Sunday, August 31, 2008

last weekend of summer (so far) in pictures

Very few words for this weekend so far...

Just finished baking the chocolate chip cookies I've been craving. Having made them from scratch in years. I'm a slice-n-bake girl.

Waiting for Cary to come home from work. His Dad is coming down from Maine today and we're meeting him for dinner. He's never been here to see where I'm from and where Cary is living.

Here are pictures of the weekend so far...

Flowers I've been admiring this summer at the apartment complex. Gorgeous. Huge. Red. Red. Red.
The New England Revs and the LA Galaxy. I'm a Revs fan but LA has the gorgeous Beckham!
"The Fort" cheering section where my brother spends his time at games. Lively. Fun. Energetic.

Cement. The picture I got when I tried to take a shot of my dad and my brother and they ducked from the camera.
My flip flops in the sand on what could be the last beach day of the summer...unless...we get some next weekend in time for my birthday!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

a terrible blogger

A picture from last years New England Revs/LA Galaxy Game

I have been a terrible blogger! This has been the longest I've gone {since I started this whole thing} without writing. I didn't think I was really that much busier than usual but I guess I have been. Started back at work this past week. This coming week I have my first week back at the college too. Just Friday though since Monday is a holiday. I don't really feel ready. I haven't gotten copies made, printed out powerpoints, found articles...yikes. Yesterday, I went to the mall and got a few things to wear to school. I always feel out of my league as a professor. I always look more like the students than the faculty. I need to go on that show "What Not to Wear." Anyhow...I got a few things. I have a small bonus coming to me from the college that I'm going to use for some more clothes shopping at the outlets up in Maine.

Yesterday I also went grocery shopping with Cary. Spent WAY more than I do when I go alone! I am very frugal at the store. Really he is too but he's more likely to spend more on meats. I will buy good quality meats but not very much of it. He likes a good "grownup" steak (as he puts it!). I do too but have trouble when I see the price tag. Though it is much, much cheaper than going out to dinner.

Well...tonight I'm going to see the New England Revs play the LA Galaxy (with the lovely David Beckham)! I love going to the soccer games and we went to this game as a family last year and it was a fun time. Cary is sitting this one out though. He's not really into soccer unfortunately. But that's ok.

Hope to have some pictures or something later. I made a whole bunch of cards last night to sell at the craft fair. I was on a roll. I had purchased an EK Success scalloped square punch and some American Crafts ribbons that inspired me. The ribbons were only $1 at AC Moore! I bought the punch with a 50% off coupon so it was only $7. I also bought a pack of paper (can't remember the company) because I loved the coordinating papers. Plus it was on sale for $10. Couldn't resist!
Today I have to ease up on the spending money thing!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

work, ice cream and home

So I returned to work today after my vacation. My state of relaxation...lasted...about...15 minutes. Right back to the hectic pace. Oh well. I try very hard to leave work AT work. So I'll move on to other things....

When I got home I had a quick dinner with Cary and then headed to the apartment's "green" for an ice cream social. They arranged for the Ice Cream truck to stop there. I figured I'd have to pay but no! I got a free ice cream...which I plan to enjoy next. I didn't really do the "social" part. I always feel awkward during unstructured social things like that where I know NO one. I know that's the point but at the end of a long work day working with people and high stress it wasn't on my list of things to do!

Afterwards, feeling motivated, I headed to the apartment's mini-gym and did 1/2 hour on the treadmill, 15 minutes on the bike and a few reps on some of the nautilus machines (at least the ones I know how to use!) It feels good to get back into my exercise routine. Yesterday I got to run/walk with Cary and it felt good.

Speaking of yesterday...we went from this...

To this...
Painting by my great-grandfather of thier house in Essex, MA. Borrowed from my Dad
Huge drawing I did for my senior thesis in collage of an area near my Grammy's House - The "Mill"
One of several of Cary's historical prints. He loves history and had them framed up when he came home from Iraq years ago (before we met) and it's a long story but he is so glad to have them up!

