Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

This is a card I made from Scrappy Jo's October Creative Team pack o' goodies. The tangerine Doodlebug sugared cardstock totally stymied me until I thought of making a card with it. The pumpkins are cut from Felt Fusion and I added Moxxie buttons and a couple rows of black trim I had in my stash. Then I doodled and I was done!
As I type this, it's 6AM and raining like crazy outside. I sure hope it stops raining for trick or treating tonight. Just like Easter, Halloween loses some of its magic when you have to stuff your adorable little kid into a coat.
I hope you have a fang-tastic Halloween.
And that your little trick or treaters don't drive you batty.
And that the weather tonight where you are is boo-tiful.
Well, I'm off to get ready for my day.
Orange you glad I'm out of puns??

POSTSCRIPT: Just checked in at Scrappy Jo's - and discovered she put up this card as LOTD! Fang kew very much, Jo (and fangs for the opportunity to squeeze in one more pun)!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Glitter Diaries, Chapter One

A month ago, I caved and bought a bottle of Fire Opal glitter because it winked at me and cooed enticingly and flashed its glittery wiles my way. I did it in a fit of crazed denial, knowing full well that somewhere on my person are the remnants of my last glitter encounter even though that was in 1983. Glitter must be the only substance on the face of the earth made of tiny, tenacious specks that don't wash off, won't wear off and have a half-life longer than plutonium. Even if I'm 110 when I die, there will STILL be a stoopid piece of glitter stuck to me somewhere, winking away as they close the casket.
But all of this was nothing more than a hazy memory when I gingerly lifted the cap off that bottle of glorious, intoxicating Fire Opal glitter. And "what if. . .?" was the farthest thing from my mind as I gently tipped the bottle sideways bit by bit and watched those first captivating flakes of fiery light cascade toward the waiting cushion of glue on the LO I'd been working on for three full weeks.
Not that thinking ahead of time about "What if. . . ?" would have prevented the weird things that happened next.
Just as the first bits of Fire Opal glitter started to pool on my LO, the glass globe behind me suddenly crashed down into the kitchen sink, sending bits of glass everywhere. And before I could even grasp my reaction - a mere split nanosecond later - the chair I was sitting on suddenly broke, sending me crashing to the floor. My first cogent thought was "Yippee! I still have the glitter bottle!" because there it was, clutched firmly in my little hand attached to my now horizontal body.
Except it was empty.
I looked around and there - like some crazy explorer's map - were stripes of glitter in all directions. I couldn't have glittered my kitchen better if I'd been hiccuping and had the shakes. There was glitter on the stove, glitter across the curtains and glitter on the microwave. The doggie treat jar was glittered, and so was every cookbook I owned. I looked at the glaringly naked bulb above my sink, trying its best to glow with an air of innocence, and it had glitter on it. I looked at the chair lying in pieces underneath me and each part had glitter on it. (I also made a mental note to speak to POK about his furniture gluing talents. Or the lack thereof.)
You have no idea just how far a little, spice jar-sized bottle of glitter can go until you have to empty your sweeper bag three times in 10 minutes. Or until your panting puppy's little spit bubbles are coated in glitter. Or until you go to the dentist weeks later and he finds glitter between your teeth.
What could I say?
I just told him it was overflow from my sparkling personality.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fallen Leaf Alert!

Here in northeast Ohio, we are full into the most beautiful part of autumn when the leaves are glorious colors. But apparently some arboreal memo went out from tree to tree overnight that it was time to start dropping leaves. Because I just got back from my morning walk with DaBoys, and the sidewalks were full of curly, dried leaves that weren't there yesterday.
We sounded like we were walking on Rice Krispies.
When Annie and Matt were little, we'd take long walks around the neighborhood snagging the prettiest leaves we could find and come home with a beautiful bouquet of big leaves in every color. Maybe collecting them was part of a school assignment. I don't remember. I just know we thought they were just beautiful to look at.
But let this post serve as a warning to everyone with a child who loves to go for long walks gathering fall leaves.
Do not come to my neighborhood. Because I discovered something that I never even thought of before I had dogs:
Sammy and Charlie had a contest this morning to see who could tinkle on the most leaves.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Books and Movies, Please!

