Thursday, September 28, 2006

t-4 hours....

Until I leave that is. I'll leave work at 2, take the bus to Mexico at 3, get to the airport *hopefully* by 5 or so....thats kind of the iffy thing right now. On Sunday there were some HUGE mud/rock slides on the main highway between here and Mexico, and I don't think they've got them quite cleaned up yet. As of yesterday, they only had one lane of traffic open each way - down from 3 each way. My plane doesn't leave until 8:30 or so, i figure taking the 3pm bus instead of the 4 should allow for some extra time. And, if I leave early, no big deal since I downloaded some podcasts of Dane Cook's Tourgasm from iTunes....I think I have a few other ones too. I was going to download a movie, but I just ran out of time.

Which reminds me - I have to print out my itinerary. I fly out on Mexicana and fly back on Aeromexico.......or is it the other way around? yeah, definitely need to print that out.

My feelings of elation are strangely subdued because of a couple things - first, I was not selected to become a part of the CT team for A Cherry On Top. I'm kinda bummed. Mostly because I wasn't even going to apply, then I get a message from a current CT member who says I should apply because I'd be great.....and I'm like, "Yeah, I would be great. They'd be nuts not to take me!" Apparently they are nuts. I'm getting over it though - i just don't like to be told (even indirectly) that I'm not good enough. Those kinds of things feed my low self esteem monster - which I am trying so desparately to tame......Actually, I feel much better about it now than I did last night. Its probably a better thing this way - less commitment :) I might even apply for the next one they have - next year probably.

The other thing that has kind of brought me down this morning is related a bit to pregnacy and such. Since Pat O'Brien and I have talked about starting our future family (don't freak out Mom - we're not trying quite yet - I know the wedding isn't until March), I've been doing lots of surfing on pregnancy and other issues. Well, not so much now, but a few months ago when we first started talking about it.

Somewhere during that process, I came across a website called THE SHAPE OF A MOTHER. Its a blog dedicated to real woman sharing thier stories on thier births, children, but more importantly how becoming a mother has changed thier bodies and thier journey of acceptance of that body. There are some AMAZING stories in there - and I think it would be a good idea for EVERY woman to read it - because I know in my case - I am often way too critical of this amazing machine that God has given me.

Anyway, I digress...A recent post was from a woman who gave birth in June, but lost her baby a few hours later. It said if I wanted to read more, to go to her blog, which I did (slow day - just killing these last four hours here). So I'm reading, and yes, its heartbreaking - but the thing that wierded me out the most is that she had the dead, partially embalmbed baby at home for a few days. Uh.......ewww! Also, apparently, placentas from the last two kids in her freezer.

I'm sure she had her reasons for doing so, and if it helped her grieve her lost baby, then well, why not...........I'm just saying I don't get it. And it kind of creeps me out. Regardless, here's a cyber prayer for all those who have lost a baby - at any stage of pregnacy. And despite that wierd strange story, I hope you still go and check the website out. It really is beautiful.

OK, change o' subject. Here's the last layout I did that I am absolutely in love with....Its just so, well, I don't know - the pic is just awesome. I'm happy to have some cool pics of my Grams!
My absolute favorite pic of my Grandma and little sister!Kit - Shannon Lee Autumn Glory; Sketch - Gina Miler September Freebie; Buttons - Jen Wilson; Font - Susie's Hand

And I'll leave you with that! My next entry will be Tuesday, at the earliest.......Until then......

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Paying my Taxes

Not sure if I commented here about the whole Tax fandango issue I had last week…..I CAME into work Monday to find an email that said I owed over $30000 pesos in taxes to the Mexican government (which I think is crap, but whatever). I was FLIPPING OUT! I started crying – thinking how the heck am I going to come up with that money – that we weren’t going to have a wedding because I had to pay taxes – I was hyperventilating! But, then I decided to call HR in Dundee, and that’s when I learned that Holcim US pays those taxes. OOOOOOHHHHH!!!! I think I knew that before, but I had obviously forgotten.

