Thursday, January 31, 2008

So who needs legs anyway?

Ugh. Tomorrow, I fully expect to wake up and not be able to walk correctly. I'm going to look like some two-bit whore who had a good night with multiple men. I'm fully expecting to be miserable and sore.

Now, before you go getting all perverted on me, let me assure you that my comments have NOTHING what-so-ever to do with sex. At all.

No, my reasons for being sore aren't nearly as much fun as a wild romp in the hay. Nope. My reasons are because I'm a freakin' idiot.

See, last night, for some truly unknown reason (Was I drunk? I dunno, but it's possible), I told Steve I'd work out with him in the morning. Now those of you that know me know that I MUST have been drunk to say something like that. I'm the epitome of the non-exerciser. But last night, I was possessed by the devil and told Steve I'd do some weight training with him today. Once I got both girls off to school, I had no choice but to follow through, or risk hearing shit about it for the rest of the day week year my life.

Then it FINALLY began. Yes, folks... the gutting of the sunroom is officially underway.

And so it begins...

While Steve worked on that, I worked on the rest of the house, carrying things up two flights of steps to the attic (repeatedly), carrying toys down into the basement (repeatedly), and general picking stuff up. So my legs got a workout that way too.

Then the girls got home from school and wanted to "help" Steve in the sunroom, so they did that for a few hours.

Daddy's Helper

Little Worker


Little Helper 2

And then, because I hadn't inflicted enough pain on myself, Steve and I did some yoga using a yoga tape I had dug out of the attic.

So like I said, who needs legs anyway? Ugh.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Because that's just the way my life works...

I had a job interview today. A job that I really, really want. Not only for the challenge it will present (because my mind's aching for some challenge right now), but because after a few weeks, I can completely work from home. And unlike the freelance/contract jobs I've had over the past 3 years, this one is full-time, which means medical benefits, dental insurance, a 401K, paid vacations and holidays, etc. Dare I dream? All of that AND be able to work from home and get my kids on and off the bus during school, not stress out over snow days, be able to get them to their extra-curricular activities, etc.? Sweet.

So anyway, I headed out this morning feeling like an ass. Why, you ask? Because it didn't dawn on me until this morning that I've lost 20-25 lbs. over the past 6 or 7 months and that the stuff I normally wear for interviews wasn't going to fit anymore. So it was 10 minutes before I HAD to leave, and I was throwing clothing left and right out of my closet, trying to find something appropriate that also fit. I finally had to go with a short black skirt, black tights/pantyhose, black knee-hi boots (no heel), and a pink twin sweater set. Dear lord. I couldn't decide if I looked like a professional tech writer or a professional whore. Steve thought I looked great, which had me leaning more towards the whore. [sigh] But I headed out, half-hoping my interviewer was someone with lesbian tendencies who would think I looked hot and would hire me just for that.

So anyway, I head out and start driving to the interview. It's a good hour away, so I was hoping I wouldn't be late. I'm following the directions given to me by the woman I was interviewing with AND the ones I printed out from Google Maps. But I got lost. I don't ever get lost. Ever. But today, I did because the directions were totally misleading. And I had to stop and ask twice for directions. And it caused me to be almost 30 minutes late. Good first impression there, Einstein.

But it turned out that it was OK because there was a TON of construction/detours this morning in the town the company is in, so they had all gotten in this morning expecting me to be late. [heavy sigh of relief there...]

So the interview went well. I had to piss like a racehorse the entire time I was there, but since I was already a half-hour late when I got there, I had decided that taking another few minutes to pee before the interview was just a bad move.

So I interviewed first with the president of the company (who is the one that called me out of the blue about the job to begin with). Then I talked to another more "techie" guy there. I think I held my own... They both seemed impressed with my writing samples and experience.... The guy told me he likes my "attitude and personality"... I made small talk on top of the formal interview stuff... And made stupid jokes, which (thankfully) they both laughed at.

So now, I just wait. From what I've gathered, this wasn't an open job listing. The president saw my resume online and contacted me, asking if I'd be interested in the job. So I don't think I'm up against too much competition (if any). So hopefully, I'll hear something soon. If it doesn't work out, I'll plug along and see what opportunity comes next. But the option of being able to telecommute with this one has me wanting it way more than the others I've interviewed for in the past.

Anyway, when I got home, I found that Steve (like EVERY other time he's here without me) had decided to rearrange the entire downstairs of our home. [sigh] So I spent the rest of the day putting things away... organizing things, etc. He did push two shelving units on either side of my computer desk though, and I'm totally digging it. It led to today's Project 365 photo, so that's cool. I still have to go through everything on the shelves, rearrange things, move the pictures on the wall, etc., but for the most part, I'm thrilled with what he did.

So this is it... my home within my home. The place where I work, play, and keep in touch with all of you...

My "Office"

And here are the other Project 365 photos from the past few days that I didn't post here yet.

Writing Samples for Today's Interview:

Writing Samples


Grace Eating Birthday Cake at My Mom's House:

Happy Birthday Grandma!


And a random photo that isn't for Project 365, but that I still like...

Grace at the Fire Pit:

Fire Pit

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Catching Up...

Sorry gang. I'm going to play catch up here. This won't be a Highlights of the Day, per se, because this spans over several days, but it will be bulleted. As a tech writer, I'm all about the bullets. LOL!

* Steve isn't working much now (because pouring concrete in 20-degree weather is just stupid), so he's been home. When Steve's home, we do productive things. I don't always like that. LOL! So in the past few days, we've done a lot of rearranging of furniture, carried a ton of things down into the basement and up into the attic, etc. I'm tired, dammit. (But the house does look much better.)

* I adore Grace with all my heart. And there are times when she's the best kid on the planet. But if she doesn't stop with the backtalk, attitude, and bratty demeanor lately, I may have to hurt myself.

* I'm longing for spring to arrive because I'm damn sick and tired of arguing with my children about wearing short sleeves and no coats when it's 30 degrees outside. What the hell? Little freaks.

* I may finally be getting a "real" full-time job again. I took a voluntary layoff 2.5 years ago, and have been freelancing and collecting unemployment here and there since then, but I'm ready to go back. I'm tired of paying for our shitty medical insurance... I'm tired of not having any dental insurance... I'm tired of just having enough money (sometimes) to pay my bills, etc. A woman contacted me two days ago after seeing my resume online and said she wanted to talk. I called her and we did just that. It turns out she's the president of the company looking for a tech writer (I had assumed she was a recruiter) and she really seems interested in hiring me. I go in for the face-to-face interview with some writing samples on Monday, where I'm hoping to seal the deal. The kicker? I'd have to go into the office a few days a week for the first month or so, but after that, I could pretty much work from home almost full-time. AND I'd have my own company cell phone, which I find totally hilarious. LOL! It's like a dream job. So wish me luck ladies. Even if I don't get it, I imagine it'll make for some good blogging material. Remember my interviews a few years ago where I managed to make an ass out of myself repeatedly? Yup. Great memories, lemme tell ya.

* I hate to admit it, but the thing I most excited about in terms of getting a steady job again is that I finally may be able to save up and buy that D-SLR camera I've been drooling over for about 2 years now. Dare I dream?

* Steve & I watched "3:10 to Yuma" and "Mr. Woodcock" this week. Both really good and highly recommended! We've sort of become movie whores lately, so we're pumped about getting our digital cable in 2 weeks, which comes with On Demand videos. I may finally get to see all of those movies we never got around to watching.

* Steve & I have been stalking the video store lately, hoping to snag a copy of "Saw 4" to watch. Must... see... this... movie... Maybe tomorrow night?

* Every time they show updates on Heath Ledger's death on TV, I get sadder. I LOVED that guy. He reminded me of Johnny Depp (my favorite) in the types of movies he chose to act in and how much he loved his craft. I was looking forward to seeing what else he did in his life, and now, I won't ever know. (I'm not a psycho freak who gets obsessed with famous people. And I don't like, dwell on his death all day or anything. But I do think it's sad and I'm bummed about the whole thing.)

OK. That's all I can think of right now. I'm sure there's more. I'm just too tired to remember right now. (It is after 1:00 in the morning here right  now.) I'll be back tomorrow, my friends. :)

But before I go, here are my Project 365 photos from the past few days...


Power Outage

Ride 'Em Cowgirl

Pool Party



Thursday, January 24, 2008

Picture This...

