Thursday, December 17, 2009

get your holiday on

have you got your holiday on?

i have been feeling the hum-bug set in lately. there's just so much going on. i've given up on even attempting to play domestic goddess and have purchased all christmas cookies/goodies this year. in the past i have mixed purchased cookies (but at least they were home-baked by someone) with ones that i made. i didn't even get that far. lots of change and what feels like back-to-back birthday weekends - oh yeah, it has been 3 of those.

on the plus side, the tree is up and decorated and i managed to get pictures of the kiddies decorating it. it gets better looking each year. and i get less worked up over the perfection of it all. it was nice to admit (aloud) that i was feeling overwhelmed and was not going to get the tree setup and lights on it any time soon and therefore needed someone else to do it. dear husband took care of it. (a blessed first in the seasonal triathlon.)

i am done with shopping and done cutting kiddie school pictures apart. perhaps i will get the christmas cards in the mail by monday - OMG i may even stoop to printing labels and letting the boys do it instead of insisting on hand-writing them all... what the heck! live on the edge... (that's me, on the edge.) they could do that while i wrap presents.

other interesting news, i succumbed to viking mania and actually purchased a jersey. of course, this would never have happened except that it had a number 4 on it. i am weak for the favre.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

winter wonderland

winter - check
wonderland - uuuhhh... not so much.

the roads were pretty bad in the metro when i left work at 7. it got better the farther west i got (unusual). i have to be back in the mess tomorrow morning during rush hour. we're supposed to get 6-8 in with gusts up to 38 mph. welcome winter, welcome winter. (it's not like we can make it leave.)

my painting class was cancelled tonight because of the weather. now it is two months i've missed. it was my birthday present to myself; foiled again. i had a painting in mind for a friend. a nice way to share the love when she gave me paint as a gift. i will just have to do it on my own, instead of relying on shared studio time... when will I do that?

december has already ramped up with 4.5 footer birthday, party, my birthday, planned birthday party, kid birthday, anniversary, people coming over for christmas day, gift wrapping, cookie purchasing (no time to bake), christmas decorating... sigh. i do prefer to keep it to the 12 days of christmas.

i want a kindle in the worst way; i'm going to keep holding out in my standard stubborn fashion.

i've been wanting to go sledding or ice skating or lake hockey in the worst way lately. been streaming in the regina spektor and cake too. i've been thinking a lot about friendships and timing. depending on the thing, my timing can be very good - work; and very bad - personal life.

i'm missing my buddies across the river a ton. its been hit and miss with planning lunches with our busy schedules. met up with two of the ladies today for the first time in a month and had a very nice time.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

winter has come again

it sort of feels like winter never left; it was just sitting dormant - a sort of deep-down cold-in-waiting. yesterday when i came out of the house headed to work, the ground was white.

December is always so busy and hectic. with three birthdays, an anniversary, christmas-holiday stuff, there's just not enough time. the corn drying season has gone about a month longer and dear husband is still working 90 hour weeks.

window replacement was accomplished and looks very good. rearrange has taken place downstairs and basement furniture is on order. i finally have a dedicated exercise area that feels spacious. i love the new location of my home office too. the studio has been a neglected and has crates of my office books in it while i wait for my office/cubicle rearrange to happen.

i'm looking forward to painting on tuesday night. i haven't picked up a paintbrush in over a month and had to miss the November session to watch the boys. i worked on the cherry blossom painting again a little in October, but haven't gotten back to it.

neck spasms again are preventing me from doing some daily things, but hopefully the exercise area will help with that. the weirdest part is the insomnia from it. 2 hours of sleep and back at it. i hope i can get back to jogging again the next month. with christmas around the bend and all the birthday cake, i'm sure to put on a couple of pounds without much exercise.

i am loving the new job. funny how old gone friends can still inspire you to live the life you want to live and give you confidence to just reach for what you want. i can be pretty cautious, and i decided that i don't want that to be my legacy. i love what i do and seem to be in a place in my life to have the opportunity to choose. i don't want to waste the opportunity; i choose what is fun, challenging, has been on my list for too long, makes me nervous tackling a new skill set so quickly. it gives me a good feeling to know that somewhere in the cosmos, if you knew what i was doing, you'd be in my corner cheering my on.

