Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My American Idol commentary...

So last night the men brought it, but this week the women just didn't excite me much. Maybe it's because something screwy happened to my VCR and half of the show had no video, only audio, so I could only hear the program. Let me tell you, if you ever think that this show is ONLY a singing competition, try watching the show with your eyes closed. I almost stopped the tape because it just isn't the same without being about to SEE how the singers present themselves...their appearance, their mannerisms, etc. It DOES make a difference. Anyway, finally the video came back for the last 3 or 4 singers, so I was happy. Definitely throwing that tape in the trash though.

Anyway, here's my picks for 2/28/07:

My vote went to:
Stephanie Edwards - I didn't 'love' the song, but, for me, there was no denying that she had the best vocals of the night.

Who I think should/will go:
The "A's" have it...
#1 - Antonella Barba - I didn't really like her last week, didn't really like her this week...time to go, girl...sorry.
#2 - Alaina Alexander - Although she did do better than last week, it just wasn't at the same level as some of the other girls.

My "Did the judges here what I just heard?" moment:
Sabrina Sloan - She was the last performer of the night...all three judges gave her a good review, but I thought she sounded pitchy all over the place. I almost put her in my two to go, but not sure she will get the boot from America with all three judges backing her.

Any other opinions? Feel free to share them in a comment here. Tomorrow night we'll get to see how I did in my predictions this week and who'll be the next four to go...
My American Idol commentary...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

A Review of Expressions: Taking Extraordinary Photos for Your Scrapbooks and Memory Art by Allison Tyler Jones

A review of Expressions: Taking Extraordinary Photos for Your Scrapbooks and Memory Art by Allison Tyler Jones.

Amazon's description:
Photography instruction for scrapbooking and memory art. Focuses on creative new ways to capture the most popular photograph subjects, family and everyday life. Offers additional tips and suggestions for designing unique, expressive scrapbook pages and memory art.

Great-looking and memorable photographs are the centerpiece of any scrapbook. Now, scrapbooking and memory art enthusiasts have a photography instruction book written just for them. Expressions reveals how to create extraordinary photos that will make any scrapbook or display project a vivid record of special events and everyday life. Focusing on portraiture, the book follows the family life cycle, from babies to grandparents, with each subject explored from a fresh perspective.

I love, love, LOVE this book!! This is wonderfully inspirational! For me, it was the perfect balance of text (basic explanations and ideas) and photo examples by some extremely talented photographers.

This book is all about photographing people (the author says as much right in the introductory paragraph), so you won't find photos of inanimate objects or sweeping landscapes, but aren't scrapper's mainly about people anyway. It gave me a ton of ideas for future photos of my daughter.

I also love that that in the back of the book, it offered links to the websites of several of the photographers featured in the book - I checked them out - even MORE great inspiration!

A Review of Expressions: Taking Extraordinary Photos for Your Scrapbooks and Memory Art by Allison Tyler JonesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My American Idol commentary...

Okay, so the boys REALLY stepped it up this week. I can honestly say that there wasn't one that I felt didn't do a good job...vocally. Some of the song choices weren't the best and I felt that some of them could have done 'more' with their talent, but it wouldn't be much of a competition if they were all perfect every week, I suppose, right?'s my picks for 2/27/07:

My vote went to:
Phil Stacey - I really like this guy. I like his song choices. I like his tone. I'm starting to wonder if I have a thing for guys with bald heads as Chris Daughtry was definitely one of my favorites last season...hmmm...

Who I think will/should go:
#1 - Sanjaya Malakar - Sorry, I didn't like him last week and didn't like him this week. Granted, he can sing, but personally I just don't like his voice or his song choices.

#2 - Brandon Rogers - I LOVE the song he sang (Time after time by Cyndi Lauper), and although it was O.K., he just didn't do it seemed way too slow and lacking energy. If there is anything Lauper isn't, it's lacking energy and he didn't really do anything to make it his own either!

My vote for most improved from last week:
Hands down - AJ Tabaldo - Last week he seemed so uncomfortable in his skin on that stage and it was evident in his singing. This week was totally different and he did a GREAT job!!

So, American Idol watchers...what do you agree? What are your votes for who should stay, who should go and most improved?
My American Idol commentary...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Have you ever had a bad day at work?

Who said desk jobs can't be dangerous?

Okay, so at work, it always seems like we get the 'left-over' rubber from the 1970's or something. There always so dry and brittle. This would never happen in our office...the darn thing would break before we even got started.

Now, paper cuts I've had...those suck! I don't even want to think about how may applications and letters I've folded and envelopes I've stuffed (I avoid licking the envelopes like the plague though) when our rush mass mailings roll around.
Have you ever had a bad day at work?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, February 26, 2007

A quote to think about...

