Friday, January 22, 2010

Reading list

I keep a log in the front of my daily journal of books that I have finished with the date I finished each one. So far in January I have finished 5 books...and I'm on #6 and #7. In a good month I finish 8...the most I have finished was 11. I knew a woman who claimed she finished a book a *day* (one of my mom's real estate agents, back in the day, who coincidentally did not sell much real estate...) but I don't think that will ever happen for me. The last book I finished in one day was Austenland, by Shannon Hale, and I feel I read it quickly because it wasn't that good (ditto on The Bridges of Madison County...never did get the appeal of that one).

Right now I'm wading through The Girl on Legare Street by Karen White (really? she couldn't put a middle initial in there somewhere? that is a seriously dull pen name, LOL)...I say "wading" because it's second in a series, and I'm breaking my general rule of reading books in order. It was 50 cents at a used book sale for Make A Wish, and it is about (1) Charleston, S.C. -- a city I've been to a number of times and am weirdly fascinated by and (2) ghosts. My Novel -- yes, caps on that, the same damn idea I've been writing bits and pieces of for oh say 18 years now -- involves ghosts, so I read anything I can get my hands on to see how others handle the ghost world is a bit different from the usual fare so I'm always curious as to whether or not anyone else had the same far, so good. Now if I could just get the rest of My Novel down on paper...and researched...and edited...not even thinking about publishing at this point ;)

I'm also reading The Wind in the Willows for the first time...Tess brought it down last week and declared she was going to try it...then gave it up (again) after 2 pages. Part of it might be the language -- published in 1908, it can be a bit stodgy -- and the other part might be that it is all about boy animals (so far). Now, Tess loves animal stories, but there had better be a girl animal in there somewhere for her to identify with, else she tosses it aside. I'm about 60 pages in and so far, no female animals, but I am enjoying the story, especially considering we are in the throes of winter and that is right where I am at in the book.

Well, no time for reading right now...Ben is at a neighbor's (thank you Karrie!) and I need to organize for crop tonight...finally feeling human, almost lighthearted, after another roller coaster ride on the Hormone Express over the last couple of days...dang, getting old really sucks.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winter Blahs...

...just can't shake 'em. I have a crazy day today, just dropped Ben off at preschool and now I'm at the coffeeshop typing soon as I pick him up, I pick up Tess next door and we take off for her baton class...which cracks me up, as grandma was a star majorette at Dearborn High back in the day...I have a few twirling tricks up my sleeve but never did make the team...because I couldn't dance (our majorette team *sucked* at twirling in h.s...they were really a pom-pom team with batons instead of poms! LOL)

Then I have to figure dinner out...probably pizza somewhere, then Tess has Brownies, first meeting since missing two due to my own bad schedule-keeping. I kept expecting an email from the troop leaders, and realized too late that they weren't doing that anymore. I have a history with Girl Scouts...from moving halfway through 4th grade and not hooking up with a new troop at my new school, to a major fight with my BFF (since we were 6 years old!) shortly after I joined her Cadette troop in 7th grade...ugh.

I so wanted Tess to earn her Try-It badges but it looks like she's missed two already this year...oh, and she/we sold no cookies this time around. Is it me, or did cookie sales start earlier than usual this year? I think we started December 14th...which might be nice if I remembered to ask relatives as we saw them through the holidays...but I didn't. And I didn't do any scrapbooking late in December, so my cropping buddies missed out, too. Oh well, that's not what GS is all about anyway, just a bummer that Tess missed out on the full experience. We've still got a half-year to make up for it...and all of next year. She'll see her BFF (since 3 year-old preschool!) tonight, plus some other school girlfriends, so she'll be happy. Unless they pass out Try-It badges ;)

On a completely different note, I came across a new (to me) digi scrapping site, which lead me to a really cool make-your-own-handwritten-font action that I now have on my wish list. Visited with Mom yesterday and we hit a LSS (I was good, only spent $8 but I've reduced my craft budget for the first 3 months of this year and I'm a bit over...already...) so I can't really afford even $4.50 right now. Surprising how those little bits of digi goodness start adding up...good thing February is right around the corner! ;)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Better, thanks

The first prompt is up at Artful Amblings, and I immediately "saw" what I wanted to do. The negatives came quickly enough; covering them up was very healing and fulfilling :) I went with green (for "go") and the word "begin" came to mind, even though the prompt was "what is holding you back?" from art journaling, "just begin" became my battle cry. I'm looking forward to the next prompt.

While looking for a "wayback" portrait to post on facebook this week, I came across my very first art journaling pages, inspired by a Rhonna Farrar "21 days" challenge which I did not finish. I was proud to look back at these early pages and realize that I have begun before; the goal this year is to continue and finish!