Monday, November 09, 2009

another big day for the little lady

yes, i'm a delicate flower.... ah, maybe not so much....

big day today. started the new job. awesome. the window replacement is one-half done - in one day! so that is pretty amazing. i'm calling the painter tomorrow to see if we can get all the rooms painted while they are torn about anyway - and i'm not going to get to it if i haven't finished the landing in 5 years...
well i love being introduced as a web developer or programmer. ah... i have the beginnings of an assignment today. we'll see what tomorrow brings after all the hr. paper work is done. so far so good.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

winter is coming again

i've been moving so fast over the last few weeks. today was a big day and i'm exhausted. i'm quite sure i must look haggard, because i feel exhaustion running deep. i had the exit interview today and then a wrap up with my boss and boss' boss. i made a presentation for them about all the key changes i've contributed to or been the catalyst for in the two and a half years here. i put a lot into it. i hope it helped to recap how far we've come and help focus on a next step.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

bleak house complete

i wrapped that book early this evening. it was something to have read because i wanted to read it. dickens and all. i think that i will tackle a couple more of his books just to get a good sense of it.
i think that he likes developing characters. there were so many characters and so much involved in introducing them and contriving the connections between them and yet there was this sort of, not let down, but lack luster finale. i felt for all the 891 pages that the last100 felt sort of rushed to wrap things up. lots of political commentary and death. but, well, that's dickens too.

i think that i will add his books to my reading list in the order they were written. that is how i read other authors.

overall: worth reading, but not a barn burner; subtle, building. dickens.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bleak House

i am happy to report that i am nearly done with Bleak House. i'm a 100 pages from the end. i have a mixed review of the book. i like long books. mostly because i read pretty fast for a non-speed reader. i generally like to read every word of a recreational book.


there are going to be a few changes around here. i got mri results and have some bulging disks in my neck yet. physical therapy is super important in the next six months, as will be exercise and rest and weight lifting.

those needed changes and my commitment to paint a few hours a week have prompted me to think through some other things in my life. i've decided to make a career move and focus more toward the programming goals that i have. i've accepted a new position and will be ramping up on C# in the next few weeks. i'm very excited about that, the reduction in hours, the new focus on fulfilling some of my wants and needs.

future here i come. ready set go!


this pathetic attempt at still life at home... the light fades so quickly in the afternoons now. i started out with strong contract and ended with almost none. i'll have to start using artificial lighting now. 1 hour.

sue told us to try painting an hour a day (complete a small painting in a single sitting) for 100 days. ummm... an hour a week for 100 weeks? no, i've been better than that, just slow at getting them posted to the web. i'm trying a cherry blossom (clearly from a photo this time of year) and am on my 3rd attempt.

yes, the apple is funny shaped with that sort of protruding part. i suppose i could have turned it, but it seemed more fun to try the challenge. not every one can be good. like yoga - it's a practice.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

first try - got lucky

so this is the first thing i painted in oil. [11x17] i have had this one floating around in my head for a couple of years. it is my oldest when he as the only splashing in the shallow waters at gooseberry falls park. that's kyle's hand holding him from slipping. the light was so amazing that day and the water was less than an inch deep and so clear.

i was standing looking down at them and something about that strong hand holding his little hand, well, i hope every mother knows that feeling of joy whether it is her hand or someone else's. protection and love in one.

fresh starts - hot off the easel

well, i finally went and did it...

yep, despite allergic reactions to the chemicals, i've started oil painting. i have always wanted to oil paint. the media seems so much a fit for my style of seeing.

