Saturday, November 11, 2006

2 months ain't too bad!!

It has been nearly TWO months since I have posted a blog entry. I am not really sure what happened, but I chalk it up to a couple of things:
  1. work has been busy
  2. I usually don't play on the computer in the evenings
  3. I was spending way too much time reading other peoples' blogs
  4. I felt I was spending too much time writing in my blog
Okay, enough excuses...I'm back again after a couple of requests/questions about my whereabouts in the blogging world.

Today was a great day. I was in "retail mode" selling product for Scrapbooks Too at the big scrapbook convention. I love to sell products and to interact with all of the fantastic people in the scrapbooking community. It was a positive day and my legs and feet are positively exhausted.

We finished off the day in our traditional manner with a trip to Don Pablo's. All of us must have been hungry and exhausted because we polished off 7-8 baskets of chips between 6 of us before our food was served to us!! Needless to say, I brought home most of my fajitas!

Okay, I am off to relax and crash. Perhaps I should prop my legs up.

Friday, September 15, 2006

what she ate for lunch

To continue my entries of guest e-mails. This one arrived from my sister:

Subject: Please look more closely!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Peachy Keen

I sent an e-mail today to Kyle with a simple question, "How is your day going?" I wasn't expecting the following response,

I was attacked by a peach....
I had my pile of fruit on my desk. I reached over to grab my peach but got momentarily distracted by something I was working on. the top of my hand lightly touched the dry stalk of my banana so I glanced at my desk...thought the stalk was a bug. I flinched and hurled the peach into my forehead which then hit my desk and made a lovely splat mark.
The partially mashed peach did manage to roll off my desk and onto the floor....Does any of this surpise you?!

I am laughing so hard that I have tears in my eyes. My co-workers must think I am crazy.

Monday, September 11, 2006

a birthday and two new family members

What a fun weekend! We had a fun birthday party for Mr. Alexander which was great since it could have been a bit disastrous. We were scheduled to have a party at the Jump'n Spot in Eden Prairie on Saturday. On Thursday, I had this weird feeling that I should call and confirm our spot. I pulled their webpage up, and retrieved their phone number. I dialed and my heart sunk when I heard the "do-dah-do...this number has been disconnected. Please check the number you dialed." *gulp* Did they go out of business? It couldn't be! I then drove over there and sure enough - the place was EMPTY and there was a sign up "For Lease" After several curses and expletives, I calmed myself down and called my Martha Stewart friend - Heather. She calmed me down and told me to call all of the Sam's Clubs in our area to find a jumper that had been clearanced. I attempted that as soon as I got home (thank you, Kyle, for pulling the list of phone numbers together), but no luck. They were all out of stock. I then pulled up inflatables on the internet and started calling. The first place that I called, USA Inflatables, he said, "Wow. This weekend is bad. I have turned away 20 people. BUT, I just had a cancel." I took it! They came to our house, setup the jumper AND the best part is that it cost less than going to the Jump'n Spot!!!

Here is a picture of Alexander blowing bubbles during his party with the jumper in the background. The kids had a great time and they were all great. Each year, the parties get a little easier as the kids become more independent.

The birthday fun started on Friday night when we took a family trip to PetSmart. Alexander has been asking for a cat for a long time now, but Kyle and I just weren't ready to make that commitment. I stopped by the Animal Shelter on my own that afternoon, but I still wasn't ready to make the jump to be a cat owner. So, we headed to PetSmart to see what types of critters they had. We spent about 2 hours there playing with the cats, playing with the chinchillas, but we still didn't feel a connection with any of the animals. Then, as we were walking out, we noticed signs above the small animal display that detailed out the temperament, whether the animal is diurnal or nocturnal, and what the minimum age that the human owner should be before owning one. That is when I noticed the Guinea Pig sign. Temperament: social, loves to cuddle; Diurnal (daytime); minimum human age: 8 (most were around 10+). We decided to give it one more try and that is when we met the great sales associate, Mackenzie. She stepped us through the process, helped us pick out things (yes, she was even good about telling us the difference between necessary items and items that were more fun for the humans to buy). That is the day that GEORGE entered our family.

Here is Alexander with his new friend, George:

Well, we did a little bit of reading (okay, Kyle did the reading, not "we") and found that the Guinea Pig lives in packs of 5-10 in the wild in South America. They are a hierarchal structured pack. This made us think that George might be lonely. Perhaps we should get him a friend? Yes, that is how HENRY joined our family. He was stored in the back at PetSmart while George was out front. He had been at PetSmart for 5 months or so and he hadn't sold. Poor little guy. He is more than double the size of George.

Here is Henry:

Sunday, September 03, 2006

the inner workings of Minda's mind

at 3 am.

Check out Minda's Blog today. I love that girl!

How Marcy and Kyle deal with the Mall of America

READ! Kyle and I decided to take the boys to The Park at MOA, previously known as Camp Snoopy, since I am still not feeling well enough to do the State Fair. It turned out to be a great afternoon. There weren't many people when we first got there, but within a couple of hours, it was packed. The longer lines just meant more reading time for Kyle and me! I started a new book (The Winner by ?, recommended by Nancy Rygg) and a good ways into the book. It was really interesting to see people's reaction to us reading. It took quite a few people aback. At one point, I was making sure the boys made it onto a ride while Kyle was reading. One man walked within 2 inches of Kyle and was staring and smiling at him. It was really disconcerting when I made eye contact with him and he continued to stare and smile and me. He laughed, pointed at Kyle and said, "Quite focused" or something like that Okay, so he wasn't some freakish pervert; he was just trying to be nice to us and was just making an observation. Then it hit me like a lead balloon. I, me, Marcy, often start up odd little conversations like that with strangers! OH MY GOD! Do people think that I am some freakish pervert!?!? Yikes. Okay, note to self, if you are going to smile and stare at people, make sure you tell them why in a timely manner!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

flood pants and weekend activities

Well, it is true - both Ethan and Alexander grew this summer. It is quite evident that Alexander grew, but I didn't realize how much Ethan has grown. This morning we decided to try on jeans so that we could hit any necessary Labor Day Sales to round out the boys' wardrobes for school. Last year, Alexander wore size 6 regular and Ethan's last size at the end of the school year was 8 slim. Those sizes are finished in this house!! Alexander fits perfectly in the 7x's that were purchased by mistake last year. Ethan's 8 slims are flood water pants! Where I am going to find long enough pants that won't fall off my willowy guy's waist? Do they make a 9 slim? I can't imagine a 10 on E. He would be swimming rather than looking like he is ready for some wading.

We have decided to do some fun, historically-centric activities this weekend. This morning, we are off to the Mill City Museum. They have a Farmer's Market outside from 8 - 1, so we are going to visit that, too. We are also going to head over to Fort Snelling again. They have another weekend of special activities planned with the theme being "Family Life on the Frontier".

It looks like we might pass on the MN State Fair this year. I am a little sad about it, but I am still not feeling 100%, so I don't think that it would be fun if I'm not feeling well. I do know that the fair isn't fun if you aren't feeling 100% - the first year I went to the fair, I was 9 months pregnant with Alexander!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

marketing scams...

don't you just hate them! This all started a couple of weeks ago when I received a Simple Scrapbooks DVD that was the first in a series. It also included a free gift in the box. I was instructed that I either needed to pay for it or to send it back. That really struck me as odd because I never requested or ordered this product. In fact, I had recently let my Simple Scrapbooks subscription run out (or did I renew it? I should keep copies of these things!)Did anyone else out there receive this DVD and the offer?

This week, I received a kindly worded, threatening reminder letter that I needed to do either pay them or send it back. Well, I'm sorry, but I am NOT wasting my time standing in line at the post office to return a piece of unsolicited mail. Kyle told me to send it back but to do a cost calculation on the amount of MY money I was "spending" through the cost of my time per my salary and to send them a bill. Yes, he is an economist and he did quick calculation and derived a number for me. I, however, felt that that was too passive aggressive, so I have been sitting on this waiting to figure out what to do.

I kept hearing in my head "It was unsolicited mail. It was unsolicited." Then it struck me that I didn't need to do anything because it was unsolicited! I called the post office and confirmed that if it was unsolicited, then I owed them nothing. Yes, yes, by now I could have returned the darn thing, but it is the principle of the matter that counts!

I just got off the phone with the customer service rep from Simple Scrapbooks and explained that because it was unsolicited that I didn't need to do anything. The customer service rep said, "Yes, ma'am, we do realize that. I will remove your name from receiving future promotional offers such as this." First of all, I hate being called "Ma'am", isn't there a better word out there? Second of all, WHAT A SCAM!! I hate marketing tactics like this. I am going to re-read my letter from them and see if at any point they mention that I am legally not responsible for that piece of unsolicited mail. I feel sorry for the people who do not realize that they do not need to waste their time on junk like this! grrrrrr..........

