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August 2006
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October 2006

did i mention september would be nuts?!

Turns out, I was half right. It was way BEYOND nuts. But in a super awesome way. First Memory Makers Masters. Then Marc's amazingly awesome - and seriously lucrative - offer from Red Hat. Then my sister's wedding, which turned out to be gorgeous and perfect and such a happy, happy occasion. Then the potential opportunity to get flown to New York City and Atlanta, hauled up in a helicopter, and flown around the city to photograph various buildings for one of Marc's friends who has a business rendering 3D cityscapes for clients and recently realized he can't take very good photographs.

But let me back up. I'll start with the Friday before we headed to Indiana and will work my way up to now.

Friday afternoon I got a call from Marc: "Where do you want to go for dinner?" I said that I was planning on eating at home - it was Clean Out The Fridge Before Leaving For A Week So Upon Return Our Kitchen Doesn't Smell Like Ass night at the Skinner house, but Marc said we needed to go out. To celebrate. Celebrate what? says I. "I got my offer from Red Hat," says he. Turns out there will be a major improvement in the Skinner Family Finances in the coming weeks and months. After years of debating Savings vs Groceries, we can now have both! What a concept.

So then we headed to Indy to hang with the in-laws for a few days. We spent time with Marc's sister, Laura, and her daughter, Kayla. We took the kids to the Indianapolis Children's Museum (a phenomenal place, if you get a chance to go). Marc and I got to see Talledega Nights and laughed till we peed our pants. It was a good visit.

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Rszhatmuseum Rszcarousel Rszharpandthreebears Rszharpmominmirrors

Then we headed up to Huntington to prep for my sister's wedding. It was chaos, but the kids were amazingly good. The day of the wedding arrived gray and cold, but the rain held off and the outdoor reception was dry. Becca looked stunning, Matt was beaming ... it was all good.

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Other items of note during the trip:
Rszhridebike_1 Henry finally learned to ride a bike.






Rszcatfish2 Henry caught a 10 lb catfish in the lake behind my parents' house. Reeled it in all by himself. Grandpa was beside himself with pride.





Rszhotmarc Marc got a haircut.




Rszmeasuringharp And Harper is finally tall enough to be measured on the Roush Family wall. Good times.



And now Little Miss is screaming because she hasn't had a nap today and I have an hour to get ready to pick up Henry from school and head to the Arboretum for the wedding rehearsal, so I'll have to get back to this later. Sigh. It's good to be home.


five years

Sept11framedI woke up today and the weather, fittingly and thankfully, is gray and cold and gloomy. I'm not sure how people would feel if it was warm and gorgeous today. Like it was then.

It's inevitable that we instinctively think back to where we were at any given minute of that day five years ago ... when we first heard, when we first saw, what we then knew. All those feelings return, all those fears are renewed, all that disbelief is made fresh.

I still can't watch shows and news about September 11th without feeling a total sense of astonishment. No way ... that didn't just happen. But it did. And while I wasn't personally affected, Marc's uncle lost two business partners on one of the first planes. And his boss was in the Marriott at the base of the World Trade Center that morning and had to evacuate with the clothes on his back. Peripheral, but still sobering.

That morning our cable was out, so Henry and I were just puttering around, playing and taking our time getting ready for the day. When Marc called to say a plane had crashed into the Trade Center, like most people I believed it to be some small plane that drifted off course or ran into problems. I immediately thought, "Oh - those poor people!" thinking about those on the affected floors and the firemen who would have to attempt to rescue them. My dad was a fireman for most of my life ... I know the gear they carry and can't imagine having to lug it dozens of flights of stairs and then fight a massive fire.

When Marc called a few minutes later, though, to report the second plane, the journalist in me knew this wasn't a random incident. There's no way it could happen twice accidentally. And suddenly I was pissed off that I didn't have access to CNN. I ran upstairs with Henry, stuck him in front of a video, and then tried in vain to get online to see what was going on. But all the news sites were overloaded and nothing worked.

I called my friend Heather to see if we could go to her house to watch. She had no idea what was happening and said sure, come on over. On the way there, I heard on the radio as the first tower fell, and felt like being sick. I called Marc, at work in a tall financial building downtown, and told him to come to Heather's. I didn't want him there. He said people were already being told to leave the building. Through the stairways.

Together, the three of us watched the second tower fall. And heard about the Pentagon. And the plane in Pennsylvania.

