Saturday, December 13, 2008

Got Tagged - Wanted to Share

I've been tagged, so here we go! Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 16 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 16 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.
1. My husband and I met online in an AOL chatroom in 1995 and we've been on the local news as part of a program about couples who met online.

2. My paternal grandfather was born in Poland, came to the U.S. with his mother when he was 2 years old and had his own business.

3. My grandmother was one of 9 children (and the oldest of 7 girls) and used her older brother's birth certificate to get a job in a thread factory before she was really old enough to be working. That is why her employment history is in the name of Francis but her name was really Katherine. My daughter is named after her. My mother's name is Frances.

4. My first job was in the wonderful world of fast food - would you like fries with that? While in college I did manual labor in a chemical manufacturing plant for two summers and hated every hot, stinky second of it but loved the paychecks.

5. My father has one sister, my mother has one sister, and I have one sister.

6. I've been an avid reader ever since I could read at all and read all of the books in the Nancy Drew Mystery series - up to the point when I stopped reading them so just over 50. I found the first one in my grandmother's attic and was hooked from that point on.

7. When I was growing up my family vacationed at the New Jersey shore (southern, i.e. Cape May, Avalon, Stone Harbor)

8. I've been collecting Christmas ornaments since I was around 10 or 11. Our Christmas tree doesn't go up until right before Christmas, no earlier than a week before and it stays up until Jan 6 (Epiphany), even though the folks here in the South (ha ha, in Washington DC) put their trees up at Thanksgiving and take them down the day after Christmas.

9. My favorite meal is Thanksgiving dinner and I really enjoy my own cooking when I do Thanksgiving.

10. I went to Catholic school for 12 years and have remained a devout Catholic, very thankful that I had the benefit of the religious education baked right into my everyday schooling.

11. I love the smell of Pink Pearl erasers, old-time Coppertone suntan lotion, bayberry candles, and my kids.

12. I've been friends with the same group of five women online for over ten years and we're in touch with one another almost daily. I've only met one of them in person.

13. I drink my coffee black.

14. I like buying craft supplies for scrapbooking, crocheting, embroidery, painting - just as much as I like using them.

15. I have ADD and can't stand when things are really chaotic and there isn't a plan or rationale for doing something - when there's no plan or rationale I would rather just sit and read a book than chase my tail or otherwise waste time.

16. I don't have a hidden agenda - what you see is what you get.

I'm off to meet a friend who beaded some bracelets for me to give as Christmas gifts. She has a son with health issues and uses her jewelry proceeds to put toward extras for his care - like taking a swim with dolphins one year. She's a fellow scrapbooker so another reason to patronize her business vs. giving my dough to a store with a 200% markup, right?

I'm off!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Husband's Performance Review

DH and I get really uneasy around review time because we're not the type to kiss corporate ass nor hold our tongues in matters when we feel the right thing isn't being done - for the client - not for ourselves. So our good reputations and work product aside (I mean RESULTS) sometimes we feel we're merely tolerated as necessary evils in the organization so when review time comes along we KNOW we're not going to get the highest ratings....and today is DH's performance review so created my own review of his performance as husband and father and sent him the following:
Name: Jeff Clarke
Position: Husband and Father
Time in Position: 10 Years

Category Rating

Snuggliness 1
Keeping your looks 1
Dependability 1
Provide for family 1
Can fix anything 1
Reassurance/Security Quotient 1
Fun Dad 1
Devotion to kids 1
Bad Habits to a Minimum 1
Partnering 1

Overall Awesome Rating 1

Performance Notes: You are appreciated by your family because you are always there for us to take care of things and provide reassurance (by your readiness to say “do not fret my pet” anytime necessary) and stay calm in emergencies. You are especially loved by your children because you spend most of your time taking care of them and making sure they are having fun. You are loved by all of us including the critters for being wonderful awesome you.

Scale: 1 = Super Outstanding; No one else comes close

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Preparations

I have so much to do at home to get ready for the holiday – things I need to do, things I want to do, etc. and I just pass out once I put the kids to bed. My neighbors have their lights up outside their houses and I have my 3 hanging pots with dead geraniums still hanging on my front porch from the summer…Priorities, right? Oh, but I did replace the missing lightbulbs from the front porch so it’s reeeeeaaal nice and bright and you can really see the nice brown leaves up there!
LOL I really need to do something about that – maybe tonight on my way in I’ll just take the little suckers down!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Follow Me, Follow You

If you're reading my blog you have the option to click on the link that says "Follow Cynde". It would make me feel so appreciated - so if you appreciate my humor and can relate to my ranting please Follow Me!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Freecycling Rocks!

Last night I scored a 6 ft, four shelf metal unit from someone on Cascades Freecycle! We've said we needed about 6 more to move forward in organizing our basement so we can move forward on finishing it off little by little. Just by sitting at the computer I gave away a really old 10 speed bike and got the shelving. I love FREECYCLE!! Later I have to look through my garage sale pile and pull out the kitchen housewares stuff for another freecycler who is setting up household. Bye bye old glassware and cannisters! I have so much more to do but with every item that goes out the door and into the hands of someone who is actually in need of it - makes me feel so satisfied!! I think Jeff just got hom efrom picking up the shelving - YAY!
Now we'll fight over where to put it - my vote goes to the kids' area so we can stack their bins of toys, at least on the bottom two shelves. Seriously this organizing can be so overwhelming but by focusing on getting rid of things a little at a time it's not so daunting. I need to go through my closet to make sure I have no more small size slacks because I have a home for them if I find any.

