Monday, March 31, 2008

First Freebie!

Just for the heck of it - here's a digital template I created in PSE5, though I believe it will work in PS as well. Knock yourself out!

Get It Here

Friday, March 28, 2008

Weird Books

I saw this on Yahoo! news and thought I should share. Perhaps you need a chuckle this Friday morning?

By Jeremy Lovell
Fri Mar 28, 1:16 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Self-help manual "If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs" won this year's oddest book title competition, The Bookseller trade magazine said on Friday.

The book took an impressive one-third of the 8,500 votes cast online in The Bookseller's 30th annual competition.

Runner up "I was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen", the story of a fictitious World War Two pilot forced to bale out over the jungle, polled a distant 20 percent.

"'If You Want Closure', makes redundant an entire genre of self-help tomes. So effective is the title that you don't even need to read the book itself," said the magazine's deputy editor Joel Rickett.

The winner beat stiff competition from other shortlisted titles including the somewhat niche "Cheese Problems Solved" and "How to Write a How to Write Book" and the rather provocative "Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues".

The annual competition was launched in 1978 at the Frankfurt Book Fair when it was won by the memorably titled "Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice".
Since then, with the exceptions of 1987 and 1991 when no award was granted due, according to Rickett, to a lack of oddness, the weird and wonderful titles have flowed thick and fast with some eyebrow raising winners.

"Joy of Chickens" took the 1980 title, with "The Theory of Lengthwise Rolling" in 1983, "Lesbian Sadomasochism Safety Manual" in 1990, "Living with Crazy Buttocks" in 2002 and "Bombproof Your Horse" in 2004 are but a sample.

However, the 1997 winner "Joy of Sex: Pocket Edition" does stand out among the glittering array, and in September this year the public will be asked to vote for the oddest of all the winners.

"That and 'Nude Mice' probably remain among the weirdest, but it is a strong competition," said Rickett.

"And the quality of weirdness does seem to be improving in part as technology allows greater access to publishing. Certainly we are getting more titles coming forward," he added.
(Editing by Paul Casciato)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cards for Heroes

If you're interested in a little service project for our soldiers overseas, here's a good one: Cards for Heroes is a nonprofit group of crafters from all over the US who are making blank greeting cards for our soldiers to send home to their families. Check out the link for details. It would make a fun project for a church group if you're interested.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Five Years Ago

I was getting ready to go to the hospital to have labor induced. Jeff had managed to convince the Guard unit to let him come home for the birth, and we'd gotten to spend one very short evening together. I was apprehensive, but so ready to meet my little boy.

We got to the hospital around noon, and by 1pm they had me hooked up to the IV and the pitocin had started. It seemed we had an endless stream of visitors. The whole youth group and half the members felt obligated to come visit Jeff (it wasn't me they were interested in!) before he shipped to Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever he would wind up (thankfully, he never deployed overseas, but we didn't know that then). It irritated me, because I wanted and needed that time with Jeff, but I didn't have the heart to run anyone off.

Mom & Dad stayed at my house until the afternoon, taking care of some last-minute projects that I didn't have tools to finish. Mom washed the bedding that arrived the day before, and Dad bolted the dresser into the wall and mounted a new light fixture.

Meanwhile, I was in the hospital, feeling mild cramps, but not much more. I was hungry, but they wouldn't let me eat. (Note to self: next time, no induction!) I downed a lot of Jell-O and clear broth, but it didn't help much.

Somewhere around 8pm, we still had visitors, and the cramps turned into recognizable contractions. Mom finally ran everyone off, and it was just my parents and Jeff in the room. Out of the blue, the contractions hit me so hard it took my breath away. Doc came in to check me and he broke my water and said I could have an epidural. For some reason, they turned off the pit drip completely at that point. Contractions stopped, and I was dilated to 4cm.

Several hours passed and nothing happened. They turned the drip back on, I had to get another epidural because the first one slipped, and I dilated to 7cm and quit. The doc said if I didn't start dilating again soon they would do a c-section.

I did not want a cesarean. Thankfully, in about an hour's time, I dilated to about 9 1/2 cm, so all was good. I don't remember how long I pushed, but it didn't feel like very long at all.

There are some things you never forget, some moments that sears themselves into your mind for as long as you live. Seeing Braeden for the first time was one of those. He was skinny, messy, and somewhat resembled a troll. He was beautiful! I wanted Jeff to be the first one to hold him, and there was nothing quite like seeing his expression at cradling that tiny little baby in his arms.

Tomorrow we'll celebrate Braeden's birthday. He was born March 27, 4:32 am. For today, I will enjoying reminiscing the anticipation (and agony) of waiting for his arrival.

Monday, March 24, 2008

PSA: Cool Site

Wanna stretch your brain and do a good deed at the same time? Check out Free Rice. You writer-types will enjoy testing your vocabulary, and for every word you get right, 20 grains of rice are donated to be distributed through the UN World Food Program.

Pretty cool, huh?