I think what frustrates me the most is that this is coming from Simple Scrapbooks. Yes, it might be a little Utopian of me, but most scrapbookers I know are honest people. To me, this mailing was a blatant marketing scam tactic. I wonder if the editors know that this is going on. Maybe I should return to my utopian bubble and assume that they knew nothing about it.

the plagued house

Well, I should have added to my own project plan a couple of days for being sick. Things ended at the Command Center and *whack*, I was hit with a cold that knocked me off my feet yesterday. Even today, I have been a walking zombie. In two meetings my boss told me to wake up and add some input. Oh well, it was a low productivity day!

I should be better in a couple of days, but I'm not sure about Alexander. He was hit hard with a temp and tummy issues. He is still having the issues today. I guess it is better to have the issues this week rather than the first week of school which is next week!

Tonight is "Back to School" night. I think I had best send Kyle and Ethan to get things so that A and I can stay home and rest. Too bad. I love the excitement of the back to school night and picking up our "toolbox", a box full of their required equipment for the year. It just makes everything more official. Of course, I love it for the photo opportunities!! I will just have to take extra pictures next week on the first day of school.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

good morning

After a long day in the Command Center yesterday, I am here again from 5 am - 11 am. All is pretty calm which is very exciting. We have a few outstanding things, but I am not nearly as busy as yesterday.

I finally had some time this morning to follow-up on a couple of things that I have been meaning to do. One of them was to checkout and order from Scraploft. This is a new online scrapbooking store created by Sarah N and Jenni. It sounds so blandly put - it is really a dream come true for them. Congrats you guys! I look forward to receiving my order!

This week is the second week that Kyle is home with the boys. It is a great way for us to save some money (no daycare expenses for 2 weeks!) and I think that all three of my boys are loving it. E and A are playing really well together and Kyle is doing a great job of interspersing fun activities and structured activities in between the boys' play time. Yesterday, they spent a few hours dismantling and exploring (aka destroying) a radio. They also worked together to put together my new shelves from Ikea for my scrapbooking room. I got the new Lack bookshelf which should work really well for my scrapbooking bins and paperholders because the height of the shelves is 16.5 inches (I think that is right), so plenty of clearance!! I can't wait to get a little more organized, but I have been too tired from this upgrade project to play in my scraproom. Hopefully, I will have some time later this week!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Update #2 from the Command Center

I am pleased to report that all went well this weekend with the upgrade. There are a couple of open issues, but they are all under control. An issue of concern is that the first time people login, it takes a little bit of time for things to cache. This may cause a nervous reaction in people. To help quell any issues from this and to calm nerves, we have strategically placed team members in with the business units. Jeanne is sitting with the Merch group, so I am "on call" this morning in the Command Center in case she needs a backup. Tomorrow is my early morning in the Command Center starting at 5 am.

Sunday early morning (1 am) was the start time for those of us setting up the system (post-upgrade/DBA work) followed by Business User validations at 8:30 am. Here are some fun pictures from that night:

Command Center mania:

Nancy trying to convince me that she is awake:

Dave attempts a rest in his chair:

but eventually gave up and hit the couch:

Jeff didn't even attempt the chair and went straight to a couch:

and here is me pointing out the reminder to the users that they were validating and production:

Sunday, August 27, 2006

a sight on two wheels

Check this fabulous sight out:

That is Alexander on two wheels! Everything came together this evening and he is now stellar on two wheels. He did have a couple of wipeouts, but after a good cry and a check for blood, he hopped right back on the bike. After one particularly bad wipeout, I asked him if he wanted to walk the rest of the way home. He replied through his tears in a very adamant tone, "No! I like biking more than walking!" Too cute. I'm so proud of him!!

It is 2:13 and I am waiting to the setup portion of the upgrade. We are now 12+ hours behind schedule, but still on time for the business. The bummer for right now is that they called us in at 1am it doesn't look like they will be ready for us until after 3!! Oh well.... time to head back to playing some more games or reading my book.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

command center mania

I am sitting in the Command Center tonight. It is an interesting sight

Jeanne is wearing her tiara:

There is a ton of food to my right:

A nasty storm out the window:

and Jamie is working hard across the table from me:

I never thought that I would say this, but I LOVE having a camera on my phone!!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

let the upgrade begin!!

I have been a bit quiet lately because we have been in the final stretch of a 9 month long project to upgrade our transactional system. The "festivities" begin tomorrow and I am one of the lucky ones on the first shift. The "lucky ones" phrase was said in a sarcastic tone in my head, but I am actually one of the lucky ones. My time is going to be spent at the Primary in the "Command Center" (insert doo do dooooo song of impending doom here). The only thing going on at the time is the final end of day process for financials before the switch is flipped and we begin the actual upgrade. So, I am hoping that my time in the Command Center is quiet and calm with the biggest decision being what we are going to order for dinner. Any suggestions?

Things have been good even though I have been quiet. Kyle is home with the boys this week and next and they are having a great time together. E and A have actually spent the last three days playing very well together! What a blessing!

We are also in the throws of the preparation for school. We had Alexander's Kindergarten assessment the other day. It was exciting and sad for me to watch him independently walk down the hall with his teacher to be tested. We still don't know what he did in his test except that when she asked him to count that he counted to 199!! Good job, Alexander! Oh, that reminds me - one of the first things his teacher asked him was what he wanted to be called. *GASP* WHAT? Does he have a say in this?! I want him to Alexander!!!! Nope, Mom does not have a say in this and he will be Alex. Ugh. I did NOT want him to be Alex. He only likes Alex because it is shorter to write. Hmmm.. Obviously, I have some pent-up feelings about this. Perhaps I should e-mail his teacher.

I need to get clothes for the boys for school, but there is zero time with this project. I think that I will spend some time this evening placing an order with Land's End. Alexander still prefers to way tie-dyed shirts and LE has three long-sleeved ones! He saw them and asked for them all! Hey, how easy is that? 3 shirts means that he only needs a couple of more!

Okay, I need to run! I will write more tomorrow and give a COMMAND CENTER (needs to be said in a loud, echoing voice) update.


Friday, August 11, 2006

a first

Yes, today was the first time that I ever "blew out" my pants. I did a really deep, wide-legged squat to unplug my laptop and RRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPP. Nice. I am now wearing my cardigan wrapped around my waist - what a lovely look!

I am just giggling about this. I feel like Charlie Brown! Wasn't there an episode where he rips his pants?

Monday, August 07, 2006

pictures from the premier!

Minda posted a couple of pictures of our fun-filled Saturday night that I wrote about in my last entry. Thanks, Minda!!!

Here I am with my "dates" (l to r: Nancy, me, Minda, Kate) waiting for the doors to open outside of the Minneapolis Woman's Club:Here's my close-up. This is my fun top with sequins that I love and my fun $.99 earrings that I found the other day:

Here we are after the movie and enjoying the festivities. This is a photo in front of a layout already done for us! Don't we all look cute?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Red Carpet Extravaganza

Last night was my first red carpet extravaganza in the Twin Cities. Okay, I don't think that there was actually a red carpet, but it was a movie premier! Minda, Kate, Nancy and I headed to the Minneapolis Woman's Club to view the premier of Scrapped! The Movie.

Our connection with the movie started months and months ago when I received an e-mail with a link to a couple of fantastically hilarious movie promos for a movie about scrapbooking created by a hunting, biker guy. I loved him the minute that he shot his scrapbook and then made a great scrapbooking page by incorporating the holes made by the bullets into his layout. I forwarded the link to Minda. She had received the link from another scrapbooking group a little earlier and had just deleted it. When she received a second request to view it, she decided to give it a try. She, too, fell in love with the concept and she e-mailed Wes, the director and creator, immediately. An instant friendship sparked.

I really didn't know what to expect about the movie from the promos. Would this be a biker guy trying to integrate into the scrapbooking culture? Would it be a farce about scrapbooking (not that we have ever seen any of those!!)? Well, last night, I was blown away. Wes did a true documentary on the scrapbooking world by focusing on a couple of key areas: Why do scrapbooker scrapbook? What are the products used by scrapbookers? I was pleased with the diverse group of scrapbookers that he incorporated into his movie. He has men and women from different cultures who all scrapbook for different reasons. There were several touching personal documentaries from each of the contributors. The only thing that I was disappointed in was that the focus of the movie was primarily archival scrapbooking and there was only a small segment near the end of the movie about art scrapbooking and a small clip where Wes altered (ie. sandpapered, painted, etc.) his page. I suppose I am disappointed in the limited quantity of that type of scrapbooker because I am a mix of the two, so I don't feel that I was represented in the movie. However, as we learned from the movie, it isn't really about how we scrapbook, it is more about why we scrapbook and the connections with ourselves, our family, and our history that we make and discover during the scrapbooking process.

