Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much, but blogging is trippy.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Positives

OK, I'm going to focus on the positives. I am. I really am. Just give me a minute to remember what they are.

Positive #1: We're still homeschoolers. My focus is still on what happens with my children and their education and their well-being.

Positive #2: We have our health. None of us have life-threatening illnesses.

Positive #3: If I can make $400 a month, we can still go to Orlando for a major vacation in September.

Positive #4: I have a college degree; I'm an adult; that means I make more than minimum wage for my starting salary at the grocery store.

Positive #5: This isn't rocket science; I can learn how to run a register.

Positive #6: ...

OK, I ran out of positives. I'll think of them tomorrow! While I'm learning how to run the registers! Tomorrow is when it gets fun! ...

Right?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What's your style?

I'm so glad I'm not in school any more, getting assignments to write with people whose styles clash with mine. I'm so glad I don't have to do group work. I don't work well with others, especially when it comes to writing.

However, I'm perfectly willing to laugh when someone else has to try to make peace with an untenable partner.

Big thanks to Amy, who sent me this link.

It reminds me of the time in sophomore English when we were supposed to write an alternate ending to a short story. I labored over the thing to keep it in the same style and voice as the original story, and I proposed a perfectly plausible, totally boring alternate ending. My friend Jack turned the heroine into a can-can girl, killed off the hero, and turned the villain into an opium-smoking Western pimp. It was hilarious.

So... what's your style?

A blessed event!

As a welcome respite from my overwhelmingly depressing blog posts, my sister Amy in Las Vegas has excellent news to report! Check out her blog for photos and squealing!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

On a clear day



I shared this photo with some friends of mine, and one of them said, "It's a shame the magnolia tree is gone."

This was the view from my tea porch when I was still living at Mama's house. In the spring and summer, I would sit out there on a rocking chair, drinking Cokes, listening to the radio, and reading. I preferred it outside because it was so cold inside -- Mama loved air conditioning. And I was skinny, so I was always cold. I've gotten over that particular malady.

I told some of my friends some of the background about Mama's house, and part of the story is that she cut down some massive magnolia trees that totally hid the house from view. When my friend saw the picture, she assumed that it was an old picture.

No, no -- that tree still stands, right where it was when I was 16. I tried to climb it once, because I was always climbing magnolia trees when I was a little girl in Georgia. But this particular tree's branches are too dense for a big girl to climb. I wasn't small enough; I wasn't agile enough to snake through the limbs and make any headway on that tree.

Its density never hindered my love for it, though. Every spring it bloomed; every Christmas it provided greenery for Mama's holiday arrangements. All the rest of the time, it was perfect and green and straight and tall.

I hope the new owners don't cut it down.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hello, The House



When I was in first grade, I had to study the vocabulary words in my reading textbook every month for a test. We would sit at the kitchen table, Daddy and I, and we would simply read the words in the appendix. One month, as I rattled off a string of disjointed words, I read, "Hello The House," and everyone laughed because it sounded like a greeting.

Thereafter, when Daddy came in from work, he would call out in the front door, "Hello, The House!" And we would all run to him to welcome him home. The salutation became pretty standard, and even after Daddy died a couple of years later, we would still call it out upon entering the house.

Friday I had to say goodbye to Mama's house for the last time. Really and truly. For real. Not kidding around. Seriously? Seriously.

I'm writing out the whole story of how Mama found the house, what it looked like when she bought it, and how she restored and renovated it in the winter of 1982-83. It was her last house and her biggest project. She adored that house, and when her cancer was finally overwhelming, she chose to go home to that house for her final days.

That's how much she loved it.

I don't know what it's like for other adults to say goodbye to their parents' last houses, but I imagine it's hard for everyone. I'm going to miss that house, not just because it was Mama's, but because it was the perfect house in general. I don't know if I'll ever have the economic stability to be able to afford living in a place with 12-foot ceilings much less genuine hardwood floors throughout the place. They don't build houses like this any more. No one can afford the materials necessary.

