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December 2008
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February 2009

Confession time.

I eluded to this in a post earlier this week, but it's time to outright admit it.  Ever since I watched Another Cinderella Story last weekend, I've been addicted to Drew Seeley's music. Steph and I were chatting earlier this week and the told me to "come back to rock."  lol.  My love of rock isn't going anywhere (my latest playlist also includes Muse, Seether, Mudvayne, Tantric and Linkin Park), nor am I in danger of subscribing to Tiger Beat and buying Jonas Brothers records, I promise!  But before you judge, take a listen.  I'm going to date myself here by saying that some of his stuff reminds me a lot of Boyz II Men (and yes, I have and like their CD... lol.  I go through R&B phases from time to time.)

Okay.  Now that this admission of my latest guilty pleasure is out there, on to other topics!

I realized I was probably overdue for another layout featuring Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh so I went back to my stash of photos culled from Erin's blog.  This sequence of photos cracked me up; I kept thinking that she looked like a little queen holding court with her stuffed animals.  So of course, this layout couldn't be called anything other than Queen of her Crib.

Queen of her Crib

A little too blingy for a baby layout?  Never!  I've been dying to use some of this Teen line from American Crafts since I got my hands on it two months ago and these cool glittery crowns and pink Thickers were too perfect (some of the dots on the paper are sparkly too).

And now, I'm going to go drown my disappointment in the Avs in chili and cornbread.  At this point I'll be SHOCKED if they even make it into the playoffs, but we can hope lots of learning moments this season will lead to some improvements over the summer.  I'll still watch all the games, though.  Gotta show the love to my boys even when they kind of suck, right?  At least Montreal and Washinton are kicking butt.

Okay, hungry now.  Time for dinner :) 

Wednesday... really?

You know it's a slow week when you wake up every day and think it should be Friday.  lol. Not that I'm not busy, it just seems like time has been moving at a snail's pace for me... of course, everyone else at work can't believe how fast the week is going.  Oh well.  Tomorrow's almost Friday and we're going out for a fun birthday lunch for some people in my department... Hawaiian!  You can't go wrong with Kahlua pork. Yum.

Anyway, I was in a total scrapping mood this evening and I was actually excited to get home and work on something.  I decided to do a kind of companion layout to the Paris one I posted a few days ago.  This is from the same little outing to the Sacre Coeur and since I have pretty much the entire story on the other layout, I deliberately left the journaling off of this one. (Sorry for the funky scan - the flower is a tad lumpy :-P)

A Different View  
The top photo is a panoramic from three separate photos (the stitching isn't the greatest... I didn't do a good enough job taking the photos for them to line up well).  I'm also totally in love with the vine and flower stamps from the Papertrey With Sympathy set.  And I think I've finally used the last scrap of that patterned paper from Heidi Grace... I love it!  I might have to see if I can find another sheet or two.  I used Stampin' Up white craft ink to color the chipboard frames and then covered them with Stickles and a little Doodlebug glitter.  I like the sparkles :)  Too bad it doesn't show up in the scan!

P.S.  You know you work in a great department when the group schedules some time to go downstairs and have an intra-department air hockey tournament (games went to 3, the whole thing only took 20 minutes).  One of the guys used the Excel random number generator function and created a tournament bracket... lol.  We're dorks, but we're dorks who have fun!  We also have some pretty wicked air hockey players in the group!

Stepping out of the box

Or at least sticking a toe over the line... lol.  This week I've been a little low on scrapping mojo but when I saw this layout that Ali Edwards posted on her blog today, I was totally inspired.  I don't normally scraplift something this directly, but sometimes it's a great way to just get back in the groove.  I was looking around my space and noticed that I had this chipboard star that I made last year sticking out of my embellishment folder and a bottle of blue paint on my table, so I figured I was meant to use those!

This uses photos from our family reunion last summer in Monterey... I was hanging out with a few of my aunts and a lot of my cousins and 2nd cousins on the 4th of July while we watched a bunch more of our family out on the volleyball court.

