Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Here They Are

...the Christmas pics you must have been anxiously waiting for. I know I was.

Friday I got up at 5 a.m. and had the kids in the car by 5:30. Unfortunately my bank was not cooperating with my desire to be on the road early. There had been some problems occurring out of state on people's Texas ATM cards so they blocked all out of state transactions without telling us. Fortunately, the credit card that pulls directly from my checking account still worked, or I would have been stuck. It wasn't until I was on the road for 3 hours or so that I got a hold of the bank and heard the whole story and the teller was able to pull the block on my account. After that, everything was smooth sailing.

Santa was driving a big rig!!

Eleven hours later (blech) I made it to my destination and was able to meet with my good friend for dinner. Every year she and I have a standing engagement to get together and exchange gifts and enjoy good food. I was so glad to see her and share what's been going on. It's a lot better than trying to converse via text. (By the way, I hate texting.) We then went on to my mother's place to crash.

The next day, we went on a shopping spree to get last minute Christmas gifts and to get my son new jeans. (Never let your husband pack for your children or they may have to go naked for the rest of the trip.)

Sunday the kids got up at a decent hour (7 a.m.) and we opened presents before mom went to mass. We all got great presents from mom and from my brother. (He is the great gift shipper.)

 Yes, that was THE tree.

Ooh, is that gift from me?? 
(They were art supplies from brother dear.)

When mom got back from service at her church we piled in the car and went to my home church and enjoyed a nice service and hugged a few necks

Most people will have some sort of turkey/ham/big meat dinner. Not us.When we got home we got to making a yummy Christmas breakfast complete with fruit, pancakes, eggs, sausage, and bacon.

Seeing this table setting really is making me miss this lady...
...and her table decorations.

Unfortunately, I work at a year round school. (Fortunately I have a job I can complain about.) Because of the strange schedule, we only get the actual holiday off so I had to drive back to Missouri on the Monday after Christmas. It took a lot of caffeine, sugar, and potty breaks. I also kept my oldest awake to talk and sing and laugh at the comedy station on the satellite radio. When we arrived, the kids found what Santa had left at our REAL house. They were very excited, but it happened so quickly, I didn't get to take any pictures.

I don't know if I will post before the new year, so if I don't see you,


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Alive!!! computer that is.

My children killed my computer again. It took some major intervention to revive it. I hope it lasts for a while now.

What did I do while I was disconnected? Mom stuff, creative stuff, work stuff. Let's take a look.

 White chocolate dipped Rice Krispy treat pops.

 M&M cookies
 Tissue paper art
 Yes, those "paintings" are made entirely from tissue paper and black Sharpie poster paint markers.

Yesterday, I finally got around to putting up the tree. What was the delay?? We couldn't find the Christmas decorations. I believe the packers took them out of the clear Rubbermaid containers, wrapped them individually and packed them in a cardboard box. I am sure I am thankful that they were so careful with them. I am wondering why they didn't label the boxes, though. What's a mom to do then? We strung popcorn and Cheerios and topped the tree with a random angel.

After tomorrow, I will be away from the computer until Monday night. The kids and I will be off to my mother's for Christmas and she is still not connected to internet yet. Just know that I will be thinking of you while I am gone. I will stop by and visit each person who leaves me a comment. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Daily 8

Wouldn't you know it? The moment I hit send (well it felt that way) my battery charger showed up. I was in the process of turning my nook under the stairs into a more office-like environment, and I was pulling things out of a tote bag that came from the other apartment. Lo and behold, there it was! The wayward charger. I think the act of purchasing a new one took the worry of my dead camera away freeing up space in my mind allowing me to remember where it might be. Maybe. It could happen.

At least I was able to charge the battery and get a picture of this:
A moment captured in time. A cold moment, but a moment nonetheless.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Daily 7

I have two cameras. One I can't find, and it doesn't zoom anymore. (That feature broke a year ago this month.) The other camera I lost the USB cable to a LOOOOONNNNG time ago. Now, I can't find the battery charger. Today, I ordered both the cable and charger from In the meantime, I am trying to eek out one picture a day out of the deadish battery so I can keep up with my December photography.

