It’s a cool, lazy, Sunday morning…

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oh, you know. no biggie.

I don’t want to be an alarmist, but I either have arm cancer or a blood clot that will free itself any time now, rushing straight to some very favorite vital organs of mine.

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Again, don’t be alarmed.

I found this huh-uuu-jah bump last night on my forearm (yes, amidst the age spots. But they’re caused from all the hard work I do outside in my garden…okay, they’re caused from hours in a tanning bed…okay, they’re caused from being freakin’ old.) I have noooooooooo recollection of hitting my arm. None. (also disconcerting since there is probably Alzheimer’s mixed in with my arm-cancer/blood-clot-rushing symptoms as well.) I really do not know where it would have come from but a very large bruise is developing as well.

If I haven’t posted for awhile, well…now ya know why. I’ve either died or I can’t work my prosthetic arm correctly yet.

……I need to lie down.

a familiar feeling

It was nice to be back at home last weekend for my son’s graduation from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Loyce (my dad and Joyce) drove to Omaha to pick me up then turned around and drove back to Independence – all in one day. We had a fun trip, hovering around the Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri borders. I stayed in the same bedroom, the same bed, that I grew up in. So many hours were spent daydreaming in that room. At 48 years old, I am happy the majority of those dreams have been exceeded. I am relieved, as well, that some of those hopes turned out to be unsubstantial.

My parents have always tenderly cared for their yard and gardens. It takes a great deal of patience and foresight to grow trees from saplings and young bushes into flowering displays. They possessed that ability. Teachers, even among outdoor life. After all the graduation hoopla was over, it was nice to walk through the yard with Dad, looking at the peonies and Japanese iris, ready to burst. To celebrate with the festive snowball bush, heavy-laden with beautiful white blooms. To inspect a rosebud, just beginning to unfold its layers of fragrant petals. All along the walk, Dad would bend and pull stray weeds, so typical of many days before in my childhood.

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The whole weekend we watched a mother robin fly in and out of the nest built in the corner of the back porch. The nest was filled with hungry, churping babies. She brought the fattest worms to them! She was also very protective when anyone got near enough to hurt them.

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As we all sat around on the back porch after Baird’s graduation…Anna-Margaret, Craig, Jacqueline, Lauren, Dad, Joyce, Larry, Baird, Hannah, me (& Scott on his way), the mother bird flew in and out of the nest, keeping a watchful eye on us all. It was evident, in the midst of all the commotion and animated conversation and eating and laughing, there was an ever-present Mother, proudly watching her brood…

What Happened to Spring?!

Omaha had snow forever this year. It snowed in May, for goodness sake. We were all anxious for warmer, Spring weather. Turns out, we had 3 days (aka: 5 minutes) of it before we moved right into Hellish Summer. Yesterday it was 100 degrees here in Omaha. one.hun.dred. There was high sun beating down on you while the Nebraska wind kept gettin’ all up in your face, reminding you what hot air feels like (as if any one of us could forget as we gasped for air from our weak, winterized lungs.)

So I am glad I took some time this past weekend (you know…on one of our 3 Spring days…) to take a few pictures of area trees that were in bloom. The fragrance was heavenly. The colors were amazing! As I walked under a few of the trees, my ears were filled with LOUD buzzing from the bees, busy at work and very uninterested in me. I wonder if they knew they only 3 days of Spring to hunt and gather?!

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This morning, as I ran some errands, I noticed the ground was filled with blowing blooms. I felt like royalty – or a bride – as I walked around in my grubby shorts and t-shirt. The Flower Girl of Spring is definitely leaving her mark today. Talk about melancholy: the ground is covered in white and pink and red blooms as the trees shed their Spring attire for the more tranquil green of Summer.

As I fell asleep last night, I fervently prayed (begged, pleaded, ohpleaseGodohpleaseGodohpleeeease) that this 100 degree day is a fluke and not a sign of a long Summer to come. My perimenopausal nights are bad enough without the added heat of the outside.

