Saturday, May 30, 2009

It's that time of year

This is a not-very-good picture of my living room floor right now.

Those piles are homework, papers and tests waiting to be marked, graded and recorded.

There is another group waiting in another bag- about the same amount.

Every year about this time I swear that I will change the rules next year and not accept late assignments- because on top of end of the year papers and the last tests of the year and final exams (which are NOT in either pile- that's *next* weekend), there's also always so many meetings and such in May that I am always behind by the time I start on this stuff and the last weekend in May and the first weekend in June are ALWAYS a nightmare of paper for me.

AND.... every year I end up accepting the late stuff- although not for full credit, there are *some* limits, although those limits do not make my job any easier.

So, this is what I've been doing since 7 AM and will be doing until late afternoon, and probably all day tomorrow....

Tonight is my college reunion- which should be a lot of fun. There are several people whom I do not see or talk to regularly, but who are very special and I am really looking forward to talking to them. Assuming, of course, that I am still lucid after the day of school work, lol!

The weather is gorgeous and I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Susan Boyle - Britain's Got Talent - Semi-Final 1- WONDERFUL!!!

Here's the "official" youtube video for the wonderful Susan Boyle's semi-final performance on Sunday night. She starts a little scared, but, oh how she comes on strong.

There's a longer video available that includes a short intro, and the judges' comments after her performance here. It is so wonderful to see Simon Cowell giving Susan a standing ovation, followed by an apology for the way he and the other judges treated her BEFORE she sang at the auditions. Cowell was very classy- and she was equally classy by pretending she didn't know what he was talking about. The intro also includes a shot of Cowell with a brilliant smile- he really is VERY attractive when he truly smiles!

For the full video- which includes this but much more, and is much better, but cannot be blog embedded- check out this link:

Susan Boyle HQ

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back to school/work/whatever

Time to get ready for school- the last three weeks- YIPPEE!!!

It was a good weekend. Not enough got done, except the wonderful Cards for Heroes bloghopping. But, I have clothes for tomorrow, ready as soon as I iron them, clothes enough for the week, all the tests marked, graded and recorded and some of the papers reviewed. The weather was gorgeous.

I can FEEL summer!!!

Memorial Day 2009

There are 152 blogs listed at the Cards for Heroes Memorial Day Blog Hop website. Every one of those blogs has posted cards and/or stories, usually both, about why they are supporting this wonderful effort this Memorial Day. I have just finished visiting and commenting at every blog in this project. They are filled with wonderful cards, but more important, they are full of stories of heroes, stories that reminded me once again about the great devotion our military men and women show to our country and to US!

Do you have someone to remember this Memorial Day? Not just someone who served, but someone who gave his or her life while in the military? I do.

In the summer of 1972 I remember when a phone call came into the store where I worked and a neighbor of mine, younger than me, suddenly left. When I got home that evening, I learned that his older brother had been killed in VietNam. My older cousins had served over there, a boy I dated senior year in high school had a brother over there, plenty of people I knew had someone over there, but, until then, miraculously they all came home. I visit that young man's name whenever we visit the memorial wall in Washington to this day.

In the early 80's I got a phone call- a high school friend of mine had died while serving in the Navy. It was my first military funeral and I have never forgotten it. Both the funeral Mass and the graveside service were conducted by the late John Cardinal O'Connor, who at that time was Admiral O'Connor, Chief of Navy chaplains. All of the Navy personnel participating in the funeral- those carrying the coffin, folding the flag, even the bugler- were women; an amazing sight and experience.

Our job today is to remember them, and all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, from the eight men on Lexington Green in April 1775, through Gettysburg, Belleau Wood and Monte Cassino, Pusan, Khe Sanh and Kuwait, to the men and women who will not come home from Iraq and Afghanistan. They are all, each and every individual one of them, American Heroes.

