Friday, June 30, 2006


Since my internet connection is cooperating I am tryingto get caught up. Please excuse the typos I am trying to get this done before the wind changes.

I belong to the gym. I love it. It is the best use of $60 a month (includes unlimited childcare) I could have. Sure sometimes my sole motivation for going is to take a shower uninterrupted by small children, but hey, it gets me there and once there I feel morally obligated to do at least 20 minutes on one of the cardio machines. Other days my motivation is an hour away from the kids & if the price for that is 2 20 minute cardio sessions & and some ab & thigh machine work, then it is worth it. Unlimited childcare is a wonderful thing. Pity you can't leave the building...

I try to go 3x a week. I usually do 15-20 minutes on a cardio machine, there are about 7 styles available, I use all but the bikes. Then I do a round of weight machines, getting arms, back, abs, legs & butt worked (or some variation, I don't get to each of them every time) sometimes I just use hand weights. I always do ab work, one of a couple different ab machines. Then I do another 20 minutes on a different cardio machine. I listen to audiobooks while I work out. Some people are motivated by music, but there is nothing like a good murder mystery to keep my focused on my workout.

I try the classes every so often. I like the yoga & the cycling classes but I am just not a class person. I can't listen to my murder mysteries in them. So I am bad about attending them.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

other news

with all the rain we have been having, and there being 5 miles of decidious trees between me and the source of my broadband signal, I have been netless more often than not since Sunday. Leaves are bad enough to shoot a signal through, wet leaves are impossible. But i did get a bunch of stuff done around the house. And I have completed the party invitations for and have 9 of 14 pages done for my Baby's First Year album. HOPEFULLY 'll finish up today and get the previews done tomorrow.

I am going to be the featured designer in mid July , week of the 17th. It'll be a Baby Shower theme, since I have so much baby stuff currently. I need to make a freebie. I'm going to do a set of 6 wallet sized mini pages. Probably with a baby theme. I still have to 2 my word art for June as well

The last time I laughed really hard

was probably while watching Who's Line Is It Anyway? reruns before bed. It has become a habit fromback when Derek was born. I'd get inot bed with him about 10pm and watch Who's Line while nursing him until we both fell asleep. I stillwatch it nearly every weekenight. The sketches that make me laugh the hardest are ones that involve Colin & Ryan having to do accents. Neither of them is very good at it in the long term. They can manage one sentance in a Russian accent but not a second sentance. So the accents are all over the map. My favorite skit is one I just saw recently with Kathy Greenwood, wayne Bradey & Ryan & Colin. Colin was the mad director & he had this weird middle european accent going on & told themto do the scene "In the doork.'s doork" which for some reasons just cracks me up. Plus they were doing Zorro and everyone was supposed to have a Spanish accent but Ryan's character had apparently spent years in Ireland and Cathy's had a Swedish mother. And they were making fun of themselves on top of it. I usually end up laughing really hard a couple times a week at Who's Line.

Monday, June 26, 2006

what the names mean

Drake Llewellyn was named shortly before he was born. We'd agreed to the name Drake. It is a family name on DH's side & if you go back far enough they are related to the Elizabethan privateer Sir Francis Drake. I am all about all things Tudor, so I agreed easily enough to Drake. A tradition in DH's family is to give the first born male a first name of Llewellyn. Wasn't going to happen to my kid. I cannot see calling a toddler Lou and I don't like Louie. In my family you name the first born male after the maternal grandfather. These traditions combined would have given the poor kid the name Llewellyn Byrd. DH has an older brother, not named Llewellyn, who also did not name his son Llewellyn, so I felt justified in nixing it. DH wasn't that attached to the idea anyhow. As I was waiting to go into my c-section I agreed to using Llewellyn as a middle name.

Derek Raleigh was named for a character in a Douglas Adams book and the Elizabethan privateer Sir Walter Raleigh. Derek is named for Dirk Gentley of "Dirk Gentley's Holistic Detective Agency" and "Long Dark Teatime of the Soul". Dirk is a variation of Derek, something we discovered when we looked it up in the Baby Name book. Derek was going to be named Dirk, or Adam (after Douglas Adams) or Seth (just because I liked the name). We couldn't decide so we waited to see what he 'looked like' when he was born. He wasn't a Dirk or a Seth. For a little while he was Adam, but that didn't fit, then we called him Duncan for 24 hours, but that wasn't quite right. We started going back through the name list and came upon Derek (which had been added merely as a curiosity because it's where Dirk comes from) and we *knew* his name was Derek. I chose his middle name when the lady with the social security paperwork said "and the middle name?". Adam, Raleigh and Byrd were in the running. Raleigh is what came out.

If we had another son he would be named Dirk Henry (for the privateer Sir Henry Morgan. I like having a theme). Had we had a daughter she would be Devon Elizabeth.(Devon is where most of the privateers were based out of & I really like the name and Elizabeth for Elizabeth Tudor)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

what would I take with me

if I had to leave the house in a hurry?