Friday, November 28, 2008

and I'm Baaaaaack

In under an hour and a half I got my two craft carts - wrapping paper storage tote (this one tall enough for rolls of paper, unlike the last one I bought assuming it would be tall enough because it was for wrapping paper...NOT! Picked up some stocking stuffers for the kids, some cool books for them, scrapbook paper for a special project or two or three, and some ornaments that will go on gift packages. The parking lot for the Leesburg outlets showed signs that it was mobbed last night (cars parked on the grass on the outskirts of the parking lot). As I left Jo-Ann's I saw the news chopper flying overhead monitoring traffic and the lot was again full at the outlets. Jo-Ann's wasn't as bad as it could have been - only two ahead of me in line and I thought these craft bins would have been going like hotcakes at that price. After an additional 20% off they were $25. There's no going back to bed because I have the hair appt later and after that forget it because Jeff is going for a massage - finally - that was a gift from Father's Day that I had to finally break down and make the appointment for because he'd never have scheduled it. I may be at the movies later with the kids to see Madagascar 2 which won't be so bad because definitely after that I'll be napping!


Oh yes I did - I woke up sharp as a tack at 4 a.m. thinking the Jo-Ann Superstore, which has this craft storage rack for sale at 57% off, was opening at 5...oh yes I did! Fortunately, I looked at the sale flyer again before heading out in the cold. They open at 6! Considering there's nothing I need at Kohl's at 5:00 a.m., nor Walmart, I am still at home but leaving in 6 minutes to head to Jo-Ann's. I can't believe I woke up but I was up and dressed with travel mug of hot coffee in hand right on schedule. I am a woman on a mission today!! There's nothing in the flyer that says limit 1 or 2 per customer so the thing is that I'm tempted to get 3. These things are, in my opinion, overpriced - all of them - whether they're the high end ones or the cheapie ones - any of these storage bin thingys, with or without wheels are overpriced. That is why my internal clock had me up and ready - I know a good deal when I see you really need any more proof than that?
I suppose I could have used the extra hour to jump in the shower and do something with my hair but, seriously, WHY? Why would I do that for the craft ladies at Jo-Ann's when I have a hair appointment at 11 anyway? I should probably head straight from Jo-Ann's to the mall so I can get a parking space on this crazy day called Black Friday. I know the mall will be a mob scene but I wasn't thinking about that when I made the appt and I REALLY need a haircut and highlights! There's my timer - off I go!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I did it, I'm dressed for Mass with 10 mins to spare

I pushed myself to get into the shower lest I get bogged down arguing with the kids about their little messes and their whining. If I get out of the house first thing I'll have a good start and some momentum. I had to go down the hall to the linen closet for fresh towels and peeked into the bedrooms of the older kids and both look like a bomb went off in them. Since the 4 year old does a better job of keeping her room neat and knows that when she's told to pick everything up off of the floor that doesn't mean just put it all on top of a piece of furniture (or under) we're going to have a little contest to see which of the older two does the better job of picking up their room and the little one will be the judge. This contest is in lieu of my going downstairs and screaming at them about the mess while they're enjoying their Sunday nice of me, huh?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, er, sort of

My child is screaming bloody murder. She's had the freshest mouth for weeks now and she's been warned. Daddy finally had it and put her in her room for a time out. That's didn't go over well...more screaming. Brother is at a friend's playing so what should be a quiet afternoon with the girls watching a movie and daddy and me web surfing has turned into a battle zone. Suddenly it's quiet. And it's dark today too, because it's rainy. I want to put down this laptop and roll over and have a snooze but it's 4:30 and I cooked a roast so now have to go make my potatoes and another veggie and finish off the dinner. Then I'll have the evening but unless I get a 2nd wind I don't think I'll be downstairs in my scrap nook working on anything. The mind is willing but the body wants to stay right here and watch Law&Order later - maybe play a little wordscraper on least I got out to pick up my prescription and get groceries so I can cook this weekend. This new work schedule leaves no time to plan, shop for, and cook a meal or any combination of the above, during the week. Tonight is a little roast beef with mashed potatoes and asparagus, tomorrow I'm planning to make chicken soup and also a pot of tomato sauce with Italian sausage in it to have over pasta for dinner one night this week. I need a 2nd wind, I need a 2nd wind...forcing myself to get up so I can put the potatoes on to boil and rotate the laundry out of the washer and into the dryer and then fold some.
Jeff cleaned today - thoroughly mopped the tile floors in the kitchen and family room - had to change the water in the middle...I need to call the cleaning lady this week and have the little chat about not being able to afford to pay her to come and half-ass clean my house when I'm capable of half-ass cleaning it myself....It's taken me a few weeks to get to the point of being ready to have this conversation because I was so irritated about having to have it in the first place. I'm not as irritated now. I'll walk through the dry mopping under all of the furniture in the family room, wiping down the baseboard/tiles in the bathroom where water drips from hand drying and it gets gungy, and the use of the sponge mop vs. the stick and rags on the more time....and this will be the last time. During the three weeks my thoughts ran the gamut of - just stopping the service and doing myself, hiring someone else, having the talk but then worrying that there will be resentment, etc. It's only fair to have the talk. These are bad times economically and no one can afford to lose income. I'd want to know the real deal. These are conversations that are difficult for me to have....I just want everyone to do what they're supposed to do and then everybody's happy. It doesn't work that way, does it?
I have to finish off this dinner-making because Jackson needs to be picked up in about 40 mins.....If anyone needs lessons in how to waste time please drop me a line - I am sooooo good at it!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