Your older daughter gets invited to a pool party at a hotel down the street for one of her classmates. She's excited about it because she LOVES to swim. Your husband and younger daughter drop you and your older daughter off at the hotel and head to MIL's house so younger daughter gets to do something fun on the night her older sister is going to a party.

Your daughter starts swimming with her classmates. She can't really "swim" per se, but she loves the water, does fairly well with the doggy paddle, and can hold her own for the most part.

An hour goes by with your daughter jumping in and out of the pool while you watch her like a hawk because drowning is one of your biggest fears (for yourself or your children). Daughter continues to jump into the deeper 5-foot end, even though you tell her repeatedly not to because she can't stand at that depth and you know she can't swim nearly as well as she thinks she can.

At one point, your daughter jumps into the 5-foot end (while you're still watching her), and you see her panic when she can't get over to the edge of the pool. She's going under and bobbing back up, gasping for air, desperately trying to get to the edge. A little girl who CAN swim well, jumps into the pool to pull your daughter to the edge of the pool. You see another mother spot your daughter and whip of her sneakers, ready to do what she needs to do.

You jump up and start to run to the end of the pool where your daughter is absolutely panic-stricken. The other mother has already gotten to the edge of the pool and is trying to reach out to your daughter so she can grab her hand. Your daughter and the little girl who is trying to help her aren't close enough to grab the other mother's hand and the little girl who is trying to help your daughter isn't strong enough to pull your daughter in.

Just as you get to your daughter, the other mother jumps into the pool, fully clothed in jeans and a sweater to rescue your daughter and pull her to safety.

Yup. That would be my night tonight. [sigh]

Grace was/is fine. She was scared shitless, but once she was out of the pool, she looked at me and said, "I'm starving. Can we go eat?" LOL! I, however, felt like a total ass. Yes, of course I would've jumped in to save my daughter. And yes, the entire thing happened in the span of about 30 seconds. But the other mother was closer and jumped in before I got there. However, I couldn't help but feel like a total idiot that someone else had to save my daughter. And that the poor woman then sat there at the party in soaking wet clothing for 45 minutes while you were dry as a could be. I thanked her repeatedly... apologized repeatedly... etc. But I still felt like a total heel. I didn't know any of the other people there, which made it even worse. If it had been the mom's from her class last year, we probably would've laughed afterwards, etc. But these were all people I haven't even met yet. Lovely first impression I leave, no? Never a dull moment... [sigh]

So with that, I'm going to bed. Tomorrow's got to be better, right?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Son of a BITCH, I'm cold.

I had a whole mental list of things for my highlights today, but around 7 PM, our power went out. Just shut off.

So around 7:45 PM, we all loaded into the car. The girls, because I wanted them to sleep somewhere warm (it's 8-degrees outside right now), and Steve & I because we didn't want to miss Prison Break. LOL! So we drove to my parents' house, where the girls stayed for the night, and Steve & I headed home around 10:00 because the toll-free number of the electric company was estimating our power would return around 10:30.

Well, the power just turned back on (at 1:00 AM) and it's effin' COLD in the house. 57 degrees to be exact, according to our little digital indoor/outdoor thermometer. Holy CRAP am I cold.

So anyway, I'm afraid the highlights of today are going to have to wait until tomorrow. But throughout the day, Steve and I couldn't stop laughing. Let's see... as a preview for tomorrow's post about today, you'll hear how Steve REALLY needs to get over the fact that it isn't Christmas anymore, the reasons Steve & I won't be winning any parenting awards anytime soon, how we're both basically IDIOTS and spent 45 minutes looking for something that was useless to us anyway (a total Duh! moment), and how we almost slid into my dad's car with our car, which I can assure you, would NOT have been a good thing. Oy. LOL!

More tomorrow my friends. I need to go find someone with good body heat right now. Brrrr....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Highlights of the Day... 1-19-2008

* Was awoken by Hannah at 6:30 AM yelling upstairs to me THREE TIMES in 5 minutes that she needed a drink of milk or she'd just die.

* Stumbled downstairs to find Steve sitting in the living room watching TV two feet from where Hannah had stood and yelled THREE TIMES to me.

* Explained to Hannah that her father if fully capable of pouring her a cup of milk, and that next time, perhaps she should ask the parent that's right there IN the room with her instead of the one who is on another floor of the house sleeping. What the hell?

* Wondered how it is that a man can totally block out a child. He honestly never heard her yelling upstairs to me to wake up and get her a drink. Son of a bitch, I want that man gene.

* Laughed when 15 minutes later, Hannah walked up to me and said, "Where's Daddy? Grace wants a drink of water." LOL! At least she listened to me, right?

* Cleaned up a little while the girls watched cartoons and Steve did business stuff.

* All left for Grace's second week of indoor soccer.

* Fell head over heels in love with the soccer instructor when he invited Hannah and another little girl to play too since "They were going to be there for an hour and kids should have fun and get exercise whenever they came."

* Got a little teary when I saw how thrilled Hannah was to be able to go out on the gym floor and play too.

* MIL and her DH were there too and asked if we all wanted to go to Pizza Hut for lunch when it was over. Sweet.

* Went to Pizza Hut and enjoyed some breadsticks and stuffed crust pizza. Mmmm...

* Was slightly giddy when the girls asked to go home with MIL for the day.

* Steve & I came home and started clearing some stuff out of the basement and going through shit that we have no business keeping anymore.

* Matched up about 100 pairs of kids shoes (literally) that have been in 5 large garbage bags in the basement for the past 5 years.

* Had a panic attack when I saw a car pull in the driveway with our cable company's logo on the side. Shit. Do I owe them that much in overdue payments?

* Breathed a sigh of relief when I started talking to him and realized he was a salesman dude, trying to sell "bundles" for the company of combined digital cable, telephone, and internet service.

* Told him how Steve and I were JUST talking yesterday about getting digital cable.

* Was giddy when I realized the deal would save me $50 a month.

* Told him I'd talk to Steve and get back to him.

* Walked inside and told Steve about it, to which he replied, "Why the hell didn't you just sign up?" Shit.

* Caught him coming out of the neighbor's house and yelled over to him to come back to our house and sign us up.

* Started filling out the paperwork.

* Made stupid comments and jokes while doing so, causing the kid to either think I was totally hilarious or a serious freak. (I couldn't tell which he thought.)

* Got excited during the paperwork while reading all of the cool new channels we'll have. I mean, who doesn't need The Military Channel, Horse Racing TV, Soap Net, The Gospel Music Channel, MTV Espanol, and Fit TV?

* Wanted to hug the kid when, in making small talk, he said he thought Steve and I were in our early 20's. Sweet, sweet boy. (We're in our early 30's by the way, and he'd already made the sale, so he wasn't trying to sweet talk us anymore.)

* Finished up the paperwork and sent the kid on his way.

* Showered up and got ready to go out.

* Picked up the girls at MIL's house and drove them out to my parents' house for the night.

* Headed to a local restaurant for dinner. (See post below.)

* Ate too much.

* Came home, where, like usual, Steve was sleeping by 9:00 and I was on the computer, uploading and playing with photos, and blogging.

* Realized 2 minutes ago that I really need to go to bed at a decent hour tonight. (It's already 12:30 AM, but recently, I'm never in bed before 2:30 or so.) Um, goodnight?

* Realized 2 seconds ago that I never posted yesterday's Project 365 photo on this blog. So here it is. Hannah being a rock star. Enjoy.

Party Like a Rock Star

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Freaky Shit.

So I'm not one that gets caught up in fate, or divine intervention, or luck, or miracles, or omens and all that stuff. Sure, I think there are some things that just can't be explained. Or weird shit that happens that makes you scratch your head and say, "Hmmmm..." But for the most part, I don't get freaked easily. But tonight, I kind of got a little spooked.

As most of you know, the girls sleep over at my parents' house almost every Saturday night. We're lucky it even happens, and I truly know that there are very few other parents out there that get this little treat. But we don't ever do anything. LOL! We're old. We're tired. And there's not much to do in our little town. So most Saturdays, while the kids are gone, we're just sitting here... me on the computer and Steve watching random TV shows until we finally fall asleep.

Steve decided this week that we need to start going out more. Even if it's just to eat dinner after we drop the girls off. Great. I LOVE eating out, so I'm all for it.

