Friday, April 27, 2007

progressive. that's me.

Last week, my optometrist put me in BIFOCALS. I've since learned that the correct, hipper term for what he put me in is PROGRESSIVES. I dunno. They both make me feel old.

When I picked out my new frames last week, I was sorta in mid-life crisis mode. I decided that TO HECK WITH IT, if I was gonna have to wear bifocals, I might as well have fun doing it. I chose some groovy frames.

I spent the last week hoping I wasn't going to spank myself when I tried on the real deal. Tonight was the night. I waltzed into EyeMasters and slid the new frames on my face, braced myself for the harsh reality... and guess what? I STILL LIKE 'EM! Wait. Let me qualify that. I like the frames. The lenses are throwing me for a complete loop. I suppose I'll get used to 'em.

I spent the last half hour mugging for the camera. Hey. If I have to enter my mid-life years in BIFOCALS, I deserve to enjoy 30 minutes of narcissicism, dontcha think? :)

On the left are the old ones. New ones on the right.

Good thing I never aspired to be a model.

Oh no you did NOT just say that.

s'ok. I can take it. What do you think?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

eyes wide open

It's only a half mile from here to Aidan's school, and I'm ashamed to admit, I drive it 95% of the time. Yesterday, though, I walked it. It always feels so good to get out and breathe the fresh air. I spend as much time sitting in the carpool line on most days as it takes me to walk the half mile. It doesn't make sense that I don't just walk every day. I always arrive back home energized and renewed.

Yesterday, the air was cool and dry, so Ian and I laced our shoes and headed out. Besides the obvious health and environmental benefits, walking is just fun. We always see things that we miss when we're zooming by in the car:

I had no idea that we had a mulberry tree in our neighborhood, but as we rounded a corner yesterday, we noticed that the ground beneath the tree was littered with berries! We stopped on the way back home and inspected closer. The tree was laden with ripe black mulberries and almost-ripe red ones. I picked a few, knocked off the lady bugs, and let the boys savor the tart sweet goodness.

There's a tree along the way that I've passed a dozen times on foot, but not until yesterday did I notice the fence that's trapped inside it. Somewhere along the way, there was a chain-link fence here. The tree must've grown around it. The boys thought this was the coolest thing EVER. "Wow!" exclaimed Aidan. Maybe a tornado came one time and shot the fence right into the tree!" Can you tell he's seen a lot of tornado coverage already this spring?

It's another beautiful day today. Maybe I should walk again. Ya think?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I'm happy. Wanna see why?

I just threatened Ian with kisses if he comes back downstairs again tonight. That'll keep him in his bed, Guar-awn-teed.

Big storms today and tonight... finally enough rain to fill the lakes again.
Funnel clouds dancing all around us.
We actually prepared to huddle in the downstairs bathroom this time. US! We're usually the ones who stand out in the street and watch the sky when tornado sirens go off. Well, wait. We did THAT tonight, too, but we were still prepared to head for the bathroom. I had my shoes nearby, and my cell phone and camera in my pockets. Just in case. LOL! Lots of flooding. I guess the drought is at long last OVER! :)

The last few weeks have been crazy busy. The next two weeks will be, too. And then it should slow down around here. Looking forward to it. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

day off

Yesterday, I breathed. Oooh, it felt good.

First of all, Darren decided at the last minute to take the day off from work. We got the kids off to school and then settled in for a long morning nap.

Then we headed to the mall for eye exams and new glasses. I've been having chronic headaches for months and suspected that my vision is the culprit. Darren broke his glasses Tuesday night, so there was no more putting off the inevitible. Sure enough, my vision has changed. I .... oh man, this his hard to say. I need... bifocals. ME! Bifocals! You know that booming laughter you heard yesterday about 1:30 from the direction of Fort Worth? Yah. That was Darren, guffawing at the news. Punk. His day is coming. I picked some funky new frames, though. If I gotta be in bifocals, I might as well have fun doing it.

Afterward, we picked up Aidan from school and took the boys to our old stomping grounds in Benbrook. It's funny how much they remember about our house there. They talk of it often, about how much they liked the backyard. So we drove by and let them see it. Then we played at the park there in town, and went for ice cream afterward.

I didn't even step foot in my scraproom yesterday.
I didn't worry about deadlines or money. (thank goodness for vision insurance!)
I just breathed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


It's after midnight on tax deadline day.
Do you know where your 1099 is?

I don't.

One of my clients is actually a personal secretary for one of the families I scrapbook for. She's the one I work with; she's the one who pays me. She treats me as a contractor, and so I get a 1099. Can't find it. It's somewhere in the piles of papers around here. Somewhere.

