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July 2006
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September 2006

what a week!!

1. Henry finally learned how to tie his shoes!! The other day I mentioned we needed to get him some sneakers to wear and a pair of gym shoes, but that he absolutely HAD to learn to tie his shoes. The kid's gonna be in first grade, for Pete's sake! But he argued, "But MOM! I can just get Sketchers blah-dee-blah shoes! They have these blah-dee-blah straps and I don't NEED to learn to tie!" To which I replied, "Um, no. That's not how it works. I'm not going to BUY you those shoes. You ARE going to learn to tie." So he did.

2. Made it to round four of the Effer's Last Scrapper Standing contest. Wow. Huge honor, thrill, surprise. Here's what I submitted today:
Efferlss4page

10 patterned papers. Wow. Not as hard as, say, the wet art medium. But it was hard trying to decide how to use them in a kick ass way.

3. Marc's amazing, geeky day yesterday. (See previous post.)

4. Harper pooped on the toilet last night!! She was in the bath, stood up, started patting her tush, squatted down, and tooted. I heard Marc say, "Do you have to potty?" so I said, "Take her out and put her on the toilet." So he did. And she went. And we made a very big deal over her. Maybe this will start something great!! But at 17 months? Is that possible?? My little girl is growing up way. too. fast.

5. Another 2.5 pounds down - 10 overall for the past month. I'm feeling reassured that I'm doing the right thing. Now if I could just get that damn dress zipped over my damn boobs which haven't shrunken a damn inch, I'd be happier. Hope my sister has a friend who can wear this bridesmaid dress in three weeks if I can't get the zipper up.

6. Found out how much I'm making at the wedding I'm shooting in a couple of weeks. It's enough to justify buying myself a new lens and a flash, and order a lightsphere. Or save and add to the wedding I'm shooting in October and then just buy the lens I really want. Oh, decisions, decisions.

Okay, I think that's it. Pretty exciting to have a great week for a change!!


my husband is SOOO geeky!

(now you say: "how geeky is he?")

He's SO geeky that I was just in his office talking to him, and while we were talking he glanced up at the atomic clock on the wall (no, that's not the geeky part), glanced down at the blinking blue lights of the binary clock on his desk (still not the geeky part), and said ...

"Huh. My binary clock is off."

Now, seriously, folks. This "clock" has about five rows and eight columns of little blue lights that blink blink blink constantly, always moving positions from second to second. The fact that he can tell time on that bugger and knew at a glance that it was off ... THAT, my friends, is geeky.

Speaking of geeky, Mr. Man is flying to Chicago tomorrow morning at 6:45 for an interview with Red Hat, the uber-geeky Linux company. A sales engineer met with Marc and a couple other geeks at GMAC a couple of weeks ago, he and Marc went to lunch and talked shop, and a day later the guy emailed Marc to see if he would be interested in interviewing for a position at Red Hat that they'd been unable to fill in Chicago. No one in Chicago is geeky enough, apparently, and Marc is. We went back and forth over the pro/con list of this position, and decided the pros outweighed the cons by about 185,236 to one. So that settled it. This is Marc's dream company and almost his dream job, so let's all send some geeky prayers to him tomorrow!!


update: the interview apparently went well. before he even got on the airplane home, marc received a call from red hat saying they would be making an offer. wow. go marc.


not to be redundant, but ...

I made it to round four!!! This is it, bay-bee!!! The brass ring!!

I thought wet art medium would kill me and knock me out for sure. I tried watercolors. I tried transparency transfer using gel medium. Nothing worked. And heading to bed at 11:30 Friday night, when the project was due on Saturday, I was feeling very, very frustrated indeed. I tossed and turned for a good two hours, then it hit me: use what you know. And instantly this vision of the yellow pages popped into my head.

I got out of bed, grabbed the phone book from the kitchen, and headed downstairs. Flipped to the t's and found the page for tattoo artists. Ripped it out, mixed up a cup of Mod Podge mixed with a little white paint, and then white wash-decoupaged that puppy to a piece of cardstock. As it dried I printed some pix, found some patterned paper, started to feel a little more relaxed, and headed to bed.

