Monday, October 29, 2007

...and life goes on...

It has been one heck of a week around here! The kids are still home from school, but the schools hope to open again tomorrow. It is still pretty smokey, but we can see (some) blue skies. Yesterday we decided that we just had to get out of the house and carry on with our Halloween traditions, so we went up to Bates Nut Farm and enjoyed our annual pumpkin hunt. Mom and Dad joined us this year as did Chris' girlfriend, Hanna (in the blue). It was a bit strange to be standing in this beautiful and expansive field full of laughing kids, parents with cameras, dad's struggling to carry all the pumpkins, my Dad looking around saying, "I think this is the most sincere pumpkin patch I've ever seen...", then laughing my rear off at my cute Dad looking for the "Great Pumpkin", ... and then looking up and seeing huge plumes of black smoke continuing to rise from behind the mountains adjacent the farm... very weird! We had fun and were glad to get out and do something "normal."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Things are looking good!

After a long night, things are looking much better (for us) this morning. The fires from yesterday have moved on and we are currently safe. There is a new fire that has started behind us that we are keeping an eye on, but we are fine now. We stayed here all night... the evacuations stopped a block from us.

The top picture is from this morning looking out from our front door... the smoke rising from the new fire. The bottom picture is the sun rising in the smokey sky above our neighborhood.

We have learned a lot about packing for an evacuation and I have a lot to do to better prepare in case we ever have to evacuate again. I'm going to update our emergency supplies at the same time... something we all SHOULD do, but never get around to doing because we never think this will really ever happen to US.

Thank God for watching over us and for your prayers and love!

Monday, October 22, 2007

San Diego Fires...

So many WONDERFUL people, both family and my scrappy family have been emailing from across the country wanting updates on our status with the fires. We are currently packing... evacuations have started within a block of us.

I have faith that we are going to be fine and that our home will be fine, but we are taking precautions. Here is a picture we took several hours ago of our tree in our backyard and our orange sky. I will update here if anything changes. Thank you for your love and prayers! :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I've been TAGGED...

I read about being "tagged" on a new friend's blog a few days ago (Hi "msgrace" - Laura!) and thought it looked like fun! Sure enough, I woke up this morning to see that my friend Debbie, owner of Crop Addict, Days Off Travel and Scrapbook Cruises tagged me last night. Debbie and I met when I won the first annual "Cruise Out Cancer contest" sponsored by Days Off Travel. Debbie was on the weekend cruise to the Bahamas that Jeff and I enjoyed back in March. (I think I see a "flashback" cruise blog entry coming...) This is the winning layout and hidden journaling. (You can get a bigger pic of the journaling by clicking on the image.)

So, here are the rules of this tagging gig...

1. Link to your tagger, and also post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

So, here we go...

1. I played the violin for about 10 years and was Concert Mistress of the MVHS (Mission Viejo High School) orchestra. Our orchestra competed (very successfully my senior year), was hired our (as a quartet) for private parties, and played the music for the annual musical put on by the drama department.

2. I was a Varsity Songleader, dancer and choreographer. I choreographed the competition routine for MVHS the year after I graduated and the team went to STATE FINALS for the first time and took 10th place overall! I was the student Director of Choreography for our local Jr. College and was hired by schools to choreograph different pieces/variety shows. FUN!! :-)

3. I have run 2 marathons... The LA Marathon and the Rock and Roll Marathon (San Diego) in 2000. My best time for the 26.2 mile race was 4 hours 55 minutes. I look forward to runing more marathons in the future!!!

4. I do a "happy dance" or "board-package-is-done" dance that is soooo bad (but soooo entertaining) that it is requested when I see old friends... right, Chris! :-)

5. I used to love to play "school" on our front porch with my little sister and our neighbor EVERYDAY during summer vacation...

6. I LOVE music... yeah, big stretch there with music from the Muppets to Bobby Darin to Culture Club listed in my music gallery to the right. My FAVORITE group was Duran Duran... oh, Mr. Lebon!!! I still have my DD collection in a box in the attic. I also (hate to admit) that I know all the words to all the Spice Girls songs (thanks to my kids), I loved Tiffany and Debbie Gibson, I had a crush on Shawn Cassidy, the first rock and roll that I heard and rememberd thinking, "I am a big kid now listening to THIS kind of music" was ELO from Xanadau, I am a Jimmy Buffett fan and have been attending concerts with Jeff since we started dating (8 years now), I LOVED watching "Donny and Marie," I think I own every issue of "Tiger Beat" from 1981-1985, play the theme song for "Star Wars" and my automatic response will be to start looking for first snow (long story regarding annual drive to Mammoth for our ski vacation.)

7. I am a dork and darn PROUD of it! :-) (But pretty shy in person... and have been told that I am more fun on the internet! LOL!)