Talking about connections....
One of the things that I love about being part of the scrapbooking community is that almost everyone is a loving and trusting person. I have to include the "almost" because I have met some crabby people, but they are definitely the minority. There is something that opens you up to other scrapbookers when you have the commonality of understanding that this is something that we love and something that is helping us grow as people. We make connections and we even network through the scrapbooking community. Last night, I was able to reconnect with some women who I used to see all the time when I worked at a local scrapbook store. I haven't seen one of them, Julie, for probably a year or two. It was like we picked up right where we left off. Julie is one of the founding members of a scrapbooking sorority, Delta Phi Scrappa, and she told me a great story about women in her group networking. One of the husband's of a member of the sorority had a massive heart attack. When he was admitted into the hospital, the wife was thrilled to see two of her fellow "sisters" working as nurses on her husband's floor. The "sisters" helped to make the family more comfortable and made extra visits to their "sister's" husband while he was in the hospital. This is just one of the examples of the amazing network that scrapbookers have developed. I have to admit that I have pulled away from that arena a bit in the last year or so. I did this when I quit the store when I realized that I was attempting to maintain a crazy schedule between working full time, having a family with two small boys, and working at the store. I pulled away not because I didn't like the people, but more because I felt that it was becoming an obsessive part of my life. I needed to step back and actually start using some of the product that I had collected over the years that I worked at the store, but had no time to use. So, instead, I have focused my energy on going on one to two weekend retreats with friends. I have also started an evening scrapbooking group at my church. It has opened up a whole new world of friendships and connections within my church community.

Another aspect about the movie that I loved was a segment where Wes interviewed Christine Smith. I know Christine by name because she is an amazing digital scrapbooker who was helping me out when I was participating in the Designing with Digital challenge. I really need to re-watch her segment (luckily, we received copies of the movie in our goodie bags) because I feel that I connected with hers the most. She pointed out how she captures moments, good and bad, to record and remember the moment. It made me pause and think about why I scrapbook - I love to do the chronological pages because it brings such great pleasure to my children to see their pictures of their special events, but I have started to more non-chronological work and I find it very satisfying. Little pages about why I love to be a Mom. I also thought up another page the I need/want to do. It has to do with why I garden. My garden is a mess, but every year I plant a garden. We often don't even harvest the vegetables because we forget about them until they are too woody to even eat. I started to think about why I even bother and I realized that it has to do with the fact that it is my connection with my Great Grandmother Lena and my Grandmother Lula. I grow sunflowers every year because of my Great Grandmother. She grew one sunflower a year directly outside her kitchen window. I loved to watch it grow; I loved to view it from the kitchen window; and I loved to feel dwarfed by it when I stood under it in the fall. I grow beets because of my Grandma. I don't remember much about her, but I do have a vivid memory of her hands in the sink washing, peeling, and canning the beets that she grew. The work to can the beets destroyed her hands every year. They would swell and crack open (she must have been allergic to them), but she grew them and canned them every year. I was about to write that she loved them, but I don't really know that fact. I just know that it is a memory that I have of her being who she was.

Okay, I'm getting a little weepy and I have a house to clean, so I will write more about the festivities later.

Monday, July 31, 2006

fearing corn

Yes, it is true. I now fear corn and not just any corn, but Wisconsin corn. If you are squimish or eating lunch, you had best move on to the next blog...

On our drive home from Camp Wapo last week, we stopped at a farm stand and bought fresh sweet corn. Oh, I do love a good sweet corn. We got home, boiled it up, and had it for dinner. My fun starting the next morning. I will let you use your imagination and avoid the details, but needless to say, my stomach and abdomin were VERY uncomfortable. Of course, it settled a bit after a day, so I decided (once again, against my better judgment) to eat another ear of left over corn. When will I learn? Well, the second serving of corn seemed to further enhance and stimulate the issue and I have had issues ever since. This is why I now fear corn.

I finally went to the doctor this morning and she checked as much as she could in the office (it was still gross), but I now need to visit a gastroentologist to determine the root cause of my issue. It is likely that I have a microscopic inflammation somewhere in my colon. It is most sensitive on the left side of my body, so I don't need a full colonoscopy, but I am getting a sigmoidoscopy. Fun, fun! She said that if they find any inflammation that they will take a sample and test the tissue for the usual things - infection, Chron's disease, cancer, etc.

I think that they are going to get the scope up there and find a pesky piece of corn!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

marcy minus her better judgment

Okay, this is lame to post on my blog, but it really made me giggle this morning. It could be that I pulled a 12 hour shift at work yesterday and have lost all of my better judgment brain cells, but I can't resist sharing.


Jack wakes up with a huge hangover after the night at a business function.

He forces himself to open his eyes and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins next to a glass of water on the side table. And, next to them, a single red rose!

Jack sits down and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed. Jack looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotlessly clean. So is the rest of the house.

He takes the aspirins, cringes when he sees a huge black eye staring back at him in the bathroom mirror and notices a note on the table: "Honey, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to go shopping - Love you!!"

He stumbles to the kitchen and sure enough, there is hot breakfast and the morning newspaper. His son is also at the table, eating.

Jack asks, "Son...what happened last night?"

"Well, you came home after 3am, drunk and out of your mind. You broke the coffee table, puked in the hallway and got that black eye when you ran into the door."

"So, why is everything in such perfect order, so clean, I have a rose and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?"

His son replies, "Oh, THAT!...Mom dragged you to the bedroom and when she tried to take your pants off, you screamed, "Leave me alone, b*tch, I'm married!!!"

Broken table - $200
Hot breakfast - $5
Red Rose bud - $3
Two aspirins - $0.25Saying the right thing, at the right time... Priceless

Monday, July 24, 2006

letting go

Mr. Ethan is home and re-acclimated to life at home. He had a GREAT weekend at Camp Wapo. He also learned one of life's most important lessons - one's own bed is the best! He couldn't wait to get home and sleep in his own bed. Too cute.

I am still amazed that he is old enough to be away from home for any length of time. I guess it is time for Mom to start letting go and understanding that these little steps away are going to continue to become longer and more steps away from me.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

how is it possible?

How is it possible that Ethan is old enough for overnight camp? We dropped Mr. E off for his first ovenight camp adventure at Camp Wapogassett in Amery, WI. He was so excited, I was so excited, and now I am missing him. I am sure that he is so busy that he isn't missing us!!

We had great weather for the drive and had a beautiful sunset for the drive home.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Missing Strawberries

I have been thinking about writing for quite a while, but just haven't made the time. Nancy, however, entered a really nice blog entry today that I wanted to share it with you all. Nancy said that she wanted to share it with her 3 or 4 readers, but I will expand that number by at least 1 or 2 by adding it to my blog, too!! :)

Read and enjoy!

Life as a Scrappin' Engineer Mom: I Miss Strawberries

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Kyle's comment and blog

Well, I spent the morning taking the boys to swimming, "cooking" at Sociale Gourmet and then stopping at the Franklin Covey store in the Mall of America to pick out my new planner system. Yes, I am trying paper, but I am not giving up my PDA just yet! In addition to the planner pages, I also bought a new binder that has a pocket for my cell phone and a clip for my Palm. Yes, I had planned on only purchasing the refill pages which would have been less than $50, but I also bought a new binder. *gulp* The best news is that FC has a return policy where you can USE the product and if you aren't satisfied, then you can return it within 30 days. I have loaded the binder and it is bigger than I remember. It is a LOT bigger than a PDA! I will give it a whole-hearted try and then make a decision as to whether or not I am going to stick with it.

Then, I come home (feeling a bit guilty for spending more than I had planned) to find that my adorable husband has posted a comment about his low-tech notecard system that he uses as his planning system. His lengthy comment here finally spurred him into writing in his own blog! Check out Kyle's Blog Project. He is a funny, smart guy, so I hope that you enjoy his writing!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

paper vs. electronic organization

Are you a paper or an electronic organizer? For the last several years, I have been an electronic organizer and I am missing, seriously missing, paper organization methods. I mentioned in my last post that I stopped by the Franklin Covey store to sort through the products to see if it was the way that I really wanted to go. I really think that paper plus electronic (let's see if that works!) is the way for me.

So, after spending 1/2 hour on the FC website trying to pick a binder for me, I remembered that I used to have a binder when I was a consultant. I sauntered over to our messiest shelves (okay, messiest when my scrap area is excluded) and there was my old Franklin Covey. Abandoned mid-year 2001. The pages are still there and the compass is still in its old spot. The last task entered was "Call AAC re: E's blister". That would be All About Children, our pediatrician's office and Mr. E was only 3 years old. I then found the reason why I switched from paper. It was no longer "cool" to use paper and a PDA was a must. 2001 was the year that I left consulting and and started to work at Rorke Data. Part of my negiotiations when I started there was the purchase of a PDA to keep track of my "busy" schedule. Tucked into my Franklin Covey paper planner was the receipt from my Best Buy purchase of my first PDA, the Palm Vx. My beloved friend until it died last year and was replaced by the Zire something or other.