July 4th
To get multiple photos to fit inside the star, I scanned the star and imported it into Photoshop and then arranged the photos to fit, deleted the star layer and printed out the photos in one block.  I also loved using my Papertrey Background Basics star stamps & Fresh Snow ink on top of the paint... those are so fun to use!  The little bird is from Glitz Design and has little rhinestones on it... it was too cute for me to not use it.  Part of me wants to add more to this, but then I step back and look at how much is actually going on here and I think I've convinced myself to leave it alone.  lol.  I like it... this was pretty different from what I normally do on my layouts and I'm really glad I broke away from the norm to play a bit :)

And for those who are interested how the MRI went, it went great.  I'm really glad I took my iPod - they had a media thingy where they just hooked it up for me and it piped it through to headphones that I wore in the room while I was strapped to the table.  I was pretty comfortable and didn't have any pain (which is good since I forgot the ibuprofen!) and it only took 20 minutes and I was done!  I'll get the results next week when I meet with the doc again.  Cross your fingers that I don't need surgery!  Cause that would suck.  But, no matter what the results are, I can now go up and down stairs pretty normally and pain-free, so that's a huge improvement!

P.S.  I do actually have bruises where the doctor was pressing on my knee yesterday, so I think he really was just pressing that hard!  Hopefully a good sign... we'll see :)

I knew there was a reason...

...that I had put off going to a doctor about my knee but I finally went to see the orthopedist this morning.  They poked, prodded and took lots of x-rays and that was before I even saw the doctor!  He proceeded to gouge his thumb into various areas around my knee and ask if it was tender.  Um, you push that hard it's going to be tender anywhere!  Or maybe it only felt like he was pushing hard which is definitely something I don't want to think about.

In any case, I learned one fascinating fact about myself... my kneecaps are both off center and they've ground down to cause some serious arthritis!  The doctor said that since that hasn't caused me any problems we can probably ignore it.  I was shocked since normally I have no pain and I've done a lot of weight lifting and exercise that put stress on my knees over the years.  Of course that said, working with the personal trainer is what sent me to the doc in the first place :-P

Anyway, he said the tenderness is really worrying him so I have to go get an MRI tomorrow night and then meet back with him next week to review the results.  He said I'll be good to go to Istanbul no matter what (he might have to shoot me up with cortisone, though.) but if he's right and I have a tear in my cartilage, I could be looking at surgery.  That's EXACTLY how I wanted to start off my week!  lol.  I'll wait until we look at the MRI to worry too much, though.  Hey - at least I don't feel like such a baby about my knee pain now.  lol.

In the meantime, I'm putting together a kick-butt playlist on my iPod called MRI Fun (I know, catchy, right?).  If I have to be stuck in a tube that makes loud noises for 40 minutes, I'm going to have something good to listen to, at least!

So, I wasn't feeling to scrappy tonight, but since I hate to post without a picture I thought I'd share this layout that I did a while ago but never posted.  This is from when my sister and dad and I took off to Paris for a long weekend (November 2005).  I got up early one morning and went up to the Sacre Coeur... I'd always wanted to see it, but Nicole and Dad weren't really up for it.  So I went out on my own and hopped on the metro, climbed up through the fabric district in Montmartre, dodged the pushy street peddlars on the steps and enjoyed a gorgeous view. (Sorry for the crappy scan.)

Misty Paris Morning
And now I'm off to zap my knee while I watch a cheesy movie and charge my iPod. :)

Holy goal scoring, Batman!

Wow.  I watched the NHL All Star game this evening and that was incredibly entertaining!  The East won 12-11 in a shoot-out.  Tell me that doesn't sound like an entertaining game... lol.  There were 22 seriously pretty goals during regulation and, despite the fact that I was cheering for the West to win (hello, Colorado is in the West and Hejduk was representing!) I was cheering for Ovechkin too.  I can proudly proclaim that I (along with Steph) was an Ovi fan from before his first season in the NHL when we used to go see him play in the pre-season.  I even bought an Ovechkin t-shirt before most people knew who he was!  So even though I wasn't cheering for his team, I loved watching him play (and score!)

