Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Enjoy Scrapbooking?

I enjoy scrapping now, but if anyone had told me that years ago, I would never have believed them.

When the scrapbooking craze started years ago, I thought that it was "too cute". I had made scrapbooks in the past, but they were mostly glorified photo albums. I would occasionally save memorabilia for speciific events or trips. But I thought all the papers and fancy stickers and "cutsie" cut-out shapes were just not me.

A couple of years ago, I went with Mark's cousin and aunt to pick up some scrapbooking supplies. I just went along to have something to do. By then, the world of scrapbooking had matured into something that truly resembled art - at least looking at the scrapbooking magazines. I was becoming intrigued. But I didn't want to deal with all the supplies - the papers and the stickers and the ribbons and STUFF! I just didn't have room for it.

However, in one of the magazines was an article from the developer of another digiscrapping site, showing how easy it was to create scrapbook pages using PSP. I knew PSP. I used it at work to manipulate photos. I made a few pages and was becoming hooked. Then I found while surfing the web. Their beginning tutorial spelled it out for me and I loved what they had in their "freebies" section. But the world really opened up for me when I discovered the forums and the challenges - the support and assistance was amazing. (As an aside - there was some controversy going on at the time - on another forum, DSP was being bashed as an unfriendly place - I never understood that).

I've been away from digiscrapping and from DSP for several months - due to other things going on and a lack of drive, but I happened to scan the forums this week and found a thread I had to post to. Immediately, someone noticed I had posted and PMed me to say they were glad to "see" me.

I have had a special reason for learning to scrap. My sister passed away in 2004, but before she died, she left a list of things she wanted her daughter to know about "Mommy". I made a Mommy book for my niece that highlights the list, plus whatever else I could think of that she might want to know. And as I acquire more photos, I can add to the book - that's the beauty of digiscrapping.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Vacation Part 7 - The Trip Home

We went as far as Farmington Friday night after leaving Durango. We were both so tired that I think that lights were out before 9:00 that night. So, we were able to get up early Saturday morning and get on the road at 6:20. The drive to Santa Fe was again filled with wonderful views - vies that we hadn't been able to see on the way north Tueday night because of the darkness. We hit Santa Fe about 9:30 and went to get the Jeep.

I had to fill up the rental car prior to returning it, so I pulled in on one side of the pump and Mark pulled in on the other side. As we were filling both cars, we were unloading the rental car and loading the Jeep and trailer - we got entirely too good at transferring luggage this trip!

Because of the headwinds on the way up, we had to stop about every 2 - 2.5 hours to get gas. So, I added an extra hour to the project time that it would take us to get to Hobbs. But we had a tail wind and were basically going downhill so our gas mileage went way up. We got to Hobbs about 4:00 Saturday afternoon. Mark and I organized the Jeep a little, cleaned up and then went to visit Sandie and John. Sandie was my Administrative Assistant for several years and we had gotten to be really good friends before they moved to Hobbs to take new jobs.

We took them to dinner and we talked and we talked and we talked - at least Sandie and I did. After dinner we went back to their house and Sandie and I showed each other pictures of the happenings in our respective families. Their son, Sean, plays baseball in the NY Mets organization, and of course, Sandie is a very proud Mom. It was really good to see her again. I've missed her.

Sunday was another long day spent on the road. But the Jeep behaved itself and got us home in one piece (stupid Jeep - just didn't want to go to Utah I guess!). And for fun, I watched the GPS software try to figure out the route that Mark was taking and guess how many ways it was going to try to force us back on the path it had chosen. Mark has to go to Hobbs about once a month and thinks he's figured out the best route - but the GPS didn't seem to think so!

We got home about 8:30 Sunday night - worn out. The trip wasn't what we originally planned and I know that Mark was disappointed that he didn't get to go explore the backcountry in Utah. I was disappointed that I didn't get to see the Grand Canyon. And I spent more money than planned due to the rental car. But I still think the trip was a good one overall! We'll have to do it again sometime. Mark is already talking about a trip in the Spring to Big Bend - maybe the Jeep will behave itself then!

Vacation Part 6 - Durango

We drove back from Moab to Durango Thursday afternoon. The only thing that we had completely nailed down for the whole trip other than the hotel reservations were tickets on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR on Friday.

Thursday night was spent at what must be the locals hangout - the Old Tymer's Cafe. There was a couple at a table next to us that must have known everyone in Durango, apparent by the number of people that stopped by to say Hi. The food was really good there as well. Durango is an interesting looking city, but it's obvious that tourism is high on its attractions. Moab was the same way.

The next morning we got up and got to the train station really early to pick up our tickets. I was thinking that on a weekday in December, we ought to have a pretty light crowd - WRONG!!! There were 3 different school groups, other families with pre-schoolers and a wedding party. Mark didn't enjoy the trip as much because of the crowds, and I admit that by the end of the day, the kids had gotten on my nerves. But it was really cool riding on the train, and again the scenery was WOW!!!! I got some good shots of the train as we made the curves - steam and smoke belching. And I tried to do justice to the moutains and the Animas River. At one point the river was 700' below the train tracks and the train was hugging the side of a cliff.

I was also surprised that in spite of the cooler weather, the open cars were crowded. Everyone wanted to see the views and get photos of the train as it made its way. And of course, with that many kids, there was some jostling to see.

The train only goes about halfway in the wintertime, then turns around at Cascade Canyon. It was strange being in the train while it backed into one leg of the wye that is used to turn the train. We also stayed at the turnaround point for almost an hour so that everyone could eat and the kids could play in the snow. There were lots of snowball fights!

I grabbed some lunch and staked out my spot on the open car for the return trip so that I could try to get some decent photos. It was a good thing that I did - the car filled up immediately after we started up again.

Vacation Part 5 - Moab, UT

After leaving Mesa Verde, we started driving towards Moab. I was hoping to get to Arches National Park in time to get some late afternoon shots. It seemed a long way from Cortez to Moab, but only around 3 hours. As we started getting closer to Moab, the clouds starting picking up - darn. But we ventured on to Arches. We quickly did the drive and a couple of pull-offs. I was able to get a couple of decent shots of the Balanced Rock and we were able to get some pretty decent shots of the Window - both North and South Windows. But I was totally disappointed with what I got of the Delicate Arch - the most famous of the arches in the park. I was too far away and the light was no good at all - the sun was disappearing behind the clouds and behind the peaks.

We had dinner at the Moab Brewery. It was really good food and a fun atmosphere. I had a really good dark ale that's their seasonal winter brew. Mark decided we needed a picture to show the guys back at the Cypress Off-Road group that meets at a sports bar on the northwest side of town.

So I told Mark I wanted to try again the next morning to get a shot of the Delicate Arch with the morning sun. As we were driving up the park road the next morning, a thin strip of clouds passed over the sun. I was yelling, "Noooooooooo!!!" in my mind. But we went ahead and parked at the pull-off and I hauled out the tripod and my 200-500 mm lens - the big gun! Just as I got everything set up, Mark told me it looked like the clouds were going to thin out and I should get a little more sun. Miraculously, the clouds totally disappeared - and I was pleased!!!

We drove further into the park, and I took a ton of pictures. I wasn't happy with all of them as there was just a little residual haze that washed out some of the glorious colors in the pictures. But I did get some decent shots - enough to evoke memories for a long time to come.

Now, Arches was one of the places that Mark wanted to go offroad. And there was a trail that took off right next to the Delicate Arch parking lot. I knew he was disappointed. But he was the one that came up with the idea to photograph the rental car. We're going to paste the photos in the Jeep and tell it - "See you could have been here, but no, you had to go and get stubborn and refuse to leave New Mexico!"

We decided on touring the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park since it was on the way back towards Durango. Canyonlands is so huge that there is no way that you can do justice to the park in one day. And I would recommend being in shape and being able to hike some of the trails. But I was still able to get some pretty good shots. And we saw a lot more deer traveling to and from the park. In fact, we had to wait for about a dozen doe to cross the road in front of us.

