Sunday, January 27, 2008

To Catch You Up

It's been forever since I posted any art, so until my memory card returns, I remembered I had never shown this piece, done last year for a round robin tag book.
here is another piece making it's maiden blog appearance. No telling how many things aren't uploaded in my computer...

I've been avoiding my blog. A lot of stuff's been going on this week and while I am proud of myself for dealing with it well enough, I've generally been trying different ways to get away from it all, too. Maybe I was just waiting until I knew how I felt, I dunno.

Have you ever had a series of shocks, little tremors really, hit you all in a week? Each one on its own should be conquerable, and you try. But at some point the multiple hits make it all just a huge bummer?

I know there are many people out there going through truly horrid crap, some with no good outcome at all. I think of those faceless people I don't know, and my own ambivalence and sorrow seems really self-centered. So, I just deal and let it all slumber under the surface.

Life never sleeps, it seems. And as if the big overriding themes of each event weren't enough, little sharp, painful everyday details have been sticking me like a cactus. This week, I came to the, possibility, still, I'm still in denial...that this week could be my life, the rest of my life.

My Father-in-law has the stage 4 lung cancer, as I've mentioned. Being the silly, sheltered gal that I am, I hadn't looked at the situation and extrapolated it out into the future. My mother-in-law doesn't drive. Now, maybe being the first generation American-born child of Catholic Czech immigrants, from a family of 11, has something to do with it. Most people are molded by their upbringing and background, no matter how we seem to not want to accept that.

She is and always has been a subservient sort of wife: good housekeeper, cook, mother. She never worked outside the home and thus never drove, I guess. She wears thick coke-bottle glasses and doesn't admit to being hard-of-hearing, either. So, who knows why she doesn't drive, but it makes it very difficult nowadays.

F-I-L did all the grocery shopping, but now he can't drive due to being on so much pain medication. They're both 79. He's becoming more and more a really royal pita, because his meds and treatment, as well as his advancing Parkinson's, is all exacerbating his moodiness and tendency to bark orders and cruel jokes. Not to mention his selfishness, from being waited on hand and foot his entire marriage, is getting really aggressive. In short, he is changing personalities before our very eyes. A personality that we all knew lurked within him but one he managed to control, until now.

I don't remember if I'd ever come right out and blogged this, but I was really making progress forging a closer relationship with M-I-L. Now, I guess that's just in time for all this. She has been reacting to her husband's change by first denying it, then griping about it but denying anything could be done about it. I began to figure out that she was still waiting for him to make all the decisions, even about this, about himself.

Well, so I had to tell her, and I did, once. And she made some baby steps, but I'm going to have keep telling her, as the situations call for it. But she's awfully clingy, and I'm sure she's lonely, scared, and feeling alot like I am times 100.

It's like one moment I want to try to dig out my pain, then it reminds me of others' worse pain and I feel really guilty for having any pain. How unworthy of me. I've even tried on and off to model Ruth from the Bible. I'm pretty sure it would be some comfort, if Ruth was schizophrenic.

Ok, so I've been driving them to his radiation. It's like an all-day thing, because I have to double back to pick them up and it makes the driving ridiculously long. It's down in Clear Lake at an MD Anderson satellite facility, and there's a Starbucks right around the corner. Now, I've never been into the whole Starbucks thing, but it has become a treat I give myself. I let them off, then head there. By the time I've gotten my skinny mocha latte, they are ready to leave. Works out good.

So, did I mention they have 5 kids? Funny thing, okay one of them lives at home and is mentally retarded due to complications in the birth canal. She works at a school cafeteria, but doesn't drive or go anywhere alone. That leaves Hubs and 3 siblings. His brother lives in Dallas, so now we are down to Hubs and 2 sisters. Both sisters live about the same distance way that we do, 15 miles or so, but they play this sick game of chicken when it comes to helping out with this. And they are and always have been a noncommunicative family. I mean, they can chit and chat up a storm, but tell someone how they are really feeling about really personal stuff? Ha.

So, I can't tell if they are all in shock over their dad, but they act like they are annoyed and go ahead and kick already. They have lives. So, guess who is getting stuck not only with taxi, but also with phone calls whenever something is weird?

Sometimes I'm the only one who has any compassion for them. Sometimes I wonder if this is how kids turn out if you raise them that sternly and you don't express feelings. They are like, hey, he'll get through it and he can hire someone to do all that.

Okay, so enough about that. The helpers get narrowed down this week to only Hubs and his teacher sister, because the youngest sister's husband got diagnosed with melanoma that has spread to his lungs, abdomen and back. And they've known for awhile but told us this week.

This is the inlaw that I most enjoy, so I'm really bummed about it. But I can't even be comletely Ruth-y about it, because I'm also highly annoyed that now she can't help take care of her parents and spread the load.

Getting the angel/devil trauma I'm experiencing? Here's the third layer. They say these things run in 3's. My mom calls me last Monday to tell me they found a suspicious spot on her lung xray done for a physical. She's really torn up. We both are, but somehow I'm trying to be calm until the doctor calls back and tells her something. Well, we wait all week and no phone call. Thursday she goes back in there and tells them how unhappy she is about having to wait that long to be told yes or no.