I don't even remember where I found this quote anymore and tried to find out more about who Douglas Pagels is/was, but all I could really determine was that he is/was an American poet...sappy stuff...kind of like Susan Polis Schutz, but this quote really jumped out at me when I first read it and immediately saved it to my computer.

"I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be. But most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see." Douglas Pagels
A quote to think about...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Just a little bit of snow...

It finally warmed up above freezing all of last week and almost all the previous snow was melted. Note - the operative word being WAS. It started snowing yesterday at about 2 p.m. and in about 12 hours, we had another 9 or so inches of snow!!
This is one time when I'm pretty happen with our agreement - Justin shovels snow, I mow the grass. I might have to mow a lot more frequently than he has to shovel, but I'd much rather be outside when it's warm than when it's like this!
Although Kaitlin does love the snow, I think she is missing being able to play outdoors more...maybe the fact that she's trying to dig out her play set is a clue that she's ready for some warmer weather, too!
Just a little bit of snow...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers Meme #6 - For Pete's Sake!

Tomorrow is "For Pete's Sake Day." In honor of it, what makes you say, "Oh, for Pete's sake!"? Perhaps your phrase isn't quite so PG...that's okay. I won't tell.

Your challenge - List as many as you can think of in a comment here or leave a link back to your list in your own online journal.

My list of "Oh, for Pete's sakes!":

-Drivers who don't use their blinkers...
-When Kaitlin can be bouncing around the room, but as soon as I ask her to pick up her toys, she stops and says, "Mom, I'm just too tired."
-When Justin turns what should be a 2 minute story into a 20 minutes story complete with reenactment.
-When someone pulls out in front of you and then proceeds to drive 20 miles an hour under the speed limit.
-When someone spends 20 minutes at your desk interrupting your work to complain about how much work they have to do.
Secondary challenge - Take one or all of the items on your list and scrap 'em...a mini album perhaps!
Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers Meme #6 - For Pete's Sake!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I got a 19...

This one is just for fun, but good luck! It seems like basic info, but do we really pay attention to detail in our day to day life? Some of these are easy, some are tricky. No cheating allowed! That means absolutely NO looking around (even at your own self), no getting out of your chair, no using anything on or in your desk or computer!

There are 25 questions based on US information/knowledge concerning things we see every day or have known about all our lives, but the average person on gets 7 correct!

Write down your answers as you go. REMEMBER - NO CHEATING!!! BE HONEST!!! Look only at this screen and your piece of paper as you write down your answers. Check answers (a link is at the bottom of this post), AFTER completing all the questions.

Then, leave a comment here letting us know your score and, if you have one, a link to your online journal where you place your results.


1. On a standard traffic light, is the green on the top or bottom?

2. How many states are there in the USA?

3. In which hand is the Statue of Liberty’s torch?

4. What six colors are on the classic Campbell’s soup label?

5. What two numbers on the telephone dial don't have letters by them?

6. When you walk does your left arm swing with your right or left leg? (Don't you dare get up to see!)

7. How many matches are in a standard pack?

8. On the United States flag is the top stripe red or white?

9. What is the lowest number on the FM dial?

10. Which way does water go down the drain, counter or clockwise?

11. Which way does a "no smoking" sign's slash run?

12. How many channels on a VHF TV dial?

13 On which side of a women's blouse are the buttons?

14. Which way do fans rotate?

15. How many sides does a stop sign have?

16. Do books have even-numbered pages on the right or left side?

17. How many lug nuts are on a standard car wheel?

18. How many sides are there on a standard pencil?

19. Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey, Doc. Who's missing?

20. How many hot dog buns are in a standard package?

21 On which playing card is the card maker's trademark?

22 On which side of a Venetian blind is the cord that adjusts the opening between the slats?

23. There are 12 buttons on a touch tone phone. What 2 symbols bear no digits?

24. How many curves are there in the standard paper clip?

25. Does a merry-go-round turn counter clockwise or clockwise?

So, how do you think you did?? Click this document to open the list of ANSWERS.pdf. I'll even disclose the ones I got wrong (along with a few witty comments, of course!)
I got a 19...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Conversation with Kaitlin...

Last night as we were watching "American Idol" (Kaitlin and I are both VERY EXCITED that this is back on - we are addicted!!), Kaitlin asked me an interesting question:
"Mom, is $10,000 a lot of money?"
"Oh, yes, it's quite a lot of money," I said.
She was quiet for a moment, pondering this.
"I wish that I had $10,000, Mom."
"If you had $10,000, would you share it with me?" I asked.
Without hesitation, she shook her head and said, "I would put it in the bank!"

