Thursday, December 28, 2006


Give us your best diet tips and ideas for healthy eating during the holidays

My favorite tip is "BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU ARE EATING". Pay attention while you eat. Don't mindlessly scarf down rum balls or those little appetizer quiches. Pick it up, look at it, and chew thoughtfully while noticing how it tastes. This means you can't really eat while carrying on a conversation, unless the conversation is about the food. Eating mindlessly while talking at gathering is the source of endless amounts of calories. It also slows down your eating and you will eat less because you give your body time to become satisfied.

Another one is "IF IT IS NOT WONDERFUL - DON'T EAT IT". Even if it was made by your sweet grandmother, even if you just paid a lot of money for it. If you don't think 'wow! I really like this' after the first couple of bites, don't finish it. You may have to eat a bit for politeness' sake (if your grandmother is involved) but you are not obligated to finish it. I hearby give you permission not to clean your plate if you don't love the food. :)

Eat "SMALLER PORTION SIZES" assuming you have control over your portions. Take half the amount you think you will eat. If you want more you can go get more after you are done with what you have

The last is "DON'T CLEAN YOUR PLATE", especially if you have no control over the portion size. Eat half, give it a few minutes to settle and ask yourself if your really want/need more. Then eat half the remaining portion & repeat.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

favorite Christmas memory

The boys were up early as usual. DH got up with them & kept them entertained for an hour or so while the rest of us slept. Unusually Grandma & Pa were up before I was. Around 7:30 DS2 apparently got tired of waiting for Mom to get up & came into the bedroom, walked over to me and said "Mommy you get up now! Presents! You get dressed!". The other thing that stands out in my mind was the sheer disappointment on DS1's face when the first present he opened was *not* the hot rod toy he had asked for. It was the only thing he had wanted & he was so sad that the package he opened was a Leapster. The next package was the hot rod & he was so happy he was totally uninterested in opening the rest of his gifts (though he did eventually).

Just as an aside, within 2 hours DS1 was happily playing with DS2's Cars vehicles and DS2 was busy playing with the hot rod. Ds1 did take the hot rod to bed with him though.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sunrise, sunset

Describe the most beautiful sunset or sunrise you've ever seen.

I'm so bad at descriptives... The first thing that comes to mind was a sunset I saw a couple weeks ago. We were in the car driving to or from someplace & it had been storming all day. Not just a gray sky, but a black sky all afternoon long. It had stopped raining & was starting to clear off, off in the west. The sun was setting & was this deep, rich, glowing orange color and it sort of faded into the dark grey and the black. Plus the mountains were there. So there was this dark but glowing band of orange both top & bottom and this richer red orange glowing band across the middle. Beautiful!

I was added to the rolls at today! I've been lurking off of blogs there for months & finally joined last night. If you are a female blogger you should check them out. They have some great blogs there. I went on a blog jumping frenzy last night and added about 40+ blogs to my Bloglines account. About half were food & the other half parenting. Then I switched my food blogfood blog over to the new blogger templates & fiddled around with it. Feeling successful with that I switched my old random thoughts blog over & found a 3 column template to try out with it and it worked on the 1st try! That almost makes me confident enough to switch this one over. But I am still reluctant.

I spent a few hours browsing a craft/flea market type thing today & now havea bunch of ideas for calendar templates...for 2008, but that's fine. It gives me 10 months to make them. I have a slew of outlook sticky notes with ideas on them. I need to get some word art together for 1hourscrap. I have some ideas about that too. we went to B&N as well & I bought some books. The great thing about being on vacation is I can read for extended periods. At least I could. my brother & his family arrive tonight so I suppose my reading time (and computer time) will be cut down soon.

I'm getting back in the groove online. I've gotten caught up at DSP. I'm not really in a position to do any scrapping here but I should be able to get back to the challenges once we get home. I've missed scrapping regularly & it will be good to get back into it. I had to get the reading jones out of my system & that has pretty much been accomplished I think. It looks like Carrie (woogiebop) is taking over DigiScrapDiva and some of the folks from Scrapmommies will be helping her run the site, so I am looking forward to the challenges and energy they are sure to bring there.

Monday, December 25, 2006

kids?!? are you kidding me?

I enjoy ______ now, but if anyone had told me that years ago, I would never have believed them.

Children. Seriously. I really did not like kids for most of my life. I was militantly childfree in my 20's. Didn't want them around me, certainly didn't want them in my life. I was absolutely positive children ruin your life & I was happy with my life as it was. Have children of my own? Oh hell no! But slowly, in my early 30s my opinion changed. Many things contributed to it but what stands out most was that as the last of my friends married I realized that, for me, without children there is nothing to mark the changing time, no firsts to look forward to, except divorce & death. How cheery. And while I as happy with my life, it had been going on the same way for a few years now & would likely go on the same way unchanging & that seemed a bit of an empty prospect. The kids did 'ruin' my life. That life is gone & won't be coming back and I do miss parts of it - the spare time, the spare money. And some days parenting is every bit as difficult and the kids every bit as horrible as I imagined they could be. But I love my new life and there are far more good times than bad ones.

What sets you apart from the crowd?

Depends on the crowd. I hang out with different groups of people & what is common to one group is very unusual to others.

The fact that I am a pagan is the big one. My religion is growing but is not at all mainstream. Many people still have a great deal of misconceptions about it, so I don't always mention it. My MOPS group is of course, Christian based, Baptist in fact, though they are very good about making everyone feel welcome even if you are Catholic or (as they think of me) you don't attend church. I've never stood up and told them I was a witch. I don't know all of them well. Some people I think would have no problem. I know one woman's husband is a Wiccan. But there are people in the group that are already offended by Santa & jack o lanterns being on decorations. I can only imagine their reaction to an initiated witch in their midst, so I tend to keep quiet to avoid conflict. There are not many pagan digi scrappers either, though I do know several.

Among the wider pagan world, the fact that I am so 'mainstream' sets me apart. I hang out with the Christian moms, I digi scrap. I am not a radical lesbian vegan liberal who chains herself to trees on the weekends while wearing all black and a hal a dozen giant pentacles. :) Of course among my RL coven I am considered quite normal - but then we are a coven of 40ish, mostly ex-military, rural, conservative, almost Republican witches. If we were Christians we'd fit right in with our Baptist neighbors. :)

oh the pressure!

Where do you go when you want to get away from the pressures of life, family, work, etc.?

I shut myself in my bedroom and read. Or I get together with a girlfriend & we go shopping. We hit a craft store, a book store, a coffee shop and generally have a meal together.

perfect winter day

List five things that make up a perfect winter day.

1. snow, lots! on a weekend day
2. DH to remain calm & not freak out about needing to plow etc
3. sledding
4. snow buildings
5. hot cocoa afterwards

Saturday, December 23, 2006

we're here!

After 19 hours, spread over 2 days we have arrived at grandma's house. 1063 miles. Forget over the river and through the woods. We went over the interstate and through the traffic.

DH was able to leave work early Thurs so we left home at 4:30pm. 40 minutes later we were stuck in rush hour traffic. It took us about a hour to go 10 miles. It took us almost 3 hours to travel 100 miles. So we did not get as far as we had hoped that night. We'd hoped to get south of Columbia, SC so we would miss their morning rush hour, but we ended up stopping just north of it at 11:30pm. We'd travelled 350 miles in 7 hours. The boys were asleep in the back seat, woke up briefly to be moved to the room and then dropped back off. I didn't sleep much. I can't take the Lunesta if I can't get 7-8 hours & at best I would maybe get 6.5. I think I slept from about 3am to 6:30am. We were in WaffleHouse by 7:15 and on the road at 8am. we encountered no traffic. The traffic 45 miles from home would be the only standing still traffic we would encounter. However there were A LOT of cars on the road. Packs of them. And there was rain. DH drove through a patch in SC that lasted about 15 minutes & was heavy at times. I hit a long off and on spell between Jacksonville & Tampa that would come and go and be so heavy at times that I was about to pull over. We arrived at my folks place at 8:15p. Boys were in bed around 9:30 and I was stumbling to bed around 10:45 under the effects of a Lunesta. Brad fell asleep about 10 minutes later.

books listened too - Kitchen Confidential, Peril at End House
movies watched - Cars, Robots, El Dorado, Knights of Fix Alot, Ice Age 2, Shrek 2
times "Are we there yet" was asked - about 4000
fast food meals eaten - blessedly, only 2 - Arby's Thurs night & Burger King for lunch on Friday. We skipped dinner Friday and just kept driving, eating the apples, bananas and pretzels I brought with us.
items left behind in our rush to leave - books for bedtime stories, razors, facial scrub

So far today the males have gone swimming, I had Quiznos, DH & DS2 took a 3 hour nap, DS1, Grandpa & I went for ice cream, remaining gifts were wrapped, a load of laundry has been washed and Grandpa went and bought a wireless internet router for his cable modem after DH & I discovered they didn't have one (and that we couldn't get online with our laptops) & told him how great the were. Now the 4 adults can use their 4 laptops to surf the web all at once from anywhere in the house. I'm wondering if my brother or his wife will be arriving with one (or 2)? Maybe I can get them all to download YIM or Hello and we can all Im one another from across the living room. :)

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka and Blessed Yule to everyone!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bummer for me

The monitor is shot. My nice 20" flat screen monitor, only a year old, is all wonky. The display is all green & shimmery. An its been getting a bit fuzzy as well unless I have it set to 1600x1200 which is way too small. I don't recall if we paid for the extended warranty. 50/50 shot whether we did or not. Depends on the mood of whoever ordered it at the time & I cannot recall which of us did. I am less likely to remember to get it but DH is cheaper so depending on cost he might not have paid for it. i have View Sonics 800# so I am going to call them & find out. I have a laptop so I don't *need* the monitor, but i love the monitor. I want my monitor!

