Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful . . .

  • for my husband and his love and support

  • for my family

  • that I am slowly letting go of the past

  • that I have a bright future to look forward to

  • that I am 15 pounds lighter than last year

  • for our beautiful home

  • that we have steady jobs

  • for our health

Less serious:

  • Coca-cola

  • Dunkin' Donuts Coffee

  • New York & Co clothes

  • cheese

  • Black Friday sales

  • scrapbooking

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Papertrey Ink Blog Hop!

This month the challenge was to "build" a floral embellishment.  The point was to do something OTHER than Christmas, but I couldn't resist pulling out PTI's Merry & Bright set just one more time.

I really liked this set because I thought that the geometrical trees could be used for lots of other purposes.

Like making a flower. :)

I started out by stamping the striped tree twelve times in Summer Sunrise ink on Lemon Tart paper.

I trimmed six of the trees at about the third stripe in to make them just a tad shorter.

Then I attached the trees in pairs, "fat ends" together.  I layered the trees to form what oddly resembled a Christmas tree star.


I rounded the points with detail scissors to give my "star" a more floral look. 

I then punched a circle out of Lemon Tart cardstock for my flower center.  I layered the circle under a clear button attached with glitter glue.  I added the flower to my Summer Sunrise card base under a PTI white layer stamped with Polka Dot Basics (in Lemon Tart) and a layer of Lemon Tart cardstock.

I also added a strip of Summer Sunrise satin ribbon.

The final touch was a stem cut from Ripe Avocado cardstock and the "celebrate" sentiment from Wedding Day stamped in Summer Sunrise.

Close-up of the flower embellishment.  I like this card.  Pretty simple, but it uses a stamp set in an unexpected way, which I love!

(I'm thinking about adding leaves to the stem.  Any thoughts?)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Emergency Contact

My sister just called needing my address.

Me: Why?

Sister: I'm filling out forms, and you're my emergency contact.

Me: Really? Why do they need my address? Is someone going to mail me a letter if you end up in the hospital?

Sister: That, or if I get arrested.

Me: Silence.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jack & Leia (with picture!)

Today we continue our animal saga from yesterday.

About 5 years ago, my then-boyfriend decided he wanted two beagle dogs for rabbit hunting. They were pretty cute, I guess, but again, they weren't at my house and I didn't have to take care of them.

Jack and Leia (yes, as in Star Wars Leia) quickly proved that they loved to make trouble. They liked to bark at obscene hours and they liked to run away.

Guess what they didn't like to do?


Just to be clear, I have always been very clear about the no-animal rule with my husband.
Even when we moved in together and got married, Jack and Leia remained at my in-laws house. I was completely satisfied with this situation.

My husband, not so much.

The dogs were constantly running away from the in-laws. One time Leia was gone for three days and had to be taken to the vet for a huge gash in her side. That's a different story though.

Sunday, my mother-in-law decided she had had enough. The dogs were going, one way or the other. I had since come to terms with the fact that one day, the beagles would probably come live with us. At our house, anyway. Outside. In a kennel.

However, I didn't think it would be so soon.

To be honest, for the first few days I hardly noticed they were there. My husband took care of them in the morning before work and at night when he came home. It was as if they weren't there at all!

Then he went to crop school for three days.

"Hey, honey," he says before he leaves, "you'll be okay feeding the dogs, right?"

Uh, what?

"Of course," I hear myself saying. "If I can handle twenty sheep, I think I can take care of two dogs for three days!"

Sometimes, I am an idiot.

Tuesday night was my first attempt. After work, I normally go to Curves and pull into the drive around six. At six o'clock, it's pretty much DARK.

There are no lights by the kennel.

It is 33 degrees.

And windy.

(Oh, it gets better!)

I grab their leashes, because NO WAY am I going to search for the little buggers in the dark.

Boy, are they excited to see me. I feel so special!

We do pretty well with the whole leash thing, and Jack and Leia drag me off to the field so they can use the bathroom. Then I drag them back to their kennel while I refresh their water bucket and give them their food.

Alright, I am totally doing great! The dog-feeding mission was a total success!