SMART girl!!
A Conversation with Kaitlin...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Wedding photos of Emil & Marcella (Vitek) Pechous

There is a couple from Nebraska (originally from the Tabor area) that is working on compiling a history of Tabor and have asked anyone willing to help provide information on their family histories. My aunt Joyce has always been interested in our family genealogy and knowing that I have dabbled in it a bit myself from time to time, has asked me to help out with the writing part for the Vitek and Pechous histories.

On Monday, she and I spent nearly the whole afternoon over at Grandma and Grandpa Pechous' just talking and looking at pictures. I brought a rather large pile of photo albums home with me to start scanning in some of the more prominent family photos and these were certainly two that stood out to me. I have seen their formal wedding know the ones - where everyone lots so stiff and no one ever seems to smile. These, though, say so much more to me.

Look at my Grandpa's beaming smile and how straight and proud his stance is and the way that my Grandmother's dress is blowing in the wind. I also love the fact that you can see so much of the house and the car in the next photo - tells a lot about the time period of the photo. It's funny that you can think of someone as 'grandpa' and 'grandma' all your life and then see a picture like this and see them very a way, realizing how much 'more' than just 'grandma' and 'grandpa' they truly are.

I am assuming these were taken at the Vitek farm as Grandma said that wedding receptions were commonly held at the home of the bride's parents in those day...I will to ask for sure.
Wedding photos of Emil & Marcella (Vitek) PechousSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers Meme #5 - Four Things About Me Journaling

Here's a 'learn-a-little-bit-about-yourself' journaling prompt this week. This is a great little quiz adapted from a couple different quizzes in Scrapbook Shortcuts with Quizzes & Questions by Simple Scrapbooks.

Either answer the following questions in a comment box here or leave a link to your own online journal so we can visit your results!

Four Things about Me
Four jobs I have had in my life:
Four everyday things I couldn't live without:
Four movies I could watch over and over:
Four places I have lived:
Four places I like to shop:
Four TV shows I love to watch:
Four places I have been on vacation:
Four websites I visit daily:
Four of my favorite foods:
Four things I want to do/see in my lifetime:

My Answers:

Four Things about Me

Four jobs I have had in my life:
-sewer/packer at Coyote Sports (golf bag factory) while in high school
cashier at Charlie's Restaurant while in college
High School English Teacher
College Enrollment Counselor

Four things that I use everyday:
my blow dryer
a computer
my car

Four movies I could watch over and over:
Top Gun
Legends of the Fall
inderella Man
Dirty Dancing

(Only) Four places I have lived:
Tabor, SD
Vermillion, SD
Bassett, NE
Yankton, SD

Four places I like to shop:
Keeping Memories Alive (online)

Four TV shows I love to watch:
Grey's Anatomy
American Idol
Days of Our Lives
What About Brian

Four places I have been on vacation:
Black Hills in SD (numerous times)

Four websites I visit daily:
Yahoo Mail
Pub Calls Blog

Four of my favorite foods/snacks:
salsa and chips
Dove dark chocolate...hey, chocolate's a food
mashed potatoes

Four things I want to do/see in my lifetime:
watch Kaitlin grow up into a strong, confident woman
visit Europe, especially England

learn how to take pictures in manual mode
live happily ever after...
Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers Meme #5 - Four Things About Me JournalingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

A recent layout...

Cardstock - Bazzill
Patterned Paper - Basic Grey
Rub on letters and brads - Making Memories
Flowers - craft supply
Ink - Rubber Stampede
Font - Susie's Hand


One thing I have always loved about Christmas is gift giving. Choosing what you hope is the ‘perfect’ gift and then seeing the recipient’s expression as they open the gift...if you chose well, there is nothing like seeing that smile!

This year was extra special though as I made many of the gifts I gave by hand for the first time. I made decorated initials for Emily and Rachel, picture frames for Lynn and Barb, and ornament sets for Mom, Ruth and Pam.

I think I did good...they all had big, genuine smiles for me!
A recent layout...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My first Parent-Teacher Conference...

I went to my very first Parent-Teacher Conference today over my lunch hour. It was quite insightful and Kaitlin's teacher, Mrs. Kennedy, gave me a lot to think about. Although I had been leaning towards Kindergarten at Beadle...I am now leaning back towards the Jr. K. option. Not that Mrs. Kennedy had anything negative to say - quite the opposite.

  • She said that Kaitlin's academic knowledge is right on track for children her age (she may be slightly behind others in her class, but she is also one of the youngest.)
  • She said that she has no problems in the area of sociability...she is quick to make friends, quick to include others in play, not afraid to speak up and share her opinions...
  • She does sometimes need a reminder to share (well, she is an only child after all...), but that those needed reminders are infrequent and subtle.
  • She is extremely creative and imaginative in her artwork (here she seems advanced for her age), her speaking and storytelling ability, and in her play activities.
  • Mrs. Kennedy feels that she has great potential to be a leader among her classmates and feels that she would really shine if amongst children closer to her own age, therefore she is recommending Jr. K.
  • Mrs. Kennedy's final comment: "Kaitlin is a talkative sweet little thing with a ton of potential."
My first Parent-Teacher Conference...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Kaitlin's been SPOTTED!