back to what was i thinking

Ok, I had my hands really full before but this week started commuting into DC (planes, trains, buses) and I have to just wake up in action mode, get ready and leave to catch the bus. No time to think, help, eat, etc. Unless I get up earlier... I know this is a new thing and will settle into a routine but last night I fell asleep putting Jackson to bed and slept in his twin bed all night with him. I mean straight through. Meaning I didn't hear the 6:00 alarm and got up at 7 so no 7:14 bus for me today. So I'm on this bus and I need a tissue but used them all yesterday because I have this headcold. It seems I need to create a master plan here around meals, activity schedules, homework, laundry (to make sure everyone's activity uniforms are clean and ready). So yes Miss Smarty pants who was conducting it all like Leonard Slatkin with the Washington Symphony, well yes she's stumped boys and girls.
Now I'm back on the bus after a day of sitting in front of my computer doing an online orientation. When I opted to leave iknew there was a tight window to make the 5:45 bus. What I didn't expect was that both the bus and the train would shut their doors in my face and pull away. If it had,it happened on the metro I would have been on the earlier bus. How on earth am I going to do this? I'm thinking cook meals ahead of time on the weekend...yeah right. Everyone's clothes are getting laid out the night before. Lunches made. Breakfast thought out. I definitely need that 2nd dose of Adderall each day to keepfoused on all that needs to get done. I knew this was coming all the while I was underemployed all summer. My new adventure...YIKES!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rainy Days at least it's not Monday

Well I made the dinner and it was a recipe I got via email from – it was onions and pork chops pan fried with some Worcestershire sauce and package of stovetop stuffing added after the chops were cooked – and a cup of mozzarella cheese to top it off – 1 pan, 10 mins prep, 30 to cook, all done…I wasn’t hungry but will go down and eat some now.  Jeff said it was good but didn’t rave.  Never made it to basement – to scrap nook – once I boot up the laptop and lie down on my bed I’m a goner – really tired and blah myself….and I didn’t even have any wine.  The dogs hopped on the bed with me and we’re nice and cozy except Rocket is chewing a bone in the vicinity of my rear and now my pj bottoms are slightly damp in that area….good, he’s gone now and he took his bone.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Assume soccer will be canceled tomorrow but we have dance class at 10:30, I have a 1 yr old baby birthday party to go to and on the way will stop at the Invisible Fence place to get the transmitters we have put onto new collars for the new beasties so I can kick them outdoors when they get on my nerves…Jackson has baseball team pics at 7:30 a.m.  and Jeff’s on deck for that job…then he takes Rocket to puppy school unless that’s canceled and assume Jackson’s game will also be canceled…..perhaps I’ll get my scrap on tomorrow night….


I’m having a Southern Living At Home party tomorrow afternoon (what was I thinking when I agreed to that?  Oh right, I was thinking that I’d get a ton of stuff at 50% off because that’s what I did last time I had a party a few years ago) so I have to pick up the house, clean the powder room, strew the SLAH items I already have about the house, sweep the front porch, buy two big mums to put on the front steps, buy snacks and wine – oy, what was I THINKING?


And it’s raining and unlike L the rain doesn’t bum me out but it makes me want to go to the library to pick up a Robert Ludlam book I haven’t read yet, stock up on Chex Mix (preferable the dark chocolate variety) and hide in my room….but I have all that other crap to do….oh yeah, the other crap is my life J

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My new passion - Animal Rescue

The times they are a changin'

Wow, what has happened in the economy and I'm keeping my head down, working, with one eyeball on the news.  I could honestly get laid off in the coming month or so and I've been looking for a new role both inside my current company and outside for other employers.  I cannot afford to be without a job at this time.  What has kept me from being a nervous wreck?   You have to ask?  Having read Eckhart Tolle's books "The Power of Now" and "A New Earth" has kept me from being a basket case in these uncertain times - because there are things I'm certain of - I have a great family and great kids and I love being their mother, placing my trust in God and my life in His hands has served me very well in the past so there is no reason to mess with that formula, I have finally gotten out of my lazy rut and have been exercising, I've also been networking my brains out, as well as, throwing myself into the kids' lives and their activities - which I'm enjoying to no I've added a few "hats" to my hatrack - CCD Catechist, Soccer Coach, Kickboxer.  And I've gotten back into the routine of hanging out in my scrapbooking and craft nook giving me better odds of actually working on things vs. just thinking about it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What do Do Today on a beautiful day off

I’m sitting on the patio on Monday listening to the birds talk to one another and to the neighborhood waking up.  The backyard is relatively quiet – no chipmunks or bunny rabbits darting around as of yet.  I’m on a fine line between enjoying a tranquil few moments and the million thoughts chasing around in my head – things I want to do, things I could do, things I should do – and the desire to crawl back into bed and let the day decide for me.  I woke up feeling like a blob this morning but not really sorry that I had that big bowl of ice cream with strawberry sauce (sugar free) last night.  I had an ok sleep but toward morning was in one of those dreams where I’m excited about going someplace special and I have to get ready but can’t seem to get started and so I’m scurrying around the house and everywhere getting more and more agitated and anxious (in the dream).  <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

I finally went to see my mother and realized it’s been nearly a year.  She looked a lot better than I’d expected and the visit was great.  She really enjoyed Kate and Kate really enjoyed her.  I just made the mistake, though, of asking her if she’d come here for a visit next time and she said yes but with that hitch in her voice that tells me that she will never get here.  I can’t dwell on that and let it ruin my whole day. 

So the things I absolutely have to get done today – well there aren’t any.  The things I’d like to get done are, in no particular order,

·        get the laundry down to the basement and washed so Debbie can fold it if I don’t get to it

·        get the herbs and veggies into the ground

·        get my nails done

·        take a walk or go to the gym

·        scrapbook some and get my stuff organized for the next couple of times I go to crop


First, I’m going to shake this feeling that’s making me furrow by brow.  Then, I’m going to take ten deep yoga breaths, then I’m going to call Aunt Dee and thank her for the lovely visit and ask her if she’ll come see us before too long.  I know I’ll have to work around the days they have scheduled to go to Cape May.  Next week may be the first little visit and there are 3 days in July – probably a few more in August.

