Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Is there enough for all of us?

Hello, my dear blog friends. Do you know how much I love reading your comments? It is one of the things that gives me joy during my days.

Lately, I'm been thinking and hoping and dreaming and praying and planning...a lot. By this time next year, I want to be writing and creating much more than I am. I really want to take my life into a whole new direction.

But it's scary.

I read a lot of blogs of people who really do seem to have a charmed life or at least they've been able to get what they want in their lives. And it's not necessarily that they are well off in a monetary way, but they are doing what they love and they're not starving. That's what I want for my life. But latetly, I've been concerned that maybe there isn't enough charm, or whatever, left over for me. Maybe the Universe only has so much charm and it's running out. Or maybe it has a yearly quota or something and there's already a waiting list for next year. So, what do I do then?

And then there are the fears of what others might say about what I'm trying to do. Will everyone think I'm crazy? Will I disappoint some? Will I enrage others?

Am I thinking too much? Should I just go for it?

That's what I'm thinking; I should just go for it.

If you have any similar experiences with happy endings, would you mind sharing them with me?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

30 Things I Believe

Today, I decided to have my students start writing This I Believe essays. As usual, there was moaning and groaning, but I told them that these essays are so different from the other essays they've written before. I showed them two examples: "Be Cool To The Pizza Delivery Dude" by an English teacher named Sarah Adams and "Thirty Things I Believe" by 7 year old Tarak McLain. This is the first year I've used the Thirty Things essay, because I just found it, and I'm really glad I did. After we read the essay, I asked the students to write 30 things they believe. I also wrote 30 things I believe. And here they are:

1. I believe everyone has the ability to be creative.
2. I believe we are stronger than we realize.
3. I believe every person I meet has something to teach me.
4. I believe if more people would read, they would suffer less.
5. I believe you have to support those you love in their dreams.
6. I believe you have to dream or you'll die.
7. I believe God has more blessings for us than we even dare to ask for.
8. I believe God wants to bless us with all of those things, but he's waiting for us to ask.
9. I believe in black pens.
10. I believe some obsessions are healthy.
11. I believe people should sing at the top of their lungs, even if they can't carry a tune.
12. I believe everyone has the right and privilege to be happy.
13. I believe writing frees the soul and the mind.
14. I believe chocolate can solve some problems.
15. I believe a heart can be broken and grow back stronger than before.
16. I believe that the closest place to a heaven in this world is on a sandy beach in Washington state.
17. I believe acrylic gel medium is my best friend.
18. I believe crying can sometimes lead to the clearest thinking.
19. I believe in love.
20. I believe that we appreciate what we have only after its absence.
21. I believe you should make friends wherever you go.
22. I believe wishes come true.
23. I believe miracles do happen.
24. I believe my children will be smarter than I am.
25. I believe you must go out, search, and find your bliss.
26. I believe all people are created equally.
27. I believe there won't be a time during my life where all people are treated equally.
28. I believe you don't have to be able to draw to create a work of art.
29. I believe in God.
30. I believe that we are all children of God and that he loves us all.

So, what do you believe?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What I Learned About Life From NaNoWriMo

I'm back!

Yep, I've been gone for over a month. I'm sure you're all wondering why. Well, I was participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I had to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Although I did write the 50,000 words, I didn't actually finish the novel, so don't start asking when you'll find it in paperback at your local bookstore.

As I worked on my novel, I actually discovered a lot about myself and even a few things about life. And as this the place where I muse, here are my musings about life from NaNoWriMo.

1. When you start to get bored, throw in a love scene. One night I was struggling to get my 1667 words to keep me on track. I was bored. I wasn't enjoying what I was writing. I didn't feel like anything interesting was happening. I was about ready to tear it up (or backspace it all). Instead, however, I decided to throw in a kissing scene. Now, it was a very tasteful kissing scene, don't worry. But it boosted my word count and pushed me over my 1667 words for the evening.

What does this have to do with real life, you ask? You may not have a significant other in your life, or your significant other might be in a land far, far away, so a kissing scene may not be in store for you. But I'm sure you love to do something, right? That's the kind of love scene I'm talking about. Spend some time doing something you really love. If that's crafting, do that. If it's writing, do that. If it's cleaning, um, do that then. Just spend some quality time with that activity. I think it'll boost endorphins almost as much as kissing does.

2. The rule of 400, 900, 1667. I discovered this strange little rule early on in the writing of my 50,000 words. The first 400 words would be fairly easy to write. The next 500 were pure torture! I couldn't think of anything to write. Every time I'd check my word count, it would only be about 20 more than the time I checked it before. Then, somehow, after I'd hit about 900, the next 700+ words were easy sailing.

Here's how I believe this can be applied to real life: It'll get harder before it gets easier. Isn't that something that some aged wisewoman would say? Seriously, I can see it embroidered on a pillow. But it is so true. But maybe, more precisely, I should say, "It'll start out easy and then it'll get harder and then it'll get easier." Sometimes we set out to do something, and it isn't so bad. We think, "Hey, I can totally handle this!" And then we get trucking along, complacent in our ability to accomplish the task and, dagnabit!, it gets hard! We want to give up, because there is just no end in sight to our troubles. And then, miraculously, after a while, things get easier again. Perhaps that is the Circle of Life. Or, as I call it, the rule of 400, 900, 1667.