Oh, wait. Spoke too soon. See, we have the kind of doors that you can open from the inside even when they are locked from the outside. See where this is going?

Yep, totally locked myself out of the house. I mentioned that is was cold, dark, and windy, right?

After I cussed at the doorknob for about three minutes, I remembered that we keep a hide-a-key on the side of the garage. It's the kind where you enter a code, and the box opens to reveal your key. Whew, what a relief.

Except it's dark, and I can't see to enter the code. I fumble around for fifteen minutes, no joke, before I am finally able to get the key. Yay!

(I also just remembered that I was unable to close the box to replace the key, because at this point my fingers are numb. I need to remember to tell my husband that the key is laying on the grill. Hey, it seemed pretty safe at the time!)

All in all, not my favorite way to end an evening.

The next morning, I wake at 6:30 (ugh) to make sure I have enough time to take care of the dogs before work. I have to admit, they were angels. I didn't use their leashes, but they stayed right in the backyard. The whole experience took me maybe ten minutes. Definitely the highlight of the whole dog-ownership situation.

Last night, I decided to reward them for being so good by taking them on a nice long walk. Again, they were super excited to see me. We started out on our walk (with leashes this time) down our lane. For beagle dogs which weigh all of 20 pounds each (if that), they sure can pull. My back and sides ACHE today. But, again, they were pretty good. I skipped Curves so I'd be home before dark, which was a wise decision. Too bad I didn't think of that Tuesday night.

Now that we've caught up on the dog chronicles from this week, let's focus on this morning. When I rediscovered my irration with pets and animals.

Since Jack & Leia were such good dogs Wednesday morning, I figured it would be okay to let them off the leash again this morning. Oh, big mistake.

You see, we live right next door to my husband's grandparents. And they have cats. And Jack found one this morning. Jack proceeded to think it was a fantastic idea to chase the cat around both of our yards, completely ignoring my yells and whistles. Leia also thought this was the opportune time to explore underneath the barn.

So here I am, running around chasing these stupid dogs (because, yes, they have definitely become stupid this morning), shaking their feed bowls to get their attention (which, by the way, always worked with the sheep).

Remember how I said that it's been cold? Well, this morning was no exception. It was 28 degrees. I dressed in my husbands insulated camoflauge hunting pants, gloves, and a hat before I went outside. I look like Ralphie's little brother from The Christmas Story and I feel like an idiot.

Then Pop-pop comes outside to feed his cats. I swear he was laughing at me.

Twenty minutes later, I have successfully rounded up both Jack and Leia. They are fed, watered, and have been on the receiving end of a very stern lecture. They know (I think) that I am very, very angry with their behavior this morning.

Then, as I close the gate, I see this:

Well, crap. How am I supposed to mad at that? Apparently I'm not as bad-ass as I thought I was.

(Jack on the left, Leia on the right. Also, please excuse the insane pet-eye in the picture. I barely had time to dress myself this morning, let alone actually edit a picture.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So Not an Animal Person

Have I ever mentioned that I grew up on a farm?

We had over two dozen sheep, two horses, and a dog.

Oh, the sheep. My sister and I started with market lambs as a 4-H project when I was 8. We each had a lamb. I am pretty sure the goal was to teach us responsibility, taking care of something other than ourselves, etc. The actual result was that I developed a huge complex about getting dirty. Sheep stink.

Some of you non-farmers are probably thinking, "Oh, but they look so cuddly." Nope. Sorry to burst that bubble for you. Sheep are loud, stubborn, and stinky.

I named my first lamb Lamb Chop. I was so creative as a child. I also had a black cat named Blackie. And her kittens were subsequently named Brownie, Stripes, and Spots. The goldfish I won at our state fair? Oh, yeah. Goldie.

The first few years of raising lambs was quite fun for my sister and me. (And I? I never get that right. Someone please correct my grammar.) Then we had the (not-so) great idea to purchase some breeding stock so we could have year-round fun and breed our own market lambs, rather than purchasing them from other local farms.

Thus began my hatred of cold weather and mornings.

My sister and I would "feed up" every morning before school. Normally we switched off days, so each of us only did 2-3 days per week. Our father fed up on the weekends. This was obviously pre-divorce, back when we were a family and all loved each other. Wow, I am a little bitter this morning.