Ok, I almost forgot, I’m a little bummed out that Val never made it over even for a drive by.  She didn’t call or anything else and I’m working on not reading anything into it but my sense is that running into me is ok but making a special trip – well she’s just not ready for that or just not ready to run that one past Jim. 


I think I hit all the high points and feel a bit better!!



Sunday, April 20, 2008

Stormy Weather

Katherine just announced to her father, "You can't change nature."  She said she was telling him this because she loves him.  Not that he was trying to change nature or anything - she'd just heard it on her movie "Ratatouille".  She just cracks me up.  It's warmish outside and the rain is just pouring down.  There's an occasional rumble of thunder to make things interesting.  I was just outside for a few minutes enjoying the sight of my new geraniums, ranunculus, and other drinking it all up.  The new front walk just looks outstanding now with the flowers all coming up and the little tiny patch of grass green for the moment.  Jackson is at a movie party for his friend A, along with 3 other kids in the same kindergarten and tkd class.  So cute, especially the little girl that's with them.  She's a holy terror when she's in her kicking stance and tkd yelling, LOL.  A lives next door to Kate's little friend N who is in the same dance class and on the same soccer team as Kate.  We have a nice little neighborhood and it makes a huge difference now that we have kids in school and other lessons and on teams and have been meeting their parents.  For years it felt so isolated. 

Soheil was just here to repair some of our ceramic floor tiles where the grout had started to chip out.  Jeff had him look over the basement and the plan he'd sketched out for finishing it off.  We're like a glacier the way we move - imperceptible progress but we're definitely going somewhere.  Jeff had taken a bunch of pictures with the digital camera pointed out the back door and then used the autostitch function to make a panoramic view - wow, it looks nice out there.  My reaction was that if we were shopping for houses and saw that pic we'd be really impressed.  That tells me that we're still pretty much in love with this house.  I always have been in love with this house - warts and all.  Yes, the various nail pops that are multiplying like bunnies in the springtime are getting to me and so is the rag painting in all three of the bathrooms.  What the house needs the most if for me to continue to de-junk it.  That's an awkward word "de-junk".  I know, it's not even a word.  But the awkwardness of it is what makes it perfect to describe the not quite comfortableness of the housewith mess behind every door and inside every drawer.  We have too much stuff and the more I think I'm getting rid of it the more we have coming in the door.  One step forward one step back, two steps forward  three steps back, two steps forward - feel good for a while then another step forward....but I'm getting more and more ok with it.  I'm trying to be happier in the now of it.  Reading A New Earth is convincing me that I'm on the right track.  There are no do-overs so I may as well be as happy as I can be on this road that I'm on.  I'm managing that by focusing on the biggest blessings - my wonderful husband and children.  God has really taken care of me in this life and I'm so thankful for everything around me - the home, the job, the friends, the neighborhood.  It all adds up to make our life really great considering we're just two working fools trying to provide for the family and be happy. 

Friday, April 18, 2008

How Do You Spell Misery?


As much as I love the flowering redbuds, dogwood, tulips, daffodils, and everything else coming up around here I am in such misery. I've taken my Zyrtec, an Allevert, and sudafed sinus headache medicine. On top of itchy, stuffy sinuses I have a nagging pain in my (don't laugh) neck and now my nose is totally red and my lips are chapped too.

I ran around today picking up favors for dd's party tomorrow and came back planning to do laundry and pack my scrap stuff up to go crop at Angela's but I am so miserable I don't want to be out anywhere even if I did have the energy to get my act together. I did pull together the yummiest dinner and as an added treat for dh whipped up the breakfast blintz bake that I make for Easter every year. He's beside himself. That was my insurance in case he was annoyed that I was going to scrap but instead it's my insurance in case he's annoyed that I've taken to my bed again. Have I mentioned I'm miserable? The windows are closed and the air is on but that is offering only minimal relief. ok, I'm done - gonna go back to the scrabble because I am in no mood to scrap with this nagging pain in the neck and the noseblowing - I despise having to put down my ATG gun to blow my nose! If this sounds like a pity party you're very astute because I am feeling so sorry for myself at the moment!!!! I just pray that this clears up a little bit for the party tomorrow so I can really enjoy dd enjoying it!!

This just in…I took another allevert and as I was eating it read the box and saw that it has aspartame in it! Very odd because I have been taking this drug when my allergies get really severe since last summer and never had the nutrasweet reaction. It’s not making a dent though – I’ve taken as much of everything as Ican without being nervous about taking too much and it’s just not taking away these itchy stuffy sinus symptoms. Slipping back into the pity party so I’m reining it in, LOL

Just wrapped DD’s birthday gifts and they’re soo pretty in Littlest PetShop paper with pink background and lots of light pink ribbon. She’s gonna just squeal with delight when she sees them and opens them!! I’ve set the alarm for quarter to early and hopefully I’ll be able to spring out of bed, dress, run out for milk and special birthday donuts and get her to soccer on time! Back home and then off to Great Country Farm – hope it’s a wonderful magical beautiful day and the rain holds off until after it’s over. She’s so excited!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring Sunday/Tiptoe Thru the Tulips

It’s Tulip Time

I’m so glad we had those few warm days in November that allowed me to get the new tulip bulbs into the ground.  What a huge difference and how exciting to check out the side of the house each day to see what’s blooming!

Another fortunate thing is that all 3 transplanted barberries survived both the move and the winter.  The new roses are looking good as are the ones I transplanted.  This promises to be a gorgeous display from now through the summer (fingers crossed!). 

