Saturday, December 30, 2006

I did this simple layout using a template from Maya at Scrapbookgraphics. The scene beyond the frosted window is Disney's MGM Studios.

I just realized I messed up the icicles. The frost on the glass needs to be under the icicles! Duh!!! Why can't I see this stuff BEFORE I upload? I know I could take it down and re-do it but I don't feel like it tonight. LOL!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Here's a very simple layout I did of Michael using a technique I learned from Jessica Sprague's Photoshop Fridays. If you haven't visited Jessica's blog, go now! It's awesome. This photo was originally a color one and I turned it into a high contrast black and white one. The papers and flowers are from Katie Pertiet's SunPrints kit.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Whoa! It's been a long time since I uploaded or posted to my poor blog. Maybe now that the holiday madness is over I will have more time to visit. I got a wonderful new camera for Christmas so I wll definitely be taking lots of pictures. I hope to even learn how to use the advanced features of the camera! It has all the bells and whistles. It's a Canon Powershot S3. Not quite a digital SLR but an upgrade from my old digital camera.

Here's a couple of layouts I've done. I had fun with the template from ScrapGirls that looks like a magazine cover.
The picture is one I took (with my old camera) at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

And the next picture is from the fountain at Downtown Disney.

Credits for the layout below can be found here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wow!! What a great sale!

Sorry I've been away for so long but blogger was giving me trouble and then I got a new computer (Yippeee!!) and have been reinstalling everything! Wow, that's a lot of work. Reinstalling all my fonts is a full time job in itself! LOL!!

In addition to the new computer, I got a pretty new monitor too. Double yippee. It's a 19" widescreen. I went from a 15" crt to the huge LCD and it's heaven.

Also upgraded my Photoshop so I'll be back to post all my wonderful layouts. And as if that wasn't enough, I was chosen by Kathryn Balint as one of her guest CT members for November. Me-a CT member!!! I am really excited. I will post upload all my layouts. That is, if blogger cooperates.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Alex has been home on Fall Break so I've been busy but I did manage to get a layout done. This is a picture of a butterfly I took this summer in my yard. I used Autumn's Song by Betty Jo Martin. She sells at Scrapbook Elements. The brush was from Brandie Valenzuela. Alex goes back to school tomorrow so I should have more time for a longer post.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I learned a cool new technique in Photoshop. I know making curves is not exactly an advanced technique but it's one more thing I can use in my layouts!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Budd asked me about Bob Corker since I live in Chattanooga so I thought I'd give him my perspective.

This is in no way a political endorsement. In fact, this is one of those times when I wish "None of the above" was a choice on the ballot. We moved to Chattanooga 9 years ago and I admit I haven't paid too much attention to politics or politicians. But I do vote so I guess that makes me the worst kind of voter--an uninformed one!! And I took my son to vote as soon as he was 18. Told him it wasn't just a right it was a responsibility. Told him I didn't care who he voted for just that he vote. You'd think with that sort of attitude, I'd be more involved but after having lived in one place for 40 years, it was difficult to adjust and politics was the least of my worries.

But, I do want to say this. There's a Bob Corker commercial featuring Chattanoogans saying how wonderful the city is and all the fantastic things he did as mayor. What Chattanooga do these people live in???? My property taxes have not decreased, they've increased. As for crime, I haven't been impacted but the local news is about the same as it was when I moved here 9 years ago. The only difference is the names of the people being arrested or victimized.

I'm not slamming Chattanooga--it's a great place to live. I'm just saying that I can't recall any difference in my personal quality of life from when he was mayor or all the other mayors we've had since we moved here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Anyone who has seen my other blog, Chattanooga Daily Photo, will know what has been going on. That blog has the Reader’s Digest version. This is a little more detailed but I’ll try not to get too boring.

Friday morning I got a call on my cell phone while I was at work. It was one of my kids and all he said before the call was dropped, “Mommy, I’m in the hospital.” It was like a B movie or a cell phone commercial. I have to admit that I wasn’t even sure which kid called me and the caller id just said “unknown”. I felt like a bad mother but they sound alike on the phone and I didn’t even get a chance to say anything. My first thought was that it was Michael but after verifying that Michael was in his class at the high school I knew it was Alex. Trying to find out about your college son is vastly different from the high school one. The best they could do was give me the number of the hospital in Murfreesboro. I called that hospital and found out from the ER that Alex had been there but he was being transferred to a hospital in Nashville. Not what a mother wants to hear! Now that he’s 18 he’s considered an adult and because of HIPAA they refused to tell me anything. I had called my husband at work as soon as I knew it was Alex. He works 40 miles away from Chattanooga in the direction of Nashville so he left and was making his way there.

I was on my way to get Michael out of school so I could leave for Nashville too when Alex called back again. I told him to tell me quickly what happened in case the call got dropped again. He had fallen out of his top bunk in his dorm and fractured his skull. He has no memory of what happened so we can only speculate. He had his PSP in bed with him and he last remembers playing with it. He found it on the floor and the screen was destroyed so Alex wasn’t the only one to fall.

Alex was in the hospital until Monday and he’s making a full recovery. No permanent damage. He’s glad to be back “home” in his dorm and I’m glad to be back home too. I’m still playing catch-up with everything including my blog.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I've been practicing with Photoshop. Here's a new technique I've learned - how to make a realistic folded corner. I still have to practice more on the dodge and burn tools but I'm happy with my first effort.

I used Kathryn Balint's Velma's Lemon Soda kit. Available here.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Cats hate closed doors!
Anyone who has ever owned a cat knows this I'm sure. Ping (above) especially hates closed doors. So much so that I'm considering getting some of those cat doors--not for the exterior door but the interior ones. Ping isn't as vocal as his Siamese cousins except when it comes to a closed door. This wouldn't be too much of a problem except when it happens at 2AM. Michael claims he can't sleep unless his door is shut. Do you see where I'm going with this? Yup!

