Saturday, July 29, 2006


I taught my first scrap class today. It turned out fairly well. The students said they had a good time.
I made a rather extensive handout with drawings and dimensions on it. Every student was given the handout and they all traced the templates I made on the back of their handouts. I think I gave them good value for their money.
One odd thing happened. One of the ladies there came with several friends and about 10 minutes before the class ended announced she was taking the class because she wanted to learn the technique so she could teach it from her home-based scrapbook product selling business.
She then recruted one of my students to attend her home-based scrapbooking classes.
I told DH the woman's name and as it happens she was the parent of one of his students last year.
One good thing, I know she won't have an easy time of it trying to find the recope boxes. It took me months to find the source.
I'm a bit peevish about her using my ideas to teach her own class. Am I justified in this peevishness?

I am also at something of a crisis point with my dream of being a writer / designer making money out of my home. Being a published writer has been my dream for many, many years. After I discovered scrapbooking it felt like such a perfect fit for my skills. But lately I've felt like I am only fooling myself and I don't have the skills, talent, whatever to be successful in this business. I have been told to "avoid discouragement" but I am really struggling with it this summer.
I suppose I have made the choices that landed me in this current situation, but I still feel somewhat victimized.
I know.
I need to just get over myself.
I need chocolate.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Make sense of it all

Okay all you embellishing, altering and refinishing friends out there. Do I have a challenge for you!
I have mentioned my Mother’s visit in June. Apparently while she was here she decided I needed more furniture (notice, I didn’t say new furniture). For the past month she has been gathering up odds and ends to send to me.
The load arrived today and I’m not at all sure how to make it work for me. She upholstered and sewed cushions for all of it out of the same fabric. But none of the wood matched in color, style, scale, anything.
Please give me constructive ideas of how I can make this collection of flea market finds work as a cohesive whole.
Something is seriously wrong with my thinking skill lately. Maybe I walked too close to a thought sucking black hole, or it could be the constant background noise of cartoon voices and squabbling children. But I just can’t seem to string two thoughts together.
As an example, I went to an interview today and forgot to ask the person I was interviewing what his last name was. He is from Ecuador, and I was struggling so hard to understand him, I couldn’t think of what question to ask him next.
I’m lucky I made the trip there and back alive. I kept forgetting things like how to switch gears and rather one should stop or go at a green light. I have so many things on my mind right now; it’s all I can do to remember what day it is.
I need a vacation from summer vacation.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hillbilly Houseparty

This is the tale of a man named Lorin
A guy who though his life was borin’
Then one day he was shopping for some food
And wheedled himself into a better hood.

Alpine, that is.
Swimming pools
Big ol’ hills

I went to visit my sister this weekend. She has finally realized her dream and is living in the big house on the hill. There’s only one problem. The big house isn’t hers. She is house sitting for a family friend.
She graduated from college with a degree in interior design and her husband is a painting contractor. Between raising five children she has helped her husband in his business, and for the last few years they have “flipped” several houses.
They currently “own” something like four pieces of property, but are essentially camping out in a very large house (I think I counted six bedrooms, I’m not really sure how many bathrooms it has) for free. But there’s a catch, they have to take care of the property and pay the power bills.
The weekend proved to be a weird kind of upscale camping. DH and I didn’t have to share a room with the DS’s which is a novelty when we travel. But mostly we hung out at the “cement pond” in the back yard.
The property has been sadly neglected. It has a lovely veranda, badly overgrown with wisteria. The showy stone fountain by the grand entrance is full of green slime. The kitchen looks out on a really outstanding yard and has an orchard behind it. But the kitchen itself is decorated in 1970s fake Spanish style.
My sister is in heaven.
I asked her what she likes most about the place and she said “the space.” Which is not too big of a surprise, she has been living in an old Victorian home in downtown Salt Lake City with her five children for many years.
The master bedroom in her new digs is probably larger than the footprint of her SLC house.
We were not the only ones visiting her. Her youngest daughter (who just graduated from high school and is currently living with her parents) a second daughter and three nephews were eating Sunday dinner when we arrived. One of the nephews left, but the other two spent the night ~ going to sleep in the game room at about 4 a.m. after working on a puzzle for most of the night.
No one was abroad when we woke up at our usual 7:30 a.m. So we went and bought breakfast sandwiches at a neighborhood store and ate them in the formal dining room while everyone slept.
Then the boys dressed and played in the Jacuzzi tub while DH took a nap and I sat in the shade working on some sketches. I really enjoyed this part of the trip. Everyone was happy, I was relaxed, and it was truly beautiful in my spot under three shade trees with the mountains behind me and the pool and house in front of me.
Eventually sis joined me, and DH came out for a swim, and I went for a swim, etc. We had lunch at about 2 p.m. and came home shortly thereafter.
As we were leaving sis was chopping watermelon and getting ready for her daughter and son-in-law who were going to visit that evening.
I convinced my sister and brother as well as their two daughters to pose for this spoof photo of “The Beverly Hillbillies.” I swear, every time I walked into a new room I thought I heard the banjo music arch do de do de do de do from the show.
But it was a nice change from the craziness of my house. The kids are a little sun burnt (In spite of application of SPF 45 waterproof sun block) and very, very tired. But they did have a good time.
Now it's time to say good-bye to J and all her kin She would like to thank you folks for kindly stopping in.