Easter Pictures & More Braeden-isms

Thought it was time to let you in on my world of conversing with a four-year-old. :)

1. Bebo had to go to the restroom, and I've begun letting him go into the stall by himself at Cracker Barrel. He did his thing, and then yelled, "Mommy! Guess what? I peed and it made bubbles!"

2. After bedtime prayers: "Daddy, you better go to bed now so you don't sleep late tomorrow and mess up my play time."

3. His response to Peepop calling him "turkey buzzard" - "I told you and told you! If you keep saying that, Mommy is going to spank you!"


Easter was not an especially thrilling affair. Oh, it wasn't a bad day; I was just a little disappointed in the church service. But that's another story for another day. Braeden was loaded up on Easter baskets. Mom had sent his - disguised in a Christmas gift bag large enough for my dog - last week. Jeff & I also put one together for him. This turned out to be a source of conflict. I don't like to buy the humongous gift baskets from Wal-Mart. The toys are so cheap that they wind up destroyed. I'd rather buy him something a little nicer that I know will last a while. Jeff wanted the big basket and was irritated with me for insisting we do something else.

At any rate, between us & my parents, Bebo was pretty well loaded up. He got two DVDs, a t-shirt, a stuffed Buzby (from Hermie & Friends), and a little bit of candy - thankfully, nothing that would tempt me. I'm a smart woman - I only bought him candy I didn't like! :)

Now for pictures. They aren't great, but nothing short of a full set of professional lighting is going to get a good shot in my dungeon of a living room.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Girls' Day Out

Had a girls' day today. Oh, yeah. Elle, my cool new-ish friend, and I hauled ourselves down to Chattanooga to do girlie stuff that just doesn't excite our poor hubbies.

We ate at Olive Garden (okay, that might get the guys worked up), caressed yarn and paper at Hobby Lobby (not so much a guy thing), and saw 27 Dresses (definitely not the guys' cup o' tea).

Fun. Mucho fun. I really wish we could hang out more often - we always have a great time (at least I do), and goodness knows I need some girlie time every now and then. I'm rather outnumbered at home - even my dog is male!

Then I get home to find that Jeff is off work for the day - too many drivers, not enough business. So I get to have a date night, too.

Hmm... off work yesterday, girls' outing & date today, Easter tomorrow.

Yup. Been a good weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Forgive Me...

I know this is highly inappropriate and all. . . but it's hilarious. Trust me. :)

So Whatcha Think?

About my new header, that is? I keep looking at it and wondering if it's a bit creepy. Maybe I should change it to something more innocuous, like flowers and kittens.


But really - is the picture a little too freaky? I feel like I'm being watched, and it's a picture of me! LOL

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I really can draw!

Sort of.

For years, I was a doodler. About the only thing I can really draw is cartoon characters, and Mickey Mouse is not one of them! LOL It takes me forever, but given enough time I can usually produce a believable Simba or Pink Panther or Bugs Bunny.

Aimee, my college roommate, is much better than I am. She can actually make a drawing from a photograph - something I could never hope to do. One time we were both sick with the flu (or some such highly contagious illness) and were stuck in our dorm room for about three days. We were about to go insane, so we started drawing cartoon characters. I wish I could remember how many drawings we cranked out that weekend.

I really am going somewhere with all of this. My freshman year, I wanted to decorate my dorm room door. So I sat down with a piece of posterboard, colored pencils, and my Lion King watch and drew Simba. I liked it so much I had Mom laminate it for me, and 13 years later, it's still in my possession. Recently, I showed it to Jeff, and he did not believe I drew it! I was highly insulted.

So, just for kicks, here it is - proof that I can draw, at least a little. I think Aimee will vouch for me that I really am the artist. :)

Oh - and I can't tell you how funny it is that in editing the photo, I just now noticed that I only put whiskers on one side of his face!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's official...

I'm exhausted, discouraged, frustrated, and grumpy.

Seems I've been like that a lot lately. I don't know if it's spring fever or if I just need to get my thyroid levels re-checked, but I'm tired of feeling out of it and cranky all the time. Something has to give. I should probably make an appointment to see the doc, but I can only imagine the conversation:

"Doc, I don't feel well."

"What's the problem?"

"I'm tired and cranky all of the time."

"That's it?"

"I guess."

"Obviously you need to lose weight and exercise. That will take care of all your problems. Here's a 1000-calorie-a-day diet. Stick to it. Walk a bazillion miles a day. Come back when you've lost all your excess weight."

See, I've heard that line of reasoning before. And while I know there is a good bit of truth in it, I hate being blown off just because I'm not perfectly figured.

I wanna take a nap!

Friday, March 14, 2008

It Begins...

I'm honestly not sure if I should cry or celebrate. Yesterday Jeff took Bebo to register for kindergarten! It's a bittersweet thing, to think of your baby growing up like that. Braeden was so excited. Jeff had to fill out some paperwork, and then they gave Bebo a skills test of some sort. Jeff said he peeked in and that Braeden seemed to be very well-behaved. Whew.

