Wednesday, January 31, 2007

See ya' later, caterpillar

Yesterday Margaret had her first "offical" library day at school. She had been going once a week to check out books, but with the new semester, she now has "media" as a specialist. The librarian actually reads to them, teaches and does activities around the library and reading.

The book they read was "Papa, please get the moon for me" by Eric Carle.

She made a cute picture with a ladder to the moon (I'll have to scan and post). We were talking about the book and she said "It was by Eric Carle."
I said. "Oh, is that the same man who wrote "The Very Hungy Caterpillar".

"Yep" she said. Then she went on to say...

"See ya' later, caterpillar."

I laughed. We then talked about how the library works, that someone else reads the same book you do after you return it. (That was a novel thought to her) We seem to do more book buying than borrowing, but that has changed over the past few months as I have decided that books are one type of clutter that I have in my house. (even good things can become bad in excess). I gave away a bunch of books and have been going to the library. But I haven't taken the girls in ages.

So..this Saturday (assuming the Minneapolis Public Libraries are open...a big assumption) I told the girls we would go the library and that they could get their own library cards and we could check out books.

Margaret asked:

"Do they have cat books?"

Reply..."Yes. They have a whole section of cat books"

"Horse Books?"..."Yes"

"Lion Books?" ... "Yes"

"Fire Engine Books?" ... "Yes"

"But those would be in the boys' section, right?" no answer from me

"Do they have a princess section? That would be just right for me" "I'm sure they have princess books, honey."

Just recording an ordinary conversation from ordinary life. Six year olds just come up with the greatest stuff.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Almost Done...

Here's some recent pages I've done. They need some stitching, journaling, and something else. Hmmmm. Maybe paint? Something to make them look a little richer. The paper from DaisyD is yummy, but needs something more.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


We went to a Girl Scout Skating/Sledding event this afternoon. Man, was it COLD.

I took my new camera...I don't think it was fully charged when I left, and in the cold it drained after about ten pictures. The sun was harsh and I got big shadows on the few I took. That's ok though, it is about the memories and not the photos. (Read that 3 times slowly if you start thinking otherwise)

Here's a nice one of Amelia.

I didn't get any good pictures of Margaret. Margaret was having so much fun and was so happy to be playing with her Daisy friends. Seeing her climb up the sliding hill with her friend, them both holding the string on the sled, was just precious. I didn't see her face as she was going downhill, but I'll bet it was full of joy!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Reasons we fail

Tyranny of Habits


Indifference to Goals

I read this somewhere earlier this week and wrote it down. It rung true for me.

So...before I get into the habit of NOT writing in my BLOG, and since I will now set a goal to have 200 posts before the end of February...I'd better get back at it.

Pictures this weekend...I promise

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

How are your lifters?

I had a very odd thing happen to me late Friday night. It was actually after midnight, so it was technically my birthday, January 20.

I pulled my van up to the door (at Scrapbooks Too where I was cropping) to warm up and load up my stuff (even though I could carry it all in one load).

A woman I had never seen stopped and looked at my car and waited while I got out of my car.

She said "Do you think your oil is low? Your lifters are really loud."

Now, I'm a mechanical engineer by schooling, but don't know much of anything about car mechanics (which my husband ALWAYS teases me about). I would never have noticed "loud lifters".

I must have shrugged her off, or started to move inside, because she said "I wouldn't drive it at all. You could ruin the enginer". I KNOW really low oil is bad, (my brothers did seize up an engine in high school) so I turned off the car and went inside to pout.