So, after an adventure trying to get a wire transfer to my bank account, I had the money and I had the instructions to do everything online. But couldn’t figure it out dude – not with my brains and the 100 Mexicans that tried to help me! I asked everyone in the office, and even went to the bank – where she finally gave me an 800 number to call – which was COMPLETELY USELESS! Finally, I decided to call PWC (the peeps who do my taxes) here in Mexico City - and I wish I would have done that yesterday. It took us a while to figure it out, but our entirely fluent Spanglish conversation went very well, and I finally payed my Mexico Taxes two days before they were due! This is good because I really don’t want to spend any time in a Mexican jail!

Other fun news – ONE MORE SLEEP!

Other more fun news – I got a manicure last night after I went to buy goods to make meatball soup. It was a tiny little shop, and I got a rockin French manicure for $100 pesos. What a steal. And I feel all pretty today – I just hope I can keep them looking good for another day so Pat O’Brien can see how pretty they are. And a word about meatball soup – it was one of the meals my grandma makes and we absolutely LOVE to eat! Both Keith and I have been craving it for a while, so I found a recipe and I’m going to try my hand at it tonight. I had Keith peel and cut the veggies though – I don’t want to risk messing up my pretty pretty fingers!

I guess I've been into scrapping buddies lately - I have come to find I don't have many digipics of some of my friends from college - and the pics don't quite scan right......but, I managed to do another college friends layout. A Mexican, a Jew and a Chinese girl walk into a bar.....No, not the beginning of a joke - its the tale of me, Beth and Eunice! This is our last trip together before I moved to Mexico. It’s a two page layout, but I’m posting three pics (one together, page one and page two) so you can get the full effect. This also features some cute little shoes by Karin McCombs – of which I am a member of her CT! As always, you can click on the pictures for a larger view.

Papers & Elements - Jen Wilson Apple Cider; Template - Gina Miller; Shoe template - Karin McCombs; Alpha - Melany Violette

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Faith Hill & Almonds

Not necessarily related, just two things that have been on my mind lately. I love almonds - always have. They make me itch sometimes if I eat too much, but they are the perfect snack - I always have some on hand, and even if i am STARVING I can eat about 8 and it will hold me over and take the growlies away until I can get some real food. And, apparently they are chock full of vities and omega 3 stuffs - so that is good for me! Definitely better than snacking on chocolate!

Faith Hill has always been a favorite singer of mine - she's one of those people who appears to have the perfect life, fabulous hubby, beautiful kids, great career - and is just darn gorgeous! Sometimes, people like that would get on my nerves - but she always seemed, I don't know, I guess down to earth maybe....not like I know her or anything. But somehow, despite all she has, is impossible for me to dislike.

Anyway, so I have tons of her CD's and for the past couple days I've been listening to them over and over. Its been a while, really. When you have 4000 songs to choose from - its tough to choose! The other day I had it on shuffle, and I cam across one of her songs. Thats what started it all - I decided to put in on shuffle just in her CD's. I really like her latest, Fireflies - and in general she has a couple of songs that are kind of lullaby-ish, that I plan on learning so I can sing to my future babies...but really her whole collection is nice to listen to.

Maybe I like her so much because I have great memories tied to one of her songs - This Kiss.....I was living in Kalamazoo for a summer long long ago (1998? Maybe?) and Danica came out to visit me - we drove up near Grand Rapids to the B93 Birthday Bash to see some up and coming country acts for the day. I remember us driving up M131 in her Blue Cavalier Convertable (white top, of course!) - top down - both of us belting out the lyrics - words lost in the wind. I think we both burned our legs from the drive there and back......when I think about that memory it pretty much is the epitomy of college years - freedom, no responsiblity - nothing mattered but the wind in our hair and the music around us. I took pictures from that day, I have them somewhere - I've got to dig those out so I can scan them and scrap them.....

Also, maybe later that year, we went with her brother Dirk and a few of his friends to the George Strait Chevy Truck Nokia Country Music Fest sponsored by Bud Light.....Tim McGraw & Faith Hill had a set - and Faith sang "This Kiss" and once again we were singning together at the top of our lungs. Not just that song though - the whole day was a blast. Great memories :) *sigh* I've been missing her a lot lately - I don't think I've seen her in almost a year.