Another site that we visited on the way to Canyonlands was Newspaper Rock. It has a bunch of petroglyphs dating back up to 2000 years ago. It was pretty impressive and I wasn't able to do justice to the whole thing, although I did get some shots of individual groupings of drawings.

Vacation Part 4 - Southwest Colorado

Wendesday, we checked with the dealership in Santa Fe - it was another sensor and they had the part in stock - uh oh, had I made a bad decision in pushing to go ahead with our vacation without the Jeep? A couple hours later they called and said the sensor was fixed, but now there was a problem with the oil pump and that part had to be ordered and wouldn't be in until the next day. Whew! We could have wasted a day in Santa Fe, instead...

We got up and started driving to Durango and then west. We stopped for breakfast at a bakery & cafe in Mancos, CO - a quaint small town between Durango and Cortez. This place had the most awesome cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting - yummmm!!!! And it was really the first place where we saw much snow/ice on the ground.

Heading towards Cortez, we came upon the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park. We decided why not, let's go explore. As we go through the entrance gate and the park ranger tells us it's 20 miles to the visitor's center, I'm not so sure. But then we start climbing and stopping at the overlooks - how can anyone not believe in God when looking at views like that????

We keep climbing and going further back into the park. We pass the closed motel and the summer visitor center and keep going - finally we get to the museum/visitor center. What's there to see and do - only some of the most amazing cliff pueblo dwellings! We can walk over to the porch of the next building and see several across the canyon.

But on the drive through the park, we stop and see a fantastic site - the main pueblo dwelling in the park. And we see a hawk soaring overhead. Life is good! But it gets even better.

As we are driving out towards the entrance to the park, we come across 3 bucks and a doe. Now, we have been seeing the deer crossing signs for the last 4 days - but here they are just standing on the side of the road, not afraid of us. Of course, being in a protected area, I guess they are used to people without too much fear.

We start dreaming what it would be like to have property in this area - I don't think I would ever tire of the views of the mountains. I don't know how I would do with snow for several months - but it's all a pipe dream anyway - unless I win the lottery!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Vacation Part 3 - Tuesday from Hell

Tuesday the part was supposed to come in and the Jeep get fixed. The truck was supposed to be there around 10 and the Jeep done before noon. So we get up, pack up (after 3 nights in one spot, that was fun) and drive the 50 miles to Las Vegas. We drive around town a little to see what's there - Las Vegas has a nice downtown area - really small town feel and a square with some great looking Victorian style houses on it. By the way, ever see a Pueblo style house with Victorian trim? Interesting - I should have taken a picture, but I was driving.

We get to the dealership around 10:30 - no truck yet. We start unloading the rental car and re-packing the trailer... don't really want to pack the Jeep yet since it may have to go on the rack. Mark starts piddling. Fortunately, I have a book. 11:30 - still no parts truck. Around noon, I suggest we go get some lunch. We get back before 1:00 - still no truck. The truck finally shows up around 1:00. Around 1:45, they come to push the Jeep into the service bay - the Jeep still won't start. Around 2:30, it's fixed!!!! Yay! We get it loaded up and start out. About a mile down the road - check engine light comes on. We turn back around. Same part is blown. Somewhere one miraculously appears. They put it, we leave. We've already cancelled the reservation for Moab for that night. About 3:30 we finally get on the road. It's going to be late, but we can probably still make Moab.

About 15 miles down I-25, Mark calls me since I'm following in the rental car - the check engine light is on again. We know where the dealership is in Santa Fe, so we decide to leave it there. I extend the rental on the rental car and we cancel Moab for the night. The dealership won't be able to even read the codes until early the next morning and if they have to order the part... we know this drill by now.

So, we make the decision to drive as far as we can and still go see Moab, even if Mark can't go rock-crawling. We get to Farmington Tuesday night, but have to pay for a hotel room since the Holiday Inn is booked up.

Vacation Part 2 - Monday - West of Santa Fe

Monday, we decide to go towards Los Alamos and into the mountains west of Santa Fe. We went past Camel Rock, but I didn't think to get a photo. There was an overlook at White Rock that we stopped at - fantastic view of the Rio Grande way below, plus a couple of waterfalls. Unfortunately, the sun was at the wrong angle to get great shots of the waterfalls, but again - the vistas were fantastic!

Then we came upon Bandelier National Monument - we decided to stop and see what was to offer. We had planned on buying the National Park pass with all of our stops at National Parks, so I got one at Bandelier. We followed the hiking trail back about 0.25 - 0.5 mile and saw some Pueblo ruins and evidence of the cave dwellers. I decided not to risk climbing up to look in the caves and the one restored cliff pueblo. We were at about 6000 feet elevation and I'm terribly out of shape and wasn't sure about the knees. It was fairly warm out in the sun, but there was some snow on the ground in the shade. Driving back out of the park, we had to stop at the overlooks so that I could get photos of the canyon and the mesas around.

We drove into Los Alamos, but the museum run by the National Laboratory wasn't open on Monday mornings. It was starting to snow, so we decided not to wait around but to continue on our journey.

Next stop was Valle Grande, a caldera - or crater - of the extinct Jemez volcano. In the summertime, this caldera is supposed to be a beautiful meadow of wildflowers with the mountains all around. It was still pretty impressive, even in December. We saw some property for sale and started dreaming - it would be a great place for a retreat!

Back to Santa Fe for the night - we were starting to know I-25 pretty well by this point.

Vacation Part 1 - New Mexico and the Saga of the Jeep

Mark and I went on a driving trip!!! It was my first true vacation this year, if you don't count a couple of visits to Atlanta. And it's the first trip that Mark and I have taken together in about 2 1/2 years.

The plan was to go to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Moab, UT, and Durango, CO. We were taking the Jeep so that Mark could go off-road in Moab where there are some excellent (so he tells me!) runs. The Jeep had other plans.

We drove all day on Friday, December 8, to get to Clovis, NM. We had reservations at the Holiday Inn - Mark had a bunch of rewards points so we weren't going to have to pay for hotels - that was the plan, anyway! Weather was good, the drive was fairly uneventful although we went the route plotted out by my new GPS/map software. It took us straight through downtown Ft. Worth - not fun! And the Jeep was getting lousy gas mileage going straight into the wind - we were having to stop every couple of hours for gas.

Saturday morning we set out for Williams, AZ where we are going to spend the night before going to the Grand Canyon on Sunday. About 30 miles outside of Santa Rosa, NM, the check engine light came on. Since we were in the middle of nowhere, Mark drove on to Santa Rosa. We stop to get gas and call the dealership in Albuquerque to see if they are open. The Jeep won't start!!! So we call Roadside Assistance - the tow truck shows up pretty quickly and tows us to Las Vegas, NM (I can now say I've been to Las Vegas - just not THE Las Vegas). It's 12:30 and the dealership closes at 1:00. They diagnose the problem and say they can't order the part until Monday, get it on Tuesday and install it. Fine! Is there a car rental place? It's only open Monday - Friday. So, the service guy drives us to Santa Fe - about 50 miles away so that we can rent the car. We cancel our reservation in Williams and get a room in Santa Fe.

We decide to tour the area around Santa Fe while we wait on the car. Sunday we drive down to Albuquerque and tour the Plaza area of Old Town Albuquerque. We do a little shopping while there. We decide to drive back to Santa Fe via the Turquoise Trail - one of the scenic trails around Santa Fe. It goes past Sandia mountain and we drive up to the crest - boy, was it cold up there!!! It was about 22 degrees and the wind was blowing 20-30 mph.

But the drive up the mountain was worth it - the views were spectacular!

The rest of the drive was pretty good. We stopped several times along the way so that I could take photos. I don't know if I would ever tire of the views!!!

We finished up the day driving through the old part of Santa Fe, but Mark didn't want to stop.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Knee Surgery

I just realized that I haven't updated my blog in forever. And I've been off work and had the time to do it - yeah, right!

I had a knee replacement on June 15. It was supposed to be a partial replacement, but when the doctor got into it, there was too much damage to the knee. So I got a full replacement. I ended up being in the hospital for 6 days while getting some extra therapy.