as you can see from the background, i snapped a pic of this with my phone before leaving the studio - partly out of happiness and partly out of anxiety that i may drop it on the way to the car and would not have a record of it.

no worries, though; it made it home safely. this is my second oil painting at class number two. i really like that our instructor is a painter instead of just someone teaching the technical aspects of painting. she's great at just cutting us loose to paint and then spending lots of time just walking around and offering tips and answering questions.

i felt a little lucky after my first attempt and was waiting to hold judgement on whether this would be a potential long-term pursuit of mine. i'm a bit over dye on silk. i've been at that since 1993 and well, there's just so much silk that i want to hang or wear or give away. so i'm putting that away for a few years and starting a new phase of my painting. anyway, the first one i painted turned out so well, that it could have just been beginners luck. and there are certain things which i just seem to have luck with.

so that yellow flower is some type of mum and crazy big and yellow. if i could have chosen, i may have picked something that was less equal in size to the vase, but... can't have everything. i could have used artistic license and shrunk it... but i guess i'm lazy and mostly just try to paint what i see. which brings me back to how i see while working.

i would describe my process as one that identifies contracts between darks and brights. i found while exploring watercolor [on paper] that i had a harder time than with other media because of the need to preserve so much light. i find here that i can block out the darks and then add the lights. then i work the middle just a little, adding focus or finding my focal point. i work the
focal point and then run quick over the rest so as have canvas with paint everywhere, well mostly.

after this one, sue told me that i have the drawing elements down so next to work on laying paint on thickly. in fact i've been so crazy for this that i've been painting a bit at home. i've been taking an hour at least once a week for that. oh yeah, i did this one in under 3 hours. not too bad.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

holy moly

I can hardly believe that it's been a month since DefCon! Wha?! Where has the month flown to? Of course work has been work. Physical Therapy has been going well. Slight set-back where I couldn't turn my head or lift my left arm for 10 days in there (but I still managed to work). Shoe shopping for the boys - one's feet are as big as mine! (That's not saying much for me, but saying a lot for the 4.5 footer.) School started today. An old family friend died on Monday and I'm road tripping up North with my oldest friend (of 30+ years). It's getting so long that it's hard to admit to knowing each other this long. So aside from the sadness, it will be nice to catch up with her. I am doing some volunteering for a cancer benefit coming up in October. Donated blood today. What else... oh got cleared (since the muscle spasm set back) to start light jogging again and to use my walking poles. (Yes, I know I look like a moron on the road, but I don't care! It is really good for my back muscles.) It should have a t-shirt made which says that so that I can wear it while using the poles... *smile* Oh yeah, DefCon - I have a list of posting info for that, it's just hard to wrap it up. DefCon kicked butt - and in ways I didn't expect. The people I met out there were so awesome! The sessions were good. People were major interesting. The parties were off the hook (and fun because of the interesting people). I am definitely planning a return.

That was a little stream of consciousness, but it is late and I figured better some slim post than none.


Friday, July 03, 2009

fun, sun, water, and fire

We spent Thursday outside. We weeded a few of the flowerbeds and used Preen on them. The 4-footer lives to water with the watering can. Then they played Duplo blocks on the patio until after lunch.

The boys and I took a quick trip into town. We picked up a kiddie pool and a kid sprinkler. We'd intended to get a slip-n-slide, there weren't any. I thought we could use Shelly's idea and turn the slide into a waterslide. ├čut dear husband has it safely fastened to a stake in the ground. So we had a grand ol' time just running through the sprinkler!

I got too much sun and have my tank top shape emblazoned on my body. The boys did fine as they must have their dad's skin type instead of mine. They are both brown.

It was a monumentous occasion (besides vacation without checking work email and basically shunning my computer-i am even using my phone to blog this week.) the ugly Blue Truck got hauled away for the demo derby! Hurray! The eye-sore wasn't very visible next to the back shed, but the yard looks better for it.