Apprently she is pretty bitchy and threw a fit, because that evening they call my dad and tell him both of them are being dropped by the doctor, due to my mom's behavior upsetting other patients. So, here we'll be one week tomorrow and she still knows nothing and now has no doctor. There's another stupid thing they've done and I'm powerless to help.

So, this brings up what I've been trying to suppress for 3 years: I'm immensely angry at times at my parents to hauling off and moving 600 miles away. And then getting ill and old. It's been very hard for me to deal with the anger, so I've just been pushing it down. Now, I'm having to caretake my inlaws, something I should be doing for my own parents. I'm telling you sometimes I don't even know what horrible naughty feeling to feel. I just know it should be one I should feel guilty about. And, I'm pissed about that.

Well, I got the jist of it out.Does it help me feel better? Not yet. Maybe later. I guess one good thing is you know where my head is at. I may not be Ruth or Florence Nightingale, but I do feel I should get a couple of rah's for not totally succumbing to the dark side of my behaviors.

Hopefully now you also understand why I'd think, hey, this might be what the rest of my life's gonna be like. I think that bums me out the most. Terrible to think, I know, but it doesn't make it go away.

Hey on a good note, Missy has my camera memory card and will bring it home with her next time she's here. I didn't even ask her how or why it ended up with her. I just decided to be grateful. I'm not totally rotten. ;-)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hillary Flick, Anyone?

Just for the record: if the 2008 presidential election were today, I would be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton. Having said that, however, my choice is not yet cast in stone. She has caused me to wince more than once, this month alone. You could say I'm leaning towards her, which means I can still poke fun at her and her personna. When I saw this video, I just could not help myself, I had to spread the political humor love.

For those of you who feel about Hillary like she's a bad thing, I know you'll enjoy this video. That is a no-brainer, right?

And for those of you who support her or like her or are at least keeping an open mind, here are two facts to help you get comfortable with it enough to chuckle a bit:

1. In his original review of the movie, Roger Ebert elaborately point by point equated Tracy Flick to that much-admired scion of Republican women, Elizabeth Dole; thus proving that there's a fine bipartisan line when it comes to labelling the Flick similarities;


2. Lest we forget, Tracy Flick does win in the end. Hmm, now there's some tail wagging the dog, eh?

ROFL Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

King-size Reflections

{Sigh} This post is not easy for me to write, but I've wanted to tell it for 2 years now around this time of year and haven't yet, so I'm just gonna type it and blame it on the D/B/Sh/Care thing.

I may be White and pretty segregated in my daily life and surroundings, but in my own way, I've been touched by the legacy of Martin Luther King and what he stood for. I was born in 1956 in a segregated world and I can remember America as it lurched and heaved and turned toward racial justice. It was a long time ago and, although those times have been greatly romanticized, I can tell you, they were not pretty.

When Hillary Clinton said that it took LBJ to help MLK's dream come true, I knew exactly what she was saying and she was right. LBJ was the last of the old school strong-arm Congressional power brokers. He could blackmail or cajole almost more people than FBI Chief J Edgar Hoover, and that's exactly how he got Civil Rights legislation passed. Why spend that much political currency and destroy his political party as he knew it? Because there was an American Ghandi in the person of MLK to inspire him to do it. And because he had parents who'd taught him it was the right thing to do.

Some folks nowadays like to think that all whites were against desegregation, but that is so not true. My father, for example, grew up in a small college town in Central Arkansas during the Depression in a nice middle class home wanting for nothing as so many others around him had very little. His father was the Postmaster and my Dad remembers his Dad routinely put half his wages into savings every payday...that's how comfortable their life was. Yet, their good Methodist faith compelled them to help those less fortunate throughout those years.

My Dad's first year in college was lived still at home and financed by his many odd and part time jobs, one of which was delivering mail. His Dad made sure this hiring was above reproach by assigning my Dad to deliver the mail out to the Colored community on the outskirts of town. He told my Dad sternly, though, that he was to treat all his customers as well as if they were his own kin or he'd have hell to pay.

My paternal Grandfather was made of that old-time stock of men who considered public service a sacred trust and earned every penny with a smile and then some. My Dad was raised in a home where the N word was never allowed to be spoken. It was considered a cuss word, among the worst. One time my grandmother washed the mouth of my dad's little friend out with lye soap because he'd uttered it after being read the house rules.

So, my Dad carried that mail cheerfully and loyally and punctually to all the people of color in the community that year. In return, my Dad said, he never ever needed a cold drink or a chair to sit a spell in for rest, nor a clean, crisp handerchief to wipe his brow. Ice was meticulously saved for him for an offered glass of water at almost every house. He was always greeted and cared about. We're talking 30-40 people every day, offering him food and drink, just for delivering their mail to them with respect and courtesy. My Dad never forgot that. You wouldn't forget it either.

A few years later, my parents having met and moved to my Mother's hometown to teach school, it was a different and uglier world, still in Arkansas but on the eastern side. My Mother's parents were raised to be racist and were very good decent people, just raised to *know* that whites were the superior race and that the good whites among us took the responsibility to look out for and counsel the Negro. And they did use the *N* word, all the time, like any other word.