Michael often keeps his computer on at night so he can download stuff. His computer has a glowing blue light on it which shines under his closed door. Ping sees the light and figures Michael is awake and since everyone else in the house is asleep he wants in. I wake up and let him in. Of course he realizes Michael is asleep and wants back out. Michael sleeps through the noise so I get back up and let Ping out. I leave Michael's door cracked open enough for kitty traffic. ?Now noise doesn't wake Michael up but he has some sort of radar about his door being ajar and immediately wakes up and goes and shuts it. Ping realizes Michael is now awake and wants back in but Michael is fast asleep again and doesn't hear him. But I do.

So Ping ends up spending the night shut in the laundry room. I'm not sure if I can hear him or I just imagine I hear him--that mother's instinct thing because I know he's crying.

And that's why I want kitty doors!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Happy Fall, Y'all!! Sorry, couldn't help myself. lol
Don't these look yummy? I was inspired by the weather finally cooling down a bit and made a batch of candy apples this week. This is what is left of them. I should have taken a picture the day I made them. They always look best the first day. Oh well, at least there was a few left this morning to snap a picture of.

I can't believe it's been so long since I updated this poor blog. Wish I could say it was because I was busy doing all sorts of exciting stuff. Unfortunately, I've been busy but I can't say what I've been doing. Notice I said can't--I didn't say "Won't". I can't because I don't really know myself what's kept me so busy. It's certainly not because I've been productive with doing layouts or anything. I've actually had a bit of "scrapper's block". I guess that's like writer's block or for digiscrapping. I've been looking at layouts on the web and in magazines hoping for inspiration but none of the layouts I start look right and I end up closing Photoshop without even saving. It's strange how sometimes I'll start a layout and the colors are perfect and the elements exactly what I wanted and the page turns out almost as I had envisioned it. I say "almost" because nothing ever seems to turn out as perfectly as I see it in my mind's eye. But lately, nothing seems right...colors don't look good together or I can't find an element that I could have sworn I had. Oh well, I know it will pass. But when??? I guess I need to practice what I used to preach. When Michael was younger, he would be all excited to start a special project for school and have all sorts of wonderful ideas but once he started working on it, he'd get very frustrated. I can't count how tears were shed over some stupid diarama or poster or whatever. Thank goodness the school psychologist was able to help--to an extent anyway. She explained that Michael could picture in his mind what he wanted to do but because of age. motor coordination, etc. he couldn't make the project turn out the way he envisioned. There was still frustration and tears but at least I knew why and that helped me cope.

I'll try not to be so neglectful of my poor blog!

Monday, September 11, 2006


Since, in all their wisdom, our local Fox affiliate has chosen to broadcast their high def signal to Comcast viewers only, I am asking that everyone--especially satellite subscribers --in Chattanooga boycott local advertisers. If channel 61 doesn't want our viewership, then why should we patronize anyone who does business with them???????????

And since channel 61 denies all requests for waivers, this is the only recourse we Chattanoogans have! So please, before you do business with anyone--BE SURE THEY ARE NOT FOX 61 ADVERTISERS!!!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Henry Winkler signed the shark he jumped!
More autographs.

Alex and his roommate, Don, came home this weekend so I spent the weekend washing clothes and shopping. Alex went back home with 108 cans of soda and a giant shopping bag full of microwave mac and cheese, pudding cups and other snacks and a laundry basket overflowing with clean clothes. We all went out to supper on Saturday night to Carrabba's. One of our favorite places. Later in the evening we went to Clumpies for ice cream.

But the highlight of the weekend was getting to see Henry Winkler. He gave a really great talk about overcoming learning disabilities and don't let anyone ever tell you your goals can't be achieved. One of his messages was that "everyone has greatness in them". My two boys and Don all agreed Winkler gave an excellent talk. I guess that's something when someone can capture the attention of adults and teenagers!

After, he took questions from the audience. My son's roommate has purchased a stuffed shark and they asked Henry to "jump the shark" and Winkler good-naturedly jumped the shark. The crowd loved it. We found out after that Howard Stern has been trying to get him to do that. LOL! They got him to do what Howard Stern couldn't! Afterwared people were asking Don if he was by any chance a Stern intern. LOL! Winkler even autographed the shark. As you can see in one of the above pictures.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Why Henry Winkler?
I found out that's why Alex and his roommate came home this particular weekend. Henry Winkler is speaking at a Family Health Expo tomorrow at one of our local malls. Of course he wanted his clothes washed and to re-stock his dorm room with soda and Easy Mac but he and his roommate both want to see Winkler. LOL! The dh couldn't believe it. I said that Michael will want to go too and the dh scoffed at the idea. We told Michael about it and he got excited and said he hopes to get his autograph. LOL!! The dh asked him if he even knew who Winkler was. Michael said "yeah, he's the attorney on Arrested Development"

So, we're all going tomorrow to see "The Fonz"!!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm still practicing using black and white pictures with a touch of color.

Well, Alex is coming home this weekend...he said something about some dirty laundry. I guess I know what I'll be doing all weekend. He must not be planning on staying too long because he said he wasn't bringing his computer which is probably good since I partially dismantled his desk (it's a huge L-shaped computer desk) so I'd have more room for my stuff. LOL!

Did anyone watch the season premiere of House this week? I liked it. I loved it when Wilson told Cuddy not to tell House he was right and she protested and he said, "Everybody lies." I love Wilson, he's as important to the show as House. I can't wait for the rest of the new shows especially since Monk is already over till January. I hate to say it but I don't think Monk is as good without Sharona. It's like with House and Wilson, she and Monk had some sort of chemistry where they played off one another. And I don't mean sexual chemistry...just some sort of friendship chemistry. Having said that, I have to say I also love NCIS and I like the Ziva character as much or more than Kate. So killing off a character and replacing them isn't always bad. I'm not adverse to change. Hey, I like Law & Order and that's a veritable revolving door for characters. LOL!!