If Memorial Day matters to you, please read the rest of my Memorial Day weekend posts and watch the videos. When you are done, please go to Cards for Heroes and see how you can support our current American Heroes. Thank you.

Memorial Day Tribute

Please continue to participate in the Cards for Heroes Blog Hop- and send in those cards and contributions.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More for Memorial Day

I hope you are reading all my Memorial Day posts and when you are done here, going to the Cards for Heroes Blog Hop- click on the blinkie at the top of my sidebar. Make sure you watch the CFH video below- it is wonderful!

I just found Cards for Heroes but I intend to get involved. I've already gotten 20+ cards ready to ship to them this week. These are all blank cards that the men and women serving can use to write in and send home to loved ones.

This is a picture of my Dad in his barracks in Greenland during WWII. (Isn't he handsome?) He was assigned to a weather station there that did the forecasts for the ship convoys and D-Day.

All the stories Dad was willing to tell about his time in the service were lighthearted. He talked about the barracks dog, a Huskie, and meeting Eskimos, and watching the Aurora Borealis at night. After he died we found an old newspaper story among his papers that my Grandmother must have saved for him as he was overseas when it was printed. It told how his unit had the highest suicide rate in all the services because of the drastic conditions at his base. None of the Americans serving there had ever been exposed to the realities of living north of the Arctic Circle: the extreme cold, and the almost two weeks of total darkness in winter which caused depressions so severe that some of the men could not take it. I cannot even imagine how terribly this must have frightened and upset Grandmom.

Few, if any, of the Americans serving in the Middle East today have lived in the conditions they are currently experiencing. Baking heat and desert dryness I would guess can be just as demoralizing as those long, bitter days of total darkness were for my father at his posting.

Some of my favorite stories to hear as a child were the ones about the mail- how Grandmom would pack cakes in popcorn to keep them fresh, and how Grandpop got mad at Daddy for playing poker, even though he sent his winnings home. "If you can win $50 you can lose $50!" Dad always said that the mail bag was the most important part of the week for him and everyone else up there.

Part of the Cards for Heroes program is something called Any Hero letters. These are cards or letters that you can write to someone serving overseas. An Any Hero letter is included in each box of blank cards; to read more about them, check out this Any Hero link.

I think there is no better way this holiday weekend to honor those who sacrificed their lives for our country than to support those who are currently serving. Please read through all my Memorial Day posts then head on over to Cards for Heroes and see what you can do to participate. Someone "over there" needs you!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cards For Heroes

Here is something we can do this Memorial Day weekend for the living heroes who are serving US and our country NOW!

Click on the picture below to follow the blog hop and see what so many are doing- and how you can join in this wonderful effort!

Stamper's Alert!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day

The first Alma Mater I learned was that of Northeast Catholic High School. My father graduated from North in 1942 and like most young men of that time, was soon in uniform.

My earliest memories of Memorial Day as a holiday center at North Catholic. Each year he would get me up early and we would go to Mass in the small and beautiful chapel of the faculty house at North. After Mass there would be a short ceremony outside at the Blessed Mother Shrine dedicated to all the North graduates who had died during World War II. This was when I learned to sing "See our banners wave proudly before us". Attending this solemn ceremony was special to me. I learned that my father honored his classmates and schoolmates who had given their lives for our country and that his school remembered them not only every year, but every day with the shrine.

For those of us lucky enough not to have family members' names on that shrine, or thousands of similar plaques throughout our country, it is perhaps easy to be forgetful of the real meaning of this holiday. This weekend, let us all take a moment and offer up a prayer of gratitude for the men and women who saw a duty and gave their all for our sakes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I've got the Tatting bug again

Many years ago- I don't remember the exact year but it *was* in the previous century, lol- I spent a marvelous week with Etha on Cape Cod. We mostly yakked, but there was also lots of needlework, a trip to Martha's Vineyard (the highlight of which was meeting the incredible Patricia Neal on the ferry!!), and there was my introduction to tatting.