Exactly 12 days from now, I will be flat on my back, sucking up drugs and staring at my poor bandage-wrapped appendage propped up on bed pillows. Right now, however, I'm up to my eyeteeth in trying to remember all the little details that Other Folks will have to handle. Like turning the aloe plant in the window so that it doesn't grow lopsided. Or flipping the mattress. Or giving DaBoys their heartworm pills.
Dippy stuff like that.
There is one thing I will NOT be doing after this surgery and that is taking Percodan, no matter how much pain I'm in. The Percodan I took after my last surgery made me so hyper it wasn't funny. At one point, I was doing all of these things all at the same time:
watching Ellen on TV
listening to my iPod
watching "Big Fish" on the portable DVD player on my lap
reading "Demolition Angel" by Robert Crais
talking to everyone who would pick up their extension at work
while chewing about 50 pieces of gum.
And I was still bored.
That was the day I think I actually scared DaBoys cuz they sort of camped out on the rug by the back door waiting for POK to save them from the crazy lady laying on the couch. Earlier in the day, I'd learned that no matter how much you may want to, it is impossible to scrapbook while (a) lying flat on your back with (b) two dogs lying on your chest. And don't even think about trying to use Stickles.
So this time, I'm trying to plan for some diversions to take my mind off of being bored and in pain. Since there's not much you can do when confined to the couch for two weeks, I've joined Netflix and have my local library on speed dial. I figure I can at least catch up on my reading and watch every movie I've ever wanted to watch that POK would hate.
And here's where you can help me out.
I need your suggestions for books and movies that will keep me occupied. My tastes are all over the map, so share everything: the ones you loved and the ones you hated.
I was going to ask for phone numbers so I could call when I got bored, but figured this would probably be better. The last thing you want is a drug-crazed loon driving you nuts cuz she's bored. Better you should give me book and movie suggestions.
Since an occupied invalid is a happy invalid, POK and DaBoys will be eternally grateful for your help.
Then again, if you really feel the need to share your phone number that's fine, too.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cosmo Cricket BOO!

This Cosmo Cricket Haunted "Eerie" paper was in my October Creative Team pack o' goodies from Scrappy Jo's.
So I cut an angled piece off of the top and accordion folded it in thirds. Then I stamped it around the edges and added in some bats and a spider I've aptly nicknamed Cosmo.
Cosmo is actually the bwudder of the first spider I made. He was unfortunately maimed in a horrible scissors accident.
I just cut Cosmo and the bats out of black Bazzill cardstock.
Cosmo and the Bats. Sounds like a new cover band for "The Monster Mash"!
Did that make you chuckle??
Fang kew! Fang kew!
Don't applaud - just send chocolate!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In Defense of Lazy Days

I'm still getting used to this working-the-occasional-weekend thing. I cannot tell you how weird Sundays are when they involve coming home from church and staying in my bra. Not that there's any law saying I can't take my bra off after church even if I have to go to work. It's just that I don't want potential residents thinking that I've stuffed fighting gerbils under my blouse.
So since I did work last Sunday (and got A TON of paperwork done), I took today off.
Let me tell you, there is no more luxurious feeling in the world than turning off your alarm and realizing you don't have to go to work.
Pure. Unadulterated. Heaven.
Not that I didn't get anything done today. I actually accomplished quite a bit but it was at my leisure. I got the coolant changed in my car (that was actually at my mechanic, Jim's, leisure). I walked 5 miles - twice. I walked DaBoys three times. And I finished my World Card Making Day tutorial for My Sketch World AND took a healthy stab at writing the next newsletter for Scrappy Jo's. I also checked my work email a couple of times and checked in at MSW and SJ and FB.
In addition, I took two half-hour naps with DaBoys just because I could. And because they used their big, sad eyes on me.
Then I made a wonderful dinner for POK (that's my Ken) because he's usually the one cooking on a Tuesday night.
Even after getting all this done, it really felt like I'd had a pretty lazy day. And in my opinion, the world could use a few more lazy days. Lazy days are the ones where you clear off your brain and just . . . coast into whatever it is you do next. More often then not, it's on lazy days that I get my best ideas for blog posts and layouts and solutions to sticky problems at work. It's those autopilot moments when my body is doing something totally mundane, that ping! into my brain pops the perfect thing to write to my friend who's lost her boyfriend and is hanging on to self-pity juuuuust a little too long. It's when I suddenly see with reassuring clarity the way to organize my weekend so that I can see my kids and still finish that last creative team project for Scrappy Jo's.
Then like the last puzzle piece of this lazy day tumbling nonchalantly into place - when I'm most comfortably unbusy, unpreoccupied and unengaged - into my head pops the words to that verse from the Muse's "Sing for Absolution" that has stayed elusivelytauntinglymaddeningly just outside my memory for the past week-
And I've had recurring nightmares
That I was loved for who I am
And missed the opportunity
To be a better man


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sleigh Bells Ring - Are You Listening??