The thing is working out well for me. I've had 4 books so far and would have gotten a 5th but I stupidly forgot to remove the mailer insert when I sent book 3 back in and mailed the book to myself. So it's going out now. There is a chance bok 5 might arrive before we leave but I doubt it. That means I will probably average 5-6 books a month & I think $25 a month is a good deal for that.

Bought ink so I am finally printing out the calendar & DH can get it bound tomorrow. Also got niece2's gift, a few more Cars, the movie Ice Age 2 (as a surprise video for day 2 in the car) and one of DHs Xmas gifts. I looked at flat screen monitors & a 17" is $200 at WM. I tried to find new sippy cups for the boys & all WM had was Disney Princess ones. I'm not really sexist but I just balk at the idea of the boys carrying around glitter pink sippy cups with princesses & flowers all over them. I just can't go there. So I'll have to check out Safeway & FoodLion this week. We need a few new ones for the trip, most of ours are old & no longer screw on properly from numerous dishwasher trips..

Tonight is MOPS potluck. Tuesday is DS1's birthday party for Jesus & book exchange at school (and let me just say that the injunction against books with TV cartoon characters, Harry Potter, magical stuff or Santa really makes finding a book a challenge. Especially the no cartoon character part. I understand it. I really do. I don't want Sponge Bob in my house so I appreciate a blanket DO NOT instruction but damn that narrows things down for 3 year olds) Wednesday is DS1s Christmas caroling thing. Thursday the cats go to the kennel & I pack everything. Friday we leave. And I intend to get to the gym at least 2x if not 3 this week. Oh yeah, and a I have to wrap some gifts tonight for tomorrow. and make my pot luck item. I guess I should get off of here.

gifts done!

DS1 - Leapster, Cars hot rod, I Spy book
stocking - 3 Cars die cast, Backyardigans Leapster game & travel coloring book
DS2 - Take Along Roundhouse, I Spy Shapes book, Floor puzzle
stocking - 2 Cars die cast, Gordon & Percy & travel coloring book
Family - Backyardigans Memory game and Chutes & Ladders

Niece 1 - My Little Pony Memory game
Niece 2 - Pop up Elmo book

Friends older kids - I Spy books
Friends toddlers - fat plastic trucks & cars

Adults - alcohol, chocolate & tea gift bag

Mom - calendar
Dad - bookmarks

Sunday, December 17, 2006

one thing & another

My flat screen monitor is acting up. I'm praying it is a cable problem. Jiggling the cable seems to help. I am so screwed if it is the monitor. I have gotten used to dual monitors and I *love* my flat screen. I almost didn't get a laptop because I didn't want to give it up. I'm getting a replacement cable at wal mart tomorrow. There ought to be a half a dozen monitor cables in this house. There used to be but I can't find a single one now.

I will also be buying ink at the wal mart. I ran out on page 11 of the 12 page calendar I am making for my mom. And I haven't printed the bookmarks for my dad or the triptick for our trip. I have to get it all printed tomorrow so DH can get it bound before we leave. I'd've had all this done by now but when I was making the bookmarks for my dad I decided since I was going to all the trouble I might as well make them for sale, so I had make a couple variations & then made templates as well & between that & putting together mom's calendar it was Friday night before I started printing. i will *not* set foot in walmart on weekends in December so it'll be tomorrow before I can finish.

The bookmarks are available at if you still need a fast, easy and very useful gift for people.

I have no shorts that fit DS1 & we are going to FL in 5 days. DS2 needs a bathing suit. I suppose we'll have to get them down there. I cleaned the car out, vacuumed, washed the car seat covers, everything. I like to start a trip with a clean car. I'm going to have one suitcase that just has presents in it. One suitcase for our overnight stop. 2 large suitcases with our clothes, 2 laptop cases, each boy gets a small backpack, the DVD case and my pillow. Will all this fit in the back of the car & still leave room to see out the window?

I have potluck on Monday, DS1s Christmas pageant Wednesday, drop the cats off for boarding (an hour away) on thursday & still need to buy one of DHs presents and something for my youngest niece.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

travel mugs

I was having a conversation with some friends a week or so ago about travel mugs. Several of us are looking for the 'perfect' one, though our criteria are a bit different. I believe we all agree it should be a stainless steel one with the vacuum walls. It should have a screw top lid, not a press & seal. The 'spillproof' mechanism should be able to opened using just one hand and have a decent sized opening. Everyone else wants it to fit in a cup holder, I'm a bit flexible on that. If he bottom is wide enough it will wedge between my seat and the parking brake (like my favorite mug does). There is some disagreement on just how many ounces it should be. I like a big mug, a VAT of coffee as it were.

I have a favorite mug. I've had it for 8 years. Its a big wide bottomed Thermos stainless steel mug. It has a screw top, it is 20ozs (I have a matching, thermos, as well, so 36ozs all together). It had a one handed opener but I lost that bit a month after I bought it & found it I just stuffed a paper towel into the lid it sufficed for a car trip. (I now use Press & Seal over that when I take the mug to MOPS meetings). I lost the lid to this mug a few weeks ago. I searched the whole house for it. It was in the sink. DH said he put it in the dishwasher, but then it was just *gone*. So i had to get a new mug. My new mug arrived Tuesday. It is a Thermos E5 16oz travel mug. Nice mug. Not perfect though. It's just a tad too big to fit in the cup holder, but too small to wedge in the space between the seat & the parking brake. It also needs both hands to open the spillproof part. It is a good 'passenger' mug, but not a good 'driver' mug. I ordered it online so I had to go by description & photos. It will get used though. The fact that is truly is spillproof means I can take it to MOPS meeting & other places i go where there is little to no coffee available. But as a just to drive DS1 to school, its not so good.

It often happens that shortly after you buy a replacement for something that is lost, the thing that is lost then turns up. About an hour ago DS1 brought me his toy grill. The lid had gotten wedged shut. So I opened it. Inside the grill was the lid to my favorite mug! 30 hours after my replacement mug arrived & 2 hours after the packaging had leftover soup poured on it in the garbage can ensuring the new one cannot be returned.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Menu for the next 2 weeks

I only need 8 meals this time. We had pasta for dinner tonight, we go out to eat Saturdays and Sunday we will be celebrating Yule (early) with my coven & having dinner there. Somehow the 4 meals I chose from the card catalog all ended up being Rachel Ray 's, (one for each book I own). The other 4 are standards of mine.

Crock pot chicken & stuffing
Chicken crescent pockets or calzone (leftovers)
Loaded baked potato soup & spinach salad
Rosemary & ham scones & more spinach salad
Turkey cutlets with ravioli - NEW!
Fake tandori chicken
Mini meat patties

and if one of them doesn't appeal one night I have tilapia filets in the freezer ready to marinated in lemon & garlic and the broiled.

Next time I do a 2 week menu I have to come up with side dishes that are more than 'nuke some frozen peas' at least some of the time. Most of Rachel Ray's meals include side dishes. I just never make them because...well...I don't think I will like them. But the time has come to try them. So I am suspecting lots of Rachel Ray dinners in my future.


what time do you normally write your blog entries? Does it make a difference in what you write?

Normally I write around now...noonish. Because that is when I have time. Sometimes I write in the evening, after the boys are in bed. my posts are generally longer when I write in the evening because I have more time to type & to think abort what I am writing. More time to ramble. :)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

random thoughts

I posted recently that my food goal for 2007 is to get a better handle on side dishes. While perusing my recipe card collection (which oddly has a very large section for 'veggies') I realized that most of my recipes I don't make that often. I've made nearly all of them once but rarely twice. And there are a bunch from this past year's cookbook purchases that have never been made at all. I've intended to make them, put them on menu, but then never got around to making them. For the past 2 months especially, the majority or my meals have been basic and for the most part recipe-less. Meatloaf, pasta, chicken with couscous, chicken in a crock pot, pot roast, london broil, broiled fish, pizza and things stuffed in crescent roll dough. Various pastas, various fish, various types of pizza and various things stuffed into crescent roll dough, to keep it from being too monotonous. But basically the same 9 dishes show up every 2 weeks. Occasionally I'll make something or other that found like Cooks Illustrated Coq au Vin but the last time I did that was in September. I've intended for a month now to make Turkey Tettrazini but haven't.

Part of the problem is at least 3 out of the 5 nights I cook, I am basically cooking for toddlers. Turkey Tettrazini has zero toddler appeal. Tyson's breaded chicken patties have toddler appeal. DH is supposed to come home by 6:30 but something tends to happen fairly often to screw that up & I cannot put off feeding the kids beyond that. They go to bed at 8. I find it frustrating to hear at 5:30pm that he won't be home until 7pm & if I have been having a stressful day with bickering boys, the news that I will be alone with demons for dinner often means toaster waffles with peanut butter rather than braciole. Cooking for myself just isn't that much fun. Cooking for the boys can be fun, if I am in the mood for pizza or pasta, but I'd like adult food, with adult people every now and again.

So another part of my cooking resolution for 2007 is to make a new meal for dinner twice a month, every other Sunday. On alternate Sundays I will make again a recipe I have made before, like Coq au Vin. Or at least I will try. Realistically at least one Sunday a month this won't happen. Random food will be eaten. That's fine. What I need is a plan. It's ok to deviate from the plan, but you have to have the plan first.