This morning it was 18F degrees, and I just couldn't get warm. Something warm seemed in order.
Oatmeal in my favorite new bowl with my favorite silverware and my currently favorite new place mat.

Stay warm my friends. Stay warm.

NOTE: Just my luck. I have been without that charger for weeks and have looked in every bag and box I could think of. Today, after I have ordered a new charger, I look in the same bag AGAIN and lo and behold, there it was. My camera battery is charging as we speak. As for the USB cable. It has been gone for years. We shall count it lost.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December Daily 6

Prettige Feestdagen! We received a great Sinterklaas gift today.

I am glad when we woke up this morning we found this instead of finding that Zwart Piet had carried us off. Now to work on being good for next year.

If last year's winter is any indication, I am sure I will be tired of this white stuff after a while, but coming from Texas where this would have delayed school for two hours, it is quite a novelty. At least it gave me something to post for December Daily today.
So to answer iHanna's question on my calendar journal post: Yes, there will be snow in December! Haha.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December Daily 4 & 5

Day 4: From the Sketchbook Challenge's Theme: Trashed, Ruined and Decay.

These are the candle sticks that sit on my fireplace. I bought them in El Paso quite a few years ago. I went there to buy southwestern furniture and accessories. I came home with these and a pine end table. The store that sells them is known for their wrought iron. They keep most of it outside 24/7. Everything sits out in the elements which is what gives it character. When you buy something there, you usually buy a can of clear coat to preserve the rust and grime. And so we did, but not without it being rained upon a little more on the 10 hour ride home. Anyway, I decided to try my hand at painting the candle sticks rusty appearance. It was fun. Since then they have been dropped by my son more times than I care to think. He also thinks they make a cool sound when banged with whatever he can find lying around. The top on one is quite crooked. I don't think they will ever hold candles again.

Day 5: The coldest day of the year, yet one of the most pleasant because out of the blue, my husband invited me to breakfast and then for a morning of shopping for a winter coat, sweaters and other fun things. Very confusing. When I came home, I decided that it was a good day for this:
And I was right!!!!! I love quick and easy meals.

Directions are below:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December Daily 3

Let's be thankful that I could eek out some photos from my wonky battery for our trip to the museum.

Here is my favorite photo of the day. It's not from the museum.

What better way to finish a cold and rainy day than with a stack of hot pancakes for dinner. There was bacon, too, but I burned it. (That's what happens when you try to talk to a friend overseas and cook at the same time.) We ate it anyway.

Happy December Daily.

What Do You Do...

...when it's a raining cats and dogs outside, all your chores are done and your daughter has an 89 in art!?? You head out to the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City to get 20 points extra credit. That's what you do.

In order to earn the extra credit, she had to visit an art gallery, museum or art show and turn in a two page report about the experience and include a brochure from the museum and throw in a photo of herself for good measure at the exhibit.

Fortunately, this museum allows photos as long as you don't use a flash. Oddly enough, they don't like sketchbooks, though. (She is not holding a sketchbook, it is a notebook so she remembers what she liked at the museum.)

We made our way through the driving rain, wipers going full force, thanked the parking gods for indoor parking and began our pilgrimage through the museum (all three floors.) It was quite an experience considering I had a six year old in tow. (I thought her father was coming along to be the boy wrangler.) Surprisingly enough, the boy was well behaved. In fact, the two of them were so civilized that I didn't know if I had accidentally picked up the wrong children while I was checking our coats in. After a double check and some photographic proof, I was relieved to see they were my own children.

There were some wonderful and diverse exhibits including a collection of Rodin on loan from the Iris & B Gerald Cantor Foundation . I asked Caitlin, "Who has THIS just lying around the house?" (If that link doesn't work click here to watch the video.) The collection was amazing and definitely worth seeing more than once, especially minus the six year old.