You're all invited back next week to this locality
to have a heaping helping of our hospitality,
Hillbilly that is.
Sit a spell.
Take your shoes off.
Y’all come back now, here?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hole in the wall gang

Dh and the brothers in law have been here tearing out paneling, uncovering the hole in our wall and cleaning out all the old wood. Isn’t it lovely?
So what would you do with this hole in the wall? Brick it in and use it for a safe where we can keep all our non-existent cash?
Put a television in it?
Safe it as a hiding place for Christmas presents?
Curse the people who built it, brick it in and pretend it wasn’t there?
After cleaning out the space DH and the boys (his brothers & our sons) went back to the Hill Aerospace Museum. I did not go with them. I was planning to clean out my scrap space and get some work done. I haven’t been at all effective scrapping this month. But I don’t know if I’ll do it or just go take a nap. It’s 1:30 p.m. and I’m still in my pajamas, so the nap is sounding pretty good.
We are going to go visit Janene in her new snazzy digs for Pioneer Day. That could be fun. We also have tickets to go to Lagoon. Anyone want to name a date and join us there? DH starts back to work on Aug. 15 and he has classes during the first days of August. No doubt we will spend the rest of the time entertaining exterminators.
So, the summer is shot and I accomplished maybe two things on my “to do” list.
Have I mentioned that I hate summers?

I made this layout last week while I was scrapping with friends. Actually, my friend K made this layout because I just couldn't get it to work for me. I picked out the papers and the ribbon, and she put it together and painted it. I did the overlay, but I think I'm going to try again because I don't like the black inking on it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

In loving memory

Katie Cat ~ July 2004 to July 2006

Katie is gone.
She was killed tonight (July 20) at about 9 p.m. by a car speeding down our street. Whoever hit her didn’t have the courtesy to stop and tell us they had killed our cat.
We found her because teenagers walking through the neighborhood stopped and pulled her off the road, then came and asked us if she was ours. Their mother put her in a bag for us while the girls sat on the porch with me and my children, rubbing our shoulders as we wept.
David hosed off the big bloody spot in the road in front of the house, and the streak of fur where she had been dragged by the car.
We are going to bury her tomorrow in Ls pansy patch.
I am so very sad.
As A said “I hope I feel better tomorrow.”
She was such a good cat, a beautiful, animal and much too young to die.
She was an athlete, a comic, our morning alarm clock.
We didn’t know we wanted a cat until we got her. Now I can’t imagine our house without her dozing in a patch of sunlight, watching birds out the window from the top bunk in L’s bedroom, or climbing the tree in our back yard at a full run.
She liked to play with the children by stalking and chasing them as they ran around the yard. She was not a cuddly cat, but when no one was in the house but me, she liked to curl up on the sleeping bag beside my computer.

Her death comes on the same day we discovered a crawl-space in our basement behind the wood paneling. Inside the space was a pile of logs and a thriving colony of termites. Previous owners had covered the crawl space (we believe it was a coal chute at one time) without bothering to remove the wood in it.
It seems our family is suffering a great deal because of the stupidly of others.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

So why am I singing "Love Shack"

