Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Taking a Breather

I have been so busy these past few weeks. So busy that I haven't blogged nor have I read anyone's blogs. Here's how bad it is:

Two hundred.seventy.three unread blog posts! To all my blogging buddies, I am not purposely ignoring you. What have I been up to that keeps me from keeping up with my blog friends?

Well, let's start with Mondays:
6:30 a.m. drive to work, dodge slowpokes and judge whether is time to swing by Starbucks. (There usually isn't)
7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Teach school and plan for the next day.
3:30 p.m. Pick up James from YMCA and head to his dance class.
4:20 p.m. - 5:20 p.m. Sit at the dance studio with no Internet access and practice my Spanish with another dance mom.
5:20 p.m. Hurry off to Flag Football practice.
5:40 p.m. to 7:00 Watch James play football without Internet. Sometimes I choose to walk around the neighborhood.
7:00 p.m. Drive home and make dinner, eat dinner, pack lunches for tomorrow, throw James in the shower, help him with homework, check on Caitlin's day, read 100 emails, crash.
10:00 Bed.

Tuesdays - See Monday!

Wednesdays - See Monday minus dance.

After football, I rush off to Harker Heights Community Band practice until 9:30. I get home and crash again.

Thursdays are the same as Wednesdays, just substitute band practice for my Adult Tap & Jazz class.

Fridays are almost the same except Caitlin has dance from 5:30 - 8:30 during which we often have football practice.

By Friday, I am so tired that I often find myself falling asleep while talking to friends on the phone.

I do, however, miss my blog friends.

I told James after his first football game yesterday (THEY WON!) that he would probably NOT be in soccer and basketball which are the next activities on the parks and recreation calendar. We will wait to drive ourselves crazy with baseball in the spring. There is only so much mommy to go around.

So you moms out there, what do you do to manage your time better? How do you ensure that your children can be involved in activities while maintaining your sanity?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Where Has the Motivation Gone?

Since the beginning of the year,  (and even most of the year before that) I have been making a habit of documenting what's been going on in my life. Mostly I have been doing it in some sort of art journal. I began fashioning my thoughts after the Chronicles of Marit with a mixture of Dion Dior until about a month ago when I put the pen and paintbrush down and somehow forgot to pick them back up.

How does that happen? Sure, I have skipped a day or two and come back right away to where I left off, but what makes a person put the book down and never come back? Even now, talking about it, I don't feel the urge to find some paint and catch up. I see the book but there is no draw (no pun intended.) What is keeping me from doing what made me so happy before?

Well, I am not sure where the answer lies to that, but I thought maybe sharing the last page in my book, I might want to continue doing it again. I found these pictures in my camera yesterday when I was doing another project for the Magazine. (Is it strange that an editor for an art magazine has stopped doing her own art?)

So here is the last entry from start to finish:
Black ink on white sketchbook - I created enough vines for the days of the week.

Painting in the background with inexpensive watercolors.

The flower is painted in along with the vines which were used for the daily events.

Here are some others pages I found on the camera:

Well, we shall see if my concern is enough to get back to journaling, but first I have to do the laundry I said I was going to do yesterday.

Is there something that you have put aside and wish you could get back to? What's keeping you from it?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Have Been Remiss

I have been very remiss. This blog has been neglected. Since school started, my mind has been focused on lesson plans, laundry, getting Cait to dance lessons, attending crisis intervention training and giving all the important people as much attention as I can. Seeing how there are only 24 hours in a day and I like to spend at least 6 of them sleeping that doesn't really leave me a lot of time to do the things I enjoy sharing on my blog.

Today, however, I told myself that I would sleep in, and I did. It was wonderful. Then I had to download some photos for a FEATURING Magazine project. (I have come to find I am actually a mediocre photographer.) That's when I found a treasure trove of family pictures and past projects. However, before I share these gems, I have a magazine announcement.

Pre-order issue #2 in the store for a chance to win an inchie on the back of our next issue!
We will give away 30 inchies to readers who pre-order issue #2 before September 21.
These will appear on the back of our third issue.
On the 21st, we will draw 30 winners. Issue #2 of FEATURING will be released soon after.
We have also have more things up our sleeves that we’ll be announcing later, so stay tuned!
A giveaway??? What could be better than that? All you need to do is click on the black linky over to the right.
You can also see a preview of Issue #2 here.
Now for the pictures that brought me to my blog today.
During Labor Day weekend, we went to the Dr. Pepper Museum. Having big Dr. Pepper fans in the family and finding a Living Social deal where four of us got in for $12. What a deal! I am finding that Groupon and Living Social provide some good deals, but you have to be judicious in your deal picking.

