Sunday, November 25, 2007

It was a GREAT weekend until about an hour ago

Actually, it's more than an hour now, but that's ok.

I got all the framing done. They all turned out really well and I'm so happy that they did.

Last night John and I stayed home and watched old movies on TV- James Garner in Support Your Local Sheriff and Support Your Local Gunslinger. We had a lot of laughs and really enjoyed it.

Yesterday morning I went to a "Coffeefest", which means a gathering of the Flyladies group that I belong to here. We had a lot of fun, many laughs, and it was great to see them all again.

I also went shopping twice. By myself, on the way home from Coffeefest, I found the perfect frames for the last set of pictures, ON SALE! found marker and watercolor pencils for stamping, ON SALE!!!, and even got some new cardstock, also on sale- all at ACMoore. Later I went to Michael's with my friend Cindy, and got the $4.99 Fiskars cutters- bought two at the price, it's cheaper than replacing the blades, plus some things for Christmas presents.

Today I was doing Flylady drilling intermixed with a card-making chat on SplitCoastStampers. I got a LOT of housework done and finished 9 more cards. My goal was 20 but I got sidetracked, like any good SHE does. (SHE is a Flylady acronym for Sidetracked Home Executive.) Here's a picture of the card from the CK Holiday kit:

We were having a really good weekend. Getting lots done while having lots of fun. I even made a full-blown, official, Sunday dinner: roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn and applesauce. Then the phone rang.

Mom was calling to tell me that my younger brother was in the hospital at the shore in very serious condition. He needs surgery but also has a major infection and they cannot operate until the infection is controlled.

Hospitals at the shore have never been our first choice. We live in Philadelphia which has GREAT hospitals and therefore we are hospital snobs. No one in the family has used this particular shore hospital in years- an experience there many years ago with my grandfather kind of soured us on it and left us questioning the competence of the staff. However, DB is in a situation where he cannot be moved right now, and later could only be moved via ambulance.

So, for the last hour I have been emailing all my friends and former students asking for prayers, and trying to finish all the things I started today. I went to the basement to reboot the laundry and discovered that I had put clothes in the dryer and didn't turn it on at the same time I forgot to put the next load in the washer. So, I am behind schedule there.

My Sunday blog post will be about the same from here on as usual- I need to finish the laundry, iron and lay out my clothes for tomorrow, check my schoolbag for tomorrow, etc. In addition to the usual, I need to pack a bag so I can take my mother to the shore tomorrow.

So, I'm off to try and get things done, concentrate a little, then relax with my hot chocolate and one last TV show.

I hope everyone reading had as good of a Thanksgiving weekend as I did- up til the part about phone calls. It really was a GREAT weekend.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Framing art is hard work

And I am not done yet!

Getting to the shopping center was easy- there was very little traffic. When we got there, it was because every car in Philadelphia was in THAT shopping center. Hyperbole? Yes, but just a little- it was crazy crowded!

The good news is that there are 5 big stores in the center- Lowe's, Circuit City, Office Max, Walmart, and Michael's. Guess which one was practically empty? YES!!! The Michael's was so quiet, it was great!

We took 3 serious pieces- lithographs- and 9 prints for framing. The three pieces DH said we should just take directly to their custom framing department. I asked him "are you sure?" and he was quite adament. An hour later when he saw the bill- three largish pieces, with mahagony frames and triple matting- he gulped a little and then said "oh, go for it".

Another hour+ was spent with me choosing just the right frames and mats for the 9 prints. It was a lot of work, but I am pleased with the results. I have done 5 of the framings and wanted to post to show off a few of the lovely prints and how they look framed. I DO wish I was a better photographer and that I had the right kind of lighting somewhere in this house, but this is how they came out, so enjoy!

The pictures are from three different artists. The watercolor face is by Shan Merry, the jazz group is by Charles Lee and the woman is by Emile Bellet. We liked Bellet's stuff very much and a canvas lithograph is one of the three "serious" pieces that are now being framed.
Now these are not "real" art, as in originals. Those would certainly be far beyond the means of a couple of teachers. But they are beautiful and we like them.
Now,I need a nap and then I can get back to work.

Black Friday is here....

.....and so am I! The thought of getting up at 3 or 4 AM to rush around in the dark for bargains.....well, it's interesting, maybe, but NOT for me!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving and now that it is over, I have time to be thankful! The dinner was excellent, if I do say so myself, lol, and we had the whole family home for the first time in several years. My son's friends came for dessert as usual, and I do not know how late they stayed as I crashed at 12:30. They did not leave a mess to clean up so I am also thankful for that.