Maybe Faith Hill singing takes me back to those times - or maybe she's just a great singer and I should leave it at that - either way, its been nice to rediscover her again.

Monday, September 25, 2006

What a scrap-happy weekend!

I managed to scrap a shit pile this weekend, and I had a blast doing it. I think I figured I was online for 40 hours this weekend. Don’t worry, I had good posture so my back doesn’t hurt – but I think there is a dent in the couch from where my butt was!

So what do I get for being an internet potato for that amount of time? I mean, besides preserving a TON of memories and working through a lot of the pictures/subjects I had, I also won a lot of challenges, played lots of games (I won a BINGO and got a $10 gift certificate!) racked up lots of points, and in general bonded with my cyber friends. In total I won about $15 in gift certificates, and another $15 in points! Definitely worth my time. And, who knows, maybe next time I will actually be a Creative Team Member for the site, so I will be even more involved! I think it’s only like a twice a year thing, but it sure is fun!

Another benefit from being online - I got a chance to chat with my friend B, and make her smile when she was feeling a little down. How did I do that, might you ask? Well, I shared one of my layouts with her – you can see it below – it’s called ON WHAT PLANET!??! That combined with just feeling great to chat with an old friend, I’m sure was the cure :)

Here are the layouts that I created with the motivation from the challenges and fast scraps from the girls at ACOT:

I hope For – I HOPE challenge

Paper - JW Winter Grace; Tears - Steph Krush; Photos from; Cardboard tag - Cardboard tag; Font: Jefferson, Too Much Paper, Cry Kitty, For the One Hundredth time,; My own handwriting by September Myles

Journaling Reads: I hope forThe AL CentralThe American League PennantThe October ClassicJust keep on Hangin' on boys.We know you can do it!We're all pulling for you!

Fall is for Family – Template Class Challenge

Sketch - Bree Clarkson; Papers - Kristy Ann muted autumn; Alpha, felt leaves - Tiff Brady; White heart brad - ACOT Circle of friends; Green ribbon bow - AJ Smith; font - for the one hundredth time;

Pumpkin Patch – Fall Color Challenge
Me and Pat O'Brien when we went with his entire family to the pumpkin patch! Finally - someone to take pictures of us!

Everything from Jen Wilson's Season Scraps Dried Leaves collection; Font - my handwriting, created by September Myles

My Heart – Shape, 2 pattern papers, 3 fonts Challenge

Heart – dmogstad; Papers - Jen Wilson Nostalgic Sepia; Alpha - Jen Wilson Glass Window & Soldered Charm; Glitzy Swirls - Jen Wilson Glitzy Swirls; Font - Batik Regular, Jefferson; Drop Shadows - Tracy Murphy

My little Fuzzy Butts – Animal Challenge
Don't know why, but that’s what I call them sometimes - amongst the 200 other names I have for them!

Kit is by Katie Pertiet - August Exclusive Kit at DST; Font - Batik regular & Jefferson

I’d Pick You – Folded Corner Challenge (from a class that was held on Saturday). Finally a LO of me and Danica - I miss her terribly!

Papers - Corina Freebie On a Whim; Hat Pin- Gina Miller; Font - my own handwriting created by September Myles

On What PLANET??!?! – Scrap a Hunk Challenge
SO, here's my take on the hunk challenge. I couldn't find pics that inspired me of my REAL hunk (Mark Ruffalo) and I already scrap my Super In Life hunk (Pat O’Brien) so I decided to run the opposite direction. Sorry if you throw up a little bit in your mouth :)

A little Soulful kit by Shannon Lee at

Mark Ruffalo – Scrap a Hunk Challenge
I got razzed for my awesome KFed layout, but I was forced to succumb to Peer Pressure and scrap a real hunk. He's no Pat O'Brien, but if I have to choose a famous person, it would be him. He's been called "the thinking woman's sex symbol" I think because he isn't a typical hottie - crooked smile, wrinkles, not a hard body...he is a Midwest boy from Wisconsin, he's devoted to his family. His voice is soft; his eyes have soul...

