Friday, August 29, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #12

Yes, I know that you just saw this one but I couldn't resist posting it again!

I simply adore this photo. I am in complete and total love with this photo. I've already had it printed 8x12" to make a scrapbook page and I'm going to get it blown up to be a focal piece of artwork in our guest room--I just need to decide if I want to just get it printed and frame it or if I want to get it printed onto a canvas. I'm thinking I'll get it on gallery-wrap canvas the next time Winkflash has a sale. I love it because of the colors, the intersecting lines, and the way it just makes me want to lay in a hammock. I love it because a few months ago I had no idea how to achieve this shallow depth of field and so it is visual proof that I am learning, growing, improving.

I also love this photo because when I posted it onto the gallery for my Photography 101 class over at BPS (along with the photo of Jason and the beer on the beach) the instructor Barbara said I had great artistic vision and the photos were creative and inspiring. Yippee!


Yesterday I thought I killed our computer and nearly had a heart attack. To make a long story as short as possible, a horrible web page locked up the computer and I had to do a hard reset (yikes!). When I turned the computer back on I got the black screen with a blinking cursor--double yikes! It turns out that I had one of those double-sided CD/DVDs in the disk drive because I was trying to rip the audio side, but the computer wouldn't recognize it (which it says on the case might happen). So when I turned the computer back on I guess it freaked out about the unreadable disk. So we took that out and everything was fine, praise Jesus! [And let me tell you, I was exceptionally tight with Jesus for the hour that I thought my computer was dead!] Needless to say, backing everything up again has moved higher on the ol' priority list! And big points to Jason for not freaking out when I told him and for figuring out what the problem was. :)

Now, a hotel-finding tip for you: when you absolutely, positively cannot find a hotel or B&B online for a football weekend in a town of 38,000 people with a football stadium which holds 100,000 people, the best way to find a hotel or B&B is to look up those which don't have online reservations and start calling. It turns out that most people are too lazy to do this, apparently, because I got a room at the first place I called. :) Whew! {Wiping forehead.} So glad to have that done!

Today I'm sending off a fun swap and getting a few more things into the mail. Scheduling a handful of various doctor appoinments. Drinking a ton of tea (if you have never tried Good Earth Original tea you must, really!). Choosing which home project Jason and I want to tackle this long weekend. On the lookout for the set of 40 of these, which I need for a Donna Downey class next month but are out of stock at DickBlick which of course has the best price by far, dangit. Still rockin' South Beach Phase 1; I {heart} Spicy Hot V-8. Working on some online classes. Enough to fill the day for sure. :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

p.s. Thanks for all the nice comments and e-mails about my A Joyful Heart book! :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Joyful Heart

Remember this? It's one of my submissions to Cynthia for the Leading Lady Design Team. I promised I would show the rest of this, so today is the day! (Click on any of the photos to view them larger.)

I adore hand-binding books! There's something so satisfying about taking a pile of paper and some thread and turning it into an actual book! I almost always use contrasting colors because I love seeing the stitches.

The theme for this book is "A Joyful Heart: things that make me HAPPY."

When you open the book all the way up it becomes a star! (Pretty cool that it matches up with the compass on my mosaic table, huh? Ha ha.)

To make the star look more dramatic, there are mini pages in each signature. (A signature is each set of pages sewn into the book. In this book there are seven signatures, which you can count on the above photo of the spine.) I used several different colors because I couldn't decide on only three to add to the bright, happy feel of the book.

The first set of pages is, of course, about Jason! My number-one happy-maker. Him. Us. Our marriage. Our life. Okay, I'll stop now. :)

The next page(s)... family! I put little photos of lots of family members and two larger photos of my adorable nieces (and their cheeks!).

Next up? Friends, of course! I'm blessed to have too many friends to include on here, but I love all these photos and all these people!

Another thing I love--TRAVEL! Each of these nine photos was taken in a different country--wow! I love that some of my favorite photos were taken by random strangers we handed our camera to. :)

Creating and art of COURSE made it into the book. :) I love that the butterfly says "Beauty Dreams Goodness," all words describing and integral to art!

Some of my favorite things that I do to relax. :) I made the circle text-boxes in Word with coordinating colored backgrounds and white text.

And finally, some of the food that makes me happy. Again I made white-text text boxes in Word and accented them with bling. [The photo is of me in my Italian neighbor Nunzia's kitchen as she taught me to make lasagna. Oh, Lordy, talk about HEAVEN. (Nunzia is on the friends page--we're both wearing aprons.)]

