Hanging In

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My dad had a knee replacement last Friday and he's hanging out with us this week until after Mr. Boy's birthday party on Friday night. Because my dad is here, Sweet Pea and I were able to go out shopping while Precious had her nap today. Even though my dad had a knee replacement, he's getting around the house pretty well, but it'll be a while before he's out gardening and driving and going for walks.

Making an extra lunch and cleaning up an extra plate after supper hasn't been a problem. In the evenings, it's been early to bed around here lately, with Precious deciding that she wants to start getting up at 6:00 a.m. I've still had a chance to scrapbook here and there, and I was inspired by one of the freebies I received at the Designer Digitals all day chat last Saturday. There was a sheet of negatives, and I decided to make a page around that.
I'm pleased with the layout, though no one knows better than I that it's not yet set in stone. I've always loved layouts with a really big picture, and I can do those now since my camera is 10 megapixels.


Flush it

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Over at Lake Jane, I couldn't help but notice these fantastic Flush electrical outlets. Wow. I wish I'd have seen these before we finished the basement. These are so much cooler than regular outlets. And they're Canadian-made!


Arrested Development

Monday, April 27, 2009

One afternoon I was sitting at home flipping through the channels, looking for something to do. I started watching this show with Jason Bateman in it. There was a narrator, but I couldn't place him. The show was different. For one thing, there was no laugh track. The characters had really funny names like Gob (pronounced jobe), and George Michael. The scenarios were funny. I loved the show so much right away, I went to the internet and ordered every episode.Back when Precious used to get up at 5:30 a.m. every day, I would watch one or two episodes of Arrested Development every morning. I got through all three seasons in no time, and I've never laughed so hard. Now DH is watching the episodes on his own, but he claims it's more fun when I'm with him.

Saturday night DH and I collapsed in front of the TV after a crazy day. We watched two episodes of Arrested Development. If you haven't seen the show, it's worth checking out. It only gets better the more you watch it. The episodes build on each other. At the end of each episode, they show scenes from next week, but some of the stuff they show is never in the next episode. I'm sure someone somewhere has documented all of the discrepancies.

So now I'm watching all of the episodes through a second time. Since the producers knew the show was being canceled, it even wraps up neatly at the end. Check it out!

And Ron Howard is a producer and the narrator.


Digital scrapbook challenge #5

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The digital scrapbook challenge this week is to use at least one mask. Have fun!


Back in the Saddle Again

I hurt my knee around March 17th. I was on crutches for a week, and limping for another two. I finally got into physio on April 8th. On April 10th, I played hockey for the first time after the injury. I've played hockey twice more, I've started taking the stairs at work again and I'm not afraid of long walks or standing for long periods of time anymore.

It was high time to get back to my sporty activities and brush the dust off my gym membership card even though I've really enjoyed the extra free time lately.

I was loathe to head to the gym this morning to do Body Pump. I'm too out of shape after being off for more than a month. DH suggested riding the bike at the gym, but I could think of nothing more boring. Then I realized I could go outside and ride a REAL bicycle! I got so excited at the prospect. My bike has two flat tires, so DH adjusted his seat for me and I borrowed his bike. I headed down the bike trail and had so much fun just checking out the scenery and saying 'good morning' to the people who were out walking their dogs, running or biking. I managed to get up and down a few sizable hills and my heart was pounding for parts of the ride.

When I was a tween, back before 'tween' was a word, I used to borrow my Poppa's green bike and drive all over the small town where he lived. I used to just wander all over the place, with no rhyme or reason and just go where the wind took me. I had that feeling again today, except my legs were burning and I was thinking I should invest in bike shorts or a better bike seat. What a great feeling it was to go bike riding. So much better than the stationary bike, better than any spinning class, and even more fun than running. I think I've found something new that I like doing!