I do think about this from time to time. Given the layout of my house, if there is a fire, I won't be in a position to grab anything but the boys and my bathrobe. My house is built into a hillside, not near a fault line or flowing water and is over reinforced. I can't really think of any sort of weather that might cause us to evacuate, but if the nuclear power plant had a meltdown I'd be moving fast, even though I live outside the evacuation area. I would grab my laptop, all my photos, music & audio books are on it. I'd stuff the giant suitcase with whatever clothes I could grab for everyone, everyone's bed pillows and the boys loveys. Plus my purse.

The pillow may seem a strange choice but think about being in a strange place, with nothing of your own. Laying in a strange bed, after a traumatic event, stressed out about everything. But right there under your head is something that is familiar to all of your senses; it's sight, feel, smell, the sound your skin makes as you turn your head, even the taste of the fabric as you roll over brushing your lips on the fabric. Its comforting. It's 'home' even though home isnt there. Sort of a lovey for adults. I take my pillow with me when I travel, sacrificing clothing space to pack my pillow in the suitcase. I'm definately grabbing it if I have a chance.

Friday, June 23, 2006

What are the best 10 things you have accomplished since your LAST birthday that ended in a zero?

i only came up with 7 things to accomplish before I turned 40, lets see if I can come with 10 accomplishments since I turned 30.

1. gave birth to Drake
2. gave birth to Derek

that got the easy ones out of the way :)

3. landed my dream job of doing interesting work that only required me to be there 9-5 M-F most of the time & yet paid very well.
4. learned to bake my own bread
5. learned to really cook, not just heat stuff up
6. bought a house
7. bought my first car
8. began crocheting & cross stitching again
9. learned to quilt
10. lost 20lbs....unfortunately they keep finding me again.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

be careful what you wish for...

I am so screwed.

You know how I hate my sofa adn would like nothing more than to have to buy a new one? You know how I just spent nearly as much on a laptop as I would on a new sofa? You see where this is heading?

One of our cats has PEED on the sofa. And not just on a cushion than can be taken to the laundromat, but in the corner, so it is on the nailed into the frame upholstry. That can't be washed and no amount of Febreeze is going to eradicate the smell. The cat will do it again. The cats are 13 years old & have been peeing on all sorts of things since the boys were born..mostly the boys toys, but also in the bathrooms. Cats are not disposeable to me so I can't just dump them at the shelter and I can't see placing an ad that reads "wanted good home for cat that pees on everything." So I don't know what to do. Odds are they will pee on a new sofa too. If we were in a position to buy a new sofa, which we aren't because we just bought the laptop. I'mnot returning the laptop. I need it far more than I need a sofa.

So as an experiment & to buy some time, I am taking the cushion and the sofa cover to the laundromat for an industrial strength washing tomorrow. Tonight I am going to soak that corner of the sofa in Febreeze and vinegar. Tomorrow I will also go to the furniture store & price sofas. (I told brad we shouldn't have given away our old IKEA sofa last month) The cats have just become outdoor cats as opposed to the indoor/outdoor cats they were. well, they will be out when we are out. Unless they do it again & then they are out for good.

Maybe people will just have to sit on a pile of pillow until Xmas, when we will have saved enough to buy a new sofa.

10 things to do before I am 40

and I better work fast because I only have 13 months to do them in

1. BUY A NEW SOFA! (won't happen but it's nice to hope)
2. take ballroom dance classes with DH
3. clean out & reorganize my junk/sewing room (it will take me a year to do this)
4. lose the last 15lbs of baby weight (the baby is 2.5 years old)
5. brew mead
6. get another tattoo
7. think of 4 more things to do :)

10 things to do before I am 40

and I better work fast because I only have 13 months to do them in

1. BUY A NEW SOFA! (won't happen but it's nice to hope)
2. take ballroom dance classes with DH
3. clean out & reorganize my junk/sewing room (it will take me a year to do this)
4. lose the last 15lbs of baby weight (the baby is 2.5 years old)
5. brew mead
6. get another tattoo
7. think of 4 more things to do :)

the computer saga so far

There have been times in the past 3 days where I wished I was a complete newbieto computers. That I could just turn on a new one and be like "WOW This is so great". But I've been doing this a long time. And I have had my curent CPU for 3 years. It's been modified, tweeked and souped up. Slowly and over time. Now I am faced with making all those changes at once to my new computer & that is fairly overwhelming. Just the vast number of progams is daunting, never mind basics like what color my window bar is. Somthings I changed so long ago I forgot they had been changed. "Why is it telling me this?" "Why didn't it tell me this?" So I broke it down into manageable tasks

Tuesday - Make It Your Own
delete all the 'helpful' crap it comes with - google & yahoo toolbars, easy internet connection set up, free trials of earthlink, AOL, norton; plus most of the dozens of games. Strip it to basic, connect it to the network & transfer over my wndow scheme. begin long tedious copying of My Document and all that entails

Wednesday - Downloading & Reloading
I was stupid and in a hurry and rather than wait for the CD versions of software to arrive, I downloaded them. And cannot find the original downloads(some of them were months and months ago, they might have been burned to CDs but I can't find them). So I have go and download them again, plus updates & occasionally email tech support because the verision I paid for is no longer accessable and I am not buying the upgrade. Once all they are done then I have to reload everything I have the discs for & then download their upgrades. Setup Outlook & import everything into everything that can export my existing settings. (I love that PSP has workspaces you can save!)