I’m down here in the ScrapLair presumably to work on p.2 of the two page lo I started over a week ago and to make several cards for several people I owe birthday greetings, thank you’s, etc. to.  I also need to get a baby shower gift to mail for the shower I missed last weekend.  I really do not like that stuff hanging over my head and would like to get back to where I used to be when I remembered everything and bought everything on time. 

On the bright side I feel there’s hope of pushing the organizing envelope around here as Debbie has offered to help starting with getting the kids’ things organized and sorted out.  The other big help here will be the upcoming neighborhood-wide yard sale ina month that I want to get ready for.  The deadline will help motivate me!

Expecting to hear the oven timer go off any time now so will close on those optimistic notes for today!


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Take Care of Me Day

Sunday has become take care of Cynde day. When things go really well I’m at Mass then getting a manicure maybe a pedicure if I’m due. I’ve gotten into going to church in a whole new way and really try to focus on the message I’m supposed to be receiving vs. what the priest is actually saying or what I have to do as soon as I can bolt out of there. Today was a little difficult because the pastor was talking about the proper way to approach the altar to receive communion and he has a little schtick about how people do strange things with their mouths if receiving by mouth, or with their hands if receiving in the hand. He also pulled out his lost & found box of kid items to talk about things people leave behind. I got there a little late and stood in the vestibule where the sound is piped in. It was interesting to see a guy standing there drinking from a bottle of Gatorade. At one of the breaks in action, when the ushers typically show people in and out of the main space, one of them approached him and asked if he was Catholic. I caught the response which was “I believe in God” and missed the rest but I’m thinking it had something to do with how we don’t enjoy a beverage during the service. So the guy caps his Gatorade, slips it into his pocket and went inside to take a seat. I was impressed because so often people are turned off easily and between how the usher approached the situation and thisguy’s frame of mind – it turned out ok.

The message today was to not be indignant about pastor’s response to a parent’s request that his kid be allowed to switch days for the religious ed class so that he could also attend football practice. The response was negative and the message was we have to make choices and prioritize. My thought was to give the parent credit for asking as there are really only 2 months left and this is a kindergarten class we’re talking about. They could have easily opted to skip the rest of the sessions for the year. I was disappointed in the response because there was an alternate day available and I can’t see the logic in making this an either/or decision for this boy. I believe this the type of experience that turns people off from the church. What disappoints me more is that they tag the church with the turn off vs. the person representing the church who made the decision. This pastor seems to revel in the fact that he has a reputation of ruling with an iron fist. I would love to see some examples of him acting out of kindness rather than fire and brimstone. There’s no reason to be a hardass about every single situation. I will say that this episode was the turning point for me in my ability to get over the fact that Jackson didn’t get accepted there for kindergarten. I understand that I’m living in a different place in a different age and the Catholic education I was privileged to have access to virtually unconditionally is not something I can expect for my kids. And I’m fine with it now.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Am I The Only One Who Digs Yanni?

I may not like Mondays much but this week sure did fly by. I was in HOT-lanta for an overnight business trip for training....the title of my course was "Delegating for Results" which I found so ironic as I'd just delegated most of my work and left my last role and now I'm in an in-between role where I'm being delegated to to help out during a busy time...I found it funny.

Today was dance class and my Kate E. Bug was a Dancin' Fool!

She had big fun this time and we came home and put on the prettiest party dress I've ever seen and went to Neena's birthday party which was a tea party unlike any even Martha Stewart could put together. The girls has strawberry tea, finger sandwiches cut into hearts and flowers, fruit kebabs, and birthday cake of course. The party kicked off with them picking out ribbons and silk flowers to add to white straw hats and they were so adorable. Great pics to scrap are on the way.

Must go see who's still up and herd them to bed. I'm in the middle of finishing a layout with the 2nd page planned but not started. I wanted to make two cards as well. I hope I can stay up and work some more.

It's been a great week, today was a great day off even though I'm just now doing something for me, and I'm so thankful things worked out the way they have lately.

God Bless everyone!

Friday, April 4, 2008

From Thursday's trip home

I’m here in the Atlanta airport with my idiot savant blackberry that has been continuously re-booting itself for the past week. I was on the phone with the AT&T and then the RIM people and wiped and reloaded it but since it’s still doing the re-booting it has been officially deemed “fried”. I ordered another one immediately and that was Tuesday night. My new one’s been shipped already but that doesn’t help me when I’m out of town on a business trip. If I’m on the phone it’s fine but as soon as I’m in the data or if it’s just sitting there by itself it’s cycling and re-cycling through the boot process….it’s ill, LOL.

My training is done and the topic was Delegating for Results. I figured out this morning that I could have taken a 2nd class here this afternoon and knocked another one off my curriculum but I’m glad I didn’t plan on that because I don’t think I would be in a very good humor if I sat through the same instructor all afternoon and it’s foggy and rainy here in Atlanta so I would have been sure to get caught up in an airport delay mess later this evening. I’m not a good traveler to begin with but a night flyer…forget it!

In the cab I realized that my flight leaves some 40 minutes later than I originally thought so I deposited myself in the Houlihan’s (after scaling the stairs in my heels with my heavy bag). I haven’t eaten all day so I’m munching on potato skins and drinking lemonade. I can’t get an internet connection in here either – actually that’s not totally accurate. I can get a connection but I get a freaky message when I try to open up Explorer saying ACCESS DENIED. Makes me feel like a spy or something. So I guess I’ll sit here a few more minutes then maybe repair to a Starbucks and try my luck with the network there.