I keep hearing the John Denver song, Poems, Prayers and Promises, in my head- "it's been a good life all in all"- and am so grateful that that is true. We've had a lot of problems over the years, health and financial and family, but in spite of those I have a wonderful husband and I've been blessed with so many opportunities and so many experiences. He wrote that song when he was relatively young and I always feel a little sad when he sings "it turns me on to think of growing old". While I don't feel old, at 55 many people (especially my students!) think that I already am. Hopefully, there is still a lot of growing old still ahead of me.

Today we are going to work on two projects. One of them actually does involve shopping- yuck! While on a cruise this summer, we bought several pieces of art that need to be framed. I got DH to agree to go with me to choose the framing today, and since we rarely have the same days off, we have to take advantage of the opportunity. We did buy one large piece on the cruise and we had the gallery frame that for us. It arrived several weeks ago and we finally hung it yesterday. I am really happy- it looks wonderful and is perfect for the location I had planned for it.

Then we are going to do a massive cleanout of the garage. With the holiday yesterday, trash day is moved back until tomorrow and I am looking forward to having a LOT more storage space after today.

The rest of the weekend will consist of getting together with a group of my Flylady friends for a l-o-n-g breakfast gathering tomorrow, and then getting some work done on some more of my Christmas cards.

All in all it sounds like a good, productive and fun weekend. And, for that, I am thankful.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's been a good day!

Well, at least mostly. As long as we don't talk about the grades on the physics tests I just gave......

The weather was thoroughly miserable here today- cold, damp, rainy, just YUCK! It is Monday- the kids just did not want to be in school. But, as the day went on, things got better.
First there was a visit from one of my former students, now a freshman at Yale. It was wonderful to talk to him, to hear how much he is enjoying the experience, and to listen to how much he has grown already through the experience.
I run "CraftClub" at school- an after school activity during which a group of students, mostly girls, take over and totally trash my lab, in the process of "creating". After every meeting there are scraps of paper, and loose little blue squares, and forgot-to-be-put-away scissors etc, everywhere you look in the Physics lab. It's pretty funny actually, if you don't mind the mess, which I don't.
Today was a regular Craft Club meeting but with a special purpose. The kids have decided to make Christmas cards to sell, in order to raise money for other kids to be able to afford to participate in our school's annual Appalchia project. Similar to Habitat for Humanity, our school sends a group of students and faculty to southwestern Virgina each year to do building work in a very poor community.

These are cards I made as models or templates to give the kids an idea to follow when making their cards.

Tomorrow, or soon, I will post examples of the ones that the kids have started making. They have finished about 25 cards so far, and plan to make a LOT more. I can't post them now as the blogger uploader just went goofy again.
Anyway, the school day ended with a lot of fun and laughs and some nice work by the girls today. After that I had to set up the lab for an experiment for 1st period tomorrow, so I got home very late.
While browsing one of the many forums, boards, etc that I read on a regular basis on the Internet, someone posted about a special coupon for a Dell laptop computer. I have been looking for a really good price on a laptop as I hope that maybe, just maybe, it will work for me at school. Well, this was most definitely a REALLY, FOR SURE, very good price! So, in a few days I will be the very happy owner of a new ( my first!) laptop!
Time to go get clothes ready for the morning, make sure my schoolbag is properly packed, charge the cell phone- all that boring stuff. Tomorrow will be another day of visits from former students and I am really looking forward to that. I'm definitely in the "giving thanks" spirit!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Quiet Sunday Evening

I'm taking a nice rest after a busy weekend.

Although we are still far from ready for Thanksgiving, we made a lot of progress on re-organizing the house this weekend. A lot of "let's get rid of this" decisions were made and there is WAY more room in the basement and a lot less stuff around here. We still need quite a few more days like this one, but any progress is good.

The grocery shopping for Thursday is pretty much done- just a few last minute things to get. We have a long tradition that my son's friends come here for dessert every year after dinner with their families. I have to make my "famous peach cobbler" which is really easy but they all love. They like it so much that last year I had to make several of them in one day- one of the guys was having a simple back yard reception after his wedding and asked me to make them as a wedding gift! So, the day will be busy with pies and cobbler as well as turkey and all the fixings.