I was home for about 2 weeks and was slowly progressing in therapy. I started out with a walker and had just progressed to the cane when Mom had to be hospitalized. She was in the hospital for 6 days and I got a workout walking through the hospital. Fortunately, I was off at the time so I didn't have to take off work to take Mom to all of her doctor's appointments.

I started back to work on 8/08 and it's rough being back at work. Right after I got home, I bought a recliner so that I would more easily be able to get up and down. An advantage to the recliner was keeping my legs elevated. Now that I'm back at work, I'm having a lot more issues with swelling.

And I still have a lot of stiffness in the joint. The doctor says this too will pass.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Olfactory Response

Every time I smell carnations, I think of funerals. When I was around 6. my great-grandmother passed away and I went with Mom and my grandparents to Mississippi to go to the funeral. My dad wasn't with us because his grandfather passed away around the same time. I remember going to the viewing but not the funeral - but that was enough. It was the first time I had seen a dead body. Anyway, the smell of carnations was overpowering to my 6 year-old nose - they must have been in the casket spray. So to this day, the smell of carnations is associated with funerals to me.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Childhood Games

One of my earlier memories was when we lived in Houston - we were playing "ball" in my front yard and one of the boys told me it was "my bat" - I couldn't understand why he kept saying it was my bat - because yes, the bat belonged to me. I didn't realize what he was saying is it was my "at bat." Now, why did I have the bat? Probably the same reason I had a train set before I was a year old - my dad wanted a boy? He always said not, but with 3 girls, I was the one most like him and I was the oldest.

Once we moved to Pearland, we lived on a circle that had instead of a grass patch in the middle of circle - it was concrete, and the concrete was poured in quarters. This made a perfect area for playing Four Square - the ball game where you tried to work your way up to the first square - OK so ours wasn't square, but pie shaped. Four Pie just doesn't sound right.

I had a doll that I loved to play with - I had her from when I was almost a baby. When Kathy was old enough to want one of her own, hers was even bigger. The boy down the street bit the hand off the baby - and this was a big doll. When we were older, the doll was donated to the 7th Grade Homemaking class for learning how to tend to a baby. I kept my baby for most of my childhood and may still have her somewhere. I know that I stil have my teddy bear from when I was a baby, but had to put it away because Buddy thought it was his.

We also used the circle for playing jump rope - everyone in the neighborhood would play with us - even some of the boys. I did a lot of turning but I did also get pretty good at doubles and backdoor, but I wasn't always the best at hot peppers. We also played Chinese jump rope with a big circle of elastic.

My best friend had a front porch that we used a lot for playing cards - usually Crazy Eight, Spades, War, Double Solitaire. We also played jacks for hours.

And a lot of the neighborhood kids would get together and play hide and seek - using the whole circle as our hiding grounds - and back then a lot of us didn't have fenced yards so that gave us even more hiding places.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

5 Favorite Words

I was going to create a list of favorite words and as I was trying to think about them, I realized it was really simple. My 5 favorite words are words that Audrey says:

Love you, too, Aunt Maggie!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Comfort Foods

Well - Chocolate is always up there with the comfort foods. And the funny thing is I'm not really a big chocolate person normally - I like it, but I don't HAVE to have it - except when I'm really depressed or stressed.

Comfort foods are never good for you foods - just about anything fried is a comfort food - chicken fried steak, fried shrimp, french fries. Mashed potatoes and mac&cheese are more comfort foods.

Grilled cheese sandwiches and PB&J - those are truly comfort foods - food from my past and present.

Oh - and ice cream - the ultimate comfort food - AHHHHH!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

If I Could Take Tomorrow Off...

First off, I would sleep until 8:00 - or at least stay in bed that long. And assuming that I didn't have to do all the other stuff I have to do tomorrow besides work, I would spend a little time cleaning house - because it really needs it and I haven't had time - but I guess since we are dreaming, I can dream I have a maid and a house that automatically picks up after everyone.

I would spend part of the time scrapping. I scanned a whole bunch of photos last night and have the material for several heritage pages. Plus, I have a couple of challenges that I'm behind on.

I might take the dog to the doggie park. Of course I would have my camera. Or go to one of the other parks where I know I can usually get good nature photos.

More Early Memories

I got my first train set for my first Christmas - ok, I think Daddy really wanted a boy. And no, I don't remember that Christmas, but I do remember the track set-up for that train set. I'm pretty sure it was a Lionel set - I remember an oval of track on a piece of plywood and I think the plywood was painted green. I remember the plywood being stored on end either in the closet or behind my bedroom door. I know it wasn't a 4x8 piece of plywood, but it seemed huge to me.

I had a petticoat that I thought was really cool. It was the stiff material with the netting that was really popular for making the skirts stand out - remember full gathered skirts of the late 50's-early 60's? But this petticoat also had a secret. It had a tube that ran along the bottom edge that you could blow up with air - like an inner tube - that would make the petticoat stand out even more.

My grandfather was a truck driver by time I came along. I remember him driving for Mayflower Moving and he took me with him one trip - probably Houston to Lafayette. But I remember riding up in that big cab. I was so high off the ground!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Colors, Colors, Colors

What are my favorite colors - I guess that depends on what we are talking about.

For clothing, I love the deep jewel tones and bright colors with cool undertones. I have yellowish skin, so anything golden yellow or yellow green makes me look sick. Most oranges do the same. And I really don't like brown that much. If I'm going to wear yellow, it has to be a cool lemony yellow. I can wear bright green, but the teals look much better. I like to wear a lot of red and black - although as I get older, they don't look as good as they used to.

In my house, I used to have a lot of blues and pinks, including mauves. But gradually I'm moving to more of greens - sage-y type greens especially. My bedroom has hunter green with maroon and navy and the pale sage sheets work well. I'm thinking of painting the walls in my kitchen a really pale sage green to pull out the green tones in my granite counter tops. It will also go well with my cabinets which are a eucalyptus-type of wood that's similar in color to cherry.

And in my yard, I tend to go more with the pastels - pinks and yellows especially.

I'm not a big fan of beige and tan. To me, those are really depressing colors - maybe because they are so blah? Anyway, I can use them in conjunction with other colors. For instance, my blog colors are currently blues and sand. The sand color is just enough with the blues to not be blech.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I found out last night that Renee has gone on hospice and probably doesn't have long as she can no longer eat solid food and hasn't been able to for a couple of weeks. She has colon cancer that is now in her liver and lymph system. There is also a kink in her small intestine that is preventing her from the solid food.

Renee is a year younger than Mary would have been. And she has a son that's quite a bit older than Audrey. I feel so sorry for him. Not only is he fixing to lose his mother, he will be moving back with his father which means he loses his mother and home all at once. Poor guy!

Margaret and Bernie have been so good to Mom through Daddy's illness and Mary's death. Renee and her parents even drove all the way to Atlanta for Mary's Memorial Service. I need to think of something to do for them.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My Earliest Memories

I've seen pictures and movies all my life, so sometimes it's difficult for me to differentiate what are truly memories and what are triggers from looking at photos.

I remember going to my great-grandmother's funeral. I thought I was really, really little at the time, but since she died in 1965, I was almost 7 at the time. This was the first funeral I went to and I remember the smell of carnations vividly. In fact, to this day I tend to associate the smell of carnations - not the flower themselves, just the smell - with death and funerals.

I had a lot of kidney and bladder problems when I was little. I remember having my bladder surgery. My aunt and her friend came to see me in the hospital. Her friend played the Wicked Witch on one of the local morning kiddie shows and I remember getting an autographed picture of Cadet Don. As part of the recovery from the surgery, I had to have a superpubic catheter for several weeks. I wore the bag strapped to my leg and my mom had to empty it for me several times a day. I also had to take oral antibiotics that seemed really huge. The pills were a kind of maroon color and my grandfather called them my "kidney beans."

I remember breaking my collarbone. I don't remember actually breaking it, I just remember waking up in my bed crying because it hurt - my parents think I may have fallen off my trike). I had a big huge cast that was a body cast and kept the upper part of my right arm immobile. I was just learning to write - I think I may have been in Kindergarten and tried writing with my left hand, but that didn't work too well.