So tonight, we dropped the girls off at my parents' house and headed to a local restaurant. I don't love for the food that much, although it's decent. I just love the building and the restaurant itself. It kicks ass. It's HUGE. This one building houses the restaurant, as well as a small concert hall. There have been some really famous people that play concert in our little town in this building. Steve & I have seen a bunch of concerts there... everyone from Rick Springfield, to Ricky Skaggs, to Kevin Sharp, to Taylor Hicks of American Idol fame. So the restaurant has a music "theme" if you will. Lots of memorabilia, old license plates, old guitars and other instruments, huge canvases of famous musicians, etc. It's just cool. It's fun to sit there and look around at everything.

So anyway, we're there and I start snapping pictures. Except I don't want anyone to see what a total dork I am, so I'm taking them without a flash. LOL! So forgive the shitty shots. I do have some pride and didn't want to look like a total tourist, since I'm, like, NOT a tourist. LOL!

This was directly above our table. It's a big car and a sign with the name of the restaurant on it. I LOVE the incredibly high ceilings in this place, as well as all of the exposed big pipes and beams. It's just cool.

Date Night

This is shot across the restaurant. There are statues of the Blues Brothers in the one corner, up near the ceiling.

The Blues Brothers

So anyway... back to the freaky shit. We talk, we drink, we eat, we ask for the check. No problem. So the waitress sets our bill on the table and walks away. I flip open the little folder containing the damage and immediately get freaked out a bit. This is what I see...


Now, it's not three sixes, so I wasn't worried in terms of the devil's sign or anything. But seriously... what are the odds that 5 Miller Lites, potato skins as an appetizer, a steak and some sea bass are going to add up to a 4-digit total with ALL four numbers being the exact same once tax is added. $66.66. Weird.

So we're joking about how we should maybe stop on the way home and buy some lottery tickets or something, when I happen to glance up and notice one of the old vintage signs on the wall next to Steve's head. It's a route 66 sign. And it says, "Route 66" AND has the famous symbol for Route 66 on it too, between "Route" and "66". So we now have four more 6's. 6666. What the hell?

Oh, but wait. It doesn't stop there. So at this moment, the people across the aisle from us get up and leave their booth. I glance over and what do I see? An old license plate that the woman had been blocking before she got up to leave. What's on this old license plate? Yup. Another reference to Route 66, complete with the symbol. So we've got another four 6's. Steve and I are surrounded by sets of sixes. And all sets have four of 'em.

Seriously, it was kind of creepy. Mostly because all of this took place within about 20 seconds. So it seemed like everywhere I turned, I was being haunted by 6's. To my left, to my right, and in front of me on that damn check that started it all. It was just weird people! Weird.

Needless to say, we didn't stop to play the lottery. We high-tailed it home and decided that if next week, we're bombarded with 7's, we're putting a stop to this whole damn Date Night idea of Steve's. LOL!

(And if you read about my suicide tomorrow, it's because I've woken up in the morning and read how another local woman played "6666" in the lottery last night and won $10 million. Because that's the kind of luck we have, ya know. ;)

Ass Day 2008

That's right folks. Today is Ass Day 2008. Well, it is as far as I'm concerned anyway.  This isn't a nationally recognized holiday or event or anything (yet). It's just something I declared today. Why, you ask? Well, because today, a few of my girlfriends and I couldn't stop talking about asses. Not people who act like asses, mind you. I mean literal asses. And what's really scary is that we weren't speaking generally, but instead, discussing one particular friend's ass.

Now before you go getting all, "Oh my god! They're all lesbians!" on me, let me just say that I can assure you that we are not lesbians. You see, my friends, we were discussing what comes out of our girlfriend's ass. Nice, huh?

Don't worry. We weren't being literal, because that would be pretty friggin' disgusting. No. With this particular group of friends, nothing is ever as black and white as that.

You see, I have a kick ass group of internet friends that I talk to pretty much every day of my life. We don't live close to each other, so we have a little email group. We all email each other all day, every day, clicking our "Reply to All" buttons, basically engaging in a conversation as if we were all sitting in the same room. I adore these women, and if it wasn't for them, I truly don't know what I'd do. I honestly don't think that there's been a single, solitary day in the past 4 or 5 years that I haven't "talked" to these girls. Not one.

But we're also an odd mix. There are 8 or 9 of us. We are truly the mixing pot of girlfriends. We've got Republicans, Democrats, stay-at-home moms, working moms, work-at-home moms, free-spirited souls, and  soccer moms. We've got some tattoos, some with no tattoos, some with piercings and some who wouldn't dream of it. I honest to god don't know how or why we're all such good friends, and yet we are. We're there for each other when it matters... We bitch to each other when we need to (pretty much daily)... We have our catty moments when we gossip... We ask for advice... We laugh, we cry, etc. They're my saving graces. (Those of you that know me well with "get" that reference.)

Anyway, let's get back to Ass Day 2008, since that whole part of this post is way funnier than me being all gay about my friendships.

So one of the girls in the email group (Girl #1) made an innocent comment about money. She was simply trying to clarify that she isn't worth seven figures. (Because even though we're all great friends, we still get paranoid that we're coming across wrong in emails.) Fine. Great. Got it. But then another girl on the list (Girl #2) happened to email back, saying we all totally understood and that we know that and that it wasn't like Girl #1 said she had money flying out of her ass.

Well, it all went downhill from there. Seriously downhill. I emailed back saying if the girl had money flying out of her ass, I'd be driving there today to snatch some up... Another girl said she was flying in to grab some too... I reply that I'm closer and will grab all of the ass money before she got there... Somehow, talk came up about what if the money shitter (Girl #1) was constipated and the money wouldn't come out?... Chit chat began about what we could feed the girl to get her to shit out more money... I ask Girl #1 for a photo of her ass for my Project 365 since it would always be a memorable event for me.... She said no... Someone said there was another girl's ass we could probably use, since she often posts about it all over the internet for everyone to see... Somehow pygmies from New Guinea being shoved up the internet ass-barer's ass came up, which is rather disturbing actually... It went on for a good hour, and then some.

What I realized in the Great Ass Email Exchange is that I have some damn funny friends. Truly funny. Not just in a "Ha. Ha. That was funny," sort of way.  But that sarcastic, blind-siding funny that has you saying "Huh?" when a person first says something, but then erupting in laughter and pissing yourself 30 seconds later when it hits you that yes, they really did just say that, and yes, they meant it the way it sounded. There is so much sarcasm in this particular group of friends, that sometimes, I truly believe we're an untapped resource for sit-coms everywhere. Seriously. If we could somehow market our sarcasm, we'd ALL have money coming out of our asses.

Now I realize this is probably the least intelligent blog post I've ever posted in my life, but I don't care. Today was FUNNY. A funny that I've been missing in my life lately. I truly NEEDED today's Great Ass Conversation. I've been stressed lately about some stuff. Really stressed. And today, I was reminded that when life gets you down and you don't know what to do, a little bit of humor can make you forget about your problems, even if just for a few brief moments.

So today is Ass Day 2008 whether the rest of you all like it or not. Because Ass Day cheered me up. I really needed Ass Day today.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Let's Talk About Presets...

I posted this over on my Project 365 blog, but I'm posting it here too. I've had some questions about my photos/ACR presets I use on BOTH of my blogs, and I don't feel like looking back through the comments to see which blog people posted on. So here it is....

OK. So I've gotten a lot of questions about the presets I use on my photos lately. I'll start out by saying that presets RULE. LOL! I use Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), which came with my Photoshop CS3. Lightroom (another Adobe product) also uses presets, but that's something you have to buy separately, and that ain't happening anytime soon with my budget. LOL!

Anyway, with Photoshop CS3, you can use ACR on .jpgs. Before that, ACR and Lightroom could only be used if you shoot your pictures in RAW format. Since I only have a stupid point-and-shoot, I don't have the option to shoot in RAW format unfortunately. One day though, I WILL own a D-SLR, and then watch out world... But I digress.

We'll use my deer feeding photo as an example right now. Here's the original:


See? Nothing fabulous about this photo. Cute and all. But there's no "wow" factor involved what-so-ever.

So basically, I open Adobe Bridge (comes with Photoshop) and click on the photo I want to apply the preset to (in this case, the deer feeding one). I then select File --> Open in Camera Raw. That opens my photo in ACR.