While we were picking up water toys, I got the kids some new Legos, k'nex, and bionicles. They played with those on the-patio after water fun and until it was time to come in. We watched the rest of the Incredibles until dark.

We had a family fire and made s'mores out of the GIANT marshmellows (about the size of my fist). We sat around the fire until 11:30 and then stuffed the boys in bed with the warning that each could get up to quietly use the bathroom in the morning but would have to go back to bed.

Funny how you find yourself as a parent being so explicit...and don't go into your brother's room to see if he is sleeping, just get back in bed. Don't come downstairs to my room to see if I am sleeping, just go back to sleep.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

waterpark mayhem

We're headed home from the Waterpark of America. I didn't get very many pictures; I didn't want to get it wet! The all round favorite was the 10-story family raft ride. There is a tie between the 2-person raft ride, body slides, and river rafting.

The 4 and 1/2-footer wants me to mention how fun the body surfing was. My recommendation to modest moms is to wear a one piece suit for this 'good time.' I wore the double bikini top and threw on a board shirt. Too bad I didn't have board shorts with a cinch-able waist. I am not one to worry about messing up or trying something new. However, I lost my swim bottoms, well the back side, and any dignity I had left on the first try. Tight board shorts for this one, ladies!

The 4 footer enjoyed the river rafting so much. It was especially fun for him when he figured out that he could touch bottom! He kept telling me that the person in the front was in charge. The 4 1/2 footer kept trying to outrun us in the loop.

We're all exhausted and headed home for a movie and ice cream.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

tuesday morning

65 degrees
Little bit rainy
The boys are fishing a little private lake north of Green Isle. We inherited the friendly neighborhood Labrador for the experience too.

Upon arriving here, we found a little mouse-like animal. So between the dog and the mouse, the kids were having a great time despite the weather.

They caught sunnies one after another and kept dear husband busy releasing the catch. Strange how this is so different from the fishing of my youth where staying still and quiet was the mandate (as was not really catching anything either). It was a lesson in patience and deliberation that my kids are missing out on by not having to wait more than 60 seconds for a bite.

The 4-footer decided to strike out for the other side of the pond. We all walked along. The boys stood on the shore and caught from there.

Maybe fishing quietly with my dad and getting skunked all those times is why I appreciate a challenge and get bored with things that come so easily.

We had snacks on the tail gate. 4-footer and I were watching the gaggle of geese floating. I asked him if he thought they would eat the worms we had left. "No," he said. "What do they eat do you think?" "Fish. And mangoes." "Mangoes?" "Yep," he said. There you have it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


The scheduled sessions look exciting! I'm getting completely cranked up about DEFCON 17. I a am n00b; but it will be worth begin there even to be treated like a pleeb.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

budding sidewalk artist

the 4 1/2-footer did this the other evening. chalk on cement. i love the asymmetry, the color choices and dynamic composition.

coming home to this is like getting flowers or a new electronic device. my boys love me. what an incredible feeling.

Monday, June 08, 2009

duck-duck kid-duck

the duck shaped scissors - it quacks with every cut...

the kids sat next to me at the counter and played playdough while i checked email and typed this up. big, bad, mommy... yeah, yeah, sometimes you just need to do what needs doing - it is 3 days into summer vacation and i'm having the 4 footer sit next to me and read 15 minutes. since there isn't any school, the least he can do is read for 15 minutes a day.

hopefully this will prevent some of the summer skill loss. (though it cannot probably offset the 10 hours of cartoons this last Saturday and Sunday mornings.) at least they do things while watching tv - like color, play games, and do crafts.

these little dudes are my world.

