Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Much Luke-ness

Let's start with the important stuff first. Not only does Luke now know where his nose, ears, and tongue are, but we also FINALLY have our first word: down. That's right, folks. Not mama, not dada, not nana; not even kitty. Down. (Assuming you don't count "yay," which his pediatrician said didn't count.) As in, I'm finished eating now, I want down. Hey, at least it's progress!

Next, how about a new toy? :-) I had to hunt around a bit, but I finally found a pretty good video hosting service. I could host them from my own site, but that would eat up my bandwidth in a hurry, so I needed to find a good free one online. One I tried didn't want to download correctly. The next one had hideous video quality. It's free, so I can't expect great quality (if anyone knows of one, I'd be happy to check it out!), but this one was better than most. If it works and you like it, I might upload a few other ones.

I shot this at the park nearby on Saturday. Hope you enjoy!

Hosted by DropShots

(Let me know if this doesn't work for you. That would kind-of defeat the purpose.)

And finally, I have a new layout to show you. I am quite proud of it, actually. This was a sketch challenge. They give you a sketch showing what the final product should look like (placement wise), and you have to try to replicate it. Sure, no problem. Then I saw the sketch. Good gracious! Did I pick a doozie to start with. But I did it, and actually in less time than I thought it would take. Go me!! This was my first time using circles, but I think I like it.

Journaling says: "Luke's very first shoes. We waited until he was quite good at walking before investing in these. My husband bought shoes the same day, and his were only $1 cheaper!"

Everything from Tenacity by Misty Cato at Scrap Outside the Box
Fonts are Bookman Old Style and Celtic Hand
Inspiration Sketch by Gina Miller at Scrapbook-Bytes

Currently feeling: happy

Friday, May 26, 2006

Broken Hip

Credit: Crystal's Blinkies

Anyone with elderly relatives knows those are two of the most dreaded words you will ever hear. But I was greeted with those two words in my inbox on Wednesday around Noon. Just four days after moving from the round-the-clock care unit to assisted living, my grandmother fell and broke her hip. They thought at first that her shoulder might also be broken, but after repeated examinations and testing, that proved not to be the case (thank goodness). She is 83 years old and in declining health, with a moderate to serious case of Parkinson's disease and some osteoporosis, so healing will be quite a challenge, but today's surgery to pin the bone went well, so there is hope. Any good thoughts you can spare for her would be much appreciated.

These events also put quite a crimp in our weekend plans. We were supposed to leave Thursday night for my parents' house, but they've spent the last several days handling my grandmother and all of the medical stuff (my mom is an RN, so she is a great help at understanding "doctor speak"), and they will spend most of tomorrow moving her *back* to the round-the-clock care unit. At least everything is already sorted and organized, since they just moved her last weekend. All of this is taking place two hours away from where my parents live, so there was no point in us going to visit if they weren't even going to be there! (They're staying in a hotel to keep from driving back and forth every day.) Plus, we would have just been in the way. With Luke in tow, we wouldn't have been much help at packing or moving, and I doubt Luke would have been allowed at the hospital for visitation, so she wouldn't have even gotten to see him. No point in disrupting his routine for essentially no reason, so we're staying put. We'll enjoy the long weekend, and DH will save those two vacation days he planned to take so that we can maybe go down some other weekend later in June and visit, after she is out of the hospital.

Currently feeling: sad, but cautiously hopeful

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

And in the completely stupid department

Credit: Pinky Blinkies

And that blinky is, of course, referring to myself. I committed the unpardonable computer error: I didn't save. Well, I did, but I assumed that after saving I would be able to undo a change that I made, but I made a few more changes, and then it wouldn't let me back up. So, after getting this incredibly cute layout done (simple, boring, not as sophisticated as what a bunch of the ladies do, but still cute I think), then shrinking it to post it to an online gallery, I couldn't get it back to regular size. Now, instead of something printable, I only have it teeny-tiny. So, here it is. At least I more or less know what to do so that I should be able to recreate it. It's just a pain, and I'm just mad at myself since I *totally* know better. ::snort:: At least I should get a free posting bonus out of it (if you made a layout using this free kit and posted it, you get more coordinating components for free!).

