Thursday, December 24, 2009

Judy Garland - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

This is such a beautiful performance. It is most appropriate for me this year. Sadness has been overwhelming my life and that of all my students and colleagues. Knowing that we will not ever be all together again at Christmas has made this year very bittersweet. Since that is the storyline that led to this song in the movie (Meet Me in St. Louis), it just seems right to post this now.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winding down from the blizzard

So, it's been a long and interesting couple of days.

Saturday was snow, snow and more snow- it just kept falling. I did a little work on the house- getting ready for the new windows to be installed today. I played, a LOT, on the computer. Read a LOT about digital scrapbooking- my new addiction, in case you hadn't noticed. Made beef stew- the good kind that cooked for 3 1/2 hours. Late Saturday afternoon John Bolaris, the weather guy on the local station that was doing live coverage the entire day, said "the worst of the storm is about to start". WHAT???? All the snow we already had and the worse was just starting???? So, I took this picture:

We woke up Sunday to the final results: 23 inches plus drifting. I only ventured as far as the front door and this is the view from there:

Now it is Monday afternoon and here is what things looks like now:

We had a goo
d quiet time for the 3 days. It was partly restful and playtime- lots of exploration about digi-scrapping for me, lots of watching football and basketball for DH and DS. There was also lots of work around the house- getting ready for those windows, remember? Might as well tell you now- we do NOT have new windows. The window guys *might* have been able to do the work- unlikely but possible- but there was no place they could park their truck anywhere near the house. So, now the windows get put in NEXT week. Oh, well, there is always a downside, even to a blizzard!

Back to school tomorrow and Wednesday, then Thursday to get ready and VIOLA! Christmas is here! Will I be ready? Probably not. Will it be a good Christmas anyway? For sure!

Then it's Saturday and we are OFF TO FLORIDA!!! After all the shoveling yesterday and today, DH is now completely on board with the idea that Florida is the place we want to live- and SOON!

Hope everyone has a good week!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Time for a Blog Award

It is snowing like CRAZY out there!

I thought, last night, that maybe I could get a little shopping in if I got up at 8 and went right out. Well, we got up at 8, looked out the window, and said "forget that!". At this time yesterday morning, they changed the forecast from 1"-3" to 3"-5"; every couple hours it went up; the latest update, around 6:30 this morning changed the 10"-18" to 12"-20". So I am sitting here in my PJs, getting around to doing some blog reading that I have not had time for in weeks.

And that brings me to this award. BTW- you are welcome to "borrow" or "steal" this award; it was my very first attempt to "create" in Photoshop and while it is primitive, I know, I am VERY proud of it. So proud, in fact, that when I got a pop-up to order the upgrade to PSE8, I jumped on it. Until now, PSE4 was my tool, and it didn't get a lot of use- it opens my pictures for me, and sometimes I would crop or do super basic editting, but that's about it.

I am currently using Creative Memories Storybook Creator Plus 3.0 and Polaroid's My Memories Suite V2 for digital scrapbooking- my newest crafty addiction. I am LOVING digital scrapbooking!!! and I am really enjoying both programs a LOT. I have enough paper supplies for MANY more albums and I will make them as time goes by, but I am pretty committed now to no more paper scrapping buying- switching over to digital fits soooo well into our gradual "downsizing" plans and isn't it wonderful that I LOVE something that will help with that?

Anyway.... yeah, I'm babbling, but what the hey- it's a blizzard and I am having fun just looking out the window!

Each summer I choose some project that I will "concentrate" on during my time at the Jersey shore. 2008 was cardmaking and learning to use my Silhouette. 2009 was stitching. Not so much stuff gets done because there are the distractions of beach and books, but I always make at least noticable progress. I have already decided that 2010 will be the "photoshop" summer.

Spending time at The Digital Scrapbook Place and Two Peas in a Bucket has opened my eyes to what these ladies (mostly) are doing with various forms of Photoshop. The work they produce is AMAZING!!!! So, my plan is to get comfortable with digi-scrapping with the SBC and MMS programs and then see what I can learn about scrapping with PSE next summer when I have real time to concentrate.

WOW- have I veered off topic here!!! Back to the award!

I want to give this award, for the first time, to a blogger who has a really, REALLY fun blog to visit. Do you ever read blogs but don't really look at the sidebar? Well, on top of an inspiring post yesterday about what she accomplished with Photoshop, I took the time this morning to really check out her sidebar- and this lady and I have SO much in common! Besides our mutual love of stitching and Jane Austen and reading in general, this lady has the exceptional good taste to include Lord of the Rings and Stargate SG-1 on her sidebar- YIPPEE!!

So, please, go check out YoYo's blog! You'll be glad you did!

"Historic" is a little bit of a scary word when they are talking about snow!

See all that purply-pink area?

That's all gonna be under snow- about a foot of it if they've got the forecast right.

And how do I feel about that?