Here’s to days by the pool!! (which is currently being freshly painted a beautiful blue) I am SOOOO ready! I plan on being the beached, old whale that doesn’t give a flip about what she looks like in a straining swimsuit. I’m just there for the cool water, warm rays and who knows – maybe I’ll break down and load ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ on my iPod…

simple blogging

Ashleigh Baker’s blog post on Simple Stories comforted and encouraged me.

I completely agree with Ashleigh’s view on blogging in twenty-thirteen. I have often found myself missing the days of feeling the need to write out my thoughts, then sharing it on my blog (almost daily), sharing pictures from the everydayness of life, then hearing from the people who read the blog and felt a connection to it.

I miss that so much.

Over the past number of years I have developed a ‘marketing’ devil that sits on my blogging shoulder and is constantly asking, “What audience are you reaching?” “Who is reading your blog today?” “Is this really the best time to post this blog entry; you’d reach more people in the morning.”

I have come to hate that red-PR devil. In fact, the pressure of it all has led to sporadic and somewhat unenthusiastic posting.

After reading this blog post from Simple Stories, I felt oddly validated. I felt motivated to just write for the sake of writing. Share for the sake of sharing. Even if it is to nobody (gulp), do it for the exercise. For the discipline of developing a blog post over time, rather than the impulsive sharing on Facebook.

In fact, I would argue Facebook status line posts have been the death of true blogging. Who would even WANT to read a blog post of mine if they’ve already read about it on my FB?!

Who knows how it will evolve. But due to a lack of journaling or written letters to my children – maybe blogging about every day (dare I say, boring) occurrences will leave a trace of who their mother was during this time in life.

I hope we can meet again over a blog post. I’d like to continue the conversation…

c’mon, spring, you can do it. c’mon. just a little bit more…

(I apologize that this is a bit ‘regional’ in its content…)

When I lived in Olathe, Kansas, I absolutely LOVED walking at Heritage Park. It was a beautiful morning walk around the lake. Time flew by as I walked past the morning cranes and geese and various other morning birds, occasionally greeted by a ‘Good morning’ as I crossed paths with a jogger. It was open and safe, but was also a nice habitat immersed in a growing neighborhood of communities. It has remained my favorite walking spot to date.

To date. | Scott and I were driving around this weekend when we found a state park very near our house (we clocked it this morning at 3 miles from our place.) As we drove into the park, I kept mentioning how much it felt like Heritage Park and the walking paths looked wonderful – and Scott kept saying something about a fishing license whatchamacallit…

Needless to say, we were hooked. We found picnic tables and quickly planned our Summer 2013 outings that would involve our new Happy Place: Standing Bear Lake Park.

This morning we walked (not too far and not too fast) and it was as wonderful as I remembered Heritage Park to be. I can’t wait to go back tomorrow morning!!

Here are some sun’s-too-high, non-camera, phone-pictures-only views on my morning walk. We’re trying so hard here in Omaha to usher in Spring…

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NSD2013

National Scrapbook Day. Oh don’t even act like you’ve never heard of it! It’s big, I tell you. BIG!

Yesterday’s Scrapbooking celebrated in a big way with a crop on Friday until 2am and all day Saturday. Our theme was a cowgirl theme (Yes, you’re right. Not my choice.) But it was a blast to see the store transformed with plans that were made long before I arrived on the scene. The employees did such a fantastic job – and the customers were duly impressed!

Here are some shots from the Friday night crew:

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but our doors were covered  with posters of swinging doors into a saloon

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Each participant received an embroidered book bag with Yesterday’s Scrapbooking logo on it. A bandana with their name embroidered on it (and filled with candy). Other candies (energy pills for scrapbooking!) And inside their book bag were all the makings of a western layout to document their NSD weekend. And the food…holy cow! They are receiving SOOO much food this weekend!!