What do you prefer? Paper or electronic? I would love to hear your thoughts. I posed the question to Kyle at dinner and he said that he has gone extremely low tech. He now keeps his tasks in a pile of index cards held together by a paperclip!! I guess whatever works for you is the best choice for you!

Edit (5 minutes later when Kyle arrived home): Kyle reminded me of a cool article on (our new favorite website) about this exact issue. Check it out at

my big feet

Help! I have big, wide feet and now that I need to fit orthotics in my shoes, I cannot find shoes!! I have ordered from, but they seem to be out of every shoe that I am interested in. Does anyone have a suggestion of a place to get shoes that meet the following criteria:
  1. BIG sizes - I am a 10 - 10.5
  2. WIDE, and I mean WIDE size - I have recently discovered that I am comfortable in double wide shoes.
  3. Shoes that are deep enough to fit orthotics

Please, please, please - if you know of a good shoe store online or brick and mortar, let me know!!! I am a desperate, wide, big-footed woman!

I have had luck in the past at Nordstrom Rack at the Mall of America, so I took Ethan and Alexander with me. The bad part about stores like that is that you never know what you are going to find. Well, last night was not a good shoe selection night. sigh....I ended up with nothing, but the boys were great. They were very patient and only whined once or twice. After Nordstrom Rack, we headed down to DWS Shoewarehouse. The boys and I split up in separate rows and searched for big, orange "W" stickers on the boxes. We had a blast checking for the stickers.

After DWS, I couldn't resist checking out the Franklin Covey store. I am tempted to return to paper. I just don't get the same satisfaction from writing in my PDA or crossing off tasks as I do in a planner. The boys had a fun time in there, too. Yes, I have task-oriented children and I think that they are drawn to paper products like I am!!

To finish off the fun trip, we needed to go to Legoland to buy a birthday gift. I couldn't resist giving the boys a treat since they had been so good throughout the shopping trip (yes, I know...bad Mom with buying something for good behavior. Hey, at least it wasn't food that I offered them!!). Each boy got a little bucket to fill with the loose Legos of their choice. Fun! Fun! I can't wait to play with the new windows and roof tiles that they bought!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

more pictures from the 4th

more pictures didn't cooperate loading into the last entry, so I thought I would post a couple more:

Our crew at Bloomington Summer Fete enjoying a festive spread of food (l to r: Kyle, Karla, Grace, Paul, Rob)

Alexander and Ethan at the summer fete. I have NO idea who the political sticker is from, so please do not assume that I support that candidate. It cracks me up how the people handing out the stickers bypass me (I think I gave them a look), but turn directly to my son and say, "do you want a sticker?" Hello!?!? Who is the person of voting age here? I thought that it was a cheap shot to do that, so we removed the sticker after the picture was taken.

Kyle the Malingerer and Ethan the Deserter at Fort Snelling

Happy 4th of July a day late!

Fireworks at Summer Fete
Happy 4th of July!

I hope you enjoyed your festivities as much as we did. Our festivities started the night before on the 3rd at Bloomington's Summer Fete. We had never attended it before (since we aren't crowd-liking folk), but thanks to Karla's planning and preparation we agreed to give it a try. A small group of us from choir met at her house and headed to the bandshell on Normandale Lake. We were there by 5:30, so we had an excellent piece of real estate on which to spread out our blankets and chairs. We ate some fabulous food and enjoyed the music and activities for the rest of the evening until the fireworks started. A special thanks needs to go out to Rob for entertaining all of the kids in our group by playing ball and frisbee with them. Then, he was willing to be the human jumping cushion for the kids. We hope to go to the Festival of Latin Music on the 22nd of this month. Come out and join us!

We continued our festivities on the actual 4th of July by heading over to Fort Snelling. On our way there, we weren't sure which way to go because one sign was partially hidden by another sign. As our luck would have it, we took a wrong turn and ended up in Fort Snelling State Park. What a gorgeous park! There were bikers everywhere and we quickly learned why - it is filled with beautiful bike paths that hook up with other sites and trails in the city. Ethan has already decided that he wants to bike to Minnehaha Falls, so we are hoping to get out there soon to enjoy it. They also have a nice swimming beach on a lake, so my thoughts are to go for a bike ride and remember the swim gear so that we can cool down in the water afterward the ride!

After enjoying the interpretive center at the park, we opted to hike up to the top of the hill to the fort rather than driving up to it. We had only planned on staying at Fort Snelling for only an hour or two, but we ended up enjoying it so much that we were there about 3-4 hours. The things that ended up forcing us to leave were excessively hungry tummies since we had only packed water, grapes, and apples! While we were there, we enjoyed exploring all of the buildings, watching the soldiers march, seeing the cannons fire, and making a flag. Okay, the making a flag event was interesting. We sat near the table where the historical volunteers were sitting and that was our main mistake. The kids were supposed to be making flags from 1827 which meant that they HAD TO have an eagle and 24 stars on the flag. This attitude threw my boys for a bit of a loop since they are used to doing whatever their creative spirit inspires them to create. Being restricted by the number of stars to put on?! Come on. Poor Alexander had two different people come up and literally count the number of stars on his flag! Poor kid. They also chose to provide the kids with PERMANENT markers to color their flags. Yikes again. I don't want to complain too much because the boys did enoy it AND I am not the one dressed up and standing in a non-air conditioned room helping 300+ kids do an art project!!

After heading home and filling our hungry tummies and resting for a bit, we headed off to Valley View Pool aka Bloomington Family Aquatic Center for a dip and some more rest.

Monday, July 03, 2006

more appliance fun

Ever since our water heater was replaced a week ago on Friday, we have noticed water on the floor. Not a lot of water, but enough to cause concern. We also noticed that the air conditioner was running non-stop and that the house wasn't cooling. Hmmm...could the two be related? I will skip straight to the answer for you so that you can choose to keep reading details or stop with the summary. The answer is yes, yes, yes!

The Centerpoint Energy Home Service Plus person, Mike, stopped by this morning to check things out. We had an appointment on Wednesday for them to come out. However, we moved the appointment up because Kyle had the grand vision that pipes would burst throughout the house on the 4th of July and water would be spewing everywhere and we wouldn't be able to get a repair person out on the holiday. Here are the series of events that lead up to this point:

  • water on floor
  • service person comes to the house and determines it to be a leak in the water heater
  • subcontractors arrive and replace water heater
  • wait, I should include a bullet point before all of these - A/C not exactly "cooling" the house; instead, it is just maintaining the following equation: air temperature outside minus 2 degrees
  • water is STILL on the floor, but not a lot - Kyle and Marcy justify it in their minds that it is just residual water coming out from underneath the furnace (yes, we can justify away anything!)
  • A/C is running, running, and running
  • more water on the floor
  • Electronic air cleaner starts to make weird noises
  • Clean the filters (not the ionizer plates because we fear them) in the air cleaner
  • Hmmmm....noise still present - avoid the issue and turn off the electronic air cleaner
  • Freak out and decide to give the A/C a "rest" and turn it off for the rest of the day
  • Water is EVERYWHERE
  • Ugh....sigh
  • Discuss with Kyle
  • Call the Service Plus people (they are our best friends now)
  • Sleep fairly peacefully since we have now aclimated to the temp in our house being close to the temp outside
  • Wake up and decide to check the floor near the water heater
  • A small amount of water, but enough to still cause concern
  • Turn A/C back on to "prove" the connection between the water and the A/C
  • Leave for work
  • Return 3 hours later
  • House is still the same temp as the outside
  • Ugh...sigh...
  • Wait for Mike to arrive
  • Mike arrives and coils are frozen
  • Turn on the HEAT to 82 degrees to thaw out coils
  • Drain the water from the melting ice (WOW - lots of water!)
  • Chat with Mike while he works
  • Learn lots of cool tips (I should document them before I forget them!!)
  • Mike add 3 pounds of freon and the max for our A/C is 5.5 pounds!
  • Air is house is MUCH nicer
  • No water on the floor
  • I am typing away at my computer in a nice, cool, non-humid environment. LOVELY.
  • Freon boost should postpone the purchase of an A/C unit for a year or two or more! LOVELY!
  • Ponder the thought that we may have never needed a new water heater
  • Justify it away....justify...

All of this reminds me of how we ended up with a new transmission in the Camry several years ago. My words of advice from that experience:

Pink fluid on your garage floor is NOT the pigment leeching out from the leaves that you haven't bothered to sweep up!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

fun at the beach

We had a great time at Bush Lake yesterday with Minda's Family and Nancy's Family. It was so nice to sit on the beach or in the water and just relax. I think it was Nancy who said that we are in the golden age with our children and it is true! This is the first summer that I can let the boys just go and not be my typical type A Mom and chase after their every move so that they don't drown. Don't be fooled by that comment because I was really just a Type A Mom from afar. There were about 4 times that I stood up and began to panic because I couldn't spot one of the boys. Three of those 4 times, the child that I was desperately seeking was literally right in front of me and in my panic I couldn't see him. One of the three times my fear was valid because Alexander had moved to a dock away from Kyle and was attempting to swim under the dock. Yikes. I was able to get his attention in time before he did it and he returned to his activity of climbing on the dock and jumping off.