Whew, we made it to the back cover. Love this quotation. :)

There are a ton of other things that make me happy, obviously, but I'll have to save that for another book. Or ten. :)

[Big thanks to Tena Sprenger! You're the best!]

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Newport News

After we left OBX (Outer Banks) on Saturday, we headed up to Newport News, Virginia to see our friends Corey and Kristi. We know Corey and Kristi from way back... we were all at Nellis in Las Vegas together back in the last millennium. Seriously. 1998-2000! They were at our wedding in Oregon in 2000.

And we've managed to stay in touch over all the moves and all the years in between now and then. [I have mentioned that I sent out 175 Christmas cards last year, right? I am good at staying in touch, and so is Kristi!] They've had two beautiful girls in the past few years, and although I'd never met them I felt as though I had because Kristi gets gorgeous photos taken of them every other minute and sends them out a couple times a year. In fact, there was one waiting with our names on it when we arrived, and it is currently up on our fridge. And let me just say it; those two make some knockout little girls. Whoa-mamma are those gorgeous girls!

For some reason I didn't take many photos, and I completely missed getting one of all of us. But we've decided that we must see each other again soon since we're so close (only two and a half hours!). So we'll fix that right up next time! Jason and Corey and Kristi all ride motorcycles, so Jason brought his gear and went on a ride with Corey.

Kristi and I loaded up the girls and drove to Colonial Williamsburg to meet the guys. I'd been there once before (in 8th grade I think?) but I mainly remembered all the people dressed up churning butter and making candles and tanning leather and making horseshoes and stuff like that. This time we just wandered around the shops and got a great cheese plate and yummy snacks and called it dinner. Yummmm. Jason hadn't been there so we'll definitely make a trip back at some point to see the historical side (like we need an excuse to visit again)! :)

The next day we drove to Yorktown. What a great little town! We had lunch and did a bit of shopping.

Here is a very bad photo of Miss S in Founding Fathers, the Americana store. She has amazing enunciation and I love listening to her talk about how she traveled to Ih-tah-lee. Here she has introduced me to a "gentleman"... so adorable! Then Kristi and I went to a great bead store while Corey and Jason took the girls down to the beach. I got some heavenly faceted ruby quartz rondelles that I can't wait to use!

It was so great to see them and it was amazing how comfortable we were with each other instantly again! My favorite kinds of friends are the ones who, during a meal together, I can notice that we are missing something from the table, get up and find it in the kitchen, bring it back to the table, and they will respond, "Oh, I'm so glad that you just went and got that, thanks!" :) Extra bonus thanks to Kristi because she worked a 24-hour shift (she's a Midwife in the Air Force) and didn't get home until 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and somehow managed to be a trouper on just a few hours' sleep which is way more than I would be capable of!

I also loved hanging out with them because they are such great parents--a perfect balance of patience / go-with-the-flow / don't-get-worked-up-about-the-little-things while also instilling in their girls a very defined sense of politeness and good manners. They've officially been added to my short list of "Parents I'd Like to Be Like." It was a great way to end our vacation, and we're already looking forward to visiting them again (and hosting them here so we can take the girls to the National Zoo and the National Aquarium)!

Monday, August 25, 2008


Oh my goodness what a vacation!

We drove down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to hang for a few days with Mike and Kerry and their girls Kelsey and Emma on the beach.

Oh my heavens am I glad I'm taking this photography class. Oh how I love playing with aperture and depth of field (DOF)! Love love love that shallow DOF!

This is the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. We climbed all 250-something steps to the top and man was that breeze at the top lovely!

We swam in the ocean.

Jason of course made the absolute most of the waves. Love this boy! :)

We took some photos on the beach.

We watched a glorious sunset.

You are not going to believe me, but this is SOOC (straight out of camera). I promise. This doesn't even do it justice, so imagine how great it was in real life!

