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I'm happy, married, and looking forward to sharing my world with you! If you're interested, that is!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So far, so good...

I'm in Alexandria, VA, on a business trip with my boss. I have 2 meetings left; we've met with 3 of my accounts so far. Surprisingly, even though we didn't do any product presentations, even though we're not taking home orders for thousands of books, we've accomplished "some stuff."

We have an in now with an account that historically doesn't buy books from other vendors; they only resell their own publications. Well, they're involved with an education initiative that is directly related to one of our books - they're going to buy 500 copies!

And while following up on my emails, I got a lead on another potential order of 500 copies of another title, for another account.

Having a laptop and/or internet access is a HUGE help. Even though I can't accomplish everything, without access to our titlebase, I am able to stay on top of my emails and my voicemail aned that's BIG. This is the first time I've borrowed a company laptop, and I'll keep it as long as I can!

Heard some great things about my job performance and what people think of me, people who, by the way, I am not convinced I like... Her opinion of me surprised me; I didn't think that she was that observant... And another ex-co-worker had lunch with our CEO and told him she knew me and that I was an asset to the company... Thanks, Claudia!

It's been raining for, it seems, 40 days and 40 nights... Okay, seriously, it's been raining for about 4 days and 4 nights... Just seems like 40!!! Today the sun came out around lunchtime. I tell you, these days I'm convinced I suffer from some type of Seasonal Disorder. The sun came out after lunch today and all I wanted to do was raise my face to it and soak in the rays!

Mom's old friend Elaine called - all three of her children are (gasp!) married, AND there are three grandchildren!! OMG!!

Well, it's about 11:22pm and I sill have to take out my contacts, wash my face and go to bed. Last night I crashed about 11:20, fell asleep until 12:22am, then fell asleep again, woke up again at 5:04am, and then dozed on and off until 7am.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

How many days 'til Christmas?

Okay, it's been almost 20 years that I've been with my husband, counting pre-marriage, and I've ALWAYS been the Christmas ringer-inner! The holiday had some not-so great memories for him during and immediately after his divorce.

But I've always been such a Christmas baby, totally unrelated, by the way, to the fact that my birthday is a week before Christmas! I decorate whatever stays still long enough to have tinsel attached!

But today, October 25th, TWO MONTHS BEFORE Christmas, my darling husband is outside hanging Christmas lights on our lakeside deck. We spent ten minutes deciding colored bulbs or white icicles. Although white lights are my favorite, I went with colored bulbs 'cause Jack likes them...

We just went outside to check them out - and except for a couple places where we have to clip them up closer to the railing, we're on our way to being decorated for Christmas! Well, we're on our way to starting our Christmas decorating...

My SIL and BIL are in Puerto Rico, relaxing in what I hope is much warmer weather than we're having here in NJ. They deserve a restful vacation - there's a lot of stress in their lives and I hope they have a GREAT few days!

I leave on Tuesday for Alexandria, VA, on business, not for fun. It's a nice town, one I always enjoy visiting. We're having at least two VERY important meetings, along with a few "meet and greet" ones, and for sure, I don't have busy 10 hour days planned. We'll have quite a bit of free time... I'm borrowing a laptop from work so I can stay on top of my emails, at least... although my message will clearly say I have "limited" access to email and I'll refer them all to Customer Service unless it can wait until Friday, when I return... It's just too hard to stay on top of everything when you don't have all you need at your fingertips...

I'll be staying in the Sheraton Suites in Alexandria; they have some beautiful hotel rooms, that's for sure! I'll post some pictures next week (or over the weekend).

I picked up some fabric scraps from my mom so I can practice my sewing. I also will be hemming an old sheer curtain for our 2nd floor bath so it doesn't have to hang down into the tub.

I've completed a page in my art journal - I had started it before but I didn't like it so I painted over it and started again. I even added some paint to some other pages, so that I'm not looking at a totally blank canvas - that can be intimidating. It was fun getting paint all over me!

Well, more while I'm away...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Photos - as promised!!!

In no particular order...

Sean, me, Maria, and Jack

Jack and me

Jack, Maria, Sean, and me

Darling daughter and dad!

Cutting the cake (practice makes perfect!)

The flower arrangements I made - 2 or 3 per table, on average

Artistic & Creative: I Am!!!

A few years ago I NEVER would have used the words "artistic" or "creative" to describe myself. And I'm still not comfortable with them. But today they apply a heck of a lot more than they did way back when.

I picked up scrapbooking several years ago, when I became unemployed. I wouldn't recommend this: no income? Scrapping stuff? They don't go together. One needs money to buy stuff...

And lo and behold, I really liked some of the pages I created. Not all of them, but some of them. And that's okay.

And I found Donna Downey. What a creative genius! And she makes it all look so easy.

So I tried.