I was so afraid for the future my son would have. He was only 18 months old and I was worried that he would grow up in a world devoid of trust, innocence, peace.

Today, five years later, I still worry about that. Especially since he is a boy. What lies ahead of him? More wars to fight?

And now I have a daughter, who is, ironically, 17 months old. She will never know a world pre-9.11. She was brought into a world that was in full knowledge of the terror and hate and evil that lurks. What will she see in her lifetime? I shudder to think what her "9.11" will be. Worse than the one five years ago? Quite probably. That scares the shit out of me.

As a parent, all you want for your kids is their happiness and safety. Was it selfish of us to have another child, knowing the world into which we were bringing her? Or was having her our sign of hope, our prayer for peace?

I don't agree with Bush politics, I don't completely agree with the war on Iraq. I wonder why bin Laden is still out there, five years later. But I also know that it won't end with him. This is an unwinnable war. And where do we go from here? So many questions, but today I pray for those families who lost loved ones, and for the ones who were lost, and for the ones who survived, and for us all.


exciting news from designerzine!!

This news release was just sent out by our faboo PR lady, Carla Sylvester. Designers - take note!! If you want to be seen, this is the place to go!

DESIGNERZINE OFFERS ONLINE DESIGNER SHOWCASE

If you’ve ever wanted to display your work to manufacturers, publishers, and others in the industry, here’s your chance! DesignerZine, an online magazine for professional designers, is offering its first Online Designer Showcase from Sept. 25-Oct. 2. 

The event offers craft designers the opportunity to display their work for viewing by industry manufacturers, publishers, television producers, editors and other companies. This provides you the opportunity to make industry contacts, as well as promote and sell your work.

The online showcase is conducted much like similar events that take place at trade shows, where designers set up their own displays and manufacturers browse the designers’ work -- from fabric to paper, beads to clay and everything in between.  (For a more detailed account of one designer’s live showcase experience, see the March issue of DesignerZine.) With the DesignerZine Online Designer Showcase, however, no travel is required! 

Designers may display up to 12 projects. They should have a résumés and head shot, and will be asked to build a backdrop to display their work, just as in a “live” showcase.

Participation is open only to paid subscribers of DesignerZine. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can become one for $50 annually. This makes you eligible to participate in the showcase in a way that is much more affordable than traveling to participate in a “live” showcase. 

The subscription fee includes a full year of DesignerZine’s monthly articles and the designer showcase, plus free online classes, a formal mentor program, classified ads, and a directory of manufacturers who pay endorsement fees to designers. Coming in the near future are a designer gallery and hosting of online résumés.  The forums on DesignerZine are open to subscribers and non-subscribers alike.

For a list of manufacturers who’ve expressed interest in the showcase and to get your questions answered, come visit the DesignerZine forums.

To protect all participants, the online showcase will be by registration/invitation only. Subscribers who would like to participate in the showcase should email Jan Hicks at Jan_Hicks@designerzine.com or R. Lynn Baker at rlynnbakerdz@gmail.com to activate their showcase account. Manufacturers, publishers, editors or company owners who would like to view the showcase should contact Margert Ann Kruljac at margert_ann_kruljac@designerzine.com or Melony Bradley at melbradley@midsouth.rr.com.

ABOUT DESIGNERZINE

DesignerZine (www.designerzine.com) is an online magazine for professional craft designers.  DesignerZine strives to be a “one-stop” venue to connect designers to current trends, resources and opportunities in an interactive setting. Services include the delivery of an online magazine, as well as a website that features video reports, audio interviews, message boards, and online chats with industry professionals. DesignerZine’s staff comprises designers and experts from various areas of the industry.


MASTER of my domain!!

Okay - the secret is officially out: I am a Memory Makers Master for 2007!!!

(insert wild partying and loud whoops here.)

For those of you who don't know, Memory Makers is a scrapbooking publication and every year they hold a contest to select their team of top 10 scrappers for the upcoming year. Those top 10 are called Masters. I'm now on that list of fantastic scrappers who have held that title, and I'm flabbergasted, to say the least.

You might remember, I decided to enter this thing a mere four days before deadline, and actually finished the entry at 2 a.m. on the day it was due. I went back and forth over whether I wanted to enter, but decided in the end that I wanted to give the new editorial staff the benefit of the doubt that they were going to improve the way things were run and put my name in the ring.