Digital scrapbook challenge #4

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The challenge this week was to do a monochromatic page. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that Christine meant monochromatic grey, black and white. Since I did a monochromatic page last week, I decided to give monochromatic a twist by doing my page in monochromatic green, with a little black and white mixed in, not that I didn't try to tint my photo green before giving up.
The page with the papers 'as is' were WAY too green and bright, so I reduced the opacity of most of them to about 57%. They are much more grayed down this way but definitely still green.

The template I used is Anna Aspnes' Everyday Inspiration freebie from Designer Digitals from 26 Oct 2008. The papers are Mindy Terasawa's CC mar 8-1, NRJ's Limewash and Lime Tea Leaves, Rhonna Farrer's Sanded Green, SA's Zazou Strawberries Solid Green. Shabby Princess' Promise Leaf Paper, A Victoria's Random inspiration Paper 1, and Erica Hernandez' 2ps Martha Freebie Paper 2.

I think I need to figure out how to properly credit designers when I post pages. Writing the file name on a scrap of paper might not cut it. I have heard that ACDSee can help with this, but I don't know how yet.


Laying It All Out

Friday, April 24, 2009

I was off sick yesterday and in between naps, I scrapbooked a bit. I slept for about 3 hours yesterday, so you can imagine how hard it was for me to fall asleep last night. The alarm was set for 5:45 this morning so I could drive my dad to the hospital for his knee replacement surgery. It's a good thing the morning started so early because I had tons to do before getting Precious to her speech assessment at 8:30.

I'll blog about that once I've digested the speech appointment and its impact on Precious' plans for school for next year.

Yesterday, I splurged on Anna Aspnes' Multifoto Single Layered Template No. 27C Completer at Designer Digitals. I love all of the rounded corners. I never thought I'd say that! I rarely used my corner rounder when I was a paper scrapbooker, but I think it is part of the whole 70's revival we've been seeing. Rounded corners are back. I used A. Victoria's Winter Chill paper pack from the DD Color Challenge of Dec 28, 2008. This was the first time I used my contact sheets (previews) to decide on a colour scheme. It sure helped me break out of my cream/pink/green rut. It would have been so easy to go that way because the girls were wearing green, pink and yellow that day. The right side of the page shows the template as purchased. The left side of the page was done by copying and moving elements from the template. There are a ton of possibilities!
I only have until Sunday to make my monochromatic page for the digital scrapbook challenge. Tonight, I have to pick up Mr. Boy's birthday cake and the food for his party, which is tomorrow. I also have hockey tonight and it's the last game of the season. Tomorrow, I'm being picked up at 7:30 a.m. to go to a work event from 8:30 - 12:30. When I get back home, Mr. Boy's party, with 7 guests, himself and his two sisters hanging out in the back yard and jumping on the trampoline, will already be started. The party ends at 2:30, and then I can visit my dad in the hospital. Sunday should be rainy and cool so it'll be the perfect day to chill out and relax at home.



I believe that peanut butter and chocolate belong together. So do salt and vinegar chips and chocolate. Raspberries and chocolate. Pecans and caramel. Spinach, mushrooms and cheese. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and I would have to say that nothing appeals to me more right now than the sight of these delicious peanut butter cup desserts.



Thursday, April 23, 2009

When DH was young, one of his favourite books was Pablo, the Penguin Who Hated the Cold. This year, Mr. Boy studied the same book in grade one. He made a little model of Pablo and his boat. It is so cute, it's hard to throw it out, so it's on the mantle for now, and I've taken pictures of it, too.
While the kids' school is overcrowded, the good part is that all five grade one teachers share their ideas with the other teachers and each of them creates little units or projects, meaning that Mr. Boy benefits from the work of all 5 teachers' ideas. This is such a cute idea that one of the teachers had.


Spending Money I Don't Have

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I got the itch to shop for clothes for myself. I was a bit overdue as I had been wearing the same three outfits to work for almost 6 months. Don't forget I only work two days a week.