My Dad hated it. Hated hearing it. It really wore on him, especially after I was born. He began wishing for me a world without all that racism. Without hearing that *N* word all the time, at the very least.

So, even though my parents had it good where they were, as my Mom's parents were quite wealthy and provided whatever was needed or wanted, they set out to move to a place less racist and nasty, so that I could have a chance to grow up without all that influence toward continuing racism, and my parents could quit hearing that word and could quit being urged by society to be racist. It's probably up to a higher power than me to say whether my parents were successful, but I think they were.

And they weren't alone. They were many many whites who were ashamed of their fellow whites, ashamed of the double standard, ashamed of the fear and denial imposed by segregation and racism. These folks were all waiting for MLK to meetup with LBJ and do the deal. Without these folks, not even LBJ could have gotten that bill passed, or admonish the nation to act charitably and humbly about it, as he did.

That part of this history gets forgotten, especially by those who weren't even alive to remember it. But it's every bit as crucial to King's legacy as anything else. Because those whites were touched and empowered by King's words to do what was in their hearts. Including a nice teacher couple from Arkansas who just wanted a life for their daughter free from racism.

So yeah, that's what I always reflect upon on this holiday. Thanks, Mom and Dad. And LBJ. And Martin Luther King.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Will It Be This Week?

...that it snows here?

LOL, just kidding. I know it won't, and I really don't want it to, as people just go wacko whenever it snows. That's a photo of the eastern sky this morning, taken on my back porch. Tres cloudy. The sun is usually blinding me, but not today. Hovering around 40 degrees, and I'm feeling very lucky. My heart goes out to you all enduring the below freezing weather, ugh!

Ok, back to what my title meant..."Will It Be This Week?"
...that I do everything I've planned for it?

I highly doubt it. Seeing as I plan way more than I realistically can do, that is. So, another new, fresh week for me to screw up, LOL. Dangit, why do I do that to myself?

I was thinking about that this weekend. Little things that set our moods, expectations, ways we judge ourselves (fairly or not so much) when we're not even looking. And ways we react without even fully ingesting what we are reacting to.

Heavy stuff. But here's my case in point before your eyes glaze over in utter confusion, lol. When Hubs and I got married, he already owned a home. He'd bought it with his first wife and kept it in the divorce.

And, it did not have a dishwasher, which I noticed right off the bat because I'd never lived without one. Even when I was a baby, we had one that rolled out and hooked up to the kitchen sink. No way was I gonna start living with one now, right? It was 1987, after all.

The week before our wedding, he took me to Conn's, had me pick one out, and then bought it, remarking, "Here's your wedding present."

Well, I thought he was trying to be funny. That was a joke, right? Uh, no, it wasn't. I decided to not make any drama over it, but I remember being a little insulted and just wrote it off to eccentric behavior on his part.

Now, from my first visit to Hub's parents' house, I knew his mom did not have a built-in dishwasher. She had the kind we had when I was a freakin' baby, except that her machine was not as old as I was by a long shot. I refrained from asking any questions as I didn't want to appear rude.

All these years go by, and I'm still just writing it off to eccentric behavior being genetic, okay? Cuz to my mind, no one in their right mind lives without a nice dishwasher, a built-in dishwasher.

This weekend, Hubs and I are talking about our new dishwasher and how I forget it's new and more modern and improved than the one we had for 10 years prior (the one after my wedding present one, which stayed in the house when we sold it in 1998). How I just automatically treat it like the old one, even though the new one is lots more powerful, yadayada.

Well, I make a quip about it being my third wedding present, and that hurts Hubs' feelings. I'm like, confused and ask him to explain.

Turns out, he had bought that first dishwasher for me as a sincere gesture of bigheartedness, because he was raised to be dead-set against them as a general rule.

"After all," he said, "my mom had to wait 20 years to get one."

Well, that just floored me. Not only did Hubs genuinely believe he was giving me more than his dad had given his mom, and a heckuva lot sooner, but I'd never even realised it! And, he'd never even realised that being against having a dishwasher wasn't even a belief he really wanted to own at all.

I swear, if O. Henry'd been sittin' there, he'd have had a new story line. It's just funny, we really do learn something new every day. LOL

Hey, I have another layout on Scrap the Girls. I say this because you can, too. It just has to be a girl layout. It can be your child, but it can also be you or your mom or sister or friend. They want their readers to send them layouts. It's more like a reader's gallery than submitting and competing and all that crap that I avoid. So, if you visit that blog and believe in spreading your scrap love around, send them a few of your fave layouts about girls. You need to read the post to see what file size and where to send them, so check it out!
Doesn't that look delish? Don't worry - it was. Food by Hubs, presentation by me. Another funny story here: he told me we were having mahi mahi. Now, call it a sixth sense, but something told me to ask him how he was cooking it. He was going to blacken it. I don't care for his blackened foods, but I'd never told him that. Now I was going to have to fess up, which I did. He got a little ticked, but begrudgingly said, well, I'll fry it in batter then.