3. Sometimes you can find jewels in big, huge piles of garbage. Some nights I'd be writing just to get my 1667 words done. I knew what I was writing wasn't very good. I wasn't sure where my plot was going or what motiviated my characters to act. And I'd end up with too many words that were probably (almost certainly) going to be completely cut from my novel. It was word garbage. Big, huge piles of it. But, again, almost certainly, I would discover something new about my characters or I'd write a line of dialogue that I loved or the next part of my plot would suddenly pop into my head. They were teeny, tiny jewels, or sometimes not so teeny, tiny, but they were totally worth going through all of the garbage I had written before.

We all have big, huge piles of garbage in our lives. Some people have literal piles of garbage, while others have more metaphorical piles of garbage. But I really do believe that we can find moments in those pile of garbage times that are jewels. For me, my big pile of garbage time has been from July 2008 right through today and on 'til April. In this time, TSH has been home for about, oh, 4 months total. In that time, the oldest son started preschool, the baby started doing everything, the oldest graduated from preschool, the oldest started kindergarten, and the middle child started preschool. I've worked full-time. I quit my reading endorsement when I just had one class left to take. The air conditioning in my faithful steed went kaput. It has been quite...exhausting. But we've had so much good in our lives. The baby is the sweetest little boy and he's so much easier than the other two were as babies. We were able to buy a house with the help of my brother, so we didn't have to live in an apartment anymore. TSH's bonus finally came through and I bought my beautiful new (to me) Ford Fusion. So many tiny jewels that have let me know how blessed I am. Oh, and, hello! I finished 50,000 words of my novel in 30 days!

So, I said I learned a few things, and I think I learned more than these 3, but I'm going to stick with just these for now. Even if you never write a novel, I hope you find some wisdom in these. And if you do decide to write a novel, you have to do NaNoWriMo. It's the best legal high you can get!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

So, you think you're not creative...

I'm sure you all remember the essay I posted in March about everyone being creative (but if you don't, here's a link).

Well, I've been thinking a lot this past year about having some kind of art retreat, a little like Artfest, but not nearly as large (I was thinking about 10-15 participants), and much closer to home (say, Park City or Heber), but definitely as much fun. And I was thinking about it again tonight, and I said to myself, "Self, why don't we have a creativity retreat instead of an art retreat?" And then I said, "Why, Self, I think that's brilliant! Then we could have lots of different kinds of lessons and workshops and have ridiculous amounts of fun!" And then I clapped my hands together and said, "Okay, Self, let's get started on this."

This retreat would be not just for those who already know they're creative; it would be for those whose creativity is dormant. Yes, even those people who insist that they're not creative would benefit from this retreat. Benefit and have fun.

So, here I am, getting started on a creativity retreat, to be known as the Creative Divas Retreat, and I wanted to put it out to you, my handful of faithful readers, first. Here's what I'm thinking:
  • 3 days and 2 nights in a cabin up in Heber one weekend in July (1, 2, and 3, or 8, 9, and 10)
  • All meals and snacks included
  • All supplies included
  • A special handmade gift from me
  • Classes that might include: writing poetry from nature, "Stop thinking and start writing", game piece jewelry, making journals and art journaling, wishing shrines and/or prayer flags, crowns.

And I want to reign in the price at between $200 and $300 (maybe even less). Quite honestly, I want to get it as cheap as I can without scrimping on quality (We will not be eating store brand cookies; only real Oreos will do for my Creative Divas!), so I wouldn't be taking much profit, if any, from the weekend.

This is what I would like from you, dear readers (ooh, I feel Jane Eyre): If you would be interested in such a weekend (no commitment right now, mind you), email me or make a comment on the blog. It would be girls only and a whole lot of silly times, kind of like a pajama party for adults.

Oh, and if you're interested in teaching something that you know how to do/make, let me know that too! I don't know if we could pay anything right now, but it would be a good chance to start getting some teaching experience. And, who knows, maybe the next year it might be even bigger and people will come from all of the world just to take a class from you!

Monday, September 28, 2009


This writing is inspired by J. Ruth Gendler's The Book of Qualities.

Love is very mercurial. Sometimes she is pleasant. She gives you hugs, she tells you how much she cares about you, she makes you feel like you can do no wrong. On those days, she wears red and pink. In fact, she looks like a walking Valentine with hearts embroidered on her cardigan.

But, other days, Love wears steel gray sweaters, jeans, and black combat boots. She's Tough Love and she will kick your butt if you even try to get out of line. She tells you that you're better than you've been behaving and to stop pissing your life away.

Some say Love is bipolar, but she isn't. She just will show you love in any way that will get through to your heart.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Dear John Letter to A Soda Pop

My dearest Diet Dr. Pepper,

How I have missed you! Every day, I crave your sweet smooth taste. I ache for your lovely brown, bubbling liquid lighting up my dull glass. I dream of the days when I held you in my hands and I knew that I would not be tired because you were there.

But, too quickly, you became a drug. I was addicted to the burst of energy I had when you were my drink of choice. I couldn't sleep at night. And so I had to leave you for your weaker, younger brother, Caffeine Free.

It certainly isn't the same, but he's a safer choice. I can sleep at night now, and I no longer have my recycling bin full of your bottles. It is better. I keep telling myself that. This is the way it needs to be. I'm sorry.



P.S. Don't despair. I'm sure you'll be back in my life before you know it. It's only the second week of school.

Friday, August 28, 2009

To Me From My Shadow Self

This is a letter written to me from my shadow self. To learn more about your shadow self, read Susan Wooldridge's book Poemcrazy.