"Got me a car, it's as big as a whale and I'm about to set sail." Click on images to view larger. Notice the circled area, it is the tires seen in the second photo.
A contingent of the Wyoming cousins came to visit today, and we currently have a house full of boys. My two sons, ages 11 and 7 have boy cousins ages 13, 8 and 4. The lone girl is the same age as my oldest son, and she doesn’t appear to be at all out of place among all the males.
The family has been here a few days visiting several relatives and hitting a few popular spots along the way. They have been to Lagoon, a regional amusement park, and Temple Square, as well a visiting our small aquarium.
So DH and I were obliged to find them something new, exciting and different in the way of entertainment. We chose the Hill Aerospace Museum.
According to one of the web sites, “Currently the Museum exhibits over 80 military aircraft, missiles, and aerospace vehicles on the grounds and inside the Major General Rex A. Hadley Gallery and the Lindquist Stewart Fighter Gallery. The museum collection also includes a wide variety of ordnance, an assortment of aerospace ground equipment, military vehicles, uniforms, and thousands of other historical artifacts.”
This fairly dry little description fails to mention the museum is very close to nirvana for men and boys. My L was thrilled the second he spotted the extra-large cargo craft by the front door. Before long he was spouting statistics to his girl cousin. He watches the History channel a lot, and remembers what he sees.
A decided this was a cool place to be when we watched a film depicting cluster bombs blowing up tanks. The boy loves to see things blow up or explode.
They all had a great time with the hands on exhibits. Who can fault a place that lets you put on a fighter jacket and sit in a cockpit?
My brother’s L was rather interested in the ammo, and he was fascinated by the computer flight simulator.
(These may look like photos of the same child, but actually they are four years apart. They are just wearing matching outfits)
While we were there DH called his brothers and told them they had to come visit the museum the next time they were in town. I actually had a good time, too. I had my camera and several fun subjects to shoot, of course. But I was also really interested in the B-52 bomber and some of
the stealth jets. Sister-in-law didn’t say much, but she did comment that her husband (my brother) would truly love the place, if only he could find it in his heart to leave his happy little Wyoming home and venture onto the evil freeways of Utah.
This crowd of cousins, plus the other A in Wyoming and Jake, Mace and Abby in Utah are such a fun little group. I am so pleased to see my boys enjoying their cousins. I only had one cousin, and she lived thousands of miles away. My one uncle (my father’s brother) married a woman in Kentucky during World War II and the brothers basically lost touch with each other.
It makes me incredible sad to think of Uncle Elmer and his life. I wish I had been given a chance to know him and his family better. I wish so many things for him.
Mostly I hope my boys don’t end up going their own separate ways, and continue the tradition of spending time together in a big ol’ happy family.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Strange weekend

This weekend was a little bit nuts and slightly odd. Few things went according to plan. But I made it through so I suppose “it’s all good.”
My Ya-Ya Scrappers class was canceled on Thursday because everyone wanted to take the class on Saturday. But I have seven students signed up for sure for my Saturday, July 29 class.
Friday a group of friends went to an all-night crop. Originally the plan was to do it as a Relief Society activity. (The woman’s organization in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) I missed two weeks of church. The first week my Mother was attending and she did not want to go to the three hour block, so we just went to Sacrament meeting. The next week we were out of town on vacation.
But I was working under the assumption I would be teaching the porthole class for the R.S. activity and wrote up a supply list for the class and took it to church. There the R.S. president told me the church would not sponsor the activity because it was an overnight event and they were concerned about the safety of the women (read liability). However, we were welcome to meet as “a group of friends” to scrapbook together.
Having two lessons canceled on me, feeling rather unhappy about our current financial state (I was rather hoping to make enough money in the Ya-Ya class to buy some groceries for the impending visit from my sister-in-law and the four cousins.) I was feeling rather gloomy when I went to the Friday night crop.
I had no scrapping mojo going for me. But one of my friends took pity and put together a page I was struggling to make work. She used all the elements I had gathered, and ended up creating a WOW page. I still need to do some journaling on it before it is ready for a public viewing.
The other page I finished was one I had been playing with and all but completed. However I wasn’t sure what photo I wanted to use. I am pleased with the results. It went a completely different direction than I planned, but it looks good.
After stumbling home at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday, I slept for a few hours and tried to unload all of my scrapping supplies. Most of them are currently still in a pile on the floor of my scrap space. I became sidetracked with a quest to clean out my letter sticker file. Some of them are going to go to Mom for her newfound interest in scrapping. The rest will be going to a LSS donation for the Primary Children’s Hospital.
A few of them ended up on the cover of the binder. It’s interesting the kinds of things you can find to do if you are sleep deprived.
Today (Sunday) I was charged with teaching the R.S. lesson on journaling. Good thing it is a beloved subject and I can teach it with my eyes closed, because I kind of did. It was a good lesson, I think.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Remember the singles ward