Our local newspaper, the Yankton P&D, did a special insert of some of their pictures over the past year and Kaitlin made the front page!! Sure it's nothing to do with that cute little face of hers! The picture is from the Sacred Heart School Christmas Program that was held at the YHS theatre on December 21st.

Do you see her? She's the cute little blond girl second from the right...she's small, so hidden a little, but she is most definitely there!

Today, was a fairly non-eventful Valentine's Day...I actually had to work late tonight (my turn to supervise our student callers), so I just got home a bit ago and Kaitlin was already asleep. Bummer...I won't even get to give her her Valentine's Day card. Oh well, tomorrow's another day and I'm sure she won't mind.

Last night, Justin did bring me a single peach-colored rose. It is quite beautiful...see?
Kaitlin's been SPOTTED!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, February 12, 2007

More Kaitlin witticisms...

Okay, it just seems like Kaitlin's coming up with more of these little witticisms lately and I have to record them or I know I will forget!!
Last night:
We were watching an animal program on TV and a commercial came on for Disneyland.
Kaitlin: "Mom, can we got there?"
Me: "Hopefully we'll be able to visit there someday."
Kaitlin: "How 'bout Tuesday?"

This morning:
I was driving Kaitlin to school and we had just passed the stop lights at Broadway and Hwy 50.
Kaitlin: "Mom, I was wondering...are there people in the stop lights?"
Me: "No, there's not enough room for a person in there."
Kaitlin: "But how do the lights know when to change then?"
Me: "They run by electricity."
Kaitlin: "Oh, you mean like batteries."

More to come, I'm sure!

More Kaitlin witticisms...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Not too shabby...

Well, my vacation's about up...only a few short hours left. However, I actually did better than I expected on my to-do list for the week.
  • Spend some quality time with Kaitlin. Check.
  • Clean. Check...maybe not as much as I should have, but nonetheless, "CHECK"!
  • Play 'stay-at-home-mom' and drop Kaitlin off and pick her up from school personally on M, W, & F next week. Check.
  • Visit my Grandma Marcella to collect old photos. Didn't get this one done, but not that I didn't try...unfortunately Grandma wasn't feeling the best this week and wasn't really up for company.
  • Scrapbook. Check.
  • Go out to lunch with my co-workers, Rhnissa & Jeanne, at Mexico Viejo on Monday. Check.
  • Take some pictures!! Check.
  • Visit Shane, Becky & their new baby, Kendra. Check.
  • Blog!! Check. Do you like my new format??
  • Go out to the farm to visit Mom & Dad. Ummm...check. Didn't get out to the farm, but did see them in Sioux Falls yesterday when we all went out to lunch together, so that counts, right?
  • Maybe go to Sioux Falls. Check.
  • Help Kaitlin make her Valentine's for for her friends at daycare and preschool. Check - all 32 two of them for daycare and school.
  • Finish the book I am reading now - The River King - and start the new one that I have waiting - Crow Lake. Check...hey, who cares if I'm only on page 36 of Crow Lake...I only said 'start'.
  • Take Kaitlin to McDonald's for lunch and an afternoon matinee. Check...McDonald's on Wednesday and movie on Saturday.
  • Try not to think about the pile of work that is going to be in my inboxes (physical and email) next week!! Check...but I bet that tomorrow I'll be looking for my next week off! JK!

In addition, I did 6-7 loads of laundry, made a Valentine's Day Bucket for Kaitlin to deliver and receive Valentine's in on Wednesday, and read and ranked 43 essays by high school seniors on the topic of "Have you ever struggled for something and succeeded? What made successful?" OR "Have you ever struggled for something and failed? How did you respond?" for our upcoming Academic Scholarship Day competition. In a fleeting moment of insanity, I volunteered for this job a few years ago and haven't been able to shake it since. Oh, the lives of teenagers!!

Not too shabby...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers #4 - FONTS! FONTS! FONTS!

For many scrappers, computer fonts are an indispensable part of scrapping (except for those that are blessed with 'in vogue' handwriting, present company unfortunately NOT included). So, this weeks challenge is to share your top 4 favorite fonts right now and tell us why they top your list. I say 'right now' because I know preferences can change over time. I actually remember a time when Comic Sans was a favorite of more!!

Then, share you favorite font site for finding new fonts.

