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Saturday, March 31, 2018

March Meandering - 2018 - Books, the Moon and the A to Z!

Here we are at the end of March.  Before we get to the April A to Z I just have a little more meandering to do.

I finished the book "Boys Will Be Boys" about the Dallas Cowboy glory years.  Unbelievable how much goes on that you don't know about, even when you think you know it all! 

My next book is The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie.  She is my favorite mystery author and when my blogging friend Jay Cudney said he was going to do an Agatha read-a-thon I had to join in.  You can too since we are starting the challenge tomorrow and reading four books through the month of April.  I am hoping I'll be able to finish them in that amount of time!  You can get all the details here.   

This is the first story with Tommy and Tuppence, two of her lesser known sleuths.  I don't remember reading it so I'm excited to start.  I just need to figure out which category I can use it for in my PopSugar Challenge.  

I have to give a shout out to the Silver Legacy Casino in Reno.  Hubby and I went earlier this month to celebrate my birthday and I had my camera with me to take some pictures.  The other day I was getting ready to take pictures for my A to Z theme and the battery on my camera died.   I am pretty methodical about where I keep the charger and extra battery for my camera so when it was not in either of the two places it usually is, I instantly thought that I might have left it at the Silver Legacy.  The battery and charger are kind of expensive for cameras so I took a chance and called the Lost and Found Department at the hotel.  I spoke with a really helpful gentleman who informed me that of the 1500 or so guests who check out of the hotel on a daily basis, about 300 of them leave something behind!  Most of the time it is charger cords for phones.  I was able to give him the room number and the date that we checked out and a description of the charger.  He looked in the computer and sure enough, one had been turned in for that day.  He said they are all kept in a box and he would give a look to make sure it was mine and call me back.  Less than 10 minutes later he called back and said that they did have it!  I was so grateful.  He directed me to the Silver Legacy lost and found website and I put in a claim to have it mailed back to me.  It is well worth the $16 it costs to ship it since the battery alone can be about $30 easily.  Side note, the Legacy sent us another comp card for two nights so I'm seeing another visit in our future.  

Tonight is the second full moon of the month so it is another Blue Moon.  It is the second blue moon this year (the first one was in January) and that will not happen again until October 31, 2020.  Unfortunately, I don't have the battery for my camera yet!  Fortunately, hubby has a camera and I'm sure he'll let me borrow it.  I took a shot with my phone the other night after work.  This is what I got:

Here are a few from tonight.  Magic this moon!

 Talk about zoom huh?

I love getting the shots through the trees.  Almost makes me think they are hands, playing with a ball.

Or holding on to a crystal ball, waiting to show me my future!

Susannah Conway is doing her April Love photo prompts again but I'm not sure I'll be able to manage it with the A to Z.  Here are the prompts if you want to try that one. 

Last but certainly not least, tomorrow is the start of the A to Z!  I know you are all anxiously awaiting my Michaels insights.  I do have to say that Tuesday will be my last working day there, since I turned in my notice a few weeks ago.  I got some really nice compliments tonight from a few of my coworkers who were in the break room as I was clocking out.  They were telling me that they really were sorry I was leaving because I was so nice and easy to get along with and such a good worker.  One of my supervisors really made my day though when she said that she "didn't have to learn to like me," she just did.  That is especially gratifying as I am easily old enough to be their mother!  I reassured them that I would definitely be back as a shopper so they would still see me.  They promised to continue to give me the employee discount!  That would be sweet.  

Oh yeah, Happy Easter all!  

Friday, March 23, 2018

March Meandering - 2018 - The Studio Yearbook, Spring Edition and Tell It Collage

Call me crazy but I just can't get enough of this stuff.  I think that one of the reasons I gave my two week notice at Michaels is because I didn't have enough time to do my creative outlets and I was starting to feel frustrated.  (Yes, I have decided that working in retail is not my cup of tea and yes, I am still going to do my A to Z Challenge on Michaels - just in case you were wondering).