Adobe Camera Raw is a plug-in that really lets you play with your photos. You can adjust exposure, curves, white balance, etc. There are different "tabs" with sliders that you use to make your adjustments. Presets are basically something you click on to move ALL of those sliders to pre-determined areas, which totally change the way your photo can look with one click.

So I opened up the photo in ACR and just clicked on the St. Louis preset I had (purchased at (That list you see in the photo below is all of my presets. Each one you click on adjusts the sliders to change the different aspects of a photo.)

This is how the photo changed, literally, in an instant.

Presets 1

Cool. I already like it better. But something was still missing in my opinion. So I stayed in ACR and jumped over to the first "tab" in ACR. I had seen slight purple and pink colors in the  clouds and sky after using the preset, and I really wanted those to pop out.


So I increased the saturation in the photo. Since the trees, grass, and the people in the photo were pretty much blacked out, I knew I could increase the saturation and only have it affect the sky and clouds, which is exactly what happened. I then went into another tab and increased the pinks and purples individually if I remember correctly, and also toned down the blue. (I honestly don't remember exactly what I adjusted, but that's the gist of it.)

I then did some stuff outside of ACR and in Photoshop, like duplicate the photo, apply a Gaussian blur to the top layer, made it a Soft Light layer, and then decrease the Opacity of it. (This can totally be a separate tutorial if you want. I don't assume everyone knows what I'm talking about here...)

Then I saved it and posted it here on my blog, which is what you all saw. Do I highly recommend presets? Abso-freakin-lutely. I love them. But my main point here is that ALL of you take great photos. It's just a matter of how you post-process them that takes them to the next level. If you scroll up and look at my original again, you'll see that  it's not that fantastic. It really isn't. But once I spent a few minutes on it in ACR and Photoshop, I at least got it to the point where I'll probably have it printed out and I'll frame it.

Most sites sell Lightroom presets. As I mentioned earlier, if you don't have Lightroom and "only" have ACR, you'll need presets that were specifically created for ACR. Pink Ink Studios sells them, which is where I get mine. And sometime in the next day or two, I believe, Kylie over at Phaunt Actions will have some for ACR as well. Kylie RULES, and I'm totally looking forward to what she's come up with. She sells kick ass Photoshop Actions too, and has a few free ones in her shop, so you may just want to jet on over there and check her out. Just this past week, she started a message board/forum and we're all having a great time over there. Swing on by if you get a chance. :)

Also, just make sure that if you decide to buy some presets from somewhere, that you can actually USE them. Like I said, anyone who shoots RAW can use them in either Lightroom or ACR. But for those of us that can only shoot in .jpg, you'll need to have the very latest version of ACR.

But I've digressed (shocking, I know... LOL!). My point is that if you have the right tools and the right knowledge, you can take a photo from this...:

HPIM6784-Original this...


... in about 10 minutes tops. It's not always about the photo itself as much as it's about how you process it once it's off your memory card and on your computer.  I didn't alter my photo in any way in that I added colors and stuff. I just used the tools I have to "alter" different aspects of it. Those pinks and purples were there before I messed with it. You just couldn't see them. Once I told ACR to pull out certain colors, all of a sudden, my photo went from something average to something I truly love. If you compare my Before photo to my AFTER, you'll see in the Before photo that there IS some pink/magenta in the clouds... especially right above the grass. Once I "told" ACR to increase the saturation on those colors, all of a sudden, my photo looks totally different.

So I guess this is my way of saying that any of you out there that take photos, should invest in some sort of good photo editing program. Photoshop Elements... full-blown Photoshop... whatever. You'll be surprised how good your photos can look once you know what you're doing. LOL! I'm not that great of a photographer... I'm just good with my Photoshop. LOL!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Quick Post...

This is going to be a quick post this morning because I have a bunch of stuff I have to get done. But here are my Day 15 and Day 16 photos for my Project 365. :)

DAY 15

Steve and the girls and their (almost) nightly ritual of climbing the hill at the end of our property and putting corn out for the deer under that tree.



DAY 16

Yesterday was pretty low-key. This is the girls and I playing Operation Spongebob.

HPIM6798 copyWow copy

I'll be back later with a longer post.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Week # 2 Layout

Here's my layout using week 2's photos. And now it's on to week 3... :)

365_Jan_Weekly_2 copy

Highlights of the Day 1.14.2008

*Woke up expecting to see an inch or two of snow on the ground (as per the weather forecasts last night).

* Was surprised (and relieved) to see nothing but a slight dusting on the ground.

* For the 8-billionth time in a row, waited until 7:30 to get Grace dressed and ready for school, when the bus arrives at 7:45.

* Realized I'll continue to do this every day my children have school and I've finally surrendered to the madness of those 15 minutes.

* Started searching online for jobs or projects with anything having to do with writing, editing, proofreading, or documentation.

* Laughed to myself that my "official" title can be anything from Technical Writer to Documentation Specialist to Document Analyst. People, I write stupid computer manuals that say "Enter your user name and password and click OK." There's nothing "special" or technical about that, my friends.

* Decided today was a good day to take Hannah back to the hospital to get her stitches removed.

* Showered and grudgingly flat-ironed my hair. (I LOVE my new haircut, but sometimes the whole straightening thing is a royal pain in the ass.)

* Convinced Hannah NOT to wear the T-shirt she had on. One weekend at my parents' house, my mom unearthed an old T-shirt I had as a kid with MY picture screen printed on the front. Remember those old kiosks in the mall where they'd take your picture and print that overly pixely photo of you on a shirt? Yeah. One of those. Hannah was wearing it. Not in public my sweet baby girl.

* Sat in the ER waiting to get ushered back to "Express Care" to get Hannah's stitches taken out.

* Was once again reminded of why I went 30 miles away to give birth to my children. Our local hospital sucks some serious ass.

* Was amused (and yet not surprised) by the family in the ER waiting room. Two teenage boys who were very "typical" teenage boys.

* Couldn't stop laughing when one of those boys proudly stood up and announced to the entire ER (actually, just the woman there he knew, but the waiting room's small) that the jeans he was wearing are girls' jeans -- size 1.

* My friends, this dude should NOT have been wearing a size 1. Sausage anyone?

* Thought to myself how his long hair and facial piercings kicked some serious ass, but how those jeans seriously had to go.

* FINALLY got called back to get Hannah's stitches out 2 hours after arriving, where she (once again) was a champ.

* Drove myself insane trying to figure out WHERE I know the doctor from. She's a young girl, about my age that also put her stitches in, and I KNOW I know her from somewhere, but can't pinpoint where.

* Got back home where I continued to search for jobs for the next 5 hours while Hannah watched TV, changed her clothing 25 times, changed her doll's clothing 26 times, and just chilled.

* Contacted every single ex-coworker/project manager/contact I know telling them I'm looking for work and urging them to keep me in mind if they hear of any open positions.

* Got Grace off the bus.

* Took Hannah to dance class (which is today's Project 365 photo).

Dance Class

* Arrived back home and made the girls some soup for dinner.

* Waited for Steve to finish his business paperwork before starting our dinner of chicken fajitas.

* Watched "Prison Break" with Steve. (YAHOO for Prison Break. LOVE that show!)

* Checked Tink's blog for the Golden Spork Awards announcements.

* Was thrilled to receive a "Savory" award.

* Proudly added my Spork Award to my sidebar over there on the left. (That's right folks... I'm a winner for 2 years running now. WOOHOO!)

* Remembered "October Road" was on tonight and got all sorts of giddy.

* Watched "October Road" while ingesting my nightly snack of Pringles and beer.

And here we are. Nothing very exciting or humorous for today's highlights. But I'd like to say that there are some new Planet Alien readers who have been commenting which RULES! I welcome each and every one of you and am thrilled you found me here. Keep it comin'!

I didn't forget about the template I promised for Project 365. I PROMISE I'll have a download link tomorrow. :)

Oh, and here's yesterday's Project 365 photo. I only posted it on my other blog, so I wanted to post it here too. :)

Bucket Buddies

And here is this week's scrapbook layout:

365_Jan_Weekly_2 copy

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Some Project 365 Comments...

Hey gang. So, I've been reading a lot of comments from those of you who decided to participate. I've seen them here, on other blogs, on message boards, in emails to me, etc. about how some of you are already having a hard time thinking of what to take photos of everyday. I'm here to urge you to think about it in some different ways.