We watched kite surfers:

We hoped good things and crossed our fingers for sea turtle hatchlings:

We ate great food and drank great drinks and hung out and relaxed and took naps and laid in the hammock and looked for shells and did a little shopping. I also learned what happens when you spray your entire self with sunscreen while your feet are buried in the sand (ouchie red feet!). To prove I was there, here's one more photo:

We left Hatteras on Saturday morning at the crack of dawn. Jason and I stopped for breakfast and when we got back on the road we got stuck for almost an hour in a mysterious traffic standstill that turned out to be a firetruck blocking both lanes of the highway. An old car had caught on fire on the shoulder of the road so of course the firetruck had to block all lanes for the rest of the morning, long after any trace of smoke existed. On the only road going up and down the Outer Banks. You know, to protect us all. Or something. I'm so not annoyed at all. Totally over it. :)

After we made it around the VIF (Very Important Firetruck) we continued on our journey up to Newport News. And that was totally worth the traffic drama. And I'll write about that tomorrow! :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Leading Lady

When Cynthia first announced her amazing plans for Technicolor Postcards Studio Crafting Kits, I knew I'd love them (because she has stunning taste!). When she announced her Design Team call, I went to work creating projects that showed Me. Capital-M Me; my style and my vision and my passion.

I worked feverishly (which is very Me). I was obsessive-compulsive about my techniques and re-did things until I achieved the look I'd envisioned (very Me). I used tons of color (Me-me-me!). And also only black and white (Me, too). I made a hand-bound book (Me!) and two scrapbook pages (with lots of blank space--Me!).

In the end I came up with three things that I was happy with. Three things I felt encapsulated me and my style at this moment. Three things I was glad I'd created! [I shared one page here and will be posting my other submissions later this week.] So I sent them off to Cynthia and then packed for our vacation and tried not to think about it.

But I did. I thought about it a lot. So when she said she'd post her selections for Design Team (aka "Leading Ladies") on Saturday, I checked several times (in between, you know, being on vacation and being social with our hosts!). And then suddenly I saw this:

And then I made this noise very, very loudly in our hosts' house: WOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #11

Oh, I'm still having so much fun choosing photos for Favorite {Photo} Friday!

A few Septembers ago Jason and I went on a sailboat trip around some Greek islands with some of our friends; Bill and Bonnie, Ken and Melanie. It was a sailboat so it was small, just (barely) enough room for the six of us and the captain and his girlfriend. To complicate things, Ken was Bill and Jason's boss. And all three couples were different ages, spanning 30+ years. Happily and to my great surprise, the eight of us all got along swimmingly for the week we shared such a tiny space! It probably helped matters that we drank a lot of wine. A LOT of wine. When we actually did the math at the end of the trip and tallied up how many bottles we'd shared and how much per-person that amounted to, we all did a green tea detox at home. :)

Anyway, here are my feet. After dinner one night, docked at one of the little islands, I slipped away to have a few "Cameron is a great big introvert" moments, and I took my camera (back in my pre-digital film SLR days!). Some of my favorite pictures from that trip were taken during this little break! I really like this one, though; it just reminds me of that moment. I remember staring out at this scene and thinking how much I wanted to remember it, the color of the sky, the scratchy feeling of the concrete pier I was laying on, the peace of being by myself, the utter relaxation of having absolutely nothing to do and all week to do it in. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Your Passion is Waiting...

Now that Cynthia's design team call is closed I'll share my submissions. Here is the first one:

As soon as I saw this quote I knew what I wanted to do for this page. I tried a couple of different techniques but this one worked out to be closest to what I'd envisioned. [Inks and letter stamps are Close To My Heart (contact me for info or to order!), felt scroll is Queen & Co., cardstock is Bazzill.]

The best part is this is a two-fer 'cause I'm also entering it into Elise's Crafty Olympics. :)

Okay, we're off to the beach! Hooray!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Leaving for vacation for a few days, yay! So excited to be going anywhere somewhere else!

In typical Cameron fashion I've filled every moment up until the time we have to leave with preparing for the vacation. Laundry is still being done at 10:10 p.m. when we are leaving at 8 a.m. Does anyone else do this?

And remember that bikini that I've been dying to not wear? Upon packing I realized that it was not in the drawer I thought it should be in. Ack! So I spent the next twenty-seven minutes in a frenzy trying to find it. Because what is worse than wearing a bikini when you're not excited to wear it? Shopping for a bikini when you're not excited to wear it. I mean, really; is there a worse shopping experience? But luckily the bikini fairy or that saint who is in charge of lost objects or karma or something helped me out and I did find it, along with my gorgeous sarong. Hooray! Now I will be extra happy to wear it and prance about in the ocean with my bare toes in the sand (and SPF covering every inch of me). :)

And if I get tired of doing that then I will just read one of the 18 books I'm bringing or take some photos of Kelsey or head on over to baby Emma and just sniff her head and kiss her toes. Ahhhh, vacation!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Peek x 2

Our pumpkins are growing like weeds! I love going out and checking them in the morning and again in the evening and seeing them grow. I love when I can see a new one peeking through the soil!

