Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jumping into the Pool

I have finally decided to take the plunge, albeit into the kiddie pool.  After talking to Cindy on Wednesday and doing a little research, I've decided to try my hand at trying to sell some of my handi-craftiness online.

I decided to start on eBay, and to start small.  Eventually I plan on working my way up to pre-made scrapbook pages - you know, the kind that all you have to do is paste your photos in and BAM!  You're done!  But for now, I thought I'd get some use out of my Cricut machine.  When I first got the machine several years ago, I used it mostly to make titles on my scrapbook pages, but now the cartridges have moved more into cute cartoon-ey little things.  So I was looking at the booklet for my newest cartridge and thinking, "Yeah, I think people may like this stuff!"  There you have it.  Saturday afternoon I took myself to Hobby Lobby and bought a huge pack of textured cardstock, and that night I started cutting.  First I did fall trees.  And I'll admit, they turned out pretty darn cute!
And here's the listing:  AUTUMN TREE PAPER PIECING

Tonight, I cut out a bunch of Back-to-School sets.  These ones are a little more of a pain in the butt, only because they have rosy little cheeks that are not the easiest to get glued on.  lol  How cute are these??

Based on how these go, I'll make more.  I'm going to try to stay seasonal.  Also, I'll probably stay on eBay for now, but possibly branch onto Etsy.  

So for now it's baby steps:  First:  Pay for the supplies  Next:  Make a profit!  

I'd really appreciate it if you'd spread the word...  over on eBay I'm keeker3.  I've been over there for almost 10 years!  (And to think it all started with a chance encounter with a Furby...)

Much love!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

My Visit with the Beyond... or my Gram

For Christmas last year, my mom gave me a gift certificate for a private intuitive session with a local psychic medium, Cindy Newcomb.  Cindy is great!  I've been to a house party with her and she hit things left and right for people, including me and my mom.  I am fascinated by this stuff - I always have been.  But I also have a terrible memory, and I kept forgetting to call and make my appointment!  Finally I remembered, though, and this Wednesday I made the drive to her brand-spanking new office to meet with her.

When I got there, I walked in and I instantly felt relaxed.  You see, Cindy is more than a psychic medium.  She also practices massage therapy and Reiki, an ancient Japanese "laying of hands" technique that reduces stress and promotes relaxation and healing.  She also has a partner who works there with her who does hypnotherapy.  Very new-age, very bohemian, yet very relaxing.

I climbed the stairs and was met at the doorway by Cindy, and she instantly made me feel like an old friend.  The first thing she said to me was, "I just dragged a fireplace into my room.  Can you guess where it came from?"  She pointed to the floor, where there were drag marks on the carpet from one end of the hall all the way to where we were standing.  I asked her how long they've been in the new office and her answer was, "Three days!"  Then, "Come on, I'll give you the tour!"  She showed me every room and asked my opinion on the decor.  In the mean time, she was already starting to receive communication.  "I think your grandma is talking to me," she said as we headed back into her office/room with the big comfy furniture...

As soon as we sat down (and I started my tape recorder), she asked me who had two dogs – I confirmed that it was my mom and she said, "They're little dogs, right?"  Yep.  "They're like babies to your mom."  (Mom even has one of the dog's faces tattooed on her arm!)  My Gram says that those dogs are nuts (ha ha and that they see her.

She knew that I have a child and that she is a girl.  She asked if she see things?  (I think she does.  If she doesn't see them any longer, she definitely senses them.)  Gram says, She should know her (meaning my grandmother's) name.  She wanted to know if she named after somebody?  In fact, she was.  We gave her my Gram's name as her middle name.  She wanted to know Sassy's full name, and when I told her, she said that she has two angels – I knew what she meant.  Sassy's first name is the same as her 3x great-grandmother, and although we didn't intentionally name her after Grandma Drew, it's still a family name.  Cindy said that both Grandma Drew and Gram are looking after her.

Next she moved on to my former job.  She asked where I worked and what I did.  I was an administrative assistant in a private mental health practice for ten years before my billing job was outsourced.  She asked, "Were most of the mental health people in the billing office?  In the staff?"  Gram says there was one.  She’s being sarcastic.  Yep, I knew exactly who she was talking about.  Of course, you have to be at least three degrees of crazy to work in the nut house, right?  Myself included!

Cindy then asked if I was going back to school.  I told her that I wasn't sure whether I had the brains for it anymore, i.e., I'm pretty sure I have adult-onset ADD.  She said that Gram was listening to the conversation that Joe and I were having the previous day.  (And yes, we had a long conversation about what I wanted to do.  Do I want to stay home?  Do I want to go to school to become a nurse?  Do I want to get a "no-brainer" job in a store?)  Do you want to be a nurse?  You’re supposed to go back to school to be a nurse - an RN.  Do you have to work full-time?  Apparently I’m supposed to be a nurse.  She was kind of being pushy about this, but let's just understand this.  My grandmother was a nurse.  My aunt went to nursing school and two of my cousins are nurses.  It kind of runs in the family.  Plus, Gram was always pushy!  lol

Who died of a head injury?  Who’s Harold or Harry?  Who’s Frank or Francis/Frances?  I had no answers for any of these rapid-fire questions.