* Take photos of your favorite things. The other day, I wasn't sure what to take a picture of. I was cooking dinner and picked up the pewter salt and pepper mills my FIL gave us for Christmas and came to the realization that probably in the next year, those suckers will be one of my photos. I LOVE those things.

* Don't try to get too caught up in the photography aspect of it. Think of it as more of a journaling of year of your life. For example, today Grace had her first day of her indoor soccer league. I ended up not using one of those photos for my project today. But, if I was stuck on a what to take a picture of today and I had forgotten to take my camera to her soccer practice, I would've taken a picture of a soccer ball, so next year, when I saw that photo, I'd remember that today was the day that the league started.

* Try to think of it in your children's eyes. Now all kidding aside, how COOL would it be as adults, if OUR parents had done something like this. I'd LOVE to have a year of our lives documented in photos. If my kids start drawing on any particular day, I take pictures. If one of the girls helps me cook dinner, I take pictures. If Hannah is particularly proud of one of her infamous "outfits" she's put together while getting dressed that day, I take pictures. Try to look at it through the eyes of your kid(s) and ask yourself the type of things they'd want to remember years from now. Is there something you do every night before bed with them that they'll remember (i.e., read a bedtime story, say a prayer, etc.)? If so, take a picture that represents that.

* Realize that even the things that seem insignificant now may be fun to look back at later on. Have a favorite pair of shoes? A favorite purse? A favorite place to eat? A favorite brand of coffee? Take a picture of it. Twenty years from now, you may look at the picture and either laugh about how dorky it was, look at it and get sentimental, or both.

* Have a favorite band you listen to or CD you play on repeat non-stop? Take a picture of it.

* Do you have a habit or addiction? Snap a picture one day of something that represents that habit or addiction. Even if it's something as "silly" as that favorite brand of ice cream that you eat every night.

* Try to think outside the box a bit. The other day, I used one of my Christmas gifts (an Aeropostale giftcard) to order a bunch of stuff online. I snapped a photo of my computer screen with my shopping cart full. That was the night that Hannah needed stitches, so I ended up using that photo instead, but my point is that I had taken a picture of what I had ordered online that day. Your photo doesn't always have to be something "deep" or meaningful. It just has to be something you did/ate/tried/drank/laughed about/etc. that day.

* Your pictures don't have to be deep or meaningful or artsy or anything even remotely close to that. Just TAKE the picture. Are your nails painted that day? Take a picture of them. Are you feeling particularly cranky? Take a picture of that bigass cup of Starbucks coffee that helped lift you out of your funk. Did you just organize your closet? Take a picture of it after you're done.

Do y'all see what I'm trying to say. I know a lot of you are already grasping what to photograph every day, but I find myself trying to decide between 5 or 6 things everyday to use for that day. Try not to think too much about it is my point. And at the same time, think about it a lot. LOL! Since starting 11 days ago, I've started to look at my daily life in a totally different way. I wake up and start wondering what that day's photo is going to be. I look at things in totally different ways (like the salt and pepper mills I mentioned earlier). I think about the things I want myself or my kids to remember next year and then try to think of something I can photograph to represent it.

It's NOT about what other people think or the quality of the photos. It's about YOU. You and the people in your life. You and the things that make you who you are. You and the things that make you tick.

I'm sure there will be days over the next year where I don't think about it much. Or days when it seems like a chore to try to photograph something. But I know that next year, I'm going to have a BLAST looking back everyday to see what we did/saw/thought/experienced exactly one year earlier. Don't think of it as much about the photos, but instead look at it as the journey of your life over the next year.

I know I often find myself without my camera when something happens one day that I'd like to remember. Now that I've started this project, when something like that happens, I immediately start thinking about what I could take a picture of that would spark that memory years from now. For example, the night Hannah needed stitches, I might not have thought to take pictures when we got home. But beyond taking pictures of her stitches, I also took pictures of the doorknob she bashed her head open on. A few years from now, I can look at the picture, and even if Ididn't have pictures of her actual stitches, I'd see that photo of the doorknob and be able to say, "Remember when Hannah split her head open on that sucker?"

If y'all want, I can try to think of a little "theme" every week that all of you participating can use on one of the days you can't think of something to take a picture of. They'll be simple and easy and won't require much thought. But if it helps some of you in a slump, I'm more than willing to give it a whirl.

What the hell. Let's start now. In the next week, IF you can't think of something for the project one day, take a picture of whatever's in your purse that day. Empty the contents of it onto a table and take a picture of it. Even what's in your purse is a little glimpse into your life this year, and I think that's kind of cool. :)

OK. I've rambled enough. I'm tired and need to head to bed. I just don't want to see anyone discouraged or stressed out over the whole concept. It's supposed to be fun, and I, for one, am having a blast!

I really am worthless...

LOL! After last night's late night guests, I don't have much to blog about today. Grace was exhausted. Hannah was exhausted. I was exhausted. And yet, we managed to plow through the day with no one napping, Grace going to her first day of her winter (indoor) soccer league, Steve hunting all day, and me ready to pass the hell out. LOL!

The girls (like usual) are at my mom's for the night, Steve and I ordered some wings to watch the football games, and as much as I'm tired, I feel the need to stay awake. (Seriously... does anyone know the name of some good counselors? LOL!)

Here's my photo for Project 365 today. Hannah, dressed in a dress-up dress complete with hoopskirt, walking around like it's nothing unusual. God, I love that kid.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Quasi "Highlights of the Day"

OK. So (once again) I had every intention of doing this post in my old school "HOTD" format, but things never seem to work out the way I want them to. So this is going to be a shorter bulleted list. You'll still get the gist of the day, but it won't be nearly as funny as it would be if I wasn't ready to fall asleep. LOL!

* Sat and wondered what it feels like to have an anxiety attack. Because I truly believe I'm on the brink of one.

* Obsessively checked Tink's blog to see which Golden Spork Award I've been given. I'm hoping for the "Most Likely to Have an Anxiety Attack in the Next Week" one. Or perhaps the "Can Drink Most Grown Men Under the Table" one. Or, oooo, I know... maybe the "Girl With the Biggest Boobs" one. (Shut up. I can dream.)

* Got a phone call from Steve around 10:00 AM saying the alternator in his truck had taken a shit and that he wouldn't be home until he had it replaced (the job site was 45 minutes away).

* Was silently relieved he wouldn't be home soon. (I LOVE Steve, but I absolutely relish my days/moments when I'm in our home in the silence alone.)

* Visited every job website known to man looking for my next job or freelance project.

* Contemplated becoming a stripper or prostitute to make some cash.

* Realized I wouldn't make any cash doing those things and continued scouring the job websites.

* Realized halfway through the day that I hadn't taken my Project 365 photo for the day yet.

* Had no ideas for the photo.

* Steve arrived home and told me he wanted me to go with him BACK to the job site so he could drop off some pipes that he could have just dropped off before driving all the way home.

* Got Grace off the bus and sent the girls with Grandma to meet Granddad at a local pizza joint for Friday night dinner (like they do every Friday).

* Went with Steve to the job site.

* Saw the house Steve's currently working on for the contractor who gives Steve most of his work.

* Asked Steve if said contractor would be willing to have an affair with me so I could have a house like the one we were looking at. Seriously people, you have NO idea...

* Steve commented that the guy really isn't that bad looking.

* Told Steve I didn't care and that I'd just close my eyes during sex if I could land us a house like that.

* Drove home and ate some leftover pizza while Steve cooked up some venison.

* Answered the phone at 6:15 to have our friends ask if we'd be home so they and their two sons could swing by for a visit around 7:00.

* Said sure!

* Steve and I did a whirlwind "cleaning" of the downstairs, which really involved shoving random shit into random drawers to make the house look less cluttered.

* Jumped in the car to go and retrieve my own children from Grandma's house.

* Arrived back home just in time for the friends and their kids to arrive 5 minutes later.

* Hung out, talked, drank beer, smoked (the girls, not the guys. And only ever outside), watched the kids run around like lunatics, and glanced at the clock every now and then.

* Hoped around 9:30 that they'd leave soon since we were already past my kids' bedtimes.

* Kept hanging out, drinking beer, smoking, etc.

* Hoped around 10:30 that they'd leave soon since were already WAY past my kids' bedtimes.

* Kept hanging out, drinking beer, smoking, etc.

* Really, REALLY hoped around 11:00 that they'd get their asses out of my house so I could get my kids to bed.