We finally got some of our pictures hung up on the walls. Cary is happy about getting his up. He has most of the living room walls. I basically have everywhere else! He hasn't felt at home living in my apartment since last October because he didn't have any of his pictures up. So now we feel like we officially have OUR space. We don't have everything up yet (the bedroom walls are completely empty) but we got a start. to read some blogs and enjoy my ICE CREAM!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


A little treasure on the deck of a boat

Thank you to everyone who commented on my topic about finding balance in life. I really appreciate your insights. I have had such an awesome vacation (at home) that right now I feel balanced. I guess it's easier when things are going well to find it? But one comment (by Lee) mentioned that there's also a balance in life between the good and the not-so-good. That is so true. I need to keep that in mind. Also I need to put the not-so-good in perspective...I am so fortunate in so many ways that the good far outweights the bad.

Anyhow...too much thinking for such a beautiful Sunday here in Massachusetts!

Let me share just a few pictures from my weekend which was SO fun. I really feel grateful to have such good people in my life to share memories and adventures with! Yesterday, Cary and I checked out the "Stone Zoo." I hadn't been there since I was little. At that time, the zoo wasn't quite as nice. Although it isn't quite like the National Zoo in DC (which I spent much time at in grad school!) or The San Diego was a fun day for us! Cary loved it and was like a big kid. Here are a few pictures...

The Eagle was always my favorite sight at the National Zoo and he was amazing at this zoo also.

Me next to the "Caution" sign...Hmmm...jaquars bite? Tell me something I don't know!
This was the baby leopard. Not the greatest picture since he was behind glass but SO cute!

Last night I spent a few hours at a friend's house for her 31st. There was a bonfire, music, cake, drinks, fun. I really enjoyed myself. No pictures...just memories and clothes that smell like smokey campfire!

Today, my Dad, brother and I checked out an "Antique Boat Show"in Salem, MA. Beautiful. I have always enjoyed car shows, boat shows, anything like that. It is an interest I can share with my Dad who grew up around the water.

Just a few of the boats...

This is one we saw launched in Essex, MA years ago. My cousin was married to the builder/designer...
Some more boats...

The weather has been gorgeous this week I have been off from work. I've had fun, spent time with people I love and really relaxed! I am actually looking forward to facing work with refreshed perspective...

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

glass half full

Sitting here drinking my coffee feeling really grateful. I had a nice, relaxing vacation. SO much better than the last one. Things are going really well with Cary and I in the new place. I am getting along with my family, enjoying my new space, spending time doing what I want this week. I spent many days at the beach which is summer to me.

It was just relaxed.

I needed this before starting off the new school year and going back to my clinical job next week. Even though I go back there tuesday it will be one more short week. Labor Day weekend will be nice and long and then I will be back to 5-day work weeks. Back to reality. But reality doesn't have to be stressful. I was thinking yesterday. I look at the negative and worry entirely too much. I don't want to go through life being the person who is viewed as, "The girl whose glass is always half empty."

I want to be known as, "The girl whose glass is always half full or full!"

This past year I have been really trying to live up to my "one little word" BALANCE. Sometimes I do ok. Many times I do not. I noticed on Ali's blog she is refocusing on her word. I think I need to do this too. I want to carry this "vacation" feeling with me during my regular day-to-day.

How do you all try to do this in your lives?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

one more week of summer

Another perfect beach day. Followed by some card making and leftover "Fajita Lasagna." It was a good day!

Here's the birthday card I made for my friend's 31st birthday. I tried out the yellow-gray color combo I saw recently in some magazines. I had also seen the color combo on a bathing suit at the beach recently I loved it.

Today I also got news that another friend had her baby boy. So here's her card. I used some round Paper Source I had leftover from my Christmas cards several years ago. I used American Crafts rubons for "baby" and hand drew the swirls. I used a tiny heart stamp and went over those with Perfect Pearls in copper. I copied an idea I saw in a magazine (can't remember where!) and used a journaling stamp for the envelope where I will address it to her family.

Yesterday I finished my June layout. I have been doing 2-page layouts every month this year. I got a little behind. I follow roughly the same format each month. On the left page I use a little calendar and write in what I did. I journal using the same prompts each month. Sometimes I add more narrative journaling on the page somewhere. Here's the left-hand page...