I remember chicken pox. Kathy and I both had it and it was at Eastertime so we had our Easter egg hunt in the house.

I remember red dresses that Kathy and I had just alike. They had white lace that ran down the front of the bodice and had a gathered skirt. I think they were short-sleeved.

I remember starting Kindergarten in Beaumont because Daddy was working on a project there. I remember going to a fire station and then we came back to class and drew fire trucks and I colored mine purple because it was my favorite color at the time.

We came home from Beaumont every weekend and the trip seemed to go forever. Mom would make me count to try to pass the time. And when we passed Jacinto City, I knew we were getting close. The only way I could say Jacinto City properly was to silently say San before the Jacinto. I knew about the San Jacinto Monument and to say Jacinto without the San was almost impossible for me.

I remember the neighbor boy in Beaumont (we lived in an apartment there) teaching me "52 Card Pickup." I think he also taught me how to play "Battle." I remember having to still take a nap because Kathy wouldn't go to bed unless I did, too.

Music Tastes

I never was a heavy metal rock fan - but I love anything by Boston, some Queen and a little Styx. I love 50's, most 60's. I grew up with Big Band and I love it. But mostly what I listen to is Country. I started listening to Country in the early 80's because I didn't like rock too much. I have really come to appreciate it - although a lot of Country these days is too much crossover.

I like classical music, but not opera. Being in band all those years gave me an appreciation for the great composers.

And I like a lot of folk music - from all countries.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Memory List - First Home

This is an ongoing assignment for the Book of Me Challenge. I don't know that I will do the challenge right now, but I thought this was a good way to start capturing those memories for future times.

Our first house was on Medford in Houston. It was right off Reed Rd and one block from South Park Boulevard - now Martin Luther King. The street was only like 3 houses long then curved 90 degrees into a another street.

The house was a small 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath house with a 1 car garage - but it seemed plenty big to me. The house was sheathed in asbestos shingles and I remember it being a dark green. There was a planter box made out of brick in front of the house. There was a planter box right inside the front door that formed a sort of entry way. And I remember a a planter box that separated the dining area from the kitchen.

As you came in the front door, the living room was off to the left. Mom's "good" dining table was at the far left end of the room. The couch was at the back wall of the living room. And Daddy's platform rocking chair was in the corner formed by the planter box. I think the TV was under the front window opposite the couch. The couch would open out into a bed - like a futon does, not like a sleeper sofa. I remember Mom had recovered the couch in a turquoise vinyl.

There was a pocket door near the dining table that led to the back of the house to the kitchen/dining area. The dining area was to the left of the door and the kitchen to the right. The sink faced the back of the house with a window looking out in the backyard. I remember a long counter on one side of the sink - long enough for us to lay on it to get our hair washed when we were little. There was a space on the end of the counter for the phone and the back door was also at the end of the counter - between the kitchen and dining area. The stove and refrigerator and pantry were on the wall that backed up to the living room. So the kitchen was a galley type kitchen. There was a pocket door at the far end that led to the hallway.

From the front door to the right was a pocket door to the hallway. There were 3 bedrooms in a row. The front bedroom was used mostly as guest room, although I do remember moving into it for a while before we moved to Pearland. I think it may also have been Kathy's when she was a baby. The middle bedroom was mine and Kathy's. There were twin beds in the room with the play area in between. The back bedroom was Mom and Daddy's bedroom. The full bath was off the master bedroom and then led to the half bath Hollywood style. The half bath then opened back into the hallway. There were 2 pocket doors in the half bath opposite each other - one to the hall and one to the other bathroom. The half bath was Daddy's domain, and the full bath was Mom's plus the girl's.

I remember hardwood floors throughout the house - except maybe for the kitchen. I don't remember the floors there. There were window A/C units in the living room, dining area and the master bedroom. There was a huge attic fan in the hallway. And the circular flow of the house allowed for ventilation throughout the house. But I remember that we slept with the bedroom doors open to get some A/C in the girls' bedroom.

There was a huge tree in the front yard and I seem to remember being able to climb the tree - that there was a fork pretty low down for us to climb onto. The backyard was fenced and I don't remember a lot of trees or much else other than grass and a swingset. At different times we had a beagle named Fritsy and a duck named Quackers.

There were lots of kids for me to play with while growing up and we spent a lot of time outdoors.

We moved from the house when I was 9 years old.

Friday, May 05, 2006

My Brag

As part of the funeral service, I agreed to put together montages of Nanny for both the Visitation and the Funeral. Hey, it beat the videotape my uncle wanted. I created them as 12x18, but found out that it's hard to find the frames that size! So to share with my family, I have re-done them in 11x14.

I got lots of compliments for my montages. And the thing is the scanning of the photos probably took the longest. I used the new CD from DSP - Scraps of Pastels and Lauren Bavin's Edges freebie. The font was Scrap Cursive.

The funeral home employees were so impressed, they kept bringing other employees in and asking me all kinds of questions about how I managed to put together both of them in such a short period of time.

Ida Margaret - Nanny Posted by Picasa

Ida Margaret - The Young Years Posted by Picasa

Another Vent!!!!

My mother keeps bitching about certain people and criticizing them - fine, but she keeps telling me about it over and over. Her own brother was the latest one. She told me more than once what his transgressions were. When I called her on it - then I'm being negative and criticizing HER!!! I either have to listen to her, or I'm told I'm the negative one. Arghhhhh!!!!!

I'm really trying to not blow up, but I have listened to so much sniping and infighting this week with everyone's emotions raw from my grandmother's death. And my mom's family didn't have to show up since it was my dad's mother, and maybe my uncle was a little insensitive - but does she have to tell me over and over that he was insensitive?

And I'm PMSing - so I right now I can understand why people go "postal"!!!

PS - Today is all about Mom - her tests and checkup and doctor's appointment and one more round of chemo - and I'm here with her - not anyone else, so - DON'T PISS ME OFF MOM! No one else is around to be your slave!


Sometimes I really hate the fact that the internet doesn't easily show the whole picture. I post on Weight Watcher boards frequently and had built up quite a friendship (or so I thought) with several people on the boards over time. But I made a comment that was taken as a slap to one person - it was never meant to be, but that was how it was taken. And EVERYONE ganged up on me. Well, now I can't do anything right and there are even a couple of people that seem to go out of their way to personally attack or snub me.

One of these people, S - I organized a group gift when they got their son for adoption. She just sent out photos of him playing with his gift - a train set - and I wasn't included on the distribution. The friend that I accidentally insulted was the one that forwarded them on to me!!!

Now, yesterday friend J asked for our thoughts and pros and cons about her son getting a motorcycle. Well, I posted my thoughts and because they weren't positive and supportive but were my thoughts, I was accused of being very negative and mocked by S. When I tried to explain my rationale, someone else jumped on my case. J didn't ask for everyone to convince her that her son's decision was ok, and there was a flaw in his argument (motorcycles are as safe as cars) that I tried to point out. But because I didn't say "Oh everything will be OK and your son will never be injured while riding his bike", I'm the evil person. I guess I'm not allowed to have my own opinion.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Like Grandmother, Like Granddaughter?

As I'm remembering back on my grandmother, the first thing that comes to mind are the differences. My grandmother was 4'10" or 4'11" when I was growing up. It was always a milestone for the grandchildren to be as tall and then taller than Nanny. At the most, I think she may have only weighed 120 at her heaviest. I haven't seen 120 since I was a teenager and at that, shot straight through it. She like dainty patterns, florals, and flowery verses. My style is more clean traditional. Nanny was always happiest puttering around the house and taking care of people. Me, I hate housework

But I caught myself buying some wallpaper for my hall bathroom when I moved into this house 13 years ago and one of my first thoughts was, "Nanny would like this paper with all the flowers on the border."

The most obvious way that I'm like my grandmother is that I share her name. Although her name was Ida Margaret, she went by Margaret. I'm named after her. And it's sometimes interesting to have 2 Margaret Sanders living so near to each other. I started with a particular insurance agent when I bought my first car because he was handy - at a kiosk in the local Sears store. Sears owned Allstate Insurance at the time. I didn't know that he was also my grandparents' insurance agent. Anytime I call up to speak to him, I have to identify which Margaret Sanders I am.