* Kept hanging out, drinking beer, smoking, etc.

* Was thrilled at 11:15 when they FINALLY gathered up their sons to leave.

* Had the girls sleeping within 10 minutes after they left, and immediately jumped on the ol' computer to catch up.

* Obsessively checked Tink's blog to see which Golden Spork Award I've been given.

* Was bummed to read we won't know until Monday. I don't blame her at all given the amount of people she has to award. I just like to bitch. ;)

* Decided that tonight is the night that perhaps I should go to bed before 3AM like I've been doing for the past week.

So with that, I'm out of here. Later. And enjoy your weekend!


I'm back, just to add my photo for Project 365. This is Grace and her friend, Seth, chilling out on the couch last night. I hate this photo (it was really underexposed and grainy), but it's the only one I took yesterday, so here it is. LOL!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!

I know I said I was going to do a blog entry for today that talked about yesterday. But I lied. I'm too farkin' tired. I've had insomnia all week (lots on my mind), and so in the past 7 days, I've probably gotten a total of 10 or 11 hours of sleep. Sigh. I seriously need to try to get to bed tonight. This is nuts!

Anyway, so I'm too tired to talk all about yesterday. Truthfully, I'm too tired to talk much about today if you want the truth. LOL! I spent the day trying to stay awake. And now it's 11:39 PM and I'm wide awake. Son of a bitch! [sigh]

Anyway, here's my photo for Project 365. We've been trying to (slowly) live a little bit "greener", so just yesterday, we switched out some of our regular light bulbs with the high-efficiency ones. The truth is, for me, it was more about their kick ass shape than the other benefits. LOL!

Going Green

Oh, and due to the overwhelming results of my little poll, apparently, my "Highlights of the Day" format is going to be making a comeback. LOL! I have to admit, when I read over my older posts, I even laugh. It was fun blogging that way, so I guess I'll give it a whirl again in the next day or two and see if I can still pull it off. :)

Sorry gang.

I had every intention of doing a post tonight in the old format of "Highlights of the Day." I thought about it all day. Had the bullet points in my head. But around 7:15 tonight, Hannah ran into the doorknob on the bathroom door and put a nasty gash on her forehead, right above her eyebrow. It bled like a bastard, but only for a few minutes. I honestly didn't know if it even warranted a trip to the ER, but it was pretty deep and I was worried about a scar for the rest of her life, so off we went. I'm glad I took her in.

She did, indeed, need stitches. Five of them to be exact. And let me tell you, I have NEVER been as proud of her as I was tonight. She didn't shed a SINGLE tear or make a SINGLE sound as they gave her the Novocain shots or stitched her up. Not a peep. We were all absolutely amazed. She is such a trooper.


And in true Hannah fashion, she could care less about the stitches. She was just excited that she got a bracelet with her name on it at the hospital. LOL!

That, and the fact that tomorrow, the kids are supposed to wear their pajamas to school, and she had gotten blood all over hers. So I had to do a load of laundry when we got home from the hospital, but it's the least I can do for the little sweetie. She was totally good to go by the time we got home.


Hannah with her War Wound

She's "lucky" in that it's literally right along the top of her eyebrow, so even if it does scar, it won't be very noticeable at all. Princesses don't have scars, ya know? ;)

And she thinks she's cool because I have a scar on my forehead, an inch or so above her stitches, from when I had some when I was a kid. And Steve has one in his other eyebrow when he needed stitches as a kid. I think we've convinced her it's the mark of a true L-------- (<--insert our last name there).

And note that in the second photo, she's wearing her sequined dress-up shirt. Because the second we got home and walked in, she stipped off her bloody pajama top and declared that she was going to play dress up. LMAO!

So I'll post my Highlights for today, but I'll post them tomorrow. It was one hell of a day, lemme tell ya (beyond the stitches). Words cannot describe how glad I am that tomorrow is a new day....

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Take My Poll...

Over there in the margin. Can y'all answer that poll and tell me if you'd like to see the return of the "Highlights of the Day". For those of you that have no idea what I'm talking about, click here and read a few. It's how all of my blog posts used to be formatted. I'm thinking of going back to it, but decided to ask you all instead. LOL! So take it, will ya?

Update: So far it looks like y'all like that format, huh? Hmmm... maybe I'll post that way today and see if I can get my groove on again. LOL!

Another hot day...

OK. So "hot" is pushing it. But in these parts, the 60-degrees that it was today is INSANE for January. Just absolutely insane. So Hannah and I once again, spent most of the day outside. We walked down the street and around the corner to the gas station to  grab some candy. Then we walked back home (stopping to admire the creek) and had a little "candy picnic" on the bench in our backyard. So that leads us to my Project 365 photo for today...

HPIM6672 Diffuse



Hmmm... what else? Oh! Got an email from my sister today saying her work email address has now been switched back to her maiden name. I had no idea she was even going to switch back, but good for her. If you're going to make a break, you may as well make a clean one. Her husband was also served with his divorce papers while at work today. Lovely. LOL! I have to say, I really admire her. It was a VERY hard decision for her to make. Her life has completely changed since deciding to leave him. She had to sell their house and now lives with my parents. That alone would make me think long and hard about the decision. But she has shown a great strength and I'm really proud of her. And one HUGE benefit of her now living with my parents is that now, every Saturday when the girls sleep at my parents' house, they're spending a lot of time with Aunt Kristin. My sister's starting to learn that all children aren't the spawn of the devil. And her and Grace in particular have become extremely close, which I think is awesome. So that's cool.


I just want to say here that I think that my fellow blogger and friend, Tink, looks AMAZING in her newly purchased wedding gown. She doesn't have it posted anymore because her fiance shouldn't see the dress before the wedding. But trust me when I say that she's going to be one of the most beautiful brides I've ever seen. Now as long as I see a picture of her on her wedding day in that dress while also chugging a beer, I'll be a happy camper. ;)


I'm on a Daughtry kick the past few days. I'm not sure if that makes me cool or lame, but whatever. Hell, it may prompt another couch-jumping session, so it's all good.


I've decided I've got a bleeding heart. (Not literally.) But over the past few weeks, I've found myself wanting to help out as many people as I can... wanting to settle some differences I've had with people in the past... somewhat longing for some old friendships that have faded over the past few years... etc. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. But it does make one think a little "deeper" than one would sometimes like to. I feel like I've been told I have 2 months to live and I need to do all of those things I need to do to make peace with myself. I'm NOT dying (that I know of), but that's how I'm acting. As much as I like being a bit more compassionate lately, it's also taking a lot more energy and I'm not sure I've got it in me. LOL!


I have a friend, Kelly, who has entered a photo contest. If y'all could click on over to vote for her (Photo #1), that would kick ass and I'd really appreciate it. :)


Uhhh... I think that's it. More tomorrow. The girls both have "school" and Steve's working, so I'll be home alone. Last week, that prompted the couch jumping session. Who the hell knows what could happen tomorrow. LOL! ;)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Another long one...

So tell me... how does one go from blogging once a week, to rambling on a daily basis. Weird.

Anyway, today was crazy warm. And I use the term "warm" relatively. It was all of 12-degrees last week. Today, it was almost 60. To people who live in warmer states, 60-degrees would have them all bundled up in winter coats and scarves. For us Northeasterners, 60-degrees has some of us outside in short sleeves, or (in my case) in just a hoodie. It was too warm not to take advantage of it, so while Steve was at work and Grace was at school, Hannah & I spent the entire day outside playing. It was awesome! And it prompted my photo for Project 365.



Speaking of Project 365, I've been working on something for the past week. I decided that it would be really cool for me to put together a scrapbook of all of my photos for the project. I just think it will be awesome to look back next year (or any year after that), and on any given day, know what I did exactly one year earlier just by looking at my photo for the Project that day. Like, next year on January 5th, I'll know that one year before, I watched the Steelers lose the playoff game by one point (which totally sucked). And on January 6th, I'll know that one year earlier, it was fairly warm for us around here and Steve pegged Grace with a snowball. LOL! I also think it would be the kind of thing that my kids would think was pretty cool when they're grown up and I'm like, dead or something. LOL!

So anyway, I've decided to have 12 pages that have all of the photos from each month, and then 52 pages that have a week's worth of photos on them, complete with short blurbs that explain why I took the photo, or what the photo is, etc. This is what I've come up with.