In other news...Xmas is coming (and on a side note I often wonder if 'xmas' offends people. I seem to be the only person on the internet that uses it. i was taught in Catholic school religion class that xmas was a perfectly acceptable abbreviation, along with xtian - and this was decades before IMing became popular, but maybe times have changed.) I need to make presents for my folks. Once again I am making a calendar for my mom. I've picked out the layouts I want to use & just need to add the month names to them. I already have the calendar templates (and you can have them too, they are for sale at I need to make some bookmarks for Dad & am not sure where to start. I used some premade templates last year that had calendars on them. I'm not sure if he really needs the calendars. I need to pick out photos for them. One of each grandchild. I can't remember if I laminated them or not last year. All xmas present have been bought for the boys, including the last minute "Hot Rod" that Drake asked Santa for. Fortunately he mentioned it was at Safeway which helped me figure out what he was talking about. I still need something for my 14 month old niece that is not a doll or stuffed animal, does not make unnecessary noise and is under $12. Finding something that meets all three criteria is proving impossible. I may have to surrender on some point - not the noise though. I'm pretty adamant about the no unneeded noise thing. I don't want it for my kids & I won't buy it for others' unless specifically directed to do so. I've never understood the whole singing dancing Elmo thing. I just look at it and wonder "Who would want that in their house?" Maybe if your kid specifically asked for it & really really wanted it, but just to buy it, with out being asked to,... why? But I admit I am not an Elmo fan and am thankful to the Divine that the boys have never shown any interest in it. I did buy a Wiggles Murray's Guitar last year, but only because DS1 specifically asked for it. I would never have volunteered it to him.

I set up that audiobook spreadsheet and promptly failed to update it with the 3 new ones I got from the library. Also, despite all my cross referencing,somehow my Douglas Adams books got deleted from the computer. Not a serious issue because I have the original CDs but I could have sworn they were on my computer and converted to .mp3. I discovered this while setting up my book list for our trip. We'll be spending a total of about 36 hours in the car, coming & going. Thats about 5-7 audio books. Dh & I have made this trip every year since 1994 (except the last 2 when we flew) and we always listen to at least one Douglas Adams book. One year we listened to the first 3 books of Hitchhikers and both Dirk Gently novels and a BBC audio show of HHTTG. We later agreed that yes, you can have too much Douglas Adams. So we now limit it to just one. This year it's Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul. We're also doing Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, Agatha Christie's Man in the Brown Suit, Lindsey Davis' Scandal Takes a Holiday, Peter Mayle's Provence A-Z and another book to be determined. Plus a half dozen or so other books that are already on my iPod. Those are just the ones we know we want to listen too. This will be our first trip with talking active boys. DS1 was 13 months old the last time we went & didn't have much to say, so we had no problems with listening to books. We're hoping since we have the DVD player now we'll get to listen to at least 2 books. We tried it out a couple weeks ago on a 2.5 hour drive. They watched a movie with their headsets on and we listened to a book & it was great for everyone. Naturally I don't expect 36 hours of that but if I can get 4 or 5 intervals like that I'll be happy. Next year or the year after we'll start including some children's books in the mix. I've tried a couple with the boys but they aren;t that into it yet. Stories have pictures & pages. Music is listened to and never the 2 shall meet.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Do you have a favorite ornament or decoration that you display at this time of year? Tell us its story!

I have a collection of wooden ornaments my mother made. She got a kit one year from a craft store that had about 50 ornaments in it. You pushed them out of their sheets, sanded them, painted them (they came with black outlines) back & front then gave them a shiny overcoat. I was about 8 when she made them. I remember watching her do them at a cardboard table in our rec room. I think she spent the better part of a month working on them in the evenings. My brother & I were not allowed to touch them. That was the year we got the fake all white tree. Mom put up red lights, red balls and the wooden ornaments (nearly all of which have some red on them) It was a really nice looking tree. When they finally moved out of my childhood home in the late 90's they gave me those ornaments, (plus some made by both my grandmothers). We've never had a big tree in the years since then. They have all be under 3' and most of the wooden ornaments are a too large for that. There are some small ones though & we put those on our trees every year. Next year maybe, or the year after we will get a big tree and I will get to use all the ornaments, only 10 years after they were given to me.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What are your cooking skills? How have they improved/changed??

I'm a pretty good cook & for the most part I enjoy it. It can be frustrating from time to time due to my diners. Little boys are not in general the most appreciative of audiences unless I am heating up Tyson chicken patties.

I've always enjoyed cooking and been fairly good at it when I wanted to be. What I have been working on the since the boys were born was planning. Before them I would call DH at 10am and say "What do you want for dinner?" and search up recipes on the web & buy the stuff I needed on the way home from work. And if I didn't feel like cooking it was no big deal because the other person in my house was a grown adult who could find himself something to eat on his own (and was a short order cook in college). Now I have other people to feed & dinner by Tyson every night is just not my style. I end up feeling bad for eating all the processed foods. Don't get me wrong, I *like* processed foods, especially breakfast cereal, but apart from that I think it should be kept to a minimum. But lack of sleep & 2 babies pushed me into lots of boxes of meals for a couple years & I lost interest in food really. I have been slowly getting back to where I was, which makes me feel more like me again. But I have had to get a handle on planning. I make long range goals. My goal in 2004 was just to make 4 meals a week. From scratch mostly, no Hamburger Helper (HH was for the other 3 nights). I also got my recipe collection organized & went through my several dozen cookbooks and did up cards on any recipe I found interesting. For 2005 it was 5 meals a week with one new or rarely made recipe a week. Plus start keeping a log of how they turned out and changes I made. This year it was planning for 2 weeks of dinners, using the leftovers from a couple of meals creatively in other meals in the period. And baking at least a couple loaves of bread a month. My 2007 goals are to get a handle on side dishes (right now I just nuke whatever frozen veggie I have on hand or make a spinach salad. I don't like veggies but I can't let the boys know that so I need to make interesting veggie dishes to interest all of us) and to prep ahead, like when I make crock pot beef stew - prep 2 or 3 times as many veggies and freeze them so next time all I have to do is open a bag. And since my bread machine finally died on me yesterday while kneading a loaf of Pepperoni Pecarino Bread, I am going to trying making bread without it for at least 4 months. I *can* make bread without it but it is just so much easier with it - no keep tracking of how long things have been rising, punching to down, movig it around. It requires so much attention. A bread machine though - toss everything in and walk away. Leave the house! 3 hours later you have bread.

Apart from bread I don't bake. Baking requires an attention to detail I don't have. DH bakes. He has spent the past year perfecting his chocolate chip cookies. Now he is branching out into mousse! :)

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Earlier in the week, we talked about favorite cartoons. Now I want to know your favorite board game, video game, or card game. And who do you usually play with?

I loved to play games when I was kid. All the board games. My favorite was (nad still is) Clue. Ieven had a couple PC versions of it. As an adult, in my childfree years, I played a great deal of card games and dice games (and drinking games). I love Hearts & Spades but I always have to be reminded of the rules because I get them confused. My favorite dice game is called 10,000, which is how many points you have to get to win. We'd play it for *hours* in college & right after, drinking & talking. I have a lot of great memories of that game. Now I play bunco monthly with other moms from my MOPS group & I really enjoy it. I love Trivial Pursuit as well. I have th Star Wars version but no one will play with me because I kick their butts every time :) My favorite PC game is Civilization. I actually bought the game a week before I got my first PC. It ate up HOURS of my life & I enjoyed every minute. I haven't played it since DS1 was about 6 months old. You have to be able to devote 3-4 hours to it at least (if not an entire weekend) and I have not had that kind of time in over 3 years. They have version 4 out now. I just barely played a couple times with 3 before I had to call it quits. Maybe someday... The other game I loved was D&D. Role playing is such fun. Its something else I have not been able to do in years because it also requires too much time.

I am looking forward to the boys getting old enough to play more challenging games than Candy land. I really want to play games with them.


My laptop has an 80GB HD. I also have a 110GB EHD, that is actually the converted HD from my old PC. It's bulky and requires AC power. Both HDs are about 2/3 full. I want a 120GB or more EHD that runs off the USB. One of those 2.5" slimline things. Found one for $89! But the fact is - we don't have $89 to replace a perfectly good HD just for convenience sake. So to solace myself I decided the time had come to clean up the HDs & clear off stuff.

First I tackled the music & audiobooks. I don't know what happened when I moved stuff on the laptop from the PC but I have multiple copies of music & books all over the HD, sometimes in .wav and .mp3. The music was easy to clear up but the audiobooks required a spreadsheet to track them. I have the same book in .aau and .mp3 and .wav and on CD, or combinations of them. I have 67 audiobooks (I've had an Audible subscrition for over 3 years - 2 books a month for $20, plus stuff from the library and with more to come. So I cleared them all down to just one copy in a single format. I burned the Audible books I have already listened too to DVD and a bunch of the others as well. When I was done I had cleared almost 10GB of space.

Then I went through my photos and made sure they were all on DVD and backed up on another one & then I deleted all but the last 3 months and my 'to be scrapped' folder - another couple GBs gained.

Then I tackled my digi stuff. I'm still plowing my way through that. I went through it back in April when I copied stuff to the laptop & just didn't copy a large chunk of stuff. Burned that to DVD and honestly, have never looked at it since. Most of it was freebies from my early scrapping days. So this time I went through my stuff and any folder that has not been accessed since May is automatically in the burn folder. I'm now sorting through the stuff that hasn't been accessed since June-August & deciding what to keep & what to burn. I've gotten a lot more choosy about what I buy & the freebies I download so hopefully I won't have this problem any more. Once this is done I may get ASeeDSee (or however it is spelled) and actually tag things for sorting. But I am not about to tackle it with all this crap. I think it can tag DVDs too so I can remember what is on them, on the off chance I suddenly need a star tipped paper clip in fuschia. :) I also had enough .pspimage files of layouts to fill a DVD. I'm probably going to clear another 6-8Gbs

I also need to put together the 2007 calendar for my mom's xmas present. I made a set of 8.5x11 templates & the calendar pages for 1hourscrap & had thought I was going to use it myself but after talking with my mom, she really liked the one I did last year. Last year, pressed for time I resized layouts I done through the year to 8x8 and then put the month name on the side in matching paper. She really liked that, so I am going to do it again. Now watch...I will have deleted the papers to some of the layouts I am using.