The most ridiculous thing? We're gettin' a refund. And we STILL waited 'til the last minute to file.


Tornado Friday night. No one we know suffered damage, but several that we know and love were in harm's way and were spared. Darren himself was on the Trinity Rail Express with our live-in intern, Zach, and 6 Fortress kids. They were on their way to a Dallas Mavericks game. Their train left downtown at 6:02. The tornado touched down at 121 and Haltom Road mere minutes before the train crossed the intersection. They hit a big metal pole and dragged probably a half mile of cable before the train came to a stop. There were also large branches and other debris under the train, whose breaking system was damaged during the ordeal. They're so lucky that the train didn't derail, and that the engineer decided to stop for a few minutes just out of downtown because of the weather - otherwise, they'd have been in the tornado's path instead of just behind it. I was scared to death as I tracked the tornado's path with the weather man, and talked to Darren on the cell phone. Darren and I are both convinced that God's the one who put it on that engineer's heart to stop the train. It wasn't coincidence. God is good all the time. And all the time, God is good.

Had a LOT of fun this weekend with Heidi, my friend from British Columbia. I've known her for several years on, but had never met her in person until this weekend. She stayed at our house for two nights and attended church with us Sunday morning. I love Heidi! She's warm, engaging, fun to be with, intelligent and happy. I feel so blessed to have met her face to face after all these years!

Spent time with one of my favorite friends ever, Denise. Met her Mom and her sister, and Aidan played with Denise's twin boys. Such good times every time Denise and I are together. I wished she lived closer than 6 hours away!

Spent time with a new friend, Tonya, who shares my penchant for Sonic drinks and scrapbooking. She's also a beautiful, encouraging, spirit-lifting, God-loving woman and I'm glad we're finally getting to know each other better!

Scrapbooked with Kristi and the Fortress gals on Sunday. Nikki made my heart smile. MAN, I love that girl! She makes me happy just by being in the room with me.
Cara comes home from Cancun tomorrow. I've missed her. It feels good to miss a friend, ya know? It means there's something there worth missing.

Big deadline for work this week.
Worrying about money.
Need new glasses in the worst way.
Can't find my creativity ANYwhere.
Busy, busy 4 weeks approaching.

Breathe. Just breathe.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

oh. ouch.

Dallas Stars. Vancouver Canucks.
4th overtime. We lost.
I can go to bed now, but I'm not sure I can allow Vancouver-area native Heidi to sleep in my house Saturday night.

MAN, I love hockey playoff time!

bye bye birdie

Yesterday morning, I heard a huge commotion in the front room. The cat, I assumed, was losing her mind. A few seconds later, she came skidding into the family room, batting something around between her paws, sliding on the wood floors like a hockey puck on freshly smoothed ice. I immediately threw my feet up on the desk, thinking it must be a mouse.

No. It was a bird. A tiny swallow. My best guess is that it came down the chimney. I can't believe Ashlie caught it.

The little birdie escaped the paws of death and flitted up to the ceiling, banging its wings against the walls and picture frames and lampshades...generally having a major freak-out, birdie-style. I, of course, in a moment of sheer genius, grabbed my camera.

Soon enough, I realized that as cute as he was sitting up there on my curtain rod, I really didn't want bird poop in the house, so I got the broom and forced him out the door. This was quite a fiasco in and of itself. I was quite worn out from the exertion of it all by the time I finally slammed the front door on his little birdy butt.

Not 10 minutes later, there was another bird in the house. I became aware of its presense when, again, the cat went ballistic. This time, the bird thought he'd make a game out of dive-bombing my head. He seemed a little angry. Instead of reaching for the camera, I had the presense of mind to close all the doors to the room, trapping him in the family room and keeping him out of the rest of the house. Again with the broom, I kept batting at the bird while dodging his Russian Roulette attempts, and eventually brushed him out the door again.

Good. Not even nine o'clock, and I've worked out.

At 10, Michael came over and we joined in a conference call for a training class we're taking. About 20 minutes into the hour-long call, again with the bird. I jumped up and flew toward the front room to close the French Doors before he could fly into the family room where were were on the phone. But before I got there, the bird slammed into the window. At full speed, he flew across the room, and WHACK!! And then, THUD, as he fell to the floor. The cat stood over him and then began sniffing and pawing. "Do NOT shred this bird on my floor!" I hissed. The bird was breathing. I could see his little throat puffing in and out, in and out. But he was very clearly knocked out cold.

I got the broom again and swept him toward the door, out onto the porch, and off the porch into the garden. He was still breathing. I brought the cat back inside, where she proceeded to stand at the door and cry her head off. She wanted that bird.