All in all, it was a lovely visit. I can't wait to go out with the two of them again. I think James will get to pick the destination next time. Something with a little more action.

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Daily 2

Well, December Daily is up and running and me without my camera! What's a girl to do? Get out the sketchbook while sitting at the mechanics (again!) and sketch what I see in front of me.

This was an older woman with what I think was an Australian accent (based on her pronunciation of "battery." LOL!

This was a challenge for me because:
1. I don't do real people.
2. I only had a brief moment to capture her without staring at her.
3. I don't do furniture either.

Yes, I spent my morning at the garage, but I am crossing my fingers that we are DONE! The one thing I will say is that they have been very nice and helpful. I had joked earlier in the week that I was going to place my name on a chair because I had been there so much. When I saw the owner, he was walking in with packages and he said, "Oh, you came in before I was able to get your name on the chair." It was a good laugh. When I left, I only had to pay for the parts. BONUS!

Afterward, I met a new friend for lunch. We had a nice long chat. It was a good way to spend a Friday. It made the day feel like a Saturday.

I am going to try to post a little bit of something each day this month, but don't get used to it. When January comes, I will be back to the work mode so will try to figure out a doable posting schedule.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Here! Time Keeps Marching On

...whether I am ready or not.

November was a busy month, so busy that I would forget to write on my calendar journal page. I fortunately was able to go back and fill in most of the days.

Here is next month's calendar.

If you would like to play along for December, head on over to The Kathryn Wheel to see what everyone else is doing.

December should be okay. Come mid-month, I will add an extra hour a day to my workday. That's a good thing. At the same time, the kids will  be home for Christmas Break...(I'm sorry, Winter Break! What the heck?!) Well, we will celebrate Christmas nonetheless. I am looking at making a trip to Chicago to visit my aunt and hopefully my mother will go up there. The problem with Chicago in December is the weather. You never know what the roads and flights will be like. I have only been to Chicago twice I think. It would be nice to see a different part of the family. It's still up in the air.

I still have to work on my Sketchbook Project. Actually, I have to get started. I need a long stapler. I don't know why I don't remember to buy one when I am out. It's kind of like remembering to get my oil changed. My house is not near anything, so if I forget to do something when I am out, and it can't be taken care of at the grocery store, it won't happen until the next time I am out. (NOTE: I bought one since writing this.)

In other news, to add to my busyness (in a good way) I am now the assistant editor at FEATURING Magazine. Marit announced the team members who will be contributing articles to this exciting project. I am just happy that we are in the "I can talk all about it" stage. I am also delighted to be productive and to be able to use my writing skills for more than just my own personal use.

Just 24 more days until Christmas. What are you doing to prepare for this special day? Are you participate in December Daily? I haven't decided. I don't have a working camera other than my phone. Gotta find that battery charger NOW. I look forward to seeing what you are doing this month.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Am Grateful For...


Signs? You might ask. Yes, signs.

I am thankful for the signs I was given this week. The following story is adapted from a status update I shared on Facebook:

Sign Number 1 
Most of you car owners have seen a similar sticker in your front window. It stays out of sight and out of mind behind the visor for the most part. My father however, ingrained into me the compulsion to make sure that the oil is changed every 3000 miles and before long trips. About a week ago, I noticed I was overdue for an oil change. I am usually very prompt in doing this, but have been very busy. I kept telling myself, I will do it tomorrow after school. However, every tomorrow would find me passing the exit for the service station, and I would magically somehow find myself pulling into my driveway without an oil change. This task would have to wait until "tomorrow." 

Next the right blinker started blinking too fast. I have experienced this before. I learned that is the blinker's way of telling me that a light bulb is out. (You don't realize how often you use that blinker until you have to hear that horrible sound over and over again.) I decided I could put it off a couple more days. However, quite frequently I would find that I was going down the interstate and  a state trooper would be traveling behind me. Had he noticed that I changed lanes without a turn signal? (I do use my signal, you just can't tell from behind.) By now, I have forgotten about the oil change, mind you. 

