Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent Musings

Well, here it is the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The first Sunday of Advent. The beginning of the Christmas season. And, all that.

It's going to be a tough Advent around here. There's so much going on. My nephew is seriously ill. My son needs spinal surgery. School is still a constant source of depression- although that is not limited to Advent but will continue indefinitely. Overwork, exhaustion and the multiple stressors are taking my Fibromyalgia to heights not reached in more than 10 years. Life is not particularly "good" right now.

The good news is that I take Advent seriously. I don't like the fact that Advent has disappeared and Christmas runs from Thanksgiving (or before!) until December 26th. I totally do NOT like that people actually take Christmas stuff down on December 26th!!!! after spending what should be Advent celebrating Christmas.

I tried to cancel Thanksgiving here but the rest of the family overruled me. I was just totally not in the mood for being grateful or feeling blessed. Fortunately, Advent is here.

Theologically, they tell us that Easter is the most important Holy Day in the Christian calendar- the fulfillment of redemption through the Resurrection. For me, however, Christmas is the real miracle- that He came at all!

This is why I love the Advent season- a time to prepare for something REALLY special. We celebrate His birth as we would a great event in our lives- with lots of effort ahead of time and lots of partying when it happens.

My goals for this Advent season are to get myself into a proper frame of mind to really celebrate when Christmas comes. I need to recognize all the troubles in my life as things that I can deal with through hard work and prayer. I need to get beyond my own sadness, anger, grief, frustration and pain, and see the larger Miracle that is Christmas. I hope, with His help, to succeed.

Too much caffeine today.....

..... is why I am still awake at this ridiculous hour!

But I am getting some things done- my pictures from today are all edited and uploaded to Shutterfly. Today was the annual "Ladies' Lunch" for the women in my family, and, as usual, we were loud and had a lot of fun!

Here are a couple pictures:

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Here's another page done with Creative Memories Storybook Creator Plus.

This is another page of happy memories from earlier days with the kids at school. This is one page from what will be a project/album from a class trip to Dorney Park for "Physics Day". The kids learn a LOT about how Physics is used to design and run amusement park rides, and have a GREAT time in the process.

Now it is time to go put the turkey in to cook. We use the Showtime Rotisserie Grill for turkey now- would not cook it any other way. Have I mentioned before that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Showtime Rotisserie Grill??? It makes the MOST amazing turkey and in about half the cooking time it would take in the oven. Tastes FABULOUS, WAY easier than oven cooking, leaves the oven open for the pies and the rolls and such, and just makes any holiday turkey dinner wonderful!

Back later with more pages I hope! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quick Check-in

Here's another new digital scrapbook page. I am still just playing around- grab a picture and see what comes of it. For this page, done with Creative memories Storybook Creator Plus, I used a pre-designed layout that was basically just a sketch. One of these days I will settle down to a "real" digital project, but for now I'm learning and having fun.

This is about the *only* fun I'm having these days. Spent after school today at the dentist- ANOTHER root canal!- I soooo hate my teeth!

I am totally NOT into Thanksgiving this year- I just feel like a hypocrite even thinking about "celebrating". I am completely out of thanks and am not feeling particularly blessed right now either. But, when I tried to "cancel" TG, the family did not take it particularly well, so I guess I will be cleaning and cooking and all that stuff. Is there a Thanksgiving equivalent for "bah, humbug" ?

Sorry to be so grouchy, but I am tired, worn out and depressed. At least I have pictures, and memories, like the ones on the page above, to remember happier times.

Hmmmm.....think there's any chance I'll get into Christmas spirit?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Darn Spammers!

I've added a word verification to my comments section- temporarily. I've been getting spammed a LOT lately and hope that putting this in for a short time will make them move on. Hopefully!!! I hate doing this but am getting tired of having to delete several comments a day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Digital Scrapbooking for this beginner

So, I've been spending a little time playing with my digi-scrapping. Here's a page I did the other night during my second experiment with Creative Memories' Storybook Creator Plus. This picture is from the Prom a few years ago; these two wonderful kids are getting married next year. I'm pleased with the page, but I know there is still WAY more I can do with this software.

