Reminder: Sometimes it IS clean and pretty--

Monday, January 29, 2007

Lest you are all so horrified at that last post that you NEVER want to come over again, here is some reassurance. It looks more like this, more of the time.
The living room.... Nice and tidy.

The dining room corner...

The dining room, other side.... (I love the red wall. The color is called Cranberry Zing)

(the living room... see Max?)

The kitchen table.... (taken EONS ago. It has never looked this good since, 85% thanks to Joe. 15% of the current stuff is mine... but it is mostly Joe Joe Joe.) (love you, Joe.)

okay. Now I feel better.

P.S. Laundry got folded. Still needs to be put away.

Why Does It Feel so Yucky?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I've been home all day... Slept in, which was yummy, got up and cleaned a bit, took a nice shower and got ready for the day... worked on my Blurb Book (half done!!)... enjoyed some downtime with no expectations.

It all felt really nice until the sun went down.

Now, joe is gone, i have no friends, no plans, and any comfort has totally disappeared.

What is UP with that?

Since I am feeling unsettled and lonely, I'll add to the uncomfortable-ness of this post by posting photos of all my current clutter/mess spots.

These are spots in my house i continue to procrastinate cleaning up, and i can't figure out why. None of them would take very long to do... None of them are too terrible... But every time i plan to do something about one of them, it's like an invisible force field pushes me as far away from them as possible... And instead i do something totally useless like read a book or play with photos online. I am in a weird weird place right now. Is it the season? Is it me? Is it something I need therapy for??

Here. Play "I Spy" with these horrible photos--

I Spy
tubes of paint
a guitar
a stack of books
foam stamps
a new old duaflex camera
a teddy bear
my plants
a pair of calf-high boots
a laundry basket full of papers to be filed
a goofy-faced mug
an old-fashioned ladies hat
unused fuzzy socks
Joe's backpack
laundry that needs folding
laundry that needs hanging up
Christmas gifts i still need to mail
a crossword puzzle
"Peeps" by Scott Westerfield.

(click on any photo to see it bigger)

This is so shameful. But kinda funny. And the whole thing has distracted me from my bummer mood-- going around taking pictures, editing them, posting them on here, listening to my iTunes...

So whatever.

I am going to put some real, non-pajama clothes on and go to the grocery store before Sunday hits, then come back and maybe tackle the clothes-folding. Or the paper-sorting. Or, based on past behavior, probably do nothing. *sigh*

I am a LOSER.

*drumroll* Here is Kirsti's Altered Book I Made For Her Birthday:

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

(if any of the pages look interesting to you, click on the slide show to get a closer look. The images will appear sharper, too.
Once you are in the site, you can click under the show to "view full-size image". YOu can also click through each set of pages individually.)

I am so excited about the book.
It is a family tribute, made for Kirsti's 16th birthday.
It is chock full of photos of all the sisters, some of the brothers, and a great photo of our cute parents.
I worked on it all last weekend, and I am so pleased with the results!
Lots of glue, lots of paint, and a lot of just random stuff added on.
If I can find the time and drive,
I'd like to make many more of them in my artistic life.

In Other News:
Oscar Nom's came out! Click on the red OSCAR word for the list:

Which movies are you rooting for?

I love this time of year because of the Academy Awards...

So... This afternoon, I zipped home after school, (no grading!) and Joe and I went for a walk/jog in Forest Park, along the nature trails there. We then totally negated the burnde calories by going to Applebees for dinner. *sigh* Well, at least it's a start.

We got home and have been chillin' all evening. I have been feeling so FREE since we finally got some cleaning done yesterday (Christmas tree has been shoved out the third-story window... like we do every year... and the rest of Christmas is tucked neatly away in storage tubs, ready for next year). I feel like I have some of my LIFE back, and can breathe.

The rest of this week is full, but not too bad: Creative Minds Club on Wednesday afternoon, Parent Open house Thursday evening... dinner and games on Sunday evening. Firday and Saturday are blissfully clear, so I might practice photography or work on altered book #2. All in all, I am feeling happy and content tonight.

How are you dear readers feeling this week?

Ten Things I Love About Joe.

Monday, January 22, 2007

1. He is... well... WACKY. And willing to show it in front of my camera.

2. He is a big kid-- cartoons, toys, games, snow, pancakes... anything that you loved as a kid, he still completely and totally delights in. keeps me young, too.

3. He is so so supportive of all my crafty, creative crap. he looks the other way at my art mess that is out right now... he blithely dines at the table next to my sewing machine, he smiles benevolently when i skulk home with $30 more dollars in art supplies and fun paper...And he has learned how to respond to my finished products: excited, complimentary, and able to point out specific things he likes about them. So nice!

4. His curly hair. short or long, I love it. I love it's personality, even when it is SCARY SCARY morning hair.

5. His hugs. MAN, he is a class-A hugger. Lingering, full-body, involved, extra-bonus kiss at the beginning and end.

6. His work ethic when he is at his job. He is a HARD worker, motivated, and isn't the one everybody complains about. I am proud of how he represents us at his job.