Enough for now, I have to get ready for work. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I guess I'm a little behind since it's already on season 2, but I just started watching The Closer on TNT and I love it!! Why didn't I know about this show before? It's my own fault because TNT has certainly been promoting it. I have heard of it but didn't even know what it was about and the title didn't grab me or make me want to watch. But this weekend my TiVo was almost empty (getting ready for the fall season to start!) and I was checking out the suggestions it had for me and I watched The Closer just to see what it was before deleting it. And now I'm kicking myself for not watching sooner. It's smart, funny and I think the actors are perfect in their roles. I watched the 4 TiVo had for me and now I want more! I see the first season is out on DVD...I may have to make a trip to Walmart or Sam's Club! LOL!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I'ved be experimenting with black and white photos with a colored element and I decided to make a layout with one of the photos.

Not much going on this weekend. It feels strange without Alex. Letting go is hard. Not knowing where he is nor what he's doing. It's like one day he's a kid at home now he's of legal age and not exactly living on his own since he's in a dorm but he's still living outside the home.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sorry to have disappeared for so long. Spent the weekend getting Alex settled into his dorm. We packed on Friday and I took him up on Saturday and unloaded his stuff, then I came home. The dh and I went back on Sunday for convocation and to bring Alex the stuff he forgot or didn't fit in the car on Sat.

He seems very contented so that's good. I just feel tired right now. Probably from spending the weekend going back and forth to Murfreesboro and the emotionals of Alex really being out of the house.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A layout I did of myself and my 2 sons in the first grade.

I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles today. Wait! Where's everyone going? This is a rant about the DMV--I swear.

I had to take Alex today for his driving test. Yes, I know he's 18 and going off to college in like 2 days, but he still only had his permit and we told him it was time to get on the stick and get his license. Anyway, they take appointments now so we made one for 9AM. The e-mail they sent said to arrive 15-20 minutes early so we got there at 8:45 AM. The first surprise we got when we walked in was they had totally rearranged the's more like a bank. You wait in one line and the next available person helps you. Well, we did the paper work, Alex took the road test at 9, came back did more paper work, got his license and we were out of there at 9:30 AM!!! I still can't believe it. When I took each one for their permits we were there each time for a minimum of 3 hours most of it waiting in endless lines only to be waited on by people who took customer service lessons from the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. This time, however, the people behind the counter smiled and talked and joked. It was--dare I say this--a pleasant experience!!

All of Alex's friends have had their licenses for at least a year some 2 years and they all told him to expect to be there for around 3-4 hours. So I guess it was a good thing he didn't get his license before now.

All I can say is thank you FedEx!!! A while back they had a thing on the news about the DMV hiring FedEx as a consultant on how to improve service and speed up the process. Well, it worked!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Busy weekend but I did get some layouts done. This one is my first grade class. I found a bunch of old class pictures and I want to do an album of mine, the dh's and my kids and we can compare them.

As I said in a previous post, we went to see Snakes on Thursday. Alex went again Friday night with a bunch of his friends after work. So Michael wanted to go again. So yesterday I took him and his best friend. His best friend wanted to see it but his dad wouldn't take him--not because he didn't want him to see but he just didn't want to see it himself. He's the one who went when we took the kids to see Silent Hill. I guess after that movie he wasn't up for this one. But I made sure and talked to his parents when I picked him up. We went to the special matinee so it was only $5. The showings that are between 4-5 o'clock are cheaper. Plus this theater was showing it in all digital--picture and sound. The digital is soooo much better than regular.

Not much else but running around this week getting Alex ready to leave. There's a list of things he still needs since we seem to shop in increments of 8 minutes (see previous post).

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Here's a couple more New Orleans layouts.
Things are pretty quiet here this weekend. It was a bit cooler this morning so I mowed the lawn--or should I say weeds since they are the only thing that's grown this summer. Horrible and very dry. It's rained just enough to keep things alive but just barely. The only place anything looks decent is next to the central a/c units where the water runs off and that's out in the back corner not visible to anybody but us.

Alex went with a group of friends to see Snakes again so now Michael is bugging me to take him again. He can't go alone because he's not old enough. Is it just in Chattanooga or does other parts of the country not allow under 18 for rated R. According to the official movie rating people, R rated movies are under 17 not allowed. Anyone know why the discrepency?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Okay, I admit it! The kids and I went last night to see Snakes on a Plane.
All I can say is...GO SEE IT!!! Just don't take it seriously! The filmmakers sure didn't and that's why (IMHO) it worked. I can't remember when I've laughed so much during a movie...even Talladega Nights wasn't this funny or as much fun and it's a comedy.
I feel compelled to put up some sort of SPOILER WARNING although I'm not really revealing any plot twists or anything because there really isn't any. It's pretty straightforward--there's Samuel L. Jackson, a plane and some snakes.
At first I was worried. I was afraid it would turn out to be another 15-18 year old boy movie like Silent Hill and my kids would love it and I would be wishing I could get a refund. Or, I would end up falling asleep since it was a work/school night and it was the 10 PM showing -- nearly past my bed time. Both fears proved unfounded. I still laugh thinking about some of the dialogue. Of course everyone was waiting for Samuel L. Jackson to say the now famous, "I'm sick of these bleep snakes on this bleep plane." and the theater errupted with cheering, clapping and laughter but I thought it felt like it was just tacked on. And if the internet rumors are true, it was added on later. But that doesn't matter when there's other gems like when the co-pilot tells Jackson that such and such on the plane isn't working and Jackson asked what will happen if they can't fix it. The co-pilot replies, and I have to paraphrase since I don't have perfect recall. He said something like "we're in a metal tube 10,000 feet in the air--she'll go down quicker than a Thai hooker." Or when the stewardess heaves a big sigh and says, "I don't believe I'm saying this but ... can anyone here fly a plane?"
I admit the first 5-10 minutes I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. I mentioned it to Michael and he said, "Yeah, I thought maybe they were showing the wrong movie." All I could think of was that old tv show CHiPS. It was endless scenes of a guy riding his dirt bike with music blaring in the background. But as soon as Sam showed it was like he was saying "I'm here now. Let's start having some fun with this movie!"
I don't know yet what the critics will be saying but if they understand that this isn't serious filmmaking, I think they'll like it. There's a very high cheese factor...but in a good way.
Well, that's my take on the movie. Would love to hear what others think.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Oops, I forgot to put the link in for the credits on yesterdays layout. You can go here for credits.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A layout for another sketch challenge. I'm hoping to create an album of some of our New Orleans trips. For credits go here.

