Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Kia(s)

I'm chuckling that I'm writing about this because my friend mentioned I should when at the height of my anger earlier today.

What was the source of my anger today?  It has been the same make of car for the past couple of years...my Kia (both past and current).

 my first car = the total lemon known as the kia rio

my current car, not a lemon, but today damaged

To be fair to my current Kia, today's car accident was not the fault of the actual car.  It was a poor mistake that resulted in some damage.  Ugh.....

I am soooo ready to stop driving.  I'm not a bad driver at all, but it seems like my cars have been giving me the worst time lately, and I've been dishing out more money on them than I would like.

So can I get a hook-up?  I would like to have my own motorcade like my buddy, prez Obama :)

I need to make peace with my car of choice.  I have some serious bad mojo lurking around me and driving.  Any ideas?!  I'll just about try anything!

Oh...and my job kinda requires me to have a car, so taking the bus/train doesn't really work for what I do.

Friday, March 26, 2010

hmmm...I think the stars are telling me something

My horoscope from today:

"Believe in yourself and your ideas. You may have an insight that could prove profitable if you establish a long-term game plan. Make sure any financial planning is geared for stability and slow growth, but don't be afraid to sink some time, effort and money into your hobbies too. "

Hmmmm....I think the stars might be trying to tell me something!

Playing with my new toys!

So about 2 weeks ago, I was surprised with a special gift.  I was given Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator CS3.  Oh my goodness!!!!!!!!!!!! I've been dreaming of owning these two programs for years, and now I have them in my little hands to play with.  I'm like a kid in a candy shop.

I've played with both programs on and off over the years, but I just couldn't convince myself that I could justify the cost of purchasing them myself.  My love for scrapbooking and my frustration in not being able to find items that are culturally relevant are more than enough reason to purchase the software...yet I didn't.

Now, I have no more excuses.  I will be learning how to use these programs to make custom stamps, logos, maybe even paper!  I can't wait!!!!!!

I've been playing around with the software today, and I made my first flower.  Check it out!

I was hoping to add some shading and fill in some areas, but I haven't quite figured out how to do that yet.  I can't say this is a bad start though.  The basic shell of the flower is exactly what I wanted it to look like, so I'm not complaining.

I just need to continue playing around and searching for some on-line tutorials to teach me a few fun things.

Can't wait to get started on making the culturally relevant stuff I really want to!

A fabulous dinner...

Last night, I had the pleasure of going out to dinner with my coworkers at Avec.  Absolutely yummy.  We didn't have a full meal, but we definitely sampled some delicious items and celebrated the time we've had with Asim.   My colleague Asim, is leaving us to go and work in DC for the Corporation for National & Community Service.

He is going to be amazing in his new position!  From the very first day I met him, it was clear that his passion was community involvement, service learning, and asset-based community development.  As members of the Office of Community Affairs staff, Asim was able to help our agency be very intentional about how we engage with the communities around us.  It is our purpose for existing at our institution, and he has been a vital piece of the team.  If we were going to lose him to any agency, I'm humbled to know that CNCS was the agency to recruit him.  Charge ahead and continue making us proud, Asim!

While at dinner, I was reminded about the awful post I made about work.  I believe the word Mel used yesterday was "heartbreaking post."  It's amazing how great it felt to know that she not only read the post but really felt the emotion behind it.

You see, Mel is married to my very cool boss, so she's been affected by our crazy workloads because she lives it too.  I tried to reassure her that I was in a much better place emotionally because all I really needed to do was vent and know that someone heard.  And many people sent words of encouragement...people I least expected to be paying attention to my silly blog.

And that helped more than anyone can imagine.  Because as last night reassured me, I looooooooove the team I work with.  We had an incredible time at dinner.  We laughed, we ate, we drank quite a bit...and we celebrated what makes us unique.  Our team isn't about titles/hierarchy, it's about the people we are TOGETHER.  Losing Asim will be tough on us, but we'll make a new normal for us.

A new normal that will continue to give us the opportunity to celebrate each other's successes, celebrate each other's talents (I was humbled to be asked to make Asim a goodbye scrapbook), and celebrate our FRIENDSHIP.

OCA....you're a often a frustrating home, but you're my home.  Love you guys!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Let the great purge begin

When I first took on the challenge of blogging, I said I had two missions.

  1. Organize my scrapbook room
  2. Make myself a scrapbook

Well, three months later....and I have made little progress on these two goals.

Goal 1
Part of the problem in not pushing forward with my scrapbook room organization is that I really need to declutter my life.  I have SOOOOOO much stuff - much of which is not used or buried under stuff that I really need to let go.