Then the heater started going in and out on the car. Sometime it would blow hot and sometimes it would blow freezing cold. With 30 degree temperatures coming I wondered how long I could put it off, but decided that the kids would eventually be in the car this weekend driving back from state championships in St. Louis and I better get it fixed. (I have not forgotten that darn turn signal though because it keeps chicka chicka chicking away each time I turn right or try to move to the right lane, ticking off a lot of motorists along the way I am sure.)

Tuesday, I remembered to take the proper exit and wound my way to my favorite mechanic, Don. Don first thought a baffle wasn't properly closing, then he decided it was low coolant because my radiator cap was leaky. I was so thankful that it was a simple procedure. (Simple = Less Expensive) The radiator just needed a flush, some more coolant and a new radiator cap.... Or so he thought...

...And now for the rest of the story... 

As Don was finishing the flush and testing the pressure, he found that the leak wasn't the radiator cap, it was the actual radiator. He called me out to the garage to show me the coolant that had spewed out of the radiator all over the shop floor. The radiator had a little crack in it. If my blinker hadn't been bugging me, and if I hadn't been freezing my tuchas off, I probably wouldn't have stopped at the mechanic, and we would have driven to St Louis (or at least tried to.) Thankfully, I was given enough signs and finally listened to them and got the car fixed. A new radiator at a trusted mechanic 5 miles from home is far better than a break down on the interstate three hours out of town.

I was then reminded of a story by a FB friend who said: 
Reminds me of the joke about a guy in a flood. First a cop comes and offers to drive him out. He says save someone else, the Lord will provide for me. Water rises and then a boat comes by and offers a ride. Again save someone else, the Lord will provide for me. Water rises and he is on the roof. Helicopter comes in and again he says save someone else, the Lord will provide for me. Finally he drowns and gets to the pearly gates. Upon arriving he asks God "Why didn't you save me?" God replies, I sent a cop car, a boat and a helicopter, what more did you expect me to do???
 Thank you God for the oil change sticker, annoying turn signal and lack of heat.

My question for you today is:
Tell me about a time you were given a sign. Did you ignore it or heed it? And what happened?

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL of you regardless of when or if you celebrate this holiday. I am thankful to have you as readers and friends.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Why I Love the Internet

A while back an article was written by Nicolas Carr in the Atlantic that suggested that Google is making us stupid. (By the way, I had to Google who wrote it and found it on the research teacher's dreaded Wikipedia.)

I suppose there is some validity to his premise. I used to read an article or hear a story on the news and subconsciously must have known that I needed to remember it because it would have been difficult to find that information again without going to a library and digging through the Periodicals Index. As Google came along, if I heard or read something, I soon learned that I could just find it on the internet somewhere. In fact, my coworkers would often turn to me when they couldn't remember something, and I would use the right turn of phrase to get what they wanted. Then I found this "useful" site through an online friend that I could refer coworkers to when they had deep unsolvable questions. It is a valuable research tool. Check it out. I will wait.

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Okay, so why does this come up today?? I was sitting at the computer this morning when a song started running through my head. It was a song that I hadn't heard in a very long time. I don't know if I learned it in school or if my brother learned it and came home singing it. It had an oriental tune and very simply said, "Chii chii papa, chii papa." There were words about teaching little birds to sing in spring. I wondered what would happen if I put in chichi papa and lo and behold I found what I was looking for. Well, sort of. I found a blog about a Japanese children's song. After reading that post, knew what to further look for and hoped to find a tune which I did here. It even included an English translation which had almost nothing to do with the words I learned as a child, but the tune was very similar. So I decided that this internet hunt can be deemed a success. Now I am looking for a playlist version, but in the meantime you can listen to the Nate Henricks tune that is on the playlist. (Oh, and Peggy's Playlist to the right has a group of children singing it at a school assembly. Not bad for a youtube video.)