Not a big deal anyway – the time will go quickly once I get on and off my conference call at 1:30, pay my tab here, change into my jeans, go through security screening, get to my gate….and the flight is not that long either. I can make some serious progress reading my book. Sounds like a plan! There’s always tonight to play Scrabulous. I feel like there is something I’m forgetting or that I should be doing right now or when I get home but tonight, other than kickboxing which I’m not going to because I need to give Jeff a break and be home to reconnect with him and the kids, there’s nothing. I’m working from home tomorrow. I should order groceries but that can wait until tomorrow morning. I should grab my two lists , consolidate them and add the things going through my head right now. That would make me feel better I think.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Day

I’m on a plane. Delta flight 561 to Atlanta to be exact. I’m sitting in the rear of the plane and my seatmate is a military man named Don. I’m headed to Atlanta for a training class tomorrow but I started the day driving in traffic for two hours to get to the DC office for a “Town Hall” meeting with our national Talent (HR) leader. I was late due to the traffic but felt it was especially important given my recent return to work in the office with the rest of the team, that I show my face and mingle a bit with my colleagues. As I sat in the seat I was fortunate to find in the last row, I reminded myself of the importance of being present, of showing up. Walking briskly back to my car I also congratulated myself on my growing knowledge of how to navigate the city. I could just as easily have been wrong but I decided to park at a meter, already had my quarters sorted out from the rest of my change, and hoof it a couple of blocks to the office vs. try to get closer. I was so glad I did because there was police activity about a block past the office and if the person I overheard talking on his cell phone is to be believed there was a report of a suspicious package that brought not only the cops but the firemen as well. I sailed to the airport with no problem and from previous experience knew to head for Daily Parking Garage #2 as the walkway dumps you right at the Delta terminal where I needed to be. To the kiosk to retrieve my boarding pass, whiz through security like a pro traveler, and jump on the shuttle to the gate area. While walking from the garage to the terminal I couldn’t help but be thankful that I’ve gotten to where I am in life – with a beautiful family and loving home, wonderful friends, and a career with a top-notch company. As well, I feel fortunate to have been brought up in the Catholic faith that provided a foundation for my spiritual journey once I was ready to embark on it nearly 20 years ago. When living in Fanwood, NJ I attended a Lenten seminar that dealt with spiritual journey – can’t remember the title or even the parish I belonged to but the instructor and pastor of my church was Father Joseph Barbone and he really affected me and my spirituality. Several years later I read M.Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled and that was another significant experience for me. It’s been a long time and there have been many spirit strengthening moments and experiences and quite a few prayers for raised consciousness. I’m now reading The New Earth and I knew in the first couple of chapters that this book would affect me deeply. This knowledge and awareness of what the words in this book mean to me in my life are very exciting for me, both in my personal life and in my professional life.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Having just emerged from a situation that was both the best experience of my work life and a very stressful and upsetting experience at the same time I feel so many different emotions…relief – to have someone to talk to at the time and guide me out of the bad zone, thankfulness that I was able to make the decision to end the experience on my timeline (immediately) when things got to be too much for me, appreciation – for the colleagues back at the office and the way I was welcomed back, more gratitude for the insights the experience provided and is still providing me. I was worried at first that the way things went downhill fairly quickly would somehow taint my reputation. I’m already known to be someone who is not shy about speaking her mind, and who can, at times, become emotional when she feels strongly about things. My current boss is a very even person who, to my good fortune, sees the potential in me and chooses to focus on what I can contribute and how best to position me so that I can deliver for the organization to my full potential. I really cannot ask for more than this.

On another front I’m grateful that I’m at a decent place with my feeling about my family relationships back in PA. I’ve focused very hard on being honest with myself about my own feelings and acting on the good ones. But I’ve also tried really hard to not judge the individuals in my family by their actions by trying to see past the actions to the person and whatever past experiences may influence present behavior. Not that I’m trying to figure everyone out – but it is a different level of awareness that the people are not their actions. And I actually got to this level of awareness before I started Eckhart Tolle’s book (The New Earth). Yes, and I did stop and think after reading only a few pages…gee, I wish I’d read this book a couple of months ago before I felt so overwhelmed that I couldn’t rise above the issues any longer. Ben even with that, I’m acknowledging that I’m a human being and I was pushed to what, for me at that time, was my limit. Again, thanks to CPV for being where I needed her to be and doing the right thing.

Back to the family – even while all of the upsetting things were happening at the office I was very conscious of missing my sister and feeling love for my sister at a very deep and connected level. Another powerful insight from talking with her and also with her husband – who was instrumental in causing the rift between us in the first place – led me to see that in her present situation she really doesn’t have a choice about how to be. Just as I’m conscious of whether or not Jeff would be supportive or disapproving of something I did or someplace I went or even plans I make for the family – Val has to make decisions based on maintaining serenity in her own home. And I respect that. It’s easy for me to respect it since I’m just so thankful that we are on speaking terms and can have a sister chat once in a while. It took more years of separation than I want to think about to get to this place – and if I know my Aunt Dee a lot of working those rosary beads – but we are in the right place now - As right as is in our power to make it. I’m opting to focus on the beauty in that vs. the obstacles that remain.

And that is how I’m feeling today. I’m glad I brought along my computer on this trip so that I could take advantage of this quiet time in the clouds to express what I’ve been carrying around inside me for several weeks now.

There are many more things I’m thankful for, especially for my wonderful husband and all we’ve built together – the tangible things as well as the intangible – the atmosphere of our home, our relationship with each other, the parenting of our children together. And I’ll save the rest for another day.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

So Many Things To See and Do

What a weekend! I was here there and a little bit of everywhere. I did go to Ashburn Family Scrapbooking to pick up my prints of a scanned lo and ended up staying there to finish a project. Luckily there was a chair for me because that will be the last time I get to scrap there. Tomorrow is their last day in business. I did NOT stay up until the wee hours when I got home so Saturday was not another draggin' day. I attacked the laundry that was smothering me and got substantially all of it done. Who would have thought I'd measure success by how "done" I get the laundry - how times have changed!

