Thursday, November 26, 2009


I started this post while everyone was listening to some comedians on the internet post dinner. It never got published, but I decided to continue with it one week late. Indicative of how life has been humming along since the Company came and left.

One thing I've been intentional about as a parent has been creating traditions. At least one POSITIVE thing I've created are traditions :) I'm certain I have been UNintentional about creating all kinds of things, but that will be for another post someday. (when my kids are 33!).
Thanksgiving was full of happy traditions! My mom comes from Indiana each year and my sister and her family come from NC. We spend the morning at a local running race for the homeless each year. Sometimes we absolutely freeze. Sometimes we are covered with snow. And, rarely, a day like last week shows up and we are blessed with sunshine and temps in the low 40s! Perfect. The race is getting bigger and bigger every year and we are getting faster and faster even as we get older and older. All of these are encouraging traditions I say! I am proud of myself for getting out there and running again. Even prouder of the rest of my family for ALL participating!

We had 13 around the table. Lots of family and lots of history since we have been planted here for so many years... and the only person I have that truly resembles a brother (having known him since Jr. high) was here with his family too. The feeling was pleasant and light and I was grateful. I am aware that the positive traditions surrounding our family Thanksgiving are a gift not all families share.
Running in the sunshine. Simple Thanksgiving meal served on my in law's 50 year old china. Pumpkin and pecan pie. A few words of Thanksgiving from everyone and a rousing chorus of the Doxology. Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Dreary November morning. Just the way Ohio Novembers should be: drippy and chilly. I'm happy to have a day at home except for the lingering headache. Tired of that, but I'll move past it to keep up the cleaning for company (ahh... November) and the birthday planning (November!) and the sorting (OK... always...).

Found a fun idea for Thanksgiving place cards here:

Love the combination of digital and paper creations. Now to budget in the time for the fun touches to welcome family and friends to the celebration next week. There will be plenty of things to add to "November"... but that's all for this morning.

Cozy up.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Wordle: Weekend Retreat


A couple of simple pages from my summer vacation album. I am refreshed at retreats too!

We have these really great new CM calendars! I can't wait to finish one and get it printed. Christmas gifts galore. Especially for the people who have everything (most of us!)

Some people would not give this post such a title. To each his (her) own.

48 hours. 40 women. Hundreds of scrapbook pages. Wine and cheese. In room Jacuzzis. A variety of music, beer, diet soft drinks and laughter. No kids. No cooking. No cleaning. No clients, patients, files, calls, car pool or messes to clean up. For the 40 women who came to our annual Creative Memories Fall Girlfriends Getaway, this indeed IS REFRESHMENT!
We can be introverts and focus on our digital art or chat away while cropping paper and photos. We can stay up all night, or go to bed early. We can hide in our rooms and watch movies. We can eat what we like, pretty much when we like, or not eat at all. When the weather is smashingly beautiful, as was the case this weekend, we can run or walk in the sunshine in small town Ohio, or stay seated for two days. Refreshing choices all around!

I really love the chance to give women a time and place to getaway. We are so often the ones focused on everyone else's needs and schedules that we neglect ourselves. We may want to work on our photos or spend time with our friends "someday", but we are too quick to put off "someday" for far too long. Since that is so often the case, it makes me happy to include 40 women in a weekend JUST FOR THEM. Task oriented or not, they all made these 48 hours what they wanted and needed them to be.

Now home, I'm a little tired as I always have been over the past 10 years of hosting retreats. But, it's a satisfied tired. I'm grateful for the chance to mingle with friends and acquaintances over and over again for times of refreshment just like these.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


We said goodbye to our faithful and messy walnut trees today. Knowing this was their last season is one reason I took some photos of the walnut gathering the other day. (see the Walnuts post). These trees have stood tall in the back yard for the ten years we've lived here. Most importantly they provided solid anchors for the giant swing we installed with worn out climbing rope and some cables. We celebrated many happy swooshes into the air thanks to our old walnut trees. With the trees demise, memories must because a little more solidified with no visual reminder out back.

Saying goodbye to trees is always hard. If I had it my way, I'd never cut down any of them. But, in neighborhoods where trees, houses and people coexist, the later to generally outlast the former. Such is the case in our yard. Hurricane Ike reeked havoc in our yard when the winds came through and a huge, dangerous limb came crashing down off the front poplar knocking out neighborhood power for a matter for days. A scenario we didn't want to repeat, especially on top of the house!

The good ending to the saying goodbye: Our dentist friend, Kevin, is an amazing woodworker. He's going to take the wood and get it to the saw mill and use it for furniture. We're hoping he'll come through on the promise (was it a "promise"?) "I'll make you guys something!" Oh YES! Would we ever LOVE to have something made from our friends the walnut trees.

When summer roles around we'll especially miss the walnut trees, but there will be a little more sunshine in our yard. Maybe enough to grow some real grass.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


The week was more than a little busy. Projects all just-in-time-delivery. No time for general maintenance except for keeping the kitchen in good enough shape so as not to breed disease.