I am in the beginning phase of two new projects.  One is called the Studio Yearbook, Spring Edition.  It was developed by Jamie Ridler, a wonderful mentor and creative spirit that I have been following for a while now.  She is the one who taught me about the Full Moon Dreamboards and the Vision Cards so I was really excited when she said she had created a Studio Yearbook.  Unlike a regular calendar, this "yearbook" is seasonal.  The initial offering is the Spring Edition and I was one of the first 100 people to get a paper copy of this really cool tool.  It goes for the months of spring from March 20 to June 20.   

It comes with a blank cover and this is how I decided to decorate it.  I used the First 100 sticker that came on the packaging as the center for the top flower.

Part of the process of the yearbook is to make it your own and that starts with telling about yourself and where you are in this moment.  This is my "You" page. 

The daily pages are filled with spots for documenting life as you experience it during the season.  Each page has the date plus sections for documenting the day, what you want to focus on, your mood, inspiration, creation, insight, gratitude, words for the day, an image from the day and a place to give yourself gold stars.  Everyone deserves gold stars!    

You can fill out as much or as little of each section as you want and as you can see I have some blank spaces there but I can already tell this is going to be a great keepsake.  I am realistic enough to know that I am not going to be able to fill in every section every day but it is making me stop and think about things and notice what is going on in my day.  As we get further along, there are pages for the Full Moon and pages for you to write out 12 areas you want to focus on specifically.  There is also a monthly spread for each of the months so you can use that as a calendar if you want.    

Unfortunately there are no more printed copies of the Studio Yearbook but there is a digital format and you can get one and have it printed yourself.  It's not too late to start for spring.  I know I am going to try to be one of the first 100 again to get the next version for the summer.  
The second project I have is from the same wonderful woman who directed us in Tell It Color, Liz Lamoreux.  This one is called Tell It Collage.  Each day for the next 21 days I'll be getting a message from Liz with prompts and ideas for collages to dig deep into the person I am or want to be.

Here is my first page, the intention.  This picture is a larger version of the one I used in the yearbook.

The next step was to build some foundation pages (pages with pictures or backgrounds and colors) and then to take another page and write out words to describe who I am, how I feel, what I love, etc.  This is what I came up with.

Day 3 was to take one of the foundation pages and add to it with the prompt "I am," using some of the words from day 2.  I had the picture on the left and the blue background as my foundation page and then I added the rest of the embellishments.  Day in, day out be powered by dreams!  

Registration will be open throughout the course so there is still time to do this one too if you like.

While these specific practices aren't going to make me any money per say, I am practicing new techniques and gaining insights and I think that will translate to more production with my cards and such.  The more you work with the ideas of your dreams, the easier they are to bring to life.  Plus, I am connecting with a great bunch of people who are very supportive of the craftiness of life and that is always helpful. 

We still have about a week left for me to meander in March, getting ready for the big A to Z in April.  What are you working on this month?  Share!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

March Meandering - 2018 - Reading Challenge Edition

I've finished the book Intrusions by Ursula Hegi.  That means I've finished 5 books so far and I am right on track with my goal for the year, yay.  

Intrusions is an interesting book written to show how hard it can be being a wife and mother who is also a writer.  She intertwines her personal life with the life of her characters and sometimes it is hard to tell who is speaking.  I can totally understand the conflict about feeling that you are neglecting your family but at the same time, when the ideas flow, you have to go with them.  It completed my category of a book about feminism.  

Now I am on to the story of the Dallas Cowboys in their Glory Days of Troy Aikman, Emmett Smith, Michael Irvin and company.  While I am not a football fan by any means, the Cowboys are my husband's favorite team (a thing that is sometimes hard to be living in 49-er territory).  I love their uniforms and they have had some pretty cute quarterbacks!  

It starts out with Michael Irvin stabbing one of his fellow teammates in the neck with a pair of scissors so it definitely is not about football alone!  I'm using it to fill my category of a book about sports.  

How are you doing with your reading this year?  

March Meandering - 2018 - Escapist Coloring Club Edition

Our friend Linda G. Hill sent a reminder that there was still time to join the Escapist Coloring Club for March so here are my two offerings.  Since it is my birthday month and I am Pisces, I have some fishy projects.

It is so relaxing to color and I am looking forward to baseball season because that is when I can sit and color while I watch the game on TV.  I got a nifty new swivel lap desk too so it makes it so much easier to color projects like this.  It is from Totally Tiffany and it is called the Rotating Design Board.   It comes in a couple of different sizes but I have the 12 x 12 size.  There is a giant clip on the top to hold your project plus I have the magnetic mat so I can use small magnets to hold things down on it.  You can see my current project is nice and secure.   

