Monday, June 29, 2009

Dog Girl

I love her silly doggy grin.
I get a kick out of the way she races up and down the hallway each morning, 
running away from no one 
and in pursuit of nothing.
She can be so loud and bold with strangers,
but freaks out and hides under the bed 
if a plastic bottle falls out of the recycling bin.  
She murmurs contentedly in her sleep,
shakes with delight at the sight of a new bone,
digs holes in a playful fury,
inhales her food each evening,
and immediately subdues herself and gently rolls over
if a belly pat is imminent.

She's my "Dog Girl," Miss Mazie.   

Sunday, June 28, 2009

In Hindsight...

I probably should scrap more.  It makes me happy.  Lately I've been making lots of family pages.  

Here's a layout that I did for this week's Collage Press father-themed layout challenge. 

If you're interested in nabbing your very own Knave of Hearts collection set, be sure to add your linky link to the Collage Press blog before midnight on Wednesday.  

Yesterday I created this layout celebrating my cousin's graduation from the HPU nursing program.  We're so proud of her.  I really think that nursing is her true calling, since she's always been so loving and caring.  I don't exactly scrap on a timeline, so I'm finally getting around to last summer's photos...and I'm also rummaging through my stash, unearthing lots of goodies that have been neglected.  Take this vintage wooden nickel happy face from Studio Calico.  This poor guy didn't have a home, until now.  
I think he'll be very happy here. 
Alas, the immune system is rebooting, and work resumes tomorrow, but hopefully I'll find the time this week for more scrappy happiness. 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Five Faves Friday (Homebound Version)

1.  On Tuesday, following a fun foray up my left nostril, my doctor informed me that I had Influenza A.  In addition to asking me to avoid the general public until Monday, he prescribed me lots of good drugs, including Tamiflu, which has earned itself the top ranking on my five faves list for the week.   It really works!   As he sent my sniffling zombie self off to fetch my prescription, my doctor told me that I would stop feeling "crappy" soon.  I know that the use of the word "crappy" is frowned upon as far as traditional bedside manner is concerned, but I actually found his word choice to be on point.  After all, I went to the doctor to stop feeling crappy, and now I'm not feeling as crappy.  Thank you, Tamiflu.  Thank you, Doc.  

2.  After years of using Elements, I finally made the switch:  I am now a Photoshop CS4 initiate.  After just a few weeks of playing around with the program, I have realized that I am holding a superbad-awesometastic-ray-gun-of-doom-and-glory in my hands, but I only know how to say "pow pow" and pretend to shoot stuff.   Time to be schooled.   Any advice?  

3.  One thing that I did learn how to do using CS4 was to load and use actions.  I've had my eye on Maggie Holmes's Photoshop actions for a while, and now that I've had a chance to use them, I love them!  I have the Color Mix Actions Set, and I love what it does to photos.  

Here's my mom in her loveliness, before and after Maggie's Urban Action: 

If you know of any other cool actions, do share.

4.  Now that the flu-related dizziness is dissipating, I can read again!  Yay!  I just started a new book last night, Beginner's Greek, by James Collins.  

On the surface, it appears to be "chick lit" written by a guy.  Odd.  It's even been compared to Pride and Prejudice a few times by reviewers (of course, so many books are, and just shouldn't be). A few pages in, though, and I'm thinking that this book may actually be...delightful.  It has a great "meet cute" in the opening pages.   So far, the book is entertaining and smartly written.  I'll keep my fingers crossed for this one.  

5.  Mmm...True Blood.  I can't get enough of this show.  Two shows into the new season, I'm hooked all over again.  Right now I'm wondering what's going to happen to Lafayette.  Rob is still pissed that his favorite character turned out to be the villain last season, and he's announced that if Lafayette dies, he's done with the show.  Yeah, right. There's no way that he can walk away from the show now, since he has it worse than a V addict.  There's also no way that Lafayette is going to die (at least, if he does, it'll only be temporary, if you catch my drift).  He's gold.  If the show lost him, it just wouldn't be the same. 

Stay healthy, all! 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Collage Press Giveaway

Between doses of Tamiflu, I'm just stopping in to let you all know that you really should check out the Collage Press blog this week.  I'm hosting the June challenge, and if you play along, you may just win the Knave of Hearts collection.  Woo hoo!  Just the thought of it gives my immune system a little boost.  

Friday, June 19, 2009

Five Faves Friday

The fact that it is Friday shouldn't bring about the level of jubilation that usually accompanies this day of the week during the regular school year, but this week was my first week of teaching summer school, so I am totally doing the TGIF happy dance right now.   

I'm actually really enjoying teaching summer school, though.  I have two groups of incredibly sweet and incredibly funny students, and I really do look forward to spending my mornings with them.  There's a kind of mellowness about summer classes that is difficult to establish during the regular school year.  

Still, it can be a challenge to keep these students entertained, empowered, and wanting to be there, knowing that the beach is just a block away and the blue skies are a-calling. Thus, today is definitely a day of sweet relief not just for me, but for my students, who have been putting in a lot of hard work this week.  

As soon as school finished today, Z and I went to a movie. We saw The Proposal.  The reviews weren't great, but we really enjoyed the movie.  It had a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, so that's always a bonus.  It's an escapist romantic comedy -- so as far as I'm concerned, it did its job.  We escaped.  I swooned a little.  I definitely laughed.  

Onto this week's faves:

1.  Trim.  Prima trim, to be specific.  I haven't actually put it to use just yet.  I've been content just holding it in my hands, admiring it.  It's almost too pretty to use! 