And with that, back to scrapbooking!  I knew it was only a matter of time before I was using those felt flowers on a layout.  Now I admit, the flowers probably don't have much of a place on a layout about the Great Wall of China, but I couldn't resist.  This is the group photo that the tourist people on site took of our group before we all split up to go hike the wall.  You can't see the journaling, but it basically talks about how we were all laughing about this photo being too perfect.  We only took one shot, but every single one of us was smiling and looking at the camera (and holding up our cameras!) so you could tell we were scrapbookers.  Plus, the weather at the Great Wall was the clearest that they could remember seeing - it was all so good that they joked that our photo looked like it was taken in a studio in front of a fake backdrop!  Hence the title, "Picture Perfect."

Picture Perfect   
Those flowers aren't exactly flat so the scan's a little wonky and despite the fact that it's a total thematic mismatch, I love it in person!

And now, off to work on some more journaling layouts before bed.  Tomorrow is the first day of Journaling 101 and I'm really excited to get going on this!  I'm sure that once Erika sends out the first week's handout / assignment, we'll really get chatting and sharing on our message board and I can't wait :)

Taking it easy

I haven't been in much of a scrappy mood this week, but I've still been playing!  Lately I've been really inspired by the fabulous work of Princess Lasertron and I decided I've been drooling over her gorgeous felt flowers long enough and it was time to attempt a few of my own.  Voici the fruits of my labors:

Blog - Felt Flowers

I'm loving these!  I don't remember if I had ever learned to do french knots or chain stitches before this weekend, but after a little practice I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.  Now I'm just looking for something to inspire me to get scrapping again so I can use these on some layouts!

Aside from that, this weekend I've been alternating between being a hard-core hockey fan and channeling my inner 13-year old.  I got Another Cinderella Story on Netflix and watched it last night and then I saw it was on ABC Family again tonight.  And I watched it.  Again. (After watching the NHL All Star skills competition, of course!)  The movie is really cute and well done (aside from the terrible acting of the step-sister characters which, while bad was still kind of funny).  I also loved the singing and dancing that they did in this one.  Because I'm in my thirties though, I don't feel like I can admit to being a Drew Seeley fan without embarrassing myself so I'll leave it at that :)

Digging through piles

Lately I've been working on slowly getting together a set of nice albums so that I can put the giant stacks of layouts sitting in various piles into them and actually be able to look through them!  As it is, however, I think that if I combine all the piles, I have about 3 feet of layouts that need a home.  There's one word for this: lazy.  But I'm working on it!  In the meantime, I like to look through them every now and then and tonight I pulled out one that was part of my CK Hall of Fame entry when I got an honorable mention a few years ago.  Even after almost 4 years, I still really love this layout.  That's a good sign :)

This is from a trip about 7 years ago when I dragged my mom and aunt through Europe for a few weeks.  We went to Pisa one afternoon to see the Campo dei Miracoli and it was really amazing.  When I got home and developed my film, I was even more thrilled to see what great shots I got!  This one of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is still one of my favorite photos (and this was before I learned how to edit pictures in Photoshop.  Impressive, no?  These are straight out of the camera!).

La Torre
To the right, the tassle wraps around the gold medallions and keeps the little doors shut (they even have hinges!  I was so proud when I made those).  Here's a shot of the cards that are in there with more photos and journaling:

La Torre - Inserts

Ah, memories.  I have to note, though, that I'm glad that I got away from using that type of font for journaling.  And I'm also glad to see that my journaling has improved... looking back it seems a little lame.  At least I put something other than the date and place though, right? 

In current news, we've now booked our hotel in Istanbul.  Nicole the super-travel-deal-finder has struck again!  She got us a room for four nights that includes pick up at the airport, breakfast every day, dinner one evening at the hotel restaurant, a free half-day city tour, a fruit basket in our room and a free Turkish Bath / massage for each of us for an AMAZINGLY low price (as in, it wouldn't cover one night at the Marriott low price).  Can you say score?  This is one of the reasons I love off-season travel :)  And with all the money we saved, I think we'll be able to swing a day-trip to Cappadocia!  We'll see, though.