Then...  Is your husband driving you crazy?  All I could do was laugh.  Because it's so true.  Gram says he’s driving you nuts.  But you’re probably stuck with him, 'cuz she kinda likes him.  (Who'da thunk???  Seriously!)  She thinks he’s comical.  He’s got a very dry sense of humor.  What’s his job?  (He's a Correction Officer.)  He’s very good at it.  (Yes, he is, but he hates it.  Everyone hates it.  No one says, "When I grow up, I want to be a prison guard and babysit dangerous criminals all day long!")  Everyone at work likes him, but he doesn't like to admit that.

You need to understand that all of this information is coming at me at such a fast pace...  bam, bam, bam!  I was so glad they told me to bring a recording device because I can never remember anything!!  

Cindy then asked me if I was moving, the answer to which was no.  She asked if I had moved a whole room around, and the only thing I could think of was the recent cleaning out of the basement and moving things out for the yard sale.  She asked if we were making room for something, and the answer there was, of course, just to clean out and organize the mess.  She asked if I have a chair that belonged to my grandmother, and I don't.  "Where you were sorting things, is there a chair?"  Well, there is a couch and a chair - we have a sitting room down there.  She was sitting on the couch watching me.  There is a dollhouse that she made down there, on the table right in front of the couch.  Cindy said, "You’re not getting rid of that, right?"  Heavens, no!  We’re fixing it up for Sassy.  My grandparents built two identical dollhouses back in the 1980's, and they gave one to me and one to my cousin Angie.  Mine disappeared because we moved a lot when I was younger.  A-ha!  That’s where the "moving" comes in!  The truth is, I've been talking about that with Sassy a lot over the past few days.  She’s been asking where this-or-that is, and I told her that we moved around a lot when I was younger, so it's been lost...

Out of the blue comes one of my favorite parts, because it's good news for my oldest and bestest friend in the world!  Cindy asked, "Is your sister giving you an issue?"  Well, here's the thing.  I don’t have any blood sisters.  I understand that, but Gram is asking about somebody like your sister.  (Kari and I have referred to each other as 'sisters' for as long as I can remember.)  I said, "She’s not giving me an issue, she’s been having an issue.  OK, apparently Gram wants to talk about that.  Cindy says, She’s going to take up my whole day!  She asked, What was her issue?  I told her that she just had a miscarriage.  OH!  That’s the other baby she has!  (Huh??)  She asked whether she was going to try right over again?  Gram says, we’re going to send her another baby. (YAY!!!!!)  She asked, "Was she only just a little bit pregnant?  Tell her I think January is a good time to get pregnant.  What’s her name?  Did she know if it was a boy or a girl?"  I said  No, but I had a feeling.  Cindy said that she thinks it was a girl.  I think it was a girl, too!  She thinks she gets a boy next time.  Then she asks, Do twins run in her family?  (Yes, they do!)  Does she have to have help getting pregnant?  Did they have to put eggs in?  They’re going to have to and I think she’s going to get twins.  When I told all of this to my BFF later that night, she was so happy!  They have been trying for so many years that this is just the news she was waiting to hear.

And just like that, the gears were switched...

She told me:  You need a profession or something – aren’t you getting bored?  Then she asked, Who’s going to listen to your tape?  I told her that Joe thinks he is.  Gram says, Do you think we should let him?  LOL...  my answer, of course, is no!

Next she asked,  Do you know what March means?  That’s when my Gram died.  "Did she always like Joe?"  She never knew him - we didn't meet until about two and a half years after she died.  She thinks he’s nice – even though he’s grumpy sometimes!  (Hammer, meet nail head.)  "They like him at the prison, even though he gripes about it, he does a good job.  I think he has to stay there."

"Are you having an issue with your lower back?"  Nope.  That’s my mom.  Gram’s a little worried about that.  What’s going on with her back?  Gram says she’s in a lot of pain.  It’s constant.   (Holy crap, yes it sure is!  I seriously don't know how my mom does it...)

She asked, "Do you talk to your grandmother all the time?"  (Oh, yeah!  Like every day.)  "She’s like, 'Cindy!  This is like any other day!  We talk like this all the time!'"  (And it's true!  For me, the veil between the living and the spirit world is very thin...)  Then she asked me, "Do you wake up at 3:00 in the morning?"  (Yes!  Almost every single night I wake up; it's around 3, and I think to myself, 'It's the Witching Hour.')  "She comes to kiss you at 3:00.  She says, 'I come when you’re sleeping, I give you a little kiss right here [Cindy points to her forehead] and I check on Sassy.  And Joe snores.'"  (And he doesn't believe it!!)  Gram says, I’m testifying – he snores!  "Do you have somebody’s blender?  No…  Do you need one?  No…  I don’t even use it!  Is that one of the things down in the basement?  Are you sorting for a garage sale?"  (We just had one.)  She was there.  (She never missed a good rummage sale!)  She said it was a lot of fun!  "Did you make good money?"  We did!  "Did you make like $700?"  I think we made over $1000 between us all.  "She said you made tons of money."