One of my online friends looked at pictures I sent and said she'd like to see the "after" pictures when the new owners are finished with their own renovations.

These are the "after" pictures.

You should have seen this house when Mama bought it. It was truly horrifying, with caved-in ceilings, fallen plaster, rotted rugs, crumbling walls, outdated and limited wiring and plumbing. Mama turned a hovel into a showplace.

Hello, The House, I'm home. Goodbye, The House, we're gone.

Friday, March 24, 2006

A much better Thursday



Ah ha! The imaging thing is working tonight! It's a new sign.

Thursday was much better than I thought it would be. I still didn't feel completely spiffy, but I survived. I wrote a newsletter, which went better than I would have thought, given my frame of mind.

My salesperson at the local furniture/appliance emporium called me and informed me of a *major* sale at the store, which impacted how much I was buying to replace the broken washing machine. After consulting with Wesley by phone in Florida, we decided to buy a matching Whirlpool dryer! WOO HOO!!!!!!

I'm excited. I discovered 13 years ago when we moved to this house that I love buying new appliances. New appliances are better than clothes. Not as great as new shoes, but definitely better than clothes.

The photo is of the little alcove between Mama's kitchen, her formal living room, and the study/dining room. It is the only room with stained glass windows, and some of the panes had to be replaced when Mama restored and renovated her house in 1982/1983. You can tell the new panes because their color is more vivid. She bought them at a stained glass store in Atlanta. I'll never forget how excited she was with her purchases. I just always loved the way the reflection on the windowsills were colored. When Amy got married, the piano was moved to that alcove, and I stood there and sang at my sister's wedding.

Furthermore, Wesley decided to take the shuttle from Atlanta to Chattanooga on Sunday, so I don't have to get up at 4:30 in the morning to make it to Atlanta by 8:30 Sunday morning to meet his flight. I can pick him up at noon from a city that's lesss than two hours away! Just more great news!

All in all, I'm glad I made it through Wednesday, on to Thursday, and I'm hoping Friday brings new appliances and a nice last day at Mama's old house.

Fingers crossed, knock on wood, throwing salt over my shoulder!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

It's a sign

I had a photograph to post tonight, and the imaging link isn't working.

Typical.

I don't read horoscopes, but I suspect if I checked mine this week, it would say, "Stay in bed. In fact, go ahead and crawl under the bed."

It took two days to buy a new washing machine, and by the time I inked the deal with the lovely salesperson at the nearest furniture and appliance emporium, their delivery service was booked up until mid-Friday.

Martha officially moved out of Mama's house on Tuesday.

Wesley overslept the same day, causing us to have to rush madly -- and without benefit of adequate caffeine -- to the Atlanta airport.

Did I mention that Atlanta is three hours away from us? Oh, my. Yes. Yes, indeedy. And that's if you drive like I do. If you drive like Wesley, it takes longer. Oh, and Atlanta has a profound propensity for a nasty little thing called "traffic."

He missed his flight. Had to take a later one. At least his plane didn't fall out of the sky.

So I woke up this morning, knowing that I needed to go clean out Mama's house. I didn't feel so hot. In fact, I wanted to stay in bed. Instead, I got up and called Martha to see if the Pride car (a large, civic-funded dumpster that the city will drag into your yard and leave it there for all sorts of trash and rubble) was at the house yet.

It was not.

I went to the house anyway and moved three more boxes of stuff over to Amy's storage unit.

Then I walked around and took some pictures. I had to use Emily's camera. Because my camera is in Miami.

(Oh, dear heavens, I just realized that South Beach and cameras really don't mix.)

So basically, all I can say is that the week continues to go badly, we're down to three towels, and I have absolutely no idea where a laundromat is. Thursday will be "clear a path to the old washer" day, and on Friday I have to let the delivery guys in, and then rush to Athens and scrape the last of the trash out of Mama's house. Please let the Pride car be there by then. The new owners are supposed to take possession on Saturday.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to make a sign. An abandoned dog has taken up residence at my house, and the nearest animal shelter won't take her because they have already *had* her. If they take her back, they'll euthanize her immediately.

