Saturday, January 7, 2012

This year, the choice of my One Little Word, has caused me far too much stress. Here it is, the seventh day of the new year, and I'm just settling on a word. And I can't really say, I've settled on a word either, since it's really a word with a bunch of words associated.


My word is IMPROVE. woohoo
photo from
Well, I thought that was kind of lame because I'm always trying to improve.. To me, the point of living is to improve. Every little decision I make is based on this idea anyway, so it's no big revelation for me. The thing is, though, this year I intend to IMPROVE with INTENTION. In keeping with past years words, I've decided to FOCUS and ORGANIZE my year with 12 areas that I intend to IMPROVE. (And, if you believe the Mayan calendar, which I DO NOT, this is my chance to do it.)

The 12 areas (12? 12 MONTHS!) are:

1. DIET - By diet, I mean, food, not weight loss. Essentially, my intention is to not eating things that cause me to feel ill. I know I can't tolerate wheat and lactose, and yet I've continued to torture myself out of sheer stubbornness. No more in 2012. I've already started this improvement with much success. Much as I ended my smoking addition in the past, I'm shunning all foods that make my body miserable.
2. STORYTELLING - My hobbies revolve around storytelling, mostly about my kids, our family and our life together. In 2011, I shifted the focus off those things and this year, I will return to them. There are countless stories that I didn't record from last year, and I'm bummed about that. My scrapbooking will shift back to the basics of storytelling and the paper and glue variety.
3. FINANCIAL - Finally on the right track, now I need to sustain it and keep improving.
4. TIME MANAGEMENT - Our lives have been sucked into mindless games and pursuits again, much like in 2010 when we went internet candy free. So much more time can be added to my days by improving how I spend my time....which leads to ....
5. FAMILY - The most important thing in my life. I need to spend more time with them.
6. PHOTOGRAPHY - Ana is taking a class at school this year, so we'll get to share in this joy.
7. HOUSE and HOME - Projects of home improvement mostly are surface in my home, or left incomplete - with the help of my sidekick, Invisibob, things will get DONE!
8. SOCIAL - I'm happy to sit on my couch with my nose in a book most times, but that is not always a good thing.
9. CURIOSITY - Matt asks me dozens of questions a week (a day? an hour?) that I don't have an answer to. My response is usually, "We should look that up!" and we don't. This year, we will (and not get sucked into stupid computer games before we get our answers, ahem...)
10. ADVENTURE - I need to invite some adventure into my life this year - my kids are going to France with their father for 3 weeks - what an adventure! Since I'll be here, I need to plan an adventure of my own with Invisibob (within driving distance, of course).
11. REFLECTION - I need to take the time to reflect on what I'm improving this year, by writing in my blog or my art journals.
12. RELAX - Finally, this was my dear Invisibob's suggestion. In fact, it's his suggestion every year for the last five that he's been my sidekick and best friend. My usual response is "I can't". There's room for improvement.

So, that's it. IMPROVE. I'll see where it takes me. And I intend to share it here, to tell my stories to friends and family and reflect with a little photography thrown in. See, that accomplishes five things right there! Piece of cake!
Why Invisibob? This was my dad's nickname for him and also because he refuses to be photographed, so I used the Androidify app and came up with this:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Favorite Photos of 2011 (a bit late)

Despite the fact that I have a camera in my purse at all times, my good camera (the DSLR that no one touches but me), a camera on my iPod touch AND one on my phone, I seem to have lost my mojo for photos some time last year. Maybe it was because I started to trust my memory and didn't need pictures (not at ALL!), or because I feel the need to "enhance" every photo I share with Photoshop (what a drag!), or it might be because my teenager who used to see a camera and smile instantly now subtly and not so subtly moves out of the shot, looks down, covers her face... much to my to my dismay.

I do have a few good photos to share...
Sweet Sleepy Jack
Jack on the landing overlooking the computer
Dmitry on the way to causing trouble
My girl broke her collarbone in track. Repeat after me: Track is NOT a contact sport!
The Crosly entertainment center I bought for $7 at Goodwill....not a scratch on it and everything works. Dug out my old records...that's a post for another time!
Matt teaching his Great Uncle Don about Pokemon. This picture is precious to me.
I'm a sucker for these twinkling blue eyes and those freckles.
Matt selling raffle tickets for Hope 4 Paws
I'm related to these crazy people!
....and this crazy little duck, too!

Did I mention he's crazy? What a sense of humor this kid has!
And now he's an orange belt!
Ana went to homecoming
Matt's birthday pizza was bigger than him

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing!" (we helped) babies

Thanks for sharing with me....hopefully I'll get on the ball and tell a few stories! And I still need to find my One Little Word...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Can it be 2012?

Can it be 2012 already? 
Can it be that the last time I wrote in my blog was July 16th!?
Can it be that I haven't been here for 6 months? 

Yes, I'm afraid so.
(Dmitry says, "It is 170 days from the start date to the end date, but not including the end date
Or 5 months, 17 days excluding the end date. But who's counting?")

And even though I have good intentions of being back here, truth is, I'm not sure how consistent I can be. All I know is I'll try.