This page uses a picture that is a real family treasure. Great Aunt Helen was a singer and actress on Broadway in the years before and after World War I and there are few pictures of her because she was rarely home. I think this picture somehow really shows that she was a confident, successful and independent woman at a time when that was unusual for women- there is just something in the way she carries herself. I also see that Great Grandmother didn't really understand, but loved her and was proud of her. Maybe I am reading a lot into an old photo, but that's what I see and I really treasure this image. One of these days I will scrap a formal portrait picture of her I have- I am guessing that it was a publicity photo and it is wonderful!

I did this page using the Digital Scrapbook Place version of My Memories Suite. I am finding this product to also be fun to use, but, like the CM software, I still need to learn more about this software as well. So far, I couldn't choose between them.

My quarterly grades are done but I am still drowning in reports, recommendations and school work. I don't have much time, or energy, to "play". One of the things I have already learned, quickly, about digi-scrapping is that, for me, it is no faster to make a page digitally than with paper and supplies. What makes a HUGE difference is that I can sit down at the computer, open the program, and make a page! I don't need to dig out tools and supplies, changing my paper choice requires only a click of the mouse, it doesn't matter if I cannot remember where I put the Glue Glider, and when I am done, I AM DONE!!! NO cleanup! Nothing to put away. I still have years worth of paper supplies to get through, and I will, lol, but I can easily see that as we downsize and especially if we move to a smaller house one of these days, digi-scrapping will be my preferred method in the future.

PS- one more thing I like. I bought a bunch of new "paper" last night. Did it with a few mouse clicks, didn't have to go to a store and carry a heavy bag home, and now those papers will never run out. "Ain't technology grand?"

Friday, November 13, 2009

Operation Write Home Veteran's Day Blog Hop is here!

The legal Veteran's Day holiday was celebrated on Wednesday, but Operation Write Home is celebrating our active duty heroes all weekend with a Blog Hop! The fun starts at 1PM Eastern (10AM Pacific) Saturday- so if you're here early, make sure you come back and see everything!

If you arrived here from Rebecca's blog, Bella Carta, WELCOME! I'm glad you are following the Blog Hop and hope you are inspired to send cards or make a donation to support Operation Write Home.

If you are here but not on the Blog Hop, I hope you know about Operation Write Home. You can learn a lot more at their website, but the short story is that a large group of papercrafters all over the world are creating handmade cards and sending them to deployed troops to give them so
mething nice to write home on. As of last week, more than 246,000 cards have been shipped overseas to our service men and women.

If you got here without seeing the blogs from the beginning, you can start over by going to the Operation Write Home Veteran's Day Blog Hope page. I'm #12 on the list so it won't take you long to get back here and then you can follow along to see all the great blogs supporting OWH. I was blown away by the beautiful cards and interesting blogs I discovered on our last Blog Hop and am really looking forward to spending time with all of them again this weekend.

Here is my "Any Hero" card for this weekend. I got this stamp set
recently (Vintage USA from Close To My Heart) specifically for OWH.

So, make sure you check out all the work done by the OWH cardmakers, and think about joining by either making some cards or making a contribution to offset the costs of shipping the cards overseas. This is a totally volunteer organization, so any and all help is greatly appreciated.

Next stop is CARYL's blog and then you can continue on from there. Remember, there are a lot of prizes and blog candy along the way and some special prizes if you complete the entire Hop.

Thank you for visiting and may we all thank our active duty heroes and all the veterans who have served in the past. God bless them all!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Operation Write Home Blog Hop

Veteran's Day

IF you know someone who has worn the uniform and served our country, please thank them today.

For anyone who wishes to find a way to support the troops currently serving, please check out Operation Write Home. This is a group of crafters who send homemade cards overseas, for our service men and women to use to have something nice to write home on.