If you would like to see pictures of the day, then check out Minda's Blog. She was the photography Mom yesterday. It was nice to have someone else capturing the moment so that I could just enjoy the moment. I often get so caught up in taking pictures that I don't take the time to just be still and enjoy it! Thanks, Minda!

One of the things that I enjoyed doing at the beach was floating in the water. It is such an amazing and peaceful feeling. You go from all of the noise of the kids shouting and splashing to mere echoes of that noise once your head is back. If you close your eyes, you can focus on your breathing (yes, I miss yoga!!). I also like to focus on the stark contrast of coolness from the water versus the warmth of the sun at the point where the two intersect on your body. It is amazing that such a thin line can be so visible to our minds. And then everything shifts with the slightest motion in the water. The cooling sensation of the water washes over you and cools all of the spots that the sun has warmed so that you can start the whole process over again.

Monday, June 26, 2006

fear and thankfulness

This morning has been an emotional rollercoaster ride. The day started with Ethan's 8 year old well check. We decided to make it a family affair since the boys both like going to the doctor and both Kyle and I like to be there for appointments.

Nancy asked us if we had any concerns and I noted that E seems to tire easily while doing active things. For instance, if we walk to Cub (only a couple of blocks away), he can barely make it home! It really started to concern me on our recent trip to the North Shore where we did a small hike at Gooseberry Falls, drove to Tettegouche State Park, and we were going to hike to a waterfall in that park. Well, Ethan was so tired that he decided to stay back at the picnic area with Grandma and Grandpa. I told this story to Nancy and asked if it could be thyroid or something like that. She said that thyroid was highly unlikely. So, then she started the physical. When it came time to listen to his heart, she listened, and listened, and listened, asked Alexander to quiet down, and listened some more. She finally stopped and said that she wanted to get a second opinion about something that she was hearing. She asked Ming to come in and she heard the same thing. They were hearing a murmur in his aorta, but only when he was lying down. They asked if we could take him today to a pediatric cardiologist if they could get us in. Both Kyle and I had plenty of obligations at work, but it was amazing at how trivial they seemed in comparison to a possible health issue with our child.

The drive to the cardiologist was a difficult one. We were trying to suppress our utter fear about what the doctor would find and Ethan was complaining about missing play time with his friends. We just let him rant about it because we figured that it was misplaced emotion and he was actually expressing the fear that he was feeling about being sent from one doctor to another.

We arrived at Children's and Ethan's mood changed from angry to excited. It is extremely helpful that the colors and designs at Children's is actually geared toward children. Ethan couldn't wait to see what was around each corner and to see where his doctor's office was located.

After a short detour through the hospital and across the street to one of the medical buildings, We got to meet the pediatric cardiologist. He was wonderful and had a great bedside manner. Ethan was also amazing. Where do children get their strength? Some might say that ignorance is bliss, but I think that it is something deeper than that. They are able to stand up to unknown situations and just shine - often better than adults. Ethan had a chest x-ray and then we had to wait a short time for the doctor. The doctor listened and listened to Ethan's chest. He then asked Ethan if it would be okay for the resident to listen to his heart. E agreed that it would be fine, so the doctor left the room to get the x-rays. Everything looked clear on the x-ray. The only thing that the doctor saw was a big air bubble in E's tummy. He told him to eat more! The doctor told us that everything looked fine and that the murmur is what they call an "innocent murmur". Thank goodness! I could have wept when I heard those words. My body just melted and relief waved over me.

Thank you to the small group of people who touched us along the way who made the experience bearable: Nancy C for the hugs and words of understanding; Rosie for making the appointment and then sitting with me and patting my arm while I cried; Barb at daycare for hugging me and praying for Ethan; the wonderful nurses at all of the offices who made E comfortable; and my Mom for her prayers of thankfulness when she heard the news after the event. I am thankful to all of you and I am thankful that everything turned out okay.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Cooking with the Girls

Had an excellent time last night with Rose, Nancy, Chef Ampy, and Audrey. Yes, that's right, Ampy prefix is Chef. Where were we? We were having a blast at Sociale Gourmet in Eagan.

Sociale Gourmet is a Make & Take entree assembly place. Each month, Sociale has a list of entrees from which you pick what you want to make. We are a family of 4 with 2 young boys, so we choose the 4-6 serving size; whereas, Rose chose the 2-3 serving size since it is just Jim and her at home.

This is my third month that I have gone to Sociale and I have already signed up for July. I have to tell you that I have tried other meal preparation locations and Sociale is my favorite because it takes me the least amount of time to do the prep work and the food is fantastic. I highly recommend Sociale - sign up for a session today at! I will be there at the morning session on Saturday, July 8th if you want to join me!

Wow! I was listening to Kare11 Saturday while I was writing this and Chef Ampy and Lisa, the owner, were on the show! You guys did a great job!

Friday, June 23, 2006

New Utility Appliance and Excellent New Warning

AAAAhhhhh.....the comforts of a new water heater.
new water heater

And even better.... a cool new label warning.

try not to get engulfed in flames

more sharing

TWO days in a row! Can you believe it? Will I make Minda's list of bloggers again? I felt the need to post after I learned that I was bumped from Minda's list,, once Sue T from Scrapbooks Too started a blog,! What a way to get re-inspired.

I wanted to share some of my funky, nature photos from our recent trip to Duluth, Two Harbors, Gooseberry, and Tettegouche State Park.
Cool fungus on fallen tree

Lichen, lichen everywhere

Tettegouche State Park

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Egyptian Onion Fun

Last year, Karin (from Twin Cities Scrappers) gave me an Egyptian Onion bulb. I wasn't sure what to do with it, so I left it in the fridge for a while and then finally decided to put it in the garden. During the fall, it was beat up by my two young boys who love to dig in the garden once we have harvested everything. I thought for sure that the onion was a gonner until one day in early spring, I spot GREEN. Not just a normal green, but a blue green - distinctive to chives and onions. I was THRILLED. The onion had survived. I decided to transplant it (since we needed to prep the garden) and have enjoyed watching it change daily. Check it out:

I found a gardener's chat about it, too.

1) The entire onion is edible. We mostly use the green hollow leaves in late winter & spring in salads and as a substitute for green onions and chives. You can also eat the bulb part, but of course that destroys the plant. We find that if you cut off the 'flowering' stems and leaves down to soil level in mid-summer, new leaves will sprout. Otherwise, there's not much to eat after about July.2) I don't think it has much of a flower. Little bulblets form on the top of the stem where the flower should be. These grow until the weight of them cause the stem to bend or snap. When the cluster of bulblets touches the soil roots start to grow, forming a new clump away from the mother plant. In this way the onion can move around your garden, which leads to its other name: walking onion.

Another article noted that if eating the stems, the ones that are young and without bulblets on them are the best.

Friday, May 19, 2006

fyi part 6

Below is Mom's final entry of her "fyi" series for her trip to Minnesota!
Dear All:
5/10/06 - Marcy took off this a.m. and tomorrow a.m. to do some things w/us. Off to Target. Wanted to buy a shirt for youngest grandson Nicklaus. Found one that said "it's my brother's fault."

On to Japanese Garden which is near Marcy & Kyle's and may be quite overlooked by area people since so close by. It's behind a college. A peaceful, lovely garden w/a small waterfall, several Japanese buildings/bridges, etc. Very calming.

Had decided to go to the Mongolian BBQ for our final lunch in MN. Usually when I get to MN we go there first. Wanted to have Logan experience it. There's a long counter full of raw meat (turkey, chicken, shrimp, pork,beef) and vegetables plus rice noodles and pasta. You fill a bowl w/what you like. Then choose a sauce to wet the bowl. A chart tells you how many scoops of oil, etc., lobster sauce to add. Then you walk over to where it is cooked. The worker takes your bowl and places the contents on a huge round black heated flat surface and begins tossing away. Once it's done he gives it back to you to enjoy. If you want to tip the cooks, you put your money in a jar, then you can hit the huge "gong." The cooks all yell "thank you!" Very neat place. Logan enjoyed it (once the meat was cooked).

That night Ethan recited a bird poem for all of us. He needed a prop to go along w/the poem so Marcy cut "wings" out of felt for him and she, Kyle and Xander pasted feathers on it. Looked really cute w/all the colors of the feathers added. It was attached to Ethan's shoulders and wrists so he could raise his arms and look like a bird w/wings.

5/11/06 - Last day in MN. I had given Marcy a "shoe show" earlier. She commented the one summer slide looked short on my foot. I hadn't realized it before. So we decided to go back to Nordstrom Rack - yeah! We were on our way to Mall of America when Gordie called quite upset - the airlines had called that our flight had been delayed and we needed to make other arrangements in Phila. So Marcy called Jenny and between their calls things turned out all right. It seems that the Phila. flight was also delayed so there weren't any problems.