Saturday I spent in Stillwater with some other photography addicts from the Two Peas photo board and had a great time, but I couldn't wait to get home and get that page put together. Had to have dinner and put the kids to bed first, though.

Around 7:30 I got to get back at it. I added some stamped letters, a little acrylic paint accent work, some rub-ons, the pix. And voila ... a page that amazingly got me into the final round. Out of more than 400 scrappers, I'm in the top 25 now. How on earth?! But it's cool. I'll take it!! Next stop: using 10 patterned papers. The idea is there, now it's back to work!

Efferlss35tattoo


onto 3.5 ...

Of Last Scrapper Standing, that is. Those effers threw us a curveball this week - a li'l half challenge due by midnight Saturday. Don't they know I'll be in Stillwater playing with fellow peasy photographers on Saturday?! And the challenge - to use a wet medium ... holy crap. SO not my forte. So I'm a little nervous this go-around.

An idea instantly popped into my head, involved watercolors and gel medium transfer. We'll just see if the finished product looks even remotely like the one in the ol' brain. Going with my brain-vision worked in my favor earlier this week for round three. I ended up with two friggin' pages of praise for my "circles" challenge piece. Wow. That was unexpected but wholly appreciated!! Here's the piece:

Efferlss3front Efferlss3detailfront Efferlss3open Efferlss3openpg2 Efferlss3opendetailpg2

The piece is a little tribute to my most favorite class in high school, astronomy, and the fact that during the second semester of it I got to share much of the "field work" time with my first love, Scott. It was a really special time and he was a really special person in my life during it.

So that's it. I'm off to see if my photos transfer willingly and happily. Otherwise I'm screwed.


some scrappiness ...

First, who wants to have a layout viewed by Lisa Bearnson, Cathy Zielske, and Rhonna Farrer? And who wants those ladies to select their layout to win up to $200 in scrappy supplies? See here for more details!!

Secondly, look whose layout was a User Inspiration in the Two Peas garden this month!!! Margie is an amazing artist and a lovely friend, and I was so honored she asked me!!

Third, I made it to round two of the Effer's Last Scrapper Standing contest. Not holding out much hope for making it to round three ... the work this time around was superior across the board. I had a couple of great ideas but Marc never took a picture for me to use, so I had to go with a Plan B idea. I love how the layout turned out, but it wasn't very "out of the box." Oh well. It was very true to ME and my style, and that's all I can say. The challenge was to use 13 pictures ... that wasn't nearly as hard as it sounds. My original plan was to use various photos of myself to create one whole person, but I saw another layout just like that entered yesterday, so apparently it wasn't a very original idea. My other plan was to have a photo of me and add on top of it a heart filled with little pix of things I love ... but yup, saw an idea like that yesterday too. In a way, I'm glad I went with this idea, even though there was yet another layout in a similar vein. There truly are no more original ideas. Ha ha.

Efferlss2

Here's my entry from Round 1, where we had to journal on our photo:

Efferlss1

So that's it. Scrappy over and out.


in the immortal words of carrie bradshaw:

helloooo, lover!!

Shoes

Turns out, I am a bit of a girly-girl. While running errands on Saturday I decided, "I'm out, I'm sans kids, and I have one month until my sister's wedding. Better go find some shoes to wear with that strapless chocolate brown dress ... before summer goes away and with it all the strappy sandles, and I'm left walking down the aisle in Birks."

So I took myself to DSW.

Now, I'm not much of a shoe person. The last shoes I bought were orange crocs ... nearly a year ago. Before that? Who knows. I own the aforementioned orange crocs, a pair of wool plaid Birks that I got for Xmas, a pair of seriously ragged Birk sandles, running shoes, black Dansko clogs (my "dress shoes"), and hiking boots. Not exactly dressy, girly footwear. And heels? I couldn't tell you the last time I wore heels. Possibly my own wedding nearly ten years ago.