Thursday - How Many USB Ports Do I Need? or Fun with Peripherals
All the externals must be sorted through & connected. Most especially my adored 19 inch flat screen monitor (because SIZE DOES MATTER). The monitor is the main reason I have been reluctant to change to a laptop. I am almost too fond of my monitor. I have it set up now as the top of the screen & the laptop as the bottom. I think this will work. But I have to sort through printer, keyboard, mouse,scanner, tablet, cords to Ipod, cameras, other random stuff that I am not sure what it is and printer isn't USB. Can you buy a 15 port USB hub?

Friday - What Did I Miss?
final tweeking & search for stuff I may have missed

Saturday - Actually Use the Thing!!!
maybe even scrap & get caught up on DSP & everyone's blogs

Sorry I haven't been to visit anyone lately. I will catch up soon though!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

3 ways in which someone can compliment me

1. I am prompt & meet deadlines
2. I am a good listener
3. I am decisive when necessary.

I have a new laptop! It's still in the box. DH & I decided to spend the extra and get the good laptop. He got a bonus this paycheck and it was just about the difference in cost so it seemes fate. The PC is now just humming along as if it never had a problem a day in it's life; itmust know it is being replaced. That is fine by me because to save money I went with am 80GB HD. My PC has 2 HDs, the main is 100GB and the secondary one (my scrapping one) is 120GB. In a month or so I'll buy one of those boxes they make to turn an internal HD into an external one, but until then I'd be happy to be able to use the PC as a networked giant external HD.

Hopefully I'll get to open the box soon. but I can't do that with small boys underfoot and no one shows any signs of napping today. Maybe I'll put Madagascar on & lock myself in the bathroom......

Monday, June 19, 2006

bad news

my primary HD appears to have overheated & caught fire. There is a burn mark onthe bottom of the floppy drive slot and a smoke trail running up it, to my DVD RW drive, and that is just on the outside of the computer. I'm afraid to look inside it. The HD will boot occasionally for a few minutes & I am using that time to copy over to the secondary drive what things are still on it that I really really want - My Documents mostly & export databases from my Life Journal & Outlook & then go through the software & see what to copy over if just to avoid endless updating on a new computer. Fortunately my PSPX and all my photos & scrapbook stuff are on the seconday drive already.

I am sooooo not happy about this. DH wants to gt a laptop for me. I appreciate it but I'm reluctant to put anything on credit right now. I have $500. The laptops I am looking at are $800-$900. I was really hoping to get 6 more months out of the PC

What would have happened if I had stayed home?

Drake would not have gone to vacation bible school. He cried a bit when I dropped him off but he did let me leave adn he tld me after that he had a good time, though he isn't too sure about going back tomorrow. It was his very first ever 'school' day.

I wouldn't have gone to the gym. This would be bad for my morale & my waistline.

I would not have gotten the photocopies done that I need for a project I am working on and today was the only time I could get them.

I wouldn't have gone to the library and therefor would have no new reading material until I had the time to try again. I've been trying to get to the library for over a week but the boys just can't remain calm long enough for me to browse.

Lastly, if i had remained home today I would have spent even more time in a house with a broken computer & feeling incredibly frustrated because of it. My computer is DEAD, officially & irretriveably dead, as of 12:45pm today. Though had I been home I woud have realized it about 8:30am. I am on my mom's ancient laptop that she gave to me a year ago when she got a new one. It is 6 years old & cannot run PSP. or just about anything else except Word, Excel & IE. So at least I can surf the web & I think it has an email program I cen use too. I don't have the money right now to buy the revved up laptop I want, but if I buy another bottom line PC, that will be $500 I'll have to resave toward a laptop. And I recently got a DVD writer, an secondary internal 200gig HD and 2MBs RAM for that PC (and no PC on the market uses that style RAM) so I am feeling a tad bit frustrated. But at least it has been 4 hours less frustration than it would have been.

Friday, June 16, 2006

what do you consider a good party?