Remind me again why I get teary eyed thinking about Alex going off to college? Yesterday, I rushed home after work so Alex could get some shopping done for his dorm room. When I got home we had about an hour and 45 minutes before I had to pick Michael up from school. Of course Alex was still sleeping (it was 12:45 PM) but he did get up and took a quick (for him!) shower. Okay, we still had an hour and a half. He's out of the shower but why isn't he coming? Well, before he can leave the house he has to convert some songs he's got on his computer so he can put them on his PSP. Twenty-five minutes later the songs are ready. Five minutes to put onto PSP. I guess we still have enough time. But before we can get out the door he has to hunt for his glasses. Finds glasses but before he can go out the door he needs to go back upstairs and look for his wallet. Are we ready to go out the door? As soon as he finishes getting his PSP headphone wires untangled. Okay we make it to the car! Yippee! We went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to look for sheets, etc. We go in and find some sheets. Do you like these? What? I can't hear you, Mom, I still have my headphones on. We finally establish that he likes those but the paper that tells the mattress size is in the car. No problem, I tell him, I'll run and get it. I ran to the car and grabbed it and went back into the store. Where is Alex. He's not where I left him. I look around. No Alex. It won't do any good to call him because he's got the headphones on. I circled the store three times and had a clerk searching for him. I'm ready to give up when he finally appears. Now we have to rush to pay for the sheets so I can pick Michael up.

That hour and 45 minutes I had...I think in the end we had about 8 minutes to actually shop. And that was only 1 item!! He still has a list of things he needs.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I did this layout for the August song lryics challenge at RAKScraps. For credits go here.
Well, we survived first day of school yesterday. 3 out 0f the 4 teachers Michael has this semester had Alex as a student. Michael said that worked out good because they automatically liked him because of Alex. Michael said good thing they don't really know me yet!
Recently Budd was talking about "Evil Genius" on his blog. An incident yesterday made me think of that--only I don't know if it's a case of evil genius or complete idiocy. As I said, yesterday was the first day of school and someone chose that day to close the road and dig up the railroad tracks on the main route between the middle school and the high school (and between my house and the high school). There are other ways to get from one to the other but you have to go all the way around. No to mention that the buses take that route. They had to go around and tie up traffic especially since there are a lot more sharp turns and the buses have to wait for the oncoming cars to pull out so they can make the turn.
This isn't the first time something like this has happened. Several years ago they talked and talked about extending the sidewalks in front of the middle school. They talked about it all summer. When did they start? You guessed it! The first day of school. Talk about a mess! Half the road was closed for several weeks.
Who in the world makes these decisions?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Back to school tomorrow! Unfortunately, that also means I have to get up at least 1 hour earlier. Two more weeks and Alex heads off to college. Feeling nostalgic I did a layout of his first grade picture. I love the gap tooth grin. I used Kathryn Balint's The Alphabet Book Kit.

Not too much else happening this weekend. We went to the local Chinese buffet last night and got another questinable fortune cookie. The first time it happened I got one that said "Enjoy life while you can." Maybe it's just me, but that sounded more like a threat than a fortune. Last night Michael got one that said something like "You're creative and personable. Prove it." What happened to "Help! I'm trapped in a Chinese fortune cookie factory."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I was going to upload a layout but Blogger won't let me. I hate when that happens. I finally learned how to properly save my layouts for the web. Thanks to Kelly at Kathryn Balint my layouts will look better when I upload them. If Blogger lets me....

We went to see Talladega Nights yesterday and I have to say I liked it. It was typical Will Ferrell --sophomoric humor and Will running around in his undies-- but it was fun, funny and entertaining. Not all the jokes/gags worked but enough did so I'm not complaining.

After the movie we went to pick up Michael's schedule for school. He's got English the first semester so we also had to pick up a summer reading list. He was hoping he'd get it 2nd semester and could put it off even longer. No such luck! He has to read Farenheit 451 but we told him since he liked Animal Farm he'll probably like it too. He can also read either a Grisham or a Mary Higgins Clark. I have some of each so he can pick what he wants.

Alex had good news from MTSU--they're changing his roommate assignment and putting him with his friend from high school. The other kid called yesterday before he knew about the switch but Alex told him he might be switching. I told Alex he'll probably run into that other kid and he'll be like "so you're the one who didn't want to be my roommate!"

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Another Animal Kingdom layout. I love looking at the tigers. I think they're so beautiful.

Tennessee is having Tax Free days (Fri-Sun) this weekend so I've been shopping and taking advantage. Tax free is for clothes, school supplies and computers. With sales tax at 9.25%, it's definitely a savings. Alex has been working lots of extra hours this weekend. The money will come in handy since he'll be leaving for school in about 3 weeks.

The kids and I are planning to go see the new Will Ferrell movie tomorrow. Talladega Nights. Not my first choice but they really want to see it so I figure I'll tag along.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Back from vacation!
Despite some bumps in the road, we had a great time at Disney World and now I'm trying to catch up on everything plus get ready for the new school year. Michael picks up his schedule this Monday and starts the following Monday (8/14). Alex will be going soon after.

Disney was hot and crowded but that's summer at WDW. Didn't expect anything different. What I didn't expect--and this is totally naive on my part--was that someone would try to snatch my camera from around my neck. We were in Epcot heading for the exit after the nightly fireworks and someone came running by me and bumped into me. I felt a tug and next thing I knew my camera was gone--all I had left was the strap it had been hanging from. I yelled and ran after her. Some guy saw it and yelled too. I ran after her and she either dropped or threw the camera down. I got my camera back but the way it hit the ground I seriously thought it was ruined. To my surprise and relief it still works. Park employees asked if we wanted them to call security and fill out a police report but I honestly couldn't describe the person who did it except she was female. It's true what they say about witnesses. Michael thought she was wearing a red shirt and I thought she had on blue and the guy who yelled was wearing red. I was super careful with everything after that.