I wandered through DSW, looking at all the four-inch heels, all the gold and silver and clear plastic strappiness. All the rhinestones ... sequins ... buckles. All tacky. There's no way I was going to load myself into shoes that would cause me to walk around on my tiptoes all day long. That's an accident waiting to happen, I promise you. I walked up and down each aisle, checking stuff out, but nothing caught my eye. I was about to give up and go check out the olive green canvas sneakers by the front door when I happened upon them ... chocolate brown satin strappy sandles. Not too high, not a skinny little lethal-weapon heel, no rhinestones to be found. They looked perfect.

I found my size, slipped them on, and they fit like a glove. And walking? A breeze. They were perfect. I held my breath and looked at the price tag: $32.90.

Wow.

I put them back in the box, slipped my Birks back on, and carried the brown satin lovelies up to the checkout counter with a big smile on my face.

I got home and showed them to Marc, who said there really is something sexy about a girl wearing heels. Huh. So then I wore them around the house for the next hour, admiring my foot in a sleek shoe, admiring my calf muscle standing at attention, loving the girly feeling I had.

Maybe there's something to this whole "shoe" thing afterall.


why sesame street rocks

I was just watching Sesame Street with Harper when my very favorite segment ever came on: REM singing "Furry Happy Monsters" (Shiny Happy People) with a bunch of puppets.

Including one dressed to be Kate Pierson.

Sigh. Then laugh.

Love Sesame Street. Love REM. Love Michael Stipe and would totally marry him ... if he batted for my team.

Even though I always found Shiny Happy People to be the most annoying REM song ever (except maybe Losing My Religion, but that was mostly because radio stations wouldn't stop playing it, thus ruining it forever), I cut the guys slack when I saw it on Sesame Street and realized they had just introduced a whole new generation to the genius that is REM. (Of course, Henry was introduced when he was in utero and attended his first concert. To this day the kid loves REM and I'm sure it's because he got to hear them live at 14 weeks gestation ...)

Rock on, Children's Television Workshop.


reminded of something

A few weeks ago, my sister and her fiance lost a dear friend to the war in Iraq, SSG Paul Pabla. My sister, who, along with her fiance, is in the Air National Guard, was shaken in several ways. First and foremost, by the loss of a friend whom she'd known for years. Secondly, by the loss of a fellow brother-in-arms. Thirdly, because she is in public affairs for the Guard, she had to field questions from media about his death, about when his services would be, about the type of person and soldier he was. Becca had to take off her grieving friend hat and replace it with her professionally-speaking without attachment one. I can't even imagine how hard it would be to have to describe a close friend in terms such as, "He was a caring person ... he was a dedicated soldier."

Becca told me about his funeral and, coming from a small town in Indiana where you are loyal to your own, there was of course of very large and proud service for him. The service was held in the high school auditorium, and it was filled to near-capacity, more than 900 people. But what made the event so unfathomable by Huntington standards was the notoriety it gained.

The protesters from Westboro Church in Kentucky took it upon themselves to drive up to Huntington to protest the war, to protest the military's allowance of gay enlistees, to protest Sgt Pabla. When Becca told me about it, I felt physically ill. How can these people call themselves Christians for doing what they do? And beyond that, from what Becca told me about Paul and from what I read of him myself after looking up information about the events surrounding his death and funeral, these protesters were barking up the wrong tree. Had they taken a moment to get to know the soldier whose funeral they were spitting on, they would have found a good, caring, loving Christian man who was serving his country and doing so with pride.

Then Becca, who, along with her fiance, is a Harley rider, told me that the Patriot Guard was also on hand. Now, the Patriot Guard is a collection of bikers from all across the country who put out a notice when a soldier falls in Iraq and then converge upon the funeral to protect the family from these putred excuses for people from Westboro. The Guard block the family and funeral-goers from the protesters. They stand shoulder to shoulder and use American flags to create a wall between the two sides. They send riders up and down the street on bikes to drown out the noise of the protesters' ugly opinions.