My Top 4 Favorite Fonts:

#1 - Porcelain - This is a great edgy font for titles (not very readable in small sizes). I think it goes great with some of the 'edgier' paper lines out there right now like Basic Grey and Fancy Pants.
#2 - Susie's Hand - As I said earlier, I am not blessed with the best handwriting for scrapping, so I love fonts that 'look' handwritten. Here's a scripty one that I've been using a lot lately.
#3 - Garamond - This is more of an old-fashioned type, but you always have to have one of those in your arsenal.
#4 - Journaling Hand - Just as the title's great for journaling. It's a great looking font with a handwritten print look.

My Favorite Font Site:
DaFont - No contest...they have frequent additions, 9 different searchable themes (including dingbat fonts) and a "Top 100" listing. The best part - everything in this site is FREE!!
Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers #4 - FONTS! FONTS! FONTS!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Great humor in "Happy Feet"

Kaitlin and I went up to Sioux Falls was a nice day. Lynn had to work till noon, so we went and did a little shopping at Hobby Lobby and Michael's. My parents and Lee (he was working at Hollister) were also in town and they all met us for lunch at Chili's once Lynn was off work. Then, Kaitlin, Lynn & I went to see "Happy Feet" at the West Mall 7 theatre. This was the first movie that I have taken Kaitlin to in the theatre since "Finding Nemo" and she was like 9 months old then and fell asleep after the first 1/2 hour! I think she really enjoyed it and we'll definitely have to do that more often. "Happy Feet" is really a cute flick...lots of big-name voices and some great humor. Good show! We came home a little earlier than started snowing and I wasn't sure what it was going to do so we hit the road, but we made it home fine.
Great humor in "Happy Feet"SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, February 9, 2007

A scrappin' day...

Today was largely a scrappin' day. I dropped Kaitlin off at school and picked her up, prepared lunch and dinner, shoveled the driveway and other than that, I scrapped. Hmmm...only one day out of my nine was devoted to scrapping. That's not too bad, right? Kaitlin made her own little creations right along with me most of the afternoon. She's good at making use of my scraps and I'm sure she's going to be quite to artist someday.

I will share one layout with you tonight...I'm sure my brother will love this one!!

Cardstock - Bazzill
Patterned Paper - Melissa Frances
Brads and rub on letters - Making Memories
Ink - Rubber Stampede
Font - Rockford
Other - remnants of Hollister Gift Card sleeve (for title and backing behind journaling on vellum), paperclips, chipboard sheet

my brother, lee…definitely the ‘preppy’ of the family. he is now a senior engineering student at sdsu and enjoying his college years…if you know what I mean. no, really, he’s a pretty good kid.

for quite some time now, he has been quite the ‘hollister’ fan…nothing new there. so, one day i get this phone call from him (mind you, this may be the first time he’s ever
called his big sis – too cool for that - so i knew this had to be big). ya know what he said?

“i got offered a job at hollister…only good looking, cool people get offered jobs at hollister!” he was so excited about his new job…now officially a ‘hollister boy’.

we do give him a hard time quite often, but, ya know…he is kinda cute, i guess…for a little brother anyway.

This inspiration for this layout came largely from the Hollister website...the main page has a dusty blue background and there are a lot of chipboard colored elements like the file tab at the top of the main picture and also the paperclips.

I've been wanting to do a layout on this ever since I got that call from Lee, but let me tell you, this guy is not a willing model for photos (you'd think he would be beings he's so cute and all)...I had to get this one 'on the sly' on Christmas Eve!

A scrappin' day...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Outdoor photography rules!

Well, I've been getting a few more things knocked of my list. Yesterday I took Kaitlin to lunch at McDonald's after I picked her up from preschool. I let her play BEFORE we ordered food...see, sometimes I'm smart. The plan was to then take her to the movies, but found out the Yankton theatre doesn't have weekday matinees - go figure. I guess we'll just have to try to fit that one in this weekend hopefully.

Kindergarten registration was yesterday afternoon, so we went to Beadle to take care of that. No, we're still not 100% decided what we are going to do there (Jr. K at Webster or K at Beadle), but after visiting Beadle and meeting the two Kindergarten teachers there, I am kind of leaning that way. They said that if we did end up deciding on Jr. K that it would be no big deal and they would just send her information on over to Webster. Now that she is registered, though, she is scheduled to get a Kindergarten screening at the community library in May, so that should help us to make the final decision.

This morning we tried that indoor photo shoot...ugh...I give up with trying to get good photos indoors. The lighting is just not good in our house and I don't have the equipment (or money to get it) to make it good. I did get one of her with her fuzzy blankie that I think looks okay after fiddling with it for a while in Picasa (we'll see when we get the actual print - it's often hard to tell on the computer screen how clear in will be in print). I've been wanting to do a layout about her fuzzy blankie for quite some time as she has been quite attached to it ever since she was born - it's holding up amazingly well. It was a gift from Justin's boss when he was at Checker, Renae.