Alright... TAG, YOU'RE IT... (Kari and Gina... Ever After friends) (Beckie Dryer... very cool Rusty Pickle Chef from the UK) (Kathie Davis... RP Chef... check out her Hawaii pics!) (Brenda Neuberger... RP Chef and SO GENEROUS with her ATG tape! ) (Becky Chabot... yep, I have a scrappy TV star friend!) Christine Revels... owner of TallyScrapper and "Love Boat" fan!)

Alright ladies... I can't wait to see what you are all going to reveal in your list of 7 secrets!!! :-) Actually, I am a little worried about what Christine might reveal... :-)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yep... I'm a tease... AND GETTING PUBLISHED!

FIRST PIECE OF GOOD NEWS... I am going to be teaching my FIRST CLASS!!! Here is the ad
that is running for the class...

“2007 Christmas Memory Keeper”
By Rusty Pickle Chef, Tracey Locher

Christmas time is almost here… again! Do you feel the holiday sneaks up on you, then races by and all you are left with is a bunch of torn wrapping paper and credit card bills!? Not this year! Rusty Pickle Chef and Ever After Design Team member, Tracey Locher, will take you through the steps to create this darling memory keeper for the 2007 Christmas Season. Using the brand new “Snowflakes and Mittens” line by Rusty Pickle and the Rusty Pickle large monogram numbers, this memory keeper will be home for your special pictures and journaling about the holiday, as well as the treasured cards and family pictures you receive from your family and friends. Yes, ALL of your special memories will be in one place!

Do you like techniques? You will learn a bit of everything in this class! Inking, painting, decoupage, making hidden journaling pockets, using transparencies to create the suspended Christmas ornaments and a “hidden” tag holder, using your exacto knife, sanding and so much more!!! We will also be playing with some of Tracey’s favorite embellishments… ribbon and buttons!!

Have you played with Stickles Glitter Glue by Ranger yet? You will love this product and will be receiving your own bottle of “Christmas Red” Stickles in your kit so you can take it with you and use it to decorate lots of other projects at home!

Tracey will also be giving away some yummy RUSTY PICKLE GOODIES! Come join the fun! Register today!!

SECOND PIECE OF GOOD NEWS... This project is going to be PUBLISHED IN THE DEC/JAN ISSUE OF "READY, SET, CREATE!" WOOOOOO HOOOOOO!!! So, needless to say, I can only tease you with samples of the project since I am not allowed to post the complete project on-line until after it is published.

If you are in the Southern California area and are interested in taking the class, email me for more info! I would love to see you there!!! :-)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hey look, it's ME!

Alright... I have to admit, I think it is kinda weird that my name and picture are on a flyer for an event... but it is pretty cool, too! :-)

If you live in the Southern California area, this is going to be an AWESOME weekend of classes, cropping, Make and Takes, and FUN! Come join us from Friday, November 30th - Sunday, December 2nd for a Pickleicious Christmas Party!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Juneau Where Mom and Dad Were?...

Ha, ha, ha... sorry, I couldn't resist!!! Mom and Dad went on an Alaskan cruise a few months ago and they LOVED IT!! They have cruised all over the place and decided it was finally time to take the Alaskan cruise. Dad fell in love with Skagway and their city tour on the Yellow Street Car! Mom and Dad even became card carrying members of the "Arctic Brotherhood!!!"

This was their first cruise in quite some time for just the two of them... they ususally go with family or friends. But they had such a good time that they have already booked a longer Alaskan cruise for 2008 to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary AND a 2-week cruise to AUSTRALIA in 2009 to celebrate Dad's retirement!!

The top picture is Mom and Dad on their recent cruise... they are just toooooo cute! :-) The bottom picture was taken on a family cruise over 20 years ago... 1985, I believe. I am on the left... about 15 years old... puffy bangs, water stained satin, ruffles and a sash that was so tight I couldn't eat much! :-) WOW... look at Mom and Dad... va va VOOM! And my little sister, Mary, is on the right.

Mom and Dad... check out my new music listing... there is a song on there just for you (alright, me too... because it was the 2nd song played at MY wedding)... More... :-) (The slower traditional version of the song is THEIR song!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"You're the One That I Want... oh, oh, oh... HONEY!"