Then:  "I need to know who John is.  He’s very old.  He’s talking to your grandpa - your mother’s father.  I need to know who died of lung cancer or respiratory issues."  Gram died from CHF.  "Was there someone else – a guy?"  (Most everyone in my direct family died from heart issues.  Looking back on this, though, I think that perhaps my ex-stepfather was trying to come through.  I didn't realize at the time that he couldn't breathe when he died.  And the next night he actually came to me in a dream and I apologized to him for not acknowledging him during my reading.  Weird.)  "Who was Charlie or Chuck?  They’re all on your mom’s dad’s side of the family."  (I have no idea who that is...  I still have to do some research.  All I can think is that maybe they were my Pa's Navy buddies??)

Cindy then pointed to my gold-and-diamond pendant that I always wear and asked, "Is that her necklace?"  No, it's not, but this isn't the first Medium who's asked that!  "Why is she claiming it, then?"  (Joe got it for me before we were married.)  She likes it!  (My first jewels…)

"Gram wants to know if there’s anything you want to ask her.  Do you have a tattoo?"  Yes, she was really pissed about that!  Did you get a tattoo for her?  No, but my cousin did.  She’s laughing.  (I told her what the tattoo was - an angel sitting on a cloud with her feet dangling off.)  Gram really thinks it was cool.  Are her initials in the clouds?  (I texted my cousin later that night and asked him and he said that there wasn't, but we're going to inspect it the next time we're together.  lol)    She says, Why don’t you have one for me…  you have another one? 

Then...  "What do you want to ask her?  She wakes you up at 3:00 in the morning and she checks on Sassy.  Do you smell her in your house?"  No, but sometimes we see lights flicker and Sass will say 'Hi, Gram.'  "That’s her.  Do you ever look out of the corner of your eye and swear you see somebody?"  Yes.  "That’s her.  Who’s Doris?"  That’s her aunt.  "Doris is in your house too.  She always runs around in the living room.  They must travel in a pack.  I have a black dog with your grandfather – do you know what that means?"  My grandfather had a lot of hunting dogs.  "Do you remember a beagle?"  Yeah, that one was before my time, but there was a beagle.  "How the hell do you remember all of that?"  Oh, I’ve heard all the stories.  "Yeah, your Gram says, We’ve got tons of stories!'  Are you happy?  She wants to know."  In general, yeah.  I’m not happy when I’m being nagged about a job.  "Oh…  who’s nagging you??"  Hahaha! 

"What’s January?"  My mom’s anniversary.  "What’s your mom think about you getting a job?"  She’s indifferent.  "Yeah, that’s what Gram says.  You tell Joe just to knock it off.  When you’re supposed to go back to work, you’ll just go."

"What’s the place by the water she wants to talk about?"  Camping?  "Did you just do that?  Did you just get back, like, three weeks ago?  Do you always go to the same camp?  Gram goes with you.  So does your grandpa.  Who’s Jack…  he’s talking to Jack.  There’s some damn family reunion going on up there.  He might not be in your family – he might have just known him.  Do you smell your grandma sometimes because she says sometimes she sends you smells.  Do you understand that?  And who was the smoker?"  She used to sneak them.  "She said sometimes if you smell smoke and no one’s smoking, it’s her.  She wants to know why you’re sad – she thinks you’re sad."  Depressed – does that count?  "Are you diagnosed with that?  Whose fault is that, she wants to know?"  I don’t know…  I think it’s her fault.  It runs in the family.  "She says 'Thanks a lot!'  (laughing)  Do you take medicine for that?"  Yes.  "How’s that working?"  Well, if I don’t take it…  "Yeah, she says if you don’t take it you’re naughty!  Do you get real sad?"  I used to, but lately I get manic.  "Oh, so you get wacky!  Are you bipolar?"  I’m not, but it does run in the family.  "Do you have somebody who took their own life?"  Not in the family, but my uncle’s best friend.  "Wanna say Hi to him?"  Yeah, that was Eber.  "That was his name??"  That was his nickname…  Steve was his name.  "Eber – he says 'Yeah, that’s me!'  Did he shoot himself?"  No.  "Do you have somebody who did?"  Yeah, Joe’s friend at work.  "Who’s Nick?  He said he shot himself, too.  He was in law enforcement."

Cindy then asked, "Are you going somewhere in February?  'Cuz your grandma says you’re going somewhere in February."  We’re going somewhere in a couple of weeks…  "Well, that would be a “2” like February would be a “2.”  Where are you going?"  Down to the City.  "Just for a long weekend?"  Yep.  "Going by yourself?"  No.  "Is Sassy going?"  Yes, but she doesn’t know it yet.  "Why do I think she knows, but she isn’t saying?"  She knows that she has a super-secret surprise coming, but she doesn’t know what it is.  "What are you taking her to see?"  The American Girl Store.  "Wow!  Does she have a doll?"  Yes.  "Is it one who looks like her?  What’s her name?"  Helen…  kind of a weird, old-fashioned name.  "Maybe it’s not so weird!  If she sees passed-on people, maybe she knows someone named Helen!"