Here's me with humidity, big hair, and tired after a week up north at the MCCC Annual Conference in Alexandria.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

domestic goddess? I wish

well, my favorite thing to do on sunday is to bum about the house and pretend that i am a domestic goddess. the dishwasher is loaded, the other dishes are washed and in the drying rack, counters clean, house clean and everything in its place for the week. supper is cooking on the stove (nothing complex, rest assured) and my wardrobe is ready for the week ahead.

after supper i like to go down to my corner of the family room where my office is and putz about filing, scanning, doing bills, responding to email and getting the weekly schedule ironed out. heaven knows that the week is too hard to get any of that done during the evenings...

then i'll work out and watch my shows for the week - though i will be adding the big bang theory into rotation with the standard mystery/classics.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

bert graduated

we went to bert's graduation party today (the one that i was a week early too last saturday). it was good to see people that we haven't seen for so long. and there were even some of my girl friends there too. we stayed longer than i thought we would because it is a race day.

i watched De-Lovely, The Cole Porter Story this evening. what a really good movie. such a love story. well, i am a romantic somewhere down deep.

i have been working on going paperless for the last year - i think that it is just time to implement scanning. i have my deliverables all down to electronic. i have all my notes and process there too, but i have not been successful yet in stemming the tide of incoming... i found a couple of ScanSnap scanners that i'm debating between or perhaps one for home and one for the office.

i just have to determine the correct storage media for this, etc. i think that it is time for a server to act as file and print server and little pdc... yet this will thrill dear husband who recently confessed to hating my obsession with computers and always having electronic devices so near at hand (e.g. the palm, the blackberry, the razr, the eee, the laptop, my desk of PC in the family room, my laptop for scrapbooking/photo management)...

Friday, May 29, 2009

wrapping up the week

Other than wanting to test drive a newly built application, (and get to a different keyboard or grab a nail file,) tomorrow I will be prepping to go out of town for 4 nights/5 days -networking, project status, presentations, work.

I need to do all my laundry and household chores tomorrow. Make my packing list - and I'm gong to take this opportunity to work on my wardrobe book and photograph my outfits all laid out before I pack them so that I have both quick guide to my wardrobe that matches my itinerary - and a way to start that book for general use.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

catching up

Oh yeah, the car crash. Lots of things have been crashing around me lately that I put the car thing to the back of my mind. Quick update on that since I just glanced at my last old post. My neck and back are doing a lot better. The therapy and exercises I have are helping. I have mobility back and most of the pain is gone. My knee is what is bothering me most at present. Both knees got smashed into the seat in front of me. But compared to the neck thing, it seemed very minor. Well, six weeks later and my left knee is still bruised and hot and have been swelling up and hurting. I'd been walking and introducing jogging back in for 5-10 minutes of that hour.

I skipped it the last 5 days - mostly because of working too much - but also because I wasn't pushing to make time to work out because my knee hurts. I guess it is starting to sound like a meniscus (sp?) tear. Time will tell. I went out today for an hour walk and only just jogged the short part over the bridge where there isn't a shoulder. It's hotter again and hurts tonight. I guess I'll take some Advil or something.

Let's see, what's been going on that I could blog about...We've spent a lot of time outdoors yesterday and today. I was a total redneck yesterday. I'm on linked in and twitter now.

Yesterday: I did things I haven't done (on purpose, really) in a very long time. I bought a case of beer. Since I'm the only one that drinks beer at my house - except the neighbor, Mike. Yeah, that's right. I said we keep beer in our refrigerator for our neighbor. (That's 1 Redneck point) I drank beer while standing in the garage watching stuff burn outside of the garage. (That's 3 Redneck points.) We burned bushes that were pulled out of the front of the house with a pickup truck and a lumber chain. Oh, yeah. (That's got to be worth 5 points.) It was done in broad daylight of mid evening with traffic was high and we yanked out 5 huge rose bushes. It was also began with the sentence: Hey do you want to have some real fun? (I did not utter the sentence, but I"m taking a point for answering: Hell Yeah!) No, it doesn't stop there. The 5 year old was hanging out the window of the passenger side of the truck shouting "Ye Hah!" (+1) Grand Total: 11 Redneck points. That is a serious issue. I don't even usuall hit that in a 3 month period. "OMG, That's so farm!" (Click, 12.)

