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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Seven little stories...

I am loving this. Seven little stories about our everyday lives each week. GREAT idea!
for credits:

What's your story?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wre-vise, Wre-write, Wednesday: Use a conversation for your story

Conversations--either exactly word for word, or something very close to what may have been said, make great stories. Or just story starters: Here's a couple examples:

He’s going to get me on my birthday. What? Mr. Ashcroft—he’s going to get me for my birthday. He draws a mustache on every kid on their birthday... with permanent marker. Emily certainly talked as if she was dreading the face doodling, but the grin on her face when she got home, was proof otherwise.Emily’s birthday stretched over the weekend. On Friday she her friends came for a sleepover. On Sunday she opened her gifts. But the crowning event of the birthday? Her mustache and unibrow courtesy of Mr. Ashcroft.

Another example:
Dave and I stood next to the house craning our necks, gazing 34 feet in the air at the newly closed-in roof.
He broke the silence, “It’s too steep—and it’s way up there.”
“But roofing is on the list of things we agreed to do to save money.”
“I’m worth more per hour working, than I’m saving by roofing.”
“I thought you were going to do your parts early in the mornings and late at nights and still work.”
“If I fall off the roof, we can’t afford the house.”
Earl interrupted our argument, “I have a nephew who does roofing. He’s in college, but maybe he’d be interested. I can check and see what he’d charge.”The argument abated, and Earl’s nephew Joe agreed to a very reasonable price. In fact the roof came in at budget--$5000--because the shingles were less expensive through Lowe’s.

Now lets try a rewrite of Monday's spark using conversation--this time I think I"ll have to have one with myself-- a conversation of what was going on in my head:

On the first Tuesday in January I planned to finish entering the transactions for both businesses for the last two months of the year.
Clicking on Quickbooks, “What? Can’t find xyz.qbp? Nonsense.”
I shut down Quickbooks and opened it again. “Oh, maybe my external hard drive is off. That’s it.” I shut it off, turned it on and began again.
“Still no file found. Well I can find it then.” I quickly started looking in all the obvious places.
“That’s funny—I wonder where it should be.” “I’ll just search the J drive” Nothing. “Wrong file name?” Nothing—about this time a mild panic begins to set in.
“It’s got to be here somewhere. I got the new computer in August and I KNOW I’ve entered transactions since then. Now why won’t it find it? I couldn’t have erased it.”
“The only time I messed with anything was when I..cleaned…out…the…hard….drive…to make room for scrapping stuff!!!!” Now the major panic is setting in as I repeatedly, but fruitlessly explore EVERY file on the external drive. “I couldn’t have. Well, I could have, but I WOULDN’T have.”
“Nothing. There is nothing anywhere. I actually erased 10 months of transactions in SEVEN accounts. This is going to take forever to recreate. I should’ve kept my bank statements neater. I hope I HAVE all my bank statements. I think I have a headache. I need some chocolate and a nap.”

Not all stories can use a conversation, but sometimes it's a great way to tell the story. Try it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Template Tuesday

This one has plenty of flexibility, depending on your story. My story was too big for one box, so I combined two. You could combine three or use two on top and two on the bottom.

You can read the story and see the credits here:
Download the template here:
What's your story?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Memory spark Monday: What is one thing you want to accomplish today?

Hmmmm….Back in October my digi-scrappin’ supplies started growing. When I got the new compy in August, I had them turn my old hd into an external hd, so I started moving stuff there, but it was nearly full, so one day I started cleaning it up: deleting program files, etc so I could fill it up with digi stuff. I kept a few things—my genealogy files, Dave’s business files, all my pic files, etc. Anyway, November and December were so busy with work, that I didn’t enter anything in Quickbooks, so when the first week of January arrived and I tried to open my quickbooks files, I found them missing. I was SO discouraged. I didn’t keep anything neat or organized, but at least I kept it. I spent one day sorting all the papers, and then began the arduous task of re-entered every item in ALL SEVEN accounts!!!!!! It seems that “money” has been the top of my to-do list EVERY day, including my days off. Today, I want to finish the last account, track down the discrepancies, and get on to W-2’s, W-3’s, 1099’s and 1096’s.