Switching gears again...  "Do you have really old marbles?"  No, we have really old coins.  "Whose are those?"  Those are my Pa’s.  "You’re not ever selling those, are you?"  No!  "'I don’t know if they’re worth a pot to pee in,' he says, 'but you should keep them!'"  (It's funny that he should bring those up, because right after Pa died my aunt Kathie told me to take them before anyone else tried to claim them because we used to look at them together.  Now it's something that Miss Sassypants and I do together, and it reminds me of him...)

"Who’s Robert?"  Well, we have tons:  Pa’s brother, Gram’s brother, my uncle, my cousin…  "Are they passed?"  No.  Maybe they just want to acknowledge all of the Bobs.  "Tell Sassy she can never name any of her kids Bob!"

She then asked, "Are you bored with your life?"  I feel like I’m too busy to be bored!  "Is your husband bored with your life?"  He thinks I need something to do.  "Doesn’t he understand that you do a ton of stuff all day?"  Umm, apparently not, Cindy!!

She told me that I should really come for Reiki.  A lot of people who come for Reiki actually get off a lot of their depression medicine!

Then she asked, "Who has a German Shepard?"  I did; he was a mix.  "Yeah, your grandpa has that dog too…  what was his name?"  Dinger.  "He was a goofy dog.  What’s December mean?"  My mom’s birthday, my great-grandmother’s birthday…  And what’s her name?  Margaret Frances.  Oh, really?  Margaret Frances??  See??"  I said, Yeah, well I’m slow!  I’m sure I’m not the only one!  Her reply, "You’re so friggin’ funny…  you crack me up!"  Nice to know I can amuse the psychic.  "Do you have a scar on your leg?"  On my knee, yeah.  "Yeah, Gram remembers that.  I don’t know if she was alive when that happened, but she wants to know how the scar on your knee is.  Can you friggin’ believe her?  She’s nuts!  But she thinks you’re fun – she really likes hanging out with you!"  (I got that scar when I was about four.  I was playing on my swingset and banged my knee on a bolt.  I remember it clearly.)  "Did you have a really huge bonfire this year?  Did you almost burn the whole campground down?"  Well, yeah  I was trying to use up the wood and I like to use the charcoal lighter…  "She says, My God, you could see it from Heaven!"

"Is there anything else you want to ask?  I want to make sure you cover everything you want with your grandma before time runs out.  Do you have her ring?"  (Yes, I have her wedding band and her Mother's ring.)  "Good, don’t ever give those away."  (Oh, I never would!)  "'Cuz all the other people in the family are all a pain in the ass and they always fight."  (Because of her son!)  "She knows that…  She babied him, didn’t she?  She says, 'I babied him bad and I’m so sorry!'  What’s his name?"  David.  "Is he really bad?"  (Yeah, he’s the most mentally ill one of us.  Hahaha!  There was a big fight about my grandfather’s dog tag.)

Cindy then said, "I think you need a job that would make your brain happier.  What can you do that would let you stay home?  You’re good at scrapbooking; why don’t you do that for a living?  Take what you’re good at and what you like to do and make that your job if you don’t want to work full-time.  Gram says your life is pretty good right now; you don’t need a full-time job.  Don’t you like being home?  No daycare, though!  Jesus!"  (Did she know what happened the last time I babysat?  Dear Lord!!)

So, in a (giant) nutshell, that was my psychic reading with Cindy Lane-Newcomb.  As you can see, my Gram monopolized my session, but I would have expected, or wanted, nothing less.  And yes, she is a bit like our friend Theresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium, in that she's cuckoo and fun.  I highly recommend going to see her if you're in the area!  It took me about three weeks to book my appointment, which I didn't think was bad at all!  Now, you can be as skeptical as you like, but I know I was talking with my grandmother.  There was no doubt in my mind.  I welcome all comments and opinions - from believers, non-believers and skeptics alike!

Oh, and BONUS!  She totally took a picture of herself and the Flat family that I have with me this month!
She thought it was awesome!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Girl Scouts!

Well, here it is...  Girl Scout season is upon is again.  Holy cow, I wasn't aware that last year's "season" had ended!  Alas, I keep getting these e-mails with the subject line, "Back to Troop" and "First Leaders' Meeting," so it must be true.  Normally, our Girl Scout year runs from October until the beginning of May, but this time we packed so much in that we kept going right up until the start of July, so do you see what I mean?  

First of all, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting in America - it was in March of 1912 when Juliette Low formed the first troop and registered her first Girl Scouts, taking an idea she'd gotten from her good friend Robert Baden-Powell when she lived in England.  It's been a super-huge deal, and one of the things that GS did was have a huge celebration in our nation's capital in early June called Rock the Mall.  Our Service Unit took three buses filled with Girl Scouts from our area of all ages, plus leaders, and we stayed on the campus of Georgetown University for the weekend.  It.  Was.  Awesome.  Our troop took four girls and four moms & leaders, and I'll tell ya...  I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.  Not only did we have a chance to meet Girl Scouts from all over the country and help try for a spot in the Guiness Book of World Records, but we got to explore Washington, DC and learn so much!  In fact, we're hoping to take our troop back down for a long weekend over Spring Break this year, since we didn't get to visit any of the Smithsonian museums.