Sue and Jeff came to visit yesterday, fellow escapes from the Jay Ence singles ward.
For those of you who have been spared the wacky indignity that is an LDS Single’s ward, let me just explain it is the a strange phenomena employed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to force young men and women of a certain age (past high school, pre death) who have not yet married to play Volley Ball together until they just can’t stand it anymore and pair up.
DH and I did, in fact, met in a singles ward. We were introduced when my friend, Sandra went in to talk to the leader of this collection of loons to complain that all the good men were married. As DH quickly followed Sandra to discuss something else, this esteemed leader arranged a blind date between DH and Sandra.
Their date didn’t work. But she discovered he was quirky in the same way our little group was quirky ~ he liked sci-fi ~ she invited him to join us in our weekly gathering. To yes, I confess, watch “Star Trek, The Next Generation.”
Eventually members of this nerd group ended up marrying each other. One of the great shocks was when Rita ~ resident prude, married Woody ~ token wild man. They are now living happily together in her parent’s home raising their child. He has finally graduated from college and is working a new job.
Sue married Jeff, who was single, and then married, than divorced within the space of two years in the singles ward. Eventually Sue and Jeff found each other. Sue is a complete workaholic, but has retired at the age of 50 from her job as an administrator of the special ed program in the Washington County School district.
They don’t have children, but they have a mortgage free new house they just purchased in the Ogden, Utah area near her mother.
Sandra eventually married Ray. After several years of battling infertility, they have three children; two of them were born very close together.
And DH and I are settled in with our two children, a mortgage and a cat.
It’s fun every now and then to visit with our fellow singles ward refugees and remember those days of working in a community garden, taking houseboat trips on Lake Powell, and watching Bishop Ence sitting in on the stand, mentally pairing everyone up.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wanna have me some

The latest wanna have in my world (besides a huge! stack of papers, embellishments, chipboard, etc. I’ve been peeking at CHA) is the Pilot Permaball.
I had one once, for about three months, and it was one rockin’ ball point pen. For one thing, it’s permanent. It writes on anything, paper, glass, plastic and metal. It has a nice grip and it lasts, and lasts, and lasts, until it runs out, leaving me crying in the rain.
Mine ran dry a couple of weeks ago. In anticipation of this eventuality I have been scouring Wal-Mart, Staples and every craft store I run across for a new one. No luck. Until I was given a tip on ScrappinTrends (these are the same people who hooked me up with the Permaball in the first place) that the pen could be found at Office Max.
This information didn’t do me much good, as I am heck and gone from an Office Max. But today I have encouraged the children to keep the television off all day and thrown in the incentive of .25 cents per hour without the television.
Poor little monkeys don’t know what to do with themselves. (hehehehe) So in an attempt to get them out of their misery DH and I loaded them up in the car and went for a drive. We ended up at Office Max where I found PERMABALLS!!! I bought two packages, gave DH a black one just because and a red one to correct papers, and scurried down into the basement with the other half-dozen pens.
Yeay! I am set for a few months.
I have also recently acquired a set of Cutter Bee scissors. I know, all self respecting scrapper should have Cutter Bees in their basic took kit. But as I come from a newspaper I used my Xacto knife and pica pole instead.
It wasn’t long ago that I put down the money for a paper cutter, but still more often than not I cut my paper with my Xacto knife.
But I’ve been playing with the Cutter Bees for two days and I can’t imagine how I did without it. My next chair refinishing project is going to be much easier, I assure you.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I've seen flowers and I've seen rain

We had a lovely thunderstorm today and my DS-7 was petrified. I tried to cheer him up, but I remember lightning storms that had me flat on my belly in the living room with my other siblings, so I can’t say I am the best voice of reason when it comes to lightening.
Lightening really doesn’t scare me much anymore. It’s hard to get too spooked when I’m tucked away in my basement playing with paper and my sewing machine.
But as a kid on the ranch, it was a completely different story. We respected thunderstorms for many reasons, not the least of which was my Father and Grandfather were usually out in them either atop a horse or driving haying equipment around an open field.
Both of those situations made them prime targets for lightning strikes.
I have several very distinct memories of lightning storms. The first was more a story than a memory. When I was very young lightning struck and killed a horse in the pasture behind our house. I have a vague memory of my father calling someone to dispose of the body, and I seem to remember people in the pasture, while everyone talked in hushed tones, but not much else. But the event did stay with me.
Thunderstorms often rolled through the ranch at night and woke me from a dead sleep. During one storm I kept calling for “Mom” and when she would give me a sleep answer I asked “Are you awake?” She answered yes and I was comforted for a moment until the next flash when I called for her again.
Eventually she stopped answering me, then I started trying to figure out the trajectory of lightening should it manage to go through one of the windows. I mentally figured out where all the windows were and scrunched down in the bed to avoid them.
Another strong lightening memory was when I was older. This time it was during the day and Mom and Dad were gone for some reason, but I was in the house with my older sisters.
I was in my bedroom reading a book, (we read a lot, there was no televising) when I saw a flash, heard what sounded like someone hitting the kitchen table with a yardstick, and a clap of thunder that shook the house. Then I smelled ozone. You know the lightening is close when you can hear it.
My sisters gathered the children in the living room and we all spread ourselves prone on the floor, avoiding anything metal, and prayed. After the storm passed and my parents returned we discovered the lighting had hit the transformer on a pole just a few feet from the house.
So yes, I respect lightening. And I still unconsciously count one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, every time I see a flash until I hear the thunder. I was taught as a child that this was the way to determine how far the storm was from your location.
But if you don’t feel like counting, be warned if you hear the clap the same time you see the flash, duck and cover.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Saturday, July 08, 2006