Papers - Karin McCombs Sienna Dreams; Font - Rage, Hurricane; Various factory installed brushes :)

Halloween 2005 – Scavenger Hunt Challenge (just a mish most of various items we had to use - this is a two page 12x12 layout) The most recent Halloween camping excursion :) We went with the Mad Scientist Laboratory again - grown experiments (DF as Gumby, Nephew and Brother as growth Tiggers) and cloning (my sister and me - mad scientists) included!

Sketch - Dawn Wilson Simple Scraps Freebie (rotated, and copied and adjusted for 2nd page); Papers, rub on / stamp, round sticker - JW Midnight Jack (one paper recolored); Red eyelet & twine- recolored Katie Pertiet; White brad – myself; Stamp alpha- Michelle Coleman; Drop Shadows - Tracy Murphy

These are all the fast scraps I completed....Fast Scraps are similar to challenges – they give you an assignment, but you have to complete and submit within one hour (challenges must be completed by midnight last night).

The challenge was to take a magnet from your fridge (like one of the pizza hut ones they send on the top of the boxes all the time) and make it your own!

Gina Cabrera - Book Bag Essentials

Card Sketch

Jen Wilson - Urban Bohemian

Photo Card – Entry
I took this pic at the Monday Tsiangis - or food markets), so I figured it would be one of those Just because cards that are blank on the inside :) Fun fast scrap!

Font - Edwardian Script; Paper & Crochet border - Shannon Lee Carlson at

Photo Card – Extra
I didn't want to enter it officially - because I didn't want to gross anyone out! It kinda reminds me of the kind of cards Adam Sandler wrote on Mr. Deeds. This is another pic from the Monday food market.

Paper & Elements - Shannon Lee Carlson Celebrate Me Kit at; Various fonts (sorry - couldn't keep track)

Altered Frame
Sweet Lord! Pat O'Brien is soooo hunky in his glasses and snowhat! I LOVE IT! Its a little blurry, but I adore this pic!

Frame - Lauren Bird; Flower - Jen Wilson; Ric Rac Wraps, pins, cardboard - Tiff Brady; Alpha - ACOT

Christmas Card

Wishing you A season of Joy! Papers & elements - JW Winters Grace; Corner & Cardboard - JW Potting Shed; Hat - made from a Michelle Underwood photo corner; Red Chipboard - ACOT Celebrate Life; Font - Edwardian Script

Goodie Bag Tag – I won a $5 gift certificate for this one!
(to be stapled over the top of a Ziploc baggie full of candy! You fold it in half, place it over the top, and staple it on! How cute of an idea is that! )

Paper, elements, word art - Heather Ann Goulish Delight; Acrylic Tag - Rhonna Farrer; Tied Ribbon - Melany Violette; Drop Shadows - Tracy Murphy

Here’s an example of what one looks like stapled on……it was the sample image for the crop.

So thats a total of 7 out of 14 fast scraps, and 9 out of 14 challenges. I didn't do them all because either they were for paper scrappers only or I just wasn't inspired to do them. A good many of them to do for just a weekend, wouldn't you say?

Leave me a comment and let me know which is your favorite!

Anyway – that’s about it for the day. ONLY 3 MORE SLEEPS TIL I GET TO SEE PATO’BRIEN! WHOO HOOO!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

T – 7 Days

One week away from my honeybuns!

In internet news – I have revamped my MySpace Account after months of neglect. Looks much cleaner and nicer. I must say, yes it’s a place for teenyboppers and such, but I have been put in touch with many people I haven’t seen in YEARS! Recently, I got a message from my very first boyfriend, Brad VanPelt, whom I haven’t seen since, like, 5th grade (which is when he was my boyfriend). That’s kind of cool!

Also, I recently downloaded Firefox Mozilla and made it my new internet browser. Everyone raves about it – the jury is still out for me. I tend to not like significant change, and after using Internet Explorer for the past 10 years it won’t be an easy one. But there are some features I like, such as the tabbed browsing, and the pictures seem to load much faster….so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Thursday. Ah…..that means it’s almost Friday and that means it’s almost time for my super Scrap-A-Thon weekend at A Cherry On Top!. ACOT is probably my fav online scrapping community, and turns out the headquarters is a real live store – in SAGINAW!!! How weird is that? Anyway, seeing as that nothing else is really going on (we are having an ISO Audit today, luckily I don’t get to participate because I’m just a passeryby), I thought I would indulge my super scrap happy mood and share my most recent layouts – cuz I know you all wanna see ‘em :)

I think this first one might possibly be one of my most favorite layouts ever. I finished it LATE last night for the Jen Wilson Meaning #4 challenge – and still managed to get up and go to the gym this morning. I’m ROCKIN!