Then, of course, we dared to take our troop camping on the first weekend of Summer Break.  We opted for a Girl Scout Camp that is very close-by, in a-frame cabins as not to scare those girls who had never camped before.  Oh Lordy, what an experience!  We had one girl who cried almost the entire time (even in her sleep), a possibly rabid raccoon who forced us out of our campsite at 10:00 on the second night of camp...  MAN!  But all in all, it was awesome.  We had our Bridging ceremony up there and it was so sweet.  And we were all thrilled that we had A:  cell & 3G reception in the boonies, and B:  flushing toilets and hot showers.  Now that's camping!  (And yet we wouldn't allow the girls to bring any electronic devices...  heh heh...)

Then there was the matter of our summer "homework," i.e. finishing our Journey that we left unfinished during the GS year.  Oh, and helping Sassy earn extra badges throughout the summer.  'Cuz I'm an awesome mom/leader.  Heck yeah!

So...  Back to Troop, you say??  OK, I can do this.  I co-lead my troop with two other, much more seasoned leaders, both who have been doing this for longer than I have.  This is my third year is all, but they all know that I am the one who organizes things, keeps track of who's got what, who's earned which badges, who's paid dues, and after last year's financial report debacle, where each cent of our money is going!  I have totes in the basement for Cookie Booths, Camping, Crafts...  you name it.  It's nuts!  So a few weeks ago we all met to plan out our first month or so's meetings.  This year we're going to have a multi-level troop for the first time ever, so it's going to be even more complicated.  Brownies and Juniors.  But we wanted to keep our girls together - they're such a great group of girls!  We did manage to map out a lot of plans.  The wine helped.  But the problem was, we still had no meeting space!  We have always met in our town's spiffy Community Center, but after they told us that our spot was secured, they called back to say that they had no space for us.  WTH???  Being back at Square One was so frustrating for me, so I had calls into our local American Legion and two churches.  By Tuesday, we had a meeting space at the local Wesleyan church.    I'd also secured our local Assemblyman to come and speak at one of our meetings about government and his job.  It ties in with our upcoming election and also the first badge that both levels will be earning.  Yesss!  

Now, on to the guts of the task...

Last night I sat down and revised our Troop Information Packet for parents - basic info that they need to know.  I made sign-up sheets for the two programs that we've chosen to do outside of meetings this fall, plus printed out the Troop Activity Forms that we need to turn in to register the girls for the programs.  I found a GS word search for them to do as "busy work" when they're all filtering in at the beginning of the meeting.  I started writing up my lesson plan for our first meeting, but I was too pooped to go get my notes and my Leaders Book to get specific about it.  I'll finish that tomorrow.  Maybe tonight.

Then, oh crap!  I remembered that tomorrow is Open House at our school!  We have a table at Open House every year to sign new girls up!  

I am known to have these ideas pop into my head last-minute, and this was one of these times.  I remember sitting at our table last year and watching the Boy Scouts at their table across the cafeteria.  It looked fun.  They had Pinewood Derby cars and a ramp and all sorts of things over there.  Heck, even I wanted to join!  So I thought, why not spruce up our table this year?  I was thinking of all the things we could do.  We can get the super-awesome tablecloth I made for cookie booths this winter, and use some of Sassy's GS things to decorate the table - her GS dolls, stuffed animals, etc.  Have our annual photo books out for people to see, show examples of what we do...  it'll be awesome!  So down to the basement I head.  First problem:  The tablecloth is missing!  HUH???  I text my co-leader.  "Oh, it's probably at my house.  I'll look tomorrow..."  The control freak I am, I want it NOW and she's not home!  lol  I'll get it, though.  

Thursday is our first meeting.  I have no clue how many of our girls are returning and how many new girls we'll have, but I'm excited and stressing out all at once.  In the mean time, let's just remember the words of the Girl Scout Promise...

Oh my honor, I will try...
To serve God and my Country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

So... Where Does the "Crafty" Come In?

As I'm sure a lot of bloggers do when they finally decide to jump into the world of baring their lives to the World Wide Web, I struggled with the name.  What should I call myself?  My Blog?  I wanted to be clever, but I wasn't really feeling that clever.  I wanted to reflect on myself as a person, as who I am, but who am I? Well, as my profile states, I'm a mom.  I'm a Girl Scout leader.  I'm a scrapbooker.  And I don't sleep.  I turned to my dear group of friends for suggestions, and they had some good ones, but I came up with two on my own and texted them to a friend to choose.  Did I mention that I suck at making decisions??  Well, as you can see, The Crafty Insomniac won out.  (Incidentally, my other choice was Kelbons for the Win!)

Side note...  I Googled my blog the other night.  Yes, "Googled" is a real word in my vocabulary.  Deal with it.  Right under my blog, which is the first result, there is another blogger with the same name!  Crap!  Fortunately, though, she has not posted anything in quite some time.  And I thought I was so darn clever and original!!