MAJOR THANKS TO MELISSA J. Those of you who haunt Scrapbooks Too probably know Melissa. She used to work there and was cropping there that night. She provided moral support while I checked the oil level (Yep, the stick was DRY). She GRACIOUSLY drove me to the Holiday station where I purchased oil. Then provided moral support and more while I poured in the oil (and encouraged me to wipe off the bit of oil I had spilled on the block. THANK YOU!!!) She got her gloves dirty helping me. Then when I restarted the engine, she stayed as we listened to the lifters clattering and then sounding much happier. She even volunteered to follow me home, which I thought unnecessary. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU does a lady who frequents scrapbook stores know about lifters? She commented that she grew up on a farm and ruined an engine once. Her father was very upset that she didn't recognize the sound of loud lifters and know what it meant. He made her change the oil on all the vehicles and machinery on the farm. I hope she scrapbooks that sometime.

She was an angel too, and I'll probably never see her again to thank her.


I spent the first hour of my birthday feeling really cold, and it took me forever to warm up, but at least I made it home safely. (Which is something I never take for granted when I am out scrapping late at night :-) are your lifters?

Friday, January 19, 2007

It's here...

My camera arrived yesterday! I had given Charlie instructions to open it up and charge the battery so I could play with it when I got home.

When I got home, I put on a lens from my "old" camera and took my first picture.

Ooops. Forgot to put in the memory the first picture is lost.

Put in the memory and took about four pictures of the family minus me (didn't want to figure out the timer, yet)

Take the camera down to my computer to get the pictures off. Frustration. Frustration. The computer has recognized the new hardware, but I can't find it. I had to call tech support (Charlie) After he played around for ten minutes, he tried rebooting the computer (thank you Bill Gates) and now it works! Yeah!!!

Man, the pictures look good for just doing a point and shoot.

Now to upload on my blog. Aww rats. Blogger is still touchy from my home computer and I need to get going out to book club.

So....No pictures today. Sorry. I'll promise some this weekend.

I am so looking forward to being able to push and explore the camera without having to wait for pictures to come back. Remember that? You would write the exposures and all that info in a notebook. Take in the film. Get it back a day later. Then you could analyze and learn and try some new stuff. $12 per trial.

Now I can just go straight to the computer and download and look and learn. So cool. And there is so much more to learn about this camera. Wow. Instant Gratification. Ain't it grand?

I brought the manual to work and will be sneaking peeks at it all day.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I have a dream...

Last night we finished up Margaret's homework. She is in kindergarten and gets a weekly "Family Homework" packet. Most of it we work on together.

Two surprising things happened while we were doing this. First, as I read Dr. Martin Luther King's speech to her, Amelia started reciting along when we got the part about "my children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character". (Amelia was sitting at the table doing her homework also) Wow. Cool to hear that she had heard and retained that.

The assignment with the speech was for us as a family to come up with our dreams. Margaret's dream was that she could always be nice to all her friends. Then I said that my dream was that all the soliders should come home safe from Iraq.

We don't know anyone who is stationed in Iraq. (The links above are to folks I know who do. They have husband/finance'/future son-in-law in Iraq. Being extended.) Anyway, since we don't have any relatives in Iraq, it's not a topic we talk about in the house around the kids. Back to my story...

Margaret said "Why are there soldiers in Iraq?"

I said "Well, there's war there."

Margaret said, "Who are they fighting?"

I said "They are fighting themselves. They are having a civil war. Two sides in the country each think that they are right."

Margaret said, "Oh. Like the Dr. Seuss book. They had a bomb."

Well, I was floored. I vaugely remember one or two Dr. Seuss books that would apply. One was the "Butter Battle Book". I think that was Dr. Seuss' book against nuclear proliferation. I also recall a book about star bellied sneeches and non star bellied sneeches. I don't recall the name. I don't remember if they were the same book or different books. I'll have to find it/them and re-read. Obviously Margaret heard one of them somewhere.

It constantly amazes me what kids pick up from around them. They are really innocent and we try to protect them from icky stuff. But they pick up all sorts of things and put them all together. And usually they have something to say in their innocence that makes us think.