7. His easy-going willingness to help, to pitch in, and to make up for things he might not have noticed in the first place. He is SO good-natured.

8. His compliments. With joe, I feel--
~good at making our house feel like home
~like a good cook
~like a good baker
~etc. All his compliments make me feel like I am an okay lady.

9. His love of movies and books. Almost equal to mine, so we share them, devour them, and talk about them. I love it.

10. His sense of family, his desire to be a daddy someday, and his priorities when it comes to these things. He will be an incredible head of the family.

So..... There is my tribute to JOE. In a couple of weeks, we will have been together for THREE YEARS. The anniversary of our first date is Feb. 4ish, and I can still remember that entire thing. Crazy that it led to this marriage thing.

Lucky me!

Check out my Slide Show!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Check it out! If you click on the slide show, you can view all of these pictures bigger,and in better quality. This is really cool to do... so make your own!

I am TAKIN' it EASY tonite.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

pizza, slippers, The Office and Scrubs... Joe hangin on the couch with me, rubbing my back...

Taking an hour to finish my kid sister's b-day gift (pictures to be posted later, once she actually receives it...I am SO excited about it.)

And just enjoying not having any pressing responsibilities for the evening.

Sorry, no photos except one little sneak peek at my sister's upcoming gift:

Help Me With Something:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ugh- my new computer monitor seems to be "off", if ya know what I mean.
Will you tell me: Is the above photo really dark, or does it seem pretty normal? How does the color look?
It seems like my monitor is over-saturating some things, and seems a bit bright. But I don't know how to tell what is "correct" and what is not. Blah.

Now look at this second one.... It is TOO washed out? Or is it more accurate than the first one? Color?

Any comments/advice would be appreciated.

Love y'all!

This is called the Orton Technique:

Friday, January 12, 2007


This is a fantastic photoshop process that gets photos all dreamy and floaty and etheareal. It works well for landscapes, objects, and portraits that could fit this mood.

Cool, eh?


Learning New Tricks.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I know, I know... I should be cleaning the house or doing something more PRODUCTIVE. But after two days back, both of which have been exhausting, I felt like vegging in front of the computer. So I got lured into reading about some Photoshop techniques and started trying them out. The three tricks I learned tonight:

1. unsharp mask to defog a photo
2. unsharp mask to sharpen a photo
3. a multi-layer "eye-pop" trick to pull out the eyes a bit

(click on the photo for a close-up look)
This stuff is so fun when I can see results right away. Now, time to practice practice practice.

Anyone else know a trick or tip I should try?

My First DAy Back

Monday, January 8, 2007

I was anxious all weekend, accidentally. I had bad teacher dreams, where the kids would be disobedient and chaos would ensue.... I HATE those dreams, and they are totally unpreventable.

Part of that anxiety comes from the fact that in our school district, we get five BRAND NEW classes at the beginning of January. New semester, new kids. It's good, in some ways, but is VERY VERY stressful, in that it is almost like an entirely new school year.

Today went well, in spite of all that. I am really glad to have it over with. It's usually the anticipation that is the worst, so having that first day under my belt prepares me to get back into the routine and begin the whole process all over again.

The classes seem okay-- a good blend of personalities and abilities. Most of my classes are pretty small, too. The biggest one is 24 kids, and most of the others are only 19-21. That's WONDERFUL.

Anyway.... I guess the vacation is really over. Anyone else find that they have a lifelong aversion to work? I keep thinking it'll go away, but so far it hasn't.

How has your monday been?

Do you have work dreams?

How do you deal with anxiety?

Katie Knows Me So Well....

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Package came in the mail...
I was headed out for a walk to get groceries, so I tucked it just inside the front door to await my return.

I got home, excitedly took it upstairs, made myself put away the groceries, then dug into the task of opening my lovely package.

Inside, amongst pink popcorn, was a beautifully wrapped present... two, actually, in purple paper with a fuscia satin ribbon. It's funny, but there was something about that wrap job-- tugging gently on the ribbon to loosen it felt so RICH-- it silkily slid out of it's knot and beckoned me to keep going. It felt satisfying. Actually, it made me want to wrap all my future presents with satin, that's what it did. I've always tended towards the grosgrain variety, for the charming ribbed texture... but this satin experience.... well, it was like the movies.

After tearing the stylish purple paper on gift one, I found a delightful tin of vintage travel labels, self-adhesive and perfectly charming. I took my time sifting though them, and couldn't choose a favorite, so here are juts a few of the many great ones:

The second gift was wrapped very luxuriously in a formal box with tissue paper, and held a stick of sealing wax, (red, of course) and a brass "S" stamp. I've wanted one of those forEVER! Now I can be like the Scarlet Pimpernel and finish off my mail properly!

The box also held this long, narrow turquoise book, the size of a legal -envelope:

Inside, it simply, cleanly presents a series of deeper questions to ask about yourself. Each two-page spread has one strong color and one basic question spread across it. That's it. But the format serves to really make you focus on the basic idea and not get distracted by frou-frou and other people's ideas.
When in the right frame of mind, this book can be a POWERFUL little experience.