I weeded part of a flower bed today and made a trip to the hardware store for Preen to try and keep the weeds at bay this year. We found caterpillar - the bad kind - nests in our fruit trees today. I just cut some of the branches off. We tried to burn those too, but they lived through it. I got bug stray too and strayed the tree.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

painted the car

on wednesday, my doc said to start being more active. on friday morning, he said that i could return to normal activity, just be smart about muscle pain versus anything more serious.

i took thursday and friday off last week (vacation days) to work on the school carnival volunteering i've been committed to and prep for teaching on friday, the carnival and friday night and racing opener on saturday.

thursday night i spent an hour in the shop painting sponsors and lettering on the IMCA stock car. on saturday, i was out at 9 am painting until my dad came at 12:30. it worked that i was sort of stiff, so I could hold still. after lunch, we both worked on it until it was loaded on the trailer at 5 pm.

we got done. i couldn't have done it if dad hadn't come to help. it looks okay. i promised myself after last year that i would have it done before racing day this time... there's always next year.

visual disclaimer: i do not get to pick the colors. "just the basics; nothing swoopy or fancy" were part of the requirements. it is important that this be legible from many angles and covered in dirt.

Friday, April 17, 2009

be careful what you wish for

well i have spent 2 days sitting down, so i guess i have gotten to slow down. i had never been in a car accident before. so that was something new. lots of good things to be thankful for- no one else was hurt and it wasn't my car.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

i need to slow down

it is hard to believe that spring is here already. a few months ago the weather reflected my mood and just felt cold and miserable. now the weather is not so miserable. i guess i am getting caught up in spring activities - co-chairing the spring carnival at the boys' school, running for school board (just of our charter school - very low key), painting classes, and running out side again.

the boys are busy and it seems strange to be on this side of the school year with a month and a half to go. by next year both boys will be in school full time. i'm also trying to swing some exterior remodeling into the crazy mix, and work is work. the people i work with are the best, but the budget constraints have got us all loaded down even more than usual.

i guess that i am looking forward to summer, summer runs, summer sky, getting outside with the kids and doing some things to my yard.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

a river runs through it

I had never seen that movie before. It was on some rerun channel on Thursday night. I am not that big of a Brad Pitt fan, but I sort of got "hooked" on the fly fishing is an art deal and was curious to where it went with it.

Very thought provoking ending.

Isn't that just the hardest part about parenting and loving - giving another person unconditional love and still maintaining that boundary between helping someone and still giving them enough space to make their own choices - even if they are "bad" ones.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

it's been a long time...

i vacationed. i planned. i organized my living space. i worked out. i dealt with some sh!*.

i lost that 10 pounds that i gained between Oct and December. my gram had an awesome recovery!!! she's back home and doing fantastic - amazing what quitting smoking can do for you when you have the drive to just move on.

back to work - oi. yuck with the non-stop projects.

i have been going to a painting class on tuesday nights - watercolor. watercolor on silk (aka silk painting) is as easy as can be. but this watercolor on paper stuff has always given me a tough time. i think it has to do with the intensity of color (or lack of) and the use of mostly white space. i realized last night (with another muddy output) that i paint more of the shadow than leaving white space for light. So I build layers of shadow to create a composition and i think that watercolor comes at it from a light-protection stand point. i guess i will see this week if figuing that out can help my work a bit. these last couple weeks of work are only trash worthy.

also the medium is sort of 'tricksy.' i can predict and prompt/direct dye movement on silk to get it where i want it. this is different. it is like i have to do some time making crap paintings just to figure out the medium. unfortunately, i have spent many other periods of time trying to 'get it' and hadn't succeeded. maybe this is different. (or maybe i'm just bullheaded...)

even though the class is made up of 12 ladies past retirement age plus me, it is nice to meet up with some local artsy types and visit. also to just take the time to paint. it has been a nice escape from the work stress that is building up again with more and more demands on my slim schedule.

so off i go to paint in my studio until midnight.