Listen! Do you hear that? There - off in the distance. Shhhh. . . there it is. . . very faintly, but it's there.
It's the sound of sleigh bells and the tearing of wrapping paper.
Yep. It's a comin'.
Every month of the year is a smooth calendar page, all new and shiny. January through September are months with patience. They wait quietly, lining up their nice white boxes of days for me to fill with lunches and birthdays and vet appointments and trips. January through September are months that don't care if they're full or empty or halfway in between. They're months that are just happy to be.
Then comes October. And it's attached to November and December and wait - what's this?? All the days between October 1st and December 31st are lined up one after the other and accordion-folded together. There's this much space between January

and September, and just this much space between October

and Christmas.
Granted, October is a busy month. There's my birthday and my mom and dad's anniversary. Fortunately, I had to the good sense to be born on their first anniversary so we can make that one big celebration on the 15th. Then there's my Aunt Lois' birthday on the 19th. Then my anniversary on the 20th (woohoo - THIRTY years this year!!!), and then Halloween. And that, ladies and gentlemen, takes care of wrapping up all the goodness that is October.
November is when I start craving pumpkin pie. I turn my attention to figuring out where everyone on both sides of the family is going to roost for Thanksgiving. The who-where-when of Thanksgiving, with the only given being that we will be eating turkey and turkey-related foodstuffs for some weeks afterward. November is also Get Ready for Christmas Month. It's the month I start baking and freezing cookies to be decorated later. It's the month I start cleaning out the odd closets and facing other dumb cleaning chores I've ignored over the summer so I will be all ready when the kids come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's the month that I figure out what outside decorating we're going to do for the holidays, and then set to testing lights and checking out my stash of wreaths and garland. It's also the month I start collecting catalogues so I can dog-ear pages of goodies to order for gifts and check to see if my little Christmas saving account has magically found it's own sugar daddy.
Next comes the first three weeks of December which is when I really do all the stuff I just said I do in November. In November, I just talk about doing a lot.
My first grade classroom had two portraits hanging in it. One was of George Washington, and next to him was his right-hand man, good old Abraham Lincoln. That's how we all knew before anyone even told us that George Washington was the first President of the United States and Abe Lincoln was the second.
And that's how I know every year without even consulting a calendar that there's Thanksgiving and the next day is Christmas.
But this year is going to be crazy squared, especially for Poor Old Ken who will be known from this point forward as POK because no one will ever think of him as just Ken after this. My sweet POK. His little eyes bugged out the teeeeeeensiest little bit when I told him the doctor scheduled my foot surgery for November 6th. I think his mind left his head for a minute as he slowly absorbed the magnitude of this little announcement. He's been through this before - a couple years ago I had my left foot operated on. But this surgery is even more complicated, promising such delights as bone grafts and plates and screws and a boot and a thing which tells time. (OK. Not a thing which tells time but I'm pretty sure the words "kitchen sink" were used at some point.) And this means not one week in bed following surgery but two weeks in bed. Not three weeks on crutches - six to eight weeks on crutches. Oh yes. I could see POK for the briefest of moments think to himself, "Is there a direct flight to Siberia?"
And I don't blame him at all.
All the things he does on a regular basis to take care of me and the house just got scooched over to make room for all the dog walking, shopping and laundry duties he'll now have to shoulder. And then there's the added delight of physically caring for someone who's basically an invalid for a bit. Granted, I'll be my usual pleasant, cheerful, patient, uncomplaining and undemanding self but there's a lot to do to care for someone who's basically a lump.
And lumps begin to smell after awhile if you don't bathe them.
Ah, yes.
So as I see it, Christmas is right. . . .there. I have exactly four weeks to do it all. Bake, clean, shop, wrap, cook and decorate. This may be the first autumn in my life where I'll be clearing red and green gift wrap off the table to set out the turkey. I've never been one to get things done early (which is why my kids grew up thinking everyone's mommy finished sewing their Easter outfits on Holy Saturday), but this year I have no choice. This is my year to knuckle under, hunker down and barrel my way through all the stuff on my calendar.
So if you're out and about this fall and see some sweet guy with glazed over eyes and a fist full of lists, mumbling to himself about just getting through one more day, it'll be my POK.
If he asks if he can come home with you, I would be eternally grateful if you'd buy him a cup of coffee, give him a little pat on the back and then him send on his way.
His lump will be needing him.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Scrappy Jo Creative Team!