Do you see how all of the pumpkins are growing in kind of a circle, except for one bare section (from like 9 to 12 on a clock)? That would be because Jason and I planted the seeds together and that little section is where Jason poked those poor little seeds deep into the soil and they are having to struggle more to reach daylight. Hopefully they will make it. And when I plant a garden I am not letting Jason help. [Just kidding, J, I will so need your help!]

I have been cutting and pasting and brayering and printing and designing and coloring and stamping and inking and measuring and markering and blinging and stickering and sewing and generally papering my heart out for Cynthia's call for Leading Ladies. It's so fun!

I still need to finish my last piece to submit so I don't want to show too much until then, but here is a sneak peek.

Aren't those colors just YUMMY?

I'm also getting ready for our trip to what I have now learned is called "The Outer Banks." [Sorry, East Coast, I'm new here. Thanks for your understanding re: my ignorance.] Kerry and clan are already there and she's posting photos to her Flickr so I know that we are going to have a super time! Yay! And I have made complete peace with all the parts of soon-to-be-bikini-clad me that, you know, make it oh so obvious that I don't spend any much nearly enough time in a gym. For this trip, anyway, a peaceful truce has been called, and you know what? I will take it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night...

...or at least from, like, 8:30 to 10 p.m. And then I wanna go home and go to bed. :)

We made the trek into D.C. last night to see Stephen's brother's band, Rome in a Day. They headlined at the 9:30 Club! I have no idea why it's called the 9:30 Club. Their address is 815 so maybe they thought 9:30 sounded cooler?

It was pretty cool! Stephen's brother Adam is the drummer. They were great, I think. I don't really listen to rock very much, let alone at a volume so loud that the whole building vibrates. But I think they were good! :) They have a female guitarist/vocalist, Ali, so that's cool. She rocked.

Adam also rocked, as you can tell since he is just a big drumming blur. :) I just had my handheld camera and was trying to use the balcony railing to steady it for the shots, until I realized that the railing was vibrating. Ha ha.

I was feeling pretty cool and cute since I was out at a real club in D.C. and I'd actually gotten a little dressed up and, you know, did my hair for the first time in much, much too long. So I got snotty for a second when I looked down from the balcony and saw this:

Yes, I did it. I mocked. I thought, "Oh, nice red cowboy hat!" I did. Please remember that I'm from Oregon, and in Oregon you don't wear a cowboy hat unless you're actually a cowboy (or cowgirl), and you definitely don't wear a red cowboy hat. Unless you're trying out for Rodeo Queen. Or dressing up as a slutty sexy cowgirl for Halloween.

Before you chastise me, let me assure you that the Universe smacked me upside the head right away. Okay, Universe, I get it. I should not mock! Because in a few minutes Ms. Red Cowgirl Hat came up to the balcony, and she was packing heat:

Oh sweet Jesus, look at that lens. I would wear that hat every minute for a year if I could have a lens like that. Sweet Lord almighty. Wear whatever you want, Ms. Red Cowgirl Hat. You obviously rock.


Today I am super excited! Katie and Oliver sent me a big box of artsy goodness last week, including a "grow your own pumpkin" kit. So we planted the seeds (in a bigger pot) and crossed our fingers.

Yay! I love when little green sprouts force themselves up into the daylight. It's so hopeful!

Today I am posting our old microwave on Craigslist. I have never posted anything on Craigslist before but Jason assures me that I'm smart and I can figure it out. I finally got all my photos printed for my mini-book so after I accomplish a few things [Hello, Mr. Vacuum, hello, Mrs. Mop, I did not forget you!] my reward will be to cut and paste and design and color and that will make me HAPPY for sure!

Have a super Saturday, y'all!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #10

I'm working on a mini-album and so I've been scouring all my photos looking for what I want to include. When I came upon this one I laughed and knew it was today's Favorite {Photo} Friday!

