Saturday, April 30, 2011

i.Scrap - the Wonder Installment

journaling reads:
i.wonder what life will be like as an empty nester?

I watched this mother dove sit on the egg for days. I watched her care for her newborn chick. And I snapped this photo the morning they both left the nest. My life in super fast-forward.

Sarah has completed her junior year of college. Rachel and Becca are finishing their junior year of high school. In five months they will all technically be "adults."  In another year, Sarah could be out on her own and Rachel and Becca could be heading off to college.

I know that I am at a cross-roads. That the next few years may bring many changes to the routine of everyday life.  So I wonder what to expect.  But I am sure it will be bittersweet.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Color of Cancer

Today's post is in honor of Marti who is battling cancer while celebrating her 69th birthday.  Happy Birthday Marti!

I looked up the colors assigned to various cancers on the internet. I was somewhat dismayed to see how many colors have already touched my life in some way.
Journaling reads:

Cancers are represented by all of the colors of the rainbow.
Lavender is the color of general cancer awareness.

Pink is breast cancer. My good friend Rachel was diagnosed with breast cancer just after her 40th birthday. In her honor, my sister Deanna and I raised funds and walked in the Breast Cancer 3 Day in October 2008.

Orange is kidney cancer. My Mom, Susanne, died of renal cell carcinoma on February 28, 1998. Orange is also the color for leukemia. My sister Wendy died of childhood leukemia around 1965.

Purple is pancreatic cancer. Rachel’s father died of pancreatic cancer shortly after my Mom. My grief was still so raw that I cried through his entire funeral, even though I barely knew him.

Teal is ovarian and pelvic cancers. A blog friend’s mother {Marti} is currently battling this type of cancer.

Black is melanoma. Several years ago Jay had a melanoma removed from his right arm. His diagnosis means our children are at increased risk of skin cancer.

Cancer doesn’t deserve a rainbow. Cancer is an insidious soul-sucking black, ripping apart families and stealing the lives of our loved ones long before their time.

And so, we send love and healing thoughts to those who are fighting. We wear ribbons and wrist bands. We walk, we run, we raise funds and awareness. All in the hope that we might someday know a world where cancer no longer exists.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Photos Without Words Don't Tell The Whole Story

I've learned that photos without words can be very deceiving.  After all, yesterday's post made my Tuesday look pretty darn sweet, right?

It started off that way. Breakfast. Strength training session. Shower. But that single shot of the computer?  Hours and hours of work on contract revisions. Tedious, but productive. Then at 2:00 in the afternoon, my day fell apart. I had to pick up R & B for a dentist appointment. I forgot my camera.

Do you know what else my photos failed to document?

The photos failed to document...

...the fact that one of my offspring was in a particularly bad mood.  Cue ominous heavy black clouds.

...the first dinner in over four months where the whole family was present.  The dinner that began with said offspring's comment: "Well, at least this looks edible." Peppered heavily with teenage snarkiness and referring back to a dinner a few nights earlier that said offspring did NOT consider edible.  Are you beginning to get the flavor of dinner? Dinner should have tasted like yummy grilled filet mignon and baked potatoes, but instead tasted remarkably like drippy sarcasm and foul temper. I told said offspring that her attitude was getting on my nerves. She took her dinner plate and stormed out of the room, trailing a few choice words as she went. Cue thunder and lightning bolts.

...DH high-tailing it out of the house, dishes not even finished, to head to the gym. Cue sudden gust of wind and slamming door sound. lacing up my sneakers and heading out the front door. Can I cue screeching tires here? What sound do screeching sneakers make? A casual observer might have thought I was late for an appointment. The truth was I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I had to escape the darkness that had enveloped my home. I had to run away from the negativity storm clouds brewing right over my head and in my heart. Cue a gentle lonely rainfall.

My photo walk did document this.  Which for some strange reason made me think of my snarky offspring.

And this. How I felt when I stepped out the door. Like the lowly dandelion - just a weed. Some people  don't feel guilty for even a second for stepping all over it.  But the beauty is there if you take just a moment to really look.

My walk was restorative. It cleared my head. And lightened my heart. And soothed my soul. So much so that I was able to enjoy the blooms. I was gone over an hour. Today my back is killing me. But I'm proud of myself for remembering to choose happiness.