For both of us, family was/is the most important thing. Nanny was a homemaker and did babysitting on the side. She took care of my grandfather as his health deteriorated. Family history was important to her. She talked of her mother and mother's family. She had antique furniture from her mother's house, plus she had a china cabinet full of glassware and dishware that had familial significance.

My family is very important to me - I've always been close to my parents and my sisters and other extended family. And I share a love of family history. A few years ago, Nanny gave me some of her precious glassware as a Christmas present. It was from the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904 and one of the pieces has her sister's name egraved on it. It may not be monetarily valuable - it may be but I don't know, but when we evacuated last year in the face of Hurricane Rita, that glassware came with me. And there are one or two pieces of the antique furtniture I would love to have - but I won't fight the family for them.

Nanny loved trying different handcrafts - sewing, needlework, crocheting and knitting. I too have loved doing different crafts during the years. Right now, scrapping is my main crafty interest, but I still have a love for the others although I don't do them much anymore.

And Nanny loved her yard - especially her roses. I love my flowers. I have a rose bush in honor of Mary and a hibiscus in honor of Mom (Nina). I've never gotten the Margaret rose bush even though that's my name because red roses aren't my favorite, but now I may have to get one in Nanny's memory.

And the most important thing - I believe in a hereafter and I know that she's at peace and surrounded by her family that's gone before.

Longest Weekend on Record

Nanny passed away yesterday at 4 am. I was there.

I got to the hospital about 10 Saturday morning and sat with her almost the whole time until after 10:30 Saturday night. People came and went but I stayed except to go to the bathroom and go out to the waiting room and eat. She had a couple of crises but seemed stable when I left.

I went to bad after 11:30 and at about 12:40 the phone rang. My aunt wanted me back at the hospital - it might not be long. I was dressed and at the hospital in under 15 minutes - I live about 5 minutes away. Two cousins came in shortly after and later my uncle and his wife.

Her breathing had slowed way down, but she didn't seem to be struggling to breathe quite as much. Her heart rhythm was slowing and no longer normal rhythm.

My aunt asked if there was a chaplain and they paged one. The nicest woman came about 3 and said the 23rd Psalm in the form of a prayer and then led us in Amazing Grace. We were surrounding my grandmother's bed while holding hands. It was a truly beautiful moment.

About 3:45 all of the monitors started having trouble measuring and the nurse started checking for a pulse and couldn't find one. More than one nurse listened for a heartbeat and couldn't hear it. At 3:50, they pronounced her dead and turned off the BIPAP breathing machine. Thing was she continued to breathe - it was so faint as to be hardly noticeable. With all the machines off, they could hear a very faint heartbeat. But it lasted only a few more minutes.

We said our good-byes and finally convinced my aunt to leave so that the nurses could do their job. However, we sat out in the waiting room and talked for a while - everyone needed a few minutes to decompress - I got home at almost 6 and tried to sleep, but really couldn't

So at 8, I got up and called the funeral home for my aunt to set up the appointment with the funeral director. We were at the funeral home for over 3 hours yesterday and by then tempers were starting to flare - everyone was tired and spent. And there were problems with the contract that couldn't be resolved until this morning - my grandmother had thought ahead and pre-planned her funeral.

Anyway, I went to bed at 9:00 last night and slept straight through until the alarm went off at 5 this morning. I had to come to work this morning for a while since my Admin Asst is on vacation today - the work still has to go out. But the "fun" starts again in a couple of hours.

I will be putting together a couple of montages/collages for the funeral. My cousin and I will get together this afternoon and pool our pictures along with my grandmother's pictures - so I will be doing some scrapping - just on a bigger scale - I'm thinking 12x18.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I Believe...

... that I'm tired of being the good daughter/granddaughter/niece, etc. I was talking to Kathy about Nanny's condition and having to explain to my aunt over and over why the medical professionals wanted us to do (Dr. Flanz never asked, he just said do it). Of course, the medical care has changed over the years, especially with informed decisions and the patients bill of rights.

Anyway, Kathy said I was definitely earning another star in my crown - what she says to me all the time because she knows that as the only one still living close to home, I get asked to do a lot. I told her the thing was getting too heavy and I don't wear it anymore. The answer to that - MOVE!!!!

Sometimes, I really want to!

Have to go - time to go back to the hospital and be the good granddaughter and niece.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Enough Already!

I got the phone call on the way home. Nanny was in the ER with pneumonia and would I go by there and check on things - my mom called me, but said my aunt (dad's sister) asked for me. Since I live 5 minutes from the hospital, what could I say.

Anyway, when I got there, her color was bad and her O2 levels were all over the place. The doctors said there was definitely pnuemonia in the left lung and it sounded like it was in the right - by the time the 3rd doctor showed up, they were saying it was definitely pneumonia in both lungs.

And her kidneys are not putting out right now - whether it's because she had gotten so severely dehydrated, or they have shut down - we don't know yet.

So, now I have something else to worry about -

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What Do I Want To Do When I Grow Up?

It's interesting that this was posed as a subject for a blog yesterday because a fellow co-worker and I were having the discussion about what to do for retirement. We both decided that we are tired of the responsiblilty and the drudgery of getting up and going to work. And neither of us are in a position to retire - I'm not old enough and although he's just barely old enough (early retirement in our company can start at age 50 - at least through this year - if you have the "points"), he has one son in college and the other is in Jr. High.

So what do I want to do with retirement? Until our company was sold last year, I thought I would retire from it when I hit 55 because of a grandfather clause regarding retirement benefits that would expire in 2012 - the year I turn 55. Now that we have been sold, I don't know. The grandfather clause still plays for the retirement benefits I had accrued through the sale date, but not for current/future benefits.

And my Mom is still working part-time at age 73. So do I really want to quit working at 55? I don't think so. But I could take retirement with this company and find something else to do. The question is what? And that is the answer I don't have at this time. I think I would like to move closer to my sister and my niece, but what if my Mom is still around. Would I be able to leave her - and what if Kathy and Audrey don't live near one another then? What would I do with myself? I don't think I would be financially set for full retirement, but could I live off of a lesser paying job or part-time work? I know some people that have gone into consulting, but some of them work longer hours than I do now. Would that be rewarding enough to offset the aggravation?

I think I will pull a Scarlett and think about it another day.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Give Me Restraint!

Oscar has been missing Buddy as much as the rest of us. He quit eating for a couple of days and has been moping around the house - finally starting to come out of it a little this week, but then we've had to leave him alone a lot this weekend. So while I was at the International Festival, I went by the Dalmation Rescue League's booth. They had the cutest 3-month old female Rottweiler. She is amazingly well-behaved for a puppy - already knows sit and sorta knows come - probably as well as Oscar knows come.

She would definitely give Oscar a run for his money. She will grow into a big dog. She would give Oscar someone to play with and tussle with. She's still a puppy. She's so cute. She will grow into a big dog!

OK, can you see that I'm trying to show some restraint here?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Projects! Projects! Projects!

I basically finished my Mommy album project - at least the first pass. I gave it to Audrey this weekend. I don't think she really appreciated it, but I think she will in the future. We decided that Kathy would keep it at her house. The things that were important to Mary are slowly finding their way to Kathy's house.

I have several other scrapbooking projects to finish - I'm working on the Man in My Life challenge and need to work on pages for that. I need to finish the Kathy Mini-Album and start mine and Mom's. And I need to make a special page for Buddy - I want to use the Rainbow Bridge.

Then at work - tomorrow's the day for my big project. We go for final approval. Today was not a good day. I warned everyone was in a bad mood - that I had had 2 really bad days and not slept well, and it showed later. We started getting questions from one of our stakeholders and the answers that the programmers gave was not what we had previously agreed on - only thing is I was the one replying to the note, so it looked like it came from me - even though I didn't agree with the answer. We later had to requalify our answer and had to argue with the programmers as to what was in and out of the scope. All of this was taking away from finalizing our presentation (which was supposed to be finalized last Thursday, but we can never leave well enough alone - people think that it's fine to make changes at the last moment and that everything will just fall in place - oh yeah, all the copies had already been made, collated and bound).