I look back on the end of year posts from 2009 and 2010 and see that I did favorite photos of the year....and I know that I have barely picked up my camera in the second half of 2011. Not because I don't want to enjoy my photos and my memories, but I think I lost my artistic way a bit. Around about August 2011, I hit the brakes on my creative life and shifted gears and my energies to my new job, because, for the first time in over 6 years, I genuinely liked my job and every person I work with. Not since I was teaching at Westwood College, have I felt that I was in the right place career-wise. Not since Westwood and my dear Frank, have I had a boss who appears to care so much about her employees that I really wanted to work hard. And when you consider how much time you spend working, it's so good if you want to do it.

I've made about 4 digital scrapbook pages in the past 6 months. If you've been here before, you know that is basically nothing compared to 2010 and early 2011.

I took some online classes, Soul Restoration II (yes, I'm a Brave Girl, too), 21 Secrets, and Supplies Me with Jane Davenport, and In the Sun and I'm proud of the results. I've grown my drawing skills and my mixed media repertoire. But, sadly, I fell of the Art Journal Caravan, after 2 years. I traded pixels for pencils and have gotten back to basics. The resulting art work has been harder to share, since I never like the way they photograph and there are many more steps to sharing my art than when I was doing the digital pages.

And finally, it's January 2nd, 2012 and I have yet to share my one word (details for Ali Edwards One Little Word are here) for this year. But, that's what has steered me back here. Because it's important. It's important not to beat myself up for not blogging the last 6 months of my life (mostly because I was focused on my new job and my family).

It's important to me to choose a word that will guide my year, as I have in the past. 2010 had me focused, 2011 was organize.
And this year? 
Wow, this has been a tough one. 

There were so many that I wanted to choose, for several reasons. I need to think a bit more about it and I'll here be back to share what I've decided.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Well, we know Dmitry plays fetch. He comes when he's called and wags his tail like a dog. But, did you know he can Macarena?

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Soul is Filling.....

At the end of May this year, I was laid off of work. This wasn't the type of layoff that one would expect to be called back from, so I'm not sure why they call it a layoff....I guess that's to cushion the blow. Anyway, I was stunned. Knew it was coming, but my emotional self took over for several hours. And then, I was ok. Really, ok.

I felt ok. I got my ducks in a row. I started applying for jobs immediately. I made a list of all the good things that might come of having this time to be home and I must say that helped me not to panic. I'm a silver lining girl all the way.  I know many people who are out of work right now. I hold each of their stories in my heart and root for them to get back to work, too. I feel guilty that I am making the best of this time off. I don't make light of anyone's situation and I feel the pain, my friends. But I want to share my list. My good things list. My silver lining list.

1. I've accomplished stuff. My hall closet is clean and functional!
2. I've enjoyed whole days and not worried about having enough time to do things.
3. I've finished reading one book (Freakonomics) and have two more cued up - 1. Fiction-The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood and 2. Non-Fiction - I Love it When You Talk Retro - both of which I found for 89 cents at Goodwill (see #6).
4. I've made my yard lovely again - with the help of my sister, her hubby and my dear, Invisibob.
5. I've been the "driving mom" for the first time in many years. And I've been happy to do it.
6. I've wandered around the Goodwill stores in my neighborhood, finding treasures. Don't scoff, my money supports their mission and the treasures look great in my yard!
7. I let my kids have sleepovers - heck, I don't have to get up for work in the morning, why not?
8. I've gone to Thursday morning matinees with my dear, IB. (See #4, Bob is known as Invisibob because 1. He does not appear in photographs willingly, and 2. He didn't start appearing at family functions until we'd been together for a while. My dad dubbed him "Invisibob" as a joke, and it stuck.)
9. I've stopped eating fast food and started cooking again -can't say that I don't have the time to cook!
10. I've taught Matt to cook English muffin pizzas (at least I'll know he can make something!)

11. Ana and I pulled out the food processor and made a cantaloupe granita this week- yum!

We're also growing our own herbs: lots of basil for pestos and pizzas, cilantro, parsley, and dill. And, our cucumber plants are coming along nicely.
12. I've indulged myself in art and music - something I haven't had time for in a long time.

13. I had a picnic in my backyard for the first time in the 7 years I've lived here. Ok, I kind of had to force the kids to join me, but it was a good time, nonetheless.

I'm so thankful that I have a family who is there to help me out and be supportive as I look for a job. I have a second interview with the same company next week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'm ready to go back - my soul is filled up again.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

And the cat came back.....

 Fred Penner - The Cat Came Back
Gone for two weeks, then on the 4th of July, Melanie appeared at the door. I saw her first and then called upstairs to tell Matt she'd come back. He yelled for Ana, who was in the shower, and there was great excitment.
The Cat Came Back

Naturally, she read my blog post and was so moved that she found her way home. We theorized that she had been shut up in the house across the street for the 2 weeks since that house was being renovated and there were workers going in and out all day.
The Cat Came Back

Not a scratch on her. That was my biggest worry when I saw her. But no, she was in one piece, nothing wrong. She did run right to the food bowl and chow down.

The Cat Came Back!

Yep, the power of blogging is proven once I said, she must read this blog. Maybe I should write about other things that I've been missing, baseball card collection that was stolen by a boyfriend almost 20 years ago? Think that might bring those 1960s rare cards back? I'm keeping my fingers crossed.