I was inspired by Rachel's suggestion of taping pages of an old book together to make sections; my friend Christy gave me this 1973 desk diary ages ago and I've never used it. Turns out it was just the size I was looking for (5"x7") and just beat up enough for me to not feel bad about tearing out pages.

When Christy gave me this diary, I took a moment to copy the words to a song by Innocence Mission that she had had written out in the front pages...pages she went on to tear out, which is why this diary starts on January 31st...

The song is about a writer and a painter working out their weekdays and soaking up art on the weekends. Prophetic, huh?

I haven't done anything with the cover yet...I'd like to wait and see how this journal fills up first. I'm all about doing the cover last, anyway.

Sundays are my "day off" from family life; E takes the kids to his mom's and while I'm welcome to come along, I'd really rather have the day to myself. They can speak Russian without asking me if it's okay, and my MIL gets some quality time with her grandkids. That is something I did not have growing up; my dad's parents died early in my life (my paternal grandmother died years before I was born; my paternal grandfather died when I was just over a year old. I'm told he adored me and even liked to babysit me; he smoked cigars and the smell still makes me nostalgic). My mother was constantly battling with her parents (mostly her mother); her dad died when I was 12 and the battles continued, so any relationship with my grandmother were very strained; she was a difficult woman (and my mother, a difficult child!)...I love that my folks want to take the kids on a regular basis, and that they have a chance to visit with their Baba once a week.

I went to Michigan Book & Supply today and wandered the aisles upstairs (the art supply section). Finally bought myself some acrylic glaze and found a stamp carving kit/mounting set that I'm looking forward to using. I've been wanting to make some Russian letter stamps for years; this set is complete enough to get me started, and cheaply, I might add. We'll see what comes of that!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Setting worries aside

I'm having what I think are health issues and I've learned an interesting trick...when you start to turn a worry over and over in your mind, say to yourself, I am going to think about this at such-and-such time, I don't have time for it right now. I try to flood my mind with positive thoughts and move on. Hormonal issues have made this hard. At least I was finally able to schedule a mammography (my goal was to have this done by the end of January, my appointment is January 28th!) and that has helped ease the worry just a bit. Taking action is always recommended (at the set-aside time, of course) ;)

I have two issues working against me this week: the lack of sleep last weekend (which I wouldn't trade for anything, LOL) and totally PMS immersion...on Tuesday I was suicidal (not really...don't send me to the psyche ward yet!), Wednesday I was Miss Chatterbox/font of positivity, yesterday I was an emotional wreck again, whoo hoo, welcome to hormonal rollercoaster of your 40s!

I've always had some minor issues during my PMS cycle (who doesn't?!), but since having kids it is nastier, and lasting longer. Oh, and hitting me in the middle of my cycle, as well. Not fun.

I am looking forward to some art journaling therapy. Right now I'm off to choose my format (I have a really cool old 1973 diary I might alter...or I might use those 5x7 HS playing cards I got cheap, and bind them together later...hmmm...) Either way, it's a great distraction from worrying.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Exhausted but satisfied

As usual, I took a TON of sCRAPping "stuff" with me to our F52's weekend (my first as a group member) and only used a handful of things...mostly my Studio Calico kits. Now that I've discovered Maya mists, I am going to spray them on pretty much every. background. True to what I've been hearing from friends, they are the better mist...they dry quickly (even the metallic ones) and don't soak the paper until it warps out of control. LOVE them, will be adding a color or two to every order until I have. them. all.

Tresha loved her felted bag; I feel I was given the hardest person to please as I kind of hazing/"pass this test" for the group, and I was told by a couple of members that I passed with flying colors. My secret elf got me a cool pink Dymo label maker; it has three font wheels but I will pretty much be keeping the cursive one in. Gorgeous! Oh, I made a nametag for Tess (who can never find anything personalized with her name -- "I'm going to write the company!" is her constant battle cry) but forgot to give it to her. On teal tape, no less, her "new favorite color" this year.

Here's proof that Maya is better than Glimmer: I went to use my gold Glimmer mist (finally) on this next LO and the pump would. not. work. Not after running it under hot water, not in another mist; I had to swap the pump with one from another color (that one worked). Also, the gold completely curled my paper; I put a piece of solid cardstock behind it to smooth it out. Frustrating.
I love that I was able to get EIGHT photos on this LO. I really spent a long time behind my front door screen waiting for the perfect shot, and still got quite a few decent ones. Had to outline the Studio Calico ampersand stamp with black ink but I like the look.
Two problems after the weekend: I'm utterly exhausted after two 2:30a bedtimes (wimp!) and I lost my car keys...that turned yesterday's return home into a whole ordeal that I'd rather forget (although I can't, because I still don't have my car keys! I feel like I've lost a couple of fingers, so weird!!) Our hostess had to drive me to my house to get the spare, then drive me back to her house to use it. I'm super-paranoid about my key now; I am constantly checking the pocket where it resides, it's like having a (hopefully) temporary case of severe OCD.
I just had a mocha, sitting at Foggy Bottom with my laptop while Ben is in preschool...thank God for this small break and a chance to write.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Goals...not resolutions