Unfortunately Alex had bad news from MTSU when we got back. He and his friend thought they were going to be roommates but when they got their letters they were assigned to different people. They've been making plans for the past 3 months and coordinating what each one would buy and bring for the room, etc. With such limited space, no sense in having 2 of everything. The part that makes me mad is that we asked--repeatedly--about roommate assignments and were reassured each time. If we had been given correct info to begin with we could have been working to correct it. Now they're saying it's probably too late. Grrr.

I fired off an e-mail to the people running the orientation and told them they need to give correct info and not paint a rosey picture if it's not true. It would have been better to receive dissappointing news back then. What they told us (at orientation) and what people in the housing dept. told us when we called were totally opposite. Alex and his friend are trying to get their assignments changed but don't know if it's futile or not.

One of the admin staff gave a speech at orientation and basically said if a student (or parent) came to him with a problem he would make it his problem until it was solved even if it wasn't his department. I told Alex we need to make this his problem! LOL! Of course he could have been just blowing smoke too.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A layout I did for the July sketch challenge at RAKScraps. I used papers and elements from the RAKS July MegaKit.

Today was Alex's 18th birthday. My baby is growing up. He has to register for the draft and he can now vote. Where does the time go?

Not much else happening around here. School is just around the corner. Even though the temps will still stay it's summer, once the kids start school the summer is over in my mind.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

We're officially a Blue Raider family!
Alex and I got back last night and before I could get caught up with anything we had a big storm and the electricity went out and didn't come back until the wee hours of the morning.

The college orientation was educational, exciting, emotional and most of all exhausting. Alex said when he was filling out all the college apps and FAFSA stuff and all the other stuff he was feeling overwhelmed and wishing he was still going to high school but now he's excited and can't wait for summer to end so he can start school. Haven't heard sentiments like that since kindergarten! LOL! He got most of the classes he wanted except for astronomy. He said he'll try to pick it up on August 18th if he can. The people who haven't paid by August 17th get cut and all those classes are up for grabs at 6AM on August 18th so he said he'll be ready to see what he can pick up or switch.

Even if he doesn't switch, he's very happy with his schedule...his earliest class starts at 1:50 PM and some days he'll be in class till 9PM. I wouldn't like it, but he's pretty happy. I told him he better not call and say he missed class because he overslept!!! LOL!

I'm still coming to terms with this whole thing. I was pretty good up until the parents' session on the transition parents have to make. One dad got up and said he's been through it once already and talked about the transition. He said when his first child went off to college she was just "away at school". Then during that time he came to the realization that she had moved out. Most children don't move back home after college. When he said that the tears really welled up but I looked around at the other mothers sitting at the table and they were wiping away tears too. What that father said got to me more than anything.

I guess I just have to keep telling myself that I'll finally have a craft/sewing/computer room all to myself!! When he comes home for breaks, he'll be in my room not me in his room. LOL!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The magazines are now back where they belong!

I'll be away for the next couple of days. I'm taking my son to Middle TN State Univ. for new student/parent orientation. I did have one bit of good news. I was telling my husband Alex and I would have to leave at 5 or 5:30 AM because registration was at 7:30 AM when he reminded me that it was 7:30 AM central time! Whew. I get to sleep in a whole hour later. Yippee!!

I'll leave you with a couple of new layouts.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Whatever happened to common politeness?
Whenever I'm in a situation where I have to walk in front of someone like at the bookstore or video store when they're looking at stuff on the shelves I always say excuse me. I must have been well trained because I can't not do it. I can't remember the last time someone said it to me as they walked in front of me as I was scanning the shelves for books or movies.

What brought this on? Maybe you heard about the big library heist today in Chattanooga? A woman stole two Consumer Reports magazines. What does this have to do with politeness? Let me 'splain.

My husband has started shopping for a new car so I stopped at the library today to look at Consumer Reports. Our library won't let you check them out but they have a copy machine in the lobby (10 cents a copy) and you're welcome to photocopy any page you want which is what I usually do. Today when I went in some old geezer was using it. I went and got the magazines I wanted and he was still using it. So I went to the desk and got change for the machine and went to stand near the machine to show I was next. After standing there for 15 minutes I started making impatient movements. The man then asked if I wanted to make copies and I said yes please. (I WANTED to say Duh!!) He said, "Well, you'll have to wait because I have at least another 30 minutes worth of copies to make." I told him I only had a couple and perhaps I could make mine. He said no he had to get his done first. I went to the desk and complained. The woman said it was a shame he was taking so long and that was all. She wouldn't do anything about it. I slap the magazines down and left. I went and ran my errands and decided despite my annoyance, I'd go back to the library. It had been 40 minutes since I'd left. Surely, he'd be done by now. I walked into the library and he was still at the machine and he still had a stack of papers left and wasn't letting anyone else use the machine.

I walked over to the 2 magazines I wanted, stuck them under my arm and left. When I got home I told my family that if Bookman or any other library cops (Seinfeld fans will get this) came looking for me I fled to Canada. Michael said he heard they don't charge library fines in Canada so they wouldn't extradite me!

My husband said he'll use gloves to read the magazines just in case. LOL!

I fully intend to return the magazines but in the meantime I'll be on the lam...

Monday, July 17, 2006

I won the weekly contest at R U Square with this layout!
This picture was one lucky shot. The giraffe came really close to the truck during the safari ride at Animal Kingdom and I grabbed the shot. Usually the digital camera hesitates and the animal moves away and I get a picture of a retreating animal or just trees but this time everything worked out. Makes up for all the bad pictures I took. LOL!

I have also been working on several other layouts and will post those soon. Not too much else going on here except for the heat. Ugh. Our a/c has been chugging away almost non-stop. Thank goodness for TVA and some of the country's lowest electricity rates. I would hate to see how much non-stop central a/c would cost in Massachusetts. Yikes! I laugh when people around here complain about their electric bills. They have no idea.

Off to work on more layouts.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ping's favorite movie is Eight Below! LOL! He sat and watched it for quite some time.