Loving that Project 365...

I think I love it most because it encourages me to collect one little story every day--not so much about the photos, but about the everyday stories of our lives. That's it. One story a day. One little paragraph. You can do it!

For details and credits:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Project 365

I hesitated to jump on the project 365 bandwagon. I want to focus more on stories than taking more pictures. But when I saw Denise's LO's
and all the story, I couldn't resist. Here's my first couple of weeks:

To see them up close and for credits:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

REALLY good book

I just received my copy of "Your Words Your Story". EXCELLENT book for scrapbookers who want more than the name, date, place type of journaling. I've just read a little here and there...more to come later.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wre-vise, Wre-write, Wednesday: free writing

Free writing…what to do BEFORE you need to edit. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar…just write. Imagine a good friend sitting on the couch next to you—or out to lunch. Write as if you were telling her your story. Imagine her asking questions—(write them too if you like). If you write as if you are talking to a friend, your writing will sound comfortable, familiar—it will sound like you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Template Tuesday

By request, this weeks template has no room for stories, but works great as a cover or divider page. It's 8.5x11, but easily converted.

For the full credits on my version: http://www.scrapmatters.com/gallery3/showphoto.php/photo/19459/ppuser/588
Note: I had to recreate all the little photo clipping masks--so as not to pirate someone else's work, so the template is a little different.
You can download it here: http://www.4shared.com/file/80049465/2bae8b5f/chelle_08_template.html

What's your story?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Memory Spark Monday: How did your Grandfather support his family?

Dh and I first met at a church activity for single adults—not much interaction, but we did notice one another. At a dance a few weeks later, we got a chance to talk one-on-one. I still remember something he said. I asked him what he did for a living, and he told me he sells insurance—not out of an office, mostly door to door. I wasn’t turned off by that information, I have a very successful insurance salesman uncle. But I burst out laughing with his next remark: “It’s not like I’m a Fuller-brush man.”
For as long as I can remember, my grandpa was a Fuller-Brush man. I know he tried other careers early on, but that was his real forte. He knew everyone in every small town for hundreds of miles around. And everyone knew him and his camper. Sometimes he had to take a customer’s order and bring it back, but mostly he stocked his camper and tried to deliver at the time of order. All eight of my aunts helped as they grew up. I remember Aunt Tami and Barb’s white 3-speed bikes they got so they could “go selling.” “Out selling” and “Gone delivering” were answers to the question, “Where’s grandpa?” As a job, it worked well with his little farm and his BIG garden.
He was good at it. Once when a policeman pulled him over, after some conversation about how much the ticket would be, he must’ve asked the policeman to give him a warning. The policeman refused, but when Grandpa saw his name, he said, “That’s OK, I know your wife, and I’ll go sell her enough to take care of this ticket—you’ll actually end up paying for it.” Legend is that the policeman tore up the ticket, so he only made a modest sale with the cop’s wife.

What's your story?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fabulous Friday

When he asked what I wanted for our anniversary, I told my DH that I wanted TIME. Lately work and being a wife/mother/homemaker has been overwhelming. I GOT IT! He gave me coupons good for--things I normally do that he would do so I could have a break. I used the biggest one today. He is taking our son to the doctor (two hours away). Including the LONG time @ the doctor and drive time, he gave me 7 or 8 hours!!!! Awesome husband! I'm choosing to ignore everything and spend the day on stories!
Technically he also got me a cleaning lady, so I don't even have to feel guilty for ignoring everything. She doesn't keep the house uncluttered, I do, but since I have to keep it uncluttered for her to be able to clean, it's looking pretty good.

Busy scrapping week

See the links below for a close-up version and details:
Technically both Closer Look and Work, Work, Work will have a second spread about that topic to help tell the rest of the story. I have done the booth (closer look) for 5 years now. I have a printed book about the first three years. Now that I've done two more, I have enough more story to finish another book. Hmmm...another book to add to my stories in progress list.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Want to use your own handwriting in your book?