Etha taught me the basics- which is the double stitch and most important, how to "flip" it- but she didn't have a spare shuttle. After my week with her I was heading to Long Island for a weekend visit with my brother. I got off I-95 at Mystic Seaport as I was sure such a then-trendy place (is it still??) would have a needlework shop, and it did! Purchased a shuttle and some thread and headed for the Bridgeport- Port Jefferson ferry. (When given the option of driving or taking a ferry, I always opt for the ferry; much more fun and relaxing.) Totally unfazed by the looks I got (what the HECK is she doing?) I proceeded to successfully complete my first tatted butterfly while crossing the Sound. Yes, one butterfly, it really took me that long!

Since then I have played with tatting off and on. I've made some things that turned out well. I have a LOT of tatting books- I always tend to go overboard on collecting books about favorite activities- meaning I have more patterns than I could tat in two lifetimes. (I also have more stamps, more needlework charts, more quilting get the idea!)

Yesterday I did some schoolwork when I got home and really felt exhausted. So, I decided to take a "little" nap about 4:30. DH tried to get me up for dinner to no avail. I finally woke up at midnight, strolled the Internet until 1:30 AM, read a book until 5AM (The Mad Miss Mathley, highly recommend for Regency fans- very funny!), then slept until 10AM today. My sleep cycle will be out of whack for days!

Back to the point! While wandering the Internet last night, I somehow stumbled onto a tatting site and that led me to other tatting sites and that led me to the shelf in the disastrous craft room that had shuttles and some threads. So here I was in the middle of the night, confirming that I still remembered how to make rings and chains.

So, above is a picture of what I started in the middle of the night. It will NOT replace my stitching on my three SALs as an activity, but I think I am going to begin again carrying my shuttle, thread and a small printed copy of the pattern in my handbag- yes, all you need to tat fits in a sandwich size baggie!- and pull it out when I need to wait. I also envision maybe getting in a few inches at the end of the year meetings that crowd the last few school days.

I'll be back later with a post of links for tatting information for anyone who is interested. Right now I have to get moving on some FLYing activities- this weekend is about getting some cleaning, de-cluttering, and organizing done.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There are just some days....

I had a really annoying, aggravating day.

I asked a friend of mine to do me a favor by doing a presentation today. I expected her to do a great job, but I also knew she could do what I asked with minimal effort based on her skills, talent and experience. Being the person she is, she went far beyond what I'd asked of her. She put in WAY too much time and effort in preparation, went far beyond what I'd asked of her in the actual presentation, and, in summary, did an amazing job.

The response was less than thrilling. Some who were supposed to attend didn't show up, leaving far too many empty seats. Her presentation was interrupted several times by people wandering through the room. The body language from the ones in the seats was dismissive at best and disrespectful if really analyzed. The amount of attention paid was minimal. Every effort she made to engage them in what she was doing was ignored. Her presentation was important and relevant and they blew her off. I was embarrassed and appalled.

Lesson learned? Don't bother trying to help people- they do not appreciate it and are quite willing to let you know that. I won't make that mistake again.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Some more SCS galleries to check out

Here's a few more SCS galleries that are un-deservedly under-loved:

sunnysankari's gallery

lilorangemouse's gallery

gymmom's gallery

Lison's gallery

Well, I've got to start putting grades into the computer rather than "playing". More later.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yeah, Phillies!!!

This is Raul Ibanez- a new Phillie and now one of my favorite Phillies. Lots of people groaned and grumbled when Pat Burrell left after last season and the Phillies brought in Ibanez to replace him, but with the way Ibanez has been playing lately, the whiners have mostly gone silent now. And, after the sweep this weekend, the whiners will have to wait to find anything else to complain about- at least for a day or two.

It's Sunday evening- my frequent time to post. All the usual is in action- lots of laundry in process, still have to iron something to wear to school tomorrow, charge the cell phone, etc. Dinner is in the crockpot and a bunch of TV shows I missed this week are waiting on the DVR.