I don't think I'm too unusual - there's a certain amount of worrying that has to be done. You know, the whole will-my-kid-measure-up bit. I know that Bebo is pretty sharp, but I also know I'm going to have a busy summer with him. We have to work on tying shoes and buttoning tough jeans. (Any hints on how to make this easier? Poor kid has got some jeans that I can't hardly fasten.)

The two Big Things are recognizing the alphabet and learning to write his name. Braeden adores numbers. He literally counts all day long, and the little turkey can even do some basic addition and subtraction.

Letters are a different story. He has no interest whatsoever in writing, and I have struggled to even teach him how to correctly hold a pencil. He does recognize a few letters, but it's just not his thing. He greatly prefers math and music - is that an odd combination? - and I'm not sure how to get him interested in letters. He loves for me to read to him, but gets bored when I start trying to point out specific letters.

Ah, well. Guess I'll figure it out.

Incidentally, when they got home, I asked Bebo what he did at school. His answer?

"I played at the park!"

Jeff had turned him loose on the playground for a minute, and that is the only thing Bebo could remember to tell me. Of course. Guess he'll get an A in recess! :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Toot, Toot! (part 2)

Guess what? I have another layout posting in Digital Scrapbook Mag! Yippieeee!!!

In case you're wondering, it's the layout that spoofed Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Now I've got to try to remember how I did it so I can write a tutorial! LOL

Post-Weekend Report

I'm home! We had a wonderful time - it was so nice to get away for a while. Saturday night we went to the Dixie Stampede. My last trip there had been 15-some-odd years ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. They had the most fantastic creamy vegetable soup I've ever tasted, and I can't even begin to tell you what was in it to try and duplicate it. Dang!

Now I'm back to the grind, with good news and bad news. The good news is that we finally got the tax info we needed from the sitter, so I'll be able to file taxes this evening. The bad news is that we don't have $$$ to fix the Impala, which means I am stranded. Again.

In other news... I came home with loads of scrapbooking goodies, and I can't wait to use them. The problem is that I'm in that magical state of "caught up" and I haven't got anything to scrap! Ack!

Enough of my rambling for now. I'm not even making sense to myself at this point!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


As I write this, I am lounging on a sofa in a hotel suite, gabbing with Mom and watching a mad flurry of snow outside the window.

Ah, bliss.

I didn't crawl out of bed until I was ready to (about 9:20 am), meandered down to the lobby for a double-chocolate muffin and cup of vanilla chai tea, and now I'm contendedly surfing the web with the laptop. It feels so good to relax and not feel like I'm on a schedule or that I'm forgetting to do something or worrying about impatient children.

Yesterday Mom & I went shopping in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg... we "terrorized" the scrapbook stores (as Mom so eloquently put it), drooled over cameras I couldn't afford at Wolf Camera, ate lunch at Olive Garden and supper at Pizza Hut, and in general did exactly what we wanted to do. By the end of the day, we were exhausted, and my legs were aching from being on my feet all day.

So today - today, we are just chillin'. :) We might go see a show or something this evening, but for the moment, I am relaxed with a slightly full belly and sippin' a cuppa hot tea.

Life is good.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cars, Taxes, and Gatlinburg

Sometimes I have to remind myself the world is not out to get me. I'm feeling a little frustrated at the moment - we have two cars that can't be driven out of town (again), and no money to fix them.

What about your tax refund, you say? Well, that's another sticky point right now. Braeden's babysitter won't give us her tax info from last year so we can file. It's three weeks past the deadline, and she refuses to return our calls. We are eligible for the rebate, and I am going to be highly peeved if we miss it because we couldn't file by the dealine because she wouldn't give us two simple numbers - her tax id and the amount we paid. Yes, I could figure it myself - but it has to be the same number she reports to the IRS, and I don't dare mess with that. I really do not know what it so difficult - she only had seven kids - all she has to do is sit down and calculate numbers for five months' worth of babysitting. Sheesh. It couldn't take more than 30 minutes.

On a lighter note - it's time for my yearly trip with Mom. We started going to CKC two years ago, but since there isn't one offered close to us this year, we decided to take a trip anyway. We'll be going to Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, and we'll spend a little time shopping in Knoxville, too. I'm looking forward to the break (we both are) - the chance to chill and do a little scrapbook shopping sounds divine. I feel so blessed to say that my mother is also my friend!

It's time to sign off - I have a bit of work to wrap up before Mom gets here. Hope your weekend is lovelier than the weatherman is predicting!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Returning to (ab)Normal

Except for a couple of spots on the wall that I simply can't reach and a cabinet that needs to be remounted, the bathroom is finished! I spent Saturday spackling, sanding, and painting. The bathroom is now a nice warm shade of brown, and matches nicely to the brown-cream-and-aqua shower curtain I bought. I will still need to paint baseboards and trim, but it will have to wait a couple of weeks.

Did you enjoy the lovely spring weather yesterday? It felt so wonderful to be out at night without a jacket! The weatherman tells me this will not last long - we are to expect storms this evening and tomorrow. Such is spring. For now I'll be happy with my day and a half of lovely weather.