Anyhoo, the craftiness, yes.  What I do is scrapbook.  And as I said before, the target of my craft 99.9% of the time is none other than Miss Sassypants herself.  She has one album for each year of her life, birthday to birthday.  And I'll admit, my style has evolved over the years.  I'm at the point right now where I really like to keep it simple.  Oh, and I LOVE to use my Cricut!  Even if you don't scrap, you should own one.  Seriously.  They.  Are.  Awesome.  (Shameless plug.)  Over the past six months or so, however, I'd really been in a scrapbooking drought.  I either didn't have time or I didn't have inspiration to do it.  Even after I lost my job in April and thought, Wow!  This is my chance to catch up!  No, it didn't happen.  You see, I have a method to this madness of mine.  So one day in late July, I sat myself down and started out.  

First, I make my list.  I list out the pages I need/want to do.  It usually involves me going through folders in my computer of photos, looking at what we've done together, since my memory is shot (Thanks, Lyme Disease!).  After compiling my list, I go to my book.  It's a binder filled with ideas and layouts that I've stolen from my favorite (now defunct, but don't even get me started on that) magazine, Pinterest, etc.  I have them sorted by how many photos are in each layout.  After that, it's time to shop.  This was a lot more fun when I still had a full income.  My store of choice is Hobby Lobby, as they seem to have the biggest selection of what I'm looking for, plus I love to hit them up when they have their sales:  50% off paper, 40% off stickers, etc.  I'll take my "cheat sheets," my list and off we go!  What I can't find there, I can usually find at Michaels or Jo-Ann Fabrics, but eBay is a great source as well.  Then it's down to business.  I prefer printing my own photos; that way I can get the sizes I need and I don't have to wait.  All you need is a good photo printer and high-quality photo paper (I prefer a matte finish).  A little time and patience and Voila!

Here, I modestly present to you (in no particular order because, apparently, that's how Blogger wanted them...) some of my recent work from Sassy's seven-year-old album:

Mothers Day 2012

Fathers Day 2012
(I always use the same layout for both Mothers Day & Fathers Day.)

Girl Scouts Heritage Day 2012

Mamapalooza 2012
Frederick, Maryland

Imagination Movers Rock-O-Matic Tour Kickoff
April 2012

Imagination Movers - Englewood, New Jersey
Mover Mamas Invasion
May 2012

Imagination Movers, Syracuse
April 2012

Visiting Santa

Toothless Wonder
January 2012

Girl Scouts Invade Washington, DC
June 2012

Halloween 2011

So I am seriously dying to know...  what do you think?  Any good?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Crush Me... Please!

It's time to KETCHUP with Mel and Michele as they ask the age-old question...

Tell us in 57 words or less about your biggest celebrity crush from childhood. Or, you know, now. Either way.

Here goes...

I was twelve; you were twenty-four.  We shared the same birthday and I thought it was fate.  I loved you from the moment you waxed on and waxed off...
Ralph Macchio, my first celebrity crush.
Those puppy-dog eyes...  that headband.  Oh, Daniel-san!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Worst Mom in the World?

It's probably happened to all of us at some point...  the day when we say to ourselves, "Yes, I am the worst mother in the world."  Well, today was my turn.

Every so often, I babysit for my friend, who is divorced and shares custody of her children with her ex.  She is going to school to finish her degree, and sometimes needs someone to look after her children.  Today was one of those days.  She only had one class, but her campus is an hour's drive from her house.  Her house, in turn, is less than a ten-minute drive from mine.  She was to be back by 2:15, which left me plenty of time for me to make it home before Miss Sassypants's bus let her off at 2:40.

Famous Last Words.

So, things go fairly smoothly...  I only have one child today - the youngest - the boy, who is two.  We play outside, then I fix him lunch.  He goes potty (and pees for me for the first time - YAY!!) and I tuck him in for his nap.  I clean up the kitchen, load the dishwasher and (the OCD freak that I am) dust the entertainment center (Boy, wouldn't you LOVE to have me as your sitter/housekeeper??), then proceed to settle in and read.  Yes, I'm finally jumping on the Fifty Shades bandwagon.  Around 1:40, my phone rings.  "I'm stuck in construction!"  Shit!  "Take the baby to the office.  Boyfriend will take him for you."  (Boyfriend owns his own business.)  OK, I can do that.  So what happens next?  Baby shits his cute little underpants.  Bad.  Boy, that boy has the worst poop known to man!  The kind that can spackle ass-cracks shut for life.  Talk about a derailment!  The following text goes out from my phone:  Dear Lord, this boy has shit his pants!

Ten minutes and half a tub of Huggies wipes later, we're cleaned up and ready to go.  As soon as my hands are washed, we're out the door, ready to meet Friend in the driveway and for me to high-tail it home.  Praying the whole time that I beat the bus.

I thought I made pretty good time...  I thought.  I pull onto my street and see no bus.  Whew!  Into the driveway, no Sassy.  Double Whew!  As I open the car door in the garage, I hear the bus.  Oh, thank God! Then I see it.  The bus is going down the street rather than up.  Oh, shit!!  Where is my baby girl?????  I run out of the garage and around the side of the house, just as she comes around from the back, cheeks ablaze, tears streaming down her face and snot running from her nose.  Oh.  My.  God.  There it is.  I AM THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD.  My baby came home and no one was here!!  She runs to me and I drop to my knees as she grabs onto me, and we both cry.  I am totally shattered.  I have never felt like this before - like a total failure as a mother.  The look on her face said it all as she came around the corner of the house.  I have got to hand it to her, though...  she had the presence of mind to go out back ("I didn't want Mr. Jack to see me, Mommy."  Jack is her bus driver and would have stopped if he saw that she was standing outside the house all alone), and she said that she was going to walk four houses up to her friend's house.  Oh, God.  I have never had this discussion with her!  Another failure!  