English Shire Hitch horses

I am in love. They are beautiful, gentle, giants of horses. I am a rancher’s daughter, and spent my summers in a two bedroom ranch house with a horse pasture behind the house and corrals in front of it. I was around horses all the time, but I was never enamored of them. Sure, I was fond of old Cedar, the pack horse who was patient enough to allow five children to climb on his back at once.
He was a sweetheart, but he wasn’t a sweet ride. If you kicked and prodded you might get him to walk away from the corrals. But if you wanted him to trot (which wasn’t really all that comfortable) or even break into a thrilling lope, you had to turn his head toward home.
To me horses were like the tractor and the hay bailer. Useful, interesting up to a point, but way too much work, and way to complicated for me. Besides, grandpa was of the old school and women folk, even the little ones, didn’t rightly belong in the fields.
I did however, like the draft horses. They are huge, and sweet tempered, and strong. Kind of like my father, come to think on it.
So I didn’t say “no” to the chance to see the English Shire Hitch horses and do a story on them.
They are beautiful animals. The “baby” Hercules, at 15 months is 17 hands high. He was adorable; if something big enough to pull a refrigerator out of quick sand can be called adorable. “Stan” a direct English import, was a little sassy, Bud was patient, but Arnie (short for Arnold) was a pro at handling the crowd and his fellow horses. He crowded Bud into a corner so he could get more than his share of the lovin’ and he had the bearing of a star.
I’m not convinced I would buy an English Shire Hitch if I could afford the “in the high $20,000s” price tag and daily intake of 40 pounds of hay and 15 pounds of feed. But if I were going to buy any horse, the English Shire Hitch would be on the top of my list.

Timing is everything

From my father I learned it is rude to be late, so I like to be on time, usually early to events. I remember him pacing around the house waiting for his wife and four daughters get ready for any event. We always arrived on time, but the poor man ate holes in his stomach lining waiting for us.
But my timing was off when it came to marriage and children. I didn’t get married until I was 35 and I had my last child when I was 40. It’s been hard on the youngsters; they need a more active mommy than I am. But what I lack in youth, I more than make up for in cuddles. I treasure those little ones much more at my age than I would have if I had started my family in my 20s. I’m not saying this is universal, but it is true for me.
But the reason I’m thinking about my sense of timing is because of an event that happened yesterday.
I received a call from a friend telling me that a group of ladies in our church, and their children, were going to meet at a local business to see giant horses. (I later learned the horses are Shire Hitch horses) It would be a great place for scrapbook photos and would I like to come. Ummm, Yea!
So I dressed up the offspring and drove to the store in question. No giant horses were to be seen, not even giant horse pucky.
As I stood in the parking lot another woman from the grope drove by and asked me if I knew what was going on, so clearly I was on the right track.
DH was with me and he asked a clerk if she knew anything about giant horses. Yes, she said, they were going to be in the parking lot on Saturday. We were in the parking lot on Friday. Doh.
So we ate at McDonalds and went home with our cowboy hats.
Later in the afternoon my boss called and asked me if I wanted to cover a story. You guessed it; he was talking about the giant horses.
So today I’ll be loading up the kiddies, the camera and the cowboy hats, along with my reporter’s notebook and get paid for taking photos of the giant horses. Sometimes I love my job.
BTW, I did take some photos of A--- with his hat. The kid is so photogenic and he loves to pose. I hope to be back later with shots of the giant horses.