Thursday, October 30, 2008

All of the Above


I recall reading advice about a year ago on the Two Peas Pub message board regarding design teams. The general consensus was this: only apply for design teams for companies whose products you love, and love to use. I can say with certainty that I love being part of the Collage Press design team.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the end of the month post at the Collage Press blog. The design team has put together some amazing pages and projects. You might also want to stop by the Aussie Scrap Source blog. This week, the blog features Collage Press products.

So I've always been a CP fan, and I can actually pinpoint the moment when I first fell in love, love, paper love. The first time I saw CP's journaling cards, I fell hard. Lucky me, the Jackson Lodge and Camden collections come with a set of these. I decided to use a few of the cards on this layout.

I've been in the midst of standardized testing with my students lately, and I've got letter bubbles on the brain. As proof that inspiration is everywhere, those tests and their answer sheets ended up inspiring this page. The green "multiple choice" Jackson Lodge journaling card made the perfect home for my "test" question.

Although it's hard for me to actually use paper that I'd rather stockpile, I'm thinking that the old adage applies here -- if you love something, set it free. These journaling cards look amazing when I'm holding them in my hands, but they really shine when they're actually put to use.

Did I just get schmaltzy about scrapbooking supplies?

I'm such a nut.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Perpetual Jones

I could eat this stuff
every
single
day.

Lately I've been a little worried about my passion for food. I'm finding that what pulls me though the lunch-to-dismissal shift at school is the anticipation of dinner. Is that normal? Probably not.

I find comfort in food, which I know is bad, bad, bad, but it's also true, true, true.

Last week, there was this:


Oh, Ben and Jerry's, how I love thee.

...And don't get me started on the day that I came home late from work but still insisted on making this:

Lasagna. The ultimate autumn night comfort food. Luckily, we had last-minute company for dinner that night, so I didn't gorge myself on leftovers.

Thanksgiving is coming soon, and I've already started planning. I'm very territorial when it comes to my gravy, so I plan the guest list carefully. Vegetarians are more than welcome.

As much as I love food, I don't overeat. Really, I don't. I just lavish in flavors. I hold on to taste memories.

Still, I think I may have a problem. As I type this, I'm thinking ahead to tomorrow night's dinner.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Carpe Libris


Last week, Rob and I went to see Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Honestly, I was expecting it to tank, and for Rob to walk out of the theater refusing to ever let me choose a movie again, but both he and I laughed out loud way too many times for this movie to be considered a loss in any way. It had a strong first half, and unraveled a bit at the end, but was redeemed by Vampire Weekend's "Ottoman" playing during the credits.

A few days later, my mom saw the movie and tried to warn me against seeing it. Too late, I told her; plus, I liked it. Then the usual exchange commenced over the portrayal of teenagers in the media. My mother is of the belief that teen movies should represent teenagers as they should be, not as they actually are. In fact, she's of the belief that every movie should represent people as they should be, not as they actually are. I don't hold this against her. It's very optimistic. It's very silver screen. I, on the other hand, recognized so much of myself -- especially my former teen-aged self -- in the movie, that I applauded it for keeping it (mostly) real. I'm of the belief that there's nothing wrong when literature or film holds up a mirror to its viewers. We're so far from the days of Beach Blanket Bingo...well, sort of. High School Musical seems to be keeping that outfit alive and well, but ask any teenager (not a tweenager) if these characters reflect them realistically, and the eye-rolling (and possible expletives) will be your answer.

It's a good thing my mom didn't read the book (by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan) that the movie is based upon, because she'd be shocked to find that it is far more "real" than the movie, and far more problematic when it comes to the politics of representation.

The movie is enjoyable, but the book is on a whole other level. A lot of the lines from the book made it into the movie, but the movie lacks the first-person narrative voice that made me fall hard for the book. Oh, and the book is packed with not-so-gentle language that the movie mostly avoids, and flouts a bunch of grammatical rules, making it far more controversial and definitely more representative of real teenagers' voices (at least, the teenagers that I knew and know, and the teenager that I was).

There's so much to love in this book, like...
  • the opening line: "The day begins in the middle of the night."
  • heartsick Nick: "I am stumbling through the notes and Dev is onto the next verse and Thom is playing a little faster than he should, so I have to catch up as she leans into this guy and rocks her head like I'm making this music for her, when if I could, I would take it all away and give her as much silence as she's given me pain" (2).
  • brilliant, heartstick Nick: "I think Tris will like this band, and the fact that I know this stabs me again, because all the knowledge of what she likes is perfectly useless now" (5). I totally remember feeling this way, post-breakup.
  • oh-so-witty Norah: "There are certain things a girl just knows, like that a fourth minute on a punk song is a bad, bad idea, or that no way does a Jersey-boy bassist with Astor Place hair who wears torn-up, bleach-stained black jeans and a faded black T-shirt with orange lettering that says When I say Jesus, you say Christ, swing down boy-boy alley" (9). I so dig this girl's mouth and her angst.
  • the language: "...and we're all seven years old again and dancing like we spit out the Ritalin while Mom wasn't looking" (22).
  • the music and the metaphor: "I shouldn't want the song to end. I always think of each night as a song. Or each moment as a song. But now I'm seeing we don't live in a single song. We move from song to song, from lyric to lyric, from chord to chord. There is no ending here. It's an infinite playlist" (174).
So if you're up for a "real" good read, then I highly recommend this book. However, if you're of the school of thought that holds that books about teenagers should be didactic, teaching moral lessons rather than holding up a mirror to experience, skip it...or not. Maybe this book won't change your mind, but it might just offer a different perspective.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Grateful

