Someone who was there with two members of the opposite sex. Did his/her parents know? (He/She said "sort of," when asked later) I think I'll stick to chaperoning. I'd rather know and thus be able to guide, influence, help set boundaries... besides.... for the moment I have succeeded in being the "cool" mom. I can be trusted to hang out with the friends without embarassing him. I told him I like being "cool" as long as he realizes I'm still "Mom." There are still rules.

And I can't help it. I like the girlfriend. She's cute. She's wacky. She fits in.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Short and quick

Eeek. I leave for convention in 25 days. How did the time fly by so fast. I'm finding it harder and harder to blog much as we get closer to the big day. All my creative time has been spent working on my boards and playing with new other words..... it's all top secret.

I have two boards almost completely done and three to go. The board I'm just finishing up right now is absolutely beautiful and different than anything I've ever done before. I've created some gorgeous wedding p*aper bag books. I played with the foil and cord and brads and fibers and...... they are gorgeous. I still have to do the board with my new set. I'm really excited about what I received but I'm afraid to start.... I'm worried I'll come up with a better idea as soon as I finish it. LOL. So for now I'm just sketching and dreaming up ideas for it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Base Pages

Posted by Hello

Our theme for our unit swap tomorrow is base pages.... Base pages come in 12x12, 9x9 and 6x6. They are monochromatic and are pre-printed with places to put your photos, etc. Our mission was to decorate a set of 6x6 base pages so that we could swap them with each other at our meeting..

Personally... I've never used the base pages before. I wasn't quite sure what to do with them.... I spent the weekend creating a board for convention using our Lovely Leaves paper packet and I'm obsessed with it... so I grabbed a piece of 12x12 and had fun decorating the base pages with it.

Sorry the pictures aren't so good. Hubby got a new fancy schmancy camera for his birthday and I don't know how to use it yet.... Once I figure it out I expect my pictures will be beautiful!!!

Sweater Progress

Posted by Hello

Just thought I should show a picture of the progress on my toddler sweater....lest you all think I've stopped knitting completely. I missed the class where we checked our guage and my sweater is coming out much bigger than everyone else's. Which means I've had to make some adjustments along the way....

My sleeves are not done. The directions said to knit them to 5.5 inches... however I quickly figured out that my sweater might look a bit funny if my sleeves were that short. So I knitted them up to where I wanted them to end and put stitch holders in. I plan to see how the length is in proportion to the sweater.

And my latest worry is the colors... Right now the off white is bugging me. I'm hoping I like it more as I go along....

ahhh...the woes of a beginning knitter.....

Friday, May 20, 2005

I'm sooo glad it's Friday

This is my day so far....

alarm at 5:30am... oh man I don't want to get up!!'s Friday isn't it? Is it? Yes, it's Friday... bwa hahahaha.... it's hubby's turn to get up....

"Rick, wake up, it's time to take Josh to seminary."

7:04 am Rick asked me if I wanted a donut. And I said "No!"

8:00 am Phone rings... I look at the clock.... Oh my gosh!!!! I am soooo going to be late for work..

Frantically jump in shower and get ready for work. Grab purse, look for keys... Oh where the heck are my keys... Josh.. help... I can't find my keys..... I always put them in my purse... what did I do with them.... What is that jingling....

My keys are already in my pocket!!!!

Run out the door... get to work 10 minutes late....

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Perfectionism and the Blog....

My perfectionism equals infrequent blog posts.... I've been really busy doing lots of stuff... so why haven't I updated in a few days? I think I had a post in mind that needed a picture or something silly like I was waiting to update it... and then I got busy and I can't post all the new stuff until I post the old stuff... and how ridiculous is that?

So we're going to play a bit of catch-up on this post... pictures... or no pictures....

Saturday's crop was fun, but it went by way too fast. You'd think that 7 hours of scrapbooking would drag on forever, but I swear... hours went by in the blink of an eye. Considering that this was the first crop in 6 years that I didn't hold in my stamp went well. But, I definately felt handicapped by not having access to all my papers and accessories.