I bought an art journal kit from her months ago. It required sewing. No one had a working sewing machine so I carried that kit from room to room, convinced some day I'd start on it.

And I did. Last weekend.

I'm STILL not happy with my first page, which admittedly is a work in progress: I put some color on the page, liked it, and fell into the old trap: if I like it now, I'll like it more with more paint! And I don't. So I'm going to re-create my first page this weekend, but for now, here's what I've created so far!

And THANK YOU, DONNA!!! For helping me find my creative and artistic self!!!

(I sewed this!! On my new sewing machine! I'm feeling so inspired!!!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sewing, Sewing, Gone!

I sew.

Doesn't that sound cool? I sew.

I took exactly one 4 week sewing class in, oh, 7th or 8th grade. Which for the record, was REALLY long time ago!!! I made a bodysuit (remember them?!?!) according to a pattern. The sleeves were too short and I had to put fake cuffs on them so I didn't have 3/4 sleeves (which was not what the pattern called for!).

Well, I bought an art journal kit from Donna Downey. Here's the link: art journal. Now, that's not the pattern I chose, but Donna's kits sell out really fast! Anyway, I've had it for a few months now, probably close to six months! This past week, not that I had anything else to do, what with the engagement party and all, this past week hubby and I went to Wal-Mart and bought a Singer Sewing Machine for me. I figured that, worst case scenario, I'd try to sew this journal, try to shorten the curtain for the bathroom window, and then, when I failed miserably, I could just return the machine, nothing lost.

My journal came out AWESOME!!! (I will be posting a picture of THAT, too, later this week!) I had to sew a piece of printed cotton, wrong side to wrong side, to a piece of canvas. I had to leave a 4" gap, turn it right-side-out, starch and iron it, sew the elastic loop closure into the gap, add the button, then bind the pages in with the ribbon Donna included in the kit.

It came out so well - I was shocked at how cool it was! I can't wait to create in it. I can't wait to show it off. I know, to those of you who make your own clothes or sew your own slipcovers, this is nothing. But to me?


Post Party Wrap Up

The engagement party was lovely! Everything went smoothly, no great crisis, no collapsing tables or inter-family arguments!

My only problem: I was too busy playing "hostess with the mostest" to get pictures. So I'm waiting for my friends G&M to forward the photos they took to me - which came out beautifully, from what I saw on the little camera screen!

I took a couple, mostly of daughter and future son-in-law, but of course, being me, I remembered to bring the camera but forgot the USB cable so I can't download them right now.

I promise: photos in a day or two!!!

The food was delicious. And I didn't know this, but the staff wrapped it all up and sent the leftovers home with us! The party lives! I don't have to cook all week!!! (They must have heard me telling Sean's family that the closest thing to being a chef for me is my maiden name (Cook, for those of you who don't know!).

Everyone looked beautiful. Boy, do we all clean up well! And my niece? GORGEOUS!

The favors worked out well, and the flower arrangements were a real hit. They did come out nice, if I say so myself! (Maybe I can retire and work in a flower shop...)

Anyway, photos and more to come, I promise!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize.


What exactly has he done?

* Has he achieved peace in the Middle East? No. And he won't be able to. The only ones who can reach a peaceful end to the crisis in the Middle East are the people involved.

* Are we still at war in Iraq? Yes. I don't want to be at war, but I support the war.

* Are we still at war in Afghanistan? Yes. Ditto my comment above.

I HATE that we have lost thousands of young Americans in this war. But we have a VOLUNTEER army, people. Every person who joined the military knew there was a chance he or she would have to "man" up and fight. I don't care why they joined: free tuition after you serve? You deserve it. A job after you put in your time? You deserve it. But remember, just 'cause we're not at war today (September 10, 2001) doesn't mean we won't be at war tomorrow. Who knows what could happen tomorrow? If you join up today, you're going to be fighting the fight tomorrow, if it happens. Okay? Okay.

* Has he spent one thin dime to solve the problems the people of the US are suffering from? No. There are still starving children, homeless families. We are in the midst of a recession that was NOT caused by President Bush, even though BO supporters seem to blame Bush for everything. My grandchildren, and their grandchildren, and generations after that will be paying off the debt BO has created.

* Has he spent trillions of dimes to give money to big business? Yes. What has that accomplished? Are all those employees working again? A jobless recovery? What a joke. There's no recovery in sight. When every one of those people who have lost their jobs is employed and making what they were making before? THAT'S when there will be a recovery.

Do NOT mention all those foreclosures and bad debt, either. WE have to take responsibility for OURSELVES. It is absolutely possible to live the American Dream. Want to know how to do it? It's no big secret. Here it is: LIVE.WITHIN.YOUR.MEANS. If you have $200K to spend on a house, if you can afford a mortgage payment for a $200K home, SPEND $200K. Just because you "qualify" for $400K does NOT mean you have to buy the McMansion. JUST.SAY.NO. Buy a used car, you don't have to lease that Lexus. Buy your clothes at Walmart or Target, whichever suits you better. You do NOT have to wear a label that costs a ridiculous amount of money.