Font is Team Spirit, a free internet download
Kit is Number One Fan by Staci Schall from The Digi Dreamer
Grungy Edge from Edges Pack by Lauren Bavin from Digital Scrapbook Place
Basketball Patch (on left) from Basketball is Life by Lady Jane at DigiScrap Central

Currently feeling: idiotic

Monday, May 22, 2006

Some more layouts

Still sticking with the 4x6 size so far, since that is easiest to carry around (and to stick on my refrigerator, LOL). Plus, most of these are going through the mail, so it only makes sense.

First up is Jacob's graduation announcement, which is the whole reason I got sucked into this mess in the first place (yeah, I'm resisting so hard, LOL). Which means I technically lied. The layout of my uncle and his wife was not my first one; this was. But we didn't want anyone to know I was doing it, so I had to fib. Anyway, I think it turned out simply smashing!! And Jacob really likes it, too, which is the important thing. And so much more personal (and cheaper!) than "official" announcements. Go us!

Photos by Erin Gaston
Font is SNC Script, a free internet download
All papers and elements (except UM logo) by Jade T
From Gentlemen's Study Add-On at Scrapbook-Bytes

Next up is one I did for my friend Erica. I have been a *terrible* friend and only just got around to sending her a baby gift for the approaching-7-months McKenna. So I made it a "Happy First Mother's Day" gift (forgetting at the time that it was also almost her birthday, DUH!). No, the picture isn't really the gift, but it was my way of letting her know that I had bought her a gift certificate for real paper scrapping supplies. Better than a Post-It note in her card, right? I didn't have any high-res pictures to use, so I snitched a few small ones from her blog and cobbled them together. I know it's a little cluttered with all the small photos, but I still think it turned out pretty cute!

Photos from Erica's Blog
Font is ALS Script, a free internet download
All papers and elements by Rhonna Farrer
From April Free {Pea} Digital Kit at Two Peas in a Bucket

And lastly, the one I did for Mother's Day. Yes, I even made one for myself! This one was embarrassingly easy. It is called a plopper (or an easy page, or a quick page, or something similar depending on where you got it). It comes all finished, with a transparent window for your picture and a place for some text, aka "journaling" to you scrappers out there. (Actually, the main square where I put pictures of McKenna in the one above is also a plopper, come to think of it. I just shrank it way down.) All I did was pop in that picture of Luke (slightly cropped), add the Happy Mother's Day text (personalized for each recipient, of course; Nana, Grandmama, GG, Granny, and me), and print! Still, I think it was a nice addition to their Mother's Day cards.

Photo by Erin Gaston
Font is SNC Script, a free internet download
Plopper by Michelle Rottler
From Ultimate Family Brag Book at

Currently feeling: showcased

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Nectar of the Gods

Forgive me for waxing rhapsodic, but it is oh so good! Made all the better when you only get to have it once or twice a year. Great flavor (especially the day after), so sweet as to almost hurt, completely clear (NEVER cloudy!), and the beautiful amber color. ::deep sigh:: That, my friends, is all that iced tea should be! I had a glass of tea this week for the first time in over a year. You see, I'm not allowed to drink it any more. Me, a Southerner born and raised! It's almost like having part of me amputated. You know all those anti-oxidants that people say you should drink tea for because they're good for you? Yeah, those would be the same things that put rocks in my kidneys; it's like drinking a liquid kindey stone. I had to quit drinking it cold turkey almost (gosh) 5 years ago, and I thought it would kill me. After about 2 years of complete abandonment, I started allowing myself to have 1 or 2 glasses a year. This was my time for this year. And was it ever worth the wait!

Currently feeling: bliss

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Uber-Long Weekend Report

Credit: Blinkies by Otto

A.K.A. Graduation and Mother's Day weekend. I know this is really long, but it's my story and my blog, so there! LOL Thus begins my tale....

