Wednesday, August 26, 2009

So Many Kindnesses

Aren't I too old to feel like it's the first day of school???
Last night, I went to bed with the same scared anticipation as before the first day of school - all excited and terrified at the same time. And my first day was over in a flash. Next thing I knew I was pointing my car to the freeway and heading east.
Which gave me forty-five minutes of primo time to take stock of my day. So the theme for today is kindness because I have so many kindnesses for which to be grateful . . .
- a company letting me redefine myself with a totally new and very exciting job
- so many friends and coworkers who wished me well
- my new staff who are warm and sweet and told me where the ladies room was before I asked
- my predecessor who left a lovely note offering assistance and support
By the time I arrived home I'd gone from antsy third grader to channeling Blanch in "A Steetcar Named Desire" (who always depended upon the kindness of strangers).
I pulled in the driveway of my middle class home on my middle class street in my middle class neighborhood tonight and felt like the richest woman in the world.
Simple little kindnesses - the happy TNT of human interaction.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Halls - New Adventures

Yesterday, I cleaned out my desk at work. I spent the afternoon giving away doodads and things from my toolbox (including a flowered hammer that Ken gave me seven years ago, promising no one would ever steal it). Every gift bought me a hug. I'm not much of a pack rat (at work anyway), but when I got back to my desk and started going through my drawers I was surprised at the things I've held onto for the past 12 years.
A program from the funeral of a cleaning lady I got to know all too well during a spate of very long workdays.
A pieced together ransom note demanding cookies in exchange for the heavy duty stapler I couldn't locate.
A felt angel with a sparkly halo from a woman who'd worked for the company back when the company fit in a small office.
My notes from the first computer the company bought 12 years ago.
The coffee cup from my first boss, a brilliant and exacting man now disappearing into advanced Alzheimers.
I packed up my Get Fuzzy desk calendar and the clock Matt bought at Bombay Company just for my desk. I emptied the paper clips from the little Haviland china dish mom and I found at a junk shop for a fifty cents. I boxed up an array of photos that have changed over the years from school pictures to high school graduation shots to college graduation pictures to wedding photos.
12 years ago during my first interview, I said I wanted to stay long enough to be able to show everyone pictures of my first grandchild.
And I will.
Because after 12 years of folding myself into a job that wasn't always a brilliant fit, my three enlightened, insightful, out-of-the-box-thinking bosses have gifted me with a brand spanking new job I think I'm going to be very good at - a job I think I'm going to love. A job where I can roll up my sleeves and work hard and jump start my creativity and have a blast. A job where I can grow and stretch and breathe some fresh air into my 8-5 life. I'm as excited as I am terrified.
That's probably a good balance of emotions. Astronaut-like.
I picked up my box, shouldered my purse and walked the halls through the office turning off lights. At the door, I stopped for one last look down the long executive hallway that has been my home for 12 years. It will be strange to make the rounds of different hallways for morning hellos next week. I'll be back in the these halls occasionally but as a very different person, I expect. I'm not old, but I am at an age where new opportunities and new attitudes and new faith aren't to be taken lightly. But I'm also full of experiences and ideas and skills and a certain fearlessness I didn't have 12 years ago.
So off I go on a new adventure. I head downstairs, across the atrium where the poinsettia tree sits every Christmas and out to the parking lot. As I get in the car, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and notice a big grin on my face.
Today, I'm still grinning.
Look out, world.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Mind's Eye

I was trolling through my favorite LSS, Scrap Happy in Tiffin, Ohio, a few months back and came across this gorgeous flowered paper that was bright and fun and so of course I bought a couple pieces. But then it was too pretty to use so I'd just get it out every once in awhile and lay a photo or two and some embellies on it. But in the end it would always go right back in the cropper hopper from whence it could be plucked day after day for me to "pretend" I was using it.
Now, I am absolutely positive there's a whole new branch of psychology starting up here to explain why we scrappers are (a) obsessed, (b) hoarders and (c) obsessed. (I know I mentioned obsessed twice but it deserves it.) Maybe the psychiatric industry will recognize the legitimacy - yea, the need - for scrap-ologists in the near future.
I've also started stalking the websites of the manufacturers of my favorite papers so it was only natural that I'd start stalking My Mind's Eye who made this beautiful paper line called Bloom and Grow. MME has MANY MANY beautiful lines - and you should really checked them ALL out.
When you go to their website, click on Blog then scroll down. On the left hand side, you'll see the Photo Albums and then Bloom and Grow. Click on that.
Surprise!!! It's my card!
I was in full stalker mode one night and left a comment on their blog, which Amber Packer picked to win which meant I could pick any line to be sent to me and I, of course, picked Bloom and Grow. But oh my gosh - what a tough choice it was!!! After that I began stalking my mailman and when he finally delivered The Package I ripped right into it, sat down and made this card which I emailed to Amber to say thanks.
And the sweetie put it on the blog.
Now that I've got two whole packages of Bloom and Grow, I'm hoping I can finally use one of them in a LO. I did make important progress when I cut up a sheet of those yummy flowers to use on LOs and cards. The funny thing is that the packages Amber sent me already came with pages of handy cut outs. But I couldn't bring myself to punch them out. Oh no. I couldn't do that. They're waaaaay too pretty.
Is there a scrapologist in the house????