I think I'm finished fiddling with the blog for a little while, at least. I finally managed to get it set up to use one of the MANY blog backgrounds from CUTEST BLOG ON THE BLOCK and chose this one (called Patriotic) as Memorial Day approaches. They have some fantastic backgrounds but for me I like this clean, simple style.

Which reminds me! Have any of the stampers out there been following the growth of the Clean and Simple style at SCS? There is now a weekly CAS challenge and a weekly CAS favorites thread. There is also a keyword, CAS, that you can use to search the galleries for Clean and Simple cards.

Most of my cards miss the definition of CAS because I like big images that require a lot of coloring and CAS usually means simple images and lots of "white space", but I like the approach a lot and, for me, my cards are also clean and simple. I am really looking forward to a) making more progress in organizing the "craft room" and b) having the time come summer to do more cardmaking.

I am also starting to get into "summer" mode as I begin to assemble the large collection of books that I want for reading at the shore. I went back to book one of the Amelia Peabody series last night and it was a joy to remember how the many adventures all began. Elizabeth Peters studied Egyptology at the famed Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago- and I do wonder if perhaps the treatment she received in the 1950's as a woman who wanted to be an archeologist doesn't significantly color the character of Amelia? Whatever her origins, Amelia is delightful and I am looking forward to re-reading the entire series in order over the next few months.

Well, the men-folk are whining they want dinner, and the crockpot should have done its magic by now, so I'm off.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

An Overdue "Thank you"

Several weeks ago I posted about winning some charts from THE NEEDLE'S NOTION. I received the beautiful "LIBERTY GARDEN" and "HOME GROWN" charts in the mail a few days later. I am looking forward to stitching these (although NOT until after I finish my three current projects!!!) because they are NOT in my usual style and yet they TOTALLY call to me! I was thrilled when I got the email about winning a door prize from The Needle's Notion because I had seen the Liberty Garden chart during the online Needlework show and loved it instantly.

What I have been remiss about posting is how wonderful Lettie, the designer of The Needle's Notion charts, was to me with this prize. To enter the draw, I had to write a post about how I was spreading the love of needlework, so I told her about the after-school craft club I run at my school. When I opened the envelope it contained not two (2) charts, but FOUR (4)!!! Two for me, and two for my girls- one a complimentary chart with permission to copy for all the students!

So, I want to publicly thank Lettie for her generosity and recommend her to all the stitchers out there as a designer whose heart is in the right place and who deserves our support. Please check out her website and see her delightful and whimsical charts.

Something for the card makers among us

About three weeks ago I started a THREAD on SplitCoastStampers about galleries that are full of wonderful cards that have few comments on them. The thread has been somewhat successful, mostly because of the efforts of TrishG who has searched the galleries at SCS and added links to many wonderful galleries over the last few weeks. HER GALLERY is a delightful mix of many different styles and techniques as well as some scrapbooking pages.

So I thought I would follow the example of Allison at STAMPING WHEN I CAN, who has a regular feature on her blog of listing newly discovered blogs for others to check out, and spread the word about the galleries that TrishG and others are recommending at SCS.

So, for your perusal and enjoyment, here are a few galleries at SCS that I think deserve more notice:

Soni B's gallery

lovemysister's gallery

bensarmom's gallery

Vicky Y's gallery

I'll be adding more on a regular basis. Since I don't get much crafting of any kind done during the school year, and especially at this time of year (teaching seniors makes April, May and June particularly hectic!) I don't have much to show for myself but want to encourage everyone to indulge their artistic sense and keep up with (or try out) their artistic endeavors. If I can't show off anything *I've* done, well then I'll just encourage you to check out someone else's work!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Short post

Here is a teneriffe lace medallion I finished. These are a lot of fun to make and one of these days I'll have a bunch of them to attach to something.