Once we both recovered, we went straight inside and I found a spare key for the back door.  We went outside and I showed her how to use it (she's never had to unlock a deadbolt), and we found a keychain - with Imagination Movers gears a la Kiki, and put it in a "secret" pocket in her backpack.  A day late and a dollar short, as my Gram would say.  But now she has the ability to get into the house if, IF it ever happens again.  And if by chance she can't make the key work, I now have it worked out with my neighbor (and one of her best friend's moms) that she can walk up to their house until one of us gets home.  

She seems pretty well-recovered from The Incident, but I am not.  In fact, before she went to sleep tonight, she looked at me and said, "I'm sorry that happened today, Mommy, but I'm glad it wasn't your fault."  Cue my heart melting.  The really fun part will be telling Daddy tomorrow about the whole incident.  Anyone have bamboo chutes?  I'd rather shove them under my fingernails...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Patience... is a Virtue

Yes, I realize that I should be patient.  Patient with my child, patient with my friends, patient with my husband and with complete strangers, for that matter.  Well, truth be told, today I am not.  I am so far away from patient that the sun's light would take a trillion years to reach me!  Why, you ask?  I'm not quite sure.  The first thing I did was check my medication box.  Yep, I took it last night.  Pathetic thing, no?  That that's the first thing I check?  Because we all know that Mama minus medication equals a bad time for all (and yet a sparkling clean house/campsite/craft room/whatever).  If patience was the ice on a pond, it would be so thin right now that no one would be allowed to skate on it.  

Even as I type this, I am waiting for my daughter to get ready for her shower - something that she should have been ready for well over fifteen minutes ago.  Her excuse:  She wanted to show me which were the oldest and the newest countries in the world on an old place mat in the kitchen drawer.  Because that's super important at this moment in time, right?  Right???  Oh, lookie there!  She's ready, yet she ran out into the living room, bare-a$$ naked to look at one of her scrapbook albums from three years ago.  Because that's the smart choice when you know Mommy's at the end of her rope!

Patience with my friends.  Usually it's very easy, but when you rely on one of them to do something and it doesn't get done, leaving it in your hands when it's pretty much too late, it gets very frustrating.  Let's just say that simply because I don't have a job outside of the home doesn't mean that I'm now the designated Chief Cook and Bottle Washer!  I'm actually a pretty busy person!  Suffice it so say, we missed the boat on our normal meeting location for our Girl Scout troop this year and now we're scrambling to find someplace in town.  A town our size has precisely one Community Center, one American Legion and three churches to choose from.  Now we're on to the churches, none of which we have any connection to.  Cross your fingers for me on that!  Or should I say pray?

Patience with my husband?  Well, over the past four-plus months, it's gotten both easier and harder.  When my job of ten years was first outsourced and I was first home all day, it was a huge, and I do mean huge, adjustment.  My husband is a Corrections Officer at a state prison and has 24 years on the job, and he works second shift (in this case 2:30-10:30), which means he's home for the greater part of the day.  He was used to having his mornings to himself just the same way I've been used to having the evenings (after Miss Sassypants is in bed) to myself.  After I'd get her off to school, it was hard for me to know what to do with myself, and it was hard for him to adjust to my being here all the time (though you'll never get him to admit that).  Oh, and there's one other thing.  One huge thing.  The constant nagging about finding a new job.  Well, I'm here to tell ya, pal...  it ain't a walk in the park!  I had molded my job just the way I needed it to be as far as hours went (the advantage of being the senior office staff member), and the flexibility was awesome!  Try finding a school-hours job at a pay rate anywhere near what I was making...  yeah, it's not happening.  I make more on Unemployment, to be honest!  That doesn't stop him though...  Nag, nag, nag.  It's exhausting.  So patience, not so much.

Conclusion:  Today I think the complete strangers win!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Photo Book

To know me is to know that I am an avid scrapbooker.  OK, let's be honest.  It's  borderline obsessive.  To be honest, pretty much the only victim subject of my hobby is Miss Sassypants.  Well, in addition, I like to throw in a photo book every so often.  Case in point, the Summer Fun Book.  I've done this every year for the past four years.  It's just one more way to document our summers together.  See, at the beginning of every summer we make a list of things we'd like to do during break, and we try our hardest to do at least one of these things every week.  We call them our "fun days."  If Mommy's on the ball, she takes pictures, then these pics are turned into the scrapbooks and Shutterfly photo books!  And even better, at the end of every summer we usually get a code for a free photo book in our e-mail.  Bonus!  (And if you're interested, the code this year is SUMMERBOOK and expires on September 12th.)