Dear Andria,

Hi! It's me again! Sorry I haven't been around for awhile. After you read Almost French, I took off to Paris for a couple of weeks. I wore a beret and dressed in haute couture and drank cafe au laits while sitting in a little outdoor cafe that sits on the Seine. I did a lot of people watching, a lot of writing, and a lot of just sitting and listening. Oh, and every morning I had flakey croissants and chocolat chaud brought to my room at the little hotel where I stayed. Hmm, maybe I shouldn'thave told you that. I heard that you were on a diet; how's that going for you?

After Paris, I went up to Port Townsend and rented a cottage on the beach. I walked the water's edge every dawn in my bare feet and wore a bright red dress that swirled around my ankles. When I finished my morning walk, I would hide all day, working on that novel that you started last year. Too bad you were to busy taking care of your kids and trying to finish unpacking before you went back to work; it would have been nice if you could have gotten away to spend some time with me. Maybe next summer.

I think we should get together sometime soon. Give me a call when you have a free moment, okay?


Your Shadow Self

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Artfest Circle Journal

I was invited to be part of a circle journal project started by some of the new friends I met at Artfest in April. I am so excited to be involved in this project. Above are the pictures from my own journal, inspired by the poem "i carry your heart with me" by ee cummings.
It has been so much fun working on this journal and to have a place to work on it that is not my kitchen table. Pictures of my studio are soon to come.
And, as usual, my photos are totally mixed up. I really need to figure out how to do this.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Crafting Queen Art Shrine

I made this little art shrine for a swap. It's made with a Martha Stewart specimen box that was on clearance, a lot of different vintage trimmings, an image from Artchix Studios, glass glitter, and some fun clear scrapbook pieces. I love it so much I kind of want to keep it, but I guess I'll just have to make my own. *sigh*

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I need a cool new idea for my blog...

I'm currently reading Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I started two hours ago and I'm already on page 76. I didn't even watch Scrubs so I could keep reading it (okay, I did watch the episodes that were on at 8:00 and 8:30 on Comedy Central, but I did not watch the episodes that were on at 10:00 and 10:30 on channel 14, because they were reruns I'd seen over and over again. In fact, I think I've seen the same ones already this week).

I'm a little jealous of Ms. Powell. I want a cool idea for my blog that will make people want to keep coming back for more and then I can write a book which is then turned into a major motion picture. I could keep doing ARBPTWPMYTU, but so many people keep saying that they like my bad poems that I'm beginning to doubt my understanding of "good poetry". I don't think I'll do food, because I don't think many people want to read about all of the stuff I make from the Weight Watchers' cookbooks. Author and columnist Ann Cannon already has the market on a blog about writing and what she eats every day. (If you haven't read her column in the Deseret News, you have to! It's hilarious, she's hilarious, and I might even start subscribing to the Deseret News so I can read it. Well, probably not. I'll just keep going over to my parents' house to read it. We subscribed to the newspaper once, and the stacks of papers that needed to go to the recycling bin just became unbearable. I don't think I could do that again.)

So, back to the beginning, I need a cool new gimmick for my blog. Here are some ideas, just off the top of my head:

The Crazed Rantings of a High School English Teacher (Just in case you didn't get enough rantings from crazed people with their own shows on news networks who for some reason have a huge following)

What I Read Today (which could be potentially interesting, but also could be very boring if you really don't want to read about fluffy romance novels or poorly written papers)

A Daily Dose of Wisdom From Scrubs (hmm, I like that idea; I could even make it more broad and just say "A Daily Dose of Wisdom From Sitcoms" so I have an even better excuse to watch Friends, Fraser, and Will and Grace)

A Daily Dose of Crazy From Daytime Soaps (this could be a "don't-do-this" blog inspired by my recent obsession with The Bold and The Beautiful)

What do you, my dear readers, think? Perhaps it could be a combination of all four? I'm kind of liking that idea.

Do you have any other suggestions?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Calling All Marketers of Cool Stuff...

Yesterday I listened to a story on NPR about companies who court mommy bloggers by sending them free products and sending them on free trips and that the FTC may start investigating mommy bloggers who accept free products and give positive reviews about the products but who are not disclosing that they received the products for free.

And, I have to admit, that the only thing I could think of as I listened to this story is that no one is trying to offer me iPhones or trips to Hawaii and I felt kind of left out. So, marketers of stuff, if you're looking for a thirty-something working mom of three boys living in the suburbs to help move your product, I am totally open to receiving free products and saying good things about them. And I'm sure that my handful of readers will jump on board and buy your things just because I tell them to.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Worthy Cause

There are so many worthy causes out there, but I hope you'll take a few minutes and read about a woman who needs life-saving treatment for her cancer and whose insurance company has denied the treatment.

Artist Kelly Rae Roberts has written on her blog about Megan and the effort to raise $100,000 by August 1 so Megan can get the treatment she needs. I hope, if you're able, that you'll donate a few dollars to the cause. If money is tight, which it is for so many of us right now, and you're unable to donate, please include her and her family in your prayers.

Just so you know, I'm not usually the kind of person who just donates money for people I don't even know. I don't put my extra change in the container at the store for one cause or another. I don't usually donate a dollar to Primary Children's Hospital when the cashier asks if I want to. But for some reason, this cause has touched me. I hope if you're able that you'll donate a few dollars too.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ARBPTWPMYTU 3rd Edition: Sucky Sonnet #1

Oh, Shakespeare! I dedicate this edition of ARBPTWMYTU to you. You were my muse when I wrote this sucky sonnet in high school. I hope this putrid poetry doesn't make you turn in your grave.