We were in Salzburg, Austria in December 2006 for the Christmas markets--oh how I love European Christmas markets! We went into a little square because I saw booths set up, but it turned out it was all "antiques" and nothing I was interested in. Of course Jason was more than anxious to leave the square and get me as far away from purchasable junk as possible :), but I saw this silhouette and got an idea and made Jason play photographer. I made the photo (except me) black and white because the background was really distracting but I still like my red hair poking out under my hat. I really love how he posed me so that my feet match theirs! I also love photos that show my playful, silly side because that is usually Jason's role and I'm usually the one taking photos, so it's rare that I get this type of photo of me. :) I love it! :)


Thanks to everyone who sent me e-mails and posted comments about my supermodel/transvestite rant post yesterday. :) Y'all are so sweet! I want to assure you that I--in no way--think that I'm fat. I was just amazed to have this smack-me-in-the-face realization yesterday. I saw this woman with the most beautiful body in a bikini on TV, and since I'm already packing for our little trip to the shore next week, I thought, "Ugh, I wish I looked that good in a bikini!" And then I found out that the beautiful woman in the bikini had been born a man. I thought she was a supermodel, but no, she just had a Y chromosome. Holy crap!

It makes me sad that the women who are supposedly the "beauty standard," who so many of us compare ourselves and our hips and love handles and our upper thighs to as we are trying on bikinis, look exactly like women who were born men. Hello?!?!?

It makes me sad that I can look back at a photo of myself from ten years ago and think, "Oh, I was so thin!" and know without a doubt in my mind that ten years ago I wanted to lose five pounds (it didn't help that ten years ago I lived in Vegas and at a size 6/8 I was 2-3 sizes bigger than most of my friends!). I know that I should either be happy with myself now or work to change it, but we all know that's easier said than done, right? [Sigh.] I'm working on it, really! :)

It also makes me sad that if I tell other women that I'd like to lose a little weight, the responses I get are almost entirely dependent upon the size of the woman I tell, whether or not they've had children, and their age. In other words, their response to me is based almost entirely upon their own battle with weight. The chance of my hearing a supportive comment is about 10-20%. Why don't we women support each other more?

Several years ago I'd heard so many discouraging comments that I decided I wouldn't utter them to another woman in the same situation. I want all my friends to be healthy! I want all my friends to feel great about themselves! If someone tells me they'd like to lose weight I try to say, "Oh, that's great! Being healthier is a great goal!" or "I think you look great but it's always good to make sure you're as healthy as possible," or "That's great! Is there anything I can do to help encourage your healthy habits?" or if I already think they are too thin I might say, "Why do you feel that way?"

Let's focus on the healthiness. I would like to be healthier. I would like to be stronger. I would like to be able to wear a bunch of clothes hanging in my closet that are just a little bit too tight right now. And let's just get down to it, shall we? I'd like to look really amazing naked.


Tonight we're going to see our friend Stephen's brother's band, Rome In a Day. They're headlining! Sweet!

This weekend:

I'm finishing a mini-book I've been working on to submit for Cynthia's Design Call. I really want to be a Leading Lady!

Also: I still really need to vacuum. I mean, really really really. No excuses!

A bunch of things hanging over my head and heart and To Do list are getting DONE. That's GONE with a D. For real.

I am collecting approximately ten times more books than I will actually be able to read in our four days at the shore. Yay! If you have any recommendations of fabulous books, please let me know ASAP.

Okay, I now have 13.4 minutes to get ready to go to the concert and that needs to include a shower. Have a great weekend, everyone! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I'm making two kinds of "bread" to give to friends and Jason's office, including a new variety I just made up. We'll see how they like the lemon! ["Bread" means c'mon, we all know it's cake in loaf form. But I've had rave reviews so far!]

I burned my left index finger on the oven rack while making the bread.

I am very happy that my kitchen is clean again after I made a huge mess making bread considering that the kitchen is the only clean room in my house.

I am super bummed that a ton of my photos I want to scrapbook include someone I don't much want to remember or look at or acknowledge in any other way at the moment. This has put me in a photo-printing standstill, which has also put me at a creating standstill. Boooooooo! This must be solved pronto. It pisses me off that she is affecting my creativity. It pisses me off that she is making me reconsider the way I take group photos. It just pisses me off.

I met with my friend Teri to see some new Close To My Heart product! Her three boys love me (of course, ha ha!) and they are sooooooo cute. I can't wait for Teri and Jim to go see a movie so I can hang with the boys and catch some bugs and appaud their handstands and run through some flashcards together!

I am going to the Chiropractor and scheduling an appt. with my doctor because the two smallest fingers on my left hand are still numb (going on five-six weeks).

I really need to vacuum. I mean, really.