Anyhoo, here is our book for this year.  If you haven't tried making one before, you really should.  It's easy!  I mean, if I can do it...

You'll love Shutterflys award-winning photo books. Try it today.

Oh, did I mention that if you complete a photo book and share it on your blog, Shutterfly will send you a coupon code for $10 off your next purchase?  Super bonus!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It Happens Every Year Around This Time...

Yes, it's happened.  I am the mother of a third-grader.  Third grade.  Seriously?  When the heck did that even happen?  How dare my baby girl keep getting older?  I mean...  that means I keep getting older, too!  I swear, she's intent on turning me forty one of these days.

So it began at 6:45 in the morning...  our normal "school day" wake-up time.  When I went into my dear daughter's room to get her up, I found her sitting on her bench, fully dressed, reading a biography about King Tut.  Excuse me, young lady, but have you seen my daughter?  I wasn't worried, though...  within a week I'll be fighting with her to drag her tiny hiney out of bed.  

I won't lie, it was rough getting up that early.  After an entire summer of sleeping in and sometimes not getting ready for the day until the afternoon, well, it was not really that fun.  For me.  But this child was up and at 'em and ready to go.  Zipped through hair, breakfast, teeth-brushing...  kissed Daddy - who was still in bed (bum) - goodbye, and out the door we went.  Onto the porch for the obligatory First Day of School Photo...

Off to the bus stop, then onto the bus...

Then, as is tradition in the Insomniac home, it was into the car for me (with the requisite jumbo multi-pack of tissues for the class) to meet Miss Sassypants at school to see her off the bus.  Ouch!  BI#*&!!!  Slammed my knee into the steering wheel console.  My husband had used my vehicle the day before as his was in the shop, and he is apparently either a Munchkin or an 87-year-old lady who has to sit three inches from the steering wheel.  I actually took skin off my knee!  But we made it to school (me and the Puffs), and when that child got off the bus, she looked away like she didn't even know me!  WTH?  This starts already??  Fortunately (for her), she started laughing and stopped, got one last Good Luck kiss from Mommy and off she went.  To third grade.  With her giant package of snot rags.

So, you ask, how would a super-tired Mama spend this seemingly free time?  Why, here...  in the basement. Playing in the water.  Wheeeee!

(This is the second time in as many rainstorms we've gotten water in this part of the basement.  I am so not amused.)

Hubby was getting ready to go to work, but he did peek down the stairs long enough to comment on my boots.
Funny, but "super-awesome" was not the phrase he used...

By the time I finished, it was time to take the man withOUT super-awesome boots to pick up his vehicle from the shop and ship him off to work.  Ahh, peace and quiet...  for all of 40 minutes.  Someone please tell me...  why did I have all of the homework on the first day of school?

Just as expected, though, she had a great day.  She loves third grade - she loves having a locker, she loves her teacher, she loves everything about it so far - but she has one girl in her class whom I cannot stand.  Isn't it always that way?

Now all is quiet in our little Suburban neighborhood...  Baby Girl is in bed, the house is picked up, and thanks to my mom and her pot roast, I didn't even have to cook dinner tonight!  Tomorrow we step further into the school-year routine:  soccer practice.  Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

KETCHUP WITH US - prompt #1

Oh, yes...  this is what finally prompted me to get my blog started, because I have the best advice ever given by an older person whom I've admired. 

The advice is:
It's better to fart and bear the shame...  than not to fart and bear the pain!
This sage advice came from none other than my very own...  GRANDMOTHER!

 Yep, there she is...  Barbara Crocker.  Gram.  No doubt practicing what she preached.
 A classy lass, indeed...  she always had a clever quip to share!  The best sense of humor ever, I might add - twisted - that might explain why I am the way I am.  Alas, she left for the Big Bingo Parlor in the Sky back in March of 1997, but I see a lot of her in my girl...  in a good way.

Thanks to OldDogNewTits and AccordingToMags for prompting me to remember such sage advice from such a fun and crazy lady!

Ketchup With Us

Am I Crazy? Yeah. So What's Your Point?

So I suppose it was bound to happen...  me, starting a blog.  I used to keep up with a blog of sorts of my own when MySpace was "the place" to be, but since then, not so much.  So why would I want to open myself up to whomever in the world would want to know about me?  It's a good question, and one that nearly every blogger probably asks him or herself at the beginning of their journey into the blogosphere.  The truthful answer here is, I don't know.  Or maybe even, Why not?  I really have nothing to hide.  Perhaps this will be a good place to vent my frustrations with life, perhaps I can brag about myself a little (if the occasion ever arises)...  perhaps this is my own form of free therapy.  Any way you look at it, here I am.  

And by the way, who exactly am I?  Well, I'm a not-yet-forty-something mother of one incredible (though sometimes thoroughly frustrating) eight-year-old daughter, a wife of ten years, a recently unemployed stay-at-home mom, a Girl Scout leader, a scrapbooker, a crafter, a reader and yes...  an insomniac.  I'm organized, and yet scatterbrained; patient, yet easily frustrated; oh yes...  and extremely sarcastic.  So if you're ready to go on this ride with me, welcome aboard!  We have plenty of room on the Crazy Train...  and the tickets are free!