Monday, June 30, 2008

Settling in

NOW it is summer!

Disney World was summer vacation- but the active part of the vacation. Now I am into my real summer mode- which is making a long, slow recovery from the rigors and difficulties of the school year.

I fell into teaching accidentally, then discovered I was good at it and LOVED it. Working again was a real transition for me after five years at home, 2 of them almost fulltime in bed. One of the only reasons I can teach is the schedule- the Christmas break gives me a little recovery time and the summer is the only reason I can continue to do this year after year.

I finally feel the adrenalin slowing down. Everything in my body is slowing down and going into repair mode. While still in high mode I made a lot of plans for the summer and now know that many of them will be attempted but not a lot of them completed.

Anyway, here I am past noon and so far today I have accomplished NOTHING! I did have breakfast, and read my emails, and checked out some favorite websites, but that's about it.

I brought the cross-stitch project and the quilt top to work on, but left the other quilting project- the one where the top is finished and I am partway through the quilting process- at home; I just didn't feel like hauling the hoop and the extra stuff. I also left all the scrapbooking stuff home.

I am looking at some interesting challenges with what I chose to bring for stamping and cardmaking. I *did* bring the Silhouette (electronic die cutter) because I recently ordered several CDs from Dover Publishing that I really want to try out. I brought about 30 stamp pads, about 100 stamps, some cardstock in various colors, some base cards, and almost all my coloring media- twinks, prisma pencils and alcohol markers, LePlumes watercolor markers, Derwent watercolor pencils. I want to learn a lot more this summer about water techniques. Almost all the stamps I chose will use or adapt to some kind of watercolor style.

What I didn't bring was my Cuttlebug, any nesties, any punches, any ribbon, any brads or eyelets, or the stuff to go with them- basically I brought NO embellishments.

I had made up my mind that I would participate in a lot of sketch and color challenges at SCS and on various blogs. When I opened the Sketch challenge for this week at SCS I realized that I could do it- but it would have been a LOT easier with some of the stuff I left at home. Oh, well. Looks like I am going to be doing challenges with some challenges of my own, lol!

It has been raining every afternnoon here, but the weekend days were taken up with DH and DS and various jobs around here to really BE settled. Today DH and DS are back in the city, working, and I am finally ALONE! Now, don't get me wrong- I love DS and ADORE DH and love spending time with them- but my real summer (and my very necessary recovery) is the time I spend alone here at the shore.

Right now the sun is still shining- showers and thunder storms to come later- and I am going to sit out back and just veg with my cross-stitch project until the rain arrives. Maybe tonight I will finally play with my stamping toys.

I seem to be rambling even more than usual-looks like my brain has decided to slow down as well!

The cross stitch project is a very old one that I decided to finally finish- called Watercolour Dragonflies. The chart is from Sekas & Co., and is from their Watercolours collection. Watercolours is a group of specialty threads from The Caron Collection, which are multi-colored variegated threads that give you really interesting patterns when you stitch with them. The project also uses Kreinik metallic braids which give it amazing texture and really POP!

Well, it is 1:15 and the sun is shining, so time for me to head out and relax with my stitching in the sun. I had 6 sets of dragonfly wings finished a long time ago, and I did another one yesterday before the rains came.Here is a picture of the chart cover, showing the final project, and a picture showing where I am with mine.

I'm off to stitch and sun!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How do you choose?????

Today and tomorrow there are two jobs around here.

I want to do a massive clean-out before trash day on Friday. Get rid of LOTS of junk. That part is easy.

However, the other job for tomorrow is packing for 6 weeks at the shore.

Clothes are easy- I can use the washer/dryer at my brother's house so I don't need much.

Books are also easy- I will only need to take a few. The library down there has a sale rack where they sell paperbacks for 25¢ and hardbacks for 50¢. I buy several, read them all, donate them back and get some more. It doesn't cost me much, the library makes a little money and everyone comes out ahead.

BUT................what about scrapping/quilting/stamping/needlework?????

Well, I am taking one small quilt top to try to finish, one small quilted wall hanging to work on the quilting, and one cross stitch project to try to finish. Those are pretty easy.

The stamping/scrapping is the issue!!!! I made decision #1 a little while ago- no scrapping this summer. It would just take TOO much to get everything down there. Whether I will stick to this decision is questionable at this point, but we'll see. (I *do* have that album with almost everything I need for it in one big roller bag......)

Now, I *ONLY* have to decide which stamping stuff to take. There's stamps, pencils, watercolors, twinks, markers, stamp pads, paper, cardstock, watercolor paper, cuttlebug, stencils, embosing folders, dies, brads, eyelets, the crop-o-dile, the silent setter, paper cutters, scor-pal, silhouette, brushes, acrylic blocks, ribbons, and that's just the things that popped into my head faster than I could type them! And, we do not even want to THINK about how many items I have in some of the above categories!

Let me be clear here. We are renting a LITTLE house!!!! (The "Little house on the prarie" is huge by comparison!) It is a converted garage for a summer cottage. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this little house. It is perfect for me for summer. But it is LITTLE!!!!! I can only take a small portion of my stash. So, how do I choose?????????????