I had to go into work today for a couple hours for a newspaper meeting and to follow up on a few other things...I just can't stay away from there for a whole week!! Kaitlin brought her schoolbag stocked with color books and colors and she was pretty good.

After we got done there, we went over to the GAR Hall and I took some pics of Kaitlin in her pink Old Navy coat in front of the building. Now those, I LOVE!! Outdoor lighting...nothing better!! I had 10-15 pictures that came out great (makes for expensive photo ordering!!). Here's just a couple:

Can you say "Little Miss Attitude" on that second one!! She can really be quite the poser sometimes!
Outdoor photography rules!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The River King by Alice Hoffman

I finished reading The River King last night. Here is the description from

There are two things any reader can count on when coming to Alice
Hoffman: her prose and a remarkable empathy for those who live on the fringes of society. In her 13th novel, the author turns both to good account. Set in a tony private school located in a small New England town, The River King traces an intricate weave of intersecting lives over the course of a year. The Haddan School, founded in 1858, has long been the scene of tragedy and wonder: during its first year a tremendous storm flooded the grounds, and more than a century later "frogs can be found in the plumbing; linens and clothes stored in closets have a distinctly weedy odor, as if each article had been washed in river water and never thoroughly dried." Then there are the glorious roses planted by Annie Howe, a villager who married the headmaster and later hanged herself; these flowers have an unusual effect on sensitive girls. "When such girls walked past the brittle
canes in the gardens behind St. Anne's, they felt something cold at the base of their spines, a bad case of pins and needles, as though someone were issuing a warning: be careful who you choose to love and who loves you in return."

A cogent warning indeed, for as in all of Hoffman's novels, the question of whom one chooses to love and who loves in return is the crux of the matter. The River King revolves around triangles. First there is Betsy Chase, a young photography teacher at the Haddan School who has gotten herself engaged--almost accidentally--to a fellow faculty member, even as she is inexorably drawn to Abel Grey, a town policeman. Then there are Carlin Leander, a scholarship student, and her best friend, Gus Pierce. While Carlin is able to fit in, even attracting the interest of the most popular boy on campus, Gus is a defiant outcast, a tall skinny kid in a long black overcoat "who viewed his own life as a prison sentence and experienced his existence much as a condemned man might." Carlin's romance with the charismatic, cruel Harry McKenna creates a rupture between her and Gus, and fuels a mean-spirited practical joke with horrific consequences. In the aftermath of tragedy, each character's heart, conscience, and courage is tested in unexpected ways.

Hoffman spins her web of love and heartbreak and transcendence with a sure hand, and in the process creates characters so palpably human in all their petty flaws and small instances of heroism that one almost expects them to step out of the book and into the room. Indeed, if there is a flaw in The River King, it is that Alice Hoffman doesn't always trust the magic inherent in her characters, relying a little too heavily at times on somewhat precious invocations of the otherworldly. But this is a minor defect in an otherwise satisfying novel, one that will keep the reader spellbound by its emotional complexity and compelling story. --Alix Wilber

I do have to agree that Hoffman has a very lyrical and flowing style of writing, which I like; however, I kept getting caught up by her sometimes wierd analogies. It was like she was sometimes focusing more on how the words 'sounded' rather than if they made sense together. Then, she would sometimes contradict the night sky was as black as coal and then two sentences later the sky was illuminated by starlight (not the exact wording, but you get what I mean). Overall, I didn't hate it, but I'm not sure I will read Hoffman's just OK.

The River King by Alice HoffmanSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Visiting the new baby...

Kaitlin and I went to see Becky, Shane and their new little baby girl, Kendra today. She is so adorable!! Kaitlin held her quite a bit and she was really enjoying herself. We also got to see her room and it is so cute...decorated in brown, pink and baby blue. Our baby gift to them was a decorated initial and picture frame in their baby room colors.

I also got quite a bit of laudry done today and while working on that, I did a little scrapping. It was a good day all in all.
Visiting the new baby...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, February 5, 2007

A little bit of progress...

It's day three (already) of my nine day vacation. I did get floor and tub in the bathroom cleaned and washed the shower curtain and rugs yesterday. I even cleaned out the fridge, that's enough cleaning for the week, right?

Kaitlin & I also went out to lunch with Rhnissa and Jeanne today at Mexico Viejo (mmmm) after I picked her up from preschool.

Thought I'd share a picture today. This is a picture I took of Kaitlin a few weeks ago after we got a good deal of snow. Did a little editing to it in Picasa to turn it B&W and give it a dreamy look...hopefully, I have this is a layout before the week is up!
A little bit of progress...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers #3 - Colorstrology

Color certainly plays a huge part in scrapbooking. It can evoke emotion, help tell a story, or express how you feel about the subject which you are scrapbooking. But did you know that you have your own personal color? What does that color say about you?