Standing outside the museum in Waco

The museum helped Big Red soda, another local company, celebrate their 75th anniversary 

 In the middle of the museum is an old well. 
You can use a mirror to see down into it if you are too scared to look down.
  A model of a country store.

I am not sure what they were doing. 
Looks like they were getting ready for a dance routine. 

After our trip to the museum, we headed to Cameron Park. 
I had never been all the way through the park before and 
found some interesting places including a nice picnic area overlooking the park.

The next day we went to the Whistlestop Playground at the Santa Fe museum in Temple

Cait decked out for Throw Back Days
Does it bother anyone else that the 80s are considered Back in the Day?

Well, there are more photos to come another day. I will try to make sure it isn't another month before I post again.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


The other day I went food shopping. When I came home, I had to clean out the fridge to make room for the new food. (Cait and I had been on a cooking hiatus while James was visiting his dad.)

Many of you have heard about my recent adventures in single mommydom and have sent your regards and best wishes. I am very thankful for your kind words of support.

I came down from Missouri with  what I thought were virtually no resources, just a truck full of belongings that I didn't want to part with because they defined who I was - a person who was formerly successful. They were my trophies I could gaze upon when the going was rough, and I could tell myself, "See, you were able to accumulate all this "wealth" before. You will be able to do it again." It was a very self-centered way of viewing things, but it helped me survive the past two months of joblessness/underemployment.

However, as Caitlin completed the real life game of refrigerator "Tetris," I realized how blessed we are. The State saw fit to give me much of what we needed to survive physically (with a big help from mother and underpaid landlord.) I have friends who were willing to tote the load off of the truck, clean the critters out of the cabinets, hang blinds, assemble furniture...the list goes on.

The fridge and pantry "tetrisally" arranged by Caitlin

If you read the book A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne, you come to understand that there are many kinds of resources out there other than financial resources. These include:
  • Emotional - Being able to choose and control emotional responses
  • Mental - Having the mental abilities and acquired skills to deal with daily life.
  • Spiritual - Believing in divine purpose and guidance. 
  • Physical - Having physical health and mobility.
  • Support Systems - Having friends, family, and backup resources to access in times of need. 
  • Knowledge of Hidden Rules - Knowing the unspoken cues and habits of a group.
So although I was financially impoverished, my life was abundant with the all the other resources. I think I sometimes forget these things. However, the light bill doesn't really care whether I am emotionally or mentally well off. :-)

I would like to thank everyone who has personally helped us through this time. The dark times are slowly coming to an end. The kids and I are finally feeling at home where we are because of you.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Who'da Thunk?

Hehehe...bad grammar for an editor and teacher, but I had to do it!

Today marks my 20,000th visitor! Can you believe it?

When I started my blog in March of 2008, I had no idea what doors it would open for me. Four and half years and 20,000+ visitors later I have met so many people both virtually and in real life because of this blog. Since starting this writing adventure, this blog has transformed from a rambling of a bored mom and teacher, to the gallery of a curious artist and amateur photographer, to the rantings of an angry unemployed soon to be divorcée, finally to the celebration station of an employed teacher.

When I came up with the title, "So I Was Just Thinking," it came from a quirky way that I would call my mom and brother. I would call one of them and just jump full force into the conversation as if we had been talking all along: "So I was at the store the other day...." I am sure many people found it odd, but I found that if I started with the niceties of "Hello. How are you?" I usually forgot what I was going to say. This is why I just love this blog. I can just jump right in and have a conversation with no one as if someone has been listening all along.

I am not the most widely read blog in the world, and that's okay with me. Instead, I find that it has become a treasure for me to sort through like old photo albums, which I am horrible at keeping up with by the way. At least now, I have the opportunity to look back and say, "I remember when" and smile.

For example, I remember when:

I used to enjoy using the snooze bar.


I ranted about a certain nameless megamart.


I described my morning workout

Life sure is different from those days, although not any less crazy, just a different kind of crazy.

I would like to thank those of you have been there since the beginning and stuck around all this time. I have enjoyed getting to know you through your blogs and Facebook and real life meetings. I look forward to meeting many more of you in the future.