I got a sweet e-mail from Daniele. He said that I seem to understand what happened in his race better than his coach does. Ha ha, sweet! :) Also that he has no time for anything because he is much too busy sleeping and partying, but when he gets back home he will send me some more photos. :) Oh, Dani, I love you! So funny. :) Have fun at the Olympic Village. :)

I watched my DVR'ed Project Runway and Shear Genius. Re: Project Runway: this season is booooh-ring. Project Runway has always been good because of the nasty people and the divas and the flamboyant gays (which sometimes is all the same person) and all the drama that ensues. So luckily I can get that all the very next hour on Shear Genius! I am really bummed that Paolo was kicked off this week. He might not have been the best hairdresser but I adore him, especially after he cried about the alopecia clients and rose above to make his client a beautiful wig. I {heart} big melty hearts!

I printed all my new class documents for my BPS classes. Yay!

I am bummed that I didn't learn more about photography when I was living in Europe, but trying to be happy that I'm learning it now rather than later.

I still have forty-eleven things weighing on my heart and mind and To Do list.

I'm going to the shore next week with friends (hi Kerry!). I will be in a swimsuit in front of people I know and my willpower is nowhere in sight. [Siiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.] And neither is a tan.

I am deeply and seriously contemplating the fact that transvestites in bikinis (on Kathy Griffin's My Life on the D List, which I "watched" while making bread) look EXACTLY like supermodels in bikinis. Why do I so many women feel like I they should look like a supermodel again, please? Will someone explain this? Supermodels look like transvestites for Pete's sake! Where are the real women? OH, here we are. Not on television. Not in the movies. Not in magazines. In dressing rooms trying on four thousand swimsuits in bad lighting or at home feeling bad about ourselves. WHAT CRAP!

[I am TRYING to not be this person. I HAVE HIPS AND CURVES AND I am trying to LOVE THEM.]

I am faking it 'til I make it, Baby. :)

I am a little bit fired up and I'm fine with that.

I am about to craft my ass off, pictures or no pictures. Sometimes all it takes is a little fire-up, baby! Woop-woop, let's go!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So Proud

When you're going for the gold--literally--you have to be willing to take risks. You have to be willing to put it all on the line, to go balls-to-the-wall, to give it everything you've got.

In the qualifying runs yesterday Dani [Daniele Molmenti] ranked 3rd overall. So when it came to the semifinals today, he knew that if he wanted to medal he had to give it all he had. And he qualified for the finals! But he received a 2-second penalty for (barely) touching one of the gates, so instead of having the third-fastest time in the semi-finals, he went into the finals ranked eighth.

The times from the semi-finals and the finals are combined for the overall time; so his 2-second penalty in the semis meant that he had to make up for it in his final race. And he went balls-to-the-wall for sure! The online commentator said "Molmenti is a human rocket!" His split time was faster than the fastest person at the time (Benjamin BOUKPETI from Togo, who received the Bronze). Jason and I were watching online and our hearts were beating so fast that it almost hurt!

And then, suddenly, his kayak hit "shitty [bad] water," and slipped him out of place and he didn't have time to correct his course; he missed a gate. A 50-second penalty; when ranks are decided by hundredths of a second, this is death.

The look on his face was pure shock--"What the hell just happened? How did that just happen?" He finished the course slowly, the shock sinking in.

Maybe he could have taken less chances; if he had gone a little slower he might have made the gate. But that wouldn't have been Daniele. He calls his kayak The Bull and he rides it full-out. He wasn't there to play it safe; he was there to go for it.

In typical Daniele style he's bounced right back. In an e-mail he wrote to us this morning he said that he's fought so hard for a medal but it's not yet time for him to have it; he hopes we felt good and were excited to see him race [DUH!]. :) He said that his sport is like life, good times and bad times; "it's important to stand up when you hit the ground, and you know I always stand up!"

Dani, I am so proud of you for going full-tilt. I am so, so proud of you that I can hardly stand it. I am inspired by you to live a life more full-tilt than I have been. And I promise we will be there for London 2012. :) Tanti baci & abbracci, carissimo mio! Have fun in China and we will see you soon! We love you!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Go Dani, Go Dani, Go Go Go Dani!

Daniele Molmenti placed third in the qualifying men's K-1 slalom today, so he's advancing to the semifinals! Semifinals start tomorrow morning (Eastern time) at 3:40 a.m. and Finals are at 5:17 a.m. (I'm not making that up, the schedule says 5:17!) They'll be shown online and I will be jumping up and down in front of the computer. I hope I'll be able to sleep a little before I have to get up!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Awwwwww Yeah, Baby!

We went to the County Fair today. Welcome to the South! Sweet Tea, barbecue, and these:

No, I didn't try them. Yikes!

Besides, this was much sweeter!