Good luck to me tomorrow!!! And I pray that I don't kill someone in the meantime.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Very Sad Day!

We put Buddy to sleep today. It's amazing how much a hole a dog's absence can leave in your heart.

Friday, when I left to go to Atlanta, Buddy was doing OK, but was starting to pant signifcantly. By the time Mark got home Friday, he was starting to drag his left rear leg and the left side of his face was drooping a little. When I got home last night, he was having trouble getting up and down because of his hip/leg, and the panting was more pronounced. His abdomen was swollen as well.

I made the decision last night that it was probably time even though he seemed to be still eating and was happy to see me. It was just so hard watching him try to move. Then last night, he stayed in my room most of the night and was not sleeping much. He seemed to be watching me. I kept listening to him pant and then stop - I would check to see if he was still breathing - he would be laying there watching me.

So I got up this morning and Buddy was in the hall but didn't want to get up. He was watching but didn't want to move. And the way he was holding his leg, I knew it was hurting.

I couldn't stay with him - I needed to leave him. But Mark went with me to take him to the vet, and had to lift him into the truck - last week he was able to jump up on his own. Yes, I knew that I was making the right decision, but it didn't make it any easier. And I hated leaving him! But I had to take my mom to the doctor and I don't think I could have stayed anyway. That part really makes me feel guilty, but I've had so many losses in the last few years, I couldn't be there for my puppy! I couldn't handle it! I hate that part!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Mary's Almost Wedding

Dear Audrey,

Working on the Mommy album, I tried to capture the trip to Hawaii, but couldn't do it all justice in two pages.

Mommy had been engaged to Marvin Yoder. Grandpa Harold always said that he would pay for our wedding, or he would pay us $2000 cash to elope - he would still come out ahead if we eloped. Well, Mommy and Marvin decided to take the money and get married in Hawaii. Thing is, they invited the family and some friends.

Continental Airlines had just started service from Houston to Honolulu and had great air/hotel packages. So, Grandy and Grandpa Harold decided that they would go. Grandy didn't want to miss her baby's wedding. Maggie decided she would go and take Nanny. Aunt Pat and Uncle Raymond loved going to Hawaii and didn't want to pass up the opportunity to go. And Mommy's friend from college, Allison (the same Allison that you were named for when you were named Audrey Alison) and Gareth decided to join the party. Kathy didn't plan on going because she was moving to Norway the next month and didn't think she could afford it with the move.

About 3 weeks before the wedding, there was a bridal shower for Mommy at one of her friend's house. I think it was on a Sunday afternoon. Kathy and Maggie were invited and we went with the plan that the 3 of us would go out to eat after since it would be one of the last times all of us would be together before the wedding.

Mommy opened all of her presents at the shower, and we were enjoying all the food and talking when Mommy made the announcement that while she enjoyed all the lovely gifts, she couldn't accept them because she had decided to call off the wedding. She had good reasons for doing so. Anyway, most everyone went ahead and gave her the gifts.

Kathy, Mommy and I went to Barry's Pizza afterwards for our dinner. It was early when we got there and the waiter came up to us and said that we seemed really happy and that we must be celebrating. Kathy sings out, "She called off the wedding, she called off the wedding!" Kathy was really happy because she didn't like Marvin. (There was another funny thing - don't remember what led up to the comment, but we were teasing back and forth with the waiter - he was cute - and Mommy said something about she knew about something he was doing or talking about because she was "in the business". Mommy waited tables to put herself through school while working on her Masters.

So everyone had already paid for our trips to Hawaii, so we decided to go ahead with the trips. Since Marvin, wasn't using his ticket, Kathy decided to go in his place. So the running joke was that Kathy was the groom. Everywhere we went, Kathy had to carry Mommy over the threshold. We got lots of pictures with Kathy picking Mommy up.


Sunday, April 09, 2006


Buddy has been listless and not eating much lately. Mark's been working a lot of hours during the week and both dogs don't normally eat as much when no one's home for some reason. But this kept on going on. And last night I noticed that his neck was swollen. I took him to the vet today and it seems that it's his lymph nodes in his neck that are swollen. And the vet found a swollen lymph node in a hind leg. So, she wants to do some blood work and cytology. But it looks like it may be some sort of lymphoma.

Why???? I hate that Buddy is suffering, but why does it have to probably be cancer? With everything my family has been through and is going through - why does it have to be cancer? I'm really trying not to borrow trouble and not think the worst - but it's really hard.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Seeing Deb!

I did have some fun today (shopping is not fun!) - I got to have lunch with Deb. She was down from Dallas for an exercise workshop. We had a really nice lunch and a long visit. Deb has been with me through all this stuff with Mary and more importantly, she's a survivor - she had LCIS. it was really great seeing her today!!


I went by to see Mom this afternoon after going shopping this morning for clothes for Audrey ("while your'e out, get something from me as well"). She liked what I brought at least. But the conversation talked to clothes in general and what people were to the office. And we started talking about Kathy. Well, somehow it came out to how good Kathy is, how hard Kathy works, how successful Kathy is, yada yada yada. I say that I need to go home to check on the dogs - "will you go get me something to eat?"

I listen to how perfect my sister is and then ask me to do a favor? Mom, do you realize how much you do that to me?

Vent over!!!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Fabulous Friday

Fabulous Friday Finally!!!

Fun for me!

foto fixing to do!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why I Scrapbook

I started scrapping to make a birthday present for Mark's grandmother. The book is done - he hasn't given it to her yet. ptthhh on him.

I've continued and really tried to improve my scrapping skills for Audrey. I'm putting together the Mommy Album so that we can tell Audrey about her Mommy. Mommy wanted Audrey to know certain things about her, and I thought about writing letters - which I do occasionally, and my mom came up with the idea of a book. So, I try to include a page of journaling with most of my Mommy pages so that Audrey has the story behind the pictures.

In addition, now I've started branching out - again, Audrey will eventually be the beneficiary, but I'm trying to chronicle the rest of the family.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006



My life seems to be in a constant state of change. My company has changed twice in the last 2 years, 3 times in the last 6. I haven't changed companies, my company has changed. I have had 3 bosses in the last 3 years. I've had 3 offices in the last 4 years. I'm not even sure what my job description is anymore.

I've lost 2 members of my immediate family in the last 3 years. We have had major changes in the family dynamics as a result. I lost my best friend in the process, but my other sister and I have become closer. The biggest change since Mary's death is Kristine and David getting together and now getting married and how that has impacted the family.

There are definitely days that I just want to yell "Stop! I want to get off the merry-go-round for a while!!!" They say change is good for the soul, but my soul has had too much of a good thing lately.

The Mommy Album

I've been really working hard the last week or so on the Mommy album for Audrey. And now I have good reason to. Mom and I are going to Atlanta to see Audrey for Easter.

The Mommy album has been a work of love but man, I hate why I'm the one that has to do it. But how is else is Audrey going to get the stories that her Mommy should have been the one to tell - what it was like for Mommy growing up. Kathy tells her stories, but I'm the one digging out the pictures and putting the words to those pictures. David has his new life.

Since I'm so much older than Mary, I was already gone to college and work during all of her teenage years. So, I was on the periphery of her life during that time. This makes it even more difficult. Fortunately, I've been able to get in touch with a couple of Mary's high school friends who have also shared their memories. I'm saving those for Audrey as well.

So yes, the Mommy album is a work of love, but I really do hate why I'm having to do it. But hopefully, it will help Audrey remember her Mommy and it will help her to know her Mommy just a little better.

Monday, April 03, 2006

My Birthday This Year!

This year was the year of the non-present, except for those I got myself. I bought a 200-500mm telephoto lens for my camera, 4 tickets to the Rodeo to see Alan Jackson (and only used 2), and a flight to Washington, D.C. to see friends on the following weekend.