Of course when women are in NOrdstrom Rack they find more shoes - Marcy is the opposite of me and needs wide shoes (which they had a nice variety for her too). She chose sneakers and some nice white slides for summer.
I, of course, took the too short slides back and found 2 more pair! Thank goodness Logan had his gameboy w/him! Must tell on Marcy & Logan @ this point. I was quickly looking @ shoes after returning the pair when Marcy & Logan raced up the aisle. Marcy said "you have to leave NOW for the airport!" I tossed the shoes on a bench and was racing towards them when they both laughed! It was a joke. HA HA

Since our flight was delayed we had additional time so Marcy & Logan went to the MOA Aquarium. I'd been there before so I relaxed, admired new shoes & cleaned out my purse. They got to touch a shark and several other creatures. The Aquarium has a moving walk area which you stand on and admire fish all around you - beside, above. Beautiful.

We had Donna as our stewardess from MN to Phila. - and again from Phila to Elmira! She recognized Logan and said "hey, I remember you!" The flight from Phila to Elmira was so turbulant Donna had to stay in her seat facing us the entire 35 min. flight.

Once we landed & went in the terminal Logan said "I think you'll recognize the guy over there in the white shirt." It, of course. was Gordie who'd been @ the airport so long they probably thought he worked there. We went to p/up our luggage. Uh oh. A man popped out of the luggage carrier and announced that if our bags weren't out there already, they weren't here yet. Oh great! Good news is they came the next morning. I was upstairs when the phone rang. A man said he was in the driveway right then and had put our luggage on the front porch. I zoomed downstairs and waved & thanked him for our bags. Logan had two broken items in his bag but I was lucky.

Well, that's the story. Back home and in the groove again. Looking forward to moving June 24th.

Have a great day!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

fyi part 5

The nice thing about Mom's daily habits is that she journals daily and while attending events, she takes "notes" in a small book that she carries in her purse. What a great idea for those of us who scrapbook! How else do you remember the details? It has been so nice re-reading and re-living Mom and Logan's visit! Thanks, Mom!

Dear All: part 5 -

While @ the Mall of America, Logan & I decided to enjoy Famous Dave's Restaurant. The waitress asked if we minded sitting on the porch - huh? It was right where shoppers passed by which was fine w/us. If you ever get a chance, enjoy Dave's babyback ribs.

The waitress said since we were hungry for ice cream next to to to Cold Stone Creamery just around the corner. This place was unique. Logan picked cotton candy ice cream plus cheesecake ice cream. The worker scoops out each kind, then "smashes" it together on a marble piece. Then you can add any amount of extras. He chose Reese's peanut butter cups. I know it sounds terrible but it was delicious.

Next we took part in a new movie survey. The movie was Cars starring Paul Newman & Owen Wilson. You put on glasses w/earphones that showed a small piece of the movie to you. Then you answered questions about it. Interesting.

Logan had wanted to go w/the boys to Camp Snoopy (now known as "The Park). So that night was the only night available for all of us. We all trooped through a department store to get to the park in the center. You used a machine to enter your money, then it gave you a "ticket" that deducted your points each time you went on a ride. I was expecting the boys being only 5 & 7 to go on the kiddie rides but NO - they rode the Mighty Axe (twirling upside down and high up in the air as Marcy & I could barely look), flume ride, the Spinner, and Logan & Xander in the spook house. They had a great time.

5/9/06 - I went for a walk around the block as Logan stayed at the house. I looked over at two houses when 2 beautiful deer ran through the grass there. What a shock in that area!

Marcy & Kyle belong to Netflix. For those of you who don't know about it, you send them a list of movies you want to "rent" and they send you 2 at a time. When you're done watching them, you send them back in a postage paid envelope they provide and they send you more on your list. They had received the movie The Notebook. It was a very well done movie. We both ended up watching it. Hope all of you get a chance to see it.

That's all for now. Have a great day!

fyi part 4

Mom's "fyi" part 4 for your enjoyment!

Dear All: Here we go back to MN memories -

5/7/06 (Sunday) We all went to Church (Lutheran) at 9:05 am. Marcy, Kyle & boys practiced w/other families for the next service in the same room where folks mingle, snack, and drink refreshments. Then all in for the Church service. It was really nice to see all the families sing together in front of the congregation. Then they had communion which was done a bit differently than the Presbyterians do it.
We went up front to receive the communion. Marcy was one of the helpers. She was to say a small message to each person as they took the bread. Then they moved on to receive the wine/juice. It was a lovely service.

After a hasty dinner, the boys got ready and we were off to watch them take their swimming lessons at a shopping plaza-type storefront. It seemed odd to go in and see a swimming pool! The boys had separate teachers w/about 5 little ones in each group.

Once home again, Marcy & I dropped all the guys off (their choice) and we went around the block to an open house. Marcy couldn't believe whose house it was - the thistle man's house! Apparently when M&K had just moved into their home, Mr. thistle man came over to their mutual boundaries and "told" Kyle to remove such and such.
I always enjoy looking at houses so it was fun and surprising to see how "choppy" the home was. I did like the color in the kitchen - a mariner's blue I would say w/silver cookware here & there setting it off.

Must mention supper that night: Kyle cooked steaks on the grill. We enjoyed corn on the cob and the boys and I had made my homemade macaroni & cheese. I never seem to have luck w/my tried & true recipes there though. And their stove is gas while mine's electric. It was OK mac & cheese but we had doubled the recipe so maybe that was the problem.

Later Marcy & Kyle decided we needed pie for dessert so off they went to Cub Foods for a giant apple pie which we enjoyed w/ice cream while we all watched the movie Zathura. Xander sat there through somewhat scary scenes just as calm as could be while poor Ethan had his ears covered, leaving the room, then standing in front of the TV (much to the couch people's disgust)!

5/8/06 - Logan & I got up late so in order to have Kyle's car for the day went w/Marcy to drop her off @ work in our pj's. We called Logan's Mom who was home sick. She had good news though - Mr. Nicklaus is walking @ 13 months!

Once around we headed for Auto Zone to replace Kyle's car's driver's side windshield wiper. Isn't that always the one that goes? I had a touch of senility as we drove up to the store. I asked Logan which door we should go in. He gave me the strangest look - maybe because there was only one door! A nice young man helped me decide on which wiper to buy, then kindly installed it. Didn't take more than 10 min.

After that we got back on route 98 which takes you right by the Mall of America. Each parking area and floor level is named after a state so Logan chose NYC this time. We walked all the way around the 3rd level.

Here came my exciting part: Nordstrom Rack. It had about 25 pair of 10 narrow shoes! I was in heaven. Needless to say Logan was not in heaven. He headed right across to a few gift shops. One was full of Indian gifts, another pet supplies to pamper your pet. I filled the old shopping cart up first w/10 medium thinking maybe they ran narrow. Logan came back in to find me and was shocked I'd picked out 20 pair to try on. Rather 20 right hand shoes. You try them on. If you like them, you go to the counter and the worker gives you the left hand shoe. Then I finally thought to ask if they had just 10 narrows in a set section. Yes. Heaven all over again. But pricewise I needed to narrow it down. I happily left w/3 pairs of shoes.

To be continued. Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy it.

fyi part 3

I am falling behind in posting my Mom's "fyi's"!! I am going to play catch-up and post parts 3 through 5 today.

Happy reading!

Dear All: The next segment of the ongoing MN saga -

5/6/06 (Sat.) We all started North @ 7:30 am towards Duluth & beyond. Stopped for an important item @ Tobie's for carmel rolls (they don't spell caramel like we do). More about them later. Also Marcy bought "neater" car food - the best ginger/molasses iced cookies I'd ever had.

Kyle said we were then traveling through the Finnish/Italian area. Italians were brought in as miners. Went past the Black Bear Casino.

Stopped @ Thompson Hill Rest Area. Our first view of Lake Superior from high atop on a mountain! Two male bikers were there offering to clean travelers' windshields - sure! It was motorcycle awareness day/wk.

We drove on the Skyline Parkway way up the lake. The guard rails were big rocks - that was it.

Next stop: Gooseberry Falls State Park. Beautiful waterfalls there. Took a million photos of boys/us close/near/nearly in the falls.

On to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. This was the first lighthouse most of us had ever seen in person. Unfortunately it was closed until 5/15. It was absolutely freezing standing outside there. I ran back inside to the gift shop. After we all bought t-shirts, etc. Marcy drove down to Pebble Beach picnic area for lighthouse photos from the water level. From there the lighthouse was sitting on top of a huge rock ledge. Stunning. THEN we ate our delish carmel (sp?) rolls in the car (in order to thaw out a bit).

Next: Canal Park, Duluth. We saw the aerial lift bridge raise for a huge barge to pass through. Men on the front and back of barge waved to us observers. We found out afterwards that the barge was from Greece. There was a free museum there (which I enjoyed getting warm in).