Feeding up wasn't too awful. Basically, we would fill the water buckets, throw in some grain, and toss some hay in the hay rack. Maybe a ten-minute job.

Until winter. In winter, the ice buckets froze. And you needed to get the buckets out of the pen, thaw the ice buckets if they were frozen solid, and then refill them with super cold water from the hose. If the stupid person who fed the night before (probably me) forgot to unhook the hose from the faucet, you also had to thaw the hose as it was likely frozen solid as well.

Suddenly, a ten minute feeding lasted over half an hour. Did I mention it was cold? Super cold? Oh, I did.

So cold.

Slowly, I began to develop a hatred for the sheep. I hated feeding them, I hated walking them, I hated washing them (super stinky!), and I hated shearing them. Shearing was probably the worst. It takes forever, unless you're really good. Which I wasn't. It also takes forever when you are also shearing both of your sisters' (Little Sister was old enough at this time to join the fun) and possibly your cousins' sheep.

I'm getting the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

I also despised showing the sheep at fairs, because, again, I totally blew.

I continued showing sheep (begrudgingly) through my senior year of high school. I only showed through high school because I needed a project for my SAE in FFA, which I will happily explain at another time if those little acronyms mean nothing to you.

Then I was free!

And I swore I would never have another animal so long as I lived.

Fast forward to my senior year at college.

I moved into an off-campus apartment with two of my sorority sisters, one of whom had a dog. She swore it was well-behaved and hardly ever barked. I thought, it's only nine months. How bad could it be? I don't have to take care of it, I just have to live with it. The dog won't be in my bedroom. Maybe we'll love each other!

Oh, to be young and naive/stupid again.

She was totally right about the barking thing. That dog (Bella) was super quiet.

But oh my goodness she stunk like it was nobody's business. And we hated each other.

I hated that she peed on the floor and constantly stunk.

She hated that I gave her looks filled with contempt and loathing.

The experience solidified my "no animals" ruling.

I generally deal very well with other people's animals, especially dogs. I like them well enough. I just don't want them in my house. Ever. At all. For any amount of time.

I also don't want to take care of them.

Side note: I hear people say that before couples have a child, they should get a puppy, so they learn how to take care of a being who can't care for themselves.

Stupidest thing I've ever heard.

A child will eventually learn to take care of themselves. A dog will ALWAYS need you to feed it and change it's water.

Now, I'm sure that some of the few people who read my blog are animal lovers. I would never try to convince you to do otherwise. I'm all about free choice. It's just not for me. I'm sure your dog/cat/lizard is absolutely fantastic, and I would be happy to visit with them. OK, not the lizard. But I don't want one of my own. And don't you dare bring your animal to my house.

My point is, I'm used to animals. I've had my fair share. And some of them had their good points. But I really don't want to make the life-long committment to being an "animal person."

Until, last Sunday, animal ownership was forced upon me.

More tomorrow. With pictures of our acquisition.

Also, I have this theory that I detest the thought of animals in my house because although we had a myriad of critters running around, we never had a house pet. (Except for Goldie, of course, but I hardly think that counts.) My only first-hand experience with an animal in the house was that one year in college with Bella the stinky dog, which turned out horribly.

So, if you have a house pet now, did you have one growing up?

Or if you fall more into my category of no-pets-in-the-house, why?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Home Alone

OK, how many of you put your hands on your cheeks and yelled when you read that?

I know I did.

My husband is gone for three whole days to crop school to renew his credits as a Certified Crop Advisor. (No, none of that was a typo. Just go with it.)

So what, you may ask, am I going to do for 3 days? (I do realize that you probably don't care what I do, but you are reading my blog, so it's a possibility that you do.)

(I also just realized that I use paratheses quite a bit. Does it bother anyone? I feel like I use them when I'm explaining something. It's my cyber-speak for hand gestures.)

Sorry, got off track. (Big surprise, right?)

Oh, did it again. I really can't help myself.

Ahem . . .

So while my husband is learning all about nitrogen and soybean rust, I will be doing pretty much nothing.