So on Tuesday afternoon I was in the kitchen cleaning up dishes and the phone rang. The caller ID said Ohio, but honestly it didn't register. I get telemarketing calls from Quebec, so you just never know. I answered, and a lady asked if I was Michele Skinner. I said yes, and Robin said she was calling from Memory Makers magazine. I didn't dare let myself think this was a Master's call ... I thought maybe it had to do with the Reality Scrapbooking book that's out soon and in which I have a layout. Then she said, "Congratulations! You've been selected as a Master's finalist for 2007!" At that point I said something really eloquent, like "holy crap!" and started dancing around the kitchen, and the rest of the conversation is a blur. We hung up and I suddenly thought, "Did she say finalist? Like, am I a finalist or a Master?" I was totally confused.

I called Marc right away and told him, and he said congrats, and just saying it out loud made it start to sink in a little. But I honestly didn't even realize what being a Master meant until all the excitement started building on the scrapbooking message boards. Then it was so hard to keep quiet. People would ask about calls and I'd try to be sneaky and say stuff like, "The people who got calls must be so excited!" ... you know, checking in but not really saying anything. Then today when the list was finally revealed and my name was actually on it ... wow. What an amazing feeling. One I completely, totally never expected to feel. Ever.

I can't wait for the year to begin!!


is it friday yet?

I can't believe it's Thursday already ... well, in 40 minutes anyway. Where has this week gone??

Rszgeoffandsarah Over Labor Day weekend we drove to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for a wedding - my mom's best friend's son got married, so we wanted to join the celebration and spend a quiet-ish weekend with my family before my sister gets married in three weeks. We met on Saturday for lunch, then Mom, Becca, Matt and I drove to the mall on a proposed 20 minute errand to find a) shoes for me (because the outfit I'd intended to wear was suddenly too big, so I had to scramble to find something else to wear and ended up in a dress I haven't been able to fit into in about six years. Thus, I had no idea where the shoes were.), b) black shrug for Becca, and c) suit for Matt. Why had we come to a wedding so unprepared?? At any rate, I found shoes within five minutes - and for $9.99 no less. Then I grabbed Becca and said, "There's a Maurice's. Let's go look for your sweater." We got there, asked the lady if they had any black shrugs, and she said they had only one left. It was black, it was the right size, and it was exactly what Bec was looking for. So, two problems solved in the first ten minutes. We ran back into Younkers and found Mom and Matt, finishing up the purchase of a suit. Wow. We were out the door on time ... which, with my mom at a mall, is no small feat. Really.

Rszharpdancing Rszhhokeypokey_1 The wedding was lovely. Harper refused to nap at the hotel so I didn't hold out much hope for her being happy at the reception but whoa was I wrong!! She found kids to play with, she was a dancin' queen, she commandeered a push truck from another little kid and wouldn't give it up. She even got her first kiss from a little guy. My gosh was she ever fun to watch. And Henry learned to hokey pokey. What a hoot.

Sunday morning we had breakfast, then the kids went for a swim in the (outdoor) pool with Becca and Matt. It was gray and cool, but the water was warm. And both my kids are little waterbugs - especially Miss Harper; the kid's a natural!! - so the weather didn't phase them. Until it started raining. Then Harper got to snuggle under a balcony with Grandma while Henry kept right on swimmin'.
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Monday was all about getting over our crazy weekend. Tuesday we had back-to-school night at Henry's school, and today was his first day of first grade. The little bugger was up, dressed, and pop tart in hand by 6:50 a.m. Yikes. Hope he mellows. We ended up deciding to enroll him in an elementary school in a suburb seven miles and as many stoplights away, Prior Lake. The school seems more progressive, better able to offer someone with Henry's brains added challenges and opportunities, and his teacher is a total ball of energy and enthusiasm and anticipation. I think it'll be a good move. I'm so excited for him and all he's going to experience this year, and all the growing he's going to do. It's crazy. I asked him after school what the best part of the day was, and he of course said recess. So I said besides that. He said, "Well, eating lunch was pretty fun, too."

What a kid.

Rszhfirstday_1 Rszhwmrsgeisler_1

Oh, and Marc has another out-of-the-blue job interview tomorrow. The company is local and no big deal (not like, say, Red Hat), but the job is way cool and he would be so, so happy. Why do we go through months and years of nothing but no options, and then suddenly there are too many??? At any rate, I can't wait to hear how it goes. Let the bidding war begin!

And one other thing ... I'll be sharing some news in the next couple of days. Gotta solidify first, but then yeehaw!! Look out!