My photo of Florence won first place in the Architecture category, Boo-yeah, baby!

And, check it out!

Also won first prize for my Avon Walk handmade book! I didn't get a photo but I also won first prize for a pair of earrings I entered! Yippee! I won a few other ribbons for second and third places, too. Pretty good considering I didn't even think about entering until the day before!

AND, I won a whopping huge total of $31 for my various prizes. I'm currently plotting how I'm going to spend it all, ha ha! :) It was fun to enter and I'm glad I won a few things. I also got a good handle on how they judge things so I will be even better next year (ha ha!).

I know it's just a silly county fair, but I'm pretty proud that I won first prizes in three different categories--photography, jewelry, and papercrafts. I bet I'm the only person who did that! :)

I don't know if I am getting higher standards or if fair food is lowering its standards, but I arrived at the fair very excited to eat some very-bad-for-me-but-very-good-tasting-food. The options were so poor that we actually decided to forgo all options and grill out at home instead. Seriously. What is that about? Booo, sad! I stood looking at the various booths and thought, "If I'm going to eat this many calories I'd rather eat a Crunchwrap Supreme at Taco Bell instead." And that is a very sad state of affairs, let me tell you. Fair food has held a major place in my heart mind gut for more years than I can count. [Siiiiiiigh.]

Once my sister sends me photos of the reigning King and Queen (not to mention the True Princess!) of Aurora Colony Days I will post them here. Hint, hint, TJ!!!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

This Makes Me a Princess, Right?

My parents are the King and Queen of Aurora Colony Days today in my home town!

A photographer came out from the paper last week so they're front page news today! Don't they look thrilled? Ha ha. :) My sister is there this weekend and I've given her strict instructions to take photos of them in their reigning glory today. My niece (who will be three next week) has decided that since they are King and Queen, that makes her a "True Princess." So I'm sure she's having fun today, charming everyone and acting very much like a "true princess." [I wonder if she'll be unable to sleep tonight because of a pea under her mattress? :)]

My mom laughs it off and says that it was inevitable that they eventually were chosen as King and Queen because it's a small town, but the truth is that they really do a lot for Aurora (and have for many years!). So, Mom and Dad, enjoy your day as royalty! I wish I could be there!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #9 & 08.08.08

"The Eye of the Storm"

Holy crap does it get better than this? Oh how I adore this picture of Daniele Molmenti (credit to REUTERS/Darren Whiteside). I only wish I had a better quality jpg. Obviously I'm not the only one who loves this photo, because it was in the paper! Dani sent us this photo so I don't know the name of the paper. [Edited: it's the China Daily paper!]

The title caption under the photo says "The Eye of the Storm." Isn't that cool? Dani is like our brother; Jason and I would do just about anything for him (and vice versa, I think!). So I'm over the moon thrilled that he's an Olympian, and seeing him in the paper is super cool, too! PLUS, he was chosen as one of "Eight Olympians to Watch"! He worked soo hard to overcome his injuries after his accident and that makes all this sweeter!

And here's another great photo from REUTERS/Darren Whiteside:

I miss him so much and am so excited that he's been able to stay in touch with us while he's been in China. His event, K-1 Slalom, starts at 3:50 a.m. Eastern time on August 11th! In culo alla balena, carissimo mio!!! Good luck, Dani, listen closely and you may hear us cheering from here!


The Olympics are underway! [Yes, I know that Opening Ceremonies aren't on until tonight, but after living abroad my brain is used to considering other time zones, and I'm thinking about what Dani is doing, so that means Opening Ceremonies started two hours ago (China is 12 hours ahead of EDT).] Oh how I love the Olympics! It probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that my favorite part of the Olympics is the human interest stories. I love hearing about all the trials and struggles that competitors fought in order to fulfill their Olympic dreams. I love seeing the desire in their eyes and in their hearts. Oh, it all just makes my heart swell! I can't wait to watch Opening Ceremonies tonight!!!