Later, I discovered that the bird didn't make it. Must've been one heck of a brain injury. Silly bird. I half believe it was the same bird who kept coming down the chimney over and over, because after that, no more birds attempted it.

Darren buried it in our backyard, under the arbor where we know we'll never plant anything. I thought the boys would be enthralled, but they totally didn't care.

Or so I thought. Tonight, Darren came home to find this: a grave marker created and erected by Aidan. I didn't help him. I didn't even know he'd done it. "Ded black berd. We found it on Aprail 10, 2007"

Bye bye, Birdie.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I miss the mountains

As we start thinking about this summer's vacation - will there BE a vacation? - I realize once again that the mountains are calling me.
As I start thinking about the scrap retreat I'm attending in a couple of weeks, and wondering which pictures I should print and scrap, I realize that the photos from last summer's trip to Colorado are begging to be documented.
But ALAS! I can't take those, because Darren wants to scrap them with me.
Don't laugh.
Real men DO scrap.

As evidenced by this page (and the subsequent 11 pages that go with it), which Darren created all by his lonesome about 6 years ago. So proud of his achievement (the mountain summiting AND the scrapbooking!) even after all these years.

I miss the mountains.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

a kinda big thing makin' me happy!

At the beginning of the year, I made some scrapbooking resolutions. You can read 'em here.

I'm sorry to say that the majority of those resolutions remain pie in the sky ideas. My scraproom isn't tidier, I haven't added my new pages to albums yet, I don't keep regular hours, etc.

But #4? Number 4 I've strived to do.

I don't know why I've put off submitting my layouts for publication for so long. I've considered the idea of being published many times, and last year, I even entered the Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame contest. Out of 9,000 entries, only 25 were chosen. I wasn't one of them. And while I knew in the back of my mind that my chances were close to zip, it was still a big disappointment to not receive that call.

The truth is, I'm good at the things I love. People have always sort of laughed off my good luck, because typically, when I enter a contest - whether it be for my writing, or photography - I win. Or when I try something new, like mural painting or playwriting, I do really well. It's sort of uncanny, really. I can do pretty much anything I set my mind to.

Notice, however, that I've never set my mind to things I DON'T think I'd do well at. I've never entered a beauty pageant. I've never tried out for Jeopardy. I've never trained for a marathon.

And I've never submitted for publication. I've been writing for years- since about the 4th grade, to be exact. That was the year my gifted and talented teacher told me that I had something special, and I believed her. I've written weekly columns for a local church publication. I've written stories and skits and eulogies. For as long as I can remember, people have urged me to submit for publication. I dream of doing so. Someday, I believe I will.
I really don't know what holds me back, except for fear of failure.

I'd also never submitted any of my scrapbook layouts, save for that one contest. In my artist's mind, I know that I'm good at what I do. But I also know that there are hundreds, maybe thousands of us who are good at what we do, and I'm not any better than the rest of them. This year, I decided to just TRY. As my friend Elaine loves to say, "The answer is a guaranteed no if you don't ask." So I asked.

In March, I submitted twice - once to Donna Downey's column in Simple Scrapbooks magazine; she passed me by. Ten days later, I submitted to Layout Blueprints 2, the sequel to the amazingly successful idea book that came out last year. Actually, I submitted 7 layouts for the book. Yesterday, I got an email. They're requesting one of the layouts for publication!

I was so giddy when I called Darren with the news that I could hardly speak. I just giggled and squealed. "It's about time. It's about TIME!" he exclaimed.

I can't share the layout online until the book has been published for 120 days. Oh, how I wish I could show you. It's one of my favorites, because it features my two boys, and their two closest friends, who happen to be the sons of MY two closest friends, Cara and Kristi. I love it, too, because in a way, Cara and Kristi get to be published with me. And that's just the coolest thing.

Kind of a big deal to me, maybe not so big a deal to the rest of the world. But it's makin' me happy. I'm published! :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

little things makin' me happy

  • I decided to google my other blog,
    (scr)apropos, just to see what I'd find, and I found this: a glowing review of one of my articles. Wow!
  • I got a call tonight from a friend who said, "I didn't want to go on RECORD by commenting on your blog, but I was surprised not to see "flatulence" listed as one of your favorite words." BWAHA! Makes me happy that Denise knows me so well, and that she bothered to call me long distance to make me giggle. Truth is, I seriously considered that word for my short list, but figured there's been quite enough flatulence on this blog of late. Enough is enough. For now. lol
  • The boys have gotten in a bad habit of not flushing the toilet. Ever. Tonight, Dani, who shares a bathroom with them, had had enough. New rule: everytime we find the toilet unflushed, the boys BOTH have to go to bed 5 minutes early. Doesn't matter who's guilty. "You better keep each other accountable," I told them. A couple of hours later, Ian came pattering into the room, and announced, "Mommy, I fwushed." Heeee. Little things like that make my heart happy!
  • Got an email from my Seester. She might be coming soon for a visit. Be still my heart!
  • Sunday, I really needed friends. I didn't even have to ask. They knew. They rallied. They prayed over me and for me and with me. I am the MOST blessed person I know. Totally don't deserve to be. God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good. Even in the little things.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