Even if I hadn't already decided to take MARTA (Metro-Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) to the airport before leaving on Wednesday, the weather would have decided that for me. It was *pouring* down rain with very dense fog. I could see the car drop-off zone as the train pulled into the airport station, and it was a sea of brake lights; nothing was moving. DH would have been annoyed, and Luke would have been miserable. I have to say, it was really freaky coming around the curve towards the station where I had to change trains and seeing only a mass of nothing. Usually you can see all of downtown, including the capital, and well up into Midtown (where I used to work, about 30 large city blocks away). All I could see were a few buildings very close to the train (like the hospital), and then nothing but fog. I knew this did not bode well.

Sure enough, my plane was delayed. They said at first that it was only 20 minutes, which I didn't believe for a second. Oh, and sometime after I arrived and checked the screens, they changed gates on me, so I had to change concourses and go from the gate right next to the entrance of Concourse C to the one literally as far away from the entrance as I could get on Concourse D. In the concourse that is being overhauled, so there was no carpet, almost no A/C (just enough to keep you from dying, but it was easily almost 80 degrees and 98% humidity), and only one functioning bathroom for the entire concourse (way back at the entrance, natch). I had just enough money for dinner (forgot to account for airport prices when I said $10 would be enough; it was, but didn't leave much left for a plane snack ($2 for a pack of M&Ms?!?!)), and naturally after eating it, I had to haul me and all of my luggage back to the entrance to pee since my flight had now been delayed an hour. ::smacks forehead:: We finally board and end up leaving about 70 minutes late. The ascent was quite rough, since we were going straight through the stormclouds, but we had a lovely view of the lightening show (from above) after we got to 40,000 feet. Pretty smooth and standard trip from there. Even started a new book, Day of Confession, by Allan Folsom (he also wrote The Day After Tomorrow (the book the movie was based on), which I didn't know until this weekend; I bought this book several years ago). It's pretty good so far, though clearly written by a man. Give me a female writer any day! Pretty interesting, though. I'll definitely finish it, hopefully this week, then start on the forensics book for the Barnes & Noble University class I somehow got roped into taking (I won't mention any names, like Fred!).

So, I land in Ft. Lauderdale, find Jacob, and hop in his truck, which was truly bizarre, since I haven't even *seen* his truck in over three years. (Sheesh, has it really been that long?!) He always flies up here when he comes. It was really weird, especially with a Florida tag on it. Oh, and it was 10 degrees warmer when I landed than it had been when I got to the airport 5 hours earlier! I was dreading what the rest of the weekend weather was going to be, but I bow to the Weather Goddess for blessing us with temps in the mid-80s (as opposed to the upper-90s that it had been for the previous week or two). I got to see his apartment, which is very nice. Again, it was weird seeing a part of his life that has been unknown to me (except in stories) for three years. Anyway, we were up until almost 3 that night, IIRC. Slept until 9:30, showered and re-packed (would be staying at the hotel with my parents from that point on), and met up with parental units at the hotel around Noon. That was also very strange. I can't tell you the last time we were together, just the four of us. DH has always been with us, at least for the last 7+ years, and for a significant portion of time before that. Hit Olive Garden for lunch (which I haven't had in months, since the one near us closed, waaaah!!), then changed for graduation.

As is customary for my family, we decided to err on the side of caution and leave 30-60 minutes earlier than we really needed to. As it turned out, it was a good thing, since a tanker full of gasoline overturned about 10 minutes after we got off of 95. (Got to see the "I-95 Ends" sign!) Even though we were going southbound and the accident was northbound, it shut down all lanes going north and 2 lanes (out of 4) going south due to all of the HazMat crews and stuff. (95 North was actually still closed when we came back after the ceremony; we bailed off just in time after seeing the traffic slow down.) Got there about an hour early (made better time than we thought) and killed some time in the bookstore. Had a brief snack and picked up some munchies for the ceremony (expected to last 3 hours, not starting until 7:30; thus why Luke did not attend). Hiked over to the stadium. Jacob had to be there at 6:30, and it was about 5:45. They were not letting anyone into the stadium until 6:30, nor were they letting the graduates into the air conditioned holding tent. It was in the mid to upper 80s outside and sunny. Could have been considerably worse, and there was a breeze, but that is so not the point. Everyone was dressed up, it is hot, and they won't let us in. So annoying! The finally at least opened the doors to let some of the air conditioning blow on those of us near the entrance, which was nice, and they relented around 6:10 and let us in (crowd was pretty big by then).