I decided that I would get some clothes that fit properly that I can wear to work. I have tended to buy clothes at the cheaper stores, like Reitman's and Smart Set, and the quality is so-so, the fit isn't always perfect, and the clothes always seem to get holes in them. The prices are irresistable and the clothes are stylish, so it was hard to break the habit.

I went to Tristan one evening a few weeks back, tried on about 40 things, and splurged on a white sleeveless turtleneck, a coral cardigan and a cream suit that had a coordinating skirt and pants. I ended taking all three pieces home (a coup!) but returned the skirt a bit later because the style wasn't perfect on me. The prices are much higher than I am used to, but the quality and the tailoring were better. I paid $110 for the pants, and similar pants at Reitman's would be about half the price.

When I was returning the skirt, I saw a cute dress shirt that I could wear with my suit, or on the weekends. They didn't have my size in the colour I wanted, so I ordered it and it should be in on Wednesday. I've decided to return the suit jacket at the same time. I've had 4 opportunities to wear the jacket and everytime I put it on, I'm unhappy with how it looks, even when I'm wearing it with the suit pants. I was looking around at work and nobody there wears suit jackets so I don't really need it. I bought myself a cardigan yesterday. It's a softer, more versatile look, and saves me $130!


Digital scrapbook challenge #3

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The third digital scrapbook challenge was to use brushes. Unfortunately, the brushes I had intended to use were corrupted from that time when I accidentally deleted all of my scrapbooking supplies. I was able to use some other brushes to create a fall accent on the page. I also used a brush for the title on the page. I didn't end up using any red, yellow or orange like I thought I would. All of the supplies come from Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals.It's surprising that I even got this challenge done because I have been quite sick with a really wicked cold for 2 1/2 days, plus I have been studying for my French exam which is tomorrow morning at 8:15. Wish me luck!


Is it the weekend already?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Because of the Easter holiday, I only worked one day this week. The second week of the month is always the busiest, because of the financial reports I have to create for the previous month. This week was no exception, except I only had one day to do my work, instead of two. I ended up staying late at work, a first since I've been back at work since late October. The blow was softened somewhat by the fact that it was a beautiful, sunny day and the sun was still shining, even when I left work. I love spring!

I only worked an hour late and then did half an hour from home after the kids went to bed. That's nothing compared to DH, though. He works most evenings and he just finished for the day and it's 11:00 p.m. I'm normally in bed by about 10:30, but I had a nap from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in anticipation of going to hockey for 10:15. Turns out, I woke up feeling feverish, and my cold seemed to be getting worse. I was even a bit nauseated, so I decided to skip hockey, something I am generally loathe to do. Now I may have trouble falling asleep.

I decided to start working on the digital scrapbooking challenge for this week, using brushes, and it was a good chance to review which brushes I have. I ended up discovering a few photo masks that I had forgotten about and I think I will make that a subsequent challenge. For this week, I think I'll layer some grassy brushes I have and make a page from last fall. I'm looking forward to working with oranges, yellows and red.

In other news, the reno garbage was taken away today! Yeah!


5 months (and counting)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The basement renovation is still not done. All that's left is staining two exposed panels of the cabinetry, removing garbage and removing the lock box from the door. All of this should be done by Friday (where have I heard that before?) but the contractor called me today to see if he could pick up our final payment tomorrow.

No effing way.

He will get his cheque when the job is done. I already feel like he isn't moving because we've only held back 20%. I'd insist on holding back more next time. If there is a next time.

On the plus side, we have moved all of of the kids toys, the freezer, my sewing stuff and all of the storage boxes (Christmas decorations, china, tools, camping supplies, etc.) downstairs. The kids are having a ball playing down there and it seems a lot easier to tidy up at the end of the day. We still have a toy box, a bunch of books, play-doh and art supplies in our main floor kitchen/family room. Now that the other floors are emptied out somewhat, I feel like there's room to breathe again. Next job to tackle is organizing the garage.