We Should Chew Our Cud More Eagerly
We are herded like stock into the school
And forced to sit day after day "learning"
Math, reading, and Society's rules
But inside the wheels are quickly turning.
We are shaped into what our herders need
Grazing on literature and science
Letting one bull erroneously lead
Us into an unfriendly alliance.
Then Graduation Day comes so quickly
And we are no longer cows in the herd.
We leave our pastures, almost bitterly
Then we fly away as light as bird.
We become ther herder, herding our Youth.
And our only intentions are to soothe.
Okay, come on! I have three different metaphors for students in this poem (are "we" cows, birds, or shepherds?) and my rhymes are so forced I had to tie them up and beat them to make them work. Shakespeare, my muse, I won't be surprised if you pretend not to know me when I meet you in the life after this one.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Ah, already the 2nd edition of Andria's Really Bad Poetry That Will Make You Want To Throw Up. These two poems were written the summer before I started high school, I think. So, get your bucket ready!

Summer Has No Poetry
The mesquitoes are bitin'
My brothers are fightin'
And I'm mad.
The air is unusually hot
The wind is unusually not
And I'm sad.
My poetry has gone to the birds
My stories are just a bunch of words
And nobody really cares.
I usually write about blue skies
Or this unusually cute guy.
But this summer
Is a real bummer
And that is why.
School Daze
School is about to begin
I think I'm going to take a swim.
Maybe if I put it off to the last minute
I won't have to begin it.
Shopping for school stuff is just fine
But doesn't take a lot of time.
Paper gives you cuts
School food rots your guts.
Pens leak ink.
Gym shoes stink.
At least I still have a couple of weeks.
So, now that I'm writing these, I hope that when you're reading my poetry that I actually think is good that you're not thinking, "Hmm, I don't see much difference..."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Andria's Really Bad Poetry That Will Probably Make You Throw Up 1st edition

So, I've been going through my filing cabinet tonight because I really have too much stuff that I don't need. I've put a lot in the garbage pile (Okay, I'm really going to put it in the recycling bin) but I've also found tons of writing that I wrote in my wonder years. Tons of bad writing, that is. Short stories, the beginnings of novels, novels that I finished but I now hope are never, ever seen by a publisher. I even found my teenage vampire novel that I began writing long before Stephenie Meyer had her dream. And, of course, there is loads and loads of really awful poetry.

But I don't think I should be the only one who should have to read this terrible stuff; you should have to suffer along with me! So, here's the first edition and, depending on how many people go to the emergency room after reading this, maybe the last edition of Andria's Really Bad Poetry That Will Probably Make You Throw Up (ARBPTWPMYTU).

These first two poems were written when I was a sophomore in college. It was Valentine's Day and my friend Jen and I decided to write "I Hate Men" poetry. These are my two additions to the poetry-writing/man-hating evening.

(Just so you know, I do not hate men; I'm married to one, I have five brothers and a father who are men, and hopefully my boys grow up to be men. However, when you don't have a date on Valentine's, you've gotta do something.)

For the Man I Love
I loved you a long time ago
And I would still love you today
But you didn't ask me to be your valentine
So I wish you'd stay away.
You didn't send me flowers or
Candy very sweet.
So I wish you'd get out of my face
And eat your hairy feet.
If I ever get married
It will not be to you
And if you find this depressing
Choke on a candy heart and turn blue.
Kitchen Utensils Are More Romantic
A can opener is more romantic
The love you offer is simply platonic.
A soup spoon is so much more passionate
Than you in the mood, you lazy, old mutt.
A fork is a better shining, white knight
Although you may try with all of your might
To be like my knife with such dashing flair
But to find romance in men is so rare.
Don't worry, my dear, there is no other.
But why don't you stay home, live with mother.

You're probably thinking, "Wow. That's pretty darn bad." Oh ho ho! You just wait. I have even worse poetry than this! This is among some of the best of my poorly penned pieces

Oh, and, even though this poetry is truly awful, it is still copyrighted by me, so please don't steal it and say that you wrote it. This humiliation belongs to me!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Why didn't I hear that before?

As I was cleaning the apartment again today, I thought, "Why didn't I just hire someone to come clean the apartment for me?" I actually had thought that before, but I'd always have an answer to convince myself not to do it.

That would cost too much money.

So-and-so can clean an entire house by herself. I should be able to manage this teeny, tiny apartment.

And, of course the old standby:

What would so-and-so and such-and-such think of me if I couldn't clean my apartment?

And now that it's the day before I have to be out of the apartment, and it still isn't in the same condition it was first rented in (paraphrasing from our lease), and I'm so worn out that I still couldn't finish it. I kept cleaning and it seemed like everywhere I turned, there was another mess that was impossible to clean.

That's when I began to think, "Why am I putting myself through this? Why have I made myself believe that a perfectly cleaned apartment is necessary," and, perhaps even worse, "Why did I spend every night TSH was home last week cleaning the apartment?" We don't know for sure when he's going to be home and we spent our last hours together cleaning?! That last thought brought a few, brief tears.

I wonder what I was doing last week that kept myself from hearing these little whisperings. I guess I let myself get so wrapped up in what others thought of me and my little panic attacks, that I didn't listen.