Friday, August 14, 2009


Oh. my. goodness.
I owe it all to Annie. She came home tonight for our family reunion on Sunday. Having her home in itself was reason enough to break into a little session of happydance. But I asked for her help in getting some stuff cleaned up around this place (meaning my blog, not my house) and she found BLOGFISH on Blogger!!!!
Aren't they cute??
And now through the wonders of technology and the genius that is Adam Bowman you, too, can become obsessed with blogfish.
You can feed them by clicking in their bowl.
You can train them to follow your cursor because they will think you have food. Annie says DaBoys are quite like Bloggerfish in that regard.
You can name them and love them and play with them until you become obsessed, neglect your family, lose your job and get carried away to the funny farm in one of Jo's nice white coats.
And when I go out of town for the weekend, you can babysit.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Better Than a Leg Lamp

You know, most days I consider myself fortunate if I'm upright and my shoes match. You choose what to celebrate in life, and I've found that if I start out the day happy with the little things (like matching shoes), I can be happy all day. Of course, no one can truly appreciate matching shoes unless one has spent an entire day in UNmatching shoes, but that's another blog post.
So today I was happy that my Dunkin Donuts iced coffee with skim milk and two Equals had the perfect amount of milk. And I was happy that my computer didn't do anything wonky. And I was happy that I found Andrea Boccelli's "Sueno" CD stuffed between the seats so I could listen to his beautiful voice all the way home from work.
Being happy about little things is like those pennies that pool at the bottom of your purse: they don't seem like much until you add them up.
But then. . . . . then I read my email when I got home. And I swear with God as my witness, as I'm staring at my inbox - bloop! - up pops this email from my MSW friend, Cheryl Nyboer.
And this is what it said:
Hi Lori,
The administration at SNR asked each staff member to nominate a few blogs that we really liked. I nominated yours and am thrilled to tell you that the staff has approved it for this award!! Here is their statement:
"Congratulations, Scrapbook News and Review, the leading paper crafting magazine on the internet, has noticed and is impressed by your blog. We appreciate the time, effort and creativity that you share with the crafting world and to show our approval, we've included this unique blog award for you to proudly display.

This award is possible only if you've been nominated by our staff or readers and have been approved by our editors. We encourage you to display it proudly and link it back to Scrapbook News and Review Magazine. We thank you for all you've given to the blogging world and encourage you to keep doing so. We'll keep watching and enjoying."
Congratulations again!!
Love ya,

And you know what popped into my mind? That scene in "A Christmas Story" when the dad got his Major Award. So I hurried to put my Major Award right in my front window, too, but I think you'll agree that mine is waaaaaaay cooler looking. (Wow! Whoopee! A zepellin!!)
To tell you the truth, if I'd known SNR was coming I would have put out something a little nicer than a post about mousie corpses this week.
So, maybe now's a good time to start spiffing things up around here. Get your feet off the coffee table and tuck in your shirt because we're going to start doing things proper like. For instance, there will be no more blogging while wearing green face cream and my favorite Mutts jammies with the hole in the. . . . well, nevermind. Because if you've ever had the good taste or good fortune to check out Scrapbook News and Review, you know that they're The Real Deal. And like the graphic, their new site ROCKS.
I'm stunned and humbled and honored by all this, and would like to give Cheryl and each editor a big hug. Sitting on this side of the computer screen, it's really hard to tell if anyone is reading all this gibberish which is why I thank my lucky stars every day when someone - anyone - is kind enough to leave a comment. But an AWARD???? Absofreakinglutely amazing.
Every once in awhile when you count those pennies, you discover there's a $5 bill underneath that you didn't know you had. Tonight, it's like I found a $100 bill. THANK YOU to the wonderful staff and editors at Scrapbook News and Review. You did something impossible: rendered me speechless!
And Cheryl - you know I love ya right back, girl.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go empty the spitoon and de-flea DaBoys.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Blogging to Avoid Sweating