Later, I go to make my plate for dinner, and what do I find? Pan-fried blackened fish. {Sigh}. He's just lucky it was delish, that's all I'm sayin...
Now, what about this dish? It's called Simple Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. You can get the recipe HERE. This is a fave dish at Hub's workplace, and their food rivals any fire house, okay? If you are in the mood for gumbo, this is it.
Did you ever know a dog that watched football? Our Reggie does. Here he is, catching the games yesterday with Hubs. I don't think Reggie knows how to yell at the refs, but when Hubs does, Reg starts howling. So, maybe I'm wrong...
Anyway, we've been trying to pay a lot of attention to Reggie and he's been lapping it up. I might pay a hefty sum to know what he's thinking. If he's missing Sheila, or even wonders where the heck she is. I know I'll never know this, but still, intriguing questions.

I do notice that he spends a LOT more time in the doghouse now. Granted, it's winter and cold, and that's where the space heater is. I will be curious to see if he continues once the weather warms. We always wondered if Sheila kicked him out of there, since we'd often find him outside when he was supposed to be sleeping...
The 2peas blogger challenge for today asks: "If you set a New Years Resolutions, how are you doing with it?"

Well, I did not make any per se, but my WordQuad (Dare-->Bare-->Share-->CARE) implies my resolutions, since I'm trying to do more of those 4 things. And so far, I have:
1)dared to go through my "nice" dressy clothes and part with some outfits that I frankly looked silly in but had to have because the model looked great in it. I bared and tried them on first and looked in the mirror, I suppose to hope in vain that I didn't look silly, LOL. Anyway, I shared by donating them to charity when they called for home pickups. Gonna try to do that every time they call, til I get rid of all the silly stuff, and because I care.
2)Yeah, not gonna go thru the words in each case...that one above was just to show the process...I sent my layouts to Scrap the Girls, cuz they asked for them.
3) I've been keeping in touch with my IRL girlfriends more, as well as our couple friends.

Each of these have been conscious efforts, where my first response was not to bother. So, it's a beginning.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Half a Month Gone

Yikes! The realization of that hit me last night as I was doing email maintenance and trying to make myself come over here and post. Don't get me wrong, I have an almost continuous conversation with you guys, just in my head. The day they invent a think-it-keyboard that I can afford, I'm blogging 24/7/365! Til then, though, my poor readers must deal with my pain-killer-induced ADD and patiently wait for me to finally blog the old fashioned way, LOL.

Anyway, today is the 16th. Hard to believe, huh? There's just under a month until Valentine's Day. Double yikes! I really wanted to make lots of Valentine cards this year, but I have so many things artsy and non-artsy on my plate begging for service that I am wondering if that's possible now. OH, well, such are the ups and downs of Life. We'll see....

Thanks again to all of you who took the time and care to express such loving comments to me. I've been laying low the past few days, spending lots of extra with Reggie and just basically flitting from one chore to the next when I'm not sleeping. The weather down here is typical January wet cold, just miserable.And, looks like we are going to have an entire week of it, too.

I've been keeping a list of stuff to blog about, so I'd better get to it!

First up, not a toot, but a little artfart maybe. LOL One of my layouts is on the Scrap the Girls blog. One of the things I love about these kind of sites is the collective display of readers layouts. Challenge sites that have the guest designers and the design teams all the time get old after awhile. The readers gallery follows no set theme, so you never know what you are gonna see. I like that!

Next, congrats to AMC's Mad Men and its star, Jon Hamm. Hamm, who plays Don Draper, won best dramatic actor at the Golden Globes, and the show won Best TV Drama. Another of my shows won too: Glen Close won Best dramatic actress for Damages on Fx. I cannot wait for both shows to return for another season.

Next, I have a product review of a new item I just received yesteray: the second generation Crop-A-Dile, called The Big Bite! I love it! This is how it came shipped to me from HSN. I never watch the shows, I just get the email promos. HSN's shipping and service is top-notch, by the way. This is my third order since Thanksgiving, the first two being the Bind_It-All and then a card-scorer and box maker.

Right off, I encounter probably my only problem with this product: getting into the package. Boo! This is ridiculous. Took me 7 minutes with my utility scissors. I timed it. The entire perimeter of the packaging had to be cut away on the seam.

After that, it was all sweetness and light. This is all that was included in the package HSN was offering. That's over 350 gromments. I've not used a grommet yet, but I plan to compare this tool with my MM Grommet Tool real soon, for another blog review. I wanted the Big Bite, so I had to buy the grommets since they came with the tool. For now, I'll just assume it grommets nicely, too.

To test the hole-punch power (which is why I got the dang thing), I used a popsicle stick.
My guess is that the pop stick is like 3 mm thick, cuz it looks about the thickness of .03 cm on my ruler. Never could get the hand of the metric system!

Anyway, on one end of the stick is a hole made with the original CAD, and on the other end, the Big Bite. No diff. Both went thru like butta. Vundabarrrrrr!

The Big Bite is awesome because it now gives you a 6-inch reach into the page to punch holes and set metal. It has removeable feet that keep it standing upright and anchor the tool for when you press down on the handle to punch or set. It sets the same size eyelets, too, plus the grommet sizes. And we get slightly better instructions on this one. WRMK has sucky directions. They are too small and hard to read. The Big Bite's could be better, but I'm glad it's an improvement, much like how I feel about the Big Bite overall. I give it an A-, and I am very glad I took the plunge and went ahead and got one now. Lots of places are now out-of-stock. Mine only took 5 days to get to me, so I am doubly lucky.