I guess it's just not a good week for middle-aged bitches.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Monster truck rally


The title of this post is a non-sequiter. I couldn't think of the right title. I tried to post earlier today, but the photo-uploading thingie wasn't working, and I wasn't up to the task of making it cooperate against its will. Since that nostalgic post never happened, now I get to totally fall apart in public.


The darling, dillapidated old house in the photo is my mother's last home. My oldest sister Martha is moving out of it on Tuesday. I have until Saturday to get it completely cleaned out of junk and garbage and 13 years' worth of neglect.

That is more than enough to precipitate my upset tonight.

However, I have, oh!, so much more to cry about.

I'm probably going to have to pass on a potentially lucrative artwork assignment because my washing machine has broken... again.

Now, you're asking yourself why a broken washing machine would so wreck my schedule, but keep in mind, my schedule is tenuous even at the best of moments.

During the next week, I have to take my husband to the Atlanta airport so he can fly to Miami and have a nice vacation with his best friend Jim. I fly so many places -- and so often -- and I *hate* flying. But Wesley, who doesn't mind it, doesn't travel nearly as often as I do, and I'm so happy that he has this opportunity to go to a warm, tropical place and enjoy himself for a while. Miami is a great city, even if you don't have a dear friend living there. Wesley is going to have a blast.

Monday, Wesley will go to work as usual, and then he will rush like a madman to Athens to get three more things finished at Mama's house. Since he's going to be gone for the rest of the week, Monday evening is his only opportunity to retrieve the rocking chair that Mama rocked me to sleep in when I was a tot. I want that chair, even though it is seriously battered and desperately needs major restoration, including new springs, new stuffing, new paint, and new upholstery.

On Tuesday morning, he will put me and his suitcase into the beloved Prius (buy a hybrid and hug a tree!), and we will go to Atlanta to catch his flight to Miami. We leave at about 5:30 in the morning. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't deal with mornings very well. So I get to sleep on the way to Atlanta. One assumes that once Wesley is on the plane, I will have to rouse myself enough to drive home again later that morning.

After that, I have to clean out Martha's house. Martha is handicapped and cannot do it herself.

Here is where the broken washing machine becomes a big problem. We bought this wretched machine in July of 2000, when our 7-year-old washing machine died dramatically, hissing, sizzling, and leaking water in all directions. Just last year, this "new" washing machine started leaking badly, and we got it fixed -- for far too much money.

Now it does not spin properly at the end of the rinse cycle, which leaves the laundry sopping wet and way too heavy to put into the dryer. I -- this very minute, as I am typing -- I have drenched towels draped across the walls of my porch and carport in an effort to get them dry enough not to burn out the dryer's delicate motor.

Wait -- I have to get hold of myself before I can go on --

My finances were already at the breaking point. Last week, I told Wesley, "I have to get a part-time job." The fact is -- I spend more money than Wesley makes. I'm not sure when this happened, but it did, and somehow I cannot keep up with the evil Visa bill or save enough money to take a vacation this year. I clip coupons, I shop sales, I am ruthlessly frugal... and yet I'm falling behind. There is no help for it. I'm a glutton. The only thing that saves me money right now is my Prius.

Thank God for my Prius, or I would be in debt up to my *eyeballs*.

Wesley is *not* keen on my getting a part-time job. For one thing, I am particularly unsuited to working out in the real world. It makes me a little crazy. I haven't worked out there in the real world for nine *years*. I can't tell you how many jobs I've had -- camp counselor, advertising copywriter, eyeglasses salesperson, clothing salesperson, museum desk clerk, teacher, substitute teacher, professional gardener -- they all sucked out loud.