I plan to do some scrapbooking, some internet surfing, and some eating of foods I could never get away with cooking if he was home.

Like feta cheese. And artichokes. Together. Or black olives.

Seriously, every time I make some kind of white sauce, he asks before tasting, "You didn't put any of that feta stuff in here, did you?"

He won't eat feta, but he will eat squirrel. Weird.

Or as I frequently tell him, "You're such a dork."

To which he replies, "Well, you're evil."

We love each other so much.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I am having a really good hair day.

Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Stories in Hand w/ Jessica Sprague

I am taking Jessica Sprague's Stories in hand class over on (Duh, I guess you could tell that from the title.)

So far, it's a pretty neat class. She has given us hundreds of prompts in order to "spark" stories. These are stories that we want to tell in some way, maybe through our blog, maybe through scrapbooking (maybe both!). She's basically developed a place to keep these stories as we think of them.

I'm a few days behind, and I'm working in the Roots section of our prompts. One that really caught my eye was, "What is your earliest memory?" Mine is kind of weird, but it's pretty vivid. I was about 3 at the time.

From the time I was born until just before my 4th birthday, we lived in a single-wide trailer at the end of a dirt road. As anyone who has ever lived in a trailer knows, they generally aren't well insulated. All kinds of little creatures can get in if they really want to. We constantly had mice, bugs, etc.

On this particular afternoon, I was sitting on my bed in my teeny-tiny room eating bacon bits out of the jar (I know, weird! I warned you!). Suddenly, a little mouse ran across my bed.

Clearly, he/she smelled the bacon. I screamed like a little girl. Mind you, I was a little girl, but still. My mom came running into the room, worried that I had hurt myself. My mom always thought I was going to hurt myself. I guess I was a little clumsy.

Not a very lengthy memory, but very vivid, and the earliest I can remember. I learned an important lesson that day: if you're going to eat Bacon Bits straight out of the jar with a spoon, do it in the kitchen.

Or on someone else's bed.

Or maybe I shouldn't have been eating Bacon Bits straight out of the jar AT ALL. I don't know. The moral of the story is a little fuzzy at this point.

All I know is, I never want breakfast in bed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weird dreams

I think I'm getting sick. I'm achey, and I'm having weird dreams.

Not creepy or scary, just odd.

Last night I had a dream that my husband and I were cooking dinner together. While that is a little weird in itself, because cooking together is definitely not normal for us, the really strange part is that I have no idea where we were cooking. As in, I have never been in that house in my life.

But I loved it! It was the kitchen I never knew I always wanted. Not that I don't love my kitchen, because I totally do, but hey, we're not rolling in dough here. I had to draw the line somewhere.

I drew the line at my dishwasher. (And I apologize now, because this post is totally not going where I thought it would, but apparently I'm in a stream of consiousness kind of mood.)

Have you ever looked at the features and options on appliances? Or cars, electronics, etc? You know how there's always that one thing that makes you think, "That option can't be that important. I'm not going to spend $X for facial recognition/seat warmers/insert other option here."

And then, after you have had the appliance/car/electronic for a few weeks, you think to yourself, "Wow, really wish I had seat warmers?"

(I swear I have a point this time. Bear with me, people.)

Well, I thought I'd save $300 or so by opting not to get "Quiet Power" for my dishwasher. Because, really, how much noise can a dishwasher make?

Oh, you would be surprised. I sure was.

We cannot run the dishwasher while we are in the kitchen, eating dinner in the dining room (okay, we pretty much eat dinner on TV trays in the living room), or watching television. Hey, we might actually want to talk to each other. And we can't do that while the dishwasher is running. Or washing. Whatever.

We set the timer and run it overnight while we sleep on the other end of the house. On a really quiet night, I can still hear the noise.

Which is why I think I've been having weird dreams. Nah, just kidding. I thought I'd try to give this post SOME sense of continuity. I failed.

Don't judge me. I'm still on my first cup of coffee.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I voted!

And I didn't even get a sticker.

Did you vote? I went before work, and even then the lines were longer than I've seen in the past few elections.

If nothing else, I do believe that this will be a record turn-out for voters, which is a good thing.