P.S.  I've given in and accepted that the knee has stopped getting better and I don't want to make it worse so I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedist.  There's no way I'm gimping my way through Istanbul!  So, to avoid that, I figured I should go see someone now while I still have some time and make sure all is well! 

P.S.S. - Don't forget, Journaling 101 starts on Monday and now is your last chance to enter the drawing to take the class for free!  Erika is drawing a name tomorrow morning, so run over and post a comment on this post to be entered.  Good luck!

Scrap Therapy

Okay, so I'm not one of those people that puts a lot of personal stuff out on my blog... you know, touchy-feely stuff or anything more private than just surface stuff like what I did and where I went and all. That's just not me, you know?  But every now and then I just feel like sharing like I'm going to do with this layout.

Here's a little setup for how this layout came about.  Last night I watched The Duchess (which I liked a lot) and then hobbled up the stairs and stopped at the door to my scrap room and just stared at those last few steps (which are steep and weird) and I just got super frustrated. My knee has been hurt for 4 weeks now and, although it's getting better (the swelling is gone, it's rarely stiff and I don't have a lot of pain anymore), I still can't just be normal.  Climbing stairs is hard, I still have to keep it wrapped most of the time, I have to prop it on pillows when I'm in certain positions and I still have a limp and have to zap it with electric stim every night.  Getting in some cardio is totally out of the question.  Heck... walking down the street to get my mail is about as much as I can do right now!  So I got up the stairs and on my computer and was browsing through photos and I found the one I used here and the frustration level went up a bit.  This is a self-portrait I took a few years ago for the last page of a "best friends" scrapbook I made for Melody.  It isn't the best picture of me ever, but looking at how much smaller I was in that photo just lit a fire in my brain and this layout was born.

Let me first say, the background is one of those Sheers from KI Memories.  It's pretty cool in person, but it's a beast to photograph / scan.  You get the idea, though.  Anyway, writing the journaling and pulling this together was totally therapeutic.  I've got the layout on my fridge now and I'm hoping that, even though I can't get back to my regular exercise routine just yet, I'll be inspired to work towards getting back there again.  I promise I won't go full on Bridget Jones with the blog... I probably won't mention again at all, but I just really felt like posting this.  So with that, back to your regularly scheduled non-touchy-feely postings!

It's official!

Today is historic in more ways than one.  I've been watching the inauguration on CNN while I work (and being totally homesick at the same time - I wish I could be back home for this!) and, literally just as Obama was coming out into the stands before he took his oath of office, I got an email that I've been waiting for since last week.

Blog - Acceptance

Yay!  I'm doing a little happy dance.  And just so no one thinks that provisional acceptance means I have some remedial work to do... lol... it's provisional for all the people they accept until certain classes have been completed.  So part of the post-acceptance acceptance requirements (confusing as that might be) are that I (and everyone else) take at least 2 and as many as 4 online classes from Harvard business school - it kind of evens the playing field for those of us entering the program from different backgrounds.  So now that I've paid the deposit to hold my spot in the program, I should get instructions for enrolling and I'll be back in school!  I think I'm going to take 3 classes - Stats and Accounting are required, but I think I'll take the Microeconomics course as well (and I'm quite dorkily looking forward to all of them!).  Anyway, I'm super excited that I'm actually official so I thought I'd take a quick break from my working / CNN watching and post the news.

Happy Day in more ways than one! 

P.S.  I'm a total geek so I took pictures of the inauguration on TV as I watched.  I totally plan to do a layout using those pictures.  This is one of those days where I definitely want to have a record of what happened and how I felt about it.  Completely historic and awesome in so many ways.

Just playing around

I realized that I've been doing a lot of similar stuff on my layouts lately; lots of color blocking especially.  So I figured that it was time to deliberately do something a little different.  I found this sketch from Pencil Lines and I thought it would be a perfect starting point.  I looked around for pictures to go with it and decided that I had to use these cute shots of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh that Erin posted recently.