And frankly, the last jobs I held were through a temp agency that loved me to death because I had a high score on their little aptitude test *and* a college degree, so they made a ton of money out of leasing me out to various companies, usually in *accounting*. Can you believe it??? I am the worst mathmatician I know, but my temp agency always sent me to work in accounting. Every single temp job I ever had was offered to me as a full-time position. I always said no, because I could only stand working as a temp if I knew that there was light at the end of the tunnel and I didn't have to *stay* in that job longer than 7 or 8 months. (Usually not as long as that, really.)

I would love to say, "I'm a great employee." In a way, I am, because I'm a fast learner and responsible. But the truth is, I hate going to work every day. I hate it. It sucks my soul out of my head and makes me a very dark, very depressed, very dull, very unhappy person.

And I'm willingly thinking about getting a job that is going to turn me into the worst me possible.

So I can't take on any art assignments right now. I can't take on any writing assignments. I need to make some dough, fast. I need to buy a washing machine. I need to pay off the evil Visa bill. I NEED TO SAVE FOR A VACATION. We are all about vacation in this house. It keeps us sane. All four of us. And as completely bonkers as I am most of the time, we can use all the sanity we can get.

I don't have the time, money, or sanity to deal with a broken washing machine.

All things considered, I would rather be a monster truck rally fan. *Those* people know how to have fun. There. Now the title isn't a non-sequiter.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Very cool Las Vegas news...

You know how cool it was when I was in Las Vegas? You know how much I talked about the cool hotels, cool restaurants, cool shows, and cool roller coasters out there? Well, I went too early. There is now a really *great* reason to visit Las Vegas -- sometime in the next 10 days or so.

Check out my sister's blog for photos -- and prepare to drool. Seriously. Get a bib. When she called me this morning and told me to check my email -- and I saw these photos for the first time -- I *screamed*. Scared the kids to pieces, but hey, it was worth it.

Las Vegas is *way* too cool.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Daddy



I think this photo was taken by a photographer for the Atlanta Constitution, circa 1974. I'm not sure. It certainly looks like Daddy as I remember him from my childhood before he died on June 11, 1975, when he was 53 years old. Daddy was in the Atlanta Constitution in 1972 when he dug up several pre-Civil War jugs in a single 6' hole in a dump site before someone built a highrise building on that spot. That was a different picture, but it helped raise awareness of bottle-diggers in general.

Daddy was passionate about bottles and bottle-digging. I have discovered in my research that bottle-digging doesn't really mean digging in dumps -- mostly it means digging up old outhouse sites. Outhouses were the dumps for people in the boonies and small towns before the 20th century.

Bottle-digging was Daddy's fall and winter hobby. Daylilies and gardening were his spring and summer hobbies. He used to come home covered in mud, grinning from under the dirt, sporting new scratches and wounds and carrying dirty bottles. He would tell us wild stories to explain the scratches -- saber-toothed tigers or Indians were usually the causes of his wounds in his stories; the bottles were always the booty.

I have hardly any bottles left. But this photo tells quite a story, doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Speechless.

I don't really know what to say. I haven't even really figured out what I think.

For years, rumors have floated occasionally that Memory Makers magazine's offices would be moved involuntarily from Colorado to Ohio by the publishing company. F+W Publishing produces a number of periodicals, including the Writers Digest, and all those other publications are housed in Cincinnati. Memory Makers floated in Denver like a satellite, waxing and glowing on its own.

I've been writing for MM since -- oh, I think 2003. I've had 15 articles and 17 layouts published in their magazine and books since 2002, so I have spoken to, emailed with, and worked with a lot of people at that periodical. They were all so nice, and I was so proud of my work in the magazine because of their professionalism and high standards.

Over the last year, I've begun to believe that such a move was inevitable. I wasn't the only person who saw the writing on the wall -- Camp Memory Makers was axed, minor contests were cancelled, and frankly -- frankly -- MM stopped being competitive about paying freelance artists as much as other magazines do. The publishers became cheap and stingy with funds. When editors and staff members began handing in their resignations last year, I thought, "It has to be Ohio."

