31 October 2007

Halloween 2007

I've always loved Halloween, in some ways much more than other holidays. While I say this with no sacrilege intended, I've always been hard-pressed to explain why I feel that way.

This morning on NPR, I heard a piece about Halloween music. The following quote was part of this story, and I have to say it pretty much sums up how I feel about Halloween in general:

"In the days before Christmas, music is there for the big stuff — there's love and joy, but also stress and melancholy, even disappointment.

Halloween, on the other hand, is a holiday of low stakes and small rituals. These days, I mostly spend Halloween night lugging my kids around the neighborhood and then eating their candy after they go to bed. That's it.

Halloween is lighthearted escapism, a celebration of make-believe conflict — fears so unrealistic that it's safe to mock them. And in that way, the songs of Halloween show why it's the happiest holiday of all."

Thanks, NPR. Well said, as always.

Happy Halloween.

28 October 2007

WHO loves owls?

I do!

I, for one, think it's high time that owls are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, following the current "back to the 1970's" trend. Owls remind me of my growing up years, back when lots of people collected owl figurines. There were owls on shirts and dish towels, and even a wise old owl in my Brownie Girl Scout handbook. I love owls so much that I've recently been on the lookout at flea markets for a certain kind of ceramic owl to put in my green and gold ("That '70's Show" colored) kitchen.

As I've talked with my friends about owls, however, I've discovered a curious thing: People either love 'em or hate 'em. There is just no middle ground where owls are concerned. And those who hate owls seem on the verge of some kind of anti-owl (or even anti-bird) revolt. Seriously.

But being an owl fan, of course, I could not resist the "Oliver and Friends"
Sassafras Lass stamp set when I found it online a couple of months ago. I decided to try it out on an anniversary card for my parents. The card reads:

WHO...wishes you a happy anniversary? We do! That's WHO!

Let's just hope my parents still like owls. Otherwise, I may be grounded.

27 October 2007

Tagged!

Thanks for the tag, Darcey! Here are the rules:

You've been tagged!
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself (on your blog -- we all want to know them).
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I'm actually not going to tag specific people, so if the spirit moves you, please consider yourself tagged! Post a comment here so we can zip over to your blog to read your 7 random and/or weird facts!

OK, I don’t do random very well (not a surprise for those of you who know me IRL!) so maybe I’ll try for weird facts that you probably don’t know instead:

1) Back when I was in college, I was driving home from dinner one evening and was hit by a drunk driver. I’ll spare you the ugly details but suffice it to say I was incredibly lucky to walk away from that accident with only a broken jaw and a few other injuries. My big eighties hair actually saved me from cuts when my head went through the windshield.

2) I am not a morning person. I prefer to stay up very late (1 or 2 am) and sleep late in the morning. At this stage in my life, though, I’m staying up late but not sleeping late in the morning, so I’m usually sleep deprived.

3) I guess you could say I’m a true introvert. I crave time alone. I really hate big parties and large crowds. Strangely, though, I'm completely comfortable teaching or speaking in front of groups. Go figure.

4) Once in high school when I was driving to Star Wars with my mom, we stopped at a stop light and the guy in the car ahead of us leaned out of his window, pointed a gun, and shot at us. The windows in our car were open and we could actually smell the shot but never found a bullet. Instead of going to Star Wars, we spent the afternoon at the police station trying to pick the guy out of a book of felons. (Oh, we never ID'd the guy but we did eventually make it to Star Wars.)

5) I have absolutely no sense of direction. I used to get lost in my high school between classes. I have been hopelessly lost many times, once even ending up in the wrong country. In fact, I got lost just yesterday less than a mile from my house. To those of you reading this and worrying about me: Don’t. I’ve always been directionally challenged. I don’t even think about it anymore. It keeps things interesting.


6) I cut almost everything I eat with a knife.
That would include bananas, candy bars, sandwiches, pizza...you name it. (This is probably a carryover from when my jaw was broken and I was on a liquid diet for months.) I catch a lot of grief for this from my family, as you might guess.

7) I keep my toenails polished at all times. My nails are generally a mess, but my toenails always look good.

25 October 2007

Feline Friday: Daily Fiber

On several occasions last week, I found Lily in the middle of the kitchen table eating the napkins. I don't even pretend to understand her appetite for paper products. You'd think we were starving her from the way she woofs them down.

I guess a girl needs a little fiber in her diet.

24 October 2007

Pumpkin Picking 2007


Eighty pounds of pumpkins, strapped tightly into a wagon

Two scruffy cats, one soon to be a mama, weaving graceful figure-eights

A crisp fall breeze, a golden autumn sun

Brown leaves crunching underfoot

Warm apple pie, just out of the oven inside the orchard store

A girl, dancing on the edge of her future

Could time please stand still, just for a little while?

23 October 2007

End of the season

This week, I'm a bit sad because our marching band season has ended. Our program this year was from Wicked, and the kids loved the music. In fact, many of the marching band members traveled to Chicago this summer to see the production.

The kids had a successful season competitively, too, taking first place in two of three shows and achieving a record high score by the end of the season.

So no more Friday night football games hanging out in the end zone with the band parents. No more videotaping while wrapped in a blanket and clutching a warm cup of something. No more 6:30 am drumline rehearsals.

Now other activities will fill in those spaces. Jazz band and show choir will soon kick into high gear. But somehow nothing will ever take the place of marching band.

18 October 2007

Feline Friday: Kit Cats - Part II

I've been working on kits this week for my next Christmas card class, coming up this Saturday.

Of course, things always go much more smoothly when I have our two able-pawed Kit Cats helping.

This time, Tinsel was doggedly diligent in her monitoring of the cardstock, but Lily wasn't quite as attentive to detail. Shortly after we started working, she was caught sleeping on the job in the napkin basket.