I am in the process of refocusing my blog again. Tell me, what is your favorite kind of post from me? Do you like the crazy mom stories, or maybe you like the cooking posts (good luck with that one) or even the crafty, art journaling type posts. Just let me know in the comments below. I can't wait to hear from you.

Let's end with a few random pictures....They seem to have been missing from my posts lately.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. I think I had been holding my breath for so long, I didn't even realize it. However, yesterday, I had two interviews at two different schools. They both went well, and I walked away saying I would be happy working at either school.

In order to attend these interviews, I had to take a couple of hours off of my job at a call center. If you have never worked at a call center, consider your self fortunate. If you condolences. Just let it be said that call center work is like working under the constant watch of prison guards...checking to see how long you have been off the phone without marking yourself available, monitoring if you have your cell phone out where people can see it, telling you that you cannot write, draw, do a puzzle or read a personal book when the calls are coming slowly. Instead they want you to be reading something called the KB (a complete database of every issue a caller could be calling about and how to handle it.) When you don't know how to handle a problem, you are asked, "Did you look it up in the KB?" making you feel like you just asked your mom where your skateboard is and she replies, "Where did you leave it?" or even better, asking how to spell a word and being told, "Look it up in the dictionary." If I knew where to look it up in the KB, I wouldn't be asking you now. Would I? Oh, and I forgot to tell you that they even monitor your restroom breaks. Jeez Louise!

I guess my biggest problem with working at a call center was that when I started, I wasn't very good at it. I am not used to being "not good" at something. This doesn't mean I am good at everything. It means I choose to do things I AM good at instead. Why should I put myself through such agony for something I am not interested in? Now teaching...teaching I am good at and that's where we get back to where this story started.

When I finished my interviews, I still had time before I needed to be on the phones at work. So I took advantage of the break away from the center and had some lunch. That's when the first call came offering me a position at interview number one. However, I had just left interview number two and really wanted to know if I was going to be chosen there. Fortunately, the HR person said that I was free to wait for their decision. I am sure glad I did; although, it was a difficult wait because of the call center environment and the "no cell phone" rules. Finally, though, I saw a blink of light come from phone letting me know I had a voice mail. Suddenly, I had to go to the restroom.

Under the cover of the bathroom, which by the way you aren't supposed to have phones there either, I listened to my voice mail. I then went to the break room where you are allowed to use your phone and called HR back. She said I had a choice to make: school #1 or #2. After weighing my options I chose the second one.


I will be working with fifth graders who have been kicked out of their previous school. This is an area I have been interested in exploring for a while. Now, I finally get my chance.

Some of you may still be wondering about the call center. Well, you won't believe what happened. By this point in my brief call center career, I am doing okay. My scores are above average on my calls (yes, they grade you.) I am no longer hating it, but I am trying to figure out how long I can stay working there because the hours are bad and my son is coming home this weekend. (Yay!) So I approach the floor supervisor and let her know that Friday will be my last day. She in turn says to me, "We need people who will be here during our fall rush, so today will be your last day." What??! She needs people to be here, so she is letting me go. Okay. I can't remember the last time I was told I couldn't work somewhere without there being some sort of funding cut involved. Unbelievable, but okay.

Just remember Call Center, I broke up with YOU!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Making Progress

I didn't take before photos because  I never thought this place could better, but it has. When I moved in, there were so many boxes. My friends teased me about how many boxes I had labeled "glassware." Come to find out, the movers don't distinguish between glassware, pyrex, LeCruset, ceramics, or china so I had to open each box and decide if it would be unloaded or put in the laundry room. Unfortunately, by the time I had reached certain boxes, my strong arms had left and I couldn't push them into the laundry room because the washer was now in the way. Sooooo, they sat in the middle of my kitchen...until yesterday when the strong arms returned to help. My kitchen is finally wide open and it is very big.

We also managed to get the remaining mini blinds hung, and found a way to hook up the ancient tv to the wii, dvd/vcr and cable box all at one time. (My cable guy was no help. Thanks Time Warner Cable.)