There are ball bearings in the center and it swivels just like a lazy Susan does.  

It really makes coloring or any kind of crafting or writing very easy.  No, I am not an affiliate of Totally Tiffany, just like her products and thought I'd share with fellow colorers!  As Linda says, it's not too late to add your project to the group!  Love to see what others are coloring.  

Monday, March 19, 2018

March Meandering - 2018 - A to Z Challenge - 2018 - Theme Reveal

It is time for the big A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal!

For the last two years I've been participating in the A to Z Challenge with several hundred others and I've posted about that a few days ago. 

Jacqui Murray of WordDreams actually gave me the idea for this theme when I first started working at Michaels in September last year.  Thanks, Jacqui!

My word for the year is Create and I am guessing that working in a store "Where Creativity Happens" is pretty in line with that idea.  

So, in my Blogging from A to Z Challenge for 2018 I'm going to take you behind the scenes at Michaels Arts and Crafts store and introduce you to all the different things you may not have realized about this establishment.  

Of course there are the usual items one might find in a craft store such as crayons and paints but it really is much more than that.  I'm hoping you'll learn something new and maybe it will inspire you to visit a store and get your craft on!   

There is still plenty of time to join the challenge, which runs through April, feel free to come along.  You can find all the details here.  It should be another fun month.   

Saturday, March 17, 2018

March Meandering - 2018 - Creative Memories Independent Advisor

That's me!  I am happy to announce that I am now a Creative Memories Independent Advisor. 

Creative Memories has been around for quite a while and I've enjoyed working with their products but I didn't consider being a consultant because I didn't want to be under the obligation of minimum orders or time constraints.  They have changed their rules of engagement within the last year or so and I find that the qualifications are much easier to deal with now (there aren't any)!

There are a lot of new products along with some old favorites and I am excited to be able to share them.  If you are looking for a way to make fast scrapbook albums or like to make them a little more embellished, there are products for you.  

Here is the current catalog.

Love to answer any questions or help you find solutions for your photo albums and memory keeping!  Click here to go to my advisor link.  As with all my other creative endeavors though, I'm not the pushy kind so I promise I'm not going to overload your inbox with promos, just thought I'd share my latest adventure!        

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

March Meandering - 2018 - Blogging from A to Z Challenge - Reflection posts 2016 and 2017

We are about to embark on the A to Z Challenge for 2018 and I thought I'd take a minute to share the Reflection posts from the two prior years I have participated.  Each year music was the basic theme.

In 2016 I wrote about something to do with music for every letter of the alphabet.   Some of the topics were a little off the beaten track such as Funiculi Funicula for F and Xylorimba for X. 

This was for the letter "C" - Cowboy Jack

I was able to finish the whole challenge on time and I am pretty proud of my first abecedarium.

In 2017 I wanted to incorporate my love of scrapbooking with my love of music and so I went through the alphabet showcasing the concert album I am making of all the bands we have seen.  I did take the liberty of using some song names to cover the letters rather than the names of the bands.

This was from my letter A for Adele

I overestimated my abilities for this challenge and could not finish on time, although I did eventually do all the letters and they are linked in that recap post.

Next Monday, the 19th of March, is the big Theme Reveal for this year's challenge.  There are already over 300 participants signed up and there will probably be many more.  You can find out all the info and sign up to participate here.

It is a really fun challenge and I have learned so many things and made so many new blogging friends through my participation.  I highly recommend it and even if you don't want to blog, there are many interesting themes out there to explore.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

March Meandering - 2018 - Reno Fun

We've gone to Reno about once a year for the last few years starting when our daughter, Amanda, worked for the El Dorado.  Because we go that often the clubs send us packages that usually include one or two nights complimentary stay at either Silver Legacy, El Dorado or Circus Circus.  We've never stayed at Circus Circus but we enjoy the El Dorado or the Silver Legacy.  Last year we were really lucky because we were able to combine two offers and stay two free nights at El Dorado and two at Silver Legacy, one under Bill's name and one under mine.  Since then the casinos have merged and now they only send us the offers in my name.  May is our typical month to go because it is our  wedding anniversary and that is our treat to ourselves but this year our youngest is graduating from college in May so we decided to take advantage of the offer and celebrate my birthday.  I made reservations at the Silver Legacy and mentioned the fact that we were going for my birthday - when we told them it was our 25th anniversary a few years ago they sent up some champagne and chocolate covered strawberries so I felt it couldn't hurt to let them know it was another special occasion, right?