And for recognizing that you simply can't reason with raging hormones.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

i.Scrap - the Magic Installment

Journaling reads: magic and life-long learning and the power of the Universe. I believe that life can be magical if you approach it with an attitude of love and acceptance - with open eyes and open arms - without judgment. I believe that we are all connected - one huge bundle of energy - and if we learn to vibrate that energy at a positive frequency, we can promote healing, joy, love, peace, abundance - all of the good things the Universe has to offer! But first we must learn to be grateful for the abundance we already have. And we must learn to love ourselves.
I believe we are all here for a purpose - but we each come to understand our purpose in our own time, in our own way.

Do YOU believe in magic?

Monday, April 25, 2011

i.Scrap - the Happiness Installment

Journaling reads:

i.know that happiness is a choice. One we make every day.

While we often can't control circumstances (the good or bad things happening in our lives) and we certainly can't control other people, we can control our own reactions to the circumstances and people in our lives.

We can choose to dwell in the negative, seeing only the bad - and be miserable. Or we can choose to dwell in the positive. We can find the opportunities for growth and learning in difficult times.  We can choose to seek out the good, find the redeeming qualities, search for the silver lining, and live in the light.

And when we do, we discover there is so much in life to be happy about!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Five for Friday

This is just a super quick post to say hi! It has been an INSANE week for me. Two office days, a presentation for our Board of Directors, tons of contracts, a new lawsuit. Oh the life!

Here's FIVE things I just want to report on this Fabulous Friday...

1.  Poll Results.  Loved this poll! 37 of you said you blogged to share your creative endeavors - that was the top vote getter.  Connection/Journaling/Validation were all close at 23, 22, and 21 votes respectively.  Only 1 of you is running a business online.  I wonder if that will change in the next year???

2.  Postal.  This package has gone postal. I truly hated to say good-bye to Inner Excavation.

3.  Pretty.  Spring has finally sprung!  And I'm in love with the wispy yellow-green haze around the trees where the new leaves are just coming out.

4.  Packages.  These packages have arrived over the last few days.

I was too busy to open them until today.  I can't wait to play with this haul!

5. People.  SARAH is HOME!!!!!!!!  Seriously, need I say more?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why Do YOU Blog?

I started blogging October 2, 2008.  My first post was inspired by a blog blitz challenge put out by Stacy Julian.  I made the mini-album and posted a link to my new blog on Stacy's blog.  That first post got ELEVEN comments over the course of the month - and funny thing is - only one of those people follows me today.... my mother!

Most of my posts in 2008 had between 0 (zilch, none, nada) and 2 comments.  The comments were from my sister, my best friend, and a fellow blogger - all of whom rarely even visit my blog anymore!

My posts were all over the board in terms of content. I thought I didn't mind the lack of comments because I was really blogging for myself. Capturing thoughts, stories, sharing layouts and photos.  And honestly, some of those early posts were really GOOD.

Just for fun, I'm reposting a layout that I first posted back in November of 2009 - random facts about me. So those of you new or relatively new to my blog can get to know me really quickly:

In November 2009, I participated in the first run of Shimelle's Blogging for Scrapbookers.

My first post for BFS was/is spot on.  Beyond a personal journal and a space to share my creativity, I had to admit that I blogged for the connection and the validation.  And I acknowledged that I ADORE comments!

Most of my loyal followers came from that first class.  I truly love the friendships I have made!

I'm hoping in this class to get back to making sure that my posts have meaningful content, that I'm continuing to be relevant to my loyal followers, and hopefully even make some new connections!

I ADORE comments (did I mention that?) and I always try to return visits to anyone who leaves a comment on my blog.

So now I'd like to get to know you all a little better!  Please take a moment to answer this little poll about:

Why do YOU blog?????

You can check off as many answers as apply!

And feel free to leave me comments too.  You know I just ADORE comments!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

AlphaNumeric Blog Hop

Thanks for popping by the AlphaNumeric Blog Hop! If you came here from Carrie's blog, welcome!

This post is brought to you by Mel and the Number Five.

Five is a very interesting number with a lot of history.

Five is the third prime number. It is also a Fibonacci number.

Pentagrams were used symbolically in ancient Greece and Babylonia, and are used today as a symbol of faith by Wiccans, similar to the Christian use of the cross and Jewish Star of David. The pentagram has magical associations, and many people who practice Neopagan faiths wear jewelry incorporating the symbol. The pentagram also has associations with Freemasonry and a number of other belief systems.

Da Vinci represented the human form as the "Vitruvian Man" in the shape of a pentagram.

Five appears repeatedly in the human species - 

We have five senses - taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell.