But at my most pessimistic and cynical, I never thought F+W would do what they've done.

I never thought that any publisher with any sense whatsoever would sack an entire magazine staff. It's insane. The readers have gotten to know the editors and staff members. They recognize their faces at conventions and trade shows. Debbie Mock, the executive editor, is such a warm, personable, professional, friendly girl that no one can help but smile when they meet her.

Monday night, when I first heard that MM was definitely moving to Cincinnati, I thought, "Well, that's to be expected." Tuesday when I found out that not a soul from Colorado is moving to Ohio, I felt sick to my stomach -- I mean, literally ill. F+W has posted the jobs on their website, and it looks as if the publisher wants a whole new staff to learn how to produce a magazine and coordinate & judge the Masters contest all at the same time.

I can understand why the publisher thinks it's necessary to move the offices to Ohio. Sorta. Not really. Maybe he isn't comfy with telecommuting in the age of computers. Maybe he just doesn't like Colorado. Maybe he's a total megalomaniacal control freak micromanager who can't handle having his finger out of a piece of his publishing pie.

But I cannot, for the life of me, understand why he pink-slipped the entire staff. These people have each been doing several peoples' jobs for the last 8 months, because as editors left the magazine to pursue other opportunities, the publisher refused to let MM hire replacements. The skeleton crew left at the Colorado offices have been moving mountains and performing miracles on a daily basis, despite the publisher's best efforts to undermine the magazine.

So on the one hand, I am furious with F+W. Part of me never wants to write another syllable for them again. Their treatment of the staff makes me want to scream and pull out someone's hair.

On the other hand -- what goes around, comes around.

And finally, I know that every person at MM -- who have behaved as elegantly and admirably as anyone could in this situation -- will be OK. Eventually. The coming weeks and months (since they have to keep producing the magazine until the end of June, even though they know they're doomed) are going to be rough, but I know that they'll all be OK in the end. Because they're too good not to succeed.

If there's any justice, at least, that's what's going to happen.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Weekends are for retail therapy


There, that's better.

I went shopping. It's amazing what a little retail therapy can do for a gal's disposition!

The loose chipboard letters are We R Memory Keepers letters that come in yummy, big boxes with 100 chunky letters for playing. I already had the serif font, so this time I got the sans serif style.

The Gin X rub-ons have a good reputation for peeling off the backing easily, and the Creative Imaginations rub-ons are such great, big, beautiful monograms that I couldn't resist.

The Chip Chatter letters? I've wanted some of those since they first appeared on Scraptalk.

All of my paintbrushes have disappeared (thanks, Emily), so I stopped at WalMart and grabbed a value pack of cheap brushes. I don't treat brushes nicely enough to indulge in really good ones.

Beads, ribbons, and background papers are all from the latest Paisley kit from Club Scrap. Technically, I didn't buy them this weekend, but they soothe my soul nonetheless. Just fondling the embossed paper is enough to restore some of my sanity.

Now to just find some in-focus photos to scrap -- I should be busy!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pretty spring, painful spring


Spring has always been my favorite time of year. I love the things that bloom; I adore it when grass starts growing again, and I hold my breath for weeks waiting for that day -- that one day -- when the trees' leaves suddenly unfurl themselves. Around here, that always happens in a single day. One day the trees are covered with buds, and the next, new, kelly-green leaves are soaking up the sun.

When I was 16, I fell in love with a wrong guy just because I was paying more attention to spring than to what I was doing. He wasn't bad. He was just wrong.

At the same time, Mama and Amy and I moved into Mama's last house.

Spring time will always be connected with old houses and new paint for me because of that year. When you're in love for the first time, everything seems to be in sharper focus. I can remember lying on the canvas-covered floor in the living room while Mama painted the shelves that the contractor built for her. I was memorizing lines for a play and daydreaming about my new love, and Mama was putting the finishing touches on a gorgeous old house.

When my first love broke my heart, I cried my eyes out in a strange, beautiful new bedroom. That house is intrinsically connected to pain and love.