On to a nice supper @ Perkins Restaurant (I forget what town that was in). Cute Grandson story @ this point: Xander was more than thrilled w/all the mac 'n cheese he was given for his meal. He asked which girl was our waitress. His Mom & I both asked him why he wondered that. He wouldn't say. So when we saw our waitress we told him and guess what he did? He got her attention and said "thank you for all the mac 'n cheese!" Is that too precious?

To be continued. Stay tuned. Have a good evening.


Sandra Jean

Ethan & Alexander traded spots in the van. All the boys were really good travelers.

All the manmade creaters we saw on this trip:
1. dinosaur (this was @ a gas station
which had NO attendant at it;
2. giant Paul Bunyon (sans axe);
3. big chicken;
4. a bison;
5. a giant blue king kong;
6. a carved bear; and
my favorite: a giant squashed cigarette sitting in a giant ashtray!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

fyi part 1

I found Mom's first entry in her "fyi" series regarding her trip to MN. This entry was sent on Mother's Day, May 14th.

Dear All: Happy Mother's Day to all! The following is re: my trip to MN so if you're not interested, delete!

My Grandson Logan & I left Elmira 5/2/06 bright & early. No problems w/flight. Arrived in MN @ noon (they're 1 hr behind our time). Logan had the idea to put our hoods up on our coats & me to put my sunglasses on. Didn't fool Marcy @ all!

First thing Logan wanted to go to the Mall of America (of course!). It was there that I realized I'd forgotten my sneakers. You're required to remove your shoes when going through security so I wore my loafers fully intending to throw the old sneaks in the suitcase. So off we went to DSW Shoes. It's a very large shoe store w/boxes on the low shelves and the shoe that's in the box on top. Plus a huge clearance area. Luckily I found some Asics Gel that fit my skinny feet. Off we went to find Logan's preferred brand of sneaker in a store called Journeys.

5/3/06: We had slept 12 hours! Marcy took us to the MN Sculpture Garden. Most of it was outside. We got our culture that day! To Ikea Store for lunch of Swedish Meatballs w/baby red potatoes plus a dash of lingonberry sauce (a true Swedish food). A bit sweeter than our cranberry sauce. Then Marcy took Logan through the whole store for the experience while I visited the Market. Gordie has a fondness for their chocolates.

After lunch off to Sociale Gourmet. This is a place where people over 14 prep their own meals. You sign up for a time spot and the meals you want to assemble on the computer. Then just show up, don the apron, wash hands, and go the the proper "station." There you'll find the meat, etc. all chopped, cut as you need. Logan couldn't help only being 11 but he was allowed to sit in the same room as us on a stool. Plus the place had a nice gift shop where he found a gift for his Mom.

We were near a White Castle fast food place when Logan mentioned he'd never been to one so next thing we know Marcy has us in line to order one of their famous mini cheeseburgers in a box. Delish! I forced Logan to stand by the White Castle sign for a photo (much to his chagrin!)

5/4/06 - We didn't have a car today so we walked to Bruegger's Bagels (my favorite breakfast place). Then to McD's where they have movie videos to rent from a machine. Trouble was it was out of order.

We were always looking for "D" quarters for Gordie's coin collection. Came home only needing 1 more Nevada quarter.

This concludes today's typing. Everyone have a great day and enjoy!

fyi part 1 (missing) and part 2

Since I have been so neglectful of my blog, I thought I would copy and paste my Mom's "fyi" e-mails about her visit to MN. Mom's, aka Sandy's, fyi e-mails are distributed to family and friends to update them on what is going on in their lives. I have been trying to coax her into starting a blog, but to no avail. So, I'll just use her e-mails to enhance my blog! I will post pictures as soon as I remember to !

fyi part 1:
- oops. I don't have that one with me. I will have to post it later!

fyi part 2 (sent 5/15):

Dear All: Here's part 2 of MN trip (so don't read on if you're not interested) -

There is one of the most important reasons we went to MN in the first place: Ethan (7) and Alexander(5). When it was time to p/up the boys from first grade/day care, Logan went w/Marcy while I reclined. I heard the garage door go up and went out to be greeted by two TALL sweet boys w/their arms out! That was worth the trip alone!

Back to the happenings: 5/5/06 - Logan & I were loaned Kyle's old (but running) car to go where we wanted as they both went back to work. Marcy said "whatever you do don't roll down the driver's window!" Yes. Sure enough - Logan & I attempted to go on the highway to Mall of America on the busy highway when I felt perklepsed (sp?) and opened the driver's window just a bit - oops! Logan said "oh no!" The more I tried to remember which way to press the lever, the more the window went down to the point it disappeared into the door! I decided to go to the nearest car repair garage to Marcy's house. The worker told me it would cost $100 to begin and run up to $350 or more! I thank him & promptly went back to the house to call Marcy. First she sweared, then said she'd call me back. Now here's the clincher: when she called back she said "here's what you do - go to an empty parking lot and leave it!" Then I heard her whole office just howling w/laughter! She'd put me on speaker phone! I'll get her for that one!

But seriously, she told us to pick her up at work right away. She'd held a meeting prior and asked if anyone would take her to lunch. Renee' offered so we 3 went to garage and waited for Renee' to pick us up. Then she dropped us across the busy roadway to the Eden Prairie Mall (beautiful) and she and Marcy went to lunch & back to work.

Logan & I spent the afternoon there. About 4:20 up pulled Marcy in Kyle's car. She was just beaming! We were thrilled to see her but couldn't figure out her mood. Once we got in she told us: the mechanic had fixed the window (now permanently closed) for FREE! No way! We cheered and felt so much better. I just couldn't believe it! Must send the garage a thank you note today!

Oh, there's more crisis w/Kyle's poor car: Marcy drove over a railroad crossing - and a hub cap flew off! It was too busy (4 lanes) to stop so we looked for it several times but didn't find it.

That night we all attended a carnival @ Ethan's school. I was very impressed. The parents bought tickets ahead of time. Marcy gave each of the boys tickets and they were off. There were games like pick a pencil - if it has something on the bottom you win a prize to toss a ball @ tin cans and win a fuzzy hat. All sorts of games set up in their gym and over 12 varieties of games outside besides a dunking booth which teachers and the principal manned. Great fun!

To be continued.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

from the mouth of babes...

Well, we officially have had our first swear word incident this weekend. It was a rainy weekend with Kyle and I busy sorting through things: the playroom, my scrapbooking area, the paper pile on the counter, etc. Neither Kyle nor I are big swearers, but I think that we both had a couple of frustrating moments or moments of stubbed toes in which the swear word/phrase of choice was "GO* D&M**$!" Okay, the stage has been set, now fast forward to Sunday evening. Ethan is sitting in the play tunnel and Alexander decides that he needs to be in the exact same spot as his brother, so he climbs in and plops himself down on top of his brother. I am sitting at the computer next to the tunnel and I hear, "God dammit, Alexander! Get off of me!" Kyle's eyes and my eyes met in horror from across the room. I kindly ask, "What did you just say, Ethan?" His response, "I said 'God dammit, Alexander'". Oh boy, what to do now? Especially when you KNOW you are the source behind that statement. I decided to calmly ask Ethan to come out to talk with me. I explained that we can't use that word/phrase and that Mommy and Daddy shouldn't use it, either. I did point out that he used the phrase correctly so in some sense it is nice to know that he IS listening to us and learning from our conversations.

Ethan and I agreed that if he said it again, it was a zero tolerance phrase and that he would get an automatic time out if I heard him say it again. I also agreed that he could give me a time out if he heard me say. His wise response was, "But kids can't give grown-ups a time out!" I agreed that I probably wouldn't take a time out, but that he should feel free to at least point it out to me if he heard me say that word again.

I comfort myself with the fact is that at least it isn't the "F" word. If I have to rate swear words, at least the one that is floating around our house right now is one of the tamer ones!

It must be time to sign off because our youngest just replied with "dammit" when I told him that he couldn't get into something. Oh dear....time for another conversation!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

rain and sorting

Do you ever get overwhelmed with sorting through a pile of things that you have been avaoiding? That would be my scrapbooking/crafting area. Ugh. It is a mess and I set the goal for myself to have it tidied and sorted before my Mom arrives from PA on Tuesday. Well, so far today, I have run errands, started sorting, got overwhelmed, decided to read a few chapters in my book, checked e-mail, printed certificates for the kids' choirs at church for their end of year party, and other random avoidance tactics. Oh, yeah, add writing in my blog as another tactic!!

Okay, I am going to get back to sorting, but first I am going to start another load of laundry...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

the un-blogger

Why does this happen. blog, blog, blog, stop...... I will make an attempt this weekend to resurrect my blog.

In the meantime, check out the blogger with the most layouts:

and the blogger with the most photos:

I had lunch with these two lovely ladies and with Martha. Does Martha have a blog? It was SO much fun to catch up with them. One hour is NOT long enough to catch up when it has been almost 2 months since you have seen someone. Or, in Martha's case, I think it has been almost a year!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

save the date!