Since we were just writing about our teen years my first thought was a frat party! Good looking guys (for the most part), beer, drinking games, a band (or great DJ) and a theme that gets everyone to dress up in some goofy way. I was in a sorority in college (in an attempt to overcome my anti-socialness). We were the #1 party sorority at the #1 party college in the nation. If there was a party going on the AOII girls were there in force! TGIF parties started at noon on Fridays. When the weather was nice all the houses on frat hill would have cookouts and we'd hop from house to house and then nap in the early evening, get up and go to the evening parties. Football Saturdays were one long party, starting with a Wake Up (screwdrivers, bloody mary's or regular OJ & donuts), then the tailgate, the game, a nap & meal then the evening bar hoping (the whole strip was one big party if we won). Just remembering it makes me happy! I had SUCH a good time the first 3 years I was a sorority girl. (4th year kinda sucked on a lot of levels). Hearing Rock Lobster brings back such strong memories I have to pretty much stop what I am doing & relive them. God, I loved college! (i earned 2 degrees almost in spite of myself)

Nowadays a good party involves good friends, some new acquaintances, good food & drink and some games - trivial pursuit, croquet, various dice & card games. On site babysitting is nice too when you can get it. I also LOVE murder mystery parties - friends, food, a game and dressing up in costume (some things don't change much) I haven't been to one since the boys were born but I am thinking of hostin gone if I can arrange some babysitting.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What were you like as a teenager?

I was anti-social. I liked to stay in my room & read, write stories, or watch TV. I was not into organized sports. I was shy & I really did not like going to 'events' unless it was a carnival or fair. Meeting new people was agony to me. I had a small circle of friends & kept to myself. I did not put a lot of effort into my appearance (when you wear a uniform all day & have your hair, makeup, jewlery & shoes stictly limited, there just isn't much motivation IMO. I made up for it in college)

My parents are VERY social, so I was a big problem to them, though I might not have been to less socially active parents. I was not really a rebellious child. I didn't stay out past curfew or sneak liquor or cigs. I didn't mouth off. My parents were well known in my home town. No matter how sneaky I thought I was being, someone would see me & tell my folks. EVERY TIME! I learned that lesson very quickly when I was still in grade school. As a teen I knew I would get busted & there was never anything I wanted to do so bad that was worth the risk. Anyway, from about the age of 14 I knew I was going to go to WVU, the then #1 party school in the nation & I could do all the wild stuff I wanted to then with no parental reprocussions (as longa s it didn't involve bail). So I waited. My brother cound;t be convinced of this & regularly was surprised to be busted for sneaking out, underage drinking, tearing his car around in vacant lots, etc. Mostly for sneaking out & drinking in the woods. Which was really dumb of him. If we wanted a beer, even at 16, (the drinking age was 18 then) we said "Hey Dad, can I have a beer?" and he said "Sure, you have to drink it in the house." So what was the point of getting some one to buy you a six pack & sneak of into the woods? I never got it. I never really had a curfew, though my car had to be home by midnight. I was free to drop it off & leave again. My parents wanted to know where I was, who I was with, when I might be home. But they were open about the curfew thing and cut you no slack if you stayed out until 2am and had to get up at 6am to work or something. Logical conscequences were a big thing with my parents. The only thing they were really adament about was no drinking & driving & no getting into a car with somoene who had been drinking, even just one beer. I never had a boyfriend in HS so sex was a non-issue.

My parents main issue with me is that I didn't want to go along to watch my brother's baseball games or to 'family events' that the Jaycees were sponsoring (my dad was very involved in jaycees) and I had no problem sharing my unhappiness at being where I was with everyone in my vacinity. I was a sulky, whiny teen when I was dragged out to things I didn't want to do. Eventually they stopped making me show up at most things.

I never really grew out of the anti-social thing. At least not IRL. I am much more social online than I am in person. I've never apologized for my sulking & whinyness. But then they have never apologized for pushing me so hard into social & athletic situations. Mistakes were made all around as I see it. I could have behaved better & they could have eased off on the pressure. My parents and I accepted our difference shortly after I graduated from college & that was closure for me. My older son is very shy & slow to deal with social things. I am trying to both respect that & encourage him out of it. But I am not going to drag him repeatedly to things I know he doesn't enjoy on the theory he'll just get over it, because I know it doens't work that way.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Finding peace

I have a 3.5 yo and a 2yo, peace can be a rare commodity in my house, especially if you follow it with "and quiet". I've gotten better about finding it more often in the past 6 months - getting more sleep really helps the mental equilibrium. I've also adopted some Buddhist thoughts that help. Mostly about letting go and accepting that things are as they are. Soem things are just not going to change soon, if at all & I have to work with reality, not with what I wish. Toddlers can be whiny at dinner and little whirlwinds in stores and messy in general. That is toddler nature. Getting all bent out of shape about it may provide a temporary relief to stress, but it is not a constructive way of dealing (She says during a quiet naptime that her children went down for without a fuss - for once) It's easy to say that & believe that when things are going well but in the midst of a meltdown screaming fit by 2 little boys in the checkout line at Safeway, it's not so easy to believe. Screaming at them or with them seems to make much more sense right then. So it's a slow process but I am getting better at it. I recommend the book "Buddhism for Mothers". It is based on Buddhist principles but the methods & recommendations it gives can be applied by anyone of any faith. the message is about finding peace & showing universal love.