Almost.  I vow that this is the week that it will begin to materialize on my layouts.  

2.  Studio Calico letter stamps.  These came in the much-coveted Cherry Pop kit last week, and they've already earned their place as one of my favorite letter stamp sets ever.  I love how SC offers the perfect mix of classy , campy, and cute (not cutesy, mind you).  

3.  Summer reading.  During the regular school year, I rarely have time to read "me" books -- that is, those that I choose to read for purely selfish, non-lesson-related reasons.  Holiday and summer breaks, however, offer me a chance to spend my daughter's college fund at the bookstore and to hole up for days on end, reading.  I've made my way through a bunch of books already -- but sadly, I've encountered nothing remarkable, yet.  For me, it's all about closure -- an ending that should be followed by a mental "Amen".  It doesn't have to be a happy ending -- I'm not talking formula fiction here.  It just has to end.  Why do so many writers suck at endings? Seriously.  Why do so many editors not catch this all-too-common flaw?  

I still have a lot more books to explore, however.  Here's the "short stack" on my night table:  

Yes, some of the books are teaching-related.  Freaking work ethic.  

4.  "Susquehanna".  In addition to the novels that I've been plowing through lately, I have also been keeping Good Poems, an anthology edited by Garrison Keillor, very close at hand.  Every so often I'll open it and sigh...  

This one stopped my heart for a moment: 


Yes, I add notes to my books.  I couldn't NOT leave this note.  This last stanza is exactly where I am right now.  

5.  Anthro butterflies.  I wore these today -- they make me happy, fluttering near my ears, whispering tales of requited Anthropologie love.   

Monday, June 15, 2009

Collage Press Layouts


Today the design team posts are up on the Collage Press blog. Here are my contributions:

“The Boys of Summer”


This time of year always makes me a little wistful, thinking back to the summers that I spent with my brother and my cousins at my grandparents’ house. Every time I see this photo I break into a huge grin, because it so completely captures the spirit of those summers -- dirt, tools, wheels, friendship, and laughter.

“10 Summer Resolutions”


As a teacher, I look forward to summer vacation even more than my students. However, two months away from my usual routines can be somewhat disorienting, so I always set a few (flexible) goals for myself at the beginning of summer. Just two weeks into summer, I’m already making progress and enjoying myself. When I saw the “top ten” Knave of Hearts journaling card, I knew that it would be perfect for this layout.



As I mentioned yesterday, be sure to stop by the blog and leave a comment to be entered to win some Collage Press goodness!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

One More Day Until...


Collage Press's monthly design day!  

Tomorrow, the design team, joined by two of our newest members, Nicole Harper and Kristin Faust, will be revealing their designs using the latest Collage Press lines, Knave of Hearts and Sweet Shoppe.  These lines are beautiful and so versatile -- I've had a blast playing with them!  

As an added incentive for stopping by the Collage Press blog, you may be one of the lucky ones who wins the product giveaways (to include the Sweet Shoppe crafting kit, some of the fun new die cut papers, and the new die-cut rings).  Trust me, you want IN on this!  

In the meantime, I've been keeping my itchy little fingers busy in my attempts to rejuvenate my scrapping mojo.  Perfect timing to count my blessings:


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Whoa.

Today we went to Hanauma Bay. I hadn't been there since I was kid. I wasn't really interested in ever going back, since all I can recall was that the beach was way too crowded, the day was way too hot, and the walk downhill and uphill was way too difficult for my whiny self.

In the past decade, though, some important changes have taken place at Hanauma Bay. It has become a lot more eco-friendly. 10,000 tourists used to visit the beach daily; today, that number has dropped to 3,000, due to stricter regulations. The water was once full of bread, and the fish forgot to behave like fish; today, the area is a nature preserve, and feeding the fish is prohibited. The reef was hurting something awful; today, it is slowly reviving.

Rob and Z have really been into snorkeling lately, so it was only a matter of time before Rob suggested that we visit Hanauma Bay. We arrived early, at 7:30, about an hour and a half after the beach opened for the day. This was a brilliant move on our part, since the beach was relatively quiet and pristine at that hour, and the fish weren't being scared off by the crowds. Rob and Z saw so many amazing fish -- as well as a very unhappy eel -- and came back to the shore raving about all that they had experienced while snorkeling.

I had my own little adventure to share with them. While they were out snorkeling, I spent my time wading in the shallows, marveling at the size and colors of the curious fish that came to check out my feet. Then I saw it.

Just as I realized what I was seeing, it was gone.

I ran to grab my camera, and went right back to where I had been standing, hoping that it would reappear.

A moment later...



How cool is that? A baby hammerhead shark!

So inspired was I by my brush with animal awesomeness that I decided to go snorkeling as well. However, by the time that I went out, the beach had become crowded, the water had become murky due to all of the kicked up sand, and most of the sea life had sought refuge elsewhere. Lesson learned. We'll go even earlier next time -- and bring snorkeling gear for three.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Five Faves Friday

This should be a quick one:

1. Summer.
2. Summer.
3. Summer.
4. Summer.5. Summer.
It may not shock you to discover that we started summer break yesterday. We spent the day at the beach yesterday, and went to the movies today. So far, so good! I love that summer, by definition, is anti-efficiency. It's not all about the deadlines and the "to do" lists. It's about embracing the Way of the Dog -- sleeping (and waking) according to the body clock, playing when energized, and alternately rollicking and relaxing. Woo hoo and woof woof, I say, to the dog days of summer.