If you are a crafter, please join the effort. If you are not a crafter, OWH always needs funds to pay for shipping the cards to the overseas units.

And, crafter or not, please make sure you stop back here on Saturday for the Operation Write Home Veteran's Day Blop Hop! You will surely be inspired!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Susan Boyle sings Wild Horses

Susan Boyle's first album comes out in a few weeks- and I am so looking forward to it. Here's a little preview. Terrific lady, GREAT story, and a magical voice!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I am SOOOO excited!! I got very little work done today- just could not focus. Getting ready was a mess- I kept forgetting things, my hair looks terrible, I couldn't even put my face on right! Oh, well- we're going to be up in a box so who will see me anyway?

Leaving now for NYC and BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The kids are gonna think I'm REALLY cool now!

Sometimes my DS just has these crazy ideas. He decided that since my DH had been at what they tell me was one of Springsteen's first famous concerts (The Main Point in 1973) that we should also be at one of his last famous concerts- Madison Square Garden! Tomorrow Night!!!!

(Although my only trip to the Main Point was to see Dave Van Ronk, also in 1973, I think, I do remember enough to wonder whether the word "concert" applies to that wonderful old place- was it really big enough for a "concert"?) So, yes, I will get a few less (a LOT less?) papers graded this weekend as I will be off to NYC to see The Boss!!!!

The last time I went to a concert, I saw The Supremes in Rock Creek Park in 1969- so concerts are not my usual thing. I speak here, of course, of ROCK concerts- I've been to the Academy of Music and the Mann Center to hear the Philadelphia Orchestra plenty of times. And, I am NOT a music snob, I just never seemed to go to big venue, big name concerts.

All of which changes- tomorrow!!!!

So, what does a 57 year old with a boot-cast on one leg wear to a Springsteen concert?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Feeling the need to get back to my blog

I've spent most of my time for the last week doing research and writing reports, as well as working on tests, exams and grades. In other words, I've been drowning in work.

My blog has been sadly neglected, and that means I haven't been reading any of the blogs on my sidebar either. Once I get out from under, I am really looking forward to checking in and catching up with all my online friends and boards.

Things are still terrible at school, and working at not only teaching but consoling, supporting and advising the students is really taking a toll. Yesterday was migraine #3 in 3 weeks- I haven't had them this frequently in years. But stress and lack of sleep (I just cannot sleep- all I do is think about the kids) will do that. As expected the fibromyalgia is also out of control, so I'm feeling pretty dreadful physically, along with the emotional trauma that just goes on and on.

So, on to more cheerful topics. After saying I would not get the Creative Memories digital scrapbooking software, my weekend away ended up with me coming home with it anyway. I really like the My Memories Suite software a lot, but the CM offers me some things I also really like, so I splurged and got it and will use both. I tried out the CM Storybook Creator Plus 3.0 last week.

The page above is the result of my very first time playing with the CM software. The picture is so cute I felt it deserved a really cute, bright and cheerful page. I will definitely be spending some time, when I *have* some time, checking out the various sites for learning more about the software, but I am happy that I got it and know I will enjoy using it. I don't know if my pages will ever get any "fancier"- I'm a "clean and simple" scrapper- but I expect to have a LOT of fun playing with both the CM and the MMS.

Nothing much else to report. I'm either at work, or working at the computer, about 18-20 hours a day lately, so there's been little time for playing. Make sure you come back next Saturday- Operation Write Home is having a Blog Hop to honor Veteran's Day, and my blog will be a stop on the hop.

OH- and if you are a Close To My Heart fan, or if you want to try out their wonderful products for the first time, jump on over to my CTMH rep's blog or store- November is CTMH's Stampaganza and you get a free stamp set with every two sets you buy!!! I've been waiting for this!

The upcoming weekend is all about work, so I hope you all have a better weekend than mine!

Thank you Phillies for a GREAT SEASON!!!!