I do mindful meditation too & that helps a lot. I focus on a task & experience every moment of it. Usually I do this in the shower because I have never really been able to think "now I am scraping the food off the plate. Listen to the sound the fork makes as it slides across the ceramic" without rolling my eyes at myself. But I can stand in a shower & think "Feel the warm water, feel the slight roughness of the loofa as you wash off". I alwys feel very relaxed adn peaceful after I do that, assuming that no small boys were pounding on the door shouting "JUICY MAMA! WANT JUICY!!" while I was doing it. Being 'in the moment', actually focusing on coloring with my children, rather than thinking about what I am going to make for dinner while I am coloring has really helped me.

To me finding peace involves acceptance of things that cannot be changed, knowledge that all things end (good, bad or indifferent), paying more attention to the things I don't want to change and faith that things will get better.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

blast from the past

As long as we are talking about 'remember when', let me tell you something I am reliving right now. My teeth hurt. My teeth hurt in that special way teeth hurt right after you get your braces tightened. Why do they hurt this way? Because I got braces today - 25 years to the month after having them removed. I had braces from 6th-8th grade. They tell you to wear your retainer. They don't tell you you have to KEEP wearing it for the rest of your life (and it gets expensive to keep with it). My teeth have been shifting for about 10 years now. Within the past year my front teeth stopped meeting when I bit into things and my back teeth have shifted so much it can be painful to chew sometimes. I have no guarantee this isn't due to degeneration of my jaw muscles but only time will tell and my teeth are crooked even if it is. So a couple months back I plopped down $6000, had impressions done and today received my first set of OrthoClear aligners. I'd been willing to go with a repeat of a mouth of metal if it would be cheaper but because the orthodontist thinks these will work better, faster. I'll still end up with some metal for 4-6 months after about 18 months of the aligners.

I popped these things in and it was an instant flashback to a pain I had not forgotten but had not thought about in years. And I get to re-experience it every 2 weeks for the next 2 years. It will be nice to bite into things properly when this is over.

Scrapbooking history?

I don't have on really. When I was in high school & college I would occasionally put photos & memorabilia in those 'press & stick' photo albums. But that is it.

After DS1 was born I liked the idea of paper scrapping but it was too expensive & too messy & paper crafts have never been my thing. I did a page or 2 with a kit but it just felt like a hassle.

I've been using PSP since version 5 (2001 I believe) and occasionally doctored up photos for sigs on message boards but that was it. Last year online friends of mine started doing digiscrapping but they all used Photoshop or PSE and I was on PSP9 by then & didn't want to pay for or learn new software. I thought it was a software specific thing. Then one of them told me about DSP having tutorials. I joined there in August & have been scrapping ever since.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday's prompt

How did you get started using computers? When did you first get "online". Do you predate the Internet being available to the public or was it always here for you?

Oh the memories this brought back! My first computer was an Atari that my parents bought sometime in the early 80s. 1982 at a guess. They never used it. My brother played games on it. I played games but I wrote programs too. There was an Atari magazine that had games in it, but it was just the code. You had to type the code into the computer, complete with line numbers, and hope you made no errors & you would get to play a text based came if you got it right. I don't think I ever got one right but while entering the code I began to figure out just what command combinations produced what results. My very first ever computer program was for a school schedule. You entered your grade & depending on it you could choose classes for 2-4 of your 8 class periods. Then it would generate random schedules, complete with teacher names (and getting to choose only certain teacher for certain classes was the real challenge for me). Sometimes you got lucky & it assigned you 4 periods of lunch :). It even drew lines around the schedule & between the classes. HIGH TECH STUFF.

We got computers in my high school in 1984. TRS-80s that had to be all connected together & only one person at a time could send information over the wires. We each had a floppy that held our work because there were no hard drives (NO HARD DRIVES!). I recreated my school schedule program on it for class with a few refinements & got an A.

In college I use the university Apple's & discovered local BBSs. I remember chatting about a lot of books and playing RPGs online on them. Then in 1991, DH bought his first comptuer, a 256. It cost $1100. I remember because his Discover card only had a $1000 limit. We were living together then & I paid for a Prodigy membership. Prodigy was one of the first nationwide BBS, not quite the internet today, but a starting point. I was never offline again. I later added a CompuServe account & then an AOL account. I'm not sure when the nationwide BBS experience that was AOL/Prodigy/Compuserve became the WWW as we know it. I remember researching things online but it wasn't IE based with names. It was more like telnet. You had to connect to the site, often with user names & passwords, sometimes manually dialing in. Then suddenly there was IE and http:// stuff and email that could be sent outside AOL or Prodigy (or maybe the email came before IE...I think maybe it did). There were listserves, and webrings and html! It was pretty incredible.