Then Becca told me about the funeral procession, how it wound through town and into the country, and how all along the route were small flags planted into the ground and people from the community watching, applauding, honoring. In the country, farmers got off their tractors and stood by the road with their hands over their hearts.

She had me in tears. But she also made me wish so fervently that I'd been there. As a former journalist and current aspiring photographer, the idea of that day, that event, those elements made for a perfect alignment of amazing photo ops. The story those scenes could tell. I only hope the local paper got it right.

Which reminded me of this story tonight, and the fact that I'd wanted to tell it.

I periodically check in on my former employer, the Herald Press, and see what's going on in my former hometown of Huntington, Indiana. And today I happened to see an article about Sgt Pabla's funeral, and the fact that the Patriot Guard has made a memorial tribute video to him. Wow. The video itself is moving and beautiful, but seeing the photos that I had only imagined in my mind ... someone DID get it right. The images are lovely and heartbreaking and uplifting and full of pride and sorrow.

I'm so very proud of my little sister and all she's done and is doing, but the fact that she is bound to these two groups - the National Guard and the loving, giving community of bikers - make me intensely proud of her. She's got such a big heart, and I know that if and when the day comes, she, along with her fiance, will ride their bikes to a fallen soldier's funeral and they will do their part to keep the day focused on patriotism and heroism and love. And they won't let those rat-bastard Westboro bigots take away from the fact that a mother has lost her child, a country has lost a patriot, freedom has lost a defender.


entitled, "why i need a camera for every room of the house"

harper's cutting teeth, which means she's a total snotball right now.

i just heard her "blowing her nose" (the right way, just into her fingers instead of a tissue), so i grabbed a tissue and walked over to wipe her nose. and there she was ...

sitting there, with snot running down her face, and a large snot bubble out her nose. and she, totally crossed eyed, looking at it.

MAN do i need a camera at the ready in every room!! that would have been a priceless shot!!


august is here ...

Yeegawds. How did that happen?

One more month until Henry starts first grade ... for the first time in six years he'll be gone all day long. Wow. One more month until the end to the heat is (hopefully) in sight. One more month to lose weight before my sister's wedding. One more month of spending lazy mornings at the pool with my kids. August will hopefully be a good month for us all to prepare for all the busyness and changes September will bring.

Li'l random recap from the past week ... it's been a busy one!
1. Rszhenrytooth2_1 Henry lost a second tooth. A third is on it's way ... and his permanent tooth is pushing through and moving everything out of its way. He's looking highly snaggletooth right now.

2. Sneakpeek1 At the last minute, I decided to enter Memory Makers Masters contest. I decided about a month ago to enter, then about two weeks ago I talked to two friends who are former MMMs and they had a bad experience so I opted out. Then four days ago I decided to give MM the benefit of the doubt and assume maybe new management will do a better job. So I finished my entry at 2 a.m. the day of deadline. Not expecting anything, but actually putting together an entry for something was a fun exercise. Bummer I had to send a real layout, though ... I liked that one!

3. Rszfamily My dad and stepmom came up for a last-minute visit over the weekend and brought our new bed. My dad is fairly handy, so I showed him a picture of this bed from Pottery Barn and asked if he could make it ... he said he thought he could. And he did. It's awesome. So now I need to paint it and paint our room, get the carpeting in, and we'll finally have OUR space for the first time in two years. No more purple paint on the walls.

4. Rsz715paint We got the paint for Marc's office (middle color) and I'll be working on that tomorrow and Thursday. Then this weekend we'll move his desk and crap in and he'll have his own little tax write off space to get some client work done. I need to order the fabric for his curtains and then he'll be set. Then we can work on a place for ME!!

That might be about it. July was nuts. And hot. Horrendously hot. August should be a bit more peaceful - we're intending to keep it that way because we know how insane September will be ... a wedding in Iowa, a 600-mile trip to Indiana, my sister's wedding, a wedding the following weekend that I will photograph, and that'll wrap up the month. Crazy.

Here's hopin' for mid-70s sometime soon!