So, tonight, I'm going to put my boys to bed, do my reading for class tomorrow, and, before I go to sleep, I'm going to write a little prayer asking for some help to get me through tomorrow. Because, if I can get through tomorrow without being rushed to the hospital with another bout of anxiety (which actually causes more anxiety, because you then have the $300 emergency room visit to pay for on top of whatever caused the anxiety in the first place) and without freaking out at the apartment assistant manager during our walk-through, I'll be done with that apartment forever!

And we'll live happily ever after in our little house that I got after making my wishing shrine...which I'll have to tell you about another time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Artfest 2009, Part 3

Here are some of the awesome people I met at Artfest. There are even more fabulous people I met, but I don't have pictures of them. Maybe next year. :D

My new friend MK is the lady in front. The other lady is lovely too, but I don't remember her name.
Here's Tami with Liesel, an awesome artist. I wish you could see her necklace better. It's gorgeous and I want it!
This is Cindy. She's from Salt Lake too! And she's holding Traveler, Colleen's traveling companion.

Susan Wooldridge is the lady on the right. She's crazy awesome!

This is my awesome new friend Tami and me. I have three days of hat hair here. Please do not judge me too harshly.

This is Tami's new boyfriend. He's buff, but he's kind of nutty.

Tami. We were having a dance on our last night.

Tami at Show and Tell. This is her piece of jewelry that will soon sell for hundreds of dollars!

This is Colleen, who I actually met about two years ago at the Farmer's Market here in Salt Lake. This is the painting that she painted in 3 DAYS! And she had never painted before. So awesome!

Artfest 2009, Part 2

Okay, seriously, I should be able to figure this out. I have a graduate degree, after all. But these are all backwards again. So, please start at the bottom and then scroll up. That's the way they should be seen.

My finished blocks are at the top of this and the paper has my poem from the first day. On the last night of Artfest, everyone brings something they created and they have Show and Tell. I have soooo many pictures from that night. I had to keep deleting pictures of my kids in order to take all of the pictures I did. So many inspiring works! Oh, and I had already saved the other pictures of the kids on the computer at home.

Another shot of my workspace and unfinished blocks.

Here's my workspace on my 3rd day with Karen O'Brien. It was tons of fun making these little collage blocks! She has the easiest, most awesome ways to make backgrounds. I can't wait to get into my studio and play some more with making them.

Here's the journal I made. I almost gave up at one point, but Pam came to my rescue.

Here's my second workshop, where we created a journal with Pam Garrison. Pam is standing there at the front table, on the right.

Things we gathered from the beach in empty matchboxes. I wrote one of my poems about the objects in the box on the left.

Here's the word pool we created together and then used in our poetry.

My first workshop was with Susan Wooldridge, the author of Poemcrazy, and this is my workspace that day, filled with word tickets and color chips and art postcards.

Artfest 2009, Part 1

Okay, here it is! The long-awaited pictures from Artfest! I'm going to do this in a few posts, mostly because I forgot that blogger puts pictures in a little bit backwards. So, this first set of pictures is mostly Fort Worden, where Artfest is held.

My lovely cell...I mean dorm room.

A yummy treat we got when we checked in.

The theme of Artfest 2009 was Sea Monsters, and I found Nessie one morning as I was taking a walk on the beach.

I'm sorry, but I had to take a picture of the lone boat in the middle of weeds.

The lighthouse, which I never got around to walking to.

The view from the stairs of my dorm.

I think this is the front of my dorm, but I don't remember. A reminder to post pictures sooner.

The back of my dorm, view from the Commons.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Michaels Coupon for you...

I don't know how many of you shop at Michaels, but, if you're like me, you hate to go in there without a coupon. So, here's one for you. Print off a few and then go in this week on different days and get all the stuff you want that isn't on sale. The things that I've been spending my coupons lately are the different modular pieces that you can buy to organize your stuff. Those are on sale this week, so I'll probably be using my coupon on something else. Hmm, what don't I have yet?

*update* I just opened an email from Joann's and there are two coupons from them this week in it. So here ya go!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Yellow and Blue: My Kitchen Colors

Yellow Teacup
Originally uploaded by Kim Naumann - Curiouser & Curiouser Designs

So, imagine having a cup of herbal tea in my kitchen while basking in the beautiful yellow and blue. Ahh, so bright and cheerful and, yet, so relaxing too! But, I promise, there will not be any red mushrooms in my kitchen.

Aqua and Pink: Bedroom Colors

Vintage Green and Flamenco Pink--Shades of Inspiration
Originally uploaded by La Dama de Collage / Andria

Here are the colors for my bedroom. I already have a lot of the pieces for this room already, like this vintage decanter and the pink Flamenco dancer. Love it!

Aqua/Blue + Red: My Studio Colors

Aqua/Blue + Red
Originally uploaded by Valerie.

So, I've been thinking a lot lately about the colors of the new house (yay! new house!) and I think I've finally come to a real decision on four rooms. This photo mosaic (not done by me) shows the colors for my new studio. Woohoo! I'm so excited to start painting!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Poetry from Artfest

Okay, I've been naughty and I haven't uploaded any pictures from Artfest yet, and I have no good excuse. But I did want to share a poem I wrote at Artfest while I was in the amazing "Hidden Journal Poems" workshop with awe-inspiring Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, the author of Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. I've already published it on Associated Content, so, if you want to read it, go take a look.