Having an open kitchen makes me want to use it more so here is today's creation:

If you have ever made spanakopita, you know how difficult it is. I am certainly no pastry expert so it is one thing that has remained off my to do list in the kitchen. Yesterday, however, I saw on Parents Magazine's site a simpler way to enjoy the flavors of feta and spinach together. Make it into a spanakopadilla. But, I made it easier. I used the tomato basil feta so I didn't have to add garlic and the other ingredients and frozen spinach that I defrosted in a colander. I layered them on a whole wheat tortilla in a small skillet.When the bottom was browned, I flipped it over. (That was challenging.) I cooked the other side, cut it in half, layered the left half on the right half and cut it again and in 10 minutes including prep time I had two perfect pieces of spanakopadilla. To make it even better you could put more spinach between the left and right halves since they are already warm. They should melt well together. You could even make this in a casserole dish with several tortillas and put it in the oven, but I like how toasty the layers are this way. This one has fewer calories than the Parents version as well.

I am slowly coming around to surviving in the house without dread...although now I have a visitor in my attic.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Mise en Place

I am a Food Network junkie. Seriously. When I am channel surfing there are certain shows I love to watch, but when they are nowhere to be found, Food Network here I come! One of the most important things I have learned from FN is mise en place or having everything in its place. Mise en place is all about prepping food and having ready so when you are cooking you aren't running around the kitchen looking for everything. "Where's the salt? Have you seen the baking powder?" And so on.

Well, today as I was preparing the mise en place for dinner, I was thinking about how my life is slowly becoming like my mise en place.

Sausage & Rice mise en place

As many of you know, my life before moving back to Texas was chaos. We never knew when dinner was. What WAS for dinner? Where are my keys? Where are your shoes? I could go on, but you get the picture. Since moving back to Texas, things are different. My kids make their beds, get dressed and eat breakfast every morning before doing anything else. They get an hour each on the computer with extra minutes later in the day for good behavior. They have to read before tv. Lunch by noon. Snack in the afternoon. Dinner gets started cooking by 5 as long as we are home. We actually eat at home and not out. AND bedtime by 9 (ok is summer after all) with teeth brushed and heads washed.

Our schedule is not the only thing in order. My keys have their own hook. My purse has its own spot. Dirty clothes go in a hamper. Laundry gets folded and put away. Dishes get put in the dishwasher as soon as we are done with them. The dishwasher gets unloaded as soon as the heat cycle is done (unless we are sleeping.) I always know where my scissors are.

This neatness has develop out of need. Out of need to keep the kakkerlakker away.

It is my goal to keep this system up so that when I move back to my beloved house in the spring, the kids will understand the need for organization and neatness. It is a good feeling.

So I am sure some of you are wondering what the resulting meal is from the above mise en place. Well, I will share.

Last week, I made a big pot of white rice. I then put the leftovers in quart sized freezer bags for later use. The sausage was from a larger package of sausage that we had on buns last week. I cut up and froze the rest. All I had to do today was dice red and green peppers and half an onion. (I have frozen these in the past as well, but not this time.)

I added two tablespoons of oil to a heavy bottom pan and sauteed onions and then added the peppers. Before the onions were clear, I added the sausage to the pan and about half of the package of Sazon seasoning package and stirred it well. When the meat was cooked and the vegetables were well "sweated," I added the frozen rice. (Note: if you know ahead of time that you will be needing the frozen rice, stick it in the fridge so it isn't a rock.) I poured 1/4 cup water in the pan so nothing would stick (still getting used to a gas stove), and put the lid on the pot to steam the frozen rice. After 5 minutes, I stirred the rice but it was still frozen. Another 1/4 cup of water was added, the lid on and waited another 5 minutes. The rice was mostly defrosted and I began stirring everything together. (Salt & Pepper to taste.) A final 5 minutes and dinner was ready. I used this time to heat up a can of ranch style beans.

Other than the canned beans, which in the future I will make and freeze as well, everything was food that I cooked. It was completed in 30 minutes. This is the same as a pot of Zatarain's Jambalaya rice (I love their rice) but without the additives, and I control the sodium and spiciness.

Think about any one pot meal you can buy in a box and think about how you can make it yourself in the same amount of time with less preservatives and similar effort. Use your Saturday or Sunday afternoons to prepare the mise en place for these things and freeze them. This is my goal for the rest of the year.

What do you do to keep organized, not just in the kitchen, but in your home as well?

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Long Journey - Part Deux promised. Or as Paul Harvey would say, "And now, the REST of the story."

The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful except for having to stop every two hours to make Little Man use the restroom. (Mind you he would say "I don't have to go, MOM!" I finally listened to him, only for him to have an accident. Thank goodness for vinyl seats.