I have had fun with this book. Every few months I pick out 2 sheets of patterened paper for a month. I typically don't buy paper for a specific project. I usually just buy a bunch that I like with no plan in mind. has been so fun each month buying a few special sheets of paper that I love and that coordinate with each other and the month I'm working on. Here's the right-hand page...

My boss did an arts & crafts project with one of her groups at work recently. I loved it. It is a topiary. I have done those years ago with a group of senior citizens. However....these topiaries are different. The "stem" is actually a ball-point pen. You "pull" the pen out of the base (which holds the pen cap) and you can write with it! I decided I might make a few and try and sell them along with my cards at the craft fair in October. Here's my first attempt....

Well...that's all for now. I am procrastinating on working out. I can see the little apartment complex gym from my window as I type. I've been slacking in the exercise department! Also need to do some work for school even though I'm on vacation. Today at the beach with my mom it came to my attention that school starts in a little over a week! I was thinking there was another whole week in there somewhere. AHHH!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

yesterday's project

Forgot to post yesterday's project. I finally worked on the K & Company Paper Wreath kit I bought at the begining of the summer. It was fun to put together. just needs a perfect place to hang!
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Pear tree at Uncle Donny's House

Vacation Day #6:
On my list today...
  • Visit my parent's house
  • Take a walk in my old neighborhood while Cary runs
  • Watch Criminal Minds tonight
  • Scrap my June page
  • Maybe stop at my LSS for paper for my July, Aug & Sept pages
  • Cook Fajita Lasagna...I'll try and post the recipe later. Trying it out for the first time!
  • vacuum (not fun but makes me feel good!)
  • Bring over my outdoor container garden I left at my parent's house for my balcony here
  • Eat a dark chocolate Klondike bar!
  • Finish my leisurely cup of coffee this a.m..........

Last night I had such a good night sleep. The air was really cool (almost cold in the middle of the night) and it was so nice to have the window open with a nice breeze. Today is going to be "cool" so no beach today. But probably tomorrow iwith my mom. Hope everyone has a nice Wednesday!

Monday, August 18, 2008


Just a few family members in the yard during the reunion. This yard was the very same yard my dad and his 10 brothers and sisters grew up. Now my Aunt & Uncle own the house and keep it open to us. Inside the house is exactly how I remember...but even better. It is down the street from the house where I grew up. There are so many memories there. More were made this weekend.

So far I'm having a great vacation! The family reunion was so fun and it was wonderful seeing so many people. I didn't take as many pictures as last year but did take a few. The night ended with my Uncle shooting of the most amazing fireworks over the river! We had a big thunderstorm in the afternoon but that didn't stop us! The party went on for hours...

My mom (in the pink) and an aunt and cousin....

My dad (on the left and my grandmother's cousin David (seated). My dad met him in the last few years and found that they are related. He is perhaps the oldest living relative of my grandmother. My mom has been doing geneaology and has found some fascinating facts. Stories that are lost. Questions unanswered. This man has some of the answers. My mom has traced my grandfather's family back in Gloucester to at least the 1600's which was when the city was founded. My grandmother's family goes almost as far back in Essex, MA, Maine and Canada.

The back porch. I'm so jealous. A fire pit and my favorite view in the world. The "river." Actually it's a tidal creek but my dad grew up calling it the river. So that's what it is to me!

Me on the boat dock. I remember when my dad and an uncle bought the red boat. I might have been around 8 years old. My seat was always in the front! I haven't been out in it in years. The water was so warm. Memories of playing on the dock as a kid flooded back. It was the best to get permission to swim in the river. But I hated not being able to see the bottom which is gooey mud!

Cary. Being goofy for the camera. This was his first time meeting many of these family members and he had fun. He joked at the end, "Growing up we never had fireworks like that!" The fireworks did rival any I've seen myself!

One of my Aunt Lisa's flowers. She told me the name but I can't remember what it is. I thought it was a Hibiscus but it isn't. The apartment complex I just moved into has some gorgeous dark red flowers of the same variety. I need to take a picture of them. The blooms are almost as big as my head!