My studio-office however, was another story. When redesigning a room for home entry, the architects talk about a "DROP ZONE". You know, the place where you unload everything just after you grabbed several items with your teeth in order to free up a hand to turn the door knob into the house (not always successfully). Architects assume one flat surface and/or some hooks for a DROP ZONE. Me? This week I had an entire ROOM that performed the task quite well, thank you very much.

After my psuedo rant about the testosterone spilling out all over the house in my other post, I figured it was time for the truth to come out, though I DID mention my messy office already! Artists + Projects = Mess. Just the way it is for me. Here you are... a sneak peek at last night's DROP ZONE.

Actually, in process pictures for the cross country runners for the banquet. I hope they liked them.

Three memorial services in three weeks, cross country banquet and photo gifts for over 40 kids and two coaches. The school auction (see "STITCHES" for a glimpse of the quilt!) It went for $250. I think the kids will be proud! A craft fair to pack up for, set up and do. My BFF arriving back in town after being gone for over two weeks with the loss of her dad. Ordering supplies and getting letters our for next week's Creative Memories Retreat. Not to mention time at the gym for some PT stuff and general life maintenance.

My list of excuses for this large, lovely room becoming such a disaster in the aftermath of my busy-ness. Whew! And, what am I doing this evening? Instead of moving stuff and putting it all away, I'm writing about how messy this room is (and am not feeling particularly badly about it at all!)

Feel free to come visit! I'll find a chair someplace.

Friday, November 6, 2009


The morning after three talented man boys hung out.
It could be a lot worse I think...

Keeping them fed is just NOT an easy task.

Home office.
Budding "muscian"

Watch out for these. Vibram Five Fingers.
Only guys can eat donuts and run within the same hour.

Band Practice Snack Selection. What happens when teen boys go to the store all alone.

This is one thing I did not anticipate as my only daughter went off to college: so much MALE. I've been caught off guard after living with another just like me for 19 years. I am now only surrounded by my tall husband, my tall man/child son, his friends, the guy remodeling our bathrooms, the guys in car pool, etc… And, just when my daughter goes off to college, my best friend has been out of the loop for over 2 weeks attending to family needs. What's a girl to do? !

Now, don't get me wrong… I happen to like men, but they are well… different. At my house, at least.

They eats lots and lots (and lots) of cereal. Mr. Southbeach has told me that cereal is crossed off of my list so I don't join them.

They sweat. That translates to lots and lots of athletic style laundry. (see former post "Walnuts" regarding the recent decrease in the laundry department, however). I do work out, but I don't' sweat, I glisten.

Running shoes stink. Especially Vibram Five Fingers. And since a lot of running happens around here, there is a lot of potential for olfactory distress!

At my house there is a general sense of "Oh, I didn't see that laying there on the floor (or substitute table, bathroom, sink, pretty-much-anywhere)" Even the notes that I post right at eye level at the front door get missed. Yea, this is mostly for the man/child. I know. Hubby hates stuff laying around and I'm the queen of messy counter tops in my office. (Another post, another time…)

Milk stays in only one spot in the fridge. Why? If it wasn't there, male types wouldn't be able to find it. You know, we have a really, really, really big fridge with like three shelves! Don't even think about sending them off to find mayonnaise or leftovers.

They like the idea of leftovers. Not the reality.

We have, well, sorta kinda different tastes in music too. Especially, man/ child and me. Our car pool route is short enough for me to be a generous mom and let him play assorted CDs and radio stations. Loud. It is one of the only times in my life when having a hearing disability comes in handy. (Must remember that in moments of frustration, Andi)

I know lots of moms who have spent their days with heaps of boys… and I know they often love it and prefer it to a pack of girls. It's still new to me, I guess. Growing up with a sister, lots of Girl Scout friends, roommates, etc…

Today I noticed the testosterone. Tomorrow I'll buy more cereal and milk and move the leftovers to the top shelf, put them on a plate with a little garnish and microwave oven instructions. And call the USDA and have them amend the food groups to include Macaroni and Cheese.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


The sunshine broke through in the middle of our hours long raking session today. This was Round #3 in Leaf Raking Match 2009. The leaves keep winning. But, prior to raking, there is the gathering. In our case, the gathering of walnuts and sticks.

I tried to make quick work of it, but alas, it just takes time to get my sorry old knee to bend down close enough to the ground for the gathering. The containers that I put the walnuts in (I guess they aren't food worthy after all) are far too heavy to lift in order to get them back to the compost, so I've created yet another autumn conundrum.

Then there was the Leaf Raking Match #3 between me and teen son. Not pretty. I fear I am the only one who has raised a child with no work ethic. Or, he has a work ethic I suppose, it is something like this: "Do Not Work at All Costs". And so our little leaf raking session was a little more "chilly" than I would have preferred on this beautiful day. Chilly with cold stares, teenage boy complaints and attitude and therefore, consequences.

Pulled the plug in the computer for a few days and I have decided to boycott teenage boy laundry until further notice. Stay tuned.

The leaves will continue to fall and there is always room for "attitudinal redemption". Not sure the opportunity will be seized, at least not until the jeans start walking all by themselves.

EIGHT: That's the maximum number of these little round gems I could pick up at once.

I think we may have won for the biggest piles in the neighborhood! One acre full of trees!