Some photos from today

Monday, April 13, 2009

Just posting a couple of photos I took of Sweet Pea and Christine's kids. Christine lent me her Speedlite so I played around with it today. I have SO much to learn about how to use my camera. Christine has started shooting only in manual and she's getting good at it. Practice makes perfect! I need to do the same thing so I can get the shots I want.
I guess I need to read my camera manual (again!)


Digital scrapbook challenge #2

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This week's digital scrapbooking challenge was to use stitching. I was inspired by this layout. Christine may have been inspired by the same one because her page looks a bit like it too.

This is definitely not the kind of page I usually make, and I think it was fun to try something new. I like the fact that there is a lot less photo-editing when you are using just one photo. I made this page in about 20 minutes, which is pretty quick, for me. This picture was taken at supper tonight at my aunt's Easter dinner. Getting in front of the camera was a bit of a switch, and I had a hard time not directing the photographer!
I tried Christine's photo challenge too and took a bunch of photos with the sweet spot of my lens (f 2.8 with my 50 mm lens). I will look at them tomorrow and maybe post a couple, too.


Digital scrapbook challenge #3

This week's digital scrapbook challenge is to use brushes on your page. They can be swirly brushes, or letters, or whatever you want! I know Christine is a master with the brush work and I'm hoping I can learn from her. See you back here by next Sunday!


High Key Drama

Friday, April 10, 2009

I was taking photos of the girls eating lunch on Wednesday. The light was bouncing off the snow. I'm happy to report the snow has since melted!
I got this shot (above) straight out of the camera. I applied Ren's High Key Drama camera RAW preset and voila!
I liked the photo so much, I had to make a scrapbook page! I used Katie Pertiet's scalloped edge template #1.


It's a Whole New World

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I finally got in to see the physiotherapist for my arthritic, swollen knee. After three weeks of doing no exercise at all, and being on crutches for the first six days, I was relieved to finally get in to see someone who could give me some practical advice on my knee.

Her advice to me:
1. do low or no impact exercise. No more running or soccer. Change to biking, elliptical and swimming.
2. strengthen my hamstrings which are super-flexible (from yoga?) but not super strong.
3. stretch out my strong but tight quadriceps
4. ice and elevate my knee after activities.

I'm pretty excited to be able to go back to the gym and I'm playing hockey tomorrow. Now that I've come to terms with my knee situation, I am actually excited at the idea of trying new things. DH would love for us to splurge on two nice road bikes and go for long bike rides every weekend. That sounds nice. For now, my old Norco and my gym membership will have to do.


Pop-Up Flash innovation!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I have my last photography class tonight. After the first class, I gave the teacher a list of things I wanted to learn and questions I had. It's been great because he's been able to answer all of my questions and more.

The best thing I have learned so far is that I can actually use my pop-up flash. To date, I've been using f/1.8 whenever possible and shooting in natural light. I've used my pop-up only in the evenings, and on the auto setting, thus I got blown out cheekbones and red eyes! But what I didn't realize is that I can use the flash and still get the effect I want, with the bonus of those lovely catchlights in the kids' eyes!

In the photo below, I had lots of natural light coming in from the side of Sweet Pea's face. Despite the fact that I'm offended by the amount of snow we have right now, it does bounce up a lot of light. You can see the large rectangular catchlight in her eye. Then, I stopped down my pop-up flash by 1 2/3 and also got the little circular catchlight. I can't wait to play around with the flash at different intensities and even in lower light situations. I asked SP if the flash was bothering her or if it was too bright and she said 'no'. This photo is straight out of the camera. I'm really excited by the possibilities, and of course this makes me want to get a speedlite too!


Digital scrapbook challenge #2

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Christine's digital scrapbook challenge for this week is to use stitching on your page.

Link up in the comments by next Sunday and come back for the next challenge.

I've redone my last scrapbook challenge. Finally I got a page I like!



I should have known. All the signs were there. We changed our snow tires to all-seasons a tiny bit earlier than usual. Last week the radio announcer said that it was time to get rid of the snow tires already!