One of my uncle's roosters. They are really beautiful.
Today and yesterday I spent at the beach with my mom. Yesterday was the absolute perfect beach day. Today was hotter but I went in the water for the first time this summer (I'm sad to say). It was warm. We joke here that locals don't go in the water until August. There is a week when it all of a sudden feels warmer. Before that it is freezing! Not as bad as up in Maine, but still the kind of water that makes your legs hurt when you first go in!
After the beach today, my mother, my sister and I went to see the movie "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2." It was pretty good. A definate chick flick. Tonight I hung out at the apartment pool for bit with my sister. She is the pool attendant for her summer job this year.
Now I'm just relaxing for bit! Hopefully will catch up with everyone's blogs. I haven't been a good reader or writer lately :) Tomorrow I'm off for breakfast with a friend and then hanging at home with Cary before he goes off to work. It's supposed to rain.
Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

family reunion, a recipe and some more cards

Circles, circles, circles! You'll see a theme with this batch of cards. This one was actually the last I did. I used a Paper Source round card. I hand cut some circles out of scrap paper. Stamped "hi there" and added a few rhinestones.

Today is our 2nd Annual Family Reunion! I can't wait. My dad's family is HUGE. He had 10 brothers and sisters, they all had many kids, and so on and so on! It should be fun. And today I'm feeling much better. Not 100%...but better. I really shouldn't complain...people deal with far worse than me. Anyhow, yesterday I made a blueberry pie (actually for us here!), my Aunt's Salsa recipe, and today I'm making a Blueberry and Orange Spinach Salad. So good. Here's the recipe...
Blueberry and Orange Spinach Salad
from Betty Crocker Summer Favorites - Summer 2007

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2 tsp real maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbs fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 cups torn fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 medium oranges, peeled, cut into sections (about 1/2 cup)

Step #1: Heat oven to 350'F. Line cookie sheet with foil. In small bowl,mix pecans and maple syrup until pecans are well coated. Spread pecans on foil. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp sugar. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, stirring ocasionally, until pecans arelightly toasted. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Step #2: Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat orange juice, vinegar, oil and 2 tsp sugar with wire whisk until well blended.

Step #3: In large bowl, toss spinach, blueberries and orange peices. Pour dressing over salad; toss. Sprinkle with pecans. Serve immediately.

This salad is so good! Especially if you love blueberries like I do. Well...I'll leave you with a few of my cards...I hope to catch up on blogs tomorrow...Happy Saturday!

Layers of ribbon scraps glued and stapled onto a 1 inch square of cardstock. Then I mounted the square onto a slide (originally white - I painted it brown with acrylic)
More hand cut circles out of scraps of paper. Stamped the little coffee cup. One of my favorite and oldest stamps! I colored it with pencil and added some stickles for the "steam."
Again...ribbon scraps glued onto a 1 inch square of cardstock. Stuck to blue and cream this time. Added the K & Co. "baby" sticker. So easy to make!
Circles again! I had made my boss a birthday card like this a few months ago. I had the same layout but just added a monogram letter to one of the circles and loved how it turned out. So I used the same layout and stamped "hi there" added a few rhinestones and that was it!

Thanks for looking again!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

sick day, jackhammers and some cards

Card I made using a $1 clear stamp set I found at Michael's (the birthday cake and "party"). Some fun patterned paper, stickles, etc.

I am home sick today. Tomorrow I'm supposed to start my vacation...I'm off next week. But I want to kick whatever this bug is that I have before vacation. There is something going around at work and I'm getting it. Yuck.

And...overnight I was thinking how nice and quiet it is here. I can hear the crickets at night like I could at home. In the morning I can hear the birds chirping like at home. But. At 8:30 am, home sick, I could hear the jackhammers. Yes, jackhammers. Not like home.

Maybe I should have gone to work! Cary will be understandably grouchy because he works nights and this is his time to sleep.

But....this did give me a chance to upload pictures of the cards I made the other day to sell at the craft fair in October. They aren't my favorites but they are ok. I hope to make lots more this week. I also have another cute craft project to try this week that my boss did with her Arts&Crafts group at work yesterday. I'll post more later about that when I get one done!

So are a few more cards!

Baby Girl card. I used a the stork and banner sticker (can't remember the co. *sorry*), an old MM patterned paper. Another $1 Michael's stamp was used repeatedly around the edge for a border. The stamp comes out a little fuzzy so I went over it with a pen and added stickles. The card has a deckle edge that I love.

