Thursday, November 29, 2007

My holiday personality .... no surprise at all to me!

What The Holidays Mean to You

For you, the holidays are about generosity. You give as much as you possibly can to friends, family, and charity.

You celebrate the holidays in a minimalist style. You are likely to only give one great present and decorate your house with a few special items.

During the holidays, you like to feel cozy and comfortable. You're happy to stay inside with a roaring fire and a warm drink.

You think the holidays should be comforting and relaxing. You don't like the holiday rush... you just like the simple pleasure of the holidays.

Your favorite holiday memories strongly evoke your senses. You are vividly aware of all the tastes, smells, and sounds of the holidays.

Queries about Scrapbooking

I visited Chiara's blog & wound up getting tagged!

1. If you could have $100 worth of scrapbook paper or assorted embellishments, which would you choose?

Embellishments, basic ones like mini-brads and clear buttons!

2. If you had to choose between using only stamps or rub-ons which would you choose?

Are they GOOD rub ons? If so, rub ons. If they're crappy ones, then it's stamps.

3. If you knew how to do both awesome cards and layouts, but could only do one for a year which would you do?

Layouts. Including little teeny ones that someone might mistake for a card.

4. Would you rather own a scrapbooking store or have your own scrapping room at home (can't have both,lol)

Own room, hands down.

5. And then last but not least, what is your current cardmaking or scrapping style?

Apparently it's "clean and classic". Memory Makers says so. Give it a day or two to change.

If you are reading this you are tagged.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I confess ....

Here's the mini-book I made from Shimelle's class earlier this year. TONS of fun!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

I didn't do too badly, apart from the deathly fear

I've been taking classes in medieval longsword since January, from the Chicago Swordplay Guild. So, tonight was kind of a final exam for the fall semester type of thing. Not drilling or practicing choreographed cuts or perfecting footwork, but actually strapping on masks and wielding padded swords (which will still pack a punch...I know, I had 2 bruises for almost 4 weeks this past spring), and engaging in a 3 minute bout with an advanced student.

In May, I fenced against Dan, whom many people call The Wall. I find him to be a teddy bear-ish sort of guy & know that he'll push me, but won't break me. Then, I fenced against another advanced student, Poji, I believe his name was, who'd just mopped the floor with another student. I begged him to be gentle with me. He was, and he even gave me pointers as we fought.

You would think that 3 minutes isn't that long. I mean, when I am meditating, 3 minutes passes in about, oh 18 deep breaths. Easy, peasy. NOT. Not when you're trying to stay loose, to move, to defend, to strike, to recover ... and to do almost all of it without thinking. In the spring, I thought the first bout was almost over when the marshal called "2 minutes remaining". I thought I was going to die. My lungs were on fire.

So, here's my second shot at fencing, tonight. Now, I'm scared. The first time I did this thing, I felt like I had some protection, being a newbie. Now, I've taken these classes for 10 months, and I've joined the guild, all official like. I worry about what will be expected of me. I have to NOT think about it or I'll start my heart racing. It was like that for the past WEEK, people. I had to work hard not to think about it. But, when I'm driving there, I can't NOT think about it. I am thinking to myself, "In less than 30 minutes, you could be up on deck." My heart begins to pound. I talk to myself to calm myself down.

When I arrive, I stretch, then toss around a medicine ball a bit with the rest of the class. It's time to start. As before, they ask who wants to go first. Dan ("The Wall"), my teddy bear, is suited up & carrying the practice blades & marshal's baton. I want to get this out of the way, so my heart will stop pounding out of my chest. I stride up, mask in hand, and pick out some hand protection. I am geared up, and our instructor, Jesse (who doesn't LOOK all that scary, but I've seen him move. He can do freaky things, like forward flips without touching the ground.) is giving instructions, explaining to the new folks how this works. At this point, my anxiety starts to fade a bit (now I am only a little bit nauseous, my breathing is mostly normal, and my vision isn't closing in at all). I can do this. I've fenced Dan before. He's really good, but I also know that he won't scare me. Much.

So, I put on my mask & wait for Dan to do the same. He hands me a practice blade. Then, he hands one to someone off to my right. Wha???? No. No. No .... NO! I'm fencing JESSE???!!! help. oh, help. *whimper* If I hadn't had my mask on, people would've seen the look of stark terror on my face. And my jaw really would have hit the floor. I command my body, "Move out onto the floor. Just go." I remind myself, "Stay loose. Pay attention. Keep moving. Monitor your range." For the next 3 minutes, I try my best to follow those directions. The rest of the moves? The moves that involve actual swordplay: blocking, striking, footwork? Just instinctual. I know for certain he was holding back on me (bless you, Jesse!), but he did keep it challenging. I caught myself, too late, moving into sloppy guard positions and delivering careless blows, striking with the flat or intersecting too low on the blade. I know those are Bad Things ... but my body, in its frenzied attempt to protect itself, well, it didn't care much about those details.