I also spent a bit of time finding a download to burn CDs for a few friends. I was one of the very few people who actually watched Studio 60 last year. It was weak compared to West Wing, and I had trouble with some of the storylines, but I do enjoy Aaron Sorkin's work a lot. I watched West Wing from the beginning, but it was the first season Christmas show that GOT me. (A homeless VietNam vet dies with Tobey's business card in his pocket and it goes from there.) Studio 60 hit it dead on with their one-and-only Christmas show. The show ended with a group of Katrina-displaced New Orleans musicians performing "O Holy Night" and it was magical. I had downloaded the song from the Studio 60/NBC website last year and it plays fine on my computer, but I discovered that when I tried to burn a copy, it didn't work right. After more than an hour of searching, I finally found a place that still has the song available for download.

If you saw/heard it last year and wished you had gotten a copy, or if you are just interested in one of the most beautiful versions of this wonderful hymn you will ever hear, check it out here:

This is now my all-time favorite Christmas song. It is just gorgeous. While downloading, and burning, and then checking to see that each of the newly-burned CDs worked properly today, I probably listened to it about a dozen times and just never got tired of hearing it.

Oh, and for those of you interested in intellectual property/copyright issues, NBC did post this for free download/usage so no laws were broken in the making of the CDs.

Time to go iron my clothes for tomorrow, check that my schoolbag is ready to go, then relax with a snack and one TV show before bed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Busy Saturday/busy weekend

I'm making progress on a busy day.

Several years ago I stumbled across an Internet site called "Flylady". It's a group/program/support/all kinds of stuff for those of us who are not the world's best housekeepers. I am a PERFECT example of a not-best-housekeeper. Flylady talks about living in "chaos"- "Can't have anyone over syndrome"- and "SHEs"- "sidetracked home executives", and other cute acronyms that really do describe me and so many others. Seems that many of us with messy houses are really perfectionists who, if we can't do it right, don't do it at all. Add to that the fact that many of us are hoarders, many of us are very creative and therefore have houses full of crafty stuff, and most of us take on way too much in life, and you have a real mess.

So, here it is the weekend before Thanksgiving and I need to deal with a house that is a DISASTER!

There are a lot of websites out there for those who seem to get behinder the hurrieder they go. If you share my disability, check out my favorites:

Tonight we (DH and I and maybe a friend) are going to an art auction. This is a new hobby for us, which we discovered on our cruise to Bermuda in August. We still have not hung (or had hung by someone who knows what they are doing) the pieces we bought in August, so we probably won't buy anything, but just going will be fun.
Other than the auction, this is a work weekend. Which I should be getting back to. Which I will do now.

Oh, and just for a little fun, here are the other cards I couldn't post before when the uploader was acting hincky:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It was a GOOD weekend!

We had a really nice weekend. Every year I go away somewhere the weekend when I turn in my first set of grades for the year. Somehow that is the most stressful set of grades and I really need a break afterwards.

My friend Cindy and I went to my brother's house at the Jersey shore Friday afternoon. Of course, a stop at ACMoore on the way was required! Cuttlebug stuff was 40% off and Sizzix stuff was 50% off, so you KNOW we did some damage.

It was rainy and chilly all weekend but who cares? We were stamping and crocheting and watching TV and playing music and eating and snacking and it was a REALLY good time. Oh, and yes, we laughed a LOT!

My primary goal was to get some Christmas cards made. I can take NO credit for the design of the cards- I wimped out and ordered Lisa Bearnson's Holiday Card kit from the CK website. My only claim is construction. I got 20 cards done so that is a good start. Here are a few samples from this weekend's work:

There are actually a few more but I keep getting an error code so I will upload those another day. The picture is DH and I on our cruise this summer.

I also made several templates of Christmas cards for the kids in the craft club at school to use. Those cards are stamped and made from scratch. They are making cards to sell to raise money for a trip to Appalachia this summer to work with Habitat for Humanity. Most of the kids at my school could not afford to do this without fundraising and I think it is really neat that the craft club kids are willing to do the work to help support other kids for this trip.

Like I said, it was a GOOD weekend.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

It's been a L-O-N-G week...

.....a REALLY long week!

We had a special Mass for Officer Cassidy on Friday morning at school. Many police officers and other alumni and friends of his attended. On Wednesday the school community went outside and lined the street in front of the school when the funeral procession passed on its way to the cemetery. It was all very beautiful and very difficult.

Add in that this was midterm exam week, and grades are due tomorrow, and you can understand my exhaustion at this point. Between reading term papers, grading tests and exams, and calculating grades, my eyes are crooked and my head is exploding.

I'm taking the weekend off and doing some crafting, watching some old movies and just generally relaxing.

Since I cannot post my gradebook here, and I have nothing else accomplished this week, there's no pictures to post. Next week there should be something nice to see.

Thursday, November 1, 2007