With Halloween fast approaching and the final costume choices imminent, I have been thinking back on our recent Halloween events. For the past several years, a large group of us (Mom and Dad, my sister and her family, our best friends the Mackies, and my cousin) have traveled to Vail Lake in Murrieta, CA for their annual Halloween Extraveganza! Yes, this is camping... no, it is not regular tent camping!! The beautiful campground has a main social area and shops they call "the town" that they COMPLETLY DECK OUT with AWESOME Halloween decorations. They have haunted hay rides, a haunted house, vendors, live entertainment, costume contests, dancing, food and drinks... everything you could ever want for an INCREDIBLE family Halloween event. Each camper decorates their site for the decorating contest. There is trick or treating from camp site to camp site. You will see TONS of blow up decor, mechanical goblins, huge spiders and lots of spooky music. A few years ago we met the guy who designed the "pop up" ghosts for Disney's Haunted House ride... he brought several of his pieces to decorate his site. There was also the lady who LOVED spiders and built a HUGE glass display case for about 30 different LIVE SPIDERS... IN HER CAMPSITE... ACROSS FROM OURS... THAT freaked me out... I have a "slight" fear of spiders... :-) Anyway, the entire weekend is amazing. We prepare appetizers with spooky names, have spooky drinks, play with the kids and, of course, we all dress up! We have done a large group costume for the past several years and have won 1st place for the past 3 years. We are not going to make it to Vail Lake this year, so from now until Halloween, I will be taking you on a trip down memory lane of our past years.
This is 2005... We made a traveling jukebox on our wagon complete with the soundtrack from "Grease" playing, lighting to make the disco ball, glitter and cellophane sparkle, safety railing for the girls, balloons, streamers, pom poms and 2 of the cutest 50's chicks you have ever seen!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Is that Daddy?

This weekend was Jeff's birthday and he decided that he wanted to ride the Tour de Poway... 105 miles of cycling, mountains, leg cramps, and FUN! :-) Part of the ride came within a block of our house, so we were very excited to stand on the side of the road with our megaphone and pom poms and cheer Jeff on as he rode by... and all the other riders, too! Like our own local "Tour de France!"

As the cyclists rode by, Anna would ask, "Is that Daddy?" "What about that one... is he Daddy?" It is very hard to tell who is who as they are riding by with their helmets and glasses on, but we finally saw Daddy coming and Anna yelled, "Go, Daddy... Go, Daddy... I LOVE you, Daddy" as loud as she could through her megaphone... it was TOOOOOO CUTE, and a moment in time that you just have to soak in and let rest in your heart so, at a later time, you can call up that moment and quietly say, "Wooo hoooo!" :-)

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart! I love you! :-)

Friday, October 5, 2007

What do we do in Southern California at the end of September?

WE SWIM, of course! The weather is still in the upper 80's, with a slight breeze... paradise!! It was Jimmy Buffett concert time (WOOOOO HOOOOO!) and we needed someone to watch Anna, so Jeff, Anna and I went to visit my parents for the weekend. (Jess and Chris were in a 3-day video competition at school.) Daddy and Anna had a great time swimming the afternoon away! Anna also said "Hello" to her friend, Lightning. Lightening has been in the family for... well, seems like forever!

The concert was GREAT, as always! We realized that this was Jeff's 30th CONSECUTIVE YEAR going to Jimmy Buffett concerts. Jeff even went during chemo... now THAT is a fan!! This is our annual "date night"... it is so nice to enjoy a "boat drink", sing our favorite songs, dance together and hold each other tight during the slow songs. It was a GREAT weekend...
Oh, and here is a shout out to my Mom, who was a bit bummed that she wasn't mentioned on my Blog yet... don't worry Mom... I have pictures of you to share, too... :-) I love you!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

RUSTY Retreat... Wooooo Hooooo!!!

A few weeks ago, I said "Good-bye" to my family, boarded a plane and flew off to Salt Lake City to attend the annual Rusty Pickle Design Team retreat!!! After meeting up with Kathie and Karen in SLC, we went to the Rusty Pickle warehouse where we got to SHOP 'TIL WE DROPPED... RIGHT FROM THE SHELVES IN THE WAREHOUSE!!! Ohhhhh, that was SO much better than PIER 1!!! :-) After I filled a whole box of product and puchased... um... HOW MANY POUNDS OF BUTTONS???... we took a drive to the mountains of Huber City to our log cabin RESORT.
The cabin was BEAUTIFUL and slept about 20 of us pretty nicely (sorry Beth!) Here are a few pictures of the weekend... the TORNADO that was the scrap room for about 20 Rusty Designers... well, after taking an average of 5 new preview classes a day, free cropping time to play with the brand new product, listening to our 80's music mix, laughing for 3 days straight, eating THOUSANDS of candy calories and only pulling a few hours of sleep a day... it is amazing this place didn't look worse!!! :-)
From the view of chaos, we only had to walk outside to see the view of paradise... yes, the mountain scene was our backyard! Families of deer fed right outside our door, the sunrises and sunsets filled the sky with color and the cool, crisp air was a PLEASURE to breathe in... real slow... Then, of course, there is the picture of our group... it was taken on last night, so please excuse the dark circles under our eyes and our fashionable attire of sweats and PJ's... we were WORKING HARD... and enjoying every single second!!!

I am already counting down the days until next year's retreat! Having a chance to play and get to know the other INCREDIBLE ladies on the team was PARADISE! And the ONLY thing better than that FANTASTIC weekend were the kisses and hugs I got when I returned home... :-)