Five fingers on each hand, five toes on each foot, five appendages radiating from the trunk (arms, legs, head.)

According to Artistotle, there are five classic elements - water, earth, air, fire, and ether (spirit).

Which is all sufficient to make 5 a very important number. 

On a more personal level...

There are five letters in my first name.

I was born in the fifth month of the year.

This year I will celebrate the big FIVE-oh!

I currently have five albums in my Library of Memories Collection.

But most important of all...

There are five people in my immediate family.  And to me that is the most important five of all!

(Note - this photo is from 2004 - we really need to get a new family photo done!)

How does the number five play   in your life?

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this presentation of the number FIVE.  Your next stop on the hop is Jacky's Blog!

Just in case you get lost, here is the entire blog hop list:

Scrap Dreams  <--------- YOU ARE HERE
Scrappyjacky  <---------- NEXT STOP ON THE HOP!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Picture Inspiration 7/52

The Shape of Surprise

Continuing in our study of reflected objects, but this time without the actual object for context...

When I'm home, I plug my laptop into a docking station.  Which powers a separate keyboard, monitor, and trackball mouse. Which makes it much easier for me to work.

My laptop has a very reflective surface (it's a pain in the butt because it shows fingerprints all the time!)

I noticed this reflection one day as I was pondering week 7's prompt.  The laptop had captured a bit of my monitor and the bulletin board on the wall above it.  Of course, it's upside down...

 Here's the same shot but in tighter - the only context left now is the table the laptop is sitting on.
And if I flip the lid open, I can get a nice view of my work arena.  Our living room/dining room turned into studio/office.  Even seeing this awkward view (remember it's reversed because it is a mirror image) reminds me how much I love this space in my home.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Picture Inspiration 6/52

"Seeing Double."  Along the Perkiomen Creek, it is hard NOT to see double.  But then, I'm a big fan of water reflection photography anyway.
This shot also captures some of the reflection of the suspension bridge that separates the two sides of the park.  The twin suspension bridges were built back in the late 1930's and are the site of lots of wedding photography!
This final shot is looking at the creek in the downstream direction.  And I love this because it fills both the "double" and "infinity" prompts from Picture Inspiration!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Picture Inspiration 5/52

I've let myself get way behind in Picture Inspiration.  Over the last month, it was a combination of not feeling well, the weather being too miserable to be outside, and being totally bored with taking photos in my home.

But April 11 was one of those absolutely glorious Spring days that bring a hint of Summer - with temps in the upper 70's, beautiful sunshine, birds chirping... the outside was just calling me.  I threw open a lot of the windows and chased the (hopefully) last bit of winter chill out of the house, then headed out to a local park for a photo walk.

The Week 5 Picture Inspiration prompt was "to Infinity and Beyond".  When I first arrived at the park (near the ball fields) I snapped this photo of the temporary fencing. Does it look like it stretches to infinity?

As you can tell from the bare trees, Spring hasn't fully sprung in my neck of the woods yet.  But it is trying!

Heading onto the walking/biking path that runs along Perkiomen Creek, I was greeted by this harbinger of Spring.  Yes, daffodils apparently ARE blooming in my sleepy little town!

My final "best" shot for Infinity and Beyond.

Our weather has settled back into rainy, grey, and mid-50's for the next few days. But I sure enjoyed that little taste of Spring!  More on my photo walk tomorrow.

Net Worth - v.2

I'm featured today over at the "I Am Enough" Collaborative.  You will all recognize the photos and writing - my contribution was supposed to go live mid-March, but due to some scheduling issues was changed to today.  It feels very vulnerable having something that personal "out there" but also exciting!

Brene Brown and Jen Lemen have collaborated to offer up a new  eCourse based on Brene's book, I Thought It Was Just Me.
The course - Ordinary Courage: Lessons in Love, Shame and Worthiness - looks fantastic. It starts April 18th and runs six weeks. Having completed two read-a-longs of Brene's book and having just completed the Dream Lab based on her newer book The Gifts of Imperfection, I've decided to pass on this particular course. But I'm sure it will be fantastic and might be just the right timing for some of you who haven't already read both books three times!

I have, however, signed up for the companion bit (which is included with the eCourse) which is BrenĂ© Brown: Living Wholehearted by Hopeful World Publishing
Wholehearted Living - A Year of Reflections.  I love the work of the ladies collaborating on this and couldn't miss out completely!

How about some more digi goodness???