I think she likes it
When I first saw them, that old line from the cereal commercial immediately popped into my head.  Remember the one?  I think it was for Life... "gee Mikey, I think he likes it!"  I knew that had to be my title.  Anyway, while I was breaking away from my recent rut, I decided to play a bit and so I also did some masking, painted some chipboard (which I NEVER do because that's one of the things I'm super lazy about), made this fun layered flower and broke out the awesome set of alphabet stamps I got for my birthday.  I even managed to dig into some older product and use up a few paper scraps!  Granted, it's not too far off from what I normally do, but I'm really liking it!  Of course, it doesn't hurt that Eraleigh is super adorable ;)

One week to go...

First things first (and I'll try not to sound too much like an a quick reminder that the Journaling 101 class starts one week from today!  I realized that I haven't mentioned a whole lot about the class itself... since I've been working ahead on layouts that will go into the weekly lesson / assignment downloads, I've been able to see what's in store for the class.  I've always considered myself pretty good at journaling, but I'm already learning so much and we haven't even started yet!  The lessons are really well written, inspiring and thought provoking and between Erika and the design team, there's a great variety of samples and ideas each week.  If you're interested, head on over!  We have a discussion forum and gallery set up for the class and I can already tell that we're going to have an awesome group.  And as always, if you decide to register, don't forget to mention I sent you!

Also, (this deserves its own mini, bolded paragraph) Erika is going to be giving away free tuition to one person sometime this week so check out her blog for details!

Whew!  Can you tell I'm excited about the class?

And now, on to the regular stuff.  I haven't scrapped nearly as much as I'd have liked so far this weekend; this cold is still kicking my butt so I'm really tired and I've been sleeping a lot.  But, in addition to working on my Journaling 101 layouts, I did finish this one up earlier today:

Another World
This is from last summer when we were in Monterey for family reunion.  I'm a big fan of aquariums, and I always love visiting the one there.  I went with Nicole, Brian and a bunch of our cousins and we had a lot of fun, as always! I don't think you can read it in the scan, but the photo where there's writing on the wall says "The sea is as near as we come to another world" which, of course, is where I got my title. :)

The layout itself looks much better in person for some reason... I had fun making it, though.  I played with mixing stamps, rubons and paper piecing.  I love making these little fish!  They're a great way to use paper scraps and they're just so cute!  I have them in various colors and sizes in mixed-media art I've got around the house, but this is the first time I've made some for a layout!  Also, FYI, the stamps, rubons and fishy paper (which is iridescent and foiled... so cool!) are all Heidi Grace.

Off to enjoy the rest of my day off & play some more!

The stamp storage dilemma.

Today I finally faced up to a little problem that I've been ignoring in my scrap room.  My clear stamp storage was really an explosion of acrylic just waiting to happen.  I had sheets of acrylic stamps of all sizes just crammed into a little bin and it just wasn't working.  Nothing was organized and trying to go through it to find what I was looking for became impossible.  Not to mention the alphabet stamps that were falling off their sheets and just stuck everywhere (I was lucky they were all still there somewhere!) 

So after seeing a few inspirational posts about stamp storage, I finally decided today to fix mine.  There was a Staples in the shopping center with the Jiffy Lube where I was getting my oil changed tonight so after they finished with my car, I dropped by and picked up what I needed.  I decided on a system that's kind of a cross between Jennifer McGuire's and Nichol Magouirk's.  I got a 3.5" binder, some 5x7 page protectors, some trading card holders (for small sets or individual stamps) and some of those report covers with the slip-on spines (those are tons cheaper than getting transparencies and work almost as well once you cut them along the fold into 2 letter-sized pieces).

I came home afterward and ran (er... hobbled quickly) upstairs and got all of my acrylic stamps that aren't stored in CD cases and spread it all out on my table.  I sat happily organizing for a few hours during the Avalanche game... I had so much fun!  (Yes, I'm a total dork.  lol.)

Here's what I came up with:  first is kind of a "before" shot as I was just getting started.  Yes, ALL of these stamps were somehow crammed into that one little tray/box/thingie.  See how that could be a problem?  lol.  The last shot is what the storage on the shelf of my work table looks like now including the little holders that I use for the stamps that are in CD cases (mostly Papertrey and Stampin' Up - I don't mount those).