And now I feel old. When I was in high school (and in college for that matter) & a paper had to be written you looked stuff up in the encyclopedia at home or you went to the library and flipped through the card catelog looking for relevant books, or you sat at a big noisy machine & looked though the microfish at scanned newspapers or scanned old documents. You didn't just google Margaret of Anjou and start cutting and pasting notes. Hard to believe nowadays.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

How do I spend my time online?

I am celebrating 15 years of online life this month. In 1991 I became a member of Prodigy & joined my first message boards (about Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Dragonlance & David Eddings). Over a 3 year period I got to know many people on those boards, my first internet family. I would spend the next 10 years trying to find the same thing in other places. I found it again the first time on a fertility board called, in a now defunct buddy group called the Freaks. Most of us are still together on another private board. I've been friends with these women for over 3 years now and I was so thrilled to meet some of them last year in person. I stopped posting very often at Ovusoft a year ago & now only visit a few times a week at most. My next experience of internet friendship came on DSP, where I am still an active member. It is possibly the most supportive & friendly place I have been on since those long ago days of Prodigy. I spend a good portion of my online time there, keeping up with threads& browsing the gallery.

My other scrapbook home would be though they do more chat in chat these days than chat on the message board and I am more a message board person than a chat person.

I am a long long long time member of a pagan elist and it's associated message board, though the past few months I have visited infrequently and have the elist set to digest. They are a family of a sorts....a dysfunctional family... or as I have been quoted as saying "More of an online bar room brawl" some days. But i really love some of the people. I've known some of them for almost a decade now. So I can never bring myself to really leave and they are a very interesting cross section of people. I've learned far more being a part of them than I would ever have learned on my own.

The other things I do online include shopping, blogging & occasionally selling/reselling things on eBay &

Friday, June 09, 2006

Pricy Chocolate Part 2

I found the MON CHERI and the MINT dark chocolate Dagoba bars at Whole Foods last week and have been slowly nibbling at them every since. I don't like the MINT, despite my best attempts at trying too. They put rosemary in it. The rosemary is rather strong. It overwhelms the mint. The MON CHERI is good. Not outstanding, but good. The cherry was strong but not overpowering, with perhaps just a touch too much vanilla for my taste. However I would buy it again. I also bought the WHOLE MILK, milk chocolate bar. I'm giving up on their milk chocolate bars. Too creamy. Hershey's is better. Whole Foods had the XOCOLATL, but I decided 3 new bars were enough for one visit. They did not have the LIME. No place that I find Dagoba bars ever has the LIME, so I'll just have to keep looking.

are we there yet?

Are you where you thought you would be in life, when you graduated from high school? Are there dreams you had then that you still have now?

If you had told me, when I was 18, that in 20 years time I would be a SAHM to 2 toddlers, I would have laughed so hard I probably would have hyperventilated. Had you told me this 10 years ago I would have had the same reaction. Children were not in my plans. Which is not to say I actually *had* plans - I didn't really. I just knew I didn't want kids. I wanted to go to college & get a nice 9-5 office job, something interesting, possibly to do with creative writing/journalism, but I had no specific job in mind. I had an idea of being able to go away by myself, maybe teach English in Japan for awhile between finishing college & getting a real job. But nothing really concrete. I wanted to be comfortable, happy, have friends & enjoy my life. From that perspective I am where I thought I would be. It just never occured to me I might find all that with small children under foot. :)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

favorite teacher

The prompt is to write about your favorite teacher or the one who influenced you most. I had a lot of nuns teaching me when I was in school. Plus a number of lay teachers. None of them really influenced me in a positive way, though there were some negative ones....There was Mrs Szymanski in 5th grade who said I was at fault for letting the boys pick on me, but then punished me if I stood up for myself. There was Mr Stein in the 7th grade who seemed to really dislike me for some reason & I can only assume it was because I was the only girl in class not in love with him. He was a bully & went out of his way to point out my faults when we played sports, mocked me when I got answers wrong in class & in one memorable incident made me sit in a row all by myself, not in the front seat mind you, but in the second seat back, for almost a month. (there were 21 kids in my class & 25 desks). My parents took his side when this stuff began & yes in the beginning my behavior was not stellar, but his became worse when he realized he could get away with it. Years later a classmate & I were reminiscing about it & my mom overheard & said "Why didn't you tell me all this? That is terrible." I told her I did tell & she took his side so I never bothered telling again. She looked so shocked I didn't tell her what happened with another teacher a few years later. There was also Sr Ethelrida, one of my HS math teachers who constantly gave me grief for not trying hard enough, even though I was. As a freshman in college I would be diagnosed with a form of dyslexia & on winter break I stopped by my old HS to show the report to Sr Ethelrida - I *had* been trying very hard. She apologized & said it never occured to her because I did so well on standardized, ok.