Ten years later, Mama died in that house on April 16th.

Pain. Love. And spring time.

Now I have to say goodbye to Mama's house just as spring comes back to it. The crocuses that grow in the side yard under the littlest maple tree are blooming. Every spring since 1983 I've watched them come up and bloom, and every year I've said to myself, "The lily-of-the-valley are next."

But this year, when the lily-of-the-valley start blooming, I won't have the right to walk around to their hidden bed and breathe in their scent. I didn't take any pictures of them when I did have the right to do so.

Pain. Regret. And spring will keep coming -- to my house, to Mama's house even though she isn't there any more, and everywhere else, I guess.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The antithesis of "good"

I had a bad evening. As I wrote to my sister earlier, I could have picked a fight with a streetlight, but it wouldn't have emitted a sufficiently satisfying hair flip.

So I'm sitting here and trying to piece together something mildly resembling polite bloggage, and I'm really sorry, but I'm coming up empty.

I didn't make a layout.

I didn't create a piece of art for Found Art.

I didn't have a great day homeschooling.

I didn't write anything.

I had major disasters with the cooking of dinner.

I am jealous to the core of my being that incredibly young, untried, unschooled, undeserving little girls keep walking off with awards and kudos that women my age really should have gotten instead. (Go rent "Transamerica" and tell me Felicity Huffman wasn't ROBBED.)

And to top it all off, I picked two fights with my husband (the poor dear) and two fights with my daughter (the poor girl). The only things in this house currently on speaking terms with me are my son and my parrot. And frankly, Cosmo almost bit my nose.

Cosmo is my parrot, not my son. Thank heaven.

Even the cat is looking me as if I am a dog.

I even failed at taking a decent photo of the ink wells Emily dug out from under Mama's house Sunday. See?


The ink wells on the left have been with me for years. The ink wells on the right are dirty and will take me a decade to clean out properly. Can you tell anything about them? No? Well, join the club. As far as I can tell, they're all Milton Berle. Or dryer lint. Pick one.

So I guess the moral to tonight's grumpy blog post is...

Marry rich. If you don't have the money to back up your bad moods, then there's just no point in being hard to get along with.

Thursday must be better -- right?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Little Picture Scrapbooking



Over the weekend, I finished a layout about our first day of homeschooling. That auspicious occasion took place in August of the year 2000, when I was still using a regular 35mm film camera. And, of course, when I was taking notoriously awful photographs.

With my spiffy new digital camera, I still take some pretty horrid shots. The difference is that I can delete them, or if necessary, I can upload them to the computer and fix the problems with my handy-dandy PhotoShop Elements 3.0 program.

When I started working on the last layout, I had two other layouts in mind, with photos set aside along with papers and ideas. In absolutely no time at all, I realized, "Oh, my gosh, this homeschool layout is going to be awful." Why? Because the photos were so bad. I couldn't even find the negatives to try to scan and correct the photos or have good reprints made in larger sizes.

I was really stuck. I felt incompetent and untalented. OK, I almost always feel untalented when it comes to layout composition. I rely on the "rule of thirds" as if my life depends on it. But I was struggling with pictures that were really imperfect, trying to make a layout that was perfect.

Fortunately, I have friends who save me from myself. Becky Thompson, who is an online teacher with Big Picture Scrapbooking, fussed at me because I had forgotten the most important tenet of scrapbooking: HAVE FUN. She illustrated her point by creating a layout with a truly awful photograph that was completely out of focus, blurred, and smeared all the way across the photo. It was of her daughter's 10th birthday, one of those occasions that you really want to scrapbook and keep fresh forever.

And... it was a great layout. Maybe it'll never get published -- but maybe it *should* be published. Maybe all of our less-than-stellar photos should be scrapped and published because, really, aren't *real* scrapbookers working with more pictures like these than with totally gorgeous, completely sublime, professional-quality photographs like the ones we see in the magazines?