When someone scraps at my house I can look at their layout and think...hmmm... you need a little layering there... how about Barn Red? Pull the paper and they're all set... In the rec room, I can think they need Barn Red all I want, but if it's not in their paper suggestion isn't all that helpful.

The other side of that is the fact that you really can make do with what you have and make gorgeous layouts. I guess it's kind of like this blog. I can choose to do an update with the info I have....or wait for the perfect info and never get it done.

Overall I think everyone was fairly pleased with the crop. I know there are improvements to be made, I just haven't quite put my finger on it yet.

Road Shows....
Ok, so one improvement in the crop would have been for it to keep going.... we didn't want to stop... but I had to go watch the road shows at church.

First - what is a road show? The Stake decides on a theme, tells the wards and they develop a skit based on the theme. The basic premise is that you develop a skit, costumes, props etc. that can be loaded into the back of a truck. You go to a building, do the skit, load the props into a truck and travel to the next building... where you unload the props and do the skit.

The variation in the skits, costuming and props is absolutely amazing. Everytime I go to one of these I am amazed at how they all come together and how talented everyone is. Most of them were absolutely hilarious. I laughed and laughed and laughed. I love how even the most serious teenagers get into the spirit of it. It's almost as if, for one night, it's cool to be a dork.

Scripture Chase
And in a weird twist of opposites... Sunday night we went to the annual seminary scripture chase. Seminary is a class for 9-12 graders that is held from 6:00am - 6:50am before school. This year they are studying New Testament. In addition to studying the NT, they memorize 25 key scriptures. At the end of the year they hold a scripture chase.

There are four rounds. In round 1 they are given a clue and 20 seconds to find the scripture. In round 4 they only have 5 seconds to find the scripture. I graduated from seminary 20 years ago and I STILLL have many of the scriptures memorized....of course I like to remind Joshua that we had to memorize 40 each year!

This was Joshua's first scripture chase and his team came in 6th out of 17 teams.... not too shabby! I had a great time being one of the judges. The judges rotated around the tables. First round I was with an all girl team from our building. They were VERY serious....and VERY good. They finished 2nd. Round 2 I was at Joshua's table. They did really good. They only missed a couple of points during the round. Rounds 3 and 4.... were hilarious. I went from tables where the kids were REALLY into it... to tables with kids who showed up.

Round 3's table had real potential. It turns out that they were all freshmen and apparently they didn't really see the "vision" of this whole thing. They weren't all that prepared.... but I think they wish they had been. They were so far behind in points that it didn't really matter... so when I knew things that would help, I'd give them little hints... like reciting more of the scripture, repeating the clues.... etc. Ok, so maybe I wasn't being the most impartial judge, but I think the bigger picture here was to get the kids familiar with the scriptures. We laughed and goofed around and I think I helped them feel a little less dorky. Maybe they had enough fun that they'll be more prepared next year.

Round 4? Ok so they each picked a scripture and opened the book to the same page for every clue. They played the odds... and eventually their scripture came up and then they picked a new one. Out of 125 points possible... they got 17. I'd say that they'd probably improve next year, but I'm pretty sure none of them really cared.... they were nice kids though.... and hey... they showed up.

Friday, May 13, 2005

That's My Boy...

One thing I can say about life with my son... it's never dull!! We've had several little "incidents" since he's been helping friends re-build their house....

There was the time that he was nearly killed by a falling beam. A beam that wouldn't have hit him at all if he hadn't tried to help Kelli. He ended up with a huge bruise on his thigh and he was pretty sore from trying to hold/push the beam.

Nail guns... the latest is a puncture wound to the thumb....

Then there are the constant bruises and scrapes.

This week??? This week is projects week at school. One of the school projects is THE house. And what did Joshua do? Well he didn't wear protective eyegear. This is the story I heard from the teacher in charge...

I saw Josh coming out of the trailer with a crazy looking eyepatch taped to his eye and I asked him "what happened."

He said "I got something in my eye"

Teacher "oh, ok."

Josh "It's only bleeding a little bit now."

Teacher "WHAT?"

Then I get a phone call...

Josh: "Where's Dad? They're driving me down the hill. I have something in my eye and Mrs. S. is making me go to the hospital."