I did find time to get one layout done tis week. I applied for Sherri Tierney's CT a few weeks ago and was chosen to join it! This is my first layout with one of her products. The kit is Thinking of You and is available at One of a Kind Scrapz.

I also have put some new products up at A couple quick page sets & some date stamps.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

no gifts?

What if Christmas (or Chanakah, Kwanzaa, etc.) didn't require giving gifts? Would it still feel the same?

We celebrate the spirit of giving on Christmas, not Christ's birth. We give each other gifts on that day. We celebrate the rebirth of the Sun/Son on the Winter Solstice. Gifts are not part of it, at least in our group. Other pagans might exchange gifts on the Solstice but it isn't traditional for us. The Solstice would be the same for me because it never has required giving gifts. But Christmas would not really have any point for me if the giving wasn't part of it.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

5 accomplishements of the past week

1. went to the gym 3 times & did all my cardio each time
2. won the big prize at Bunco and then one the dollar game afterwards, almost $50!
3. finally made the dinner reservations for Thanksgiving
4. steam cleaned the living room carpet (would not have needed to do if I had been paying more attention to my 2 year old, he poured peanut butter all over them while I was catching up on a message board)
5. finished all my reading - all 19 Eddings books, plus 4 by Quinn Fawcett and another 4 by Robert Lee Hall. I am now ready to go back to scrapping.:)

Have we ever talked about favorite movies? Or movies that make you wish you had those two hours of your life back?

It's hard to pick just one in either category. I am a big fan of really bad sci-fi, cheesy B-movie sci-fi. And that very often leaves me open to watching some really truly BAD sci-fi. The most recent really bad movie that comes to my mind was a SciFi movie original - Alien Apocalypse, starring Bruce Campbell and Renee O'Connor (from Xena) OMG! It was terrible in an indescribable way, especially since with it starring Bruce Campbell you were expecting so much more in the way of good camp. That is the problem with camp, it is either very good or it sucks.

The movie I love to put on when I need to relax, the one I never get tired of watching is Clue. It has a stellar cast, a great plot and wonderful, wonderful dialogue. I can quote the whole thing from memory.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

what I have been doing

I think I have 4 layouts in the past month. and 2 of those were actually ATCs. I've hardly posted on DSP or here. So what have I been doing? I've been reading. I bought David Eddings latest book "The Younger Gods" about a month ago. It's the last in his latest series & the previous one had been published 2 years ago. I love David Eddings. He is my favorite fantasy writer. His stories are the basic "young hero on a quest" but so much more. His Belgariad series is incredible. A great story, well written, strong plot, great characters. I cannot wait until the boys are old enough to have it read to them. It's follow up series - the Mallorean - is also really well done, same characters mostly, but the new ones are also well drawn. The plot is strong with good dialog. Both are 5 books long. He also has 3 stand alone books associated with these series that focus on 2 of the characters and the writing of it all. His next series was the Elenium. I really enjoyed it, good plot, interesting people, witty dialog. The main criticism that I've heard about it is the strong similarity in characters between it & the Belgariad/Mallorean. I don't mind that. Almost all authors are dealing with certain archetypes in fantasy stories and for the most part drawing from basic ancient to early medieval world cultures. So you are going to have the thief, the warrior, the teacher, the Vikings, the Romans, etc. You try and write 3 different stories stretching over 13 books and not have some repetition. It happens. The 4th series is the Tamuli and it is a continuation of the Elenium but, as with the Mallorean, is in another part of the world, with some new characters. Also, a really good series is also the start of a dependence on certain writing styles and characters that really irritate me. He is great with witty dialog, it is one of the things I love about his writing. But as the Tamuli progressed it started seeming a bit forced. And there is this character Flute, who is a "just-too-cute-for-words-everyone-loves-me-kissy-kissy" little girl that by the end of the series I just wanted to grab with both hand and give a good hard shake. God she is irritating once she starts talking. Well, both her type of charater and the forced witty dialog were carried over into his most recent series the Dreamers. Book one started out with promise, though its copying of old characters was a bit much even for me - the 'sailor' had a ship that was an exact duplicate of the one the 'sailor' in the Belgariad had, right down to the name. And the new Flute character was even more annoying, which must have taken special effort. But it had a strong plot, interesting setting and some new character types. It had some real promise, but the ending was let down. The second book had the same problem, started strong, ended badly. By the time the third book ended you were left wondering what the point of the whole story was if all it really took to win the 'big battle' (every time) was for the same person to twitch her nose. Why bother to drag all these people into it? Why bother to tell the story at all? And he seemed to start several promising plot lines only to drop them abruptly for no apparent reason. He could have done alot with the Amazons but after building up the idea he just cuts it out. The fourth book sucked. And I don't say that lightly, especially about an author I love. but the book sucked. The plot was a tedious repetition of the one that happened in each of the first 3 books. The dialog was pathetic. "I thought you might have noticed that." "I thought I noticed you noticing me noticing that." Pathetic really. And the ending! OMG! Don't get me started on it! It was all basically a dream! It never really happened! OMFG! Are you freaking kidding me with that ending? All I can figure is his publish was getting on his case "David it's been 2 years, finish the damn thing already."

So the point of all this reviewing is what I have been doing. I read the 4th book. It has so many characters in it and had been so long since I had read the 3rd that I was confused until about a quarter of the way into it, trying to remember just who was who. I finished the book & was very disappointed. So I decided to reread the whole series, thinking my initial confusion might have caused some of the disappointment. Read all 4 books and was seriously disappointed. Seriously. I decided to reread all his books to remind myself why I loved his books. So in the past month I have read 15 thick hardback books, am current reading number 16, with 7 more to go.

I haven't read much in the past few months, been too busy scrapping, so I am probably due for this extended reading time.

Friday, November 03, 2006

what the hell is going on!?!?!

WHY WHY WHY WHY does something always happen every single freaking month in $500 of unexpected expenses? What the hell is with that? Sunday the drivers side door window on my car was shattered by a rock thrown by the weed whacker. It was repaired Wed for $200. I just walked into my living room and discovered that one whole side of our sliding glass door is totally shattered (still holding together but the whole pane is a maze of cracks). It's double paned so we won't be totally exposed to the elements tonight. $300 for a new sliding glass door. And it is only the 3rd of the month!!!! What's next?

I'm assuming DS2 threw a rock at it while I was inside cleaning up his brother on the potty. But DS2 is only 2.5 years old. How hard could he have thrown that rock? he must have gotten lucky & hit it dead on. Can't imagine how else it happened. I heard some shots in the distance but a bullet would have gone through both panes of the window.

Good freaking god! When will it end?

What qualities are you drawn to when meeting someone for the first time?

A sense of humor & a certain casualness & ability to laugh at yourseslf. I don't get along well with serious people, or earnest people or people who are uptight all the time and people who are really "devoted" (being devoted to something is ok, but I'm thinking of the sort of person who turns everything, even returning a sweater that is too big, into a crusade against injustice.)

I am a rather silly person & too much seriousness bothers me. Making a joke, especially of something you just did or said wins me over right away. I'm drawn to people who are easy going but not totally slack - people who understand that we need to be someplace at 4pm but can have fun getting there.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In honor of Halloween, write about a time you were scared.

I have become much easier to scare since I had kids. My subconscious seems to enjoy scaring the crap out of me from time to time, usually as I am trying to fall asleep (which is why I take Lunesta). It dredges up things I read or watched decades ago and waves them around until I am too scared to sleep. I can calm myself down but then it starts back up. The last time I wigged myself out really well was the last time DH went camping & I was alone with the boys. Our garbage can corral is near the window of our bedroom and wind makes the cans bump into one another and occasionally varmints get in them & are noisy as well. I know this. Rationally I am perfectly certain what I am hearing is rattled garbage cans and eventually I can talk myself into that but before I get there my subconscious gets convinced that what is actually out there is a couple of guys with knives or something wanting to kill us. So for awhile I sit there scared to death, plotting how to get back to the boys room, barricade it and get us all out of the house & which of my distant neighbors I might reasonably try to run to while carrying 2 small boys and chased by a couple homicidal maniacs. It never occurs to me to just call 911 in these situations. So I laid there for awhile, listening in fear, waiting to hear something, scared to death. I wanted to turn the porch light on but there is no switch for it our room (9 years I have been asking DH to fix that but so far, nothing). So in order to turn on the porch light & actually see what is out there I have to go into the kitchen, past the French doors, where anyone out there can see me, and then flip the switch. This is where sanity comes back. I sleep in the nude. I am 39, carrying around about 20lbs excess weight and a all over shall we say. I also have a gun safe in my room. So I am thinking that whoever is outside lurking with murder on his mind might just reconsider when confronted by a naked, shotgun wielding, crazy woman shouting that she knows damn well she is legally allowed to shoot his ass for being on her property. The thought of which sends me into a fit of giggles. I then get up and walk naked (and unarmed) through the kitchen and turn on the porch light. Back in my room I look through the window and see a varmint of some sort rooting around in the garbage. So I open the window and shout at it & it lumbers off. but I can't really get back to sleep because I keep remembering all the Unsolved Mysteries episodes I have seen with families in isolated homes being murdered in their beds by unknown people.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

favorite day of the week

I think it would be Thursdays because I have finally managed to get the hang of Thursdays (and will do just about anything to toss a Douglas Adams referance into my posts). Thursdays are my slack day. DS1 is usually in preschool (they are on vacation this week). I run my errands on Tues & Wed whenever possible. Mondays & Fridays is gym and tumbling class with both boys adn require lots of running around. Weekends are so variable it is hard to know if I am going to be able to relax or not. Thursdays though almost always mean I can do whatever I want for the whole morning. DS2 & I can go to the gym, go shopping, stay home, whatever. Apart from dropping off & picking up DS1 I have no requirements

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tell us five things you plan to accomplish this weekend

1. Drive an hour to return the cell phones we bought last weekend & cancel the service
2. Start over with new cell phones with a different company.
3. Not lose my mind while dealing with the cell phone fiasco and 2 small boys (yeah,right)
4. Find the source of the cat pee smell in the living room (it has to be the sofa or the carpet but while the air around them smells like cat pee, neither of them actually smells like it)
5. Do the Mission Possible assignment.