There was one teacher I really like in HS, Mr Volpe, who taught Advanced English for seniors. He didn't think I was goofing off when I questioned things in the books we read & wanted him to explain just how he knew that those flowers in the story were symbolic of a mother's grief & not just simply flowers. He had us write a lot of essays that were based on personal opinion, and he actually graded us on the grammer & style, not whether he agreed with you or not. Once he told the entire class "There was only one A+ this time. I disagreed entirely with her thesis but it was so well argued I had not choice but to give her the top score" and he handed me my essay on "Why TV watching is good for you". :)

My favorite teacher of all was in college. Dr Arnette, who taught Egyptian history and several low level ancient history classes. I got lucky getting into his History 101 class my first semester freshman year. I love history & he loves history & he made it all so interesting & fun. So real. Some of the other 101 teachers were bland or boring or just out of their normal area of expertise, so their classes were not as enjoyable. I took every single class Dr Arnette taught over the years of getting my BS and my MA. I was even one of his proctor students for a semester as a grad student. My favorite lecture of all of his was a slideshow known to everyone as "toilets of the ancient world". It was slides of various ancient historic sites he had visited all over Europe & Egypt and at every site he included shots of the ancient 'facilities' which made the past seem more real. It's all very well to memorize a list of date of pharohs, but learning about how food was prepared, how a bed was made & what sort of bathrooms the people used really makes it all come alive in the imagination.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Childhood books

What books did I love as a child & did I pass them on to my children? The first books that come to mind are Little Women & the Little House on the Prairie series. I have not shared them with my sons because they are not old enough to read them & I suspect my boys will not be that interested. However there is still the Narnia series and the Dragonlance series (though that one will have to wait until they are 10-12) and my beloved Douglas Adams books (i was teen for those, not a child) and David Eddings Belgariad series. When they get a bit older I will start reading them chapters of these books at night.

Right now though I am enjoying rediscovering the Dr Seuss Early Reader books with them (most books are not Dr Seuss). I loved "A Fish Out of Water", "Put Me in the Zoo" adn "Oh the Thinks You Can Think" when I was learning to read and really love reading them with the boys.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I am on a roll! I have my second set of quickpages done & it's only the 6th. At this rate I may actually get some extra things in. I did magazine covers this time. 2 different titles & 3 different backgrounds to choose from. Plus instructions for how they can be personalized with a name & date. I've got plans for a Teens one and a Newlyweds one as well. Does anyone have any photos (8x10ish) of a teen or newlyweds I can use for my examples? You can have a free set of the covers in exchange. This is my biggest problem. I have ideas for things that I cannot use & therefore cannot do examples.


I am thankful that:

we are all healthy
we have food, shelter & clothing
we don't want for what we need
there is naptime
my broadband is working again

Monday, June 05, 2006

Menu for the next 2 weeks

Tilapia in foil
lasagna rollups
mini meatloaf
veggie soup & sandwiches
chicken & rice stir fry
steak & spinich salad
spaghetti with spinich pesto
veggie fritters
slow cooker BBQ chicken or pork sandwiches
potato frittata
BBQ pizza
orzo with squash

The goal is not to run the oven more than absolutely necessary. The tilapia & steak cook on the grill. The pizza could too if I felt like experimenting. The lasagna may be replaced by burgers, depending on the heat.

When I read today's prompt I thought "Didn't we already do this topic" but then I realized it had been a topic for the Book Of Me a few weeks ago. This is the layout I did of my earliest memory.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Bethy asked about the lack of toys in my family room (See the DSU198 gallery for the photos). This is where a lot of the toys are kept. I just toss everything in there when I want to take pictures :) Most of them are in the playroom/spare bedroom, but a selection of them stay here, in what was our former entryway. When we redid the kitchen 4 years ago we had French doors put in to replace the sliding glass door & now we use them as our main entrance. On the ratehr long to do list of house improvements, the wall on the right will be knocked out, along with the top part over the door frame & that area will be incorporated into the rest of the house. The door will be replaced with a window of some sort.

The gate is there to keep cats out when we are not around. One of them (I suspect Buddah) has been using the area as a litter box off & on ever since we started keeping toys there. I think he has psychological issues.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Public Service Announcement

Before you forward the latest email warning about flashing lights, date rape drugs, online petitions and pepsi cans PLEASE check out Your would be recipients will thank you. Actually they won't because if you check these things out you will find that 95% of them are hoaxes. So you probably won't forward them, so your would be recipients will never recieve them, sothey won't know to thankyou for not forwarding the hoax to them. If that makes sense.

My personal mission in life seems to be exposing internet email hoaxes & doing my best to spread the idea these things should be checked out before forwarding. Just because you received it in an email does NOT make it true.

I mention this now because my mom & my SIL, whom I love dearly, are big forwarders. They go through spurts where they forward stuff to me & I respond with snopes links about how it is a hoax. Then after a bit things get quiet & then it starts up again. Recently it has started again, so I am assuming things are making the rounds.

Please check before you forward. People won't know to thank you, but if they did, they would. :)

If you could go back to school (and time, money, other commitments are not an issue), what would you study and why?