My experience occurred last night. I was sitting down to eat some leftovers for dinner. Joe was at work, so it was just me, and it was dark outside. I brought this little book to the table to browse while I ate, and immediately got absorbed by the first question: "When was the last time you did something for the first time?" It took me a minute to really think it through...
I could have given easy answers, but the point was the idea behind the question. We need to always be seeking new experiences...
things to stretch us, make us uncomfortable, help us see new perspectives.

So I went along, carefully considering each question. Some, I was feeling good about. Others, well, they really made me stop and consider how well I was doing.

Two of the questions took my breath away.

I won't share them here, since I think the combined experience of reading them all at once helped the moment, and because I think it would be different for each individual...
But suffice it to say, at one point in this small experience, I was totally choked up, moved and
stunned by the questions and the thoughts they brought forward.

Anyway. This was a wonderful gift, Katie. Thank you.

And to anyone who reads this that knows me-- I am so lucky to have you in my life. I love who I am as a result of having known you.

Y'all know who you are.
Signing off--

Saturday morning...

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Joe and I are in our pajamas, watching "the batman", "Shaolin ShowDown" amd "Monster Allergy" cartoons...
We just had chocolate-chip pancakes, mine with added peanut butter, Joe's with added whipped cream and sprinkles.

Who says you have to grow up???

I love it!

Here is Joe's new blog:
He is jumping on the bandwagon. It's still very young, but it's fun to see how different yet alike we can be.

Anyway.... no fun photos at the moment. I'm being lazy. Monday is back to school, so i am being very very decadent with my time left over. Naps, good food, movies, art projects, web surfing... Whatever i feel like, until the time to be a grown-up returns.

:) ta!

Have you seen "The Little Princess"? Or read the book?

Thursday, January 4, 2007

The best part of the whole story is when she wakes up in her freezing, terrible attic room to find silk bedding, gorgeous furniture, a warm fire in the fireplace, and a whole breakfast laid out for her. Isn't that the ultimate? From total misreable poverty and hopelessness to a room FULL of riches?

That scene has stayed with me since the first time I saw the movie.

Tonight, I'm watching it again, after decades, and it is just as effective! And to think, I got this classic movie on DVD in the dollar bin of some store. Crazy!

Some Fun Chicago Trip Photos

As a Christmas present to each other, joe and I splurged on two nights at the W hotel in Chicago. This hotel is INSANE-- totally hip, funky and stylish, yet comfortable at the same time.
We drove for five hours to get to Chicago last Thursday, checked in in the evening, and this is what we walked into:
After jumping on the bed for a while, we went out for a walk and some dinner. The famous "Magnificent Mile", on Michigan Avenue, is only four blocks away from the hotel, so we had a nice little stroll as we explored our options.
We ended up having a yummy pasta dinner at Bucca Di Beppo, an old favorite of Joe's that he used to go to in Vegas.
We then lounged around our hotel room and watched mindless cable until we fell asleep in the soft, down-comforter covered king bed.
The next morning, laaaaaaaaaate morning, we ordered a light breakfast in bed-- pastries, muffins and croissants with juice. We took our sweet time getting ready for the day. The room was so comfortable and nice that we were content just hanging around.

This was the view from our 27th floor window... dramatic, amazing skyscrapers.

Here is Joe, enjoying the view.

Once we FINALLY got going, we explored the hotel a bit, then headed back to Michigan Avenue for window shopping, treasure hunting, and sight-seeing. Here, we are just outside the elevators on our floor.

A seating nook in the lobby of the W Hotel.

"Wave" is the restaurant at the hotel. WAY too expensive for our tastes.

Because it's called the "W" hotel, their design includes as many "w" words as they can think of. In fact, their service moto is "Whatever, whenever." Here, the pool is labelled with a "w" word.

While out and about, we stopped at the Lego Store. This became Joe's favorite store last time we visited, and it is so fun to see all the crazy displays they have there. The street scene is a recreation of Michigan Avenue. The dinosaur part isn't real. :)

After a couple of hours of shopping, we had an amazing late lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe, a special branch of the Cheesecake Factory. Joe had the best burger of his life, and I had the bento box, which included a winter vegetable soup, an arugula and fennel salad, asparagus, and grilled salmon over potatoes. AMAZING. And we even lucked out and got an incredible window seat.We then went to a movie, The Good Shepherd, (which turned out to be incredibly NOT worth seeing), then strolled home in the night lights.

Chicago's famous water tower, and some really cool Christmas lights.

I thought this sign was funny-- just... PUPPIES. Random.

We stopped by Wrigley Field, just for a moment, as we drove out of town on Saturday. Cubs suck.

The last day we were there, it was incredibly foggy. It made for some breathtaking views of the city.
We stopped at IHOP for breakfast, then got on the road to go home. Joe was so sweet- he let me sleep and he drove the entire way.
This little trip was perfect. It was not all about the go-go-go of other trips... it was more of a detox and a break from real life. It was a chance for us to recover from the holidays and just be together.

Now, I get the rest of this week off, and must begin to think about school starting up on Monday. But not just yet.
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