With Spring finally here and the arrival of crappy weather this weekend, I finally started the great purge.  Piles of supplies, books, newspapers, scrapbook supplies are starting to drive me crazy.  They have invaded my everyday life, so I need to get organized everywhere in my house.

I started with the kitchen....
- Cleaned out the fridge (got rid of expired items)
- Tossed tupperware that had no lids....have no idea how lids get lost.  Tupperware is like socks in the dryer!
- Reorganized the pantry.

Now to the living room!  I am in the process of purging my bookshelf.  I hate to get rid of books, but I have to be honest with myself.  I am not a re-reader.  I'm not a movie re-watcher either.  There are very few books or movies that I will re-read/watch.  So I've gotten rid of the VHS tapes (yup, still had some) and re-gifted DVDs that I know that I won't watch anymore.  I also have a lot of textbooks and training curriculum from old jobs.  So off they go (most of them)!

I was most disappointed to learn that the Chicago Public Library system does not accept donations anymore :(  I definitely have some books that could be put on a shelf for others to enjoy.    After a little research though, I have some new possibilities for donation...one of which is the Naperville Public Library system where my parents live.

Goal 2
I previously mentioned that my February goal was to start a project for me.  That clearly didn't happen as I would have already shared the progress of it.  Work and other projects got in the way, but I'm restarting the mission.  I've reached out to my cousin in Mexico for some of his amazing pics.  I've also done some research on the history of Durango, Mexico.  There is so much I didn't know...and I've even surprised my parents with some of the information I've discovered.  It's been fun.  One of the items that I'll have to try one day is a garlic soup.  My parents had never heard of it, so I'll have to try making it.  My guess is that it's a vaquero (cowboy) soup that can be easily made while camping.  I'm totally intrigued :)

My previous post
Well, I never really intended to use my blog to whine/vent....but I guess I needed it.  Work hasn't gotten a ton better, but how I choose to respond to it is totally in my control.  There will be days where I will feel like I did on the day that I vented, so I'm apologizing in advance.  However, in general, I gotta just try to go with the flow and be almost militant about separating work and life!  Ha!  I vow to take care of me better so that I don't need to vent as often :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dream Big!

I've been bad about not posting anything, but I swear I've been busy working on some fun stuff.

My colleague, Laura, wants to surprise her sister with a special journal for her 40th birthday.  I'd never been asked to make a journal, but I figured it couldn't be much different than a typical handmade scrapbook....just a lot of empty pages for actual journaling.

I scanned the web for some sample layout options that would be easy to replicate (we have a short turn around), so that I could complete it before Laura went out of state to celebrate.  I found a couple of options and Laura picked the one she liked the best.  She then gave me a color scheme to work with....shades of green (her sister's eyes are green) with lavender.

I was super happy to find a beautiful paper by K & Company....soooo pretty...for this "Dream It" journal.

Here is what the cover looks like:

See that pretty stitching?  I did that ALL by hand!  Good lord...I really need to figure out how to use my actual sewing machine for projects like these.  It looks perfectly spaced doesn't it?  That's because it is!  I used a wonderful stitching guide by the Stamping UP folks (my friend Elisa let me use hers).  I'm totally purchasing one for me :)

I haven't yet invested in a Cricut machine as I haven't been able to justify the expense.  However, I am sooo glad I purchased the cuttlebug years ago.  It allows me to cut out letters in fun fonts to make whatever titles needed.  This is a retro/bubbly font (I'll need to figure out the name for you all) that seemed to be perfect for what it needed to say.   You can image these letters are really thin...which I why I also the creation of the Xyron machine.

Mine is pink and not purple.

The ability to cut out these cute letters and then convert them into stickers for easy placement saves me oodles of time.  In the past, I used to painstakingly use a glue pen or a toothpick to add adhesive to thin letters like these.  Ah, the beauty of tools.  I used the mini Xyron for these letters, but I now also own the medium xyron for bigger projects - yay!

Oh!  My other favorite tool is the Gypsy Binderie!

It's an electric hole puncher for my scrapbooking projects.  This allowed me to use scrapbook quality paper for the inside of the journal.  I saved a ton of time using this machine to punch holes in the cover and the 100 pages that went inside.  I just wish it had a guide for helping you make more than just two hole per page for larger projects so that it could be a bit sturdier.  However, two works..this project isn't too large.

I own a Zutter machine for spiral binding, but I couldn't find spirals that would be large enough for an album this thick at any local store.  I also couldn't even begin to imagine cutting each sheet of the inside so that the it had all the slots necessary for the spiral binding.  That would have taken at least an hour to cut alone!

Anyway, the journal isn't done yet.  I'm going to add some inspirational quotes and pics to the inside.  I'm excited to start that portion of the album. 

I can already tell that is going to be a very special gift for Laura's sister.