This will be the monthly pages. Nothing fancy. Just each photo from each day on one page. (It will look much cooler once all of the squares are filled in. LOL!)

365_Jan_Month copy

This will be the weekly pages. On each page, I'll switch out the backgrounds and move the frames around a bit. And I might vary the things I list like "Favorite Photo This Week", "Most Memorable Moment" etc. to be other things. And I'll add some more other scrapbooking stuff here and there, but for the most part, here's what they'll look like. I'm excited to see it when it's all done. :)


If any digital scrapbookers out there want that first template (the monthly one), let me know. I created that from scratch and even made the numbered stickers, so I can send it to you if you want it. Just comment or email me (if you have my email) and I'll send it off. I'd offer up the weekly one too, but I made that using stuff I purchased from designers, so I'm afraid you're on your own on that one.


Let's see... what else? Oh, does ANYONE else that reads this blog watch "October Roads?" If not, you should. Best. Show. Ever. Like, for real. OK. So maybe not ever, but close. It's a REALLY good show and I need someone else who watches it to discuss it with me on Tuesday mornings after they watched it the night before. Please? Pretty please? Tonight, I cried (when Ikey pleaded his case) and then LMAO (when the guys karaoked to "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" by Meatloaf). And as hot as Catalda is, I want to punch his effing face in every week. [sigh] PLEASE tell me someone else watches it. Please?


I have a 6-year-old up for adoption if anyone wants her. Just for a few days/weeks/months/or years. It depends on when she loses the attitude, starts listening to me when I tell her to do/not do something, and doesn't purposely try to get me so pissed off I'm ready to escape to an exotic island and not tell anyone where I am. If interested, contact me please. Once she returns to her normal sweet, sensitive self, I'd like her back. Thanks.


I'm giving a shout-out to Kelly, who was awarded Pink Ink Studio's "Photo of the Day" honor for one of her Project 365 photos. Kelly and I love Pink Ink Studios, and I know she's too humble to tell the world about it, so I am. Leave her some love AND check out Pink Ink. Their Flickr group is amazing to browse though and gives me tons of inspiration for my photographs. :)


I guess that's it for now. More tomorrow, my friends. :)

Just a Layout

Here's a layout I just finished up using some of the pictures I took of Hannah outside the other day.


Sunday, January 06, 2008


I don't really have much to say, surprisingly enough. LOL!  Steve and I were bummed (OK... pissed) that the Steelers lost their playoff game last night, but I will say that it was a kickass game! I LOVE games that have you glued to the TV until the final seconds because it could go either way.

Today was kind of a lazy day. The girls were at my mom's house until almost 2:00. And then as soon as they got home, we all went outside to get some fresh air. It's been around 12-degrees here the past week or so, so today when it hit 46, it felt like spring to us. So Steve took the girls for a walk/hike up in the field behind our house, where they both found "treasures" which consisted of some rocks, an old bike wheel, about 20 golf balls (hit into the field by Steve... Shhhh!), and they each found an animal bone. Lovely. LOL!

Then we just sort of ate dinner, sat around, and went to bed. LOL! I LOVE days like that.

Anyway, here's my photo for Day 6 of Project 365. Grace kept telling Steve she wanted to have a snowball fight (with what little snow is still on the ground), so Steve obliged. It was TOTAL luck that I snapped this photo right as the snowball hit her and exploded. Thankfully, she thought it was hilarious and kept asking for him to throw more. (Freak.)

Grace Gets Nailed with a Snowball

I'll be back tomorrow with a few layouts I've been working on. :)

Just popping in... share my photo for Project 365 from yesterday. I have to go shower and pick up the girls from my mom's house. But I'll post later. :)

DAY # 5

Beer Graveyard

What our kitchen countertop looks like after a Pittsburgh Steelers game.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.... (And some eyebrows for Emma).

Yeah. I changed my blog template again. I've had about 8 different ones over the past 48 hours, but finally settled on this one. Nothing fancy. Nothing extravagant. Just me, my family, my words, and my photos. Sweet.

Soooo... I don't really have much to say today. LOL! I was ready to give both children up for adoption early this evening. Sure I'd miss them. But I would've asked for them back after they got rid of their damn attitudes, disrespect and horrible tempers. I'll tell you what... nothing makes you feel like Mother of the Year more than having an all out screaming match with your 6-year-old. Yup. Some proud moments this evening in our home. [sigh] Perhaps next time when she ticks me off, I'll just slam my MP3 player headphones into my ears, crank up "Crazy Bitch" and start jumping on the couch. And then when she tries to start jumping too, I'll yell at her and tell her only adults are allowed to do it. That'll teach her.


So let's talk about eyebrows. I notice people's eyebrows. I'm not really sure why since I have no other weird obsession with them. I've never plucked, waxed, shaved, or did anything else to my eyebrows in my life. I don't need to. They're thin, very light in color, and practically non-existent. I guess I'm lucky? I dunno. Steve, on the other hand, has an abundance of eyebrow hair. I once told him it looked like he had two squirrel tails taped on his forehead. We laughed for (literally) hours over that one. I guess guys can get away with it though. I don't think the poor guy ever thought about it until I pointed it out to him. His dad has them. His brother has them. And I think Grace is going to have them too. ((((Grace)))) About a year ago, I opened up a photo of him in Photoshop and showed him what he'd look like if he had them waxed. The transformation was amazing. LOL! He says all the time he wants to go get them waxed. But it hasn't happened yet. Now before y'all go getting all "Love him for who he is..." on me, I'd like to make it very clear that I honestly don't give a rat's ass about the man's facial hair. He's hot regardless. It's more of a joke between us than anything. So no need to comment on my insensitivity, OK?

I've also noticed my SIL's eyebrows. Emma will be thrilled to see I'm finally posting a photo of the infamous "comma brows." I've been a little paranoid up until now to post it. Right around the time I first mentioned it on the blog, we gave her and my BIL our old computer. I had deleted things, rechecked things, etc., and the girl didn't even know how to turn the damn thing on when I gave it to her. But I had nagging thoughts that she'd become a computer genius and somehow pull up an old link to this blog and see what I had said about her. I had nightmares about it because the family feud that would ensue would not be pretty. But I'm pretty sure that at this point, I'm safe. I figure I've said stuff about her since then and nothing's come out of it, so I'm guessing if she would've found me here, she would've done it by now. (Side note: If anyone in my family ever finds this blog, I'm afraid Planet Alien will be permanently laid to rest. This girl needs a place to vent without anyone who shares my last name or who gave birth to me or grew up with me knowing about it. But I digress...)

I first noticed her eyebrows about a year ago. I'm not sure if they always looked the way they did that night and I hadn't noticed it, or if it was a new little experiment she was conducting on her face. Regardless, she's still doing it. Not every time I see her, but more often than not. It's kind of weird. I have no problem with chicks wearing makeup, waxing various body parts, etc. But isn't the key for it to look as natural as possible so people don't know you're faking it? I dunno. Maybe my thinking is twisted. But for real. Tell me what exactly she's doing when she does this to her eyebrows... (This is the only picture I have that really shows them. Sorry about that.)

Easter 2007 128_edited-1


Easter 2007 128_edited-2 copy

I can totally see filling in your brows with a little makeup to make them appear fuller/better shaped/etc. But what's with the weird shape? And the perfectness. I tried to look closely (inconspicuously of course) that day to try to figure out exactly what she's doing. At the conclusion of my super secret spy mission, I've decided there's only one explanation. She has a stencil. There has to be an eyebrow stencil somewhere in her home. I'm convinced. She tapes the little stencil on her forehead in the correct position. Then she dips some sort of brush into some sort of goopy makeup with the consistency of brown lipstick and applies the makeup onto the stencil. I just don't get it. Eyebrows are made up of hair right? They aren't perfectly symmetrical shapes that end in a perfectly straight horizontal line, right? Shit. Maybe I'm the freak and I've looked like an idiot for the past 20+ years. Am I?

Anyway, I could go on and on, but I'm already afraid she has some sort of automatic Google search set up to scan the Internet every 4 minutes that will alert her if anything online contains the words "Jen" and "eyebrows."

So with that, I'm out of here. I'm having another beer, possibly another cigarette or two, and then I'm heading to bed. It's a busy day tomorrow my friends.