I'll let you know later what I decided. Any advice is surely welcome!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The winner and still champion!

Here I am in front of Mission:Space at Epcot. There is a story behind the title to this post, and this picture.

In 2006 we went to WDW with friends. Mission:Space was a pretty new ride at that point. I am a little careful with my back on some rides- the pain is not worth the pleasure. The rest of our group went on the ride and came off telling me it would be no problem for my back and wanting me to go on with them. So, I did!
Well, there are two versions of this ride and my DH and our friends had tried the "less intense" one. They all decided we should do the "more intense" one with me. Ok with me as long as I'm not going to get smashed from side to side. So, we went. We came off, all of them moaning and green, and me giggling with delight. They thought the "more intense" absolutely AWFUL and *I* thought it absolutely WONDERFUL!!!!!
Fast forward to this weekend. My DH will not go on this ride, but of course DS is willing. When I ask "more or less" he says "go for it all". So, we did! As we came down the ramp after the ride I asked him how he liked it and he said "that's one ride I don't have to go on again, EVER!!!!"

So, I will have to find another newbie to go with me on my next trip to WDW- because I LOVE Mission:Space!
More about our GREAT trip later!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another WDW check-in

Time for another short post. We have found that coming back to the condo for a few hours between 2-5PM makes a big difference in how tired we are.

We have had amazing luck with timing. We've used FastPass and it makes a huge difference. Beyond that, we walk up to a dock and a boat appears or we arrive at a show and it's ready to start and there are still seats available.

So, we're having a great time!

We checked out the "new, overhauled" Pirates of the Caribbean ride yesterday. It has a few new things but in general they've just inserted Johnny Depp figures at various places on the ride. So, for all the Depp fans out there, enjoy!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Disney World report

Well, here we are! This is DH and I at our first stop on our first day in WDW- France! While here we watched the gorgeous film, Impressions de France, and enjoyed a criossant from the patisserie.

We're having a marvelous time- and also being very sensible. The only times I get out of the wheelchair are for the occasional ride that requires it. We are also taking a break each day in the afternoon to go back to the condo, get out of the mid-day sun (not being either mad dogs or Englishmen), take a rest and generally chill! And, believe me, "chilling" in Florida in June takes thought, planning and effort.

As always, everything Disney is first class and we are really enjoying it.

More later- time for my nap!

PS- the shirt I am wearing in the picture has been on every trip to WDW since it was purchased during our first trip - in 1989!!! I'll post more on the Disney fashion parade later.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Reminder!!- with a blog to read recommendation

If you have not yet picked someone to nominate, remember, I am encouraging everyone to vote for my crafty guru, Etha, whose blog will certainly show you how talented she is. HERE's a sample of her work on a linited supplies challenge. And, HERE is a link to get to her gallery to see what she did finishing 12 cards from three sheets of cardstock.

If you just want to stroll through some amazing stuff- not just cards, but also knitting, photography, and just generally genuis crafting of all kinds- take a while to enjoy her entire blog.

And, the happy news? In 48 hours I will be in my room in Orlando, trying to sleep, being totally excited to get to DISNEY WORLD in the morning!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Off to the shore!!!

My brother and his family are at their house at the shore for a few weeks- so off we go to visit them! See you all tomorrow!

Friday, June 13, 2008

AAAAHHHHHH- vacation

It is so nice to know that I will not be setting foot into the building until September.

I spent a silly day just reading and playing on the computer- and keeping my leg up. It's been really hurting and yesterday after PT it was swollen and warm- which is NOT good. So I took it totally easy today.

I discovered that I was very wise when I chose which childhood dolls (Shirley Temple and a Saucy Walker) not to allow my mother to throw/give away. Drifting around ebay and the 'net I learned that both of them are VERY valuable. Now, if I have kept them this long, I'm not about to give them up now, but it's still nice to know that they are worth a lot.

Some of my other activities today included cutting out the Family is Forever stamp set from The Angel Company (TAC). It is a great collection of sentiments that will really boost the pages in my heritage album. I didthis while watching some of the US Open with DH.

I also cleaned out my jewelry box. Picked about 4 things to give to my niece and put a bunch more things in a box to go to charity. I know I won't wear any of these again. I also polished up a bunch of my silver, especially some for the trip to WDW next week.

Now it is time to watch Dr. Who, and then, if I am still awake, go on safari! It has been a LONG time since I've been able to see a game drive- hope I can make it tonight.

Yes, vacation! I've earned it this year, for SURE!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Evening update

It's 7PM. The temperature is 95° and the "feels like" is 100°!

Very long and busy day. I got permission and gave my exam in the cafeteria- it made a HUGE difference! When I first walked into the classroom this morning there was another teacher with me and she audibly gasped- it was like opening an oven with that dry, hot air that burns your lungs. So, as soon as I took roll, down to the caf we went.
I got all my grades done and turned in by 1PM- the deadline for today as they closed all the schools in the city at either noon or 1. (Kids went home earlier at our school.)