Michael's computer desk chair broke so I took him to Office Depot and Staples looking at new ones tonight. He's having a fit because he's saving his money for a new monitor. He wants a new chair but doesn't want to spend the money. I told him welcome to the club! I told him that's the way I feel when he needs new school clothes or shoes or the millions of other things he's always needing. He'll be 16 in December and we'll both be very happy when he gets a job! He was telling us all the computer stuff he wants when he gets a job and gets some money. Alex laughed and told him not to count on getting much of that stuff. Michael wanted to know why. Alex told him that money doesn't stretch as far as you think. He said there's always something that you need to spend the money on first. Alex has been working for about a year now and I have to say that his attitude toward money has certainly changed. He gets to spend money on video games and such but I also make him pay for haircuts and shoes and clothes. I hope that helps prepare him for when he has to pay for living expenses. His dad and I are paying for his college tuition but he's going to have to pay for some of the stuff he'll need for his dorm room. As soon as Michael gets a job I'll make him buy clothes and such too. He won't like it but thats life!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I did another layout. This was for another challenge at RAKScraps. The July sketch challenge. I used the elements from the May mega kit.

We'll be taking Alex to MTSU soon for orientation. My husband found this article in the Boston Globe about how colleges are having to expand their orientations to include more and more stuff to warn students about. Sounds like they warn them about one thing and students find two more things to get them into trouble. I know thye have to make their own mistakes and learn from them but it's hard to let go.

Well, there's a thunderstorm brewing so I'll post this before it gets worse or the electricity goes out. The satellite is already going out.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A couple of layouts I did this weekend. The Cat Naps was a sketch challenge at Ginger Thibodeau's blog, R U Square. I used Ginger's Phat Cat kit. Available at Scap Outside the Box.

The next one is an ad challenge at RAKScraps.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. We saw the Space Shuttle linked to the Space Station go over again tonight. We also saw it Thursday night. It's just a bright dot traveling across the sky but it's still neat to realize what it is and to be able to see it as it travels in its orbit.

Wish I had something fun or exciting to report but not much is going on right now. Nor do I have any stimulating philisophical questions to pose. Maybe tomorrow! LOL!
We went to see Pirates 2 this afternoon. The best word to describe the movie would be--fun! I have read the reviews by the critics--both good and bad and I agree to some extent with both. But, I really enjoyed the movie and moreover, I had fun. What more can I ask from a movie? I didn't go to be educated or informed or anything highbrow. I went to be entertained and I was. So I give it a thumbs up.

There was one kinda weird thing about it. Tom Hollander was in this movie. Pride and Prejudice fans will remember him as Mr. Collins so it was weird seeing him doing scenes with Keira Knightly. I kept thinking of P&P.

And tonight was the season premire of Monk! What fun. I loved watching Stanley Tucci doing Monk. I hope they're planning at least one show with Ambrose this season. I have to admit I still miss Sharona. The show can still be successful without her but I really do miss her especially when I watch an older episode with her in it.

Can't say the same about NCIS. I really thought I'd miss Kate but I love Ziva. Now, I can't imagine the show without her!

I'm working on some layouts and hope to post some this weekend!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hope everyone had a great 4th! We had a great cookout with several of the neighbors and then had a fun fireworks show with 3 different groups setting off fireworks on the street.

Tthe boys and I went to see Superman Returns. We all liked it very much. It had enough character development and attention to the love story to keep me happy and enough action to keep the kids satisfied. Tomorrow, we're looking forward to Pirates (and Johnny Depp!!) LOL!

They're bugging me to go to the midnight show for Pirates but I refused...I'm too old to stay up till 2 or 3 and make it to work the next day. We're going to the matinee as planned!

I'll be sure to post a review here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Another Disney layout.
Here's another layout for my Annual Pass Disney Album. The layout was inspired by Ginger Thibodeau's weekly sketch challenge on her blog, RU Square. This one is a rectangular (8 1/2 x 11) album. I guess I'll also be doing a square 8x8 one. I bought a really nice 8x8 album at Hobby Lobby with Mickey Mouse on the cover. We have tons of Disney World pics so it will be easy to fill it up. I just have to find the time to do all the layouts! LOL!! Here's the album cover.

Oh, I should add that the picture in this particular layout was taken by my younger son, Michael. Hence, the copyright by "The One Vader". If you ever run into "the one vader" on the web, that's him! Although I maybe shouldn't be admitting that. LOL!! I still get "oh, so you're Michael's mom" when I meet people. They claim that it's good but I sometimes doubt them. When people talk to me about Alex they always say things like he's such a nice young man, thoughtful, helpful--things like that. Then, regarding Michael I usually get, he', Michael.

We're having our annual July 4th neighborhood fireworks party. It's been evolving over the years. This year we're going to grill some hot dogs and hamburgs first followed by s'mores. And everyone wants me to make pineapple Dole whip again. Then after dark at least 3 or 4 families on the street have fireworks.

Alex has to work but will be home before the fireworks. He said not to feel bad--he's getting time and a half!! And he got his raise so that makes it even better. LOL!!

I'll be sure to take some pictures and post the pics or some layouts. I need to take pictures of my homemade Dole whip for the recipe album I keep saying I'm going to make. Does anyone else out there like Dole whip? It's pineapple soft serve. Yum! They sell it at the Dole place in Hawaii of course and also at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Michael got the recipe from one of his Disney connections. I don't know if it's "the" recipe but it's close enough for me! And my neighbors!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

All I want is a movie or my experiences at Blockbuster

What is the deal with Blockbuster lately? I occasionally buy monthly movie passes. For $30 you can rent 2 movies at a time for 30 days. Theoretically, you can get as many movies as you want in that 30 day period. If you rent 2 movies in the morning and watch them, then you can go back later and switch them for 2 more movies.

We don’t do it every month because usually by the end of the month I’m scrounging the shelves looking for a decent movie. It’s been a couple of months and I figured enough new movies have come out to make it worthwhile.