Another version of the story that Josh shared was the phone call Mrs. S. made to the principal... and Joshua heard... "No, I'm not calling an ambulance."

So here's the picture of Joshua......after the incident....after yet another trip to the hospital....after I gave the "you're actually supposed to wear the safety glasses speech," after Mrs. S became militant about everyone wearing safety glasses.... and after the doctor said it was plant material and had nothing to do with building the house......

Love them safety glasses......

Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

What's for dinner?

What's For Dinner Posted by Hello

Yesterday I started thinking about that dreaded question I hear every day when I get home from work "What's For Dinner?" And since my brain seems to take huge leaps from one subject to the next... in a matter of moments I was thinking about a scrapbook page.

We actually had a lot of fun talking about our favorite meals and our not so favorite meals. I guess I've overdone the whole salmon thing. Joshua doesn't want another piece of salmon....ever!

This is the first 9x9 layout I've made. When I first cut the paper and put it in front of me it seemed so tiny, but it worked out perfectly for this type of page where I have little or no photos. I'm planning to add a photo to the page on the left... either a picture of us at the dinner table, or a picture of my cool dishes...

The paper is from the sunflower paper packet and actually has tiny little pears on it. I figured it had that old fashioned kitchen look to it... kind of like old wallpaper patterns.

So What's for Dinner at your house?? What are your family favorites? Where do you like to go out for dinner?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Field near Julian

Posted by Hello

All you have to do is look at this picture and you know that it was an amazingly beautiful weekend!! Stamp Camp was a huge success. We had a wonderful time. This picture was taken on our "road trip" from Mt. Laguna to Julian. Everywhere we looked it was beautiful. Some of the areas were an interesting mixture of destruction and new growth. We've had so much rain this year that the hills are green and lush, but sticking up through the green fields and beautiful flowers are blackened remains of trees and bushes. In fact, as we turned one corner, I said to Candace "As many times as we've been here, I can't believe I never noticed that view before." She said "That's because there used to be trees there." That's true... the fires have truly changed our views in many different ways......

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Stamp Camp Preparations Posted by Hello

Three more days and we head up to the mountains to enjoy a fun stamp filled weekend. I don't know who enjoys it more, me or my customers. We usually start planning stamp camp months in advance. We get a general idea of what we're going to do... but it never fails to amaze me at how things just seem to fall into place. The last few days are always filled with brilliant brainstorms that add that finishing touch.

I always design a scrapbook page for the girls to use to document their "camp" experience. This year we're doing a paper bag book. I designed the book itself a week or so ago but now I keep coming up with all sorts of fun extras.

1) In one of the pockets we're putting little tags with ribbons on the end. My brainstorm? Each girl will get 8 tags to design with her name and anything she wants to write and then they'll swap the tags. How cool is that? They'll go home with a tag from everyone at stamp camp... a little mini swap.

2) I took a picture from last year's stamp camp and "embellished" it. I used a transparency fade and added words... It's my first attempt at marrying digital scrapbooking and traditional scrapbooking. I can't wait to see my printed picture to see if it works they way I have it pictured in my mind.

I have a feeling I've started down a slippery slope though... I don't own photoshop. I played with my photo in microsoft picture it. I wonder how long it will be before I "need" new software....

Friday, April 29, 2005

Happy Birthday To me....

Posted by Hello

Check out all the cool birthday goodies! I'm feeling quite spoiled right now. We celebrated my birthday at El Toritos last night. It was a feast of chips and salsa, Chicken Caesar Salad (yummm) and presents. And what birthday celebration would be complete without a trip to the 99 cent store afterwards? We know how to party. Thankfully we didn't find any new....have to have... stamp-able items at the 99 cent store.... With four stampers in the same store... we could have emptied those shelves.

