Sunday, March 30, 2008


Look at me being a bad blogger! More than a week since I have been in here--and we all know that it is not because I am not online.

hmmm guess I better catch up on details.

ScrapStreet is running the Star contest and I am loving watching all the talented women scrap my crazy challenges. You know I love trying to figure out ways to get everyone scrapping on top of the box while shouting "crazy chick" at me at the top of their lungs.

Because Meesh either loves or hates me, she got me to agree to submit 5 pages each month to places other than the street. Over the past 6 months I was scrapping less than 5 pages a month so I did really need the kick in the pants. I did finish them this month, but only emailed them out moments ago. whew.

It was spring break for me this week and the average temp was around 35. sigh. I am sooooooo ready to be warm. Really really ready.

I did scrap a little something to share here today. My Alie and her indoor tulips--she just couldnt wait for the snow to melt and the outside ones to bloom. Happy Day, Friends!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Today is a rough one for me. It is the second anniversary of the day my little brother passed away. Ivan was amazing, frustrating, silly, talented, loving, generous, annoying--all of the things a baby brother should be. He was a Navy man, a Special Education assistant, an Animal Rescue Worker, an Artist, a Musician, and a variety of other jobs all before he turned 26.

He was working at an animal preserve as a volunteer on a hot Florida day. He came in for a cold beverage, passed out, and hit his head. Exactly what caused the accident was never quite clear; perhaps heat stroke or simple exhaustion. His brain swelled and he suffered from the after effects of a traumatic brain injury from that point on. He was never again without pain, without a ringing in his ears, without medication for seizures and other problems. He suffered from short term memory loss and could no longer live alone since he was apt to forget he was cooking and leave the stove going or forget if he took his medication and take too little or too much.

For the next few years, Ivan lived with my sister Lisa and with my mom and then with me. It was not easy for any of us. My sister and I both had small children to care for, husbands who had not signed on for extra family members, and all of the frustrations of our own lives to deal with--but we managed. While living with me, Ivan was able to take some art courses at one of the colleges I teach at and I know that it helped him if only for a bit.

His death was unexpected. Early after his accident, we were prepared to lose him almost every day, but that fades with time. He was managing, although not improving. New research into TBI issues were being heavily invested in by a variety of hospitals since so many soldiers were returning home with the same problems. There was hope. And then he was gone. And my heart was broken. The hardest part for me is that I cannot remember the last words I said to him. I know it was a phone call a couple of weeks before that day, but I cannot remember and I so wish I could.

I see Ivan every single day in the face of Zack. It is impossible not to as he looks so very much like him. Zack was only a baby when Ivan came to stay with us and Uncle Ivan was too much of a mouthful so he ended up with Cool-Cool. And it fit perfectly. He was just so very cool.

Here they are Ivan and Zack both at about the same age:

And here was one of Ivan from the last summer he was with us:

Thank you, friends, for all the love and support you gave me then and today. I cannot express how grateful I am to have friends who go the extra mile to make me feel like everything is going to be ok. I love you all. And, Ivan, I miss you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One day later . . .

The repair man came from Sears and made the fridge all better. The bill was a bit painful, but I am just going to think of all the good Sears does for the Extreme Home Improvement show and know that I just did my part. When he finished, Repair Guy made the suggestion, "I wouldn't buy a full fridge of groceries just yet. Just in case. Start small."

Ok, so just the high priority items. Welcome to my fridge:

Can I offer you a Coke?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

And then there are days . . .

when the giggles just keep on coming.

The morning began with the alarm blaring at 6:30am. Already my mind was cursing the spring forward plan and missing that extra hour of sleep. I know that the clocks changed two days ago, but for us night owls, it takes a while to get there.

I stumbled to the kitchen to start some waffles before waking the kids. Tuesday is an 8am class day which means leaving the house by 7:15 with both kids, all our bookbags, breakfast in hand, and smiling faces. Not an easy chore on a normal day. As I am scanning the freezer for the waffles, I notice a wet sensation around my feet. Soggy socks. I look down to see a river of melted ice cream has flowed from the bottom and is racing across the kitchen floor. It is then that I realized the freezer is not at all cold.

utoh. I open the fridge side to find the same fate. Warm milk and spoiled everything. A quick glance at the clock reveals no time to clean. Cannot actually call my Dean and tell her the midterm will not be given today on account of spilled milk.

I make toast, slap some pnut butter on it, and shout for the kids to get moving. Snag some juice boxes and fresh socks and we are out the door without a minute to spare.

3 exams and 6 hours later and I am back home to deal with the kitchen. But it is not just the kitchen. I open the door to the house and the smell overwhelms me. What the heck IS that? I step in and begin walking up the stairs noticing my feet sticking. I make it to the kitchen to find that our three cats found the spilled ice cream to be far more of a reason for celebration than I did. Footprints led every which way. Over the couch and through the bathroom--sticky residue all over the house.