There are several free or low cost handwriting font generators out there. I’ve used FontCreator by HighLogic for the past five years. (I used to sell handwriting fonts on E-bay—before it was so easy to create them) I haven’t used their fontgenerator program, but based on my experience with the company, I would expect that it would work well. http://www.high-logic.com/fontcreator.html

The funny thing is although I made a font of my handwriting:

And even in cursive:
It still doesn’t quite look real—what makes my handwriting look handwritten is all the inconsistencies. I don’t always make my L’s the same height. Especially now that I use the computer so much for writing, my handwriting is MUCH messier than the font. But the biggest problem is that my handwriting was difficult to read in blocks of text. I ended up making it large, bold, and double spaced. Still, I used it in at least three yearbooks.

Then I stumbled on this site: http://kevinandamanda.com/fonts/fontsforpeas/category/script-print-mix/
Hundreds of free handwriting fonts! You can submit your writing sample and she may make your font for free. I picked one I like—what I WISH my handwriting was, but still one that is plain enough to read in large blocks of text. My favorite is PeaJay.

you can get it here: http://kevinandamanda.com/fonts/fontsforpeas/index.php?s=PeaJay&x=9&y=20

Have fun!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wre-vise, Wre-write, Wednesday: What are you trying to say?

I’ve mentioned before that my writing is most successful when I decide ahead of time what I want to convey. Today I want to elaborate. For example: This is my daughter’s last 100 point parade.
The school is usually calm.
This is a wild and crazy and noisy event that the whole school participates in.
The last one is most important. I decided the best way to convey this was to create a scene: to describe the event as if you were watching it happen, rather than just give a summary after. I needed to start with the calm, go to the craziness, and back to the calm. I think it worked for this story:
The halls are quiet. The few students not in class are walking quietly with their hands at their sides. At precisely 2:45 Mrs. Bott reaches for the intercom microphone and announces the beginning of the 100 point AR parade. All the classrooms are emptied as excited students pour out into the hallways. They line up, some with noisemakers as they prepare for the parade. Emily and the other 100 point-ers move quickly to the office in their brightly colored Lewiston Leopard Reader shirts and line up behind the principal. When everyone is ready, he turns the siren on and heads down the first hall. Teachers bang on noisemakers and ring cow-bells, students shout and cheer as the paraders run by. The only time it is OK to run in the halls is when you are following the principal in the 100 point parade. Four hundred and fifty high-fives as they run by each of the kids. They exit the building and return in the next hall. Out the back door, and into the next building. Past the 5th graders, some who are tall enough to make tunnels with their arms, the runners dash and dart. Three short minutes later it’s all over-except for the lunch room, where parents and students line up for their “picture with the principal for the wall-of-fame.” The calmness returns to the halls.
Mr. Thomas started the 100 point parade when Emily was in 1st grade, and when he left, Mr. Baker continued the much loved tradition. Most years Emily read enough AR books to earn a spot in the parade. This year as her last at Lewiston, was also her last 100 point parade. She chose the bright pink shirt-the most popular this year-even with the boys. We are so proud of her!
Here’s my finished LO:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Template Tuesday

This is one of my one-page favorites:
Here’s my finished LO:

You can get the template here:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Memory Spark Monday: Smells

Pick a place from your past that has a unique smell. Tell about it.
The smell of Sky View High. Although I hadn’t been in the main hallways in a few years, and haven’t walked the hallways daily for many years, when we stepped inside the “old” portion to work on Dad’s classroom, that familiar odor hit me like ___________(still trying to find what fits here best)
What warm smells like after riding with Dad to school on a below zero morning.
What excitement smells like on the first morning of summer marching band practice.
What nervous smells like on the first night of the school musical.
What sadness smells like on the last day of school each year.
What jubilation smells like as the basketball team defeats Mountain Crest.
What happiness smells like at graduation.
What apprehension smells like on my first day of student teaching.

It’s a combination: chlorine from the indoor pool, cleaners, dust from the heating/cooling systems, paint, floor polish—it’s hard to describe, but it smells exactly the same way it did __(not telling)__ years ago when I walked the halls as a sophomore.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A few LO's from this week...