Well, that's it for today. Have a great Hump Day and evening!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Just Need to Blog Some More...

Yup, two entries in one day. I'm back, and Sheila passed so peacefully. This'll be the last time I blather about her and it, but I needed to get it out.

So much emotion running through me, but not on the surface, more like it's an underground stream. On the surface is a little numbness, but I'm good. There's a heavy sadness is all. But I was so afraid of feeling regret, guilt, doubt, and I do not, not at all. I'm letting myself just be right now. And part of that is wanting to talk to my cyber-friends.

Ok, funny thing. You see, this French website, Crescenet or something like that had posted 2 comments the other day on my blog. They've commented before, but I seriously have no clue who they are. I remember clicking on the link in that first comment and my computer froze up, so I wanted to delete the comments they left the other day and not have another freeze-up happen.

I go to my blog settings and enable comment moderation so I can then go in and delete them, which I did. But, I forgot to disable it back (I now realize). <---- Emphasis on "now", as opposed to then.

Life went on and I posted twice. Fast forward to this morning. It begins to worry me a bit that I have zero comments on my last 2 posts. I'm like, what did I do? Does my cyber-breath stink or something? (I seriously was thinking that, LOL) But, because of my more pressing stress, I told myself, I'd go visit every one's blogs when I got back and things would all even out in the wash and nothing is wrong.

So, I shower and dress, get a fresh towel from the dog cabinet, grab my purse and keys. It's time to take Sheila. Walk out to the back porch and there she is, laying on the grass in the sun, doing what she's loved so much to do all her life. Had to go back inside and grab the camera, take one last shot. She looked so peaceful there.

So, anyway, I wrapped her up in the towel and off we went. She reminded me again on the drive there, she's not the same dog. Did not even try to set her front paws up on the driver's side door and spend the time looking out the window, like she did her whole life. Cuz she can't see anymore. That was strange.

When we got there, I stayed in the car for a few minutes and talked to her. I told what was fixing to happen and how much I loved her and didn't want her to suffer anymore. That Missy and Hubs loved her. That we all thanked her for being our first family pet and such a good dog. And how we'd remember her and wanted her to have a wonderful time in Doggie Heaven. I kissed her and we went in.

The staff was top-notch, we were both perfectly treated. I had to sign one form and then the vet and Janie, the nurse, took us to a little room. I laid Sheila in her towel on the table and they gave her a quick check-up. Both of them noted how she'd aged in the few months since they'd seen her last. When they finished the check-up, they both reassured me that she was so close to passing naturally and that strong-minded dogs such as doxies often lingered on through a painful end life with suffering. I am sooo thankful to hear that. I really needed to hear that. And my vet does not euthanize as a rule, so I appreciate that she trusted us in this decision. She and Janie were Sheila's vet all her life, and they told her goodbye, too.

It was over quickly. Janie held her snout while the vet gave her the shot so she wouldn't bite at us, and I stroked her between the eyes on her forehead like I've always done. And, she just went to sleep. I kept on talking to her and, after what seemed like forever but was only about 30 seconds, I asked the vet how much longer. She told me she'd gone almost instantly, another sign that was normal for her advanced age. Her little tongue was kind of hanging loose at her lips, but otherwise she just looked and felt like she was napping. It was just so peaceful and nice.

I hugged both women and thanked them for making it so nice for us both, then left. As I was pulling out onto the road to go home, my cell rang and it was Missy. Missy, who did not know we were doing this today. The last couple of times she's been home, we've talked about it, and she'd made it clear she did not want to be here or know about it ahead of time. So, now I was unsure, do I tell her what just happened or wait?

I decided to tell her. I reminded her she'd said repeatedly she wanted it done this way. She cried a little, then asked me to tell her how it went, and I did. I think Missy was feeling okay about it when we hung up. She'll be sad, but she said she was going to pray for her and that will give her some comfort. The only bad thing about this plan, we both agreed, was not being together to give each other a hug.

I'm left with the belief that Missy calling was such a blessing and such a sign, like Sheila's passed and she is fine. I might be full of it but I don't care. It was one of those miracle-like timing thingies I just cannot deny. I was given what my soul needed.

Hubs is still not wanting to talk about it, just choking out it was for the best. But I did insist on telling him how painlessly and peacefully she went.

So, anyway, back to my "funny thing" part of the story. My IRL girlfriend Vanny had wanted to take me to lunch or a coffee or something afterwards, but I'd called her and begged off. Just wanted to be at home. Sat down to visit blogs and felt the strong urge to blog another post first. I go to do that and Blogger makes me look at a screen that says I have 17 comments to moderate. I'm like, what? Remember, I still do not realize that I forgot to disable comment moderation back.

So, what a blessing to see all of your sweet comments! Again, another sign, another one of those miracle-like timing thingies I just cannot deny. I was given what my soul needed.