Oh, wait, no. This is America, people. Don't forget, you can be a "community organizer" in Chicago, become President, take 7 vacations in your first 9 months of office,... The American Dream!

The deadline for submission for the Nobel Peace Prize is FEBRUARY. Tell me what BO accomplished between his inauguration on January 20, 2009, and the cut-off. What a fix.

I find this so totally offensive that I just can't even write any more.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Arts and Crafts, and Loss (not a great segue)

So the engagement party is literally one week away (it's next Saturday) and I've decided, today, that I want favors and centerpieces.

And I've decided I want to make them.

It's official.

I'm certifiably nuts.

So I go online and I look up "wedding favors," "party favors," "engagement favors," and then I go back and add "homemade" to all of those. And I decide that I want something simple and easy and not expensive and not frilly and girly 'cause my daughter's not frilly and girly... Which, in retrospect, one might think would make this much easier.

But it doesn't.

So here are the final three contenders (and I'm sure there are MANY more easy favors out there, but I found these):
  1. mini mason jars decorated with silver ribbon and a heart charm and the happy couple's initials, with a votive candle inside
  2. Ghirardelli chocolates, those little individually wrapped ones, wrapped again in wedding/engagement paper, sealed with a "love" stamp from the post office, with their initials on the paper band
  3. a small round tin filled with chocolates, with a solid piece of paper adhered to the lid, their initials on the paper, and a charm tied with a piece of tulle ribbon around the tin
  4. cupcakes, individually wrapped in cellophane, tied with a ribbon, with a charm

Here's the final decision:

  1. No - too complicated, to hard to transport, and who really wants another favor you don't really want to throw out 'cause "it's from M&S's engagement party..."
  2. THE WINNER! Easy, quick, not frilly, chocolatey, and can be carried in a basket, and the basket can be decorated, and we can put the basket on the dessert table at the end of the night
  3. No - I'd have to travel hither and yon to find the damn tins, and I'm just not in the mood!
  4. This was my runner-up, but we're already having so much dessert there...

And then there are the centerpieces. The room is not huge and the tables are rectangular, so they're not very deep. A large centerpiece would just get in the way. There will be 5 tables of 6, and 3 small tables of 4 each, just with tablecloths, in case some people want to move to see the flat screens at either end of the room (is there a football game on Saturday night? Or a baseball game? If there is, the TVs will be on!). I figure I'll get small square glass block vases, a couple of bunches of assorted flowers from Costco, and I'll cut the flower stems down and just have a couple of small mini bouquets on each table. There's no need to go to a florist (sorry, John!). I suppose I'll make a vase for each of the small tables, too... And then anyone who wants to take one home can take one home, and I won't have to worry about getting them back to my house!

Tonight there's a wake for the father of a friend of ours; he's actually the head of the funeral home our families use. Jack knows him from growing up; I know him from all the people in my family who have died. Michael's dad started the business years ago, and has been living in Florida for a while now. He apparently had a brain tumor; we haven't seen Michael in a while, not since maybe the summer of 2008, so we didn't know his dad was ill. We'll go tonight to pay our respects. I said to hubby, even though we haven't seen Mike in a long time, he's helped us and our families get through so much, we need to go there for him.

Tomorrow there's a funeral mass for the dad of a friend of mine. I haven't see Mr. and Mrs. W. since they moved to Lakehurst, oh, 10 years ago or so, maybe even longer... We email political jokes back and forth, and they always sent me postcards from any and all of their trips around the world. When Mr. W. was still working (he retired a few years ago) he spent a lot of time in France. He brought me some Chanel No. 5, Chanel No. 19, Chanel No. 22 and Chanel Cristalle. When he went to an exhibit of Monet paintings at the Musée d'Orsay, he managed to take some video and even mentioned me in his home movies ("and here is Monet's Iris Gardens - just for you, Krys!"). He and the rest of his family made me feel so welcome - I used to stop by and say hi when they lived in Nutley.

I got an email a couple of weeks ago saying there would be a funeral mass for him this Saturday.

I was floored. I didn't know he was sick. I didn't know he had passed. I want to go tomorrow, but I don't know if I can. It's supposed to rain cats and dogs all day and hubby really doesn't want me to drive 2 hours each way in the pouring rain, and I can't honestly say I want to, either. I think I'm going to decide tomorrow.

We might not be going to the lake this weekend - which opens up a bunch of other stuff for me to do: shop for clothes to wear at the party, clean my house, shop for and make the favors, learn to use the sewing machine I'm going to buy tomorrow, start my art journal, work on my scrap projects (classes just finished), ...

Will post photos when I have them!