Read the challenge and my results below, then visit Colorstrology. Watch and read the introduction, then choose you month of birth, then day.

Either answer the following questions in a comment box here or leave a link to your own online journal so we can visit your results!
  1. What is your birth month and day?
  2. What is the name of your color?
  3. What three words are given to describe you?
  4. Do you like you color? Why or why not?
  5. What one sentence in the description MOST sounds like you?
  6. What one sentence in the description brings your eyebrows together (either you do not think sounds like you or you are questioning somewhat)?
  7. According to Colorstrology, what will wearing, meditating or surrounding yourself with your color do?
  8. Does this make you want to incorporate this color more into your life? Why or why not?

Secondary Challenge: Scrap your Colorstrology results!!

My Colorstrology Results:
(Unfortunately, this website does not allow for copy and pasting, so I had to retype my results. Therefore, you do not need to include your full profile. I just wanted to give you a taste of what you will find.)

Most people born on this day are artistic and imaginative. You also have the ability to be quite logical and are often able to merge your special talents into lucrative endeavors. You have a strong spiritual calling and the people and circumstances that you encounter serve to move you closer to an enlightened state of being. Your personal color encourages you to believe in yourself. Wearing, meditating or surrounding yourself with Fragrant Lilac helps ease monetary concerns and reduces fiction within relationships.

  1. What is your birth month and day? July 2
  2. What is the name of your color? Fragrant Lilac
  3. What three words are given to describe you? Artistic, Partner Oriented, Independent
  4. Do you like you color? Why or why not? I do...I'm not really a 'pink' person, but the grey/silver tone to this color is quite beautiful
  5. What sentence(s) in the description MOST sounds like you? "Most people born on this day are artistic and imaginative. You also have the ability to be quite logical and are often able to merge your special talents into lucrative endeavors."
  6. What sentence(s) in the description brings your eyebrows together (either you do not think sounds like you or you are questioning somewhat)? "You have a strong spiritual calling and the people and circumstances that you encounter serve to move you closer to an enlightened state of being." (Maybe this is why I feel guilty when I skip church!)
  7. According to Colorstrology, what will wearing, meditating or surrounding yourself with your color do? "ease monetary concerns and reduces friction within relationships"
  8. Does this make you want to incorporate this color more into your life? Why or why not? This is a little scary...if I had to list my top two concerns in my life currently, these would be it. It makes me want to paint my whole home and office this color...wait, that would probably be a little overkill, huh?
Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers #3 - ColorstrologySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, February 3, 2007

remember to sing

OK...this is my last post for the day...I promise. Here's layout #2 - "remember to sing" I did this one based on a sketch by Becky Fleck for a challenge on Pub Calls Blog, so will be submitting that tomorrow...we'll see if I win anything. Here's what the sketch looks like:I had to flip the sketch or Kaitlin would have been looking off the page in the main photos and that's just not good design. I made some other minor adjustments/changes, but followed the sketch pretty closely. What do you think? Did I do a good job?

Cardstock - Bazzill
Patterned paper - Melissa Frances
Ribbon - Offray
Epoxy letter stickers - unknown (got them at WalMart)
Metal word - Making Memories
Rub on - Basic Grey
Font - Garamond

Kaitlin’s first Christmas Program…what an event!
It was postponed from the 20th of December to the 21st due to bad weather. The 21st wasn’t much better…it was bitter cold.
It was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. and we were just down the street from Yankton High School (the program was being held in their theatre) at shortly after 7:00 p.m. when we got a call from my parents.
“It’s filling up fast. Do you want us to save you some seats?”
When we arrived it was bustling…a little overwhelming for me.
We got Kaitlin settled in the room with her teacher and headed to our seats.
We ended up on the left towards the back and we would soon find out this wouldn’t be optimal for viewing pleasure…it was a little hard to see our little Sacred Heart preschooler with the way they arranged them on the stage.
Regardless, watching her ‘perform’ was still amazing! She did a wonderful job singing the songs.
There were times when she was just tapping away her little feet to the music, which mad e her too-big tights all the more evident.
Nonetheless, it was adorable and I am certainly looking forward to many Christmas Programs to come. Sing your heart out, honey!

remember to singSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Just Resting

Okay, so I starting with the scrapbooking instead of the cleaning...can you blame me?

These are some pics that I took at Grandma Sue's house back in November. We went to visit one day when the guys were hunting west river.

Your days of afternoon naps are long past, but here I caught you...

Patterned paper - Crate Paper
Cardstock letter stickers, brads & ribbon - Making Memories
Flowers - craft supply
Ink - Rubber Stampede

Just RestingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

What? Nine days off...