Really the only thing I am looking forward to is the mission possible assignment. I'd gladly pay large sums for someone else to deal with the other 4.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

If you could live in any era of history, what would it be, and why?

This is always a challenging question for me because there is so much to take into account. The thing is, for most of the eras that I find interesting & would like to have lived in, I would be dead now due to my appendix rupturing (I just remembered that it was exactly 4 years ago today, 11 days after my csection when i had to have out) The first successful appendectomy was in the late-19th century. That is assuming I survived the breech birth of my son right before it. Let's just ignore these things....

I'd love to live in Tudor times because that is my favorite time period. The age of discovery, so many new things being learned or old thing being rediscovered. New countries, new people, new foods, etc. The Reformation going on. It would be an exciting time to live. But I'd like as not get burned at the stake, or persecuted in some other way for my beleifs, which dampens my enthusiasm just a bit.

I'd also love to live in Roman times, between the rise of Ceasar and say 200ad or so. When Rome was out conquoring the world & again new things were being discovered as the world expanded. Plus there would be the chance to participate in the actual pagan rites of the mystery religions, like the Eleusinian Mysteries. I'd love to know what the true rituals were & how they vary from our own modern day practices. I'd love to experience a ritual at the temple of Vesta or Aphrodite. Just from a point of faith it would be fascinating, then add being able to see the 7 Wonders of the World, and all teh other incredible places now lost to us. I'd like to live in ancient Egypt for the same reason, and I'd love to visit the Great Library or see the pyramids actually being built.

Monday, October 16, 2006

new holiday

It's Bake a Pie Day! Today is the day when it is traditional to bake a pie. Pies are traditional food - both sweet and savory. Theya re the original convenience food, something nutritious wraped in a bread crust making it easy to take with you. Pies come in all sizes, from small 'pocket pies' to the mammoth "4 and 20 blackbirds' sized pie. People love pie but nowadays most just dont have the time to actually make one, or they don't know how. It used to be there was help in the kitchen for most people, even that help was a daughter or sister or mother. But now there is usually just one person in the kitchen and that person has to make breakfast,lunch & dinner, nevermind adding a pie to that. So since WWII, one day a year has been set aside to just make pies. Permission is granted by society to have pie for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or even all 3). There are many kids of pie so that does not mean you have to eat chocolate cream or apple pie only. You can make chicken pot pie or quiche. Let me also point out that it is Bake a Pie day, not Make a Pie day. It is perfectly acceptable to get a Swanson pot pie or a Mrs.Smith apple pie because you bake them yourself. So go bake some pie and enjoy!

We made pumpkin pie, from a fresh pumpkin with the help of Joy of Cooking. It's cooling now. And we have about 5 more cups of pumpkin puree to use up.

the weekend

We were going to go to get new cell phones Saturday morning. It's an hour drive to the place with the service we needed (that is a whole other story in itself). Tower goes down Fri night so DH has to go deal with that first thing but he said he had a plan so someone would relieve him by 10:30 so we could go. 10:30 rolls around....11....11:30 no call from him, no sign of him & his cell goes straight to voice mail. (he is standing AT a cell tower & his phone barely registers a signal, that is why it needs replaced) right before noon he calls& says somone is on their way. Now,I am a bit testy at this point. Ok, I am furious (it is that time of the month & I know I am furious hormonally & merely testy situationally). We finally meet up with him & drive into the traffic hell of the shopping plaza in question. It is 1:30 when we get to Circuit City. 2 hours later we leave with phones. The boys were great for about 20 minutes but the other hour & half or so they were rampaging demons, running around & touching everything. We had no idea it would take 2 hours to sign up & get phones. So being wildly distracted by demons I failed to ask a specific question, or perhaps I asked it & was misinformed or misunderstood the answer. Possibly I didn't really understand fully what I wanted to do in the first place. Whatever. Out of 14 phones to choose from I somehow managed to select the ONLY one that doesn't let you download ringtones from the internet or from messages. You can only get them from the Get It Now thing. So now I have to go back to the traffic hell plaza and exchange it. But it gets better. We may be switching carriers so DH & I (and our little demons) all have to back return everything to Circuit City and then go to a DIFFERENT store and repeat the process.

I love technology, but by and large, technology hates me.

So that trip sucked up all of Saturday. After the phone marathon we took the demons to an indoor playground & let them spend an hour climbing around a habitrail thing & then we they were tired enough we went to Olive Garden for an early dinner (good thing we were early too because about 15 minutes after we sat down every high school student going to the Homecoming Dance suddenly appeared looking for a table the wait was 90 minutes by the time we left.

Sunday we went to Applefest. We were going to meet up with various people and we'd said "we'll call you when we get there & work out wehre to meet up". There is NO cell coverage at all where Applefest is. No ATMs either & nothing takes visa. I was misinformed about the location of an ATM by the clerk at the lodege, walked a quarter mile to a store where I was told "Oh the bank took that out MONTHS ago because it was hardly used. They know that at the lodge". (further evidence of technology hating me) Fortunately she very nicely cashed a $25 check for me and the mess hall also took a check. I brought the checkbook because I wasn't sure about the ATM situation at the lodge but I knew none of the vendors took plastic. Despite all this walking we were there early enough to get on the second hayride of the day,which was only half full & the line waited about a minute. When we got back the line was huge and the tractors were full. So yeah us! The kids also got to enjoy the haybale playground largly empty, except for some other small kids. We went back later with Mel & family & it was full of 10-15 year olds who tend to knock down and bowl over the small kids in their play. But the boys had a blast both times. We also spent a lot of time by the creek with the boys tossing rocks into it, along with all the other kids there. Not sure what the attraction of tossing rocks into a creek is but it occupied a good half hour. We stayed much longer than we intended & had a great time. Depending on how the phone thing shakes out we may go again next Sunday.

We got a pumpkin there & Drake insisted it be made into pumpkin pie. From the way he was holdign it & talking to it I had thought he might not want it cut up but he was all for it being made into pie. DH found a recipie but first the pumpkin had to be baked for 90 minutes in pieces, pureed and cooled and THEN you can start the pie process. Well, it was almost 7:30p when the pumpkin was pureed. So the pie will be made today. Drake insists that he LOVES pumpkin pie. it is his favorite. He last had pumpkin pie a year ago, one my mom bought from a store. Canned pumpkin pie makes a sweeter pie than real pumpkin. Different texture too. We;ll see how it goes.

Friday, October 13, 2006

TV shows part 2

Tink - I'm getting into the new doctor. He seems funnier than Chris, which I like. But right now I still prefer Chris. My favorite Doctor is Sylvester McCoy.

Karen - I love B5! We have all the episodes on DVD. It was such a well written and well plotted story.

I forgot the other show we watch alot - What Not to Wear. Oddly it is my husband who loves the show. I like it but he loves it. He will comment on what people are wearing when we are out, about how their clothes fit or don't and what colors suit them.

Would you choose differently if you could choose your occupation again? Why? How?

No I would't. Not either of them. Though I didn't actually choose my last occupation. I just sort of fell into telecom, or drifted. Yeah, it was a slow process so drifted is probably a better description. I really enjoyed it & can't really think of anything I would have prefered to do then. Now I am a SAHM, which I did choose, and cannot imagine not being. it was a good choice. 3 years from now, when both little boys are in school all day 5 days a week I will be able to choose again what I want to do and so far I have no clue. I'm taking the winter off & doing absolutely nothing (i will have spent the previous year driving back & forth from the Primary school 3x a day with one kid in half day an one in full day. That is 6 30 minute drives 5 days a week. I deserve a couple of months of not needing to go anywhere), assuming we have no urgent need for me to work, but then in Jan 2010, or thereabouts I will return to something in the workforce.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

TV programs

Of all the TV programs, which one have you watched the most? Why?
Is it connected in some way to your life and/or perspective?

I think the show with Most Episodes Viewed would have to be Good Eats. I love that show & have watched it from it's debut on FoodTV. I love that Alton explains the reasons behind why you do the things you do when preparing food because it helps me make similar things on my own. He's convinced me to try foods I don't generally like - though he has failed with cabbage & onions. It is entertaining & I always take something away from it.