When I planned this, I had forgotten that my talent for getting the maximum amount of stuff into the smallest space possible meant that there was a lot more than I had realized.  My initial plan was to mix the 5x7 protectors with the smaller sets that fit into those into the binder with the bigger pages.  Obviously that didn't work out... lol.  So those are back in the little bin, but now that they're in page protectors they're all organized by theme and they aren't sticking to each other!  It's a beautiful thing.  I might go through and put tabs for the sections in the notebook, but we'll see... I'm usually pretty good at remembering the order I put things in and just flipping to what I want.

So anyway, that was kind of a verbose post for just talking about organizing stamps!  I just thought I'd share my method, though, since I know there are lots of people out there with the same problem I've been having :)

And now, off to start playing!

A little Peking Duck

I actually didn't think I'd get around to finishing this layout last night; a box came from Amazon with my Rick Steves' guide to Istanbul, my Turkish phrase book and the 3rd book in the latest series of young adult vampire books that I've been reading.  I sat down to start the new book while I ate dinner and got sucked in.  (hehe.  no pun intended.)  A few hours later, I finished it.  All 400 some pages.  Oops.   Anyway, I came up before bed to check my email while I did the electric stim treatment on my knee and ended up fiddling with the layout on my desk and lo and behold!  30 minutes later it was finished.  I'm really glad I walked away from it Tuesday night... I don't think I would have liked what I would have come up with if I'd forced it.

Here's the layout (the darker red dots on the patterned paper are sparkly - it's pretty cool in person):

Peking Duck
This is obviously from when we went out for a peking duck dinner.  I've never been a duck person, but wow.  The roast duck they served us at this place was insanely good.  This was my favorite meal of the trip (although there were a few others tied for a close second place).  The card on the right is one that they gave to all of us - they number their ducks and give these cards out to their customers to let them know which duck they ate.  Of course, since we're scrapbookers, they worked it out so that all of us got our own card (and I think a few other patrons went home without one that night).  Because of that, this card isn't the number of the exact duck I ate, but it was close enough for me :)

P.S.  I got my cupcake last night.  I should feel guilty, but since it was a celebratory cupcake I'm giving myself a pass :)

It's all about the cupcakes.

Cupcake towerWhy does it seem like nearly every other blog or website I've looked at today either mentions or shows photos of cupcakes?  Seriously?  This is making me SO hungry!  You know how hard it's going to be for me to go to the grocery store tonight and NOT walk away with cupcakes?  Not good for the diet healthy eating plan.

I've been working on another layout from China, but it just wasn't coming together so I decided to just leave it and see if I'm feeling more inspired tonight.  Hopefully I'll have something to share soon :)

P.S.  I just received a reason to make my cupcake cravings a reality... a little cause for celebration as it were. I've been doing a little happy dance because I just received unofficial word that I've been accepted to the EMBA program I applied for!  It's not official until I get the letters and the instructions for holding my place in the program and signing up for my prerequisite classes, but until then... YAY!!!  Is that fast or what?  I just had my interview yesterday!  Now if THAT doesn't deserve a cupcake, I don't know what does!

Not to jinx anything, but I'm liking 2009 pretty well so far :)

Drive-By Update

Things are super crazy at work right now, but I just wanted to put up a quick post.  I had my interview for the EMBA program today and it went great!  I interviewed with the director of the day-time MBA program (slightly different from the one I'm going for) and he was really nice.  It only lasted about 15 minutes total and we shot the breeze for at least half the time.  He asked me a few questions and then told me that he thought I would be a fabulous addition to this year's entering class and that he was going to recommend that they accept me into the program.  I still have to get final approval, but things are looking good!  Come summertime, I might be posting my own back-to-school scrapbook pages!

A little brag book

I know I just made a little brag book of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh not too long ago, but I had these pictures of a little photo shoot Erin had done last month and I happened to look down and see this little tiny album tucked into a basket of blank mini albums under my desk and suddenly I was in the mood to do another one.  After all, an aunt can never have too many brag books, right?

This was quick, simple and easy - I did the entire thing in a bit over an hour.