Stitching – Shannon Lee; Stamped Letters – Michelle Coleman; Font – the Blue cabin
Everything else by Jen Wilson - Sketch - Meaning 4 challenge; Papers & elements – Meaning 4; Lace – Autumn Bouquet; Big flower, journaling block – Country Carnivale; Little flowers – Urban Bohemian

Journaling reads: Being so far away from you - choosing to be so far away from you - has been one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. At times I feel so lonely – wanting to be close, to touch you, hold you, love you – yearning and pining in the worst way. Alas, when I need a hug I must settle for the snuggle of a kitty. But I am so proud of us – so proud of how we’ve handled this and how we’ve grown – and so happy that its almost over! Soon, I will be in your arms – for good!

This is a Shannon Lee CT layout. I liked the layout I did with this design so much in the Feria de San Isidro page, I decided to make my own template so I could use it over and over again! I have so many experiences that would perfectly fit this template!

Celebrate Me! Kit by Shannon Lee at; Font – Collegiate

Mom & Dad
This is another one for the Shannon Lee CT – loved the colors almost as much as I love this photo of mom & dad – they just look so cute :) Karli took this with the new camera we all bought her for her 15th birthday.

Paper, flower, stitching, ric rac, clipboard clip - Shannon Lee Autumn Glory at; Drop Shadows - Tracy Murphy; Planner Paper, Envelope Tab - Gina Miller BYOBB Set; Alpha - Kim Christensen Summer Nights; Template - Jeannie Papai

Halloween Camping 2004
I’m totally going to miss going this year!

Template - Gina Miller Simply Sketches 2; Papers & Elements - Jen Wilson Midnight Jack; Black crackle paper (on circles) - Heather Ann Goulish Delight; Fonts - Rage, Jefferson, Orlando

And no, thats not a webcam on Samson's head, its a 3rd eye because he was an alien for Halloween!

Journaling Reads: I had the honor of planning our annual Halloween camping trip in true Karin style - way overboard! We created Dr. Moco's Mad Laboratory - complete with brains, chemical lab, icky specimens and the like. We also had lots of scientists, and a couple of growth, cloning and mutation experiments. We all had a BLAST! Our campsite won 1st place and most creative, which is a box full of smores, dog treats and a nice plaque for keepsakes. Really though, it is just doing fun stuff with my family and having them love me even though I'm a little crazy!

And last but not least,
Seamus & Sparty
Yeah yeah I know –its almost like I’m a traitor or something. Just to clarify, I am a True Blue Wolverine....but my Pat O’Brien’s nephew Seamus just looked so darn cute I couldn't help myself to scrap it! Ahhh, Scrapbooking, bringing the world together in peace :D

Papers - Jen Wilson Grass Stains, Apple Blossoms; Football paper, paperclip, tie - Lori Barnhurst Grungy Games; Tag - Jen Wilson Meaning 3; Fonts - Jailbird Jenna & Susie's Hand

Journaling reads: Reno said, "Seamus had a great time at his first Sparty game over the weekend. Right when we got there he got to meet Sparty himself and took this picture with him. Seamus then found out about the joys of tailgating and loved it. He could not get over all of the food and pop he could have! He loved the game, even between the 3 bathroom visits!"

(Reno is his dad, Steve, or Steve-a-Reno)

Ok, so thats all I got for now. I'm going to try to get some reading done. Fun standards for concrete and such. Yippie for me!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Happy Hump Day - 8 days and counting

Oh my aching body. After a week (or so) hiatus, I finally made my way back to the gym and regular exercise yesterday. I think I may have overdone it. My legs kill me – but a good hurt, you know? And instead of wussing out on exercise today because I was sore, I still managed to snag 45 minutes of yoga. Good deal :) I’m kind of proud of myself!