Yup...this is DAY ONE of a nine day vacation for me.

Pam, Kaitlin's daycare provider, is taking a much deserved vacation and going to Vegas for a week. That meant trying to find someone else that I trust and has nothing else to do for a whole week. If that doesn't sound easy, that's because its NOT! So, what's the best solution? I get a week off, too!! :-)

What am I going to do with 9 whole days off? Well, here's my 'wish' list (in no certain order):

  • Spend some quality time with Kaitlin, of course...maybe watch some 'toons' together! :-)
  • it or not (NOT!), I must do some cleaning...the bathroom is in dire need. There are other areas also, but I come to believe that there's just no use...i.e. the basement. Between all of Kaitlin and Justin's stuff, there's just no hope!
  • Play 'stay-at-home-mom' and drop Kaitlin off and pick her up from school personally on M, W, & F next week.
  • Visit my Grandma Marcella to collect old photos. In college, I borrowed many old family photos for a family history project. At the time, I didn't have access to a scanner, so I just made photocopies of everything. Well, those are certainly not going to stand the test of time, so was hoping to now scan and make digital files of them instead...that will make for much better reproductions also if I ever do get around to my family history scrapbook.
  • Speaking of scrapbooks...yes, I definitely hope to get a bit of that in this week. Okay, really I'd like to do a lot of this. Of course!
  • Go out to lunch with my co-workers, Rhnissa & Jeanne, at Mexico Viejo on Monday...see, I can't even stay away from them when I have the week off! I would miss them too much
  • Clean....
  • Take some pictures!! With the cold weather, I just haven't been taking pics as I usually perfer outdoor pics...better lighting, better scenery. We'll have to give the indoor photo shoot a try again this week.
  • Visit Shane, Becky & their new baby, Kendra. A friend of mine from MMC had a baby a couple weeks ago and I still haven't been to visit...I feel aweful about this! Bad friend! It's just been so busy and, again, with the cold, just don't feel like going out at all!
  • Blog!! I'm still playing with all the extras...might just change my template this might see some major changes ahead!
  • Go out to the farm to visit Mom & Dad. Yes, Mom, I heard your little hint the other day! :-)
  • Maybe go to Sioux Falls. I know as soon as Lynnie finds out that I have the week off, she's going to be asking when we're coming up!
  • Help Kaitlin make her Valentine's for for her friends at daycare and preschool.
  • Finish the book I am reading now - The River King - and start the new one that I have waiting - Crow Lake.
  • Take Kaitlin to McDonald's for lunch and an afternoon matinee. It will have to be "A Night at the Museum" - that's the only PG movie at the theatre right now.
  • Clean...sorry...just reminding myself because I know this the item I would most like to forget about! Anyone want to help me out on this one? No, didn't think so...
  • Try not to think about the pile of work that is going to be in my inboxes (physical and email) next week!!

Notice I said 'wish' list? Let's just say I will be entirely amazed if I get all of this done in my time off. Nine days sounds like a lot, but we all know how quickly time can go when you want to to go slowly.

What? Nine days off...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Caffeine for the Creative Mind by Stefan Mumaw and Wendy Lee Oldfield

I just got a book from Amazon the other day called Caffeine for the Creative Mind by Stefan Mumaw and Wendy Lee Oldfield and it is awesome!! I got it because it looked cool. Yes, I tend to judge books by their cover...sometimes I end up disappointed, but not this time.

Here is the description from Amazon:
*Chock-full of useful exercises designed to help readers tap into a daily creative buzz
*Features an edgy sketchbook design (by the authors) for visual allure
*Appeals to anyone looking for easy ways to jump start their creativity
For any designer or creative type who wants to quickly limber up their imagination on a daily basis, Wired helps readers get into the creative zone, from which all their best work springs. Packed with 15-minute simple and conceptual exercises, this guide will have readers reaching for markers, pencils, digital cameras, and more in order to develop a working and productive creative mindset.
It is certainly what it says! I started tabbing all the exercises that I especially wanted to try right away. Well, let's just say the book looks like it's growing some very colorful hair with all tabs sticking out of it! A lot of them that struck me initially seemed to be photography challenges, but I guess that makes sense since that is one of the things I'm really hoping to improve on this year.

It addition to the exercises, they also have numerous short interviews with some leading designers across a spectrum of website, logo, promotions, illustration, animation, etc. In these, I found numerous ideas and concepts to ponder, some of which I will be sharing with you here in the coming weeks.

Although this book is certainly not specifically geared towards scrapbookers, I think any serious 'creative' would find great value in this book.

Caffeine for the Creative Mind by Stefan Mumaw and Wendy Lee OldfieldSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend