Creative expression through the written word

Archive for July, 2008

New Scrapbooking Online Community

Hey all you crazy, obsessed scrapbookers….my partners and I have created an online scrapbooking community. It is very..very…very brand new and we are still working the bugs out but if you love scrapbooking and are willing to put up with the learning curve until it is flawessly functional please come join us. Our launch date is August 8th and the website is

As any scrapbooker knows…we always have a project in the works, some in various stages of completion so this is no different. We are excited to meet other scrapbookers and hope that “GYSO” becomes as much of an obsession for you as scrapbooking has. In the meantime..if you are interested in joining the community comment on this blog and I’ll forward you a comment when it is live and ready to roll.

I look forward to meeting all you scrapbookers.

Never Enough Time

I am a pretty organized person. A few of my friends would say that I am neurotic about organization, especially at work. I had several years when my children were younger that my house was never clean, never presentable to the public but not so much anymore. I say all that because I feel like I have no time. I can’t imagine how everyone else gets through their day.

I leave for work early and drive an hour to get there on time. I work eight plus hours depending on whether or not we have an event going on and then I drive another hour to get back home. I have to make dinner, exercise, laundry, dishes, etc. Of course that doesn’t include all the things that get pushed out to the weekend like yard work, grocery shopping etc. I have a few hobbies I love to spend time on like scrapbooking, reading (voraciously), writing on stories of my own but the thing is…I don’t ever feel like I have time for those things.

When I do make time for those things I feel like I am letting everything else go. I know I am pretty organized but I can’t get everything done in 24 hours that I want to do and that is frustrating. What is worse is having a plan for my day, especially on the weekends and discovering that my plan for the day doesn’t at all match my husband’s plans for the day. Guess who’s plans win out? You got it…his, usually. Then I feel even more behind.

I thought that when my kids got older, they are all teenagers now, that things would be simpler but they aren’t. Instead they have gotten more complex because now we are trying to keep 5 people’s schedules organized and on track. My kisd help with chores, thank goodness or I’d be sunk but they also go more places and are involved in a lot more than my husband and I are. I think its all chaotic and when I stop to really look at how much we try and balance in the course of a week I’m amazed.

Someday, like when all the kids are gone and I’m retired I think that life will be a little simpler and I’ll probably start complaining about having too much time on my hands. Oh well…I guess it’s just what it is.

She’s on my mind today….

She’s on my mind today. The one who I shared the depths of my soul with. Her, the one that I thought would be there forever. The one who was most beloved and now on a good day would be considered a friend. Most of the time she is more of an aquaintance and on the worst of days she is naught but a stranger. We are thousands of miles away from each other and yet there are days, like today, that I feel as if she is right here beside me and no matter the distance between us the memories of closeness wrap around me like a second skin. Memories of golden skin that turns to warm caramel in the heat of the sun, rich brown hair with golden streaks that curl to her shoulder.  I can see her engaging smile that enticed people to feel comfortable and at ease with her. I can hear her laughter and see those beautiful eyes light with her mirth. Sheis tall and svelte, curvy in all the places that made men drawn to her like bees to honey. She, the one who I opened up the most private core of my soul to and found that she saw the real me, the truth of who I am as a person and called me friend anyway. Her,that I put on a pedestal and believed that she would never hurt me or betray our friendship. She that I absolute faith in. I feel her presence with me today as surely as if she was standing here in front of me. I miss her, my one time best friend, my soul sister and confidante. Unforeseen circumstances eroded our friendship from the very foundation. I found myself staring into the eyes of a stranger. A stranger that I used to know so well. I fought for purchase on the crumbling grounds of what I believed to be real only to discover that it was all an illusion. She was not who I thought her to be and she  believed things of me that could not believed if she had really seen me and understood the core of who I was…she had deceived me and now six years later I still miss her. I still wait in the hopes that some day I will look upon the face that I loved so deeply and see the light of recognition again in those eyes. Someday I will reconnect with her, my beloved friend, and know peace of heart and mind and soul again. She is on my mind today.

Its all about acceptance.

Have you ever hit a wall…emotionally and the next thing you know you are wildly swinging on an emotional pendulum? Most likely the thing that has brought you into emotional turmoil is really the proverbial “straw that broke the camels back”. It seems like nothing from an intellectual point of view but your emotions are screaming that you just need to give in to the emotional chaos suddenly pouring through you.

Well today, a few moments ago…that is me, my experience and now here I sit writing this blog to try and get over the rapidly tumbling emotions so my poor husband doesn’t have to go to bed with a crying, nuerotic mess. Not that I would ever use those words to describe me 99.5% of the time. For the most part I’m pretty grounded.

I don’t feel like I’m crazy but to have lost it over such an insignificant thing (which I won’t go into) is more embarrasing than anything else. But a realization that maybe a particular thing about myself might not ever change regardless of how hard I try hit me so hard tonight that I can’t keep the tears away. Its something I’ve always said I wanted changed about myself but in the face of the truth of it I find myself not sure I am strong enough emotionally for the journey of change.  

Four days ago I heard someone speak about the fact that people need to accept the truth of who we really are or where we are in life before we can really accomplish change. You have to be okay with where you are, who you are without judgement or excuses of any kind in order to become something else. Well this is a big moment of seeing the truth and not being sure that I can accept myself without judgement.

Why is it so hard to not judge, not to make excuses for why I am in the situation? No one created this but me. So if I created it why can’t I un-create it? Why does the thought of that scare me? Why does the thought of not being able to change this one thing about myself scare me too? And God help, where do I go from here?

No really, I am the Favorite

My parents have been together for almost 45 years of marriage. Their marriage has brought them 3 birth children, 1 adopted child, 4 spouses to their children, and 19 grandchildren. Despite the fact that my Mother bemoans her parenting skills (I don’t know why – they are great parents) there is one thing that she feels she did right. She made each of her children feel completely loved and special. It’s become a sort of tradition within our family about arguing for the honor of being “THE FAVORITE”.

It is not unusual to hear one of us kids talking about being the favorite and it is usually followed by another one saying something like, “You just think you are the favorite but I know I am.” On and on it continues until we all start laughing. The thing is we all know we were equally loved, equally treated as special individuals and not one of us has a doubt that we are respected for who we are.

The funny thing is that as the years have progressed and we have married our spouses have joined into the fray and now as our children have grown they also are participating in the quest to be “THE FAVORITE”. They have even gone so far as to tell us, their parents, that we will nevevr be the favorite because they are far more important to their “Nona & Papa”.

My parents laugh and smile at each other and know that they had to have done something right if we all feel like we are the favorite in their eyes. Although we don’t have any great-grandchildren added to the mix yet I am sure that when we do, someday, they will be vying for the title of favorite too. It is a legacy my parents have created and I hope the legacy continues on through the generations and I hope that someday my husband and I will be a “Nona & Papa” and that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren feel they same way – as if they are indeed our favorites. The process has started already because my children are proclaiming that they are our favorites and good naturedly arguing amongst themselves for the title each is absolutely sure they possess.

Flexibility is the name of the game

Ever woken up and started going through your day and realized that one word can define your entire day? For some that word might be happy, angry, frustrated, excitement….the list could go on as long as we have adjectives to use.

Today and through the last few days that word has been flexibility for me. It has applied to evertything from gaining flexibility through our Wii Fit to being flexible about what we are eating for dinner. I’m not sure if I am just aware of the word so I see how it applies to just about everything lately or if it’s a message that I needed to get a hold of for this moment in time. Either way it has been quite an education.

I’ve had to just be flexible and go with the flow when an employee “pushed an issue” that riled up my feathers so to speak. I had to be flexible again when another employee asked to bring their baby to work…not that I minded that but still it required flexibility. I had to be flexible and drive a different vehicle to work today so my son could use my car today.

Being flexible is s good thing. Being too rigid about life is asking for trouble. Letting go and going with the flow seems to be the much wiser course of action although I wouldn’t say it is the easier path to walk. Some times it takes that brief moment of hesitation to stop and think about how I am handling a situation before I chose the course of flexibility but at least I am aware that I am making the choice.

Flexibility doesn’t mean being a doormat and letting everyone walk all over you either. It means being strong like a tree that bends in the wind or like a river that flows over and around the obstacles in its path. Flexibility is choosing to work with what you have been given and finding a way to meet everyone’s needs including your own. I’ve decided that I really like the word flexible and I’m looking forward to seeing what other words come along and make a real impression on me.

The Wii Fit Revolution

We have a Wii

Of course we have every other game system man has created too – between my husband and my three teenage sons we have more technological “New and Latest” crap (my word definitely not theirs) in our house that I can’t keep it all straight. When the Nintendo Wii entered our house I was impressed. Finally a game system that addressed the couch potato syndrome that drives me crazy about video games. (Not that I haven’t enjoyed the sometimes quiet that said games bring to my normally chaotic house)

I have to admit – I like a round of bowling…but with the Wii Fit having just been released (my husband was third in line the morning it hit the stores) I think I am quickly becoming a full fledged convert. I quit attempting to play video games when my three year old son could beat me at Mario. That was over fifteen years ago and I have watched many an hour of my husband playing video games or watched my children try and beat the latest game craze but I have steadfastly refused to participate.

So…enter Wii Fit…my husband and I have decided to use it as a “game” we can play together and “get in shape” together. We pulled it out of its box…doesn’t look so intimidating…it’s just a board you stand on. We turn the machine on, insert the “game” and VOILA! welcome to a whole new world. Within a few moments you are entering your height, (it calculates your weight automatically), It gives you your BMI and your current age based on the information gathered. I am three years older than my actual age – not good!

I most assuredly have to lose weight – a lot of weight and board that has somehow become very intimdating agrees. It took my swanky little Mii character and plumped her up right in front of my shocked eyes and then I laughed. My husband’s character plumped up too it was quite funny. You get to set goals and you have over 40 different exercises you can do. Hula hooping? Sounds fun – except this is hard. You have to make the movements like you are actually hula hooping but you have to stay in your center of balance. By the way – your center of balance isn’t how you normally stand or function. That is the point – we let our bodies compensate for things like not standing correctly etc and it affects our health.