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I wish this were a clearer picture of Bunny. She is a wonderfully dedicated employee and a constant help in putting together class kits and helping people with our diecuts (she’s a true diecut pro!) I’ve really enjoyed getting to know this deeply authentic and quiet soul.

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Each person received a menu, but honestly…it was hard to decipher exactly what they would be receiving. The employees had fun coming up with names for all the goodies (goodies made by hand by the employees!) I didn’t get back to the Cowboy Sushi fast enough to take a picture. Bacon-wrapped cream cheese something with a pickle on top.

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We complain like crazy about lugging around diaper bags and strollers and all the paraphernalia that goes with motherhood. But scrapbooking?? We have to bring it ALL!!

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Cheryle has been a god-send to me. First of all, she’s from Jersey. Sometimes I want to call her and just say, “Okay. Talk!” I love to hear her accent and watch her wild gestures. Cheryle is the store manager. She’s the one who originally approached me about a job. She’s the one I had a 3-hour interview with because we couldn’t stop talking. I worked two days before leaving for surgery. I felt like my job was toast but she has relentlessly kept up with me during my back surgery and recovery. I can’t tell you how often I have received texts saying, ‘Can I cook you anything? Do you need a ride anywhere? I’m worried about you being new to town and not having help.’ Our friendship has accelerated because of my back surgery. I’m sure someday I will see it as a side benefit for which I am deeply grateful. Last night she gave me a birthday gift for my birthday in FEBRUARY. It’s funny how often in life I have befriended someone who is a crazy, wild talker. They balance me nicely.

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Just inside the front door, this is the scene that is set up for photo booth pictures throughout the weekend.

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Water bottles for everyone – complete with cowboy hat and bandana.

p.s. Aren’t those cowboy boot tags tied on nicely to the paper baskets?! (yeah…pretty much my only contribution to the weekend. Pitiful.)

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Someone working on their free NSD2013 layout…

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Also…TONS of great prizes throughout the weekend. Cheryle worked it out that everyone will win eventually. And the grand prizes TOTALLY rock!! (tshirt: ‘Good to the last crop’)

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A Tim Holtz display…

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An inked/distressed can filled with goodies and a horseshoe, cowboy boot and hat that can be removed and used on a layout. Seriously…they thought of everything!

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Even a cutie mascot…

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Giving away more goodies…

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They would kill me if they knew this was published. But c’mon! – it’s so right for this post, no?! Cute butts. Cute back pockets. Cute boots.

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Melissa and Nancy. Nancy (in the green. And by the way, how much do I love that she didn’t go the typical red and blue route?!) is in almost every day. She has been very encouraging to me, sifting through my layouts and scrapbooks (she might know more about my scrapbooking style than most of my family does.) She has a heart of gold and a story to tell.

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This is SO Nebraska!! These ladies love their scrapbooking and love their Huskers!

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Their menu for Friday night. (Oh my…what cute names they each had handwritten on the bottom of their menus…..achem.)

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Cheryle and Lisa (who has worked at YS for 3 years). They would both do anything for our YS customers!

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Even the bathroom door was ‘cowboy-fied’

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Cheryle and Deb. I got to know Deb (part-time employee; works full-time for the US Attorneys office) the other night a little when we went out to dinner. I liked her immediately. No nonsense personality and knows what she’s talking about. Love, love that! And a great sense of humor, to boot.

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Bev.(below) Love her too. She’s a regular customer that threw herself full tilt into dressing the part. Her cowboy attire was straight-up authentic!

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I can take no part in the many, MANY fine details of this cowgirl NSD weekend. I’m anxious to be more involved next year. But I am extremely proud of the way Cheryle and crew pulled off a great weekend. Every time Cheryle would show me something they were going to do I would say, “Wow. They are really getting a lot for their money!” And her typical reply was, “This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ every year to our customers. They are faithful to us; we want to let them know how much we appreciate it.”

What better place to work, huh?