Kate had dance class and she danced! I am so thrilled - not much else to say there except she got a little more brave and got out there and tried. Next week I'll take the camera that shoots video and get her in action so she can watch at home, practice, and build her confidence a bit.

Today I woke up with the headache that I went to sleep with last night. After breakfast I napped - talk about ambitions! I did manage to shower and get to Joya's CAbi show and bought things even though I don't "need" anything. The Spring stuff is great. I'm not buying anything similar to pieces I already have but if I can wear it for both work and casual occasions it's a keeper. I could still add more from the Spring line but I'm not going looking for opportunities to buy more, that's for sure.

I have so much on my mind with the double booking of a baby shower and a birthday party for one of Kate's friends. I'm going to end up having to buy the gift for the shower tomorrow, wrap it to mail on Tuesday, and send my regrets that I can't be there because I can't miss the birthday/tea party with Kate. She would not be happy without me and I can't ask Jeff to do it. He has the Corvette in a car show on Saturday anyhow.

The invites have been ordered and the date booked for Kate's birthday party at Great Country Farms. Should be exciting - it's a farm/petting zoo/ and they also have this "better than a moonbounce" jumping thing for the kids. We've been talking about Kate's "farm party" since before Christmas.

Well the dog is outside barking to come in and my ScrapLair is calling me to come make some cards or finish a lo. That's right, suddenly I make cards. I've made all of 1 but that counts. I even sent the card to the person I made it for and he really thought it was cool. So off I go to silence the barking beast and do something creative with myself.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hating Me

01awcax1nlnooaaaacaaaaaaaaaaa__normalSo immature yet so on the money when dealing with someone of that mentality.  This is why I wish I'd starting reading "A New Earth" several months help me deal with the disingenuousness I've come up against.  I prefer not to dwell on that aspect but on the fact that once the light shone on the situation and I had clarity I did what I needed to do and received the help that I could rely on to get to a healthier place.  I'm not perfect so I still find this bumper sticker amusing.  But it's also a reminder that I'm better than this childishness.  The behavior of others toward me and their opinions don't define.  Even my own inability to withstand it over the long term does not define me. 

I feel so drained this week

I'm just tired tired tired this week. That's it - too tired to write any more and must go pick up the kids. Jackson qualifies to test for his green belt so that is the news we've been waiting for. Master Lee is leaving TD and that is news we could have done without...

Jeff is coming home tonight YAY

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Resurrection Day - I'm Feeling Saved


To everyone celebrating Easter today hope it is a terrific and blessed day for you! If you're not celebrating hope it's a terrific and blessed day as well! 

We are all up.  The kids found all of the eggs I filled and hid around the house last night.  They've inspected their Easter baskets which had minimal candy this year...sampled a few jelly beans, and now everyone's waiting for the Blintz Brunch Bake to come out of the oven (

This is so yummy...I've been making it for Easter the past few years.

Next I'm baking an angel food cake to fill with a pudding & fruit mixture for our dessert - then the ham will go in.(into the oven, not into the cake, LOL)

Mass at either 12:15 or 2:00 then hopefully a little scrapping to relax.  Can't believe it's back to work tomorrow so trying not to think about it.  I should be excited because this week marks the beginning of the next chapter at work (change = opportunity for me) and we got some great news last night - in two weeks one of our favorite teachers from the kids' daycare is starting as our nanny for the summer and possibly beyond.  This should make for a really fun summer for the babes as well as make life a little easier on us because we won't have the picking up and dropping off before and after work - which is time consuming and a bit of a pain at times and WE LOVE HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

so YAY for us!

p.s.  give me some love by going clicking


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holy Saturday

Today we're dying eggs and I'm making potato salad and putting the kids' baskets together.  Alex was here for Easter last year so is not here for this weekend - which is kind of a bummer - the three of them like to dye the eggs together and it's just not the same giving her a basket after the fact.  This evening I'm going scrapbooking with a friend.  Tomorrow will be Mass and hopefully we'll all go like we did on Christmas then home to hang out and have a nice Easter dinner - basic - ham, scalloped potatoes, asparagus with an angel food cake filled with pudding/whippedcream/crushed pineapple and strawberries on top for dessert.  Back to work on Monday. 

Rain is in the forecast for today but the sun is out right now.  My daffodils and some tulips have been blooming and the front and side beds were just mulched so it's a good feeling to look outside right now. 

Here are a couple of pics I took of what's going on out front...  



CJ Clarke


...and so every day I get into my car to drive to work thinking to myself "I'd rather be scrapbooking"


Follow this link to join and check out my gallery!



Thursday, March 20, 2008

This is so exciting

I really should be sleeping HOWEVER this is the quiet time that I enjoy so gonna go get a cookie and when I finish this I'm going to bed!  The exciting things are that I still have 3 days of vacation left this week!  I am able to stop going into DC to work starting next week and if I can avoid going next week so much the better!  I'm getting a new work computer on Monday, YAY!  We're talking to someone tomorrow about being our nanny for the summer so the kids get a break from all day at camp/daycare/whatever you want to call it it's not home!  Celebratin' with that cookie now!

My Soul Magnifies the Lord

And Mary said

My soul doth magnify the Lord,

And my spirit hath rejoiced

In God my Saviour.

For the that is mighty

Hath done to me great things;

And holy is His name.

Luke 1:46-47, 49


Maybe ecstatic is pushing it a bit but there was no option for elated to describe how I’m feeling.  I don’t typically get all religious on my blog but had to stop and testify to the fact that just as God carried me through a previous bad time on the job He’s led me to the right people to have the right conversations so that I can be in a better spot once again.  “My work here is done” is about right to sum up my current gig and I have something in the works but in the interim there appears to be some project work to keep me busy (and out of trouble) and so I can transition next week rather than playing the waiting game to see if the new position pans out or not. 