Other good news - I finally switched to Blogger Beta - not sure what benefits I'll get from it, but we'll see whats up.

8 more days till I get to see my Patrick O'Brien!!!!!

So, the festivities over the weekend were fun. Friday I did get to buy and wear my Mexican Sombrero with Viva Mexico Cabrones in the brim, and we also managed to miss the grito that night because we were all too drunk to go back to downtown to here it. I was more sloshed than I have been in a while – so much so that when our worldly group of friends started talking Politics (there were French, English, Mexican, and of course Americans) I just got all emotional and riled up about Bush and the world’s perception of us and I was crying. No, I was BAWLING. That’s when Keith knew it was time to go home. I think the reason I was so worked up over everything is earlier in the day Keith and I went to see the movie The Twin Towers – with Nicolas Cage. Not usually a big fan of him, but really liked the movie, even if I started tearing up at the beginning and was full out bawling at the end. Hey man, even Keith cried at parts.

Anyway, We had a good time though – we got to meet Fidel, the chocolate lab of Kate & Marco, Kate cooked some killer burgers and salad, and their house is this beautiful rustic Mexican home, bigger than ours, prettier, and of course cheaper. *sigh* why does everyone here take advantage of Americans?

Saturday I was a trooper and despite my hangover we still went with the Belmont Family to Valle de Bravo and Colorines to see their family. Really loved Valle, even though there were too many people there. It was just a good atmosphere and relaxed. Oh, and LOTS of loaded (money wise) people running around. Kind of reminded me of Aspen – with all the little shops and rich folk. Except with Mexicans.

After stopping in Valle we went to the next pueblo over of Colorines, where Fernando’s grandparents & great grandma live. We walked around a bit and called it a night pretty early……the next morning we had a great breakfast with the whole fam damily, and then headed back home so we could still have a chance to watch some football…..We got some great pics – I’ll have to upload some soon.

Monday brought us back to the daily grind, not much new has happened since. Oh yeah, not much other than a heart attack from the Mexican government telling me I owe them over $30,000 pesos by the 29th! It was a tax mix up though, and they are reworking the figures, of which I will not be responsible for one red peso – its one of the things Holcim US picks up, thankfully.

Other than that, I’m preparing to have a super fall scrap-a-thon this weekend, which should be fun, maybe get a game of tennis in……who knows. Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Happy Knee Surgery Anniversary

Pat O'Brien sent me an ecard commemorating my anniversary of my knee surgery. of course, hallmark doesn't really make those kinds of cards, so he found a fun Thanksgiving one instead. He's sooo adorable :) And, it was Hoops and Yoyo, of course, they are my favorite cyber friends.

I have so much work to do, but I am not being very diligent at getting anything done. I have a real problem wiht being productive inthe mornings. It seems that I don't really get into my groove until the afternoon, and of course, we only have 3 hours after lunch....and I'll be damned if I'm going to stay any later than I have to.

Week 1 fantasy football - went terrible in the Beginners Ball league - of course it didn't help me that the Raiders got clobbered and their whole offense didn't have over 100 yards - so Randy Moss didn't have many points. Also not helping - my QB got his brains knocked out, so he didn't produce much for me either. But, in the Hail Mary's leage (my scrappin league) I'm in 4th place....which is much better than my performance of 14th out of 14 in BB.

We're still trying to find plans to do fun things this weekend, for Mexican Independance day. We had an invitation to go to Michoacan to a small village where they still shoot guns up in the air after the grito, but really, that sounded more scary than fun, and I don't think i'd be able to enjoy myself with a bunch of drunk Mexicans with guns. The bar scenes from The Three Amigos just keeps on popping into my head.....Keith wasn't that trilled about the idea either, so I'm hoping we can just find something around here to do.