The show that has been Watched the Longest would be Dr Who. I have been watching it since I first encountered it on PBS in the late 70's but there was that 10-15 year or so hiatus between the last Doctor 7 episode and the first Doctor 9 episode. (I'm not sure how long it was because I relied on erratic PBS viewing & who knows how long after they first aired on the BBC they made it to PBS. I recall watching new to me Who in 1993 or so, but as much as I love the show I have never managed to know the actual BBC dates). I have not seen every episode, in fact I have only seen 1 episode with Doctor 2 and maybe 3 with Doctor 1, but I have seen nearly all of Doctors 3-7. Dr Who & Battlestar Galactica were my intro to the world of SciFi and started a life long love of the genre. (Star Wars was around that time but it was a one off movie in 1977 & didn't have the memory power of TV shows with endless repeats). Nowthat they are on back to back on SciFi on Friday nights I am in geek and nostalgia heaven (despite the tendancy of both to get a tad bit preachy about US policy).

Monday, October 09, 2006

The weekend highlights

We spent it in Maryland. We met up with friends Saturday & went to the Aquarium, stayed in a hotel & went to the Ren Fest Sunday. It was so rainy on Saturday. We managed to get from the parking lot to Cheesecake Factory for lunch without getting too wet and there was a lull in the rain when we dashed to the Aquarium. We were there about 3 hours. We saw everything in Pier 3 (exhibits are broken up into 4 Piers), which was Australia, the rain forest & reptiles. Derek was on his harness, which looks like a puppy backpack, so he was free to run all over the place & was loving it. We looked down on the area with the stingrays & he was convinced they were leaves floating in the water. Every time we came to a tank of fish he would shout CHIFSES! And point. Drake was enjoying just looking. He was rather quiet, I think he was a little overwhelmed. We gave him our old digi camera to use and he took about 10 photos there. We left to get something to eat (the others had not had lunch, we'd arrived early to eat), intending to come back & visit Pier 4, which is dolphins. We went to this place called Pete's, got soaked to the skin in the rain running there and then waited FOREVER for our food to come. It wasn't like it was that busy at 3pm. But the gap between appetizer and the meal was so long we started helping ourselves to coffee & bread from the nearby server station. (3 people ordered salads, 2 an actual meal & I had ordered an appetizer, which for some reason arrived with the meals) The kids were great for about an hour - 6 kids under 5. They sat & colored & played quietly but by the time our food arrived the kids were bored stiff (so were the adults) so they started running around the table (we were in an alcove) and behaving like normal active toddlers. If they had fed us with any sort of promptness we'd have been long gone before the kids reached hyper stage. We then gave up on the Aquarium as they close at 5 and it was nearly 5 when we finally got out of that lousy restaurant - and the food was not that great & overpriced. Then we went for ice cream for Drake's birthday at Marble Slab Ice Cream. A good time was had by all.

Then we headed to the hotel. Drake loves hotels. He took more pictures of our hotel room than he did in the aquarium. :) It had an indoor pool and we took the kids down to it to swim for about an hour. Drake swam with water wings for the first time, really swam, using his arms & legs, not just sort of kicking around on a noodle like he usually does. It was a late bedtime but the boys were asleep by 9:30 & we joined the others across the hall for Chinese food, but we all crashed by 10:30.

Sunday was the Ren Fest. OMG! The traffic! I guess since it rained Saturday everyone held off going until Sunday. We left the hotel about 9:45 for a 16 mile drive. It should have taken about 20 minutes top. Ren opens at 10 and we figured we'd be there just after it opened. WRONG! The line to get to the parking lot began on I97, 5 miles from the faire site. It took us over an hour to travel those 5 miles. Our friends left the hotel about 15 minutes after we did and arrived at the faire 45 minutes later than we did. It was packed with people inside. Too crowded to really be as enjoyable as usual. When we left at 3:30 there was still a mile long line of traffic waiting to get in to the parking area! We did not do garb for only the 3rd time in 14 years (we didn't in 1992 because that was the first time & we didn't have any & we didn't in 2002 because I was 37 weeks pg & nothing fit). It had been so rainy we just didn't want to deal with mud in garb. We only took about a dozen photos which is an all time low for us & just proves it was too crowded to see anything. Drake had his camera and took about 50 so we have lots of toddler eye view shots (people from the waist down). The boys dropped off to sleep before we even got out of the parking lot & slept about 90 minutes, waking up just as we were pulling into Pizzaria Uno's. We got home about 7pm.. I was bone weary, still am. It was a fun weekend. I'll have to put up a "drake's vacation" collection of his photos. He takes well composed photos, only slightly marred by the occasional finger in the shot or extreme blurriness, but about 2/3 of his photos are good ones. Pity they are almost all of people's legs. :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

what I hear right now

- a Mickey Mouse video that Drake is watching
- Derek breathing heavily fom running into the room
- crickets outside (door is open)
- Drake kicking/moving a toy truck with his feet as he watches
- the tapping of my keyboard

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

5 minutes

We're thinkiing of buying some land, only we have no downpayment and we can only get a loan for 70% or so of the value of the land if we get a land loan. So we're looking at using some equity and getting a 2nd mortgage to pay for the land, plus roll in teh HELOC balance & a CC. We've got a GREAT deal on our 1st mortgage 5.5% interest, payment is $730 a month (including PITI). 2nd loan would be for $13,000 less than 1st and only 15 years instead of 30, plus interest is 7.9%. Payment is $816 a month. That just weirds me out almost too much to do it. Once you roll in the payments to the other things, we're around the $500 a month we were willing to pay for the land, but just seeing the number is freaky. Then we had AFLAC here today to get 'that insurance that pays when you can't work" and I had to figure out how much coverage we wanted and adding that $800 into the 'must pay' column totally freaked me. I know people pay $1500-1800 a month in mortage or rent around here but having a $700-800 one for 8 years has spoiled me.

Friday, September 29, 2006


well, as I just finished uploading some new stuff to, the first thing that comes to mind is "I have some new releases at"

These are standard 11x8.5 monthly calendar templates. Youc an dress them up however you wish, or....

You can use these layered templates to create the top page of a 2 pages hanging calendar. It comes with 6 layered page styles, plus some additional layered elements to dress up the pages and a set of monthly names.

The months are already in the store and the templates should be up soon.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

meet a famous person

There are a lot of people I would like to meet who are famous historically, not really too many who are famous currently living, in fact I am not really coming up with anyone currently alive.

Foremost among the no longer living I would like to meet Mary, the mother of Jesus. His whole childhood, apart from that episode in the temple, is unrecorded and I am really curious about it, and about her and what it was like being the Mother of God. Were there temper tantrums when he was 3? Was he a moody adolescent? Did he do his chores willingly or did you have to nag him? How much of a scandal was there really about his birth and what exactly does the bible mean by "the brothers & sisters of Jesus"? what did she think of Mary Magdalen? I have a lot of questions for her actually.

I'd also like to meet Elizabth I and Henry VIII and get a few historical ambiguities cleared up.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

If you could have a designer come into a room

of your house and redecorate it for you, which room would it be and what would you ask them for?

hhhmmmm... I'd love my kitchen to be remodeled but that requires major structural changes and involves an architect...

So if it was just a designer I'd like my family room redone. It's big, L shaped and white, with creamy beige carpet. It has an odd conglomeration of furniture (I've expounded on this in other posts - the sofa!)and lacks any coherent...well, any coherent anything actually. I'd like it to be warmed up with color & warm toned wood floors. I'd love furniture that at least went together if not actually matched. I'd love some built in storage and a new desk for my computer. Moving the wood stove from the far corner to the middle corner would be nice (so would a new wood stove). and something needs to be done about the former entryway area that is part of the family room as well.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

About the tabs...

See entry about a week ago where I say the tabs on Firefox just didn't do it for me....

I decided to give Firefox another try with my new faster speed & find I kinda like the tabs. Especially for browsing galleries, now that things are loading at a decent speed. I can open 18 layouts in one window on separate tabs and comment & alt-tab to the next, comment, alt-tab, etc. I am doing much more commenting this way rather than flipping to new windows (and my laptop never likes me having that many windows open) or haven's to go 'back' 3 pages to get to the main page.

I also like that I can set the 'my homepage' option to be several sites so everytime I open it the 5 sites I visit regularly during the day are already there waiting for me.

Just in case anyone from Microsoft were to come by this post...the reason I decided to try FF was I DL'd IE7 and discovered you had tabbed it. If I am going to deal with the tabs anyway I'd rather go with the less buggy, less virus prone, lots of cool extensions software instead of yours. I'm not anti-Microsoft, but since you went and added the one feature that was really keeping me away from your worthy competition, I pretty much had no choice. You made me do it.

catching up

Here are some responses to the prompts I have missed this week

Guilty pleasures?
Trashy romance novels. Regency era bodice rippers. I feel guilty even buying them & could never face have a record of them at the library so I don't borrow them (though I donate them). Not sure why. It isn't as if I read 'improving' books or stuff from the NYT Best seller list. I read a wide range of things, travel essays, food essays, various historical things (mostly non-fiction). I just finished reading a book called "Sex with Kings" which is all about royal mistresses from the 15th to the 20th century. But for some reason reading "Scandal's Bride" or "the Lady's Chosen" is just too embarassing to admit in public

Throw it or save it?
Save it - 99% of the time. I am a horder. I had at one point over 2000 books in this house, many from my teen years. I had so many pullover sweaters I could wear a new one every day for a month & still have a few left over. Don't even get me started on pens, hair doodads, purses and tarot decks. But I find muyself the last few years getting into these pitch it moods and when I am - clear the way. Bags and boxes and piles of things go out of the house, to Goodwill, to the library, to the flea market, to the dump. There are still about a 1000 books inthe house, but only 6 sweaters. Its a small house with no attic or basement. There are now 4 people living here. We just can't hoard stuff like I used to.