We ended up picking seats too far away because we didn't want to be looking from the side (we wanted to see from the front, not knowing how they were doing things), so not a single photo I took turned out. Waaah!! My *one* job at graduation, and I failed utterly. I am so not happy about it. Yes, they had professional photographers taking pictures of the important parts (hooding, handshake, plus two afterwards), but boy are they expensive! Yes, we'll buy them anyway, but it's gonna hurt. Anyway, per the official streaming video, he personally entered the stadium at the 4 minute mark, he was hooded at the 70 minute mark, and the entire ceremony was 2 hours and 40-something minutes. ::faint:: They did all PhDs and Master's degrees (though not JDs (judicial docotrate), PsyDs (psychology doctorate), or MDs), and I'm sure they did it as quickly as they could, but there were about 1000 graduates total, give or take 100 (estimating from the number of chairs on the floor). Finally over after 10. Took us a while to figure out how to get back to the car (amazing how much different campus looks in the dark, and Jacob took classes at the medical campus, so he didn't know the general campus at all), but we eventually made it. Hit traffic not long after the baffling "interstate closed ahead" sign (didn't find out about the accident until the next morning) and bailed off the interstate, but Jacob knew that area of town pretty well, so it wasn't a big deal. Stopped at Wendy's (the only thing still open at almost-11 PM on a Thursday) for a late night snack (we'd eaten lunch at 1, remember), then back to the hotel. Took a zillion pictures of Jacob in his regalia, but not a single one of the family. ::bangs head on wall::

Friday, we slept in (like 9), had Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast. We then went to Snodgrass Mills mall, which is gigantic. It is literally about a mile from one end to the other. All told, I think we walked about 3 miles that day. We had lunch at Rainforest Cafe, and dinner (though we were still stuffed from lunch, so we did appetizers and dessert) at The Cheesecake Factory. In between, we shopped and shopped and shopped, including the Disney Character Outlet. We got there around 1 and left at 9. I can't tell you the last time I was out shopping all day long!! My feet and knees hurt, but it was great. Back to the hotel, talked and played Bejeweled (the pay version) on Mom's brand new $3300 laptop (sweet!!) until some ungodly hour. Oh yeah, and I packed. (And BTW, I found out today that the brand new, she's had it for less than two weeks, computer went kerfluey on the way home; they will be replacing it. ::shakes head::)

Saturday, we ate lunch at Toojay's, a local chain of Jewish delis. Yum!!! We hit Barnes & Noble on the way out (Jacob had misplaced the first book of a trilogy that I was hoping to reread, so we stopped off to pick up book one). Then I was dropped off at the airport. Nothing really to report after that. Flight home was fine, except for being in a row of three seats with two other people at least my size! (For those who don't know, that would be three *very* fluffy folks; thank goodness I checked in early online and claimed the aisle!!) Jacob offered to upgrade me for Mother's Day but I said no. Might should have taken him up on it, but I think they were full anyway, thanks to the cruise ship that arrived in port over an hour late (heard several folks complaining that they missed their flight because of it, thus why they were on this one; so much for my "Saturdays are not busy flight days" hopes). Anyway, DH and Luke met me at the airport, they took me out to eat at Applebee's, and then we came home.

Sunday was Mother's Day. I got to sleep late, staying in bed until after Luke's morning nap, which was much appreciated after several long nights. I was presented with cards after Luke got up (my earrings (like this, but in gold) from RenFest (an account of which will be a separate post later, but that makes item #5 off my 101 list) were my advanced gift, since they matched my graduation outfit), and then we headed out for lunch. They took me to eat Japanese (local place called Fuji Ya, in the Best Buy shopping center on LaVista for you local folks; it is fantastic! way better than Benihana), but Luke completely freaked out when we put him in the high chair. I don't know what the deal was, but he was completely terrified. (I know my kid, and he was not pitching a fit about the high chair; he was genuinely frightened by something.) No one was cooking, there was no food out or anything, he just panicked. Maybe it was something about the other people at the table? (There were already 6 other people there.) Maybe the unusual smells? I know he'd never been there before, but he's never been that bad at a new restaurant before. I didn't want to ruin everyone else's Mother's Day dinner, so we left. I don't even think we were even *in* the restaurant for three minutes total. (They hadn't even taken our drink order yet.) DH wasn't happy, but I didn't think we'd be doing anything that nice anyway, particularly after eating out the night before. I knew I wouldn't have to cook (DH has that much sense, LOL), but I was thinking Wendy's or maybe a splurge on Chinese or something. So, we did Wendy's for lunch (since we were already out) and Chinese (take out) for dinner. Thus concludes my insanely busy weekend! Here are a few pictures of Jacob, excuse me, Dr. Warren all decked out!