Mom told me to order that "slide thingy" - scanner with the capability to scan slides and use her cc number, only she hasn't given it to me. Mark and Kathy are still waiting for me to tell them what I want. In Kathy's words, something that I've always wanted. Hah!!! Don't they know I can't think under pressure?

Anyway, I thought we were going to miss the rodeo because Mark was working out of town and didn't get home on time. We missed the first little while of the rodeo, but saw most of the bronc riding, the calf roping, steer wrestling and the bull riding - oh, and don't forget the calf scramble - those poor kids! And Alan Jackson put on a great concert. I wasn't sure how Mark would like it since he's not a country fan, but he told me I picked a great concert to attend (of course it's the one that was actually on my birthday)!!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Thr Family Tree Got Straighter

David married Kristine while she was in Atlanta for Spring Break (now what's wrong with that picture?). Anyway, I guess he's no longer my brother-in-law since he's remarried. Now he's my step-nephew-in-law. That makes Audrey not only my niece, but my step-grand-niece. Confusing!!!

That didn't bother me so much, although he could have at least told me since I've talked to him since the deed was done. What bothered me is that while Kristine was there, they started painting and painted Mary's Sisters Room. And Audrey is moving into it so that Kristine can have Audrey's old room for an office. Supposedly, they asked Audrey which room she wanted and she chose the one she called "Mommy's Room."

I broke down and cried after I heard that news. I helped Mary work on that room to get it the way she wanted. We scraped off wallpaper - very difficult job as that paper did not want to come off. It was a heavy navy blue paper with little pink hearts and flowers in a sort of striped pattern. Mary and I had to work as a team to get that paper off - one holding the steamer on it, and the other coming along with the scraper and quickly sliding the scraper under the paper. Underneath the paper was bright pink walls. So after scraping and then washing the walls, we had to prime and then paint with 2 coats of paint. It was a solid weekend of work. We also painted all the trim a bright white. With the blue and white rose patterned comforter Mary chose and the white sheers on the window, the room was very feminine and very restful - totally different from the rest of the house. And now it's gone. I felt like that was my last link to my sister - one of the last projects she and I worked on together - and we worked on plenty through the years.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Of Two Minds

Waiting for the results of the DET contest at and although I know that I went into this for the experience and I probably won't get past this round, I've decided I would really like to move to the next round. I just don't think my layout is good enough. I really didn't like the kit and had to get past that to even make the kit work. But the final thing I need to remember is that I got another layout on my list crossed off.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

What Not to Say at a Funeral

I was remembering an incident that happened at my Dad's funeral in 2003 and thought I had better get it down on paper (so to speak):

At my dad's funeral, the minister begins reciting the 23rd Psalm. He gets to the verse "Surely goodness and mercy will follow..." and Mary leans over to Kathy and whispers, "Don't call me Shirley!" (line from Airport). The family pews were in an alcove to the front and side of the chapel and I'm at the far end of the front pew. The rest of the congreagation can't see my sisters - the evil ones, of course - but can see me with my shoulders heaving trying not to bust out laughing because by that time my mom is whispering "Don't make me have to separate you two!"

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Belated Happy Birthday, Mary!!!

Yesterday was Mary's birthday and she would have been 40. I had to write the date several times yesterday and each time I was reminded. Happy Birthday, Mary!

I IM'ed David to ask if Audrey was aware of the date since Audrey was the one that insisted we have a party last year. Her response this year - Dead people don't have birthdays. Hah!!! Little does she know.

But on an even stranger note, David said that Sunday Audrey drew her mother's tombstone. Now, Mary was cremated and nothing has been done with her ashes. She doesn't have a tombstone. This led to another conversation. I asked David if he had thought about enshrining them at a cemetery. Mary's wish was to not have a grave or memorial, but it seems like that Audrey really needs a resting place for her Mommy. David thinks it would be more for the adults, but Audrey is the one drawing tombstones for her Mommy.

I Only Have Myself To Blame...

No, I didn't learn my lesson. I have made it through 3 rounds of NKOTB and although the results aren't in for the last week, I'm pretty sure I'm not in the top 10. So instead of gracefully enjoying the next competition from the sidelines and cheering the others on - I, like a total idiot, sign up to compete.

So I can't complain, I can't bitch when I'm out after just one round. I'm reminding myself of that now since the competition starts tomorrow.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Why Do I Let It Get To Me???

I'm participating in the New Kids on the Block competition at There are 81 participants. So why did I let it get to me that I wasn't in the top 10 in the first round? I barely qualified for the competition since I have so many layouts in my gallery and I guess I thought I had a good chance of doing better because of my experience. It's not that I think I'm better than everyone, but I feel that I was at least as good as at least one of the winners.

Sour grapes over - I'm stretching myself because the kits are not my first choices by any stretch of the imagination and ultimately, the contest should make me a better scrapper.

Just don't let me compete in the Digital Elite Team competition next month. I really don't need the rejection two months in a row. Plus I need to be working on the Mommy Book for Audrey.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Scheduling Dance Has Started

Yes, I'm a "good daughter, Mildred" as my mother likes to quote an old Nyquil ad. I totally re-arranged my schedule last week so that I could take my mom for all of her tests on Friday. On Thursday when Mom wanted to know what I was doing as I was running from one appointment to another that had been re-scheduled from Friday, she asks do I want her to get someone else to take her... wtf? I'm on my last appointment that I have re-arranged and now she wants to know if I want her to find someone else.

Then this week - everyone thinks that I'm upset about losing my Friday night out with friends. It's not that - it's that I'm still trying to get my physical therapy in and work along with all the doctor visits. I'm trying to figure out how to arrange my week when I don't even know what her schedule is like yet. That's what's got me testy.

That and then she asks me since she can't go on her Alaska cruise, do I want to take her place - hell, I'm using my vacation on doctor's visits right now and she wants to know if I want to plan a 2-week vacation????

OK, vent over. I know I'm petty, I know she's going through the fight of her life, but I have to let it out somewhere - so here's where it goes!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Angels and the Bed

Dear Audrey,

Your daddy sent me the conversation you had when he told you about Grandy having cancer.

Here's his account:

In other news, I broke the news to Audrey and she seems okay. She wanted to know if Grandy was going to die, and I said "Probably not, but nobody knows. The doctors are helping her and we'll see."

She thought about that a bit and said, "if she dies she'll be the second one in my family to die." I said, "Don't forget about Granddad Harold, remember him?" "Oh yeah, his bed tipped over."

"That's right. You were very young."

"Well, if Grandy dies then she'll see mommy and Granddad."

I don't know if you remember the story about the bed falling over. Granddad Harold had been in a hospital bed in the den. After he passed away, Grandy wanted us to get the bed out of the den as soon as possible. Uncle Mark got some furniture movers and he and I managed to get the bed turned over on its side so that it would go through the front door. But Uncle Mark decided that we needed some more help to load the hospital bed into my truck. We were waiting for Kathy and Uncle Dag to come over, but you and your mommy and daddy got there first while the bed was still laying on its side in the middle of the floor.

You were not quite 3 years old yet. And you come running into the house, yelling, "Hi, Maggie! Hi, Grandy!" Then you looked around and said, "Where's Grandpa Harold?"

Your mommy grabs you on her lap and says, "Remember, we talked about this. Grandpa Harold has gone to heaven. The angels came and took him to heaven."

You looked around and said, "Well! Did the angels knock over the bed, too?"

We had to laugh! Having you around made it a little easier to get through a very difficult time for all of us.

I love you, Little Girl.
Aunt Maggie

Monday, January 30, 2006

Mary's Double

While waiting for Mom to have her tests last week, we met Mary's double! How ironic to meet someone who looked like Mary so much that her own sisters kept staring at this woman and her own mother thought she was seeing a ghost and to meet this person in the breast cancer center waiting room. Her name is Michelle and she is from IL. Her sister is going through cancer treatments.

She is about Mary's age, built like Mary, same haircut, similar features, same facial expressions and similar mannerisms. It was eerie!!!!