Thanks to Becky's prompting, I readdressed my homeschool layout and stopped putting so much pressure on my poor photos to do the hard work of helping me create a scrapbook page that was perfect. I accepted imperfection. I didn't spend more than a day inking, embossing, braiding, sewing, pounding eyelets, or cutting letters. Instead of using those time-consuming techniques, I kept it simple. I dashed out some journaling, used the embellishments that came in the Club Scrap kit, and ended my weekend with a layout that I really love.

Of course Woodrow has demonic red eyes in one picture. Certainly we can't see Emily's face in the other photo. But we have a layout that accurately depicts the first day we homeschooled, and that is going to last for centuries.

Maybe more layouts should feature these reality-driven *little* pictures.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Not Tagged

I’ve never been tagged on these “meme” challenges for bloggers. That’s OK – I hardly ever need an idea to kickstart a blog post. My brain is almost always filled up with some kind of drivel that I’ll be writing down eventually.

However, I read one on Jennifer Stewart’s blog, and I found the questions so interesting that I thought I would answer them even though no one tagged me. So here I go – my first meme/tag thingamabob on my blog –

What scrapbooking lines/products do you dislike?
I used to be infamous for my profound dislike of Twistel, the evil paper yarn of yore. That rotten stuff was dyed and twisted up more tightly than a virgin bride's legs on her wedding night. People actually untwisted their own Twistel and sent it to me in an effort to coax me out of my grumpiness. Those people were sweet! But Twistel was evil. I’m glad it has disappeared from the scrapbooking lexicon.

What is the hardest thing you've ever had to scrap?
Emotionally, I have a hard time scrapping anything related to my Aunt Martha. I didn’t know her because she died when I was a baby, but I heard the stories. She was a sad, sad person. Physically, I have difficulty scrapping just about everything else. I’m just not a gifted artist. The entire process is a struggle from start to finish, and I usually scare my cat, introduce my children to new profanities, and injure myself or my surroundings in the making of each new layout.

What technique do you use more than anything else?
Inking. Ink, ink, ink. If it sits still long enough, I’ll probably throw some ink on it.

What is the smallest scrap of paper that you save?
7x7”. That’s big enough to double-mat a standard snapshot and still have room for something to be punched out of it, like big photo corners or flowers. I have too much paper to be saving scraps -- unless, of course, it's truly precious paper like the glorious old Club Scrap Impressionist kit. I have some 2x3" scraps of that. Yummy.

Have you ever had any scrap-related injuries?
Laws, yes. I have a piece of glass still stuck in my foot after two and a half years. Let me just say that microscope slides are great, but microscope slide covers are not so cool. They break too easily, and the slivers hide in the carpet.

Finish this sentence: "If I weren't a scrapper/stamper, I would spend my money on..."
Hmmmmm – I think if I weren’t a scrapper/stamper, I would be forced to spend my money on therapy, because I would go insane if I didn’t have this artistic outlet.

Give us your best storage or organizational idea.
Hire Cori Dahmen to organize your scrap space. I know, she lives on the other side of the continent. However, I am not the least bit organized, and Cori is not only gifted in that department, but she likes to build shelves. So my best idea is to kidnap Cori, bring her home, and let her loose in your scrap space. Then you can both go to Starbucks to celebrate!

You just won a week-long scrapbooking cruise. Who are you taking with you?
Wow – a tough one! Denise Tucker, first of all – I’ve been writing to her for five years and still haven’t met her. Kathi Rarek, because she’s the QK Bomb. Terri Zwicker, because I want to absorb her genius. … I’m thinking…… Yyyyyyyeah, I can’t pick just four. For the last spot, I would bring everybody on my little design critiques Yahoogroup. They’ll just have to share a bed, that’s all.

When you received your first publication notification, who did you tell?
My sister Amy. Amy is the first person I tell *everything* to. She’s my best best friend.

Now that I've done this, I seriously doubt I'll do another. It's hard to come up with short answers for such questions -- and I couldn't be pithy to save myself! Back to the scrap table...