I rolled up my sleeves, grabbed the swiffer and got to work. 15 minutes later, I found the first pile. Oh goody, cat vomit. Always a pleasure. 10 minutes and one room later I found another problem--cat diarrhea--joy of joys. I kept cleaning; they kept spewing. I was outnumbered. For such little creatures, they sure can create volume amounts of ick.

And, to top it all off, it is my super Tuesday. The day where I stockpiled oodles of kids lessons thinking having the other days off would be fun. So out I go to drop one at religion class. Back home to tackle a room. Out to drop the next one off at Library Crafts. Pick the other back up and head back to clean another room only to find the first room is freshly christened again. Pick up at the library, drive thru dinner (hello! empty fridge), drop off at dance class and back home for more torture. One final pick up and I can now head for a much needed shower.

As of this second, I am ahead of the cat caravan, but I need to type quickly because it may not last. Wish me luck.

oh, and go ahead and giggle--I dont mind. Just please, keep your ice cream to yourself.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Another Saturday Night . . .

Ok, so for me it was a Saturday afternoon. Each weekend, ScrapStreet comes alive with scrapping challenges. Once a month, we have a good old fashioned Street Fair with games, giggles, challenges, and prizes. Other weekends it is more of a laid back scrap night--with an occasional bingo thrown in for fun. This Sat, I was in charge and chose to make it a challenge night. Two different options--Journal Journey or Bloggin Baby--each with 5 challenges to complete if you wanted bragging rights and the winning blinkie.

Of course, when the idea hit me, I spaced that we were hosting the frat boys and fratlings for a card night. How could I forget that? Kids were even having a sleep over. The race was on. Complete 5 challenges, straighten the house, pull together some snacks, answer the "how many more minutes, mommy?" question repeatedly, and stay sane. Somehow, I made it!

The layout challenge was create one in the same colors as your blog, must have journaling, and must be about you. Whew! Zack took this picture of me earlier in the week (yes, I do let my 5yo handle my Rebel!) and the supplies are from this month's kit featuring October Afternoon. I am so in love with turquoise, orange, green, and yellow as I beg for spring to arrive.

Journaling says: This photo was taken by Zack at age five. He will only agree to pose for me if I pose for him. And often his pictures are the better ones. 3/1/o8

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Life in a vacuum

Ezra Pound, a famous poet and literary critic, once stated, "Literature does not exist in a vacuum." His point was that you can never understand a story just by reading the words on the page. It is infused with the history, politics, and art of the time, as well as the author's own life. It is not what it is, but so much more.

Throughout the years since he first uttered these words, they have been transfered to refer to Art, People, Life; essentially used to point out that Nothing exists in a vacuum. (of course, if you want to go all housekeeping small change and dust bunnies exist in my vacuum). But if I stay in the philosophical, this is actually one of my favorite parts of the internet--my scrapbooking is not in a vacuum. Had I not had a community of people to challenge me, to critique my work, to teach me, to giggle over my failures and happy dance my successes, where would my scrapping be?

I am pretty sure, it would be tucked away on a shelf with other crafts that I got bored with and only visit occasionally. Crochet, candle-making, beading, quilting, embroidery all claim spots on these shelves and tend to only jump down when a specific gift is requested. Instead, scrapping claims most of my office area. My best friends are my scrap buddies, my most tortuous daily moments are scrap stories, my neighborhood is a scrap soap, my kids are scrap models. And my vacuum, well, it sits lonely in the corner waiting for my husband to come along and show it some love.

One of our current ScrapStreet calls is to use paint. I love paint, but rarely have had luck using it in my scrapping. Still, I took up the challenge--mostly because Zack said something just to perfect and it screamed for me to try again. Here it is:

Now, let's be honest. This was one of those priceless things that came out of my 5yo son's mouth as we were racing through the early morning get to school and work rush. It was not a photo time and might have been a forgotten moment if I was living in that vacuum. But instead, it was a post on ScrapStreet. And then it was a photoshoot. And then it was a layout answering a challenge. This is often how I scrap--my pages start with the story more often than they start with the photo.

My first game of tag.

Seven Random Things About Me.
here how it works:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and leave a comment on their blog, so that their readers can visit yours. Meesh tagged me!
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share 7 Random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 random people at the bottom of your post, linking to their blog.
Let each person know by leaving a comment on their blog.

7 Random things about me...

1. I have my belly button double pierced.
2. I can tap dance--really well.
3. I never need to drink cause I am crazy enough sober--and will dance on bars, tables, etc.
4. Most weeks, I read 5 novels for fun.
5. I am completely addicted to television.
6. I am a nerd. really! I adore school and studying and like long division.
7. I hate to swim. blech!

Ok... so I did it! and am accepting that tagging is part of this whole blog thing so yes , this time I am going to Tag people... except all of the bloggers I know have already been tagged. Yep. I am a blog baby and have a small circle so far.

I could tag students, but somehow that seems wrong so I am stuck being it. Off to see about making new friends!