Michael and I went and picked 2 movies. We got to the counter and I told the clerk I wanted the movie pass and he proceeds to tell me all about their online service. No thank you I want the movies now. But the monthly service is..blah.blah.blah. No thank you I’m not interested. But with the monthly service…blah,blah,blah. No, I wan t to watch the movies now. Today. Instant gratification. That’s why I got in my car and drove here. To get a movie not to sign up for an online service and wait until next week to get the 2 movies I am holding in my hand. But, ma’m, with our online service…Again NO! Then he got all huffy and said he was just trying to give me a better deal.

As we were leaving, Michael asked “What part of no didn’t he understand?”

And now for the punchline…I got home and opened the dvd case to watch my movie.

The freaking case was empty!!!! I swear the jerk did it on purpose.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Here's a couple of layouts I did for my Walt Disney World Annual Pass album. We had annual passes and went 6 times from October 2004 through September 2005. So I have tons of pics from myself and my two sons who also enjoy digital photography. The first layout was just a simple one I did to practice my Photoshop skills. For the next one I used a sketch from Ginger Thibodeau. She has a sketch challenge each week on her blog. The kit I used was from the design team at Scrapbook Bytes and is called Carnival.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Carol-0 Cannolis 1

The boys were both working Saturday so hubby and I went to Bonefish Grill for supper. We had Mussels Josephine as an appetizer and I had swordfish for my meal. Heavenly! I haven't had swordfish in ages. I had planned on getting dessert too but was way too stuffed to even contemplate it. Hubby and I went through two baskets of bread because we kept dipping it in the pesto and olive oil and also in the juice from the mussels.

After Bonfish I went into the nearby kitchen store, Mi Cucina, and bought some cannoli forms. The boys were heartbroken that I didn't make cannolis immediately upon entering the house. After that meal I didn't even want to think about more food.

But by Sunday, I was ready to tackle the cannolis. I had read about problems with runny filling so I made sure to dry my ricotta by wrapping it in a towel and letting it drain in the fridge. The filling came out perfect. It was the dough that gave me problems. It was very stiff and didn't want to roll out so I put it through my pasta press. Probably not a good idea...I have a feeling that this type of dough should not be handled too much or it won't be flaky enough. I finally got it thin enough and wrapped it around the forms. The recipe said to cook for 8 minutes...after about 4 or 5 minutes the first two had begun to brown beyond recognition. I took them out and put them on a rack to cool a bit before removing the forms to make more. (I only have 4 forms) Only the dough didn't want to let hung on for dear life. By the time I got it off the dough was in pieces. Next ones I made sure were LOOSELY wrapped around the form. They came off much easier some too easily...they popped open in the hot oil. Well... they were certainly easier to fill. LOL!!!

Told the boys that if anyone made a wisecrack about how the shells looked didn't get any. I had planned on photographing them and putting a pic here. LOL!! No way. Although the powdered sugar helped hide a lot, they were ugly but they tasted good...could have been better but it was my first try. I always tell the family that the first time is for experimenting. I think I'll try a different dough recipe and see if that helps.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Some layouts I did recently. This one is from our National Parks trip in 1993. For the layout I used Kathryn Balint's World Travels kit. This is the trip where almost all of our pictures came out really crappy because my camera wasn't working right. This picture taken at Monument Valley was bad too but I scanned it in and did some PhotoShop magic on it. I could probably do even more to it but I'm still learning the ins and outs of PS. I just used the automatic color & contrast adjusting.
This one I did for my dad. I used Mo Jackson kits for this one.

Friday, June 23, 2006

"Leave the gun. Take the cannolis."
I guess all Godfather fans will recognize that line. I don't remember if it's from G1 or G2. My husband loves them both and has watched them both numerous times.
Why am I quoting from that movie other than the fact that I love that line? I guess I'm homesick. Since moving to Tennessee in 1997, I have rarely missed Massachusetts. Especially in winter! I do admit that during the long summer months I sometimes watch The Weather Channel and covet "75 and raining".

Anyway, my point is that I do miss the food. I'm not just talking about quohaugs, steamers, and chowda. I'm talking Italian food. I mean real Italian food. Don't get me wrong, I like the Olive Garden but the atmosphere is all wrong. I bet if I went to Olive Garden in Chattanooga right now and asked everyone their name I wouldn't get one "Sonny-boy" or "Joe Dogs" or "Big Nose Sam".

I guess my next cooking project will be to learn how to make cannolis. I've had to do that with a lot of other foods.

I did some more layouts. One for my dad using kits from Mo Jackson and another Grand Canyon trip one using a Kathryn Balint kit.

Blogger is being stupid and not letting me upload my pictures. Will try again later.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Carol 0 Charcoal Grill 3
My old gas grill needs to be replaced but I can't afford the one I really want so I decided to wait to replace it. In the mean time I miss grilling out. After all it is summer. So, I bought a small charcoal grill to use in the interim. A cute little grill for $20 except by the time I bought the charcoal, the lighter fluid, the non-stick spray for the cooking grate and, oh yeah, some steaks. Not to mention the ingredients for s'mores (Michael insisted!). The bill came to $75!!! I could have put that toward my new gas grill.

Anyway, I drag the stuff home and follow the directions for getting the charcoal going. It says they're ready in about 15-20 minutes. Ha!!! I got it lit. Came back in 10 minutes and the briquettes aren't even warm so I douse it with more lighter fluid and get a roaring fire going. Still about 30-35 minutes away from actually being able to cook on it. Meanwhile the family is sitting at the table waiting for supper. After supper we find out that because there's no flames like the gas grill, a charcoal fire is not very good for s'mores so Michael opts to make them in the microwave.

Next day, I decide to start the grill a good 35 - 45 minutes ahead of time. I get a good blaze going and come back in 10 minutes. The briquettes are cold to the touch. Evidently the windy conditions are putting the flames out before they can get the briquettes going. Get another blazing fire going with copious amounts of lighter fluid. Same deal. So I drag the stupid grill into the garage where the conditions are less windy. Finally, the briquettes catch fire and start to ash over. But they're still pitiful and the family is waiting for supper. So I bring the half cooked chicken in and stick it in the microwave.