A friend of mine is organizaing a fundraiser scrapbooking crop for ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, on May 13. She is organizing this fundraiser because a good friend of hers, Steve Foster, passed away from this disease and now another friend hers, Judy Stafne, has a son, Scott, who was recently diagnosed with ALS.

The charity crop is going to be at my church, Transfiguration Lutheran, on the corner of 110th and France in Bloomington.

Please click HERE to see the invitation.

Even if you’re not a scrapbooker or crafter, donations are welcome! If you need more information or have questions, please leave me a post!

Thank you!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

aging overnight

it has finally happened - I aged overnight.

I woke up to find 2 gray hairs - one on each temple. It has begun.....

Sunday, April 02, 2006

birthday update

Thank you to everyone for making my birthday such a pleasurable day! I recieved some fabulous cards, e-mail wishes, some great birthday songs over the phone, a beautiful cake from my boys,

and some wonderful artwork:

Ethan and his art

Alexander and his art

Kyle had the great idea of setting up a separate savings account for me where a small amount of money will be automatically deposited each month so that I can buy a piano (oops - already did that!) or a better camera! What a thoughtful gift!!

It was a great day:

tea for the girls

Saturday was a gorgeous day for afternoon tea in Stillwater at Aprille's Showers for an American Girl tea. The tea revolves around the American Girl doll line and since I don't have a girl or a doll, I needed to find a willing party to join me. Luck would have it that the same day that I read about the American Girl teas at Aprille's Showers was the same day that Karla told me about her two nieces who also love the dolls. Well, a plan was set into motion and Karla, Moira, Shelby, and me plus 4 dolls were headed to Stillwater in early April.
Karla and the girls outside of Aprille's Showers

Why the American Girl dolls? I have a fascination with the American Girl dolls because the inventor, Pleasant Rowland, graduated from my undergraduate institution, Wells College. Pleasant has since sold the doll line to Mattel for a mere $700 million, but it is still exciting for me to think that a woman from my tiny college made it so big (have I ever mentioned that the woman who invented Shrinky Dinks also went to Wells?). Besides that little piece of trivia, I love what the girls have done to the doll industry and have opened up the world of history and culture to young girls.

Okay, back to the tea ~ it was fabulous! We had a 3 course tea including chilled strawberry soup, cheese, fruit, croissant, cucumber sandwichs, and lots of goodies for dessert. The entire meal was a bit too high on the sugary side for me because even the turkey croissant sandwich had a sweet, raspberry mayo on it, but the atmosphere was great and the girls loved it. Here are some pictures from the event:

Our beautiful table during the last course of sweets, sweets, sweets!

Moira and Josefina

Shelby and ?? (sorry, I can't remember this doll's name!)

It was such as fun time to do a true high tea. We spoke with the owner of Aprille's Showers about the adult teas and they sound fabulous with things like Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup, my personal favorites of the English Cucumber sandwiches, and of course the sweet goodies that go along with a tea. Of the teas that we tried on Saturday, my personal favorite was the Tea Source Gold which is a black tea with two fruits in it. If I remember correctly, it has elderberry and passion fruit. The loose tea was available for purchase and I didn't buy any!! How silly of me! I feel that another trip to Aprille's Showers is in my future!

Friday, March 31, 2006

my new baby

Isn't my new baby pretty?!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

it's my birthday!

Happy Birthday to me! I love birthdays. I keep waiting for the year that I will dread my birthday, but it hasn't come yet! I think I love the attention too much!

So far today:
- birthday hugs & wishes from my boys
- breakfast made by my boys
- flowers from a co-worker
- a card from my Mom & Gordie (THANK YOU!)
- e-card from my boss

I know that the boys worked on birthday projects last night while I was at choir. I can't wait to see them tonight!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

a poem for us all

Here is a poem from my dear friend, Alexandra Pippitt. Alex is an amazing woman who is battling ovarian cancer. She is the strongest person I know. Here is a little piece of Alex to share with you all.

I Will Choose Joy

I will choose joy
Today at least.
Though I may soon fall into fear,
Though I beg to give up on hope
And hope for all around me.

I will choose joy
Now. But find it a gaseous emotion
Condensing as it can into terror, solid, cold
Immense upon my heart,
Freezing my lips from laughter.

I will choose joy
Again; for the others before and after
Because we all are dying
From life, and tests, and poison cures
that subjugate our will.

I will choose joy
For this moment--every moment I can.
And let choice lift me, lift us
While holding on.
While we still hope.

~Alexandra Pippitt, draft 12, 3/25/2006 5:00:37 PM

Friday, March 24, 2006

how does change influence you?

Nancy is in the midst of a Change Management class this week and she gleamed an interesting quote from her course that I have copied over here.

"It's not so much that we're afraid of change, or so in love with the old ways, but it's the place in between we fear... it's like being in between trapezes...there's nothing to hold onto."

I love this quote because it hits right at home for me. It is the unknown swinging between those two trapezes of what has been and what might be. That dangling is scary, but if you have built up enough momentum through desiring the change, thinking rationally about the change and where you currently are, and planning for the change, then you can be excited and avidly reach for the next trapeze.

Stop and think about change for a minute.
  • Has fear of change ever influenced a decision?
  • Have you ever been excited about a change?
  • How were the experiences similar or different?

Whenever I think about change I am always reminded of Zulieka. Zulieka was a graduate student in the same program as me many moons ago (see previous entry relating to "Early Work"). Our program was a Ph.D. program rather than a Master's program followed by a Ph.D. The Master's were only given to those who failed their cumulative exams or for those "who couldn't handle" the program. Yes, the Master's degree was considered the courtesy prize by the faculty in our department. Well, one month, Zulieka had had enough of the experience and was choosing to leave the program with her Master's. She was a talented scientist and we all felt that she had a great career ahead of her. So, you can only imagine our shock when she decided to leave. I was so shocked that I wanted to talk to her and find out why she made the decision and how did she know that it was going to be better where she was going. I will never forget her response:

"You're right, I don't know if it is going to be better there, but what I do know is that I am not happy here. I am making this decision based on what I know and will deal with the unknown when I meet it."

Congratulations to you, Zulieka! I hope that you have landed on your feet and have never regretted your decision to graduate with a Master's degree. Something tells me that you are doing just fine!


whining: colds and sleepiness

Warning: this is a venting, whining entry, so you may want to stop reading now!

This has been the winter of colds and the flu for me. I have yet another one! Should I consider this the 100th cold of the winter or should I count it as cold #1 of the spring. My whininess today wants to count it as the 100th! Ugh. Hopefully, it will be over quickly.

To add to the fun, we had a family emergency room run (all is okay, so I won't go into details) until 1:30, then the boys were up at 4:30, and the dog was up at 5:30. Perhaps the sleepiness is leading to the whininess. I will sign-off for now until my attitude changes!!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

feeling old or honored?

I decided to google my name the other day with following options: "Sackett, Marcella", "Sackett, MJ", and a few others. As usual, my scientific articles from graduate school, aka my former life, popped up, but another article caught my eye, "Cell-Cycle Progression and the Generation of Asymmetry in Caulobacter crescentus". If you are really interested in reading this article, you can find it here.

Well, this review includes a few references to my old articles. So, I decided to check out my reference numbers in the bibliography and then search for them in the text. The very first one I come across is

"Early work on CtrA showed that it...."

EARLY WORK?!? What? Have I been offically archived in the scientific community to "EARLY WORK"?! I have been trying to come to terms with what I have been feeling and I have run through quite a few different emotions. The first was a really strong sense of "where did the time go?" or "how old am I", but then I started to think about it and am actually feeling a bit proud. Does this mean that my work made a difference and that it was a jumping off point for other researches to investigate the mysteries of cell division?

spring follow-up

I posted this as a response to Minda's blog. She thought it sounded poetic, so I thought I would share it!

"Where are you spring?
My body senses you are near
because my eyes are goopy and my nose is running.
Why can't I see you?"

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

a task for you

Go outside and notice the buds on the trees! The willows are turning a vibrant yellow, the shrubs are turning bright red with sap, and the other trees are just bulging! Pretty soon, we will have the little, light green leaves that will turn into gloriously bright green full-sized leaves! Spring is here!

Monday, March 20, 2006

layouts for analysis

Below are my layouts for analysis. Let me know what you think my style is!

Outside Boy

Here is Sample #1 of recent LO. It is a 12x12 of my youngest doing his favorite thing - digging and playing outside in his boots!

Morris Arboretum

Here are my boys at the Morris, MN arboretum (gotta love it when small towns have a University in them!!).

Vegetable Soup

This one is titled Vegetable Soup - they have silly cutouts at the arboretum that you can stand behind for an excellent photo opportunity!

I have to admit that looking at them, my style is simple with a splash of patterned paper (pp) and an embellishment here and there!