The new design team posts are up at the Collage Press blog. I created this little "gratitude" album:
So far, this year's resolution to be more mini-friendly seems to be going well. I had such a blast creating with the Collage Press papers. The colors and the patterns were just perfect for this album, and I was stoked to see how the paint and patterns complemented each other. I need to use paint more often -- I love the effect!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday the 13th

Today on the way to school, my daughter observed that it was, indeed, October 13. She's all about the October vibe, loving that every day brings her closer to Halloween. As a result, the number 13 somehow feels more significant to her this month than it does during any other month. She's also been loving the word "triskaidekaphobia" lately, since her teacher (ahem, me) gave the class this word as a bonus on a spelling test not long ago.

Still, as excited as the kid was about the 13th, I couldn't get over the fact that it was Monday, and the most difficult part of Monday at that -- a Monday morning, the worst prescription for a post-weekend bliss hangover. Monday is such a killjoy.

So Z and I ended up launching into a debate on the way to school: which is more ominous, Monday the 13th, or Friday the 13th?

All in all, Monday the 13th actually wasn't so bad, though. We survived, which is more than I can say for some people associated with the whole Friday the 13th school of thought.

On the way home this afternoon, the clouds were so gray they were practically purple. I know, you're thinking, ominous, right? No way. I saw the sky and swooned. I love weather like this. It's go-right-home-and-get-cozy weather, the best kind.


However, once I arrived at home, my husband reported, "I think I'm allergic to water," prompting yet another odd debate. This guy could be ON Big Bang Theory...and oh my gosh, if you saw last week's episode (2.3) and then spent a week in the life at this house, you'd know exactly what I mean.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fall, Hawaii Style

So we're officially into the fall season, and here in Hawaii, that means one thing -- more rain. When winter comes, it will mean even more rain. So many of my favorite bloggers (like this one) have been recording the change of season, a change that I haven't quite felt...until just recently. It's been getting cooler in the evenings lately (though still not cool enough for sweaters), and yes, it's been raining quite a bit. The dampness and the coolness intermingle to create an earthiness that permeates the air...and finally, tonight, it feels like fall.

There are other signs pointing to the change in season, and now, looking back on the scenes of the day, it's clear that there's much more to this change than rainfall.

First of all, I've been hibernating lately, sleeping way more than I should, and getting cozy with book after book. I spent this weekend with this gem:

It's so different from Bushnell's other books. I don't want to be insulting to her other work, but this one is just so solid and well-written compared to the others. The others were entertaining, as is this book, but One Fifth Avenue delivers something more. The other books flowed, as does this one, but there is a clearer sense of craft in this book. So many of the sentences in this book spark fire, demanding rereading and appreciation. Granted, I'm only halfway through, so for all I know, the plot will unravel in a few more chapters...but given the way it's progressing so far, I've got high hopes for this book.

Another sign of fall:

Meet the annual mini-pumpkin. My daughter gets one of these each year, right at the beginning of the month, so that by the time we reach Halloween, it looks truly horrific and can be thrown out just as November begins. Right now it's cute, though. It's very fall.

Then there is this telltale sign that fall is afoot:

Ooh yeah, candy corn. I am so sugared up right now.

Finally, tonight I knew that I had transitioned from summer to fall because I had the urge to roast a chicken...which I did...and as it was cooking, I realized that if there was a way to bottle roast chicken aroma, I would pay shameful amounts for that fragrance, and ROLL in it like a happy dog. That's just how I feel about the chicken. Don't EVEN get me started about the whole POINT of roasting a chicken:

Good gravy. See how little is left?

I'm a teacher, so I know that summer HAS to be #1 on my list of seasonal preferences, but there is something so sensory about fall, I just can't resist it. Fall is such a "homey" season.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"I Inspire Me" Hits the Street

This month's issue of Scrap Street includes a special feature on "I Inspire Me." You can check out the full article here. The article profiles the blog as well as this week's metal/wire-inspired challenge. I found my inspiration on the desk next door to mine -- my husband's new (and monstrous) Alienware computer:
This challenge SO proves that inspiration is everywhere...even in a computer's innards.

Be sure to check out this week's challenge. There are so many amazing pages and projects; plus, Rita Weiss is guesting, and I sooooo love her.