So, I probably wanted to say a few more things, but this is the important parts. I've become motivated to hold a little Sheila Memorial Creativity Weekend Retreat for myself. I've had a creative block of some sort for a while and now it's fading. This has weighed on me directly for awhile, I knew that, especially more and more as it's become apparent that I was going to have to be the lone one to go through with it. I'm just now realizing how indirectly it's been weighing on me, too. So, Lord help me, I mean this in the best way, but it's a weight lifted or lifting. I'm so thankful today. And I love you all for being here for me.

Degrees of Time: The week that was

Seems like this week's been juxtaposed against my life -- sorta like in the photo, where the clock hangs ironically next to my college diploma, as if to remind me, it's been a long time since I did that (1978). This past week's felt like it's taken almost as long, LOL.

**oh, note to file: I'm playing around with taking a photo daily if possible, like that one up there, but I'll be danged if I call that activity anything. Not yet, anyway. That'd make too many things I'm trying to do differently, then. And that sets me up for failure.*** I am just playing...

Last Friday, I was sitting around, piddling and out of NewYear focus, but happy and optimistic. I began to sharpen my focus on Saturday, 7 days ago. Monday has probably been my most optimistic day, but it's pretty much gone downhill since then.

Monday night, Hillary misted up and the media was in full-tilt nasty by Tuesday morning. Well, I guess I'm one of those women over 40 who were extremely offended by her treatment. My God, you know, I finally got it. The problem with Hillary is that she is threatening. And that's because she's so capable. And that's something I have seen happen to women all my life. And hello, move over racism, there's a new game in town. Now we are going to be dealing with a healthy bitter dose of both of them for the next year, like Battle of the Sexes Meets the Scourge of Racism. Godzilla himself would probably run screaming in fear.

If it plays out that way, then that means the generational history theory I'm such a huge fan of is going to come true 100%, and then it really is the Big One, Elizabeth. (Sigh, guess that one was lost on most...guess you have no idea who Samford & Son were, eh? Make that a 3-way and add in the Generation Gap, or whatever it's called today.)

On the home front, this was the week I was supposed to call the vet for the appointment to put Sheila down. I'd successfully managed to conveniently forget about it every single day until about 5:05 pm (and they close at 5), until today. So, Friday (today) at 2, I have to drive her there and hold her while she passes on, hopefully in peace.

Hubs wants nothing to do with it, and he's already got that on his plate with his dad. (The cancer in his lungs is Stage 4, by the way. And he never smoked.)

So I am giving Hubs a pass on Sheila. So for about the last 24 hours, I've been hoping against hope she dies during the night in her sleep, but that won't happen. I'm at least glad I have no doubt this is the best thing for her. I wish it made it a little easier.

Also this week, I've made a few hearty attempts at Sharing to Care. And wouldn't you know it? I managed to screw both up, somehow, LOL. No harm done, but still. Dang.

And I just know this has something to do with it: Hubs up and bought a widescreen digital tv, which promptly played a fuzzy picture back in his tv room. It replaced an analog set, so maybe it had some bearing. Anyway, Hubs brings the new set and sits it on our kitchen table in front of the little white set that's already there, and there it's sat until today. Hubs has watched the family room tv all week, which means he's hung out and slept in that room, too. Yup, the same couch I've used to do much of my sleeping the moment his snoring becomes unbearable.

Oy, it's just been a Twilight Zone episode all the way around. God Bless My Little Sheila. She's lived a good life. May she continue in Afterlife. Amen.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Thanks, Linda - Let's Play Hump Tag!

Missy sent me photos of her brand-new dorm room. She moved to a just-opened dorm and has a new roommate, her bff Katelyn. First, a little reclining shot on her bed...

Then, a shot of a couple of LO's I created for her. She has them in the page protectors sideways and uses the binder holes to hang them by. I think it looks cool...

I got a bit verklempt at this shot of her bedside table. She's showing off her Zapatos shoes; but, me being Mom, I spied the striped SEI scrapbook I had filled with LO's and given her, sitting on the carpet underneath the table, ready for her to look at if maybe she can't sleep at night or gets homesick. Awwww.

I was tagged by the lovely Linda. All of the questions have 2 answers. After answering all the questions here, add one question of your own (this tag started with 4 questions) and then tag 2 people. Simple enough? I am tagging Barbara and Katy.

1. Name your 2 favorite scrapbooking topics:
a. my family
b. my dogs

2. What are the 2 best places you've been to?
a. London
b. Paris

3. Name 2 things you do every day:
a. eat
b. computter (computer-putter)

4. Tell us 2 things that pretty much everyone knows about you.
a. my sense of humor
b. my love of writing

5. 2 places you wish to visit:
a. Amsterdam
b. Montana

6. 2 things you may not know about me are:
a. I am such a homebody that I only leave my house once a week, if I can help it.
b. I'm a closet fan of "Little House" reruns, on the Hallmark Channel. The other day, Laura, Mary and Mr. Edwards' son got stuck on a runwawy train car and man, I was glued to it til Pa and Mr. Edwards got it stopped. Whew! That was a close one!

7. 2 nicknames you've had at some time in your life:
a. Miss 5 (as in Miss 5 Minutes Later)
b. Aim-o, Aimeless, Aimester....something usually along those lines.