It was a very long drive, but I am used to driving it in one shot. However, I never drive a 20 foot truck and trailer so I misjudged how exhausting it was going to be. (I am very thankful to gummy bears, skittles, and coke.)

We, of course, hit Dallas at rush hour. This is the point where I started calculating how long it will take to make it home if I drive x-miles per hour once we get out of the city. I visualized how far it was from one city to the next since I was finally nearing my stomping grounds.
Hmmmm, I think it is about an hour to the outlet mall. from there, I believe it is 30 minutes to Waco. My mother lives at exit 300 and from there it is another 40 miles....and so on and so forth.
This mental math was both helpful and detrimental. It kept me occupied but also gave me the sense that this trip was NEVER going to end.

The one thing that was the true lifesaver was the frequent phone calls from one of my friends who eventually volunteered to meet me at exit 300 to take over driving the truck because, by that point, I had HAD IT!

You might think this is the end of my adventure, but really and truly, the adventure had just begun:

I still had to "farm" my children out to different houses so they would have decent places to stay (Thanks ABW and RAA) because my house is still rented out.

The next morning after a good night's sleep, my phone buddy and I pulled the truck and car up to RAA's house. Mind you, this house has sat empty for two years, or so I thought. Come to find out, along with her brother who had tried his hand at remodeling  and quit midstream, critters (kakerlakker for mine norske venner) had taken up residence in the "vacant" house. The grass was a foot long, and two years of debris had gathered on the driveway and backyard. The garage door wouldn't open because the ceiling had fallen in. The brother's "remodeling" left a couple of walls bare to the unprimed sheet rock and ceiling tiles lay in pieces on the floor. After seeing the house, I began questioning my decision to leave Missouri and the solid roof I had over my head, albeit a miserable existence, to come to this "I don't know what."

Mind you, I was very thankful to have any roof over my head, but I had never lived in anything like this before. All I could see was plaster, bare windows, missing trim, critter remains and a place where a big puddle of "I don't know what" had evaporated in the kitchen.What had I brought my kids to? What should I do? I truly considered turning the truck around, but my phone buddy assured me that we could make it alright and that I had made the right decision.

The next three days were spent unpacking, shopping for slippers and hardware and storage and furniture (I had no bed or anywhere to sit), hanging curtains and mini blinds, assembling furniture and cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. (Thanks again ABW.)

But that's not the end folks!

I moved the kids into the house on day five of this adventure. We wore slippers for the first time ever because we were afraid of what we might step on. (I ordered an exterminator.) We continued to unpack boxes, boxes and more boxes. (There still unpacked boxes in the immense laundry room that will stay that way until we are in our real house.)

Since we had no cable, we watched VHS tapes and DVDs and rented from Red Box, which the kids just loved. Every night I had to convince James that it would be okay.The best thing about the whole thing was that he now had a regular bedtime, took showers without arguing and now brushes his teeth without being told. These are all things that never would have happened in our chaotic life back in Missouri.

So despite the craziness of the house we had moved into, my children had found something they had never had. They found stability.

And that folks is how Annemarie came into her own; how she gained control of her family; how she realized that she is stronger than she ever imagined.

Maybe one day I will share with you what happened on day seven - it involves a failed attempt with a plunger, a plumbers "snake" and a weekend long evacuation. But for now, I am happy to say, I am slowly finding happiness.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Long Journey - Part 1

Yes, I drove this while pulling the attached trailer with my car from Missouri to Texas.

The moment I picked up the 20 foot truck and trailer from the dealer, I was so nervous. The lanes on the Interstate seemed so narrow. I found myself drifting to the right line, so I stayed in the right lane the entire way to the apartment which made for a fun time because there are exits all along the way. The engine also didn't have a lot of pick up for such a big load so I am sure there were a lot of fingers flying my way. Hopefully, they felt badly when they saw me white knuckling it down the highway.

When I got home, I just pulled into the driveway, praying that I could pull the truck off of the trailer to go pick up my paycheck to pay for the trip back to Texas. Unfortunately, the man at the dealer put the straps on wrong and I couldn't release the straps. I called a friend and sent photos of everything and went online and tried to find away to release them. Just when I was about to figure out how to back the truck up and take it back to the dealer (20 miles away), G drives up and saves the day. (You have no idea how angry I was that HE had to save me. I know that's stupid.)