Currently feeling: proud

Monday, May 15, 2006

Still here

Just been crazy busy this last week or so, between preparation, packing, travelling, graduation, and Mother's Day. I hope to have something real to post in the next couple of days, complete with pictures.

Currently feeling: tired

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Introducing Dr. Jacob C. Warren

by VirusHead

My baby brother defended his dissertation at 4 PM today. The presentation went well, deliberations didn't take long at all, and he is OFFICIALLY a PhD as of this afternoon. Please don't ask why he is defending exactly a week before he is supposed to walk. He should have done this about a month ago! It is a long aggrivating story that is no fault of Jacob's. But, since everything went fine today, it ultimately doesn't matter. The important thing is that he is Dr. Warren as of this afternoon, and he will walk as planned at graduation on Thursday.

Go Boo-Boo!!!
Currently feeling: ecstatic

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I'm juggling!!

by Melissa's Moments

Okay, so I can only do it for about 5-10 seconds at a time. And I'm using scarves, not balls. But I had the total figure-8 "cascade" pattern going on, and I was staying more or less within the established horizontal and vertical planes (they say to imagine you are juggling in a small phone booth, without hitting the walls or the ceiling). My arms are tired! I can see that I will spend more than a few days in the next month or so with sore arms, but it will be worth it. Just the look of amazement on Luke's face during those few seconds was enough to tell me that learning to do this will be SO worth it!
Currently feeling: excited!!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

101 List Update - 4 down

by Joyful Mother Designs

Actually, Mr. Count, I'm on number 4, thank you very much. I have completed another 101 Things in 1001 Days item, and an interval item at that: I have successfully taken a multivitamin each day for the last 30 days. It's something I've known I should be doing anyway. How sad that I had to make it an accomplisment on this list to have it happen. Anyway, I hardly even think about it any more, so hopefully it is a habit that will stick going forward. Only 997 to go!

Currently feeling: extra nourished

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Slippery Slope

by Heidi's Blinkies

So, when last discussed, I was reviewing the virtues of digital scrapbooking, one of the primary virtues being that it is free if you stick to the freebies. Then I had a great email exchange with a scrapbooking designer. I complimented her newsletter tips and thanked her for the style of her work (appropriate for boys, which is hard to find), and she sent me an entire kit (that she hasn't even put in the stores yet) for FREE! She said that she also had a little boy and she understood how hard it was to find good boy scrapping stuff, and she thought this one might work for me. (It is fantastic, BTW. Lots of plaids and blues and golds.) Just for being nice and saying something nice about her work. This is not a 10MB, 8 piece freebie. This is a 70MB whopper with 40 pieces NOT including the alphabet! I was completely floored. (And I will not give you her name, because I don't want everyone to think that all they have to do is email her and she'll give you a free kit. I'm sure it doesn't work that way. But I will tell you that she designs for Scrap Outside the Box.)

So, to be nice and to thank her for her generosity, I decided to purchase some of her kits. There was even a half-off coupon in the newsletter, so I did really well! I was so happy sticking with freebies, but now that I've bought a few (and I adore them, I just haven't had a chance to make anything out of them just yet), I can see me probably buying more. They are still incredibly well-priced, so it shouldn't be a terribly expensive hobby (not like, say, stitching LOL). Yeah, I say that now. We'll see how far I've sunk in this hole come next month!

Currently feeling: blissfully ensnared