Then it was off to physical therapy. That went well. She added a pound to the weight I'd been working with and I felt it but I DID IT! Then the rep from the brace company came and he refit the smaller lighter brace. It immediately felt better. Then the doctor checked it out and said he was satisfied- so I am no longer in the monster hip to ankle, but in a smaller (thigh to calf!) and lighter brace. I can bend my knee!!! Who would believe that I'd be this excited about getting a new leg brace?

So, except for the fact that all I feel like doing is sitting and drinking water, and that it is ridiculously hot here, and I really don't want to go to bed yet (even if that is the only available AC), it wasn't a bad day!
Here are a couple of pictures- something like the "before" brace and something like the "after" brace- even with the bad, tiny pictures, you'll see why I am HAPPY!!!!!

About the weather.....

......all I can say is wow!

It is 6:15AM, the temperature is 82°, with a "feels like" of 85°.

Exam starts in a little over an hour and a half. Say one for the kids please.

Will post how it goes later.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Wonderful afternoon

It's 9:30 PM and the temperature is down to 91°! (The "feels like" is 98°!!!!!)Don't get me wrong- I LIKE hot weather, but there is hot and then there's ridiculous!

Our old house (built around 1922) has radiators and no ducts. We looked into putting in central air about 15 years ago, but they told us they would have to tear out all the oak parquet floors, and it would cost about $12K, so we said "forget it". There really are not enough really hot days to warrant that kind of money and destruction. So, we live with window units in the bedrooms and survive mostly fine.

Today was really bad. But, my darling aunt called and said "come to the airconditioning, go swimming in the pool and I'll cook dinner"- the proverbial offer we could not refuse.

So,we sat for the worst hours of the day in the AC, we had a nice dinner and a lot of good conversation, and for an hour I was in the pool. THAT was the wonderful part.

For an hour today it was as if my legs were FINE! I just noodled around in the pool, doing all kinds of things and none of it hurt! My legs even still feel better tonight from the good, safe exercise. It was GREAT!!!!!

I cannot wait to get to the shore in July for a few weeks. I'm going be in that water SOOOO much!

Tomorrow the forecast is for 101°! I am giving my final for my freshmen at 8AM. The weather channel says that at 8AM when the test starts it will feel like 89°, and 95° by the time it is over 80 minutes later. That's BAD!!!

So, I think I may have to give my exam in the cafeteria. It is below ground and should be MUCH cooler. Also, not in use at that time of day. Hopefully, the admin will give permission.

From an old (13th century!) English song/poem: "Sumer is icumen in" or SUMMER HAS ARRIVED!!!

10 days until Disney World!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Robert F. Kennedy Remembered

Robert F. Kennedy

Eulogy of Bobby Kennedy

Today is the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Robert Kennedy. I remember like it was yesterday the shock, the horror and the pain. I remember standing for hours by the tracks near Erie Avenue waiting for the funeral train to pass. Mostly, I still remember, and still feel, the terrible sense of loss and the awful questions of why and what if?

"Some men see things as they are and say why - I dream things that never were and say why not."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Etha's blog is back!!

It took 2 days, but Etha's blog is back!

This is important because Sheetload of Cards is having a "Reader's Choice Guest Artist" contest, and I have nominated Etha!

If you think you'd be a good guest designer for Sheetload, or you know someone you think would be good, go to their website and put in your/their name.
But, if you don't have anyone in particular in mind, please check out Etha's blog, and if you agree with me that she is WONDERFULLY talented, you can go to Sheetload and nominate her also.

Etha's blog is wonderful- just like she is! I first met Etha IRL about 12-14 years ago through an Internet group of stitchers. Since then she has been my internet and real-life friend, and my crafting guru. She tries a new thing, then tells me I have to try it- and usually I do! (I did skip the weaving- there's no way a loom fits in a Philadelphia row house.) She is, however, unlike me, amazingly talented- she masters so many new techniques and crafts and her work is always fabulous!

So, when I saw the Sheetload post that they were looking for a guest designer, I immediately nominated Etha. The way this contest is working, the 5 people who get the most nominations will be voted on in July by the Sheetload readers.

So, check out these two pages from her blog particularly and see if you don't agree with me.
This is from a limited supplies challenge at SCS. And, this is what she did with a project from Firecracker Designs from Pamela, using 3 sheets to get 12 cards. Both of these, I think, show how GREAT she'd be at a Sheetload design.

And, in other news, graduation was this morning. The seniors are gone and there are only a few more days of classes before finals begin for my freshmen. Now I'm off to tweak and proofread their final exam and print it out to give to Sister in the copy room tomorrow. I still have LOTS of term papers to read, one last set of tests to grade, and lots of organizing to do, but the end is IN SIGHT!!!!

15 Days til Disney World!!!!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Graduation card

This is the final version of the graduation card that I will be giving to my students. It took a LOT of trial and error and some great help from my friend Etha. I hope the kids like it. Now that it is "done" I am off to make several more of them.