Got a few LO's done this week. I LOVE how the story on the first one turned out. I'm learning that thinking about what I want to convey before I start writing helps me get it right.
you can find the details and the story here: http://www.scrapmatters.com/gallery3/showphoto.php/photo/19787/ppuser/588

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Light text on a dark background

Light fonts on dark backgrounds are HARD to read. One way to compensate is by using BOLD so the letters are thicker and thus easier to read. I recommend printing a sample of your LO in the exact size you'll print the final--then hand it to someone else to read it. Not knowing the story, they will be a good judge of the readability.
On a medium background, using a shadow--very small--behind the text can also improve readability.
PS. Remember readability in an online gallery or on your screen does not equal readability in print. Always test first!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Thank ol’ Mrs. Anderson for this one.
Mrs. Anderson was my seventh grade English teacher who insisted the class adhere to every motherlovin’ grammar rule… no matter how archaic. Or stupid.
As as result, everyone learned to write dreadful passive prose. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seldom met a passive sentence I liked. Chances are good you’ve got a Mrs. Anderson in your past, too. Exorcise that demon’s teaching immediately.
Examples of passive sentences:
The awards presentation this year will be emceed by Wink Martindale.
My daughter was given a turtle by my sister-in-law.
Notice how the subjects of the sentences are receiving the action? Blech. Here’s how to fix them: Wink Martindale will emcee this year’s awards presentation.
My sister-in-law gave a turtle to my daughter.
Here, the sentence subjects are performing the actions. Subjects — not to mention your readers — yearn for action. Don’t disappoint them.
This is the best sample of this I could find. Most of my editing involves more than one tip, but this one has a lot of active rather than passive sentences:
The sunrise was obscured by the clouds The steely gray clouds obscured the sunrise as I made my way over to the site. I shivered in my coat that was too small. I shivered in my coat that began refusing to zip up about 40 pounds ago, and my thin knit pants. Any indian summer warmth from the sun’s rays was swallowed up by the clouds. A cold front had brought in a storm. Heavy with moisture, they’d arrived over night on a cold front that was still trying to blow away every last leaf clinging to the nearly bare trees. I was sitting in my chair looking for the excavation guy. Perched on the edge of the ditch-bank in my camp chair, I scanned the roads, eyes peeled and ears perked for signs of the earthmoving equipment. As I tugged the jacket around my waist, I contemplated the irony of the situation.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Template Tuesday

This template is patterned after an idea I saw on http://www.designerdigitals.com/ They have a daily dose of digital calendar with an inspirational idea each day. This one is from July 18th--that's right, I couldn't wait and see them one day at a time--I cheated and looked at the whole year already:)I used it on the left side of this LO: (moving my story and the title to the right side)
PS--The template has a LOW quality tear. Do your own or use a purchased one. Mine is from Rachel's scraps.Lastly, you can download the template here: http://www.4shared.com/file/78936172/8d992c13/template_7.html

Monday, January 5, 2009

Just finished..

...the cover for our 2008 yearbook! Had to share! Wondering about putting a page in the front cover detailing what all the pics are! It's hard for me to have a page with NO story.Remember CB often has some sort of deal near the end of January w/regards to yearbooks. Make sure you are ready!

Memory Spark Monday: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

I believe peanut butter and chocolate were meant to be together. My favorite ice cream treat is a Cold Stone Creamery Signature Flavor, Peanut Butter Cup Perfection: chocolate ice cream with peanut Butter, Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups and fudge kneaded in. Mmmmm! This is the dessert we have most often after our Friday night dates. We get a Like-it or Love-it size to share. I eat ‘til I’m too full, then Dave finishes it off.
A simple one today to get the year started off right!
What's your story?