Has the internet made me dumber? I don't know, I still hold a lot of information in my head, it is a lot of old information. I think I am going to have to beef up my brain with some real reading soon.

No art to post for today. I have a project running through my head for The Sketchbook Project . It is due by the end of January 2012 and I have some really fun ideas. Today, I plan on heading out to the craft store to pick up some heavy paper, but happily, now that the movers came I can go out to my garage and find some long awaited materials. I will share with you the some of the project when I am done.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pretty Colors on a Rainy Day

One more day and I will have completed my first full week at Wright Career College. I work Tuesday through Thursday. I think this will be a good thing and I see more opportunities possible coming in January so keep your fingers crossed. I would rather work full time at one job rather than part time at two jobs.

A couple of days ago I broke out the water colors and got to painting.

The first page started out as a sketch in my little book and I recreated it in my bigger book. It needs something, but it will be a good base for something else.

The last page is based off a photo that one of my friends shared on FB. The little bug caught my eye but even more eye catching was the dark orange of the pumpkin. I tried to capture that color on my page. I am really happy with this.

Tomorrow and Friday I will begin the shift from one apartment/house to another. They are basically the same apartment but the new one will have more windows, the laundry room downstairs instead of up, one less bathroom :-( but one more bedroom which is the most important thing. AND James will get to stay at his school.

I will get come back online on Saturday maybe when everything gets hooked back up.

Monday, October 31, 2011

October's Over & What Do I Have to Show You?

Well, I am ready for November to come so I can start filling in my new calendar journal page.

November brings new things.
  1. A new job teaching at Wright Career College
  2. A new apartment
  3. My birthday
  4. Thanksgiving Day
  5. Decorating the new place for Christmas
  6. A somewhat empty art journal to fill.
Here is last month's calendar page. I am glad the month is over.

Kathryn hasn't posted her new monthly reminder to participate in the journal, but you can see where she has been published in Somerset Studio Magazine. Yay, Kathryn!

New Note: Kathryn's post is up here!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What's Up?

I know that I have been pretty good at posting lately. I hate to leave my blog friends hanging but I am at a lack for words.

My mom always told me if I don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. That being the case, I will leave you with a song I heard on the radio and my latest entries to my sketchbook.

I will be back tomorrow with my calendar journal entries.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Power of Baking

I had given up entirely. Given up on finding a job.

I decided that I was going to just get used to being at home and painting and doing other homey things.

So today, I saw two very ripe bananas sitting on the microwave. I couldn't just let them go to the fruit flies, and I don't have compost bin. The only logical thing to do was make banana bread. Then the challenges began.

The butter was too cold to cream with sugar so I just left it in a bowl to get to room temperature. Then I decided it wouldn't hurt to put the sugar on top while it was waiting but then I got carried away. I measured flour and baking powder on top of the uncreamed butter and I hadn't even added the eggs yet. What was I to do? I considered dumping it all and starting over but thought better of it. I just let it sit, much like I did while I waited to hear about my job interview.

After a couple of hours, I decided to try again. I got out a whisk and a wooden spoon (don't have a hand mixer) and pulled the stick of butter aside and poured the flour and sugar into another bowl. I beat the butter and bananas together and added the eggs to that. I know the sugar should be in there too, but it was already in flour. I gradually mixed the flour/sugar in with wet mix until it looked like a wet dough. Things were looking up. When I put the dough/batter in the pan, I said a little prayer and put it in the deflicted oven and prayed a little more. I closed the oven door....

That's when the phone rang. It was the career college I had applied to and interviewed at the other day. Could it be?? Were they calling me for a job or to tell me I was not selected?

Woo Hoo! I have a job. I will be teaching psychology three days a week. I start Thursday.

The moral of the story?? I will let you all write one for me. I will take them to heart. I have learned some valuable lessons during this long time of unemployment (yes I know there are those who have had it worse.)