We woke up to this this morning.
And here, in all it's glory is the pile of garbage that has been on my lawn for almost 4 months. It supposed to be gone no later than tomorrow.


Digital scrapbook challenge #1

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Wow! Where did this week go? I issued the digital scrapbook challenge last week to use pink in a layout. Really, I was making it pretty easy on myself. I was kind of cheating. I have two girls and they often wear pink and about half of my pages have pink on them. Then I decided to make it a little more interesting. I decided to use pink on a page that wasn't really 'girly'. Christine rose to the challenge (no pun intended!) and even made more than one pink page and they rock BTW! Christine, where's challenge #2?

I'm loath to even post my page. It is still a work in progress. The pink I chose is horrible. The layout could be improved. The photos are cute, but I'll have to sleep on this one and get back to it tomorrow. I'll post the finished product soon.


Daydreaming in colour

Friday, April 3, 2009

Now that the basement is almost done, (You heard me. It's not done yet. We had the call from the owner of the contracting company that the basement would be "150% done" by today, but it's not) I have started dreaming about furnishing it.

We are not swimming in cash right now after paying for this big reno, but that doesn't mean I can't dream. I went to Modern Karibou, which is cool because they ship within Canada and they have a bunch of eco-friendly and 'Made in Canada' options. I would love to get a bunch of stuff from them.

Aside from the white barcelona chairs and a couple of cool pieces of art, we don't have much for the basement yet.

For the basement, I imagine a low, sleek charcoal gray sectional with this throw tossed over one arm.
Under the sectional, we'd have this modern rug.
One wall in the basement would have this fantastic wallpaper.
Nestled up to the sectional would be a noguchi inspired table, without the hard-to-keep-clean glass top.
In the niche at the bottom of the stairs, we'd have this great console, with some cool baskets underneath for storing magazines or toys. On top would be a nice vase or ceramics.
If we couldn't get the wooden table, this sideboard would be so cool and has storage too. I can't believe the seventies came back!
On the wall above the bar area, I would love to use this wall sticker. It's from Elly Nelly on Etsy.Now if I could just win the lottery!


Oh Woe is Knee, Part 2

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

When you have a knee injury, all kinds of people come out of the woodwork with horror stories to tell about their own knee injuries. Most people I have talked to since my knee swelled up like a balloon one day two weeks ago have debated whether it was my ligaments that were torn or stretched or a meniscus tear. If I had to pick between the two, the feeling was unanimous that the meniscus tear was preferable because the recovery time from the surgery is shorter.

I showed up yesterday at the sports medicine doctor to get the results of my knee x-ray from the week before. I expected he would see nothing and I would be sent for an MRI of my knee to see if it was the meniscus or the ligaments, and that he would prescribe physiotherapy.

Imagine my surprise then when he told me that my knee was badly damaged to the point that he guarantees I will need a knee replacement "probably by the time you're 60" and that I have osteoarthritis of my knee to a degree he has never seen in someone my age. He asked my age three different times during the examination, confused at the degree of cartilage damage which showed up on my x-ray. In fact, he said I have very little cartilage left in my knee and that is irreversibly damaged.

To describe myself as shocked would be an understatement. As expected, he did send in a request for an MRI and did prescribe physio, but I was not prepared for him to tell me that my knee was severely damaged and it was beyond repair. I grieved for my knee and my old lifestyle all day. I got pretty low, then angry that I never knew that my knee was in such bad shape that with every soccer game I played even every step I took, I was causing more and more damage.

I likely have a meniscus tear, but my ligaments are fine. I may still need surgery because the cartilage wouldn't be so badly damaged if my meniscus were intact. I will definitely need to lose those last 18 pounds, switch to low impact activities and avoid more knee damage at all costs. I'll probably be hobbling like an old lady in no time.

I'm still coming to terms with this news. Much of my persona is wrapped up in being 'sporty', but I need to keep my knee safe as long as possible so I can do the important things in life like dance around the living room with the kids and go for walks with DH.


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