October 1st not only ushered in my favorite month of the year (what with my birthday and anniversary and all), it also heralded my first days as a Creative Team member at Scrappy Jo's.
SJ is dear to my heart. Like watching man land on the moon for the first time, I remember how it felt to finally be brave enough to post my very first page online at SJ.
It was a Saturday and I was working on Annie's college graduation scrapbook. The mailman had just delivered my first order from SJ's store and in it was my first white Signo pen - the perfect thing to finish this LO sitting on my kitchen table.

That was the day I fell in love with white Signo pens and Scrappy Jo's.. Cuz like family, SJ is all about relationships. The friendships and encouragement I've gotten from SJ are why I'm online at all. Heck, if Jo hadn't taken me under her wing so kindly and made me feel at home, I doubt I'd have stuck around long enough to think up Scrapinator. SJ is my online happy place.
Pumpkin Transformer 1986 is my first creation using my first shipment of scrappy goodness Jo sends her oh-so-lucky Creative Team members. I used these goodies Jo sent me:
Cosmo Cricket Haunted: Nevermore
MYLB Spider Web cardstock
Cosmo Cricket Haunted: Gothic
Bazzill cardstock: white
From my stash:
Title: Creative Imaginations Sonnets and Colorbok XY&Z Erin: Black 42
Mattie was the cutest Transformer even if he had to hold his arms out the car window on the way to afternoon kindergarten so the paint would dry. (This procrastination thing - I've been at it for awhile). And isn't Annie adorable as a pumpkin?? She giggled like crazy when Ken and I stuffed her costume with newspaper to give her that nice pumpkin-y silhouette.
I miss making Halloween costumes for the kids.
I guess I'll just have to dress up DaBoys so I can make a 2009 Halloween layout. Whoooeee, Jo's such a sucker for animals she'd LOVE that. Hmmmm. . .I wonder if I can make a little Transformer costume for Sammy. . . .?
While I'm working on that, hop over to SJ and take a look around. There's a nifty 8 hour crop coming up this Friday. Now that I'm allowed to sit at the big girls' table in the super secret Creative Team room at SJ, I can tell you there are some seriously GREAT challenges slated for this crop. There's also one heck of a Scrap N Go project, which I mention with all modesty. You'll have plenty of time to upload your projects over the following few days - and might even be crowned Queen of the Crop!
So take a break from the frenetic, crazy online world and stop over the Scrappy Jo's. One more thing - I'll be helping to write Scrappy Jo's online newsletter, too, so be sure to sign up for that while you're getting all happy at Jo's!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Squeaky Clean

Some days are funner and more interesting than others.
Today was one of those. Between meetings with residents and discussions with residents and chance encounters with residents, I headed down to the lobby every whipstitch to wait for something I've been anticipating for weeks.
Window washing!
We've had guys rappelling down the side of our building all week, nonchalantly dangling at the end of a rope with all the terror of a baby sucking on a pacifier. It's ironic but not surprising that the weather has been windy and wet and cold and grey.
Of course.
So I'm sure these two window washers were only too happy when their assignment for the day consisted of nothing more than partially dismantling the front of my lobby to drive a crane indoors and wash down our nine-story windowall.
Here's what a crane looks like when it's sitting in my lobby:

And here's the calm, efficient window washer guy waaaaaay up at the tippy top of our nine-story lobby:

Of course I hopped on the elevator, headed up to the ninth floor and then held my scared, quaking little camera over the balcony to get this shot:

See how calm this guy is?? I resisted the urge to yell "Missed a spot!" cuz I'm sure he's never heard THAT one before. . .

All I can say is that my paper-laden desk seemed like quite the safe refuge after taking these shots!