Oh, I guess you would like to know how the banana bread turned out? Check it out for yourself:

The Music Notes Are Back: You are listening to the Silhouettes singing "Get a Job," my mantra for the past four months. This is another song from the road trip 8 Track that my uncle used to play for us when we drove from New York to Disney World circa 1977. Some other great tunes included Nash Rambler and Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Polka Dot Bikini. Great times in the station wagon with 5 kids and 2 parents and no seat belts.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just Dive Right In

So I did it! I used a page in my new journal.

I am low on things to collage with (when I say "low" I mean "don't got no.") A certain procrastinator who shall remain nameless and isn't me hasn't found a new place to live yet so most of our household goods sit in a warehouse waiting for us. So I resort to straight out illustration and water color.

Send out those good vibes, break out your voodoo dolls, pray for angels, whatever it takes to get that someone to call the movers or choose a new apartment. I would do it myself, but it's funny how those rental agencies kinda like their renters to have an income.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

No News Is Good News??

...Not always in the case of job interviews. As a seasoned job seeker, I have come to learn that if you have an interview and the interviewer says, "We will let you know by Friday after we have interviewed all the candidates, and they don't call on Friday," that generally it means -- We chose someone else, but we don't want to call you so you will probably be receiving a letter or email next week letting you know so and good luck. Why can't you just call and say "Thanks, but no thanks." Enough about that...On to something more interesting.

Today after dropping Caitlin off for another band competition, I went to Hobby Lobby to get two new sketchbooks. A big one for some art journaling and the like and a small purse sized one for trying out different techniques

My question for you today is, "Do you suffer New Sketchbook-itis?" What is New Sketchbook-itis? It is the disorder that makes you not want to make the first mark in a new sketchbook. I suffer from this. When I get a new book, I just have the hardest time touching the pen or paintbrush to the first page.

Here are my new books waiting to be christened.

They are calling to me, "Please dirty us up."

I'm coming children, you will no longer be pristine.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In the Works

Maybe you have noticed the button in the side bar. FEATURING is a new magazine that I am helping to edit. It will be coming out in the spring 2012. FEATURING is the brainchild of my friend Marit. If you would like to find out more about subscribing or even contributing to the magazine, please click on the blinky at the top of the sidebar. We are very excited about this great project. I will keep you updated about the magazine's progress, but you can always click on the sidebar to see how we are coming along.

Now here's a project I tell myself I am going to participate in and never get around to it - A Year In the Life of an Art Journal.  I don't think I have ever done even one prompt, but this time I decided to jump in and have some fun.

THE SONG: Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri
PRODUCT/TECHNIQUE: rips and tearing

(Collage of printed images from internet; 
the jar of hearts is a spaghetti jar filled with 
hand painted hearts that I photographed; 
water colors; black, white and
gold paint pen by ZIG and 
Zig Millennium fine point black pen)
 This song has been played often on my radio and I have wanted to create something for it for quite a while. I am not going to play it on my playlist today. There will be another time when I do finally play it, but not now.

I created another page the other day based on something I read at KOM. They were giving away a free printables. This one was called Exploring Truths. If you go to this link and are interested in other printables, scroll to the top of the page and click the link FREEBIES. So many great ideas!

Okay, so I printed Exploring Truths which reminded me of those questions you can take to a girls' night out and start conversations. I chose: Which of the four seasons do you anticipate and why?

Tomorrow, I hope to hear from the interview I had on Monday. Fingers crossed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

30 Days of Lists Completed...Almost

I participated in 30 Days of Lists. I saw it first at Michelle's blog and told myself that I had to do it. AND...I actually did. There was only one day that I didn't complete and I don't think I will. Below is a compilation of the lists I completed. If you click on it, it should take you to Flickr where you can see it larger and can zoom it in. (I hope.)

And for those following my journey, I had a job interview today. Send out the good vibrations. I won't find out until Friday.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A weekly ritual inspired by SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' at SouleMama and here in the comments for all to find and see.
This moment required a series of photos.
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