So back to my no particular order....
Basket of Bath & Body works goodies, candles, tea light house
365 days of knitting calendar
Yummy hyacinth soy candle (soy candles - my new favorite!)
A mini sewing machine - can't wait to try it... I think my workshop customers will love this too!
Scrapbooks etc. magazine
CK's Scrapbooking Tips and Tricks (starting reading this one first and it is AWESOME!!)
CTMH's new 9x9 reflections idea book
Summer paper slab - soooo many cool prints...stripes...dots......
Book on CD (forgot the name....but it's the sequal to this months book club book)

And not pictured is the $$$ hubby gave me for convention, my new clock radio with a cd player!!, and my gift card from the inlaws...

Yep, I'm one spoiled lady!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Obviously it stopped raining.... Posted by Hello

The Saga begins....

The magnetic signs needed to be adhered to a clean car. So Joshua and I headed up to the gas station for a quicky car wash. $5 and 25 minutes later (there was a line) my car was sparkling clean. And then the fun began...

Now I don't think my Escape is a small car. Small SUV maybe, but not a small car. I kept putting the magnet on, taking it off, putting it on... trying to find a spot where it fit. The rules are quite strict. It must be a smooth, flat molding. Let me tell you, there are very few places where it is smooth and flat on my car. I finally managed to place them on the passenger doors, below the handle.

And I'd take a picture for all of you.... except... yep... that's right... It's Raining.

The good news is that I've already gotten several comments on the signs.

When I picked Joshua up from church last night, one of the kids standing outside said "In-de-pen-dent Con-sul-tant."

Bravo young man! At least I know somebody is reading it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Magnetic Signs are here...

A couple of weeks ago I finally bit the bullet and ordered magnetic signs for my car. I've thought about doing it for years and never followed through. Of course part of the problem used to be that I didn't feel comfortable putting them on my little Celica. She's not so pretty anymore, but she's the car that just keeps going and going. Now that Rick has the motorcyle and the Escape has become my primary mode of transportation....the magnetic signs seem like the next step, right? Ok that probably wouldn't be the next step in most people's minds.

Here are my reasons for ordering the signs... in no particular order....

1) I have NEVER seen another Close To My Heart consultant with signs.
2) Many people know I teach stamping and scrapbooking, but they think it's some kind of hobby.
3) I recruited all of my best customers. Now I have a big team and need to rebuild my customer base
4) I'm not the greatest at bringing up what I do in casual conversation. I'm thinking that people might notice my signs. (ya think?)

Here are the reasons I'm a little nervous to put them on my car

1) My name is HUGE on them.
2) I'm a little nervous to be a driving billboard
3) Did I mention that my name is HUGE?

Now the next decision is whether or not to let Rick drive the car with the signs on them. I'm not sure I can handle the hate email. (Love ya honey!)

And then I'm not really sure I should drive the car with them on.

Or maybe I better not talk on the cell phone while driving the car with the signs.

Thankfully I have a few more hours to mull all this over. The car is in the shop getting some warranty work done. It's safe for now.....

Hmmmm... Maybe I'll have some funny magnetic sign stories to share on my blog.... Ok, we'll add that to the reasons to put the signs on the car. People are nothing if not funny!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Much Like Home

Cycles of life....

I've started to recognize many cycles in my life. I go through periods when I can't stop stamping and scrapbooking, to times when I close my eyes when I walk through the stamp room. Times when I'm a writing fiend and times when my journal sits untouched. I used to think that it was because I had a short attention span. Maybe that's still the case. More likely it has to do with what is going on in my life and the time I have available.

Tax season is a time when I need an escape from thinking and thus the knitting and crochet needles come out. I can sit and mindlessly create. The hardest decision I have to make is what color to use. After that it's just following a pattern.. knitting back and forth. The monotony of it is soothing to my soul when the rest of my life is chaos.

But then tax season ends and suddenly I have more time than I know what to do with. My mind wanders. I have time to think things through, to make plans, to try to discover who I am.. to read.... to create....

I am at that time now but I'm still running around trying to do it all. To catch up on all that was pushed aside when I was too busy. I want to stamp. I want to scrapbook. I want to knit. I want to crochet. I want to read. I want to write. I flit from one thing to another without really making any progress. I can't seem to settle in and find me. I think maybe I enjoy too many things.