Prayers for Lance and Dave (two guys I've never met) and for all our troops. Recent extensions in deployments not only continue to put a lot of soldiers at risk, but it really screws up a lot of plans folks had for when they were coming home. I also pray that Iraq can figure out how to rule itself fairly and with justice. As soon as possible. Not an easy task, I know.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Camera is on the way...

Charlie ordered my birthday present today.

It's a Sony Alpha 100 digital SLR. And a 2GB flash card.

I didn't need the lenses and couldn't get easily local with just the camera body.

I don't know when it will arrive, but it won't be here tomorrow, so I can use tomorrow to do all those things that won't get done once the camera arrives.

Sounds of life

They're only 6 and 8. I didn't expect this conversation yet...

Margaret..knocking at bathroom door..."LET ME IN"

Amelia.."I'm in here."

Maragaret..."But I NEED something" (I think she wanted to get her toothpaste)

Amelia.. "Go away. I need my privacy."

At least the house has another bathroom, but this is the only one at the bedroom level. I'm sure there will be plenty of school morning fights over it. I'm glad I'm out of the house before they get going. :-)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Cozy Jammies

I made this page that includes some fabric from an old pair of cozy pajamas (flannel)

It will go into my "Book of Me" when I finish it. I still need to do journaling. I have Monday off of work, so I plan to get a lot of scrapping done this weekend.

It's Digital Camera Time!!!

I think it's time to take the Digital SLR plunge. Now to decide. Here's the three top runners (Although I'll admit the Canon is way in third). I am soliciting any advice. I haven't dug a lot into pricing yet, other than to know that this is going to set us back about $1000.


My front runner is the Sony Alpha 100. Why? The CCD arrays in the Nikon are made by Sony. (i.e. Sony knows the sensing technology). They bought the camera biz from Minolta/Konica. I have a Minolta Maxxum film SLR and it LOOKS like the two lenses I have will work with the digital. I have to totally verify that. If it's true, I may need to go no further. It got great reviews in one photo mag I read. It ranked high for low-light conditions. Plus I read one review that said the flash was AWESOME. (Plus I have a flash unit that would likely fit for even more flah power)
Cons: Not as user friendly. No "sports" mode as an auto mode. My main concern? It's Sony's first digital SLR camera. This is actually a big concern. My years as an engineer have taught me to be wary of initial releases. So I'm really torn about this if I truly can re-use my existing lenses.

The close second? The Nikon D80 It seems to get consistantly high ranks and a co-worker whose photography I respect is highly recommending this one to me. He thinks Nikon lenses are the best, albeit a bit heavy. It's about $100 more than the other two, but "well worth it", I've read. It seems to consistantly get top reviews anywhere rankings are made. Again, great in low light conditions.

Con? The price. Especially if I really can re-use my current lenses on the Sony.

A distant third? The Canon Digitial Rebel XTi. I think I need to take a good look at it since it is so ubiquitous. So many people can't be wrong (can they? :-)). But it seems to rank higher in user-friendlyness than for things like picture quality. (Maybe that's why so many people own one) No great raves on the optics like for Nikon and Sony/Minolta/Konica. I'd be surprised if I end up with this one (because I hate to run with the "in crowd"), but want to make sure to give it a look.

My list of things I still need to look at:

CCD Hardware (This is like the film)
Software that the camera uses to convert the CCD to files..what sort of stuff is it doing?
File outputs. Including what can be done to alter the raw files.
Lenses (Self explanatory)
Batteries (Life, Price, Availability)
Memory choices

Now that I've decided to go for it, I'd bet that I'll have one ordered or (hopefully)in my paws before my birthday (a mere 8 days away). Once I decide, I'll take my best online price to National Camera Exchange and see if they'll match it. I suspect they will.

Wish me luck

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New Google Blogger

Well, I kept passing over the place to "convert" my blog from "blogger" to "google" (I think that's what the change was called). I work around too many software and engineering changes to try the Beta version of anything, but when they took off the Beta, I decided it must be time to switch.