I FINALLY got to put some stitches into Aury's SAL sampler!!! I was getting totally frustrated trying to work out the placement of a Norwich stitch- making it match the chart was making me CRAZY! Now that I had a little time and also the next part of the chart to work on, I could start from the center line and work out and suddenly it was MUCH easier. I am still way behind and I didn't get that much done, but it feels SOOOO good to have finally started and to actually see stitches I don't have to frog on the fabric. There's not enough done yet to warrant a picture, but SOON, I hope!

I think my Mom really liked the calendar I made for her for Mother's day- her first reaction was "oh, good, I don't have to recopy everything every year". It turned out really well. I got the blank calendar from CTMH and I definitely recommend it.

Time to watch a little TV then off to bed.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

A Happy Mother's Day wish to all the Moms out there.

I've had a quiet day- mostly playing with my blog as you can see if you've been here before. I really like the old template and will probably go back to it one of these days, but I just needed something different to look at.

Then I decided I needed to re-do and re-organize my side bar and THAT was what took so much time- in fact, it took so much time that it is still not done.

One of my FAVORITE authors is Rex Stout- the creator of my favorite American detective, Nero Wolfe. Nero Wolfe has been portrayed on screen a number of times, but most Wolfe
aficionados agree that the Maury Chaykin, Timothy Hutton series on A&E TV was the most accurate representation ever put on film. The series only ran 2 years- there is a dearth of appreciation for good detective literature on film is the only conclusion I can reach from this. Anyway, my DS found this set and so the complete series on DVD was my Mother's Day gift. It is one I will really use and appreciate.

Now it's time to go deliver the event calendar I stamped for my Mom.

I hope you all have a good Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Playing For Change: Song Around the World "Stand By Me" - From the award-winning documentary, "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music", comes the first of many "songs around the world" being released independently. Featured is a cover of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it travelled the globe.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Enough already!

As one classmate was buried today, we learned that another had just been widowed. It all just seems a little too much. I am feeling older by the minute, and not enjoying it a bit. This is a downside to living long enough.

I tried to shake off my malaise on Saturday by spending several hours at a crop run by my Close to my Heart rep. We had a lot of fun and I am enthused about the new catalog that started on Friday.

I finished the event calendar I started in the fall for my Mother. All twelve months now have small stamped symbols at the top of the page- all I have to do now is write in all the birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I used the calendar from CTMH and I really like how it came out. Pictures when I get a chance.

It was a long tough day so I'd better get things ready for the morning.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A tough time

One of the most defining things of my life was my high school education. I attended Gwynedd Mercy Academy, a small private girls' school in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Mercy was an incredibly special place. There was a spirit that I cannot define but that seeped into our souls through those four years. It has remained with me for the 40 years since and is one of the guiding lights of my life.

I am saddened and thoughtful today as one of my classmates has died. She was not "one of my friends" in the expected high school sense of the word, but she is totally a part of my life because we shared those four years. Having a class of 75 girls means we all know one another in a way that those from larger schools probably cannot ever understand. Our class is very special and have stayed friends throughout the long years since graduation.

So I have come smack up against the painful but inevitable reality that death comes to us all and that I have reached the age where I will no longer only be burying the parents of friends. My time is coming, and that of those whom I have known all my life and who are my age. It is not a pleasant reality.

I have enjoyed the many reunions our class has had over the years. It is always good to get together whether in a large group or one-on-one. It seems the older we get, the more we like one another- a wonderful phenomenon.

Tomorrow I will be seeing many of my classmates in a new setting- saying goodbye to one of us. For the very first time, I am not looking forward to our being together because of the reason. At the same time, I *am* looking forward to it, because I know I will be proud at how we will be together for our lost friend, for her family, and for each other. I thank God every day for the gift of those four years, of the Sisters, of the ideas and ideals we learned then, and of these wonderful women who continue to be my classmates and friends.