15 October 2007

Countdown to Christmas To-Do List

I've been a busy girl and haven't had a chance to blog regularly this past week. In an effort to redeem myself, I'm posting a few pictures of a take-home project I am working on for the store where I teach.

I decorated this little lunchbox tin with one of this season's Making Memories Christmas lines, "Deck the Halls". I love the fact that the paper is heavy like cardstock and is double-sided, which provides lots of options for a project like this.

The box itself is a Christmas Countdown To-Do List. The cards are numbered from 25 down to 1, indicating the number of days left until Christmas. So on December 1, you would pull out the Day 25 card. You know all the things you need to do to get ready for Christmas, like...um...shop, bake cookies, make cards, etc.? I listed those tasks on the back of each of the cards.

Mind you, this is not my own personal list. I'm not good at all about getting ready for Christmas. (In fact, my own list would start on about December 22.) I pulled various lists from the Internet and put a few tasks on each day. Customers can take home the list and put the tasks on whichever days they prefer. Far be it from me to have everyone doing their shopping on December 23. Just because I do that doesn't mean it's advisable.

Practical or not, this was a fun little project to create. I will almost admit that it moved me a little bit more toward that holiday spirit.

10 October 2007

Observations on a Wednesday

Here are a few random observations for today, since that appears all that I'm capable of at this point:

* Sharon's Informal Underwear Survey is now closed. Since Sharon had asked several people about their underwear folding habits prior to this blog survey, I am adjusting the totals as follows to show 42 respondents:

  • 26 -- fold their underwear (62%)
  • 2 -- roll their underwear (5%)
  • 11 -- toss their underwear (26%)
  • 2 -- stack their underwear (5%)
  • 1 -- presumably wears no underwear (and only you know who you are) (2%)

So it would appear that of this informal, unscientific sampling, folding underwear is the most common practice. I asked Sharon what this all means. She simply referred me to the title of the book she's been reading: Life's Too Short to Fold Your Underwear. I think she is subtly trying to encourage all folders to become tossers, or even flingers. (How about it, folders? Care to start living on the edge?) Now I'm even wondering how much time I would save if I didn't fold my underwear. Perhaps I could use that time to actually get some scrapbooking done.

* Lily should not eat rubber bands.

* Today's temperature is 52 degrees. I wore my sandals today. Then I decided that 52 degrees is almost too cold for sandals. Now I'm wearing two pairs of socks. But no sandals.

* One should not eat too much candy corn in one sitting. Or one standing, for that matter.

* My garden has never looked worse. It looked good at one point. Now it looks bad. What happened in between?

* Quite often, it sucks to be me. And it's completely my own doing. Or undoing, some would say.

* The wind is blowing the locust tree pods all around our development. I'm sure we'll soon be everyone's favorite neighbors.

* I'm getting better and better at procrastinating.

* It's hard to make a grilled cheese sandwich without the cheese.

Perhaps tomorrow's blog post will be more meaningful, but for today, that's all I've got.

08 October 2007

And now, a card

Here's a card I just finished up for our store's book club this evening.

The challenge for this month was to make something inspired by a layout created by our fearless leader, Darci. Her project featured photos and patterned paper cut into 12 squares, with a title in the lower left-hand corner. I was inspired by the design of her page and thought that it would work well for a card. I simply rotated the design so that the title was in the lower right-hand corner. Using the Cosmo Cricket double-sided cardstock Darci provided, I punched 12 squares and arranged them until I liked the design. I used a word cut from the paper for the greeting.

Very simple, and now I have something to show for myself this month!

05 October 2007

Feline Friday: A Lesson in Endurance

















What can't be cured must be endured. Proverb

Although her eyes reveal a quiet desperation, Tinsel allows Lily to wash her head. 4 Oct 07

03 October 2007

Kit Cats

I am in the midst of making kits for fall classes this week. Measuring, cutting, writing, punching, counting, packaging...lots of activity in my kitchen.

And of course, things go much more smoothly with my two Kit Cats helping.

This is Tinsel. Her specialty is cardstock. She steps on each sheet to check the texture.

Lily's specialty is embellishments. She chews on brads to test for durability. She sucks on ribbon to check for frays.

Yep, it's quite possible that (in spite of my best efforts), you may find a cat hair in your kit.

I hope you'll just smile (not sneeze) and think of it as a "Quality Control" inspection slip from one of my Kit Cats.

01 October 2007

Hello...LA Weight Loss Center?

I was getting my hair cut this morning when my cell phone rang. It was Spouse.

"You need to get home right away and take care of this."

"What?"

"What your cat did."

He proceeded to tell me that Lily had knocked the container of food off the counter, spilling the contents all over the kitchen. (Remember, folks, this is the plastic container I use so that Lily doesn't gnaw a hole in the side of the food bag.) When Spouse came upon the mess, Lily was lying in the middle of it, presumably too full to eat any more, and Tinsel was sampling a few pieces around the edges, completely taking advantage of the windfall.

From his description, I knew it was bad, but I was still a bit shocked when I walked into the kitchen. Food was everywhere, in some places two inches deep. It was in the bathroom, in the family room, and under the fridge. As I surveyed the situation, Lily sauntered down the stairs, her belly bulging. She nibbled a few pieces and then waddled away. I have never seen Lily walk away from food. That could only mean one thing, and I'm guessing you know what that is.

I swept up the food and poured it back into the container. It was then that the shock really hit: The container had been full when I left the house this morning. Now, the food level was down four inches. Four inches! That represents a couple of days of food rations for these kitties, scarfed down in less than an hour.

Needless to say, they're on a water-only diet for the next day or so. And the food container will be moved to an undisclosed location.