8. Name 2 of your favorite drinks:
a. Green tea on ice, with mint and lemon
b. Diet Coke

9. What are 2 interesting (in a good or bad way) jobs you have had in your life?
a. Probably my most enjoyed one: in the late 70's, I was assistant controller for Pace Mgmt, which owned Pace Concerts, during their heyday as THE concert mgmt company. Needless to say, I had an awesome night life!
b. Probably my least enjoyed one: One summer in college, I wondered about quitting school to get a job and be on my own. The first job I found was waitressing at a Denny's-type 24-hr restaurant. Although the money was pretty good, I'd never worked harder physically, nor been treated so badly (very sexist). In the fall, I was signed up for those college classes again, bebe. LOLOL Thank GOD!

10. What are your top 2 fun things to do after work?
a. shower
b. put on fresh, clean clothes

11. What are 2 things I would like to learn:
a. Spanish
b. Photoshop Elements

12. What are the last 2 songs you downloaded or last 2 CD's you bought?
a. Amy Winehouse "You Know I'm No Good"
b. John Mayer "Waiting on the World to Change"

13. I added this one:
Name 2 movies you could watch or you have watched 100 times in your life and still watch again, no problem:
a. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
b. Office Space

Wish me luck and cross your fingers for me: I pulled one of my famous put-aways. I put away in a safe place the memory card that holds all the not-yet-uploaded photos of what I made for Christmas gifts, and now of course, I cannot find it. I know it is here somewhere. It's just that I cannot yet remember where it is. I'm giving it another couple of days before I begin to tear the house apart, so please...say a little one for my card to just appear out of nowhere, ok? LOL Thanks [blushing and shrugging shoulders]

Edited to add cuz I forgot: 2Peas Blogger challenge for Thursdayis to post your very first layout. omg. well, okay. I'm never one to say no to providing a laugh, LOL. This is my Hubs, Christmas of 1952, his first one:

Have a great end-of-week days!

Monday, January 07, 2008

How Aimeslee Gets Her Groove Back....

... or attempts to, anyway. With me, it's always done by thinking and sculpting ideas.

I thought a lot this weekend about things: life, the new year, attitude, commitment, tasks, goals, dreams. I'm not sure I reached any concrete conclusions, but I do think I have some good leads about the directions in which I want to travel this year. And as I go about writing them down for you, I'm frankly amazed, just a little.

I realized how out of the loop and clueless I was just days ago. It's as if I've been piddling along in my own little world. Well, heck, I have been doing exactly that. Things I knew in my head needed to be decided this time of year were just not showing up on my radar, and I think it was on purpose. I need to ease into this year for some reason. This must be where the "No deadlines" thing is coming from. Anyway, none of these things actually are required of me, but now's the time to set them up if they are going to be done at all.

First, I've decided that the entire month of January is my time to celebrate New Years. It's all too much for me to have in place by 1/1, especially since I'm such an unrepentant slowpoke. Longer if I need it, and I probably will.

Second, what's my Word? This is not as easy to decide as choosing focus last year. I know the convention is one word, one little word, in fact; but, the Rebel in me is yelling. For one thing, I'm not feeling any one particular word over another. I mean, I have a list of like, 6. But no luck narrowing down to one. For another thing, I'm a fan of alliterative language, and I've been very fixated on two phrases using 4 rhyming words. It sounds really cheesy too, but it's where I want to explore right now.

Dare to Bare... Share to Care....

Visions of Care Bears keep littering the view. Half of me is almost ready to just accept them and incorporate them into the view, along with the rainbows that also appear. Pesky little devils. Yup, cheesy alright. Very too much 80's, right? Don't mean to, but the subconscious must want it badly.

I've almost decided to go with this WordQuad and just be different. I'm calling it One Little WordQuad. My Rebel side loves it. (rebel = artist)

Okay, it's official: I just blogged it in a comment to Ali herself, so no turning back. (Not that anyone is going to notice it, that is, LOL).

I had so much more to mention, but I'm needed elsewhere right now. I'll close with the 2peas blogger challenge for Today:
Do you try to get current pictures of yourself by doing a self photo shoot or having someone take them of you? If you have recently taken some new photos share with us
I actually do both now. Started a few months ago and already have double the photos of myself. (This sounds voluminous, but it really speaks more to how few photos I made of myself prior to now.) I've played with making typical MySpace-type self-photos (failing miserably and looking totally dorky), as well as bugging more people to snap the shutter for me. Both have their drawbacks, but I'll continue this way indefinitely.

Here's a favorite one from the holidays, of me with my Missy:

Have a great Monday!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Finally, My First 2008 Post!

Good Lord. You'd think I could come over here every couple of days and at least leave one sentence, a brief thought, anything?

Happy 2008. Hope things in your part of the world are shaping up well. I've been sick some and feeling fair to middlin', and at times downright bad. And I've pulled up the New Post screen a few times to blog, but bleh, nothing would form in my little head.