Eraleigh - 5 Month Mini Album
I love Eraleigh's cute little smile in the first picture, but my favorite one might be the one where she's sitting with Bella (the dog) and is looking mildly freaked out by the whole thing.  She's quite the expressive little girl! (And how cute is she in those little blue jeans?)

That little bird stamp on the last page doesn't really fit, but I just wanted to use it... it's such a cute stamp!

Well, it's time to get back to work.  I guess the good news is that it's 7 days until Monday comes around again and next Monday is a holiday!  Yay!

Is the weekend really almost over already?

It seems like I just barely got home from work on Friday evening and it's already Sunday night!  The weekend just goes by too fast.

I had some time today to work on my Journaling 101 layouts (which I can't post so you won't see those unless you're taking the class :) and I also did this quick one with a cute picture of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh that Erin posted the other day.

Simply Adorable
Note the old school Sharon Soneff page pebbles!

Well, I'm off to re-medicate, heat up dinner and enjoy what's left of the weekend :)

Journaling 101

Journaling 101 Banner

I was going to add this to the end of my last post, but I thought this deserved one all to itself :)

Erika just posted a layout and a bio for me as a member of the Journaling 101 design team, so head on over and check it out!  And if you're interested in taking the class and haven't already signed up, now's the time!  The class starts in just a few weeks and I can't wait!

P.S.  If you sign up, don't forget to mention I sent you!

Wiped Out.

This cold has just totally wiped me out this week... I've managed to drag myself to work every day (maintaining the 6 foot perimeter with my co-workers... lol) but when I get home in the evenings, I'm just dead on my feet.  I crashed early last night and slept in this morning and I'm finally feeling a little more normal today.  I've puttered around the house, watched Colorado beat Pittsburgh 5-3 and I even managed to do a layout!

This is another from my trip to South Africa.  From Cape Town, Nicole and I had flown back to Johannesburg where we rented a car at the airport and from there we drove north to the Limpopo region where we stayed in tree houses at a really cool game lodge near Hoedspruit.  We got there in the evening and then early the next morning (as in 5:30am), our guide, Ettiene, woke us up and took us out on our first game drive.  One of the first things we saw was this awesome group of rhinos and we got to see them pretty close up too!

Rhino Encounter
And now, in order to continue feeling like a somewhat normal and healthy human, I think it's time to go fix some dinner :)

P.S.  Why is the scanner making only the colors in the photos look funny?  In the actual layout, the rhinos aren't quite that blue.  Or again, maybe it's my monitor.  I think the one at home makes things look more blue and the one at work makes them red.  lol.

"Istanbul was Constantinople..."

Blue Mosque - Istanbul
Yup, the plane tickets have officially been purchased and Nicole, Brian & I will soon be off to Istanbul!  Okay, so it's a bit crazy and ambitious for a long weekend, but hey.  Why not?  I figured this was an awesome opportunity to go someplace I've wanted to see for at least 15 years.  Life's too short for missed opportunities and I know that no matter how long the plane ride takes, it's going to be worth it.  No regrets!  Bring on the Turkish delight, the bazaars, the mosques and the sultan's palace!

P.S.  Note to self:  do some research on spices so I know what's good to get at the spice bazaar (I'll take suggestions!)

P.P.S.  Is anyone else now singing the song by They Might be Giants?  It's been stuck in my head for three days!

Apparently I like to read. lol.

Saw this quiz on Rae's blog and I had to take it... this was fun!

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Literate Good Citizen
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Hello, my name is Kermit.

Or it might as well be... when I talk it sounds like a frog croaking!  It started last night and when I woke up this morning I had almost no voice at all and was feeling much worse again.  Stupid cold.  Nicole called me tonight to discuss our super-secret plans for our next long weekend getaway.  When I answered the phone she was like, "uh, hi Rick!  You sound like a boy!"  Yeah.  The voice is bad.

Oh.  Did you want to know where we're going?  Hehe.  I'm not telling yet!  Actually I'm just waiting to share until we get the tickets and hotel booked but I'll give you a few little hints.  It's not on this continent and it's a country I haven't visited before.  It's also on my top 5 list of places to go before I die and I'll definitely be taking an extra bag because there should be some sweet shopping!  :D

So with that little teaser, I'll just post another quick layout I did tonight with pictures of Rick and Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh.  Eraleigh turned 6 months old on Rick's birthday.  I can't believe how fast she's growing!  She just gets cuter all the time.