What fragments of your past stay with you even though they seem insignificant?
This is embarassingly easy - embarassing moments seem to stay with me. Doesn't matter how insignificant the moment was, whether I was the only one who noticed, whether it was a conversation with 2 people or in front of a whole room full, all of them linger in my mind & pop up when I least expect them. All those squirmy feelings, still as fresh as they were 2 months or 25 years ago.

Friday, September 22, 2006

been sick

I've had sinus problems starting Saturday. By Wednesday I knew it wasn't allergies but a sinus infection. So I went to the doctor. I have a history of bad sinus infections. She checked me out & the verdict was sinus infection & bronchitis. Bronchitis? I'm not coughing. Nevertheless I have both. These were the two illnesses, individually & combined, that kept me sick for nearly all of 2004. She put on a mega dose of amoxicillin and gave me a second presecription of something else (can't recall) and said if I was no better in 2 weeks toget the 2nd prescription filled. Lovely. As soon as DH came home Wednesday night I went to bed. I felt like someone had stuck a knife under my left cheekbone and I had begun to cough and ache and sweat and have chills. Flashbacks to 2004. About 9pm I told him that if I still felt this way in the morning I would need him to stay home. At 6am I tried to get out of bed to go to the bathroom and the left side of my head exploded in pain when I lifted it off the pillow. So DH stayed home and I stayed in bed, moving as little as possible. Eventually I suppose the amoxi started to do it's job. The fever, chills & coughing subsided by 6pm. My head still hurt if I moved too much but the pain was less. Today my head hurts if I bend over, so I have been doing a lot of crouching to pickup things. I get short of breath & cough when I exert myself a little too much (Carrying a protesting 36lbs toddler up 3 steps to his room for time out) but I am feeling better. We stayed home today. Later we are meeting up with a friend & her kids to make cookies for the equinox. She's made all teh dough & stuff so I really only have to supervise the boys. DH may take the boys camping tomorrow or at least up to the property for the day so I can get a bit more rest.

I've completed 150 layouts so far this year. This was my scrapping goal. I've scrapped a lot of my 2002-2005 photos, nearly all the 'must scrap this' ones. Though my 'to be scrapped' folder is still quite full. I have a stack of things to be scanned from 1996-2001 but my scanner has been acting up. I think I need to reinstall the drivers. Sometimes this laptop seems to uninstall drivers on me.

I need to upload a few more of my layouts her.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I am not complaining

really. I swear. This is not a complaint but a simple statement of fact. The reason for the disclaimer is that what I am about to say relates to my internet connection and as I have said before complaining about my internet connection is just my 'thing'. The one topic I am guaranteed to have something, usually negative, to comment on. Let me reiterate, this is not an actual complaint.

But Stacey, you may ask, did you not a mere week or so ago tell us how fast your new connection was? What could you possibly have to complain about now? As I said, this is not a complaint. I find my new fast speed to be a bit of a detriment to my established surfing style. I admit that is a negative statement, but it is not a complaint. See, when things loaded slowly I would have 2-3 browers open and while a layout in a gallery loaded in one, I was reading an already loaded thread in another, while waiting for a comment to post in a third. Having just one browser open did not make things load faster, it merely annoyed me to have to sit & wait. So I developed this multi-browse thing so I always had something to read or look at & could comment in 2 or 3 places simultaneously. The pages load too fast to do that now. Sure I can still have 3 browsers open & once something is loaded it will stay loaded, but it messes with my thought process & makes it hard for me to multi-task. I'm used to clicking on a thumbnail & having a chance to read most of page 2 of a thread while waiting for the layout to load. now the layout just loads. It's like my world is now missing chapter endings or commercial breaks. There is no natural pausing or break point any more. It just keeps going. I'm sure I will get used to it but this is a nearly decade long habit. It may take me some time

On a side note this window switching process of mine is why I don't use Firefox. People seem to love the tabs for multiple site. I prefer seperate windows. I've tried the tabs. everyone I know just raves about the tabs, but the tabs just didn't do it for me. Maybe now that pages load faster I might like it more. I know its partially habit. I look down to see my sites on the menu bar. tabs are at the top. That's just wrong. :)

Friday, September 15, 2006


I'm really bad at this sort of thing. I had to go to

S - silly
T - tolerant
A - ambiguous
C - complex
E - easygoing
Y - youthful

I guessed correctly & did not make Round 3. Oh well, I don't have to think about giving up my paying job at now. I would have if I made the DET but it would have been hard to do.

I've been flitting about, and (Digitals). They all have great challenges. Digitals wants you to use their stuff & I have nothing by anyone there. You can still do the challenges but you are not eligible for the prizes. They have some good sales right now but I have so many kits I bought in the past 6 weeks that I haven't used I can't justify buying more at the moment. Maybe next month.

this is my latest layout

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where was I?

I was at work. My bosses Dh called her & said he heard on the radio a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center Towers. Nothing was up about it on the Post or MSNBC websites yet so I called my DH, who was home overseeing air conditioner installation, and told him to turn on the TV. People are getting calls from freids and family about it. I have the only unrestricted internet connection in my immediate area so everyone is coming to me for details. YOu can't get any online, the sites are swamped. Everyone assumed it was some tragic accident. While I am talking to DH another plane hits the other Tower. Everyone is in an uproar when I announce this. (keep in mind I work in a call center, we have about 50 people taking inbound sales calls while another 10-30 people are milling about talking. everyone is on the phone. Rumors & reports are flying) Then we hear about the Pentagon. We are close enough to DC that people here have family there. I remember being on the phone with DH and him saying "There is only one tower standing! The other one has collapsed." and just praying for the people in the other that they can get out. Then it falls. HR gives up on trying to keep people informed and brings a tv up to our area and puts it on the empty desk next to me, turn it to whatever local channel we get with no cable and tell people they can come up & watch during their breaks. Some people go home. Most stay. Our main office was on Long Island. They were completely shut down by what happened and I had to deal with rerouting those calls to other centers. Not that there were many. The world is ending, you don't think about ordering adirondack chairs right then. The next day we would not be able to cope with the volume of flower order calls, but today would very very, eerily quiet.

I didn't really think about it at the time. I was interested in the story, but I spent 6 solid hours seeing the planes crash over & over, seeing the towers fall over and over, listening to the whole horror, over and over. Wondered if anyone I knew was in the towers or the pentagon (I knew people who worked in both) and knew there was no way right then for me to find out. Phone lines were jammed. I sent emails and hoped for the best. When it was time to leave I was worn out. Allthat exposure had affected me without me realizing. I was shaking & crying on the 20 minute drive home. When I got there I saw friends had come over & they were with Brad watching it and talking about it & I just could not face any more of that. I was watched and talked out. I was scared and sad and shocked beyond anything. I wanted it all to go away for awhile. So I hugged DH and asked everyone to leave me alone. I went right to my bedroom, shut the door and turned on SciFi. They were doing a Star Trek marathon and for 2 hours I watched a bright, happy future, where mankind had abolished war and the human race was one happy family. I really needed that.

At 8pm I went in the living room and talked to Brad (We'd spent a good chuck of the day onthe phone together) and called my parents and watched the news again. Nothing had changed of course. Speculation, but nothing real. I went outside and looked at the sky. Again it was eerily quiet. Just knowing there were no planes in the air in the country was freaky. Not that we saw many where we lived, but *knowing* it, bothered me. Knowing that if this had happened a week earlier I would have been stranded in Long Island now, I'd be watching it all live from the 8th floor of our corporate headquarters. I remember seeing the Towers from their call center windows. How can they be gone? What sort of madness would make someone do this? All those, why?

The people I knew at the WTC and the Pentagon were all alive. Some had lost friends or coworkers. I was able to watch shows about it that first year, about the WTC and the Pentagon. I can still watch some shows about technical stuff, structure, that sort of thing, but it is really really hard now for me to watch shows about the people. The survivors, yes I can watch sometime, but I can't watch about people who died. I can't stop crying when I do. I've never been able to watch anything about Flight 93. It was incredibly heroic, but it is all of my fears, all of my nightmares and I simply cannot face it.

My children were born after 2001 and this is history to them, the way Kennedy was to me. Something old people get very emotional about but time dims the reality of why to the people who were not there. Last year I spent part of Sept 11 building sand towers that my sons knocked down with great joy. It was a game we had played all summer. But suddenly I remembered what day it was and I called the game off & had to shut myself in the bathroom & cry for a little bit. They are too little to explain to yet. Someday in a few years they will come home with the assignment to ask me & their dad about it. Will I b able to explain what I thought & felt? Will I still cry when I think about it? Will I still be wondering why, still trying to grasp all of what happened?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

been neglecting my blog this week

but my excuse is I have been busy posting comments in galleries. Mostly the DET contest gallery at DSP, but also at JenWilsonDesigns, DigiScrapDivas and ElementalScraps where I have been posting lately since ScrapMommies closed (there is a sentance to make an English teacher wince).

I made Round 2 of the DET contest!!! I'm so pleased with myself for that! This is my third run at this contest and I didn't make it out of Round 1 the first 2 times. My goal this time was to make Round 2, so I've succeeded in my goal & anything else is just gravy. good thing too because I'm not going to make Round 3. I base that on my number of views and comments as compared to the views and comment totals of the layouts uploaded around the same time as mine. My numbers are decidedly lower. I'm a little sad about that because I love my layout & thinks it deserves as many views & comments as the others, even if I don't make Round 3. But I don't really mind that I won't move on. I've commented on the 41 layouts up already, but I am commented out for the day.

this is my layout

Monday, September 04, 2006


100 words? Only? I ramble. We who ramble cannot be constrained by mere numbers. We must be free to go where our thoughts lead us, use as many graphic, evocative & creative adjectives as our minds wish. Ruthlessly ignoring the rules of grammer. Participles dangling, sentences unparsed (whatever that means) and verbs placed so far from their nouns, with so many intervening prepositional phrases, it is difficult to tell if they are the correct form or tense. Even the original topic is subject to discarding as thoughts free associate. 100 words? A mere 100? Exactly? Have you lost your mind?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

oh so THIS is broadband!