After getting the car off the trailer, I scooted up the highway (another 20 miles in different direction) to get my last paychecks. The feeling I had receiving those final envelopes was one of doubt and trepidation. Was I making the wrong decision leaving a job that provided nothing but a paycheck to go home to no job that provided NO paycheck? By that time, it was too late to turn back. So I said my goodbyes to my friends and hit the road again back to the apartment where I found G had loaded most of the garage boxes onto the van.

We spent the rest of the evening (until 10 pm) with a break for supper, packing and loading.

The following morning, the kids and I pulled the truck onto the Interstate going south only one hour late. Everyone had been to the bathroom and were warned to give a heads up long before a bathroom was needed because the 11 hour ride (turned 13 hour with the heavy truck) is not generous with the restroom stops.

I think the most challenging part of the trip had to be the close confines of the truck's cab. It touts that it seats three, but it never said comfortably.
This trip really taught my children the importance of cooperation and tolerance, something a 7 year old and a 15 year old often have very little of. In fact, this entire experience of moving back with uncertain circumstances awaiting us has been a lesson for all of us.

This could become a really long story, so I shall stop here in the middle of our road trip and invite you back tomorrow when I finish the drive and find the most interesting of accommodations at the end of our long journey.

(Are you curious??)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mean Old Playlist dot Com

What the heck, Playlist? Your player has been my background music for going on 3 years and now you go and do this??!!

My favorite player is no longer available on my blog. The link however is there if you are ever curious what makes me smile, or laugh, or cry.

I am not sure what to do now. This is the second player that has disappeared on me.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Unique Sense of Style

...That's what I love about my creative girl. She is smart and funny and pretty. But most of all, she's unique.

When I was in high school, we would have special dress up days where you wore kooky clothes or dressed to a theme. I was so unsure of myself back then that, often, I would take the kooky outfit in my bag and change at school when I saw that everyone else was doing it, too.

But Caitlin?? Not this girl. She goes all out. I wish I had the sense to photograph them all but you will have to settle for two.

Back in October, the school had a special day to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness. If they paid a dollar they could wear a hat and then one of the clubs sold pink accessories, but you could also win a prize if you were dressed in the most pink.
Can you believe she didn't win? Her pink shoes were still on the moving van.

Then, this week, the band had their annual banquet. Now don't start dreaming of ball gowns and tuxedos. The band director told the kids it was a casual event. She wanted them to wear things that they wore on their trip to Disney World last month. Imagine my surprise. So Cait came downstairs in cargo shorts. I sent her back up to change, but then had a change of heart and did what I normally would have done as a teenager - I called another mom.
Hello, Marie? It's Annemarie. Caitlin's mom. What is your daughter wearing to the banquet? Oh really? OK. *End Call*
So that's how it went. And I ate crow and sent Cait back up to change again into what she was wearing in the first place. And I must admit, she looked pretty cute. (I know it isn't THAT kooky.)
 The rest of the evening was fun. We sat with her girlfriends and I rolled my eyes at their teenage antics, but she had fun. And that's what matters I guess.

When the evening wound to a close, they showed the requisite tearjerker of a slideshow. That's when I realized how much Caitlin was going to miss those friends of hers.

I feel bad for moving her away from them, but with the benefit of Skype, instant messaging and Face Time, she won't be at a loss for contact with them.

Today's Music Note: (I know you have missed those) This song - Perfect Star/Perfect Style is sung by Japanese girl band Perfume. I chose this because of Cait's love of all things Japanese and Anime. 
Japanese Lyrics / English Lyrics

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Time Has Come say farewell to Missouri.

As of June 1, The kids and I will be back in Texas if everything goes as planned. Do I have a job? No. Unfortunately, things were to to the point that I couldn't stay here anymore. My husband I are separating. My job cut my hours. I wanted to get a job in Texas before I left, but time was running short. Caitlin wants to dance at her old dance school and dance camp starts in the beginning of June. If the kids and I are to find a place to live before then, we have to leave soon. So, June 1st it is.

I will keep you all informed of our progress. In the meantime, enjoy my little farewell song.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hot Off The Presses...

...and ready to be in your hot little hands.

What am I talking about? It's the inaugural issue of FEATURING Magazine.

While I was home visiting my mom and friends in Texas, the elves got to work printing the magazine that we have all worked so very hard on for the past (oh I don't know how long.)

If you haven't ordered your copy, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the FEATURING website and be in on what's happening.

Even though, as assistant editor, I have seen everything that has gone into the magazine, I can't wait to get my own copy.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It was a beautiful day in Missouri today.