I am so eternally grateful that God has not only shown me that the only way to go is to rely on Him completely but has delivered the right thing yet again.  There’s no need to fear or panic….so now I’m off to make dinner then try out a kick-boxing class. 

And in my head I’m singing Boston’s

 Don't Look Back

Don't look back
A new day is breakin'
It's been too long since I felt this way
I don't mind where I get taken
The road is callin'
Today is the day

I can see
It took so long to realize
I'm much too strong
Not to compromise
Now I see what I am is holding me down
I'll turn it around

I finally see the dawn arrivin'
I see beyond the road I'm drivin'
Far away and left behind

It's a new horizon and I'm awakin' now
Oh I see myself in a brand new way
The sun is shinin'
the clouds are breakin'
'Cause I can't lose now, there's no game to play

I can tell
There's no more time left to criticize
I've seen what I could not recognize
Everything in my life was leading me on
but I can be strong

I finally see the dawn arrivin'
I see beyond the road I'm drivin'
Far away and left behind


Thursday, March 13, 2008



People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and GOD;
It was never between you and them anyway.

My friend just sent this to me. I just googled it and the author is Kent M. Keith. This poem is often attributed to Mother Teresa who had it hanging on the wall in her school/orphanage. However, Mr. Keith wrote these words in his book Do It Anyway: The Handbook for Finding Personal Meaning and Deep Happinessin a Crazy World

Now Hear This!

My very own baby sister (I'm 46 and she's 43 but she'll always be my baby sister) won 2nd prize at the Philadelphia Flower Show for a floral arrangement she worked on with another designer (whose name I don't know but when I find out I'll give her props)!!!!!!

Yay Valerie!!!!

Val started designing about 25 years ago - geez time flies! and does a lot of wedding flowers and special event type things. 25 years worth is a lot of flower petals! You go girl!!! Big Sis is so proud of you!!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Working for the Weekend

Don’t mean to wish my life away but I am looking forward to a week off.  Since September when our lives started coming under the rule of the Loudoun County School system I’ve discovered I enjoy taking time off when Jackson is off.  It’s a lot of fun hanging out with him.  I even think it’s fun for him to be with his mom all day.  So two more work days.  Not even going to get into that now.  Not sure what’s going on but I’m committed to disengage from the nonsense that has been going on and the resolution is in someone else’s hands.  I put the wheels in motion now have to go about my business and see what goes down.  Still have to polish up my resume for the new opportunity but today was crazy busy with moving stuff out of space we’re giving back to the client and making plans to go to NYC for an overnight adventure with Jackson.  We’re taking the train up and meeting friends – h.s. friend of mine and her son who is older than Jackson but will be fine to be big brother for two days.  (then happily go back to being an only child I’m sure).  It’s 1:39 on Thursday and I got up just before 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday which means it’s time for me to get some rest.  <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Wicked Wednesday

Does anyone else hate the term "hump day"?

Today is wicked Wednesday in a good way - instead of cool, it's gonna be WICKED because it's going to be a great day. The dilemma that has been bringing me down for months has been placed into the proper hands and there is nothing for me to do but be me. Do my thing, ply my trade, practice my craft, the whole bit.

Yesterday I was sitting at my desk at work and feeling better but like maybe I could be pushed in either direction and my friend in NY sent me this:

out of the blue and just because! He's another one that I bonded with before I even met him in person and he's an adorable young man I recruited who's gone on to another company but still keeps in touch because I am his AMERICAN MOMMY! It's so nice to be thought of by people you care about...that is why I try to let the ones I care about know I'm thinking about them whenever I'm thinking about them.

I'm up early - just paid bills online which makes life so much easier - and now I have a little time to mess around with Chester's layout! Maybe even squeeze in a little yoga before I hit the shower!

I told ya it's gonna be WICKED today!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I'm Here, I'm Still Here

 have been MIA for a bit haven't I? Work's been an ordeal. I've
been blogging a bit on my page (I'm ScrapJoy there) and
I've also been interacting with the group I'm getting to know on
another scrapbook site (A Scrapping Friendsy if anyone is interested
in what that is). I started a 2nd journal - possibly to torture
myself because now I have two that I feel I don't write in often
enough - but the 2nd I picked up because I was on the road and felt a
need to write about what I was reading in a book called "Devotions
for Lent". I just got home from Mass a little while ago, a Mass that
I almost didn't go to because I was running late. I thought about
going this evening to another church but lately I've felt a
connection with my own that's stronger than it had been before. What
I have to share is that I decided to get in the shower and go to
12:15 Mass at my own church even though I'd be walking in part way
through. I was so glad that I did that I talked to the priest about
it afterward because I literally walked in during the sermon and
heard him say the very things I needed to hear today as I struggle
with the nonsense in the workplace. Without giving you the whole
rundown it was basically about Jesus' suffering and the fact that He
is right here in our lives every single day with us not just hanging
on the cross in an empty church and that by letting go of fear and
putting our faith in Him great things occur and we are taken care
of. Landing in the job I'm in right now was a miracle at the time
and I knew it. I need to make a move now and I was foolish to worry
that I wouldn't be taken care of again. It will all be fine.
I didn't mean to get preachy right there - just wanted to share what
I experienced today. (Whether you believe or not - just sharing my
experience - hope I didn't offend anyone with the religious aspect as
it's not my intention to try to push that on others or cause
Also, another revelation. I have my dining room table pushed down to
the far end of the dining room right in front of the double window
and I'm sitting here right now realizing it would be the perfect
place to have a home office/art studio because it looks out over the
backyard which is the most beautiful area of our property - My
dogwood tree is directly in my line of sight out there.