And I will get my pictures up this weekend. I promise!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A New Way to Clean Your Small Kitchen Appliances...

So, you may remember that on Christmas Day, I decided to make waffles and instead had a disaster. Well, I've been kind of putting off cleaning the waffle iron ever since. Oh, I would make half-hearted attempts at cleaning it, but usuall I would open it, become suddenly overwhelmed with what seemed like an impossible job, and then close it again after dusting out a few of the crumbs.

Today I decided was the day for me to get it all clean inside. So, I just started brushing the huge waffle crumbs out of the iron with my fingers. I have a restaurant-style Belgian waffle-maker, so it's a little hard to just pick it up and shake it over the sink or the garbage (another reason it's taken me so long to clean). And, again, it was making a huge mess, but it didn't really seem to help.

That's when inspiration hit. I got my vacuum and used the hose to vacuum out my waffle-maker! And then I just wiped off the waffle maker with some hot water when I finished. Ta da! Clean waffle-maker...finally.

I don't think I've ever loved my vacuum more than I d0 today.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Deployment has begun

I know I need to report about Artfest, but that will have to wait another day or two. I'm just not up to blogging about it yet; I still need to unpack and other stuff.

But I just wanted to let you know that TSH did deploy last week and we're doing fine. The boys and I miss him, of course, but we're plugging along. I'll be staying busy by packing and making art and probably a million magnets (they'll start calling me "Crazy Magnet Lady" but that's okay). And there's a class up at the U that I want to take that involves making treasures out of trash, totally up my alley.

So, we're doing fine. For now. :D

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm off to Artfest!

Well, my friends, I'm leaving tomorrow morning to go enjoy some rainy days in Port Townsend, Washington at Artfest. I don't know if I'll get a chance to blog before I get back Sunday evening (although there is supposed to be a coffee shop that has free wireless internet on the Fort), so know that I'm thinking about you. And have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Picture Hope

Shutter Sisters Dream Assignment: Picture Hope from LittlePurpleCow Productions on Vimeo.

I think this is a beautiful idea and it made me cry. Of course, Hamburger Helper commercials can make me cry these days, but I still think this is pretty amazing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Top Ten Tips for Writing Perfectly Penned Poems

Since next Wednesday starts National Poetry Month (no, it's not a joke!), I've published my top ten tips for writing perfectly penned poems (do you like my use of alliteration? Oh yeah, it's a poetic device). You can read my article on Associated Content. And then you'll write fabulous poetry and totally pass me up and become the next U.S. Poet Laureate. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't share these with you...

I Believe We Are All Creative

According to John Updike, “Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.”

I believe everyone is creative. Creativity is not just about painting a masterpiece or decorating a room better than anyone else or sitting in a glass box in the middle of a crowded city and composing a violin concerto. Creativity is taking what you have, the talents you were given at birth or the simple resources you have available to you, and doing something worthwhile with those things.

It drives me crazy when my friends and members of my family say that they are not creative. I think, How can you not be creative? You’re a human being! Humans are essentially creative creatures. We’ve been creating since the dawn of time. We built the pyramids in Egypt and Mexico. The Taj Mahal in India. Notre Dame de Paris in, well, Paris. And we didn’t stop there! Then we decorated all of these edifices with murals, jewels, writings of a hieroglyphic and calligryphic nature, and elaborate stained glass windows.

Humans have created masterpieces of music that have stood the test of centuries. Handel, Beethoven, and even Barry Manilow have created music that transcends time. Everyone recognizes The Messiah, “Fur Elise,” and “Copacabana.” These men took what they knew, took what they had, and created something remarkable.

Creativity was handed down to us from our ancestors. It’s more common than brown eyes or olive skin and more prevalent than heart disease or obesity. Being creative is simply who we are.

The feeling that some are creative and some are not tends to be widespread in those of my profession: high school teachers. Teachers at the high school level often look at their elementary school friends and think that elementary school teachers are just more creative. After all, their classrooms are always decorated for the holidays and they make applesauce in the fall, paper snowflakes in the winter, and little bunnies with cotton ball tails in the spring.

For the most part, high school teachers do not have classrooms decorated for Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day or make cutesy craft projects. But we are a creative bunch. We take vague state standards, the most current research from respected professionals, and whatever resources (high-tech or not-so-high-tech) we have available, and we create masterpieces of teaching. We care about “doing it right, or better.” We are creative.

I wish, sometimes, that I could take the blinders off my friends, family, and colleagues so they could see their own creativity. I wish that all people understood that they are creative, even if what they create doesn’t hang in a museum or get played by a symphony orchestra. I wish that others would believe, as I do, that we are all creative.

*note* This is an essay I wrote for the This I Believe. Sadly, they did not publish it, but, lucky you, now you get to read it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Is it a bull or a dinosaur?

I bought this painting at the DI a few days ago for $3. On the back it says, "Madrid, Spain," and I just had to have it. I thought it would go well with my vintage Spanish postcards.

I hung it up the other day even though it is nowhere near the vintage postcards. I just wanted to see what it looked like on my blank white wall.

Last night, Andrew looked up at the picture and started giggling. He said, "That dinosaur is trying to eat that girl's big bum!" Hmm, maybe this picture isn't what I thought it was...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

National Grammar Day

On National Grammar Day, Good Grammar is Not Just for English Teachers
National Grammar Day is March 4. Use the day to encourage good grammar with your high school students and to make grammar fun.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Managing Working Mommy Guilt

I received a whole $2.50 for this article on Associated Content! I think I need to add "Freelance Writer" to my resume.