At the very least, I will drink tequila and wear a big ass floppy straw sombrero that says "VIVA MÉXICO CABRONES" across the brim. I find this highly amusing because I only thought dumb drunk American tourists wore hats that big, but apparently its tradition to wear them for this celebration. I remember the first time I put on a sombrero - a pretty, sequined one that the Mariachis wear, and I put it on backwards. I remember my cousin Wil telling me "thats very white of you Karinski" :) What do you expect from a half Mexican, half white girl! I haven't made the mistake again, though :)

I went to the Mercado yesterday to see if I could find any deals on Lasso's or wedding tiara stuffs, but I didn't see anything.....Also was trying to see if I could sell my wedding dress, but to no avail. I might try Mercado Libre, which is Mexico's version of eBay and see what happens. I did manage to buy myself some BEAUTIFUL long stem red roses - 3 dozen for $7 :) They are so incredibly fragrant and beautiful!

I also had an incredible feat this month......I managed to only charge on my credit card a grand total of $70! Of course, both my US and Mexico checking acounts are about as dry as they can be, but that is OK. This is a huge feat since I've had issues with those stupid things since the man at U of M offered me a free T shirt to fill out an application. Alas, I promised myself I will be credit card debt free by time I make it back to the US, which should not be a huge problem as long as I continue to stick to my plan. Especially since I have some extra income to spend that I used to pay the maid :).

Speaking of my maid, Keith and I are working out a cleaning system instead of hiring a new muchacha. Just seems better so I am more used to the idea and actions of cleaning myself when I repatriate. We...or rather I....decided that we'll do the dishes once a day, take off shoes when coming inside, and each be responsible for our own bedrooms & bathrooms. Mopping, sweeping and dusting and stuff will probably take place when we decide it needs it, maybe every other week or so. So far so good....I hope we can keep it up!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Today is Today

I'm the sentimental type. I cry. A lot sometimes. But when I woke up this morning my thoughts weren't immediately turned to the thousands that lost thier lives in the 9/11 attack. But, throughout the day as I have been reading other's blogs and message board postings, I find it hard to keep myself from being teary eyed and choked up.

A cyber friend here in Mexico wrote a perfectly succinct passage about the memory of todays events - you can take a gander HERE.

I remember sleeping through most of the days events. Troy and I were driving back to Denver after our wedding and honeymoon - or rather he was driving and I was drifting in and out of sleep somewhere amidst the vast corn fields of Nebraska. We were listening to NPR and the effect of the radio didn't even come close to painting the picture that the images did when we saw them a day later.

I remember trying so frantically after we got home to call my friend/old college roomate Eunice's cell phone and home phone -and getting nothing but a busy signal; and sending her an email just wondering if she was OK. I knew she lived in Manhattan - I just didn't know where she was or where she worked - and since all the phone's were out I had no way of getting ahold of was such a terrible feeling. Turned out she was OK - she had another friend who worked close enough to really feel the effects though. I visited her a little over a month later - but we didn't go down and see the site - I really didn't want to.

Although it seems like a lifetime away after all the changes I've been through recently, when I read people's memories and recollections, the emotions come flooding back. I wonder if I'll feel the same way in 40 years.....either way, I know I'll never forget.


First note - It should go without saying but if you didn't know, today is September 11, and if you haven't already take a minute to say a silent prayer for those who lost thier lives, and those whose lives were forever changed by that day......which pretty much is all of us, isn't it?

This weekend was pretty chill - I think most of you know by now. I spend the better part of it parked infront of a book or computer, and I managed to get lots of scrapping done. Apparently it was a ME weekend, because I actually made like three pages of just myself. They were all for challenges, but its kind of nice to be able to be instrospective and appreciate myself for once - its kind of an esteem boost.


Digiscraplift from Basic Grey class at ACOT; papers - apple cider - jen wilson; stitches - katie pertiet, shannon lee; stamp alpha - Michelle Coleman

These next two were for a challenge - one part was to use only photos of yourself (of which I subjected Keith to taking about over 200 of me....but I got some nice shots of myself!) and the other was to use an ad for inspiration.