Found this freebie "10 Plans for 2010" through Digi Free...the free scrapping supply site...although I have bought plenty of kits, papers, and embellishments, I found this freebie to be inspiring. Thanks, Liv!

credits: bg paper from LDD's Magic of Fall collection, playing card from The Vintage Workshop (freebie, but LOTS of fun stuff over there for collage!), embellishments courtesy of a freebie kit "Teal by Coco," from Coco & Co.

I had a vivid dream last night of not being able to get back to my scrapbooking weekend all day Saturday, thanks to family obligations. It was really frustrating, because I've been struggling with giving myself time away for this upcoming weekend. Now we have a winter weather advisory from noon today - 7a tomorrow; I just hope the snow plows and salt trucks get out there overnight and there is school tomorrow or my dream/nightmare might just come true! That would be a bummer, because Michelle was at my scrapper's weekend, and I'd really like to hang with her again ;) IRL, of course, she will not be there, but I am still looking forward to some uninterrupted scrap/girlfriend time...surprising how much I need it!

My Secret Elf felted tote is in the washer right now...I meant to shrink it yesterday, but didn't have my tapestry needle with me when I finished it up yesterday. I sewed it up this morning and now it is swish, swish, swishing -- and hopefully shrinking up nicely. I have a feeling I will be giving my Elf recipient a semi-damp tote bag tomorrow!
Right now it is roughly 14" x 18" should shrink by 1/3rd in all directions...Edited: took only 2 cycles...not bad, not bad...could've done better on the sewing up of one corner. Felting doesn't cure *every*thing...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Shufflin into the new year

My first day "off," as I jokingly call those days when both kids are in school, and I spent the morning on the phone with Apple support getting iTunes to recognize the selections I'd put on my mom's new shuffle. I have the music she wanted, but no podcasts, not sure what's up with that...I've wasted enough time today and perhaps I'll wait a few days before dealing with it again. Yesterday, partially out of frustration and partially to get something else done, I never turned on my laptop. Shocker! There is an off button.

While I am waiting for my January Studio Calico kit (and the one add-on I'll probably ever order, given the state of my craft budget as I go into 2010), I played with the December kit I received early last week. I think I joined the right kit club...there is some seriously fun stuff in that kit, and I worked on a 2-page year end wrap-up layout that is still sitting on my scrap desk. It requires that I go through each month in last year's diaries, take notes on the highlights, and stop to edit those before I write them down. I got through March yesterday and hope to work on the next three months today. That's one of my new year's always have something to work on out on my scrap desk. So far so good.

It was refreshing to see that we did, as a family, have some interesting winter activities last year. Lots of playdates for Tess. An outing to the Hands on Museum for both kids with their dad. A visit to the Bounce Zone. Pom-pom and cheerleading at the basketball games (Ben really enjoyed watching basketball...made the whole experience more fun for me, since he was fascinated and I didn't have to chase after him in our high school's very high bleachers...)

This year, so far, I am trying to write in my diary about halfway through each day (still have to do that today...) and read an entry each day from Simple Abundance...yes, about 15 years behind the trend, but it has a message I need right now, namely, what should I do with the rest of my life? As Ben starts school and plays well on his own, I have more and more time to myself, and I need to find a way to fill it.

I'm not sure we'll do MOPS next year...and I'm Publicity chair (this is my last term). I have no successor picked out (our numbers dropped by half this year, two of my best contenders left the group). Church is begging for Sunday school teachers, I already turned them down once, acted as a sub once, HATED it (more power to teachers...I have no patience for it), now they are asking again and I know I must firmly turn them down (again).

I thought this might be the year I finally make a habit of writing fiction daily, but so far that hasn't materialized. I'm waiting until Ben is in school at least half a day every day. A cop-out, but that's all I have energy for.

The job market is so poor, so bare, who knows what I'll find to do when it's time to go back to work. I will have been out of the biz -- any biz -- for 8 years by then. So I feel I need to start thinking about what I love to do (NOT teaching, sorry) and what I might do that would bring in a paycheck. At least I have the luxury of time, for now. Perhaps that it just an illusion. Something could happen tomorrow that forces me into the job market, and that luxury will be gone. Hopefully Borders is hiring.

Wow, this is not where I expected this entry to go today. I guess I really am shuffling into not only the new year, but the rest of my life. Now I have to keep up my committment of writing halfway through the day, and finishing up that knitted/felted bag I was talking about earlier...I have to gift it on Friday!