We decided to see what Kansas City had to offer us on this day of the wearing of the green. Let me tell you, the "Irish" were out in full force today at the city's 40th annual parade. The streets were packed and EVERYONE had on green. They really go full force in this town even though the majority of people in this neighborhood are not Irish. But on St. Patrick's Day everyone is Irish.
My patient waiters.

We had to park the car pretty far away and take a nice hike through a part of the city that is definitely loaded with "character." We finally were able to scout out a spot where we could lean against a fence since there was no room for chairs by the time we arrived. There were so many interesting people walking by that it made the time up until the parade move quickly. However, being a Texas girl where they do things big even in the smallest of towns, I was a little bored with the most of the parade and left a little early. The best part for sure were the Irish dancers and the bagpipe corps that came through near the beginning.
For some reason bagpipes always make me cry a little.

After leaving the parade, we made our way to a dinosaur expo in Overland Park. I had been hearing about it for several weeks and thought it would make a nice beginning to the kids' spring break. I only had my cell phone with me to take pictures as the memory card in my camera was full with James's 1st grade school performance.

Although the show wasn't as big as I thought it was going to be and they "nickle and dimed" the attendees  in order to participate in the truly "fun" things like the bounce house, face painting, dino golf and such, the kids had fun seeing the different animatronic creatures.

Now the day is winding down and I am looking forward to a relaxing evening of putting my feet up, editing an article for the upcoming premiere issue of FEATURING magazine and maybe finding where I hid the chocolate. (The hunt is half the fun.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Ups & Downs

March is said to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. Well, if that is so, I would like to see the lamb please, and I don't mean meteorologically. What exactly do I mean?

Well, many of you know I have been on the never ending hunt for a job that will suit my current fiscal needs. I am thankful for the job I have currently, but if I am to move on with my life's plans, there will need to be a significant change in personal income. For this reason, I started applying for teaching jobs back in Texas. Twice now, I have been presented with what I have thought were good teaching opportunities. The latest one was such a sure thing, that I almost rented the moving truck and started calling the rental agency that manages my house and told them, take the house off the market. It's a good thing I didn't because said job was given to someone who had lost her position within the same district and had to be given the job due to contractual obligations. The people who planned on hiring me were very sorry. What a let down. I definitely felt like March's lion had taken his giant paw and gave me a big swipe across my backside. Boy did my pride hurt. So it is back to the drawing table.

In the meantime, I continue to workout at the gym and make new friends and take pictures of my food. So let's focus on that while I let my backside heal and wait for that saving lamb to come and rescue me.

Where to begin...Let's start with these strawberries:
 Mmmmm. Juicy.

 Although much smaller than I have been buying (new on left, older one on the right) they are definitely much sweeter and that makes my quest to eat more fruit much easier to do.

Then we have this fine specimen of a sandwich/wrap:
I am including the nutritional information. It was so delicious, I wanted another and possibly could have had one except I would like to have decadent cheeseburger for dinner tonight.
The numbers mean: 224 cal, 31carbs, 7 gm fat, 15 gm protein. (Calories calculated using

Finally let's wrap this post up with some positivity through art. I regularly receive emails from the Art House Co-op in New York. I love all the different projects that they have to offer, and many of them are free. I recently signed up to participate in a 4x6 swap (sorry registration is closed but there are others.) I pondered what to make and then resorted to my old friend, tissue paper.

First I dropped tan and dark red acrylic paint on aquarelle paper and moved it around with an old credit card. After the paint dried (maybe on completely,) I cut some pieces of yellow, pink and orange tissue paper and used modpodge for paper to glue it down. (That layer DID have to dry completely.) Then I broke out the black and white Sharpie poster markers and
I added some doodles with my Permapaque pen and a white Jelly Roll pen, both from Sakura.

It didn't come out the way I planned, but most of my projects rarely do. It is now wending it's way through the US Mail System to Brooklyn, NY to be swapped with some random artist's 4x6. I can't wait to see what I get in return.

FINALLY...Yes, I know I said I would end with the art, but I have one more announcement to share.

In case you haven't signed up with FEATURING Magazine to get updates on the publication's progress (What are you waiting for??), then listen up. The FEATURING Store is now open and you may purchase a spot on the back of the magazine to display your artwork or order the premiere issue that will be coming out in April. For more information, click here.

Today is a beautifully sunny day and it brings hope of greater things to come. Here's to taking chances.
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