Managing Your Working Mommy Guilt By Not Being Perfect

I have to admit that I excel at the "not being perfect" part of this article.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

More things published

I had three things published by Associated content today. Two are poems (one is pretty corny, but whatever) and one is an article about how to make marble magnets. Here are the links:

Green: A St. Patrick's Day Poem

In A Spanish City (Poem)

Marble Magnet Madness (Okay, that's not the title of the article, but that's what I wanted it to be.)

If you like what you read, make sure to click "recommend" underneath my name.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Here we go again...

So, last Thursday I had totally planned to do a "Thankful Thursday" about how grateful I was that TSH was home (he got back Thursday night), but time has escaped me.

Now, however, we have some stinky news. Despite being told several times that he was definately not on the battle roster (his unit is going to Afghanistan in April), we found Monday that he is on the battle roster. And, at this point, it's pretty certain that he'll be going. They're leaving for a year.

And here we go again.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lookee! Lookee! I'm Published!

Click on the link below to read my story. But make sure you don't read it when you're in the house...alone.

Have you ever wondered what happens in teachers' lounge or workroom? And have you ever wondered what happens if that room is haunted?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Love Autopsy

Okay, I found this in a friend's notes on Facebook, and I liked it. But I'm too lazy to figure how to do notes on Facebook (maybe that will be my goal for next week), so I'm putting my answers here. Here's how to play the game:

1. Put your iTunes on shuffle.
2. For each question, hit the "next" button.
3. Write down the song title and artist for the question.
4. Continue until you're done.

If someone says “Are you okay?” you say:
"Falling for the First Time" (Bare Naked Ladies)

How would you describe yourself?
"Meaningless Kiss" (Music and Lyrics soundtrack)

What do you look for a in a guy/girl?
"Ritmos Flamenco" (Armik) ("Flamenco Rythms in English)

How do you feel today?
“Hey Schoolgirl/Black Slacks” (Simon and Garfunkel)

What is your life’s purpose?
“I Made It Through the Rain” (Barry Manilow)

What’s your motto?
“Princes of the Universe” (Queen)

What do your friends think of you?
“Turn Me On” (Norah Jones)

What do your parents think of you?
“Harvest” (Whitehawk)

What do you think about very often?
“One Night in Bangkok”

What did you think about your first kiss?
“Red House” (Jimi Hendrix)

What do you think of your best friend(s)?
“Thanks that was fun” (Bare Naked Ladies)

What is your life story?
“New Soul” Yael Naim

What do you want to be when you grow up?
“Adios” La Oreja de Van Gogh

What will they play at your funeral?
“Get in Line” Bare Naked Ladies

What is your hobby/interest?
“Deck the Halls” (Donny Osmond)

What is your biggest fear?
"Even Angels Fall" (Jessica Riddle)

What is your biggest secret?
"Winter Wonderland" (Tara McLean)

What do you want right now?
"Witness" (Sarah McLachlan)

What do you think of your friends?
"Dirty Little Secret" (Sarah McLachlan)

What will you title this post?
"Love Autopsy" (Music and Lyrics Soundtrack)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Magnet Monday: Hello. My Name Is Andria...

and I'm a shopaholic. (Hi, Andria!)

Today's Magnet Monday (on a Tuesday) was inspired by the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic. After leaving the movie yesterday, I totally knew what today's magnets had to be. So, in honor of shopaholics everwhere (including myself), here are today's magnets:

Magnet Monday: Shopaholic Edition

Had to have it Magnet

I just love these cute little magnets!

Here's today's sad thing: I'm not giving any magnets away this week. I need to get caught up with all of the other things that I need to get sent out. But if you feel like you must have one of these sweet little magnets, let me know and I can sell one to you (at a very reasonable price). And as soon as I get a couple of minutes, I'll be able to get all of the stuff in my Etsy store that I've been working on. Maybe when TSH is home, he'll take the youngins for a while and I can finally get some things in my Etsy store. And then I can become rich and famous and shop some more!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Magnet Monday Will Be Postponed...

until tomorrow. I have the magnets done, but, still, my cable for my camera is still at work. Cross your fingers that I remember to bring it home tomorrow, because the magnets are so cute!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Magnet Monday Winners

Okey-dokey. Here are the winners for Mega Magnet Monday. I gave everyone who posted a number (1-8--Nicole was 1 and 2) and then used a random number generator online to help me pick the winners. And they are...

1. For the "Love" magnets...Kendra!

2. For the "Sexy" magnets...Heidi!

3. And for the "mystery magnets" which I can't upload pictures of right now because I left my cable at work and it's the weekend, but I'll post later...oh, you want to know who won? Well, it was Amy who posted a comment on my blog for the very first time!

Also, Nicole and Megan will receive the flower gift tag magnets for being the first two to post comments.

Wow! That was loads of fun, wasn't it? So, if you'll all do me a favor and email me your addresses, I'll get these off to you next week (oh, and Katie and Emily, I do have your magnets ready to send, so I'll get those off next week too).

Hasta el proximo Magnet Monday!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Miracle Mega Magnet Monday

Oh, I had this whole cool "Mega (mega mega mega) Magnet (magnet magnet magnet) MONDAAAAAAYYY!" thing planned out and I was so excited to do Magnet Monday today. But then, suddenly, the internet was gone and I couldn't figure out what was wrong and I thought, Oh, no! Mega Magnet Monday will have to be cancelled (well, maybe not cancelled but at least moved until tomorrow). And I had told myself that I was going to have miracles today! Today was supposed to be a day of miracles and it was turning out to be a day filled with disappointments.