Bought this one today over at Scrapbookgraphics. It's a new release, so 20% off - and in my HAPPY colors! (well, at least one version of them anyway).

There's also a sale on templates and paper packs over at Designer Digitals.  I'm using the sale as an excuse to redeem a gift certificate and stock up on some Cathy Zielski templates including this adorable little hybrid mini-album.

If you haven't kept up with Sarah's escapades on the other side of the pond, check it out. Her latest blog post is about Leed's Castle and the photos are gorgeous.

Monday, April 11, 2011

And The Winner Is...

Comment #9!  That's:

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Please add me to the list of those who'd love to get their hands on this book! :o)

Last Chance!

This is the last call for anyone wanting a chance at:

I will be drawing a winner today from all comments posted on THIS POST.
click the link to comment in the right place -comments added here will not count.  I will draw a winner this afternoon (late evening for all of you over the pond), so check back before beddy bye to see who the lucky gal is!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Project Simplify - Week Five

If you've been keeping track, no, I didn't skip Week Four - it was pantry/fridge declutter time and since we keep up with this pretty regularly I didn't have much to do.  About 1/3 of a kitchen trash bag of freezer burned opened & partially used foods (french fries, chicken nuggets, etc.) that my darling offspring left in the bottom bin of the freezer made it to the trash. I had already reorganized the shelves following a shopping trip the week before.  So before/after photos would have looked identical.  Therefore, no post.

But here we are at Week Five - which was a "choose your own" hot-spot.  And I chose the one thing that has been bothering me the most lately - the excess virtual clutter on my computer! I was just getting way too many gigabytes for one girl and knew I needed to let some go.  The beauty of this kind of clean-up is no mess - nothing to sell, donate, or put out at the curb on Tuesday morning.

I started with my email in-box.  It went from this:
 See how far down that scroll bar is?  I had about four screens worth of "stuff" just sitting in my in-box!
To This - aaaaahhhhhhhh - white space!  As you can tell from the calendar, I did this on Monday.  I'm happy to report I've kept it clean! My in-box still has white space!
After the e-mail folders, I moved to my "C" drive (the internal computer drive).  I try to keep as little personal stuff on this drive as possible because the computer actually belongs to my employer and I have to give it back if I ever leave.  Still, just like with physical "stuff", virtual "stuff" does seem to accumulate where it doesn't belong!

On the "C" drive, specifically "My Documents" I started with 6.5 GB of data in 1296 files, 179 folders.  After some ruthless deleting and transferring my online class files to my external drive, I ended with 4.5 GB of data in 409 files, 140 folders.  I even defragged the drive!

Next stop - Kay.  or "K" drive - my external hard drive. She houses all my photos, digi scrap supplies, online class materials, completed albums and digiscrap layouts.  In other words - my life. Everything important to me.  I use ACDSee to tag and organize all this virtual wonderfulness. But when I lost my first beloved external hard drive  last year, although we were able to recover all the files, all of my tagging and organizing was gone. Gone! Countless hours of work vanished into thin air.

I never had the heart to go back and recreate all that work.  Which also means, I really haven't done much digiscrapping in the last year.  In fact, my last art journal layout coincides with the loss of all that tagging.  So Kay was in dire need of some love and attention. I have spent the last three days tagging with kit name and author and starting to tag with categories. It is a long and tedious process and right now I'm still in digi kits. I haven't even touched photos yet.

I have also been ruthlessly deleting digi products that I know I will not use (I used to download every freebie that came along - kept Kay fat and happy). As a result, Kay has lost some virtual weight, going from 150 GB down to 134 GB. Not bad for a few days work. Wish I lost weight that easily! Where is the button that deletes fat cells???

Final stop on my virtual Spring Cleaning was my Google Reader. With Shimelle's Blogging for Scrapbookers class, my Google Reader subscriptions had soared to well over 200.  I had been slowly deleting throughout the course, but was still at 175 this morning.  After about an hour, I am down to 75 blogs in my reader - which is still 25 more than I usually allow at any given time (I have to keep this in check as my time for blog reading really is limited).  But I've added some great new blogs to my "tribe" folder and will continue to cull what is left in the BFS folder over the next few weeks.

Now cross your fingers that my computer's virtual loss of excess fat will help it gain some energy. The sluggishness of late has been infuriating! :)  What about you? Do you keep your computer on a healthy weight limit? Or does it prefer to be fat and happy?  If you go the "save everything" route, how do you keep it all organized so you can find files when you need them?