I just got back from my half hour walk. It's 8AM and already 75 degrees and rain forest sticky. The kind of sticky that makes me think my kitchen needs a good scrubbing even though I did it yesterday. In this humidity and with no a/c, everything seems sticky to me. But maybe that's just one of my neuroses rearing it's ugly head. Erin once told me I had so many of them, I was cute.
I'll tell you something that wasn't just another one of my neuroses: the smell in the basement. I've been telling Ken that something didn't smell right in the corner by the washer and dryer. I moved stuff. I got out the shop vac and vacuumed everywhere (and threw out a ton of stuff, but don't tell Ken) but nothing improved. Then I thought maybe I overfilled the washer ( you CAN TOO get the dog bed and their four blankets all in the same load), and maybe a sock or something floated out over the top of the tub and was caught somewhere in the machine getting all smelly and gross. Finally, last night after dinner Ken went downstairs and removed a DEAD MOUSE FROM DRAIN IN ONE OF THE WASHTUBS. Ewwww! and may I add Ick! Then- bless him- he even scrubbed it out for me. Ladies, if I didn't already love him that right there is why I need a nice strong husband around. I can mow the lawn with the push mower. I can paint the house. I've laid down floors, taken up roofing and can even change my own oil. But there is no way on God's green earth I could have extricated this horrid, smelly rotting litte mouse from my own washtub. No freakin' way. So last night, my knight in shining armor got his favorite chicken scallopini served over a bed of linguini for dinner along with a nice, crisp Chardonnay followed up by made-from-scratch fudgie brownies. Yessir. I takes good care of knights who remove rotting mousie corpses from my home.
Lots to do today (after I get done scrubbing my kitchen). I just placed an order over at Scrappy Jo's ( Talk about temptation! She's already taking preorders for the new BG bling - and ladies, this stuff is to die for. Flourishes and curlicues in BLING - plus the new Christmas bling! I stocked up on pearls (new dark blue ones-mmmmmmmm) and just about had apoplexy when I came across a new white Signo pen with a broad tip. Oh. my. You all know how I feel about my trusty white Signo pen. Yummy Core'dinations on sale, too. Be sure to check out the SIX PAGES of sale items - and notice that a lot of her new stuff is aleady on sale. Don't forget - if you place a small order, Jo will credit back a portion of your shipping in store credit. How sweet is that? My only problem with ordering from Jo is that I can't just twitch my nose and have it here . . . like, now!
So while I'm waiting, I'll be hopping over to My Sketch World for their month long crop. You've probably noticed the little sign over there yonder to the right. This crop is based on the letters of the alphabet and every day brings a fun new challenge. What I've posted here are my entries in the Ad Challenge, Border, Blue & Buttons Challenge, Four Flowers Challenge and Glitter Challenge. You can jump in anytime, do whatever challenges you'd like and be entered to win some great prizes by I Am a Scrapaholic. Since the crop's a month long, you've got ample time to post and tons of examples in the gallery to get your mojo flowing! OH - and did I mention the amazing games they're posting as well??? I'd particularly check out today's What's the Difference? game. Whoever put that together (ahem) should stop taking so many pics of her dogs. I'm just saying. . .
Well, there's a kitchen floor just begging to be scrubbed again. After that, I see a nice cool shower in my future. Except those damn brownies are calling me. . . . aaarrrrrgggghhhhhh!! Oh wait. Maybe it's NOT the brownies. Maybe that's just one of my neuroses. Hmmm. Or is that called a delusion. . . . .???

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Whining, The Crying, The Rattling, The Waving