For those who don't know how these things are defined, apparently the regulatory body incharge of such things defines a broadband connection as being over 400kpbs for download and upload. My connection speed all these many months has been about 200 for download and as low as 27 for upload. Not technically broadband, but better than the 19.2kbps I was getting on dial up so I was not complaining.....not too much anyway. OK I was complaining, but complaining about my internet is just what I do. It's my *thing*. Everyone has a thing, I'm sure you do to if you think about it. There are worse things to complain about than your internet connection I am sure. But back to the matter at hand. We now have a blight on our landscape in the form of a 50ft pole and assorted guide ropes that results in me surfing at 557kbps download and 463kbps upload. DAMN! I'm surfing the DET contest gallery and pages are loading at incredible speed! Of course I am also perched on an upended milk crate in my badly lit junk room with my laptop on a wonky table, but I have 557kbps! And then there is the whole blight issue.... it's not a blight to 99.8% of the area. It's obscured from the road by trees and the curvy dipping nautre of the road. The house on our side of the street to our right might be seeing it, but maybe not, hard to tell given the distance. The folks who built the new log cabin across the road can certainly see it and it does sort of dominate that area of the yard from our perspective, especially as you come up the drieway but is mostly hidden from our veiw when we are in the 'play area' of our yard. If this weren't the country I am sure something would be said about it. Something may still be said about it by the folks in the new cabin, but maybe not. The think just *looks* like a radio tower, a short one, but still. I'm thinking since cell coverage sucks around here I might contact Cingular or Verizon & offer to rent them space on my pole for $100 a month (which is damn cheap BTW). It's up high enough to provide a decent range to an extender. :)

DH has gone into the office to get the proper equipment to make the pole official. The right bolts, weatherproof boxes, stronger rope and enough cable that I can move out of the junk room and back to my desk in the living room. So life is good at the moment. They are predicting thunderstorms off & on the next 48 hours. We'll see what have the antenna up above those pesky trees does about signal loss during storms. This one is supposed to be better at not icing up than the one on our short pole. I hope so, because I could reach it on the short pole to knock the ice off. I can't to that with the new one.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

woe is me!

Internet issues again. We had that all day storm yesterday and leafy trees + thick misty rain = no internet for Stacey. Well, almost no internet. I did manage to rig up a dial up with the internal modem from my dead PC to the laptop, with some network cable, duct tape & a really really long phone cord. The things you do for love. :) Connection was the usual 19.2 but the error rate was low enough to remain connected to the download of the DET kit, which was what I was most interested it. So over an hour & a half later I had the kit. Good thing I was on the dial up too because the power went out in the middle of it & the laptop stayed on battery with the phone line connected. Had I been on broadband I would have lost the connection. (and I only had 1 DL attempt left due to previous failed tries)

Last night I did the preliminary of my layout. It needs a little something & I have not quite worked out how I want to do it, so I am browsing the DET contest gallery. There were 43 layouts when I started commenting. There are 47 now and I still have half the original 43 to comment on. I really really want to try to keep up with everything this time around but my connection speed defeats me. I'm going to do my best though to comment on everyone. It just may take me a while

Broadband is back but can't be counted on. However we have a new pole we are going to put up later in the day on the theory of radio signal that "higher is better" Maybe we can get above those pesky leafy trees. We are technically just below the signal but how low remains the question. A 20ft pole failed to make any difference. This one is a 50ft pole. Remember, whatever men may say, they know darn well POLE SIZE MATTERS. :)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Has there been anyone that you've encountered in your life (however briefly), that you wish you had gotten to know better?

There have been various people off & on in my life that I wish I had been able to know better. Most of them were co-workers at some point in my life, people you know casually in their 'work persona' but never really have the opportunity to get to know for real. There was Sharon from the mortgage company and Jake, from England, at the restaurant. Jody & my final boss from my dream job. I wish I had known my MIL better as well.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

dinner score

since Monday

menu - 2
laziness - 4

We went out 3 times. Thursday was date night. DH & I went to Bavarian Chef,the boys had PB&J. Friday the boys had fishsticks & spinich salad. I had spinich salad (still full from the previous night). Saturday we went to Waffle House and tonight we had KFC because my allergies gave me a screaming headache. This is not good. Tomorrow night DH won't be home for dinner, so I'm going to do the squash mac & cheese (DH is not a mac & cheese fan). Tuesday I will make the turkey roll ups I was going to make today before the allergies made me cry. The rest of the week is open but we have gove over & above the dining out budget so we MUST stick to the menu.

geek test

I took the geek test Glynis linked to. I scored 42.803%. Making me a major geetk

i am a major geek

I think I should get extra geek points because the really thrilling part to me is the fact that I scored a 42 on the test. :)

scrapping news

One of my favorite scrap sites has closed down. Traci decided to close Scrapmommies after another hacking a few days ago. I don't blame her in the least. She's had to rebuild the site several times in the past 6 months due to server problems & hacking issues. But that leaves me without my main source of scrapping challenges. They had about 40 or so a month. They were not designer or kit specific. I love DSP's challenges but I'm not always interested enough in the kit or word art etc required to buy it. I generally like everything but don't have the budget to buy it all so I get picky. So I have been roaming around looking for something new and I came across 2 things.

One is over at Jen Wilson's site. She is doing an 8 week long challenge/contest - A Meaning*ful Contest. More details can be foundhere. She is giving out some cool prizes.

The other is at The Digi Dares Blog. It runs every week, though this first dare runs for 2 weeks. They are giving away a freee kit to everyone who participates in this first challenge & then there are prizes every month.

I've had some time today and managed to knock out both those challenges as well as the Play by Numbers Challenge on DSP.

This is for the Meaning*ful Contest

and this does double duty for the Play By Numbers Challenge and the Digi Dare Contest

**Now for some shameless self-promotion**

I finished a couple sets of 2007 calendar templates that are CD sized, since that seems to be popular now. I also did 2 paper packs to match up, so people can choose from a casual or elegant font calendar and a pastel or bold paper pack. They should be up in the 1hourscrap store by the end of this week and will be 30% for a week after. Here are 2 of the previews I have for them.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What do you like best and least about where you live?

Best: We live in the middle of nowhere. There are nothing but farms around us, low population, no traffic. Nothing

Least: We live in the middle of nowhere. There are nothing but farms around us, low population, no traffic. Nothing.

These things are great when you want to be able to let the kids out to run around & play in the yard. They can strip naked & play with the hose, scream, yell, and have plenty of space to do whatever they want with no neighbors to disturb. I don't have to keep my lawn mowed unless I feel like it. I can paint my house any color I please & if I want to leave a well worn statue of the Muses on my roof for 6 years there is no one to complain about it but the cows. Sound does carry so I can't host a rock band nightly, but apart from that my restrictions are few & far between.

These things are not so great when you need milk, or your kids would like to play with someone other than themselves, or when they want to do something besides play in the yard, or you want a cup of coffee or to show for a new pair of pants. The absolute closest place to buy milk is 10 miles away. Any kid related activity is at least 20, ditto for shopping.

Ideally we want to own 40 wooded acres with a 2 mile long driveway that ends across the street from a shopping mall with a grocery store, coffee shop, B&N and a Target. All the seclusion and easy access as well. :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What did you study in school, or what was a favorite subject?

Did you receive your education somewhere other than school?

My favorite subject has always been history, followed by English and any language classes. I should probably clarify what I mean by "English". I mean the writing part and some of the reading. I did not enjoy dissecting novels for their subliminal messages or the hidden meanings behing a character type. I'm a straightforward person. Please don't ruin a perfectly good story for me by telling me what the author was 'really saying' I read Animal Farm years before I had to for English class. Great fantasy story about pigs taking over a farm. Imagine my surprise that is was all an indictment of communism. Wizard of Oz, apparently about the evils of the gold standard. Then there was some really boring 'great literature' we had to read. Plus nuns never tell you the more salacious meanings behind some of Shakespeare's quips, so you miss the intended humor. I've never been able to join a book discussion club because of bad school experiences in that area. I'm always afraid I am going to be asked to 'contrast the protagonists experience at the setting with the view commonly held of such things now (please quote examples in your work)' or some such. I adore reading books, sometimes I like analyzing them, especially non-fiction. I just don't like having to do so unless I am inclined.

Well, that went off on a tangent I didn't intend when I started this.

I originally studied journalism in college because I like English but wanted to avoid having to dissect To Kill A Mockingbird or The Red Badge of Courage and then basis a thesis on the motivation of the secondary protagonist with regards to his view of women. But I am not really journalistic material. I can't interview people to save my life. I'd been minoring in history all a long & loving those classes much more than my journalism ones. So with no job prospects in sight as graduation approached I decided to go to grad school and focus on what was then called Medieval & Renaissance History, Tudor England specifically (I think they now call that period 'Early Modern'). I qualified for a scholarship based on my GRE scores & then got an assistant post as well. I really loved being a TA & if I hadn't been so burnt on learning when I finished my MA I would have looked for work teaching at a Community College. But I was burnt out, took a general job as an office assistant, discovered I am clever with computer hardware & software and my career went in a different direction.

The short answer to the question is I loved history & English in school & studied them in college. But I received my education in my ultimate field of telecommunication on the job.