BLOG CHALLENGE: favorite words

When I was a junior in high school, I signed up for Chemistry because my best friend was taking it, and also because I wanted to impress a certain guy whose favorite class had been Chemistry the year before.

I didn't learn just a whole lot about chemistry that year. I still remember the oddballs on the periodic table (Ag=silver, Au=gold, Fe=iron, K=potassium), but aside from that, nada.

My teacher was Dr. Bergren, and she was a very short Cuban woman with Dr. Ruth Westheimer's voice. I loved listening to her talk, which came in handy, because that's all she did. And not usually about chemistry. She was infamous at GHS for being the easiest teacher ever to get off subject. We had a blast bringing up controversial subjects that we knew would veer us off the Chemistry path for an hour. For instance, a mention of Fidel Castro would send her careening headlong into a lecture about the evils of Communism. It was great fun at the time, because it got us out of having to do a lab or take a quiz or whatever else was on the day's schedule. But it always came back to bite us in the end, because whether or not we covered the material in class, Dr. Bergren always included it on the tests anyway. I didn't do very well in Chemistry.

English is where I excelled. I was, and AM, a word nerd. I write because I like to. Nay, because I NEED to. I read because I feel imcomplete if I don't. Some people do Sudoku puzzles; I'd rather diagram sentences.

And so it's funny to me that the one thing I learned in Chemistry (besides the periodic table) was a word: serendipity.

I have no recollection of WHY she taught us that word, but one day Dr. Bergren went off on a tangent, and said, "Class. Do you know what serendipity is? It's when you see the rainbow, and you determine to find the end of it, and when you DO, there's a pot of gold waiting for you! That's serendipity."

I've loved that word ever since. Truly, it's on the short list of my favorites. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that when the movie "Serendipity" came out in the 90s, I was sorta dismayed that my word would be so widely known now.

I live a serendipitous life. I think it goes hand in hand with grace, actually. Love God, and get way more than what you deserve in return. Love people, and discover the proverbial pot of gold you didn't know they were holding for you. Wait, no. The proverbial pot of Au. heh.

The other words on my short list?
Gregarious. In my Senior English class, we had a weekly list of vocabulary words, and we had to write sentences on the chalkboard using the word we were assigned. I'll never forget seeing "Stacy is the most gregarious person I know" written there in scratchy boy-print. I took it as the highest compliment.

Pulchritudinous. A year or so ago on this blog, I asked readers to describe me in one word. This is the word Darren chose. I had to look up its meaning.

Facetious. I think of it is a playful form of sarcasm. While sarcasm is sometimes cruel and biting, facetiousness is almost always light-hearted and fun. Besides that, it's just a cool word. I love to say it out loud. And it's even more fun to spell -the vowels all go in order from A to U.

Plethora. I learned this word in 1986, from one of my all-time favorite movies, "The Three Amigos".

Jefe:We have many beautiful pinatas for your birthday celebration, each one filled with little surprises!
El Guapo: How many pinatas?
Jefe: Many pinatas, many!
El Guapo: Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of pinatas? Jefe: A what?
El Guapo: A *plethora*.
Jefe: Oh yes, El Guapo. You have a plethora.
El Guapo: Jefe, what is a plethora?
Jefe: Why, El Guapo?
El Guapo: Well, you just told me that I had a plethora, and I would just like to know if you know what it means to have a plethora. I would not like to think that someone would tell someone else he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has *no idea* what it means to have a plethora.
Jefe: El Guapo, I know that I, Jefe, do not have your superior intellect and education, but could it be that once again, you are angry at something else, and are looking to take it out on me?

I have a plethora of favorite words, but I'll spare you the rest.
What are some of yours?

the challenge:
What is your favorite word?Maybe you just like the way it rolls off your tongue.Maybe it's funny to you for some reason.Perhaps its meaning gives it a place of honor on your word list.Maybe you like it because of the circumstances that surrounded you learning it.Thing about words.What are your favorites, and why?