Our house is a cute little 100 year old colonial but a part of its 100 year old charm I don't find so charming: in 1903, there was no central air conditioning. We put window air conditioners in the bedrooms eventually so no matter how humid the summer nights are, I can thankfully get some sleep.
That is until we got DaBoys.
If it's a really hot and humid at night, I leave them in their crate on the first floor with a fan on them. But once I get upstairs with the air conditioner humming away and the bedroom door closed, I can't rest. Why? Because while I might be losing my memory and I might be losing my mind, my mommy genes are still around to remind me that I can't hear what's going on downstairs. What if the fan overheats ? (Insert Ken rolling his eyes here.) What if the fan falls over and overheats?? (Insert Ken rolling eyes and sighing here.) What if someone breaks in?? What if they get hurt? WHAT IF THEY NEED ME ??
It's the same thing I went through when the kids were little. Ultimately, I end up sleeping in half hour spurts and spend the rest of the night checking on DaBoys just like I used to check on the kids. But now, I check on DaBoys and then try to convince them to go back to sleep because they can hear a creaking floor five miles away and if it's one thing builders did in 1903 to make up for the lack of central air, it was install creaky floors.
So last night, I got a brilliant idea. We'll just put DaBoys' crate upstairs in our room! Why didn't I think of this before?? As I was explaining my Brilliant Idea to Ken, that little muscle in his jaw did a dance. The only thing he said (and he said it very quietly) was that no. dogs. are. sleeping. in. our. bed.
But he agreed to try my Brilliant Idea because it was . . . well, brilliant (she said modestly). As he schlepped the crate up the stairs you could barely hear him muttering under his breath. He didn't crash into the table on the landing but did suffer a nasty bruise on his shin when Sammy forgot he lacked opposable thumbs and tried to help.
Things were going reasonably well at first. Doggies in their crate over by my closet, chins resting on short little front legs, quiet and watchful in what I took to be a sleepy sort of way. Ken and I in bed, me with the latest issue of Discover magazine and Ken reading S.M. Stirling. About midnight, we turned out our lights.
And that's when the fun began.
First it was the whining. Pitiful, heartrending whining. Charlie started, then Sammy joined, then Charlie let Sammy take it solo for awhile.
After that, they stretched way up and ran their paws down the crate door over and over again like demented harpists. Actually, they got a pretty good rhythm going a la Muhammed Ali at the punching bag.
Ken and I were laughing to ourselves but trying not to let on. Cuz right then, it was funny and we were sure it was going to end. Ken fell asleep for good at 12:30 and slept like a log (see post about the squirrel in our bedroom). But DaBoys whined and cried and rattled their crate all night trying to alert us to the fact that (a) they were locked up and (b) helllooooooo, we were in the same room but not holding them. Around 1AM they started taking deceiving little rest stops every once in awhile; rests that were juuuuuuust long enough I'd drop off to sleep. Then they'd get their second doggie wind and start all over again with the whining and the rattling, tag team style. At one point, they started poking their little front legs out of the crate and waving them around in case we had only gone deaf and not blind, too.
It was a long night for one of us.
They finally stopped whining/rattling/waving furiously at 5:22 AM.
Lucky me. My alarm went off at 5:45AM.
When I let them out to go for our walk, there was much licking and jumping and happiness, let me tell you. They looked at me with confused little faces that said, "Didn't you see us? We were right over there ALL NIGHT!"
I dazed my way through getting ready for work and headed out the door. The only thing that kept me awake once I got to work was massive doses of caffiene and a quick nap in my car at lunch (which I learned from my coworkers, seemingly all of whom are master car nappers). But when I came home this evening, I wasn't greeted by my usual furry, snuffling, licking, jumping duo. Oh no. They were asleep on the living room chairs.
You see, they had a rough night.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

30 Days of Blank

One of my very favorite-est blogs in the whole world is Pioneer Woman. It's written by a woman named Ree Drummond who lives on a ranch with her husband (Marlboro Man) and four kids. Her blog is an online cornucopia of bloggy goodness - great stories, amazing photography, yummy recipes, great giveaways, ranching tips, a home and garden section, homeschooling and a romance novel to boot. Not only is her blog gorgeous, this woman writes stuff that makes me laugh out loud.
Like speaking at the BlogHer convention and complimenting a woman on her cute pregnant belly.
Except the woman wasn't pregnant.
Ree told this embarrassing story on her blog, with a link to not-preggo lady Mrs. Flinger's blog where she tells her take on the incident. After that, I scooted over to Mrs. Flinger's other blog which is where I found 30 Days of Blank.
The idea is that if you do anything for 30 days you make it a habit. (I actually thought it was 21 days, but since I'm a slow learner 30 days is probably better for me.) It struck me that 30 days was not an intimidatingly long time to try something new and positive in my life even if it might be a tad difficult. Or boring. Or inconvenient. I will just have to remember Mrs. Flinger's observation that compared to "growing an entire person, that’s like, what, one ninth?"
1/9th is nothing.
But what to do for 30 days?? I'm loathe to share that there are myriad items in my life that would benefit greatly from 30 days of reform. Sticking to my budget. Cleaning my scrap room so that it doesn't look like a tornado ran through it. Driving the speed limit (can I help it if my cruise control adds a few miles all on its own?) Sweeping the kitchen floor after dinner. Answering all my voicemails and emails at work. Spending more time with my husband doing something other than chair napping at 9PM (we're not in a nursing home yet). Plucking my eyebrows. Remembering to check Facebook.
All these ideas screamed at me at once as I was perusing Room 704, reminding me once more that just because you're of a certain age doesn't mean you're all grown up and responsible.
I've made my decision.
I've already gone 23 days without dipping into the candy dish at work or snacking my way through the evening. Starting today, I'm going to put in 30 minutes of walking or exercise every day. And I'm not talking about WALKING across the parking lot to Dairy Queen, or RUNNING to the kitchen for the last piece of chocolate cake or LIFTING the lid of the chest freezer to get fudgsicles. I'm going to do legitimate Gilad- approved exercise of some sort, even if it watching it won't be pretty like Gilad.
30 for 30.
That's the deal. You're all witnesses so now I've got to follow through. Unfortunately for you, you all may become unwitting victims of this little experiment as I do have a tendancy to get whine-y. Couple whininess with having keys to a blog and you just might have the recipe for a rant or two. I promise to keep 'em short.