Another thing I enjoy probably a little too much for my own good... is a good blog. I've read many blogs over the years. Most of them I just pass by. A few become like a good book to me. I'm drawn to them. I enjoy reading new posts. I've become cyber friends with the authors. But like me they go through cycles. There are times when there just aren't enough new posts to keep me entertained and so I follow links to find new blogs.

I've recently stumbled across a treasure of blogs. Of people who speak my language. People who share the love of scrapbooking. The kind of scrapbooking that I'm drawn to. The scrapbooking of writers. True scrapbooking in my opinion is much more than the documentation of photos and life. My favorite scrapbook pages go beyond the vacation and the trip to the park. They tell the story of who. They celebrate the relationships. They give a glimpse into the people. And the blogs of the scrapbookers do the same... it's a fun glimpse into the hearts of others. A place where I can relate. A place much like home.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

High School

I suppose all parents approach high school with a little fear and apprehension for their children. Will they fit in? Will they be safe? Will they succeed? My fears were a bit more extreme than that. I had this overwhelming need to find a different school for my son. I knew I absolutely couldn't send him to the local high school. And yet there were practicalities to think of. Could I drive him to a different school every day? Would it be any better?

Now I am not a nervous mother. I'm the perfect mother for a boy. Ok, maybe not perfect, but I can handle skinned knees and bloody noses. I know that no toy I buy is more exciting than the next latest and greatest power tool. I know that they like to take things apart to see how they work and that I will get teased for crying when I watch sad movies and commercials. I know that they are tough and strong and that the thing they love the most, when no one else is around, is to hang out and snuggle with mom. So I was kind of shocked when I started freaking about what high school to send him to when he was barely in the seventh grade.

And so I looked. And I asked. And I researched. And I prayed.

And I prayed.

And I prayed.

I don't really know what first sparked my interest in River Valley. I think it was Jill. She was one of the girls in the class I taught at church. All I knew was that she went to a different kind of school. I asked her to tell me about it. Then I looked it up on the internet. I talked to her mom. I asked Jill what she liked about it. I asked her if she felt she missed out on the typical high school experience. And I prayed.

Finally it was time to attend the open house and put Joshua on the waiting list. I went knowing that he might not want to do this. He might not want to leave his friends. As we sat through the open house I became more and more excited. This is it. This is where he belongs. I kept looking at him, hoping he felt it too. "Well, I said? Do you want to try? Do you want to put your name in the lottery?" He handed me the paper. I filled it out. He turned it in.

We were 12th on the list and they had four openings. It was only a matter of time. He would get in, but he might have to start at the local high school and move in the middle of the year. But I knew. I knew in my heart that it would all work out. We got our call one week before school started. He was in.

It has already been an amazing experience. He has learned and grown so much this year. He is confident. He is taking pride in his work. He has adjusted well to the independent study. He fits in and has tons of friends. And I do not have that nagging fear in my heart.

Today I got an email from the school. They have just been selected as one of California's Distinguished Schools for 2005.

Today I am extremely grateful that I am a Mom; that I have nagging fears; that I know how to pray.

Congratulations River Valley High School! And thank you for providing an alternative for our children.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Purse Addiction

Well it appears my purse/bag addiction has slipped beyond knitting and crocheting. I'm now addicted to making paper purses as well. Somebody help me! I've made about 12 of the little ones, helped a customer make 30 and I have plans for many more... The big one... well I never quite finished it. It was my first purse. Personally I thought it would be perfect for a 16 year old birthday party. Unfortunately my 14 year old son that was attending the party didn't think he really wanted to carry the present in the purse. What? I tried to tell him that the girls would love it. It didn't work. Lucky for him (me?) the card he bought didn't fit inside. Since then he has said he would've taken it....but the card didn't fit. I'm not sure I'm believing that story, but he says it with such sweetness and sincerity. It's so much nicer to believe him. Posted by Hello

All products used are Close To My Heart
Large purse - Flower Power Paper Packet
Small Purse
Smokey Plum texture paper along top
Plum Mist Cardstock for handle
Ink - Smokey Plum, Plum Mist and Sweet Leaf
Stamp Set - April Stamp of the Month D1091 Groovy