The net result: I need to work more on my range. I got too close. I also need to do more drilling so I can have better muscle memory. I know can do these things cleanly when I'm not being attacked, dammit! And ... as far as I can tell, no bruises. So that means I didn't get whacked anywhere. I stopped most of the hits with my blade, or by just escaping. As far as I can tell. I'll check tomorrow morning to see if I am wrong.

I fought Jesse. And I lived to tell the tale. Just don't ask me to do it again anytime soon.

Ah, the life of a cat

Oh, to be a cat ... lazing about in the warm sunshine, fed by humans, comfy home heated by humans, playing with humans, playing with toys provided by humans, poop scooped by humans. Yeah. She's a princess, living in luxury. And she knows it. It's why I got her a little charm on her collar, because unlike our other cats, Isabelle is a diva and is worthy of some kitty jewelry. Mrow!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

TAILS Humane Society update

For those of you who remember this post ... the update is now that almost all of the cats (163), dogs (119, I think), and birds (uh...30 some?) have found homes. If you'd like to see some photos there is a slideshow here -- just be forewarned, the first half shows some pretty sad living conditions for the animals...but the latter half just about had me in tears to see how receptive & happy the animals were to human attention and affection!

Thank you to those of you who donated.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A wish for Thanksgiving

A Harvest Wish

Be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields blossom while others lay brown beneath the harvest sun. Take hope that your season will come. Share the joy of those around you; look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours; their choices in life no more easily made. Give, in a way you can; in every way you can. Give from your heart; for to give is to love and to withhold is to wither. Care less for the size of your harvest than for how it is shared; and your life will have meaning; and your heart will have peace. (from an anonymous 17th century sermon)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Some days ... a splurge is nice

I'm of the school of thought that say if you're going to eat something rich & fattening that you like, you should go for the best ... just in a smaller amount. So, when I really wanted something sweet last week, I thought I'd get myself a cookie. Until I stumbled across individually decorated cupcakes at the grocery store, for a mere 99 cents. I took it home, poured myself a glass of chocolate milk, and was just in heaven.

Monday, November 19, 2007

More "Journal Your Christmas" pages

I couldn't fit all of my Journal Your Christmas pages into a single slideshow -- so here are the remaining pages:

The first (Dec 1 through Dec 26) are in the post below!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It may not be Christmas yet ...

... but it's time to start gearing up for Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class! Here are pages from the past:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's definitely fall!

The house smells divine, rife with rosemary, from our dinner: pork tenderloin studded with garlic and rosemary.

I've broken out my wool socks, all comfy & fuzzy. Cups of tea and chai are sounding more and more appealing by the minute.

Apples wait in the crisper, destined to be eaten with a satisfying crunch, perhaps with some peanut butter ... or that nummy low-fat caramel dip I scored at the store.

It's been dark outside for about 2 and a half hours ... and I won't be going to bed for at least another 3. It seems like I live half of my life in darkness, now that Daylight Savings Time has had a chance to interfere.

The leaves that looked so gorgeous on treetops are now scattered on the ground. On my drive to work, I see laws that are seas of yellow, gold, and peach. Soon, they'll turn brown, but for now, it's a treat for the senses to see the ground awash in color.

Yup. It's definitely fall.

Now, I just want some snow. Please? I know snow is a winter thing...and everything comes in its time. It's just so hard to wait for it, now that the temperatures are down to 30F most nights!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007


She's been following me around all day, and when I went outside, she was frantically scratching on the front door & our bay window, from the inside of the house, as she watched me turn earth & plant bulbs for a couple of hours this afternoon. She's sweet & clingy ... and as soon as I give her the slightest attention, she starts purring madly. Is it any wonder I struggle to get much done today?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Wellness Journey

I'm working my way through a class at Big Picture Scrapbooking called My Wellness Journey. It's a way to combine scrapbooking with improving health/fitness/diet type stuff. I like it, because it's (a) fun (b) keeping me accountable and (c) challenging me. Even though my average week consists of 4 cardio (30-45 min) workouts, 1 sword class (2 hrs), 1 tai chi workout (2 hrs), 1 fitness class workout (1 hr), and 1 yoga class (1 hr), there's still some room for improvement. So, I am
- adding in more strength training. I find this kind of thing to be inordinately dull. Thank goodness for my iPod.
- adding whole grains into my diet. I've already been eating less white bread ... but I am still a fan of simple carbohydrates. Give me time. Oh, Lord ... give me strength!
- increasing AND varying my fruits and veggies. I'm trying to "eat a rainbow a day". This is much harder than I thought it would be. I apparently eat very few brightly colored foods.
When I try to balance out my workout times with my food intake (calories) and my portion sizes and more whole grains and diverse foods ... well, it is a challenge all right. It's hard to keep everything in balance. But I am trying. I really really am. And the other big change? An official day of rest. You heard me right. Normally, I do not rest. On days when I am not working out, I feel like I am slacking, cheating, not doing the 'right' thing. Now, I'm giving myself permission to REST. Strange concept. I liked it last week, though. A lot. *grin*

Friday, November 2, 2007

I am laughing so very hard

And if you go over to Shelley's Snippets, you'll see why for yourself! I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I am that my parents were never a slave to fashion!