Third day I am prepared. Start grill 45 minutes ahead of time and get amazing blaze going. Come back in 10 minutes and it's looking good. Come back in 10 more minutes and it's ready to use except it's still 25 minutes till supper and my london broil doesn't take that long. Throw a couple of briquettes on to slow it down a bit. Another 20 minutes and hubby calls to say he's going to be 20 minutes late. Charcoal is now practically reduced to ashes. Throw a few more cold briquettes on. Hubby gets home and grill is a nice mix of ashes and barely warm briquettes.

So, I guess if Budd can use his dishwasher as a dish drying rack, I can use my microwave as a grill.

I meant to post this much earlier but our internet was down almost all day.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Here's a layout I did as a sketch challenge at Scrapbook Bytes. It's from our Grand Canyon/Utah trip back when Alex was in kindergarten.

Not much to report. John went to Atlanta Saturday to see the Red Sox. The tickets for Saturday had been sold out but he kept checking and a few seats opened up. He was 3 rows up from the Red Sox dugout. He was thrilled. He had also recorded the game and when he got home and watched it, he saw himself. He also had a good father's day. His all time favorite movie is Grand Prix, a real oldie with James Garner. It's never been out on DVD. Finally a special edition 2 disc set is coming out in July so the boys pre-ordered from Amazon and are giving that to him. He was thrilled and surprised because he didn't know it was finally being released. The boys were glad to be able to surprise him.

Michael had wanted to see Nacho Libre with Jack Black but the reviews weren't very good so he decided to wait until DVD and rent it at Blockbuster. A lot can be forgiven when a movie is a rental as opposed to spending big bucks to see it in the theater. We usually get a Blockbuster monthly pass every few months so we have unlimited rentals at least for that month.

Well, gotta post this and go pick up Alex. He's working 42 hours this week. Welcome to the real world!! LOL! He had to be in at 7:30 this morning even though the mall doesn't open until 10. Penneys got new cash registers and everyone had to go for training.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Has anyone else noticed this phenomenom?
I stopped by my old place of employment today (Chattanooga State Technical Community College better known as Chatt State) for a retirement punch and cake reception. A small group and I get together for lunch sometimes but it's been a few years since I've seen some of these people. And I gotta tell ya, some of them had gotten older. It's so strange how everyone changes but you! Has that ever happened to anyone else? LOL!! I can imagine what they must be saying about me!

The boys and I went to see Cars over the weekend. The boys loved it and I liked it. There was nothing wrong with it but it didn't have the same heart that Finding Nemo had. I do have to say that CGI has come a long way. Cars was visiually gorgeous. Really amazing. I think that's one reason the boys liked it so much. They were discussing the technical side of it and why it was so amazing. Using terms that I didn't quite understand. LOL!!! Anyway, it was a good movie and I can recommend it but I won't be lining up waiting for the DVD to be released. (Like I was for Pride and Prejudice! LOL!) My neighbor took her 3 year old to see it and said she loved it. Her daughter wants to go see it again.

Speaking of Pride and Prejudice...I watched it again. And I re-read Budd's review. And I agree with some of it. I think Donald Sutherland was perfect as Mr. Bennett although not necessarily completely true to the book. I may be wrong but as I recall from the book Mr. B held his wife and daughters except for Jane & Lizzie in contempt. I don't recall much affection on his part. But Donald clearly felt a lot of affection for his whole family and seemed to have a better relationship with his wife than in the 1995 version.

I wasn't even going to see the 2005 version because I thought it couldn't possibly be as good as the 1995 version. And how dare anyone but Colin Firth play Mr Darcy? LOL!! But I heard good stuff and went to see it not once, not twice but three times!!! In my defense I have to say that my son was still working at the theater back then and I saw it for free each time. And I love both Colin Firth and Matthew McFadyen.
And one last thing. I think Keira did a better job of demonstrating Lizzie's growth and maturity during the movie than Jennifer Ehle.

One more last thing! LOL!! I adore the scene where they're dancing and everyone else fades away. So cool.

Friday, June 09, 2006

This was a graduation page I did as a scrapping challenge using Mo Jackson papers and doo dads. So except for the picture, the diploma and NHS patch it's all Mo Jackson kits.
I'm sure everyone is getting sick of Alex's graduation by now, but this is a layout I did for a RAKScraps monthly challenge. It was a song lyric challenge using these lyrics from Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water and I immediately thought of this picture with Alex and his dad standing behind him. I promise this is the last one!!! For this layout I used a kit called "Lena" by Monica Larson. Unofortunately, the TOU doesn't tell where to get her designs nor nor her e-mail so I can't list a link and I can't remember where I downloaded it. But I love this kit so if anyone knows her please feel free to post more info.

Is anyone a fan of Cold Case? I finally got caught up on watching them. TiVo had close to half a season--11 episodes!! Anyway, I don't know if there was a particular season finale. The last one I had, Lilly got involved with a victim, Joe and it looked like she might loose her job because of it. Was that it? Because the issue wasn't resolved in that episode. And Scotty beat up a suspected pedophile and that issue wasn't really resolved either. It was my own fault for getting so far behind. Anyway, if anyone can shed some light, I'd appreciate it.

We were hoping to go see Cars but Alex has to work today and the rest of the weekend so I guess it will be next week unless we went to a late show tonight. Anyone see it yet? Is it worth it? Can't wait till next month for Pirates of the Carribbean. More Jack Sparrow!!! Yes!

Well, I need to drag out my pressure washer and clean all the things I said I was going to when I bought it. LOL!!! The deck, the sidewalk, driveway, the time I get done the first things will need cleaning again!

Hope everyone has a fun Friday night!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I love TiVo! I didn't even know we are now receiving a new cable channel--The Sleuth Channel--but TiVo did and it even recorded some Simon & Simon episodes for me! I used to love that show! LOL!! I'll have to see how it is now-some 22 years later! The new channel also has Miami Vice and The Equalizer.
Here's another picture taken inside the Opryland Hotel. This is a shot of one of the restaurants in the atrium.

Not much going on today. Watching House reruns with the kids. I've turned both of them into House addicts.

Well, off to bed before I fall asleep at the computer.