Friday, January 2, 2009

A really long story

When Mark got sick right before Christmas last year, he ended up too sick for ear surgery on Dec 26th. I didn’t realize that was the least of the trouble we’d have with his ear surgery. We were scheduled for surgery February 4th. On Thursday, January 30th, I got a call from the hospital about pre-registering. One thing led to another and by evening we were in trouble. The OR claimed they can’t proceed with the surgery without a release from a cardiologist. The pediatric cardiologists are booked out three months-and that’s if you have an “urgent” problem. I problem solved all night, finally deciding my best chance of success was to get Dr. Odell (primary care) or Dr. Blotter (ent-surgeon) to talk an anesthesiologist into ignoring protocol. By mid afternoon on Friday, Dr. Odell’s office had confirmed that Dr. Palfreyman would do the anesthesia IF Dr. Odell saw Mark to give him clearance before the 6 am Monday morning surgery. That meant I had two hours to get Mark out of school and to the Doctor’s office. When Dave & I left for our date, I turned Mark over to the nurse with instructions NOT to let him get a fever. If we could make it until Monday morning, Mark could have the surgery.
Our first stop on our date was the hospital. Earlier that afternoon my sister had her baby. We stopped by the new Women’s Center, just to take a peek at him. They hide the babies in the new center, but they let us into her room where we got to hold little Kasey. What a fun reason to visit the hospital.
Monday morning came early, but once we arrived at the hospital, we had to wait forever! A young child had inhaled peanuts, so Dr. Blotter was in emergency surgery for a couple of hours. Finally after Mark’s surgery, we took him home with a “dressing on his head.” He was alert, but drifted in and out of sleep the rest of the day. By the next morning he just wanted that “dressing” off his head and he wouldn’t quit scratching at his face. We put his knee immobilizers on his arms so he could not get at his ear or face. He still rubbed his head against the soft fabric of the immobilizer for so long he rubbed a spot on his face above his eyebrow completely raw—then kept rubbing as it bled. Apparently as the Loritab wears off, it makes you itch. Over the next couple of days I spent a lot of time holding and rocking him.
Wednesday morning we went to see the urologist. A consultation recommended by Dr. Odell. I decided mid-morning when Marky was home anyway would work great. At a follow up appointment on Monday, the 11th, Dr. Blotter released him to return to school on Thursday. By Wednesday night, his incision was getting red. Thursday morning, the 14th, the nurse said his incision appeared to be coming apart. I took him back to see Dr. Bennion. (Dr. Blotter was out of town). While Mark sat upright in my lap, Dr. Bennion removed the bandaid/dressing and peeled Mark’s ear right off his head. Sure enough, the dissolving stitches had dissolved before his body had healed.*** It was as gross as it sounds. I turned away and Dr. Blotter’s daughter who was “job shadowing” Dr. Bennion joined Natalie waiting out in the hall. Dr. Bennion put in some sutures, but was concerned about infection. He put him on a couple of fairly serious antibiotics and sent us home with instructions to come back if it looked worse. It did. We went back to the doctors’ office again on Friday (15th) for him to “pack” the wound. Back again on Saturday (16th) to re-“pack.” When we showed up on Sunday (17th) morning, he sent us over to the hospital. Mark’s fevers were too high and the antibiotics didn’t seem to be fixing the problem. When Mark gets a fever, his stomach stops working, which means he is throwing up and getting dehydrated.
Once we were settled on the pediatrics floor, Dr. Armstrong, the pediatrician on call, ran the usual tests and started serious IV antibiotics. Monday (18th) was Presidents’ Day. With the antibiotics, Mark’s fever was down and his fluid levels were back up. Dr. Blotter stopped by to change the packing. By Tuesday morning he was tolerating small slow feedings. With all the RSV in the hospital, Dr. Odell wanted him to go home before he got sick, but he needed at least a week more of the IV antibiotics. I’ve learned to do a lot of things, but taking care of/starting IVs is NOT one of them. Because of the destructive nature of the antibiotics and the extended length of time he would be getting them, a picc line would be best—and I could be trained to take care of it at home. So we headed to the Emergency Room for the picc line to be put in.
A picc line is an IV that goes in near your elbow, threaded through your veins up and ending right above your heart. I’m not fond of watching Mark get poked, so I went to the cafeteria. They still weren’t done when I returned. To determine if they are in the right place, they draw back blood and run a test—the amount of oxygen tells them if they are in an OK place, but they kept getting funny results. After an hour, they decided a CT scan would be necessary to determine if it was in the right place. Mark had been lying still on his back sedated during this procedure and he continued to sleep through the move. I sat back in the little technician’s booth while they did the CT scan, watching and listening. The picc nurses still couldn’t find the tip of the line. They had to call in Dr. Bitwinski, the radiologist. He was furious. Not noticing me in the background, he banged his finger on the screen as he shouted, “You can’t find it because you’ve got it clear down here in the (bottom chamber of the heart)!” So they pulled it back “a ways” and sewed it in place. We got loaded up and went home on Tuesday (19th).
Unfortunately two hours on his back not moving-no coughing, no suctioning-was too much for Marky’s lungs. By noon the next afternoon we were back in the doctor’s office. This time Dr. Clarke—Dr. Odell had the day off. He order an X-ray by Dr. Anderson, then sent us to the Emergency Room. Instead of the picc line going down to just above his heart, it was up into his head. In the Emergency room, Dr. Armstrong ordered another X-ray—this time of his whole chest. Dr. Job confirmed that Marky had pneumonia—in addition to whatever the antibiotics were fighting. We checked back into the hospital after being home for less than 24 hours.
Around this time (Wednesday the 20th) we learned that in addition to the pneumonia, Marky had MRSA. (Not really an infection, but rather a class of bacteria resistant to many antibiotics—meaning we needed the picc line and the “big guns” antibiotics. Unfortunately, Marky’s kidneys were not handling the stress very well. He was swelling up like a balloon. After some albumin and lasix, on Friday the 22nd we took Mark home again. This time on oxygen for the pneumonia and a couple of IV antibiotics. Funny thing: The nurses who take care of him at night are LPN’s. They are not “qualified” to administer IV drugs. However, me, the mom with NO nursing training, AM qualified. That meant that I had to give Marky’s meds at least once overnight—start it, sleep for an hour, and take it off. It’s not something you can do half asleep and I was really getting tired of Marky being sick.
By Wednesday the 27th Marky returned to school. He could’ve gone on the 25th, but while he was out, the school fired his nurse and hired a new one, who wasn’t available until the 27th. He was still on oxygen and the IV meds, but happy to be getting back to normal. All told he attended school four days in February.
He kind of plateaued for the next week. Not making much improvement, but not getting worse either. Some mornings he would wake up with a puffy face. His kidneys were worrying Dave and I, so we took our puffy little boy to Primary Children’s Emergency Room on March 6th. Not an emergency, but the only way to get a kidney consult is to go to the kidney doctors resident hospital. Dr. Wood was mildly concerned about the puffiness-worried that the picc line was causing a problem, she ordered a sonogram of his arm to look for blood clots. Dr. Prince found nothing remarkable. Marky solved the problem by filling THREE diapers while we were in the office. By the time we left he wasn’t puffy at all. But the visit resulted in an appointment with the nephrology department head two weeks later.
By the next day (Friday Feb 6th), I told Dr. Blotter’s office staff that I was pulling the IV. In theory he still needed three more days of antibiotics, but his little body had had enough. His arm was warm above the IV and the puffiness was back. We pulled it that night. By Monday he was back to schoo-no oxygen-back to normal.
***Eventually we learned a few things about Marky’s kidneys. We already knew they spill protein and according to his last kidney doctor nothing could be done about it. Now we know what that means—(1) proteins are how the body heals and grows. Marky’s ear did not heal before the stitches dissolved because of the low protein in his blood. At his “other ear” surgery, his doctors used slower-dissolving stitches to solve this problem; (2) the body stores immunity information in proteins—because he “pees it off” his body doesn’t remember it had this cold already—which is why he gets sick over and over and over; (3)Precautions need to be taken when Mark is dehydrated. Too much of the wrong kind of fluid sends him off balance the other way. We now have a protocol of what to do—and it’s worked the handful of times we’ve had to use it; (4)it is fixable. Dr. Nelson put Mark on a couple of drugs that over the last year have almost stopped the protein spillage. He’s happier, healthier, and growing well.
Marky’s second ear surgery in August didn’t go as well. Due to vein anomalies they couldn’t do the canal wall down part of the surgery. It still took him several weeks to get better. And although it wasn’t as scary-we did go to the ER 4 times for a new IV. The MRSA flared up again, but I refused to have a picc line put in, so near the end of his round of IV meds, we had to get a replacement IV every other day.