But my friend Cheryl created a new blog today and that kicked my sorry blogging rear into gear. I hang my head in shame as I was supposed to help her more with it. But I'm so glad she got 'er done. It's much better when the blog owner creates their own blog; they know where all the parts are and set it up like they want that way. Plus, I'm thankful she snapped me out of my fog as I really did need to get back here.

Let's see where I left off last... Since Christmas, my days have been spent either painfully enduring our cold fronts and humid rain, or fighting like a dog to keep my plugged up ear from driving me crazy. (That's another reason I've stayed away, although I could've come over and just said so, wouldn't have wanted to read some of my bitchings, I was in such a bad mood and still kind of crotchety.)

At the same time, I've also been busying myself as much as possible in some sort of cleaning and organizing frenzy similar to Spring Cleaning. No, I'm nowhere near finished. There's a lot that is disorganized and dirty. LOL But, I've been hacking away at it. Some days, the only interaction I had with the computer was to check on packages being mailed and attend to our personal banking and bills. A few days I spent starting up the year-end receipt collecting, and a little billing of clients and finishing up last tax season's paperwork.

It's just that time of the year for me to be in 3 places at once, and although I feel more addled than ever (and frequently wonder if that drug trial did any real good or not), I am also handling a lot, so who knows. My rheumatologist reminds me of that when I voice my concerns about it, so that's his position.

And I spent New Year's Eve alone, but that was fine. Hubs and Missy both had to work. That was at the height of my organizing craze, before my drive petered out, so I toasted the new year with coffee and the vacuum cleaner / noise maker. LOL

I really don't mind, but I should note that this has been the most nontraditional holidays I've had in a while. I'll be testing the superstitions, as we didn't eat the usual peas, cabbage and ham on New Years Day. Hubs was working and didn't feel like cooking, and I didn't feel like getting out to the grocery store, so I didn't want it that badly.

I've just really spent my time piddling, going from one project to another, however I felt like it, as long as I was either making progress or sleeping. When the pain gets intense and constant, it is the only two things I can do, and if I run out of food or supplies, I need help; otherwise, I'm able to cope. And Hubs hasn't been feeling good either, but he was able to keep us minimally supplied and the motors running.

Except for the front bathroom toilet. It chose to flood out of the bottom of it on NY Eve, wouldn'tcha know. We just put it out of order and waited for our plumber to get around to us, which was today. Two sharing one bathroom isn't that bad, but then Missy came home Thursday for a dental cleaning and a doctor appt today (she went back this afternoon). The only real problem we had was this morning, when Hubs somehow had a problem with Missy showering in the front bath and told her to use our shower, I guess he was forgetting it would really make it tight for us with 3 people getting ready for the day. She's gone now so the inconvenience was short-lived, but I still say it was not necessary. Don't know what gets into him sometimes.

We had to have the toilet re-seated and a new wax seal set. So, it's still curing, but should be ready for use tomorrow sometime. We can actually go a couple of days for good measure. Our plumber grouted it instead of caulking it. So it's gonna be on there good. I told him we need a fat-person's set-up, LOL He's so sweet, he said, "there's nobody at your house like that", LOL

Let's see, what else. Oh yeah, there's a bit more. I know it seems like getting new stuff is all sweetness and light, but I have managed to find a dark side, and that's keeping up with all the shipments and unpacking stuff and then finding space for it all. Since I haven't felt like crafting, I haven't tried out any goodies yet, and that is sad. Gonna have to find time to remedy that!

But during the holidays, there was a part of the country, like around Utah, where I was not getting my packages from. Took forever on a few items and even one order had to be re-sent, as I suppose it was lost. The rest of the country was fast. Believe me, I know! LOL Don't know what the heck was the problem, bad weather or bad attitudes or sickness, but it has been really apparent. I am still waiting on some to finally get here. I'm talking 8 days, 11 days for Priority Mail packages. Like 6-7 of them taking that long. UPS lagged a bit the week before Christmas, so they had their troubles. Dang, I might could write a book on this subject, geez.

And, I haven't any resolutions, really. Although I must add, I never do. Haven't for like 10 years. When you get to be my age, you find you have the same ones every year, so you just keep one list going in perpetuity. LOL And every year ya get more and more comfortable with your vices, so the list gets shorter. It's basically a To Do List, nothing special. The big thing with me for this year is to only adhere to deadlines that are real and needed, and to quit making so many of the damn things up just to get more done. I guess it's my ear wigging out my nerves, but the deadlines are getting to me. Don't really know yet how to go about doing that exactly yet, but I'll come up with something.

Speaking of my ear, it did FINALLY start popping open intermittently like the doctor said it would, about a week ago. And that has been painful, I guess it's air pressure. Right now, it is finally staying open about 50% of the time, so every day it is slowly getting better, after weeks of totally no change. Unreal. And since I cannot get in to see the ENT until the end of the month, I might be better by then, who knows. I'm a bit embarrassed to say that once I began heating up the drops, they began to work a lot better. Geez. Could I be any denser? Either that or it was a coincidence. I'm not a doctor. And I still have not seen that much wax. So I am keeping my appt. Who knows what is in my ear? LOLOL

Well, my fingers are fixing to rebel. This is fortunate for you, because this has been pretty boring, I'm sure. That's me, boring. What can I say, I like it that way, LOL.