Congratulations and good luck to all of the couples getting married today! I don't actually know any, but I remember all the hoopla from 07.07.07, so I imagine that it's the same a decade and a year and a month and a day (and an hour, probably) later! Actually, I was curious so I just googled it and found out that in China--where 8 is a lucky number--16,400 couples are getting married today! So congratulations and good luck to all of them and everyone else getting married today! :)


The County Fair here starts today! My mom's friend Terri just won two blue ribbons for two photographs that she entered in her local fair, and it made me think... so on Wednesday I looked up the info and low and behold I could still enter! So I spent yesterday choosing photos and getting them printed and getting mat board cut (oh how it killed me to not be able to do it myself! I miss being a Framer!) and mounting them, filling out forms and labeling everything and then taking it to the fairgrounds last night. Like I didn't have four zillion things I should have been doing instead. I entered the maximum number of photos (10) and also my Avon Walk book, a scrapbook page, a greeting card, a pair of earrings, and a necklace, all of which I'd already made (obviously). I don't expect to win anything, but it's kind of fun to have entered, anyway. I almost didn't enter because I am a perfectionistic, worrying oldest child and feel like I don't have the right to enter a competition unless I think I have a shot at winning. But then I remembered all of my brave friends who are putting their worries aside and just going for it--Cynthia is starting a monthly scrapbook kit club, Jilliene just signed up for art school, Heather's starting her second semester of art school, and Amy submitted to Somerset Studio magazine and her project was chosen! So if they can do those huge things then surely I can enter the silly old County Fair for heaven's sake! So there you go. I'm officially a County Fair participant! Hilariously the main reason I'm excited is because as a participant I got to buy super cheap fair entry tickets, ha ha! Next year I'll have Jason enter something, too, so we can get twice as many!

Have a super weekend, y'all!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thankful Thursday

When I first heard about Inspired (2008) on Kal's blog, I was, well, inspired! It sounded amazing... and also intimidating. Majorly, hugely, nearly-overwhelmingly intimidating. All of these capital-a Artists and then little old me. But I thought about it. And then I thought about it some more. And then I thought about it nearly constantly. And then one night after some liquid courage (which it should not take, I know, but sometimes does anyway) I told Jason about it and said, "I really want to learn how to be an artist and I think this..." and before I could finish my sentence he said, "Baby, you already are an artist; you make beautiful things every day." And then I started crying. And then he told me to sign up.

Have I mentioned how much I love my husband?

So I did--I signed up that same night. And I am so thankful that I did. The experience took my mind and opened it wide up and shifted it all around to make room for a world of possibilities. Plus. PLUS. PLUS I became involved in this amazing community of women artists who inspire me and are my friends and whom I treasure. Words don't exist to explain how I feel about these women. Or maybe they do and I just don't know them. Ha! Nothing like a little levity to break up the lump in my throat.

Cynthia is going through a tough situation right now, and she is all the way over in Minnesota, which I lament weekly. Since I can't take her some ice cream or make her a casserole or clean her house or bring over a stack of DVDs and a new pair of fluffy pajamas or take her for a walk to the park and talk for hours while we swing, I told her to create art to help her work through it. Little did I know she would make art for me! I absolutely adore this canvas and cried when I received it in the mail. It's mixed media focused on a vintage postcard of Piazza San Marco; she knows how much I love Italy.

It is sitting proudly on a stand on my mantle, and it makes me smile every time I see it. Thank you so much, Cynthia!! (And you know I'm thinking of you and your mom every day!)

A while back I got a wonderful package in the mail from Shannon. She's is an amazing artist who inspires me with nearly every blog post; she's on a blog hiatus right now so hurry up and come back, Shannon! which I totally understand. She made me this amazing little flip-out book about "10 ways to infuse your work with your personality." It's super cool!

She also made me this amazing card! One of the reasons I love Shannon is because her style is so different than mine; every time she makes something I love it but I never would have thought of it! Here's the inside of the card before she wrote inside of it (Shannon, I hope you don't mind I stole this from your blog!).

I love how she stamped the bird onto a page of text and then cut out and pasted the body onto the card. Sooooo cool! She also sent me a whole bunch of goodies to play with. Thanks again, Shannon!

I'm also grateful that I've slept better the past few nights so I had enough energy and brainpower to finish my charm swap. The theme was Favorite Places so, big surprise, I chose Italy. :)

I made the base of each charm with polymer clay (a blend of colors to get terracotta) and on the front is an image of a couple on a scooter (with the Coliseum in the background, no less!) and on the back I stamped "Ciao ciao!" I think they turned out pretty well. I have a couple extras that I may make into necklace pendants!

Also thankful for:
  • Being signed up for Inspired 2009!
  • Being signed up to meet Deitra in Richmond to take three classes from Donna!
  • My Chiropractor!
  • Two mini-vacations just planned for later this month and next! Wooo, it's about time, Jason and I are getting restless!

So what are you thankful for today? Let me know and I'll see you tomorrow for Favorite {Photo} Friday!