I posted today's photo over on my Project 365 blog, but I'll post it here again too. It's pretty boring today in comparison's to yesterday's, but here is the Student Profile we had to fill out and send back to school so everyone knows a little bit about their Student of the Month." :)

Our Student of the Month

Thursday, January 03, 2008

OK. I'm back.

The kids still aren't in bed yet, but they're occupied for the moment, so here I am. Let's get talking...

1) Steve worked yesterday for the first time in months (concrete work isn't always possible in the dead of winter), and called in his two employees. One of them is a total freak. Good guy. Served in the war for a few months, etc. But a freak. He takes pictures of the ODDEST things with his cell phone (you seriously don't want details), and is basically a male whore. Sleeps with strippers on a regular basis, has a lot of one-night stands, etc. So anyway, Steve gets home yesterday and tells me that the guy screwed some chick and the chick wanted to film it. So he whipped out his cell phone and proceeded to record their entire um, "session". Complete with close-ups. Of their "parts". Ewwwww! The Ew Factor mostly applies to the fact that he came to work and showed his boss and co-worker. Would you show your boss your um,"parts"? I think not. Truthfully, the whole thing totally cracks me up. More power to him, I guess. But every time I hear the song "Crazy Bitch" now, I think of Steve's employee. Having sex. Ick.

2) So it's been cold here the past few days. REALLY cold. Last night, around 10:00, I grabbed another beer from the back porch (we're rednecks like that who keep their alcohol cold outside in the winter), and it was half-frozen. Beer slushees really aren't very enjoyable. Anyway, someone in my family brought a 2-liter bottle of diet soda on Christmas. Steve and I don't drink diet soda, so it must've been either my sister or my mom. Since we don't drink it, we just had it sitting on the back porch to give to my sister the next time she swung by. Well, when it's 12 degrees outside, liquids tend to freeze. And when liquid freezes, it expands. Yeah. So around 8:00 this morning, I walked outside to smoke a cigarette and was greeted by an exploded bottle of soda all over the back patio and on part of the house. Sweet. Soda slushees anyone? LOL!

3) Grace got off the bus this afternoon all smiles. She proceeded to tell me she was chosen as "Student of the Month" this month in her class. She's so stinking proud of herself, and we're proud of her too. See? Even freaks like me can raise somewhat decent kids. And you all doubted me. ;)

4) Couch jumping! WOOHOO! I had to take my photo for Project 365 today. Last night, after everyone else was sleeping, I was on the computer and listening to my MP3 player. I was jamming out (quietly), and half dancing around whenever I had to stand up for some reason (like to pee or grab another beer slushee). I knew if it hadn't been 2:00 in the morning, and the other people in the house weren't sleeping, I would've done a whole "Risky Business" thing and just danced around the living room, jumping on things, playing air guitar, etc. (fully clothed however). So today, after everyone else left the house, I did just that and took my photo for the Project. I must say, it was kind of fun. LOL! It's always nice when as a mom, you can do the things you tell your own kids not to. WOOHOO! So here it is -- my photo for January 3, 2008. WHHEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

No Kids Today!

Lots to share again...

I can't type much right now, but I'll be back later to elaborate. On the agenda for discussion:

1) Steve's employee's "homemade porno" that he recorded on his cell phone and then brought to work to show to Steve and the other employee. (Eh?)

2) The 2-liter bottle of soda that exploded ALL OVER our back patio and back of the house.

3) Grace's honor she received at school today.

4) Couch jumping. WHEEEE!

Anyway, I'll be back later. The kids are here, dinner is soon, etc.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Long one today...

For some reason, it seems like the days I do the least in terms of productive tasks are the days that I have the most to blog about. I don't know if I'll ever figure out how that happens, but hey, we'll roll with it.

First of all, I'm LOVING that so many of you have decided to jump on the Project 365 bandwagon! It's soooo cool looking at everyone's photos everyday! I get excited to see everyone's new entry the next day. I've posted my second day's photo over on my Project 365 blog, and I've linked all of your project blogs in the sidebar too if any of the rest of you want to go browse. :) Today, I took a photo of exactly what $205.05 gets me at the grocery store. It kind of looks like a lot, but it's really not. In the photo, there are only 2 packs of meat (one pack of chicken breasts and one pack of T-bone steaks), so that's only two meals. Then there's veggies, some fruit, and some snack type stuff. And like 8 billion things to drink... milk, chocolate milk, juices, and smoothies. All of that will last us about 5 or 6 days. It's not unusual for us to spend up to $400 a week on groceries. It's because we buy 90-95% organic and all-natural food. Holy inflated grocery bill, Batman! Anyway, it's on my project blog, but I'll post it here too.

$205.05 Later...


I think I may be going to hell. Not that it was really in question before, but today really sealed the deal. So there are some Jehovah's Witnesses that swing by once a month or so. They're a lovely couple and they really aren't pushy at all. They stop, they chat, they ask about the kids, they hand me literature, and they leave. But sometimes, I just don't feel like talking to them. Not because they're Jehovah's Witnesses. Just because I don't feel like talking to anyone sometimes. So anyway, I happen to glance outside and see them pulling into our driveway this afternoon. It was one of those days I just wanted to be left alone and not smile politely and nod my head. So I ran upstairs before they got out of the car. The thing is, my car was in the driveway, all of the inside lights were on, and I had a Buck Cherry CD BLARING, and had no time to turn any of that stuff off. Um, oops. I have no doubt they could hear the music outside. And as luck would have it (my luck anyway), they happened to be knocking when song #7 was playing. Song #7 is "Crazy Bitch." The uncensored version. For those of you who don't know the lyrics, they go a little something like this...

Hey, you're a crazy bitch but you f*ck so good I'm on top of it...

When I dream of doing you all night, scratches all down my back to keep me right on.

And they continue along that same theme. Oh my. [sigh] Yup. They left when I didn't answer the door and I'm pretty sure they won't be back again. Either that or they will be back to try to save my soul. I'm sorry Jehovah's Witnesses. I didn't mean to subject you to my devil music today. Please forgive me.


Dear Steve,

I'm so glad you love our children and enjoy having fun with them. But for the love of all things holy, can you PLEASE stop playing "bullfighter/bucking bronco" with them in the living room 5 minutes before bedtime, resulting in two very hyperactive children who have no intention of settling down anytime soon. And if you don't stop doing such things, I'm going to kick you in places daddies don't like to be kicked in.



PS: If you ever forget it's garbage day again before you leave for work, leaving me to drag 4 big ass garbage cans down our fairly long and currently icy driveway in 20-degree weather with whipping winds, I'm also going to kick your ass.


My kids' new favorite TV show is "Full House" which comes on Nickelodeon at 8:30. I laugh every time they watch it because I remember watching it when I was a kid and loving it. And when Hannah was little, several people told me she looked like the Olson twins when they were babies on Full House. And the truth is, she really did. LOL! I'll have to post some side-by-side photos tomorrow if I can dig some up. I'm not sure if I hope she grows up and looks like them, or dread it. They're hot, so maybe she could become famous and fund us in our old age. But if she's that hot, she might become a little hussy or something. LOL!


OK. I think that's it for now. I'll be back tomorrow. :) Don't forget! There's still time to join in Project 365! Hell, it's only day 2. Cheat and take 2 photos today and go from there. We won't tell. LOL!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

And so it begins...

I've decided to start a whole separate blog for my 365 Project. I'll still post my photos here too, but I wanted someplace where ALL of my photos for the project are in one place, without other stuff thrown in there too. I'm actually really excited about the whole thing. So if you decided to participate too, I'd love for you to link me up to your photos. If you decide to start a separate blog specifically for the project too, let me know and I'll link you up in my sidebar over there. :)

So without further ado, here's my first photo. I'm sure there will be some days where I just post the photo and don't write anything about it. But there will be days where I "journal" about the photo too, mostly for my own personal reasons. Today's, I think, is self-explanatory. Grace planted one on me, right when I was trying to take a picture of the two of us. Gotta love that kid...


Something to Do in 2008

So I've decided that this year I'm going to take part in Project 365. You take a photo a day. I practically do that anyway, but this project is going to make me pay more attention to exactly what I'm photographing. I'm going to try to take pictures of things that will let me look back at the end of the year and let me remember something I did or someone I met or whatever on any given day of the year. I'd love if some of you joined me in the adventure. It could be fun! :)

I'll be back later today to post my fist photo. :)