Another using the birthday cake stamp. This time I colored it in with pencil and kept the design simpler. Added a "happy birthday" stamp and some black & white patterned paper. Mounted the stamped cardstock with a dimensional sticker.

This time I used a sticker (the lavender bunch of flowers) I've had for years. It came with a set. One of the first sticker sets I bought when I started scrapping and I still love it! I added some tiny rhinestones. I mounted the sticker in the inside of the card and punched a square on the front as a window. I used some green chalk to highlight the window. Stamped "just a note" on the cover...

This one was the easiest to make but didn't come out how I had hoped. I hand-drew the flowers and stems. My vision was to keep it really simple. But I think I added too many flowers. I used a soufle pen for the polka dot border. The centers of the flowers are made with iridescent sequins. If I do this design again I think I'll add far less flowers and maybe a simpler border.

One of my favorites. I used a really old patterned paper in the background. It looks like it has hand drawn, thin lined brown and pink flowers. I stamped "happy birthday" numerous times with brown and pink ink. Instead of re-inking each time I stamped, I kept stamping so that the message came out more and more faded. I've used this technique with messages on other cards and really like how it looks. I added a Queen & Co. sequin flower highlighted with a cheapo sequin and brad. Finished it of by outlining the whole thing with a thin brown pen.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, August 11, 2008



A chance to take some pictures (not the best quality but just quick shots of the new place) and make some cards. Yesterday I went to Michael's to look into getting my large drawing framed. Too much money. Even with the 40% off. The drawing is huge...I think 24x30. The frame option I loved was almost $300. The other option wasn't much cheaper. So for now it will remain in the cheap poster frame it is in. I did hang it in the hall so it's what you see (along with my plants) when you walk in.

I had fun at Pier 1 and found some great finds...

...these herb pots were on sale for $5. I bought parsley, chives and basil at the local nursery. I have always wanted an herb "garden" but didn't get much sun in my apartment at home.

I have them sitting along the little "pass through" between the eat-in kitchen and the living room. Above them I have hanging my shell windchime I bought in San Diego years ago.

I also bought this very cute little vase and candle holder I couldn't resist at Pier 1 for the bathroom...

I assembled to cubes from target for my scrap area. I have always wanted one where I can store my 12x12 paper vertically within easy reach. Up until now my paper has been stored in plastic envelopes in the closet. I would have to haul out each envelope everytime I wanted to I'm very happy with these new cubes! The other cube is the one with 3 drawers. That one sucked to put together but is nice when it's done...

I actually used my "station" today and made some cards. I haven't scanned them yet but will post them as soon as I do. I wasn't completely thrilled with the results but it was really good to make some again. It's been weeks.

Here's my little "bluebird of happiness." It used to sit in my window but here we don't really have any window sills (in the one window and one sliding door we have)! I figure it will be a good reminder on my scrap desk.

And here is the living room...I have purposely only taken pictures of parts of the apartment that actually look somewhat put together. What you can't see is...

  • the microwave on the floor of the kitchen because there isn't enough counter space.
  • the pile of boxes stacked next to said microwave that are blocking the fridge.
  • the pile of huge totes in the living room full of my books and pictures with no home.
  • the boxes and piles of random papers of Cary's in the bedroom.
  • the file cabinet he insists on using as the nightstand on his side of the bed.
  • the slight, pathetic homesickness I feel despite the fact that my family home is 5 minutes away. I realize I'm 30 but I have had my own separate space in the apartment of my parents. I have lived in DC, Boston and was always homesick. I still am. It is strange going "home" to "visit."

Does that ever not feel wierd?

On the other hand...

  • I am really excited about the pool (I haven't gone yet because the weather hasn't been too nice)
  • I have a dishwasher. I have never had one! My mom is jealous...
  • I have space...lots of space. We aren't crawling over each other.
  • I have a real bed. Not a futon. Yeah! Now...if only I could shut off my Virgo mind and get a good night's sleep!
  • We have a real kitchen and a table to eat dinner at...

So...I really am excited despite a little nostalgia and strange homesickness. I don't know what I would have done if I moved further away!


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