Well, the stuff around the house to get ready for the new windows isn't done- but if we get a foot of snow, what is the likelihood that the window guys will show up anyway?

Christmas is totally NOT ready- still need to get some gifts and all kinds of other stuff to do as well.

But.... I love GOOD snowstorms. A good snowstorm is one that just KEEPS you home. Old movies on TV, lots of hot chocolate, good books. I never get anything much "productive" done with a snowstorm- there's just too much feeling like it's time to just hunker down and relax.

So, if this is a GOOD snowstorm, then I guess I won't get much done this weekend- and maybe that's exactly what I need.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

David Bowie and Bing Crosby - Little Drummer Boy (Ultra High Quality)

This is a wonderful piece of music and this new remastered video is so much better to look at, I couldn't resist posting it.

The story of this performance can be found HERE.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No, this has not suddenly become a blog all about digital scrapbooking- it just seems that way, lol!

This is a pre-designed page from Creative Memories Storybook Creator Plus. I've been playing with the pre-designed pages and having a lot of fun. I did another page last night and even discovered that the pre-done pages are all still completely changable- wow! I might just go back and add an embellishment or two to this page to see how it looks.

This picture is of my SIL's mother. She is a beautiful woman and I really like the feeling this picture of her gives- a quiet serenity.

I really am beginning to see why so many digi-scrappers say that their hobby is addictive. It is similar to paper scrapping, but you add and subtract elements with the click of the mouse rather than paper and glue, and changing something if you don't like it is SOOO easy. The fact that I can do it all just sitting here, without digging any supplies out (or having to put anything away after!) is very appealing.

Otherwise, life continues dismal. I am unready for Christmas and unable to muster any enthusiasm for getting ready. School is grim. Stress and aggravation continue to cause my fibromyalgia to flare, and the migraines are now chronic, almost daily. Hopefully, I can get into some Christmas spirit soon. Until then, I'll just keep slogging along.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Greatest Christmas Light Display of All Time

My son filmed this- who'd think you'd find a show to rival Wanamaker's at a medical lab in the middle of Kansas?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Quick post, quick page

Got through another dreadful week. Along with the ongoing awfulness, there was a really unpleasant dentist visit.

I did get this page done, very quickly. I used a Creative Memories pre-designed page for the first time. The colors and design just seemed made for these pictures.

Tonight I am off to a Close To My Heart crafting evening- going to make a holiday banner.

The rest of the weekend is holiday house cleaning and grading, marking, recording, etc- progress reports next week. Some fun, huh?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pearl Harbor Day

For those of us under a certain age, a defining moment of our lives was September 11,2001.

For my parents' generation, THE defining moment of their lives was December 7, 1941.

I visited Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial in July of 2004. It was an experience that I will never forget. I had read years ago that one of the most touching and emotional things about visiting the Arizona was seeing the oil on the surface of the water, still leaking after many years. When I visited there was still an oil slick coming from the depths of the harbor, from the oil tanks of the Arizona, and it continues even today.

It is especially dramatic to visit the Arizona at low tide, as I did, and as it was when this picture was taken. One of the spouts of the Arizona is above the water and you can see, just as in this picture, the outline of the ship that lies below you. The realization that more than 1000 men are buried below you is shattering.

I do not espouse remembering Pearl Harbor with bitterness or rancor, but I do feel that remembering the events of December 7, 1941, and honoring those whose lives were forever changed in its aftermath is important.

Thank you to my parents and all members of what Tom Brokaw has named "The Greatest Generation".

[AC] Advent Conspiracy 2009 Promo Video

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spent an easy Saturday

I've finally found a little time to "play" on the computer.

This is my latest page for my family heritage digital album. It was done with Polaroid's My Memories Suite. I am doing all the heritage pages with MMS- it has one huge benefit over the Creative Memories Storybook Creator Plus for this specific project- it will layout in 8 1/2" x 11" in portrait style. (The CM SBC+ will only allow for landscape in this size.) Since I am doing this album with the intention of sharing it with my large family, I want my cousins to be able to print it out at home if they'd rather instead of having it made up as a photobook, and the portrait is much better than landscape for that option.

I have to check, but I believe this picture was taken around 1911. My next page will be another picture of him, taken around 1940- the contrast will be interesting.

The last several weeks have been devastating in terms of physical, intellectual and emotional exhaustion. Far too much work, far too many disappointments, and way too much drama. Christmas is looming and I have nothing done to get ready. I am weeks behind my normal pattern- and my normal pattern is not exactly being ready ahead of time, lol!

It's time to concentrate on home and family. I have a lot of schoolwork to do and catch up on, and I'll get that all done, and I must continue to be sensitive to the ongoing trauma that the kids are experiencing. But, starting now, I have to focus my non-school hours on myself and my family and Christmas, and I am determined to do that.

So, tomorrow is a FlyLady day around the house, with some Christmas organizing thrown in. Tonight, it's going to be spending time with DH, and maybe just a little Christmas planning. Mostly, it will be resting- I NEED it!