Then, after I had given up getting the internet back up, I had gone into the computer room and saw that all of the lights were lit up on the modem. Hmm, a good sign, I said to myself. So I grabbed my sweet little computer, and, what do you know!, the internet was back up. So, it's late, but we're having Miracle Mega Magnet Monday!

First off, we have two gift tags that have been converted into magnets.

Magnet Gift tags: fronts

Magnet gift tags: backs

I've been making these flower gift tags over the last few weekends, perfecting them, and now I have 6 sets of them ready to put in my Etsy store. But the first two people who comment on this post will receive one of these magnet/gift tags as well as get their names put in the drawing for the other magnets.. And if you buy a set of gift tags and you want magnets for them, just leave me a note when you purchase the tags, and I'll send you the magnets for free.

Flower Gift Tags Now Available

Okay, ladies (and gentleman), sit down for the next set of magnets. They're Scrabble tile magnets, but they're not just any Scrabble tile magnets, they're...


Bella, Edward, and Twilight magnets! (There is an extra "e" and "w" so they don't have to be used exactly as picture above.) And now for the disappointing thing; I'm not giving them away. No, if you want them, you'll have to buy them. But I am giving away two small Scrabble tile magnet sets. And here they are:


Yep, for Valentine's Day "Love" and "Sexy" are the magnets I'm giving away! I'll give the "Love" magnets to one lucky person and the "Sexy" set to another.

There is also going to be a surprise magnet on Friday when I announce the winners. So, what do you have to do to win? Just post a comment before Friday. And if you want another entry, let the readers of your blog know about the giveaway by posting to your blog.

And if you've already won, please still post a comment. Everyone is welcome to enter!

I'll also be adding the gift tags and the Twilight magnets to my Etsy store this week. I'll let you know when that's been done.

Whew! I'm tired now, but I'm so excited about Miracle Mega (mega mega mega) Magnet (magnet magnet magnet) MONDAAAAAYYYY!

Check This Out!

My friend Amy has written an awesome poem and it was picked up by Associated Content.

Click on the link below and read the poem. Then click on "recommend" underneath her name just under the title of the poem.

A Second Chance
"A Second Chance" is a poem about almost losing someone you love and recognizing that you can be together again.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday and a Big Huge Sorry

"O Lord, that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!" William Shakespeare

Fairy Trade Card
Originally uploaded by La Dama de Collage

This week I want to say "Thank you!" to all of those who have helped since TSH left last July. My family and his family have been fabulous and so have my friends. I wish I could just give all who've helped me a big hug.

What are you grateful for this week?

And I wanted to say sorry for not posting a Magnet Monday this week. Time just got away from me. So, to make up for it, I'm going to have a Mega Magnet Monday next week. So make sure you visit on Monday. It'll be fun, I promise.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A New Blog

My SIL, Hollie, has started a new blog about exercise and diet, and she has asked me to be an author on it. I guess I have a lot to say about dieting and exercise because I'm so pleasantly plump. But I have learned some things and I'll blog there occassionally (I'm going to try about once a week) about some very practical things. And I will never blog about something that I won't do myself. You, of course, are all invited to read the blog. And don't worry; you will never see a before and after picture of me in a bikini.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Here's what happened...

Thanks to all of you who left comments on last Wednesday's post. Here's my version of what happened:

There once was a little man who was trapped in a bathroom. He had a book of maps that he would consult, hoping that one day they would lead him to an exit. But no matter how hard he tried, that book of maps never helped him to get out of that bathroom. It led him ice cream shops and monster trucks, however.

And here's what really happened:

Last Monday my boys were both coughing hard. Andrew had a cough that sounded really dry and painful, so I turned the shower on full blast on hot and put a chair in the bathroom for him to sit on so he didn't have to sit on the floor. And then I felt bad about shutting him up in the bathroom by himself, so I got him his maze book so he could do some mazes while he was in there.

I have to admit, what you think happened in that bathroom is much more interesting than what really happened.

I have another picture for this week if I can find it. I think it will really make you scratch your head.

I am blogging...


Yes, I have a new computer. It's a cute little Acer Aspire One AOA150-1126 8.9-Inch Netbook (1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB Hard Drive, XP Home, 6 Cell Battery) White
and I'm totally in love with it. Today's the first day I've used the internet on it because we don't have wireless internet at home yet, but I brought the computer with me to my parents', so we're checking out how it works.

It's teeny-tiny. It's so small that I put it in my purse (just a regular sized purse) to bring it over here. I'm using it to write my soon-to-be famous novel at night (over 8,000 words now).

I know you're jealous, but I'm sorry. I guess you'll have to get your own. :D

More free stuff!

Here's a chance for you to win some cool art supplies. Check out the sketchbooks. I think I want several.

Friday, January 30, 2009

And the lucky winners are...

Katie, Whitney, and Emily!

Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!

I'll be emailing you this weekend to get your addresses.

Come back next week for something new and exciting.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday

"Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart." --Seneca

This week I'm grateful that it is only three weeks until TSH is home. And I'm grateful that tomorrow is Friday. They're simple things, but that's what I'm thankful for this week.

What are you thankful for?