Since our old standby, Lou La Bonte's closed we've had to find a new halfway stopping point, especially now that the hubby's back is achey if he sits for too long.  Dine and Dash Cafe suits the bill.  It is a little more than halfway but that just means that we are closer to our destination.

Another reason we usually go in May is the weather.  I was crossing my fingers that we would have enough snow to be pretty but not so much that we'd need chains or not be able to get through the mountains at all.  We did hit about a 10 mile stretch of actual snowfall as we were going over Donner Summit but for the most part it was just a pretty blanket of snow.

I mentioned again as we were checking in that we were there to celebrate my birthday and they congratulated me but we didn't get any champagne or strawberries delivered to our room.  Our room number was the same as the year I graduated high school so it was easy to remember.  

We went by to see if the Believe sign was still there and it was, along with a new statue of some whales.

It was cool the way the sun came through the stained glass making up this Space Whale sculpture. 

We had a great time even though we didn't win any money.  The Silver Legacy has a traveling entertainer named Doc Cheatham who wanders the walkways answering questions and directing you to where you want to go.  He also does card tricks and we watched several amazing ones.  After running into him four or five times over the course of our stay, we actually introduced ourselves and he was very gracious, telling us his history with the Silver Legacy (he's been there since it opened) and answering Bill's questions about how some of the tricks are done.  If you get a chance to go to the Legacy, make sure you check him out and tell him Bill and Janet said hello!

When it was time to check out, I went to the desk to settle the bill.  Even though the rooms are comped, usually there is the hotel tax and gaming fees that need to be paid.  I can use any points we've accumulated with our gambling to pay for that but this time they told us we had no bill at all!  Guess that was my birthday present from them.  That is actually much nicer than champagne and strawberries! 

The weather held up for us again.  We did get some rain but not until we were closer to home.  

All in all it was a very nice way to celebrate my birthday.   Oh yeah, I did get myself a birthday present too:

Just a little sparkly.  That's what we've been up to the last few days.  How about you?  

Thursday, March 8, 2018

March Meandering - 2018 - International Women's Day

March 8 is International Women's Day.  While I am grateful to the more famous women pioneers for paving the way, I have to give a shout to some women closer to home:

My grandmother, Bertha.  She spoke little English when she married my grandfather and yet she raised five children and cooked for all the workers at the old Geneva and Sunnydale Nursery.  She stayed with us for a number of years while I was growing up and I remember her doing the washing, ironing and cleaning the kitchen.  She lived until her late 90's and I never heard her complain of being tired. 
My mom's twin sister, Antoinette (Auntie Annie to me).

Even though they used to have to dress alike, almost until the day my mom married, Annie showed me that you can still be an individual.  She had a very different lifestyle than my mom!

Annie and my mom
Auntie Annie

Most of all my mom, who taught me everything about being a good wife and mother.  How to be a lady with grace and style and yet have fun and sing and laugh with your friends.

She showed me that 90 years old is not too old to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time.

My sisters:

Judy, JoAnne, mom, me, Jaye

JoAnne was the oldest.  She was 12 years older than I.  She taught me that it was okay to have a career and have a family.  She raised two boys and took care of my brother-in-law who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  I never heard her say anything about feeling sorry for herself or complain about missing out on things.  Sadly, we lost her before she was 60.  Way too soon.  

Judy was my confidant.  There are 10 years between us.  She helped me through my rough teen years and listened to my woes about not having a boyfriend, blah, blah, blah.

Jaye is 5 years younger than I and while I wouldn't have thought it, she actually is teaching me that it is never too old to make a new life story.

And of course there are my girls, women themselves now, who teach me something new all the time about navigating through the changing world in which we live.



I am so blessed to have all of these wonderful women in my life!  Who are you celebrating this International Women's Day?