I like adding labels. And it looks like I can easily go back and label my previous posts (if I wish). Hmmm. What labels should I choose? I'll need to think about that.

I'm that kind of person. I need to think about stuff before jumping in. I'm not into surprises and spontenaity. Yeah. Boring. I know. But that's who I am. And I'm not changing. So THERE.

I did have some trouble getting into my google blogger from home. Let's hope I can tonight, 'cause I have a picture of a page to put in.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tick Tock

Last night I was laying in the girls' room, telling stories and just relaxing with them. Amelia has a battery operated clock that makes a very loud tick, tick, tick sound. Especially in a dark quiet room. It fills the space.

Suddenly I was transported to my grandma's house. We went to gram's a lot (once a month, at least, and it was a 5 hour drive!) when I was young, and I remember I would always sleep on the floor in her den. We would take the cushions off the couch and she would make up a bed for me there on the floor.

Grandma's house was full of knicknacks and doilies and knitted afghans and crocheted pillows. It mostly seemed cozy, and I recall falling asleep many nights with the sound of adults playing cards in the next room.

However, sometime I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep. You see, Grandma also had a very, very loud clock. At least, it seemed very loud to a four or five year old girl laying on the floor in a strange place, in the dark, listening to the clock tick after everyone else went to bed and it was quiet. It wasn't a comforting or mesmerising sound. It was loud and disconcerting. But what's a young kid to do? I remember once maybe climbing in with grandma 'cause I was scared. She must have been tired because she didn't make a fuss. But mostly she seemed like the kind of person who wouldn't understand being scared by a clock, so I just laid in the room. Tick Tick Tick

Back to last night...I asked the girls if they heard the clock. Did it bother them? By the non-chalant response, I surmized the clock was not having the effect on them that it did on me.

Me at four years old. mom made the dress. Groovy colors, eh? (Picture would have been taken in 1966)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

This is neat...

Have you seen the Quickutz storage system? It's called "Magpie" with the tagline " Organize your nest of bright, shiny objects". I moved my alphabets into this and I sure love how it looks.

Much nicer than all the blue binders.

But when I went to a crop on Friday night (which was really fun, considering how tired I was), I put two of the little tins into my tote and voila'! Four alphabets available without much fuss!

I am going to crop at Scrapbooks Too on Friday night January 19th. (Just so you all can sign up to join me!) and I'm sure a few alphabets will make it with me that night!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I resolve to...

My friend Minda wrote about New Year's resolutions. I don't make them. I guess 'cause I'm so skeptical that I realize I would never follow why bother?

I have, however, made two lifestyle changes over the past few months. I suppose that if I had started either change on January 1, they would be called resolutions.

1) Weight loss. I joined Weight Watchers and it is working for me. I really need the weekly meeting plus the practical tools and tips they give you. I recently got my 10% weight loss award. It took about nine it's been a slow trip downward. Which is good. It keeps it real and it makes it a LIFESTYLE change, not a diet or a "resolution". At that rate, I have another year before I would hit "Lifetime Member", but that's ok.

As long as I keep it off, eat healthier, move more. That's what it's about. It's not a race. I did treat myself to a pair of jeans in a size I haven't worn in years. And they really do fit. And I weigh less than my driver's license says I do. I call that success!

2) Bible reading. About a month ago I realized I really needed to get back in The Book. I am starting just by reading the appointed Psalms for each evening. It only takes 2 or 3 minutes, but the fact that I am keeping it up everyday is good. I also like that Amelia likes to come sit with me while I am doing my bible reading. This is a good example I am setting for her. (Unlike several bad examples I set for my eating and exercise habits)

Turns out that her Godmother sent her a subscription to a kid's daily reading/devotional booklet by Scripture Union called snapshots,so now she can read with me. So, I got the adult version of the Scripture Union booklets called "Encounter with God", which will get me more into the Bible than just reading psalms.

A bit at a time.