This is an actual possibility for me in a couple of years, once both the boys are in school full time, so I have been giving it a good deal of thought lately. I would go for my Doctorate in Early Modern history, at least I think that is what they are calling the Tudor era now. It was Medieval/Renaisannce in 1989 but I heard they changed it. I have my MA in it. Initially I had planned to be a professor (I want to teach adults who, mostly, want to be in the class), but after 7 years of college I was just burnt out on learning. So I went into the business world as an admin assistant & worked my way into the telecom field & any idea of going back to school left my head. But now I am going to have a chance to start over. If I could just go to school for the heck of it, I would still get my PhD. I just would be more relaxed, knowing I don't have to use it for anything.

Or better still I'd go to cooking school in France or Italy. Vacation & education at the same time. I enjoy cooking most of the time & I think some technique style classes would be good for me.

Speaking of cooking, I am between dinner menus at the moment. I ought to have done a new one over the weekend but was out of town & then it slipped my mind. So dinner has been a bit haphazard lately. Tonight we are having pizza, with a pesto biscuit crust & topped with leftover chicken tenders, zucchini & spinich. I have to use up the fresh mozzerella I bought a few days ago.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I've been tagged

5 things in my fridge: I just cleaned it out so I know this without going to check
Miracle Whip
Hornesby Hard Cider
leftover home made chicken tenders
Welch's grape, blueberry, kiwi juice

5 items in my closet:
dirty laundry
lots of shoes
lots of purses/bags
a new dress

5 items in my purse: I don't carry a purse but this is what is in my current stuff bag
diaper & wipes
"My First Truck" book

5 items in my car:
iGo charger
unopened Sprite
empty take out coffee cup
solar veil baby sling

5 people to tag:hmmm....I'll have to check & see who has been tagged already but I'm probably safe naming my friends Jenny, Porn & Critter on Live Journal.

Musings on being a Woman

I was in the store the other day, facing the giant "Wall of Feminine Hygine Products", scanning the boxes, when I noticed how desperate their makers actually are to make themselves stand out in the crowd. A quarter of a century ago, when I first faced the Wall, it was not a Wall. Your choices were small. Stayfree, Kotex or Tampex. The pads that stuck to your underwear & did not require a belt were a new innovation. Then one day there were "wings" on the Stayfree and Always joined the brands. Then the pads got thin. Then they started coming in assorted absorbancies and thus a Wall was born. For the majority of those 25 years I stuck with Tampex & failed to really notice just how many different types of pads there are. Tampons themselves were straining my decision making abilities as it was (scented? cardboard applicator, plastic applicator or no applicator? light, heavy, medium or multi pack?). The whole idea of choosing a pad was just too much & so I always bought Always when I needed some. The hospital where my sons were born sends you home with a couple packages of Always and I stuck with it. But the other day I was waiting for a prescription & had time to contemplate the bounty before me. Every brand has a gimick, but one stood out above all others. On the box of Kotex Ultra Thin (with Leak Lock), in bold letters, is written "SHHHH Quietest Packaging"

Is noisy pad packaging a problem?? Did the results of some poll say "Yeah, we'd like to use your product but that wrapper is just so darn *loud*" Are there women out there concerned about the sound their pad wrapper makes when they open it? I imagine a woman, frozen in a public restroom, needing to change her pad but too embarassed to open the new one because the loud rustling will announce to everyone else in the room "SHE HAS HER PERIOD!" Then I began to wonder if I had ever noticed the sound of pad packaging being opened when I was in a public restroom. I cannot recall. I've never thought about it. You hear noises sometimes from other stalls. I, for one, choose not to speculate on what those noises might signify. Perhaps it is time I started.

I bought the Kotex because I just *had* to know if they were that much quieter. Always has a plastic wrapper that is taped down & sealed up the sides & there is a definate ripping noise when you open it. The Kotex wrapper was more cloth like & thinner, not taped but still sealed up the side. It was much quieter when it was opened. But unless Kotex has pointed it out too me I don't think I would have noticed.

I never thought I would one day be in a bathroom comparing the relative loudness of pad wrappers. It's just not something that ever crosses your mind you might be doing. Cooking dinner? Yeah. Weeding the garden? yeah i thought I'd probably do that. Comparing noisy pad wrapping? no, never.


Yea me! I'm on top of things for once!

I design quick pages for I've been doing this for about 7 months now. We have to design 4 sets a month at a minimum. Every month, despite my plans & my best efforts, I am always scrambling the last week of the month to get my sets finished. Well, not this month! It is June 1st and I already have 2 sets finished! First time ever! I am doing stand up invitations & birth announcements this month. I've completed the birth announcements so far (even the sample pages!) and I have the backgrounds & elements et for the invitations I am doing. I'm doing a set of generic style "You are invited" & "Its a Party" style invitations and then I am going to do a set of Birthday Party ones as well.

These are the announcements

and this is what one looks like when it's printed, trimmed & folded. I need to get a better shot for the store example though.