Once you get over the machine tossing words like “overweight, obese, couch potato” etc at you it can actually be fun. It is extremely entertaining and a fifteen minute workout on that little board will work up a sweat and tire you out. I think my favorite thing so far is the step class. That is fun and I could do that for a long time. They say if you don’t work out to not go longer than thirty minutes to start.

I don’t think I have to worry about that…for awhile…but for now I’m just enjoying the process and I am most assuradly one of those people jumping on the Wii Fit bandwagon. I think everyone should get one and for anyone who needs motivation to start exercising this is a great and fun way to get started.

Only Mid-Summer?

As much I love the summer…the sun when it shines warm and bright, all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that you can get in abundance at the Farmer’s Markets, picnics and barbecues, swimming, walking and bike riding at the Bay…my least favorite thing about summer is the kids being home from school. In my case – with three teenage boys – the days go something like this:

They sleep all day because the house is peaceful and quiet. Around noon they get up and immediately I start getting text messages, “What can I eat?” which by the way seems to be the prevailing theme of summer. They snack all the time. Even though I have left a note on the kitchen counter with their chores listed they often wait until right before they know their Dad will be home before doing them and they certainly don’t do anything more than what was asked. They play video games, computer games, myspace, download anime, listen to music, watch movies and on the occassion I actually discover that one of them has read all afternoon. When they know I am about twenty minutes from home I start getting phone calls, “What’s for dinner Mom?”, “Can you bring us home a Gatorade or a bag of chips?”, “When you get home can we go….”

I walk in the door and inevitably see ground zero or as I refer to it, my kitchen. Dishes and glasses everywhere…wrappers from packages they have opened. Crumbs on the counter top, trash can overflowing (if it wasn’t one of the items on the chore list for the day) Invariably my husband has rushed home and gotten on the computer because he is taking online classes at the college right now and is completely oblivious to the mess around him.

I get bombarded the second I walk in the door with all the questions my kids didn’t text or call me with during the course of my working day. My theory is to not engage with them until I have to. I put my stuff down, kiss my husband hello and ignoring the barage of questions or comments head straight to my room. It’s my sanctuary and I spend as much time as possible changing out of my work clothes into comfy clothes, washing the makeup off my face..pretty much anything to allow me to stay in the relative peacefulness of my room as long as I can.

When I exit my room I’ve made the mental switch from work to mom. I tell the kids they can talk to me in the kitchen. I spend twenty minutes picking my kitchen back up while the kids sit at the kitchen counter and talk my ear off. When they have run out of steam and are ready to go back to video games my kitchen is clean and dinner is going. I’ve become a master at cooking and cleaning as I go. Amazingly enough my kids haven’t figured out how much I get them to while we talk in the kitchen either.

When dinner is done and my husband is done with his class and homework everything settles down. Because we both have to get up really early we generally are in bed by 9. Sometimes 10. Of course that is the middle of our kids day. They are raring to go and end up staying up all night. Last night – point of example – at midnight I got up and had to tell the kids to be quiet so we could sleep and then again at one. It doesn’t make for a good night of rest. Before you know it we have to get up and the house is clean, peaceful and quiet and we start the routine all over again.

When does school start again? When do we get back to a routine that leaves my house clean and my sanity in tact? I love summer…I really do but I don’t enjoy the chaos that summer brings with my kids having no real daily structure and no reason to go to bed before the wee hours of the dawn. Myabe I should move somehwere warm so I can enjoy the weather year round and not lump the nice weather with summer break.

Who Says I’m Creative?!

Creativity is simply the expression of the soul put into a physical medium. Sounds great doesn’t it? Sounds like it should be easy right? Well I can’t tell you how many people I come across who don’t think they are creative people, myself included with exception to writing. So my general musing for the day is why do we all deny being creaive people? Everyone has a spark of creativity within them. It is the people who fan the flames of that spark that define themselves as creative. We – you and me – we are creative in so many different ways. Some are crative with numbers, some with sciences, some with history or language and most definately there are the ones who are creative with the arts.

I attended BizJam 08 last week and when I did I was given a name badge that signified me as a “Creative”. I can’t even begin to tell you how much that altered my perception of my self. For two days, for twenty hours, people recognized me and responded to me as a highly creative person because of my job. I know I need a certain amount of creativity on the job but in that capacity it just seems to be part of what I do but ask me if I am creative and I’ll tell you no. I have several friends that argue with me over that very issue. However, that time, in that place, did something to me on a very personal level. I realized that if other people saw me as creative and I chose to operate under the title of creative that I found out I felt comfortable with the designation.

Can I go out and paint a masterpiece? No. However I know that I do have something creative to offer the world. Perhaps my creativity comes more in the form of writing or more in the form of seeing organization where others don’t or coming up with creative solutions for other people but I am creative and I am willing to bet that each living breathing human out there has the same spark of creativity just waiting to be embraced. If we each make the choice to fan the flame of creativity in our lives then together we might be able to change the world with one creative idea after another.

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