Mom Has Cancer

I've posted on my other blog, about my mom. She has cancer - breast cancer - and it's in the lymph system. We spent the day at MD Anderson last week where she had an exam, mammogram, and ultrasound with fine needle biopsy. Because the lymph node was positive, they want to look for metastatic lesions by doing a chest x-ray, liver scan and bone scan. This will be done 2/10. Then she will see the oncologist and start chemo before any surgery.

Also, as part of this and because of Mary's cancer, we will all go through genetic counseling. Kathy has been diagnosed with atypical ductal hyperplasia so she is already at risk of developing breast cancer. I may be as well and that's what the genetic counseling will tell us. And if need be, we will get David to have Audrey tested as well.

I'm scared and I'm angry!!!! Why is our family having to go through this one more time? Haven't we been through enough???? I know that God doesn't plan for our suffering, and that He is with us, but it feels like we have been thrown overboard without a life preserver. I'm treading water and wondering if I'm going under or not!

Saturday, January 28, 2006


I've been tagged by Sharon, shazzt, at DSP, so I'm responding and passing on.

4 Jobs I've held:
File clerk
Pizza cook
Grill cook at DQ

4 Movies You Would Watch Over and Over:
Guarding Tess
Pretty Woman
Dirty Dancing
Kindergarten Cop

Four Places You Have Lived:
Pearland, TX
Seabrook, TX
Naperville, IL
College Station, TX

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch:
Law & Order - the original one
7th Heaven
Trading Spaces
Without a Trace

Four Places You've Been On Vacation

Four websites you visit daily:

Four of your favorite foods:
Mexican food - anything there
Chocolate - preferably dark
Ice Cream
McDonald's french fries fresh from the fryer

Four places you would rather be right now:
Atlanta - with Audrey
Colorado - skiing, wait I can't ski right now - ok looking at the scenery
With my sister, where ever she is

Four bloggers you are tagging:
Stacey Jewell -
Stacery42 -
MommyMeg -
hmmm... I'll have to think of one more.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I did this layout for a challenge on called Look Back at 2005.

The Houston Half Marathon was my second half marathon ever. I had done the Virginia Beach RockNRoll Half the previous September. Anyway, I was really pleased at how this layout turned out with the blending of 3 photos. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My Scrapbooking Projects

DSU 295

  1. Voices page
  2. Interview layout
  3. Bullets layout - use Stacey's kit
  4. Revise conversation page
  5. Emotive
  6. Figure out where I'm going to put a curved text in a layout

Looking Back at 2005

  1. March by Sunday - cycling, my birthday, Ovarian cancer walk

Powerscrapping - I finished one as part of DSU 295, 9 more to go.

Kathy's Mini-album

Am I going to do NKOTB - that's a question - I think I'm still eligible, but do I want to put myself through that again?

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Dear Audrey,

Today I saw a bumper sticker with the date "9/11/01" on it. That was the day that terrorists tried to bring the USA to its knees. I'm sure you will read about it in history books when you're in High School. Terrorists hijacked 4 airplanes and managed to crash 3 of them into buildings, important buildings. The fourth one was prevented from crashing into a building, possibly the White House or Capitol, by some very brave passengers that forced the terrorists to fly it into the ground in a rural field in Pennsylvania. These people had heard what had happened to the other planes and they knew that they were probably going to die. But they weren't going to die without trying to stop the terrorists.

On 9/11/01, I was in Atlanta staying with you because your Mommy and Daddy were on a business trip in Seattle. They had gone to see Mommy's friend Allison while they were there - the Allison you were named for. I had taken you to Howell Academy that morning like you normally did. I was at your house - the one on Woodbine Hill Way - folding towels when Shannon called me, asking if I was watching TV. I wasn't, but quickly turned it on. I couldn't really understand what Shannon was trying to tell me because she was crying. All I could hear was something about a building collapsing.

As I realized what I was watching on TV, the second tower of the World Trade Center came crashing down. What was going on? The world seemed to be ending. All the smoke and fire on TV were scary. And then they were saying that another plane had crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Shannon and I kept trading phone calls in disbelief.

Then your Mommy called. She had been in the fitness center at the hotel and had just started walking on the treadmill and was watching TV to pass the time. (And it was 6:30 in the morning in Seattle, so it was unusual that your Mommy was even up yet.) She was trying to figure out what was going on. The man that was in there before her hadn't really been paying attention so they had to watch a few minutes to realize what was going on. When she realized what was going on, she told me later that her first thought was getting to your Daddy and her next thought was getting to her baby.

She wanted to know where you were and I told her you had gone to "school" as usual. Did she want me to go get you so that I could keep you close and know you were OK. At this time, we didn't know what else was going to happen. All flights were being cancelled, but no one knew if there were still hijacked planes. We decided that I should let you stay at school because you would pick up on my fear and anxiety. I called Miss Sandy and she said that they would be there all day and that they were keeping the kids inside all day. So Mommy and I felt that you would be safe at school and you could play with your friends.

Like I said, all flights were being grounded. So your Mommy and Daddy managed to rent a car before they were all taken - remember it was early in Seattle, but people were scrambling to find transportation. They started driving that morning, I believe it was a Tuesday. I stayed in contact with your Mommy and Daddy, but they were worried that their phone batteries wouldn't last. And your Mommy kept saying that she just wanted to see her baby.

I stayed glued to the TV all day. I still couldn't believe what I was seeing on TV. The news kept playing the planes crashing in the buildings, and then the buildings crashing to the ground. They were afraid that tens of thousands of people had been killed when the buildings fell. As it turned out, over 3,000 people died, including some very brave policemen and firemen that were going into the buildings as others were trying to leave. These heroes were going in to save as many lives as they could.

When it was time for me to pick you up, I didn't feel like cooking so you and I went to Ruby Tuesday's to eat. It was almost empty in there. People were staying home. I was trying to play with you and keep one eye on the TV in the restaurant. And I was waiting to hear from your Mommy and Daddy to find out where they were staying for the night.

As it turned out, Mommy and Daddy drove non-stop for over 24 hours. They finally stopped the second night and got home on the third night. Your Mommy said she wanted her baby, you, and she wanted to get to you as fast as possible. Your Mommy was so glad to be home, but she was even more glad to be holding you and hugging you. And you were so glad to see Mommy as well.

I took the car that your Mommy and Daddy had rented and drove home to Houston that weekend. The planes were just starting to fly again and the airports were clogged with people that had been stranded since Tuesday

All of the networks and news stations stayed on this story for around 3 days non-stop. We didn't know who had done this and why. It took several weeks for the full story to become apparent.

I hope that you never have to go something like this again in your lifetime. And know that you were loved so much that your Mommy and Daddy drove clear across the country as quickly as they could to be with you and hold you and make sure you were truly safe.

And I love you that much, too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

At Last - A way to organize my projects

If nothing else, I can use this spot to list and organize my thoughts on my scrapbook projects.

Powerscrapping Challenge
  1. I need to review my choices for my kits for my 10 projects. I was in a hurry last night when I did that.
  2. Create titles for all 10 projects and see if there is any Word Art that is appropriate.
  3. Download the kits for the Cancer page.
  4. Begin building the files for each page.

DSU 295

  1. Hope Stacey doesn't read how far behind I am.
  2. Create my voices layout
  3. Figure out how I'm going to handle the interview page so that I can pare down my uncle's interview and create the black and white journal page.
  4. Pick out fonts for all 6 projects.
  5. Create folders for all 6 projects - just like powerscrapping.
  6. Choose final photos
  7. Shoot some more pictures of Buddy.
  8. Pick out kits.

February 2005 Layout Challenge

  1. Settle on final photos
  2. Pick out kit
  3. Create layout by Sunday.

DET Boot Camp 8th Challenge

  1. Download freebie
  2. Decide if I'm really going to do this challenge.
  3. Decide on photos.
  4. Complete layout by 1/23.

I think I'm overextended. Why do I do this to myself?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My Blogspot

I've jumped on the bandwagon to blog for my scrapbooking. I have a xanga blog that I use for issues surrounding my sister's illness and death from breast cancer -

I'm going to try my hand at journaling to have for my scrapbooking.