Eraleigh - 6 months

Hmm.  The color is a bit off in this scan.  I promise it's not this purply / magenta in real life!  Or is it just my monitor?  Who knows!


You know the roads are bad when...

... you hear a noise, look out the window and see that it's the snowplow - sliding all over the road.  lol.  Yes, it's another snowy day in Utah.  Surprise!  Actually, after this storm passes we should have a good week or so of nicer weather (crossing my fingers that I didn't just jinx it!)

In the meantime, just posting another layout.  I decided to go back and scrap some more pictures from South Africa.  These are of some baboons that we encountered while we were driving along near Cape Point - they were just hanging out in the middle of the road with total disregard for traffic and they had no intention of moving!  There was a cute little baby climbing on the rock face just outside the van... adorable (you know, for a baboon and all)!

A Small Delay
This was actually a really quick layout to put together and I'm quite pleased with it!  And now, it's dinner time!  And Chuck is back on tonight.  Yay!

Happy Surprise!

I just got an email that's making me super excited today!  Banana Frog just announced their design team and guest designers for 2009 and I've been chosen to do a guest design spot this year!  I don't know when it will be, but I'll post when I find out.  If you haven't checked out their site, definitely head over!  They have really awesome stamps and I'm completely psyched that I'll get to work with them this year :)

Finally scrapping again

So despite feeling like crap, I've realized that you can only lay around watching movies on the Hallmark channel for so long before boredom overcomes sickness... lol.  I wandered (or rather limped) up to my scrap room and was finally able to focus on doing a layout.  I had pulled out these photos of Verona (pre-digital :-P) at the same time I grabbed the ones of the coliseum that I scrapped before Christmas and they've just been sitting there so I decided to use them.  These are just a few views that I snapped while we were walking along the Adige River on our little tour of the city.

Views of Verona

There was so much to see in Verona... I'd love to go back someday and spend some more time there.  We saw a lot of awesome sites while we were there, but there's always more!  For one thing, I'd love to cross the river and go explore the ancient Roman theater that was over there.  Pictures from a distance are great, though, and now I have an excuse to go back :D

My next goal is to get going on my DT layouts for the Journaling 101 course that starts later this month (if you're wondering what I'm talking about, you can click the little banner on the top-right side of my blog.)  I have tons of ideas for what I want to scrapbook about so it's time to sit down and start outlining.  And I think I'll start now :)

Happy New Year!

I know... I'm a few days late with this.  I managed to get sick while I was home for Christmas and hurt my knee on top of everything and it's totally wiped me out.  Melody and her family have been here as well so we were out playing as much as possible before they headed back home yesterday morning.

New Year's was fun... we met up with Jason, Dustin, Tim & Al for dinner at Chili's and then headed over to Jason's place to watch movies and hang out.  I haven't really had a chance to see any of those guys since Melody and her family moved last spring so it was great to catch up with everyone.  Here are a few photos from the evening:

Blog - New Year Collage
As you can see, Tim and Angelina had a good time drawing caricatures of all of us.  This is me... Dustin added my pets (a dog and a chicken).  I thank you all for making me skinny :D

Mel and I got our coupons and did some shopping on New Year's Day which was a blast.  I can't wait until they come up again so we can play some more!

Since everyone left yesterday, I just kind of crashed... hopefully I'll be feeling good again for work on Monday.  In the meantime, I'm just trying to get the energy to do something that doesn't involve laying down.  I've tried sitting down to scrapbook, but I end up staring blankly at whatever is in front of me so we'll see if I get to any of that this weekend.

Also, Happy Birthday Rick!  I called last night and left a message but I guess you were all out at the movies.  I hope it was a great day!

And now, it's time for more medicine :-P

P.S.  How about those Utes?  I bleed 100% blue (go Cougars!) but I have to admit that a part of me was still cheering when they creamed Alabama last night :)