Everything by Jen Wilson Designs: Papers – Meaning3; Swirls – Urban Bohemian; Stamps – Worn Foam Stamps; Masking Tape – Hold It downs;Font – Hurricane, Jenkins

Pat O'Brien didn't care for this one much - I loved it! He said the pic looks like I'm either in the Throws of Passion or taking a really good dump. Hm....I didn't know those two looks were that similar. I thought I did a good job editing the pic - cutting it out and photoshopping an arm in. The original pic Keith took cut off one of my arms, and it looked weird so I added one in from another pic. can you tell which one it is? As I was doing this Keith realized the potential of this photoshop ability, and probably will be asking me to put him in a picture running with the bulls or something. Who knows.

Papers – Jen Wilson Meaning 3; Swirls – Jen Wilson – Glitter Kitchen, Urban Bohemian, Meaning1; Butterfly – Jen Wilson Summer Travels – Field of Color; Moth – Melaney Violette; Alpha – Jen Wilson Antique Stamp, Tarnished Gold; Font – Jefferson from;Drop Shadow Actions – Tracy Murphy


I also managed to scrap a page while a bit toasty - thats Keith's fault....he makes really good Vodka Tonnys (as he calls them) and they went down awefully smooth. So, here's the result of that night....not to bad if you ask me.

LA FERIA DEL SAN ISIDRO - note about this one....the pic on the left of a girl in tight pants - its not a girl its a manniquin! We thought it was funny because they don't make manniquins like that in the US now, do they?

This is a 2 page 8.5x11 layout :); Paper & Elements - Jen Wilson Meaning #1; Journaling Reads: The fair was like, less than a mile from our house - just down the road - for two weeks in May. It was annoying because it was loud, but when we finally checked it out we had a great time! Good thing we walked, too, because 2 liter coronas hit you pretty hard!

Well, I suppose its back to work. I was all motivated this morning and ready to take on my never ending list of tasks, but then I was in a meeting that was 45 minutes longer than it needed to be - and that just zapped me of energy. Hopefully I'll find it again soon because I got lots of crap to take care of today.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Amazing Disgrace

So I fired my maid. All went smoothly. I was afraid I was going to get all emotional and chicken out and just tell her we didn't have enough money to continue using her services....But I ended up saying that I appreciated the work she did, but we wouldn't need her to work for us anymore. I said many things have been missing, and although I can't prove it was her that took them, that I just don't trust her anymore, and I hope she understands. Really, it sucked. But, I'm proud of myself because I stood up for myself even though it would have been easier the other way.

In other news, I finished a book last night that I thoroughly enjoyed, even though I cried a lot while reading it. Its called Amazing Disgrace, and it was written by one of my childhood neighbors. She had a book signing in Saginaw a few weeks ago, so my parents bought me the book and Keith brought it back here with him.

I'm not a very good person to do "reviews" per say, but I can say I identified with the main character in some ways, primarily the way she was searching to find her place in religion. Many of the interactions with her family and her boyfriends family were quite interesting....It was funny, because I just kept thinking about how I was reading a novel written by a friend.....But after the first chapter I was sucked in by the story and characters and just completely forgot about that. I read it in one day.
I Started about midnight on Friday night, just trying to pass the time until Pat called when he got home from the bar.....But I couldn't put the book down until 4AM! I read a couple hours on Saturday, then finished Saturday night around 2AM. It was an easy, fun, albeit emotional read. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in real life stories - it doesn't really fit into ay classification, I guess I'd call it more of a drama. It was very good - I'll look forward to her next novel, hopefully which she'll release soon :)

Aside from it being a good read, the packaging was SOOOOOO adorable! I love the colors and small picture on the front. Actually, I thought it would make a good scrapbook page :)


Did I mention she is a U of M alum as well? Its always good to support your fellow alums, right?

Sweet Sweet Victory

Today marks the real beginning of NFL Football. Yes, the first game was on Thursday, but there are few things that beat the feeling of (almost) the entire league playing at once. It feels so good.

So, why is this such a sweet sweet victory?

1. We have NFL Sunday ticket on our satalitte....that means every week we'll be able to watch our fabulous LIONS! WHoo HOOO! Go DETROIT! It also means we have a non-stop access to ALL games and stats, which brings me to our next point.....

2. All these channels gives us fabulous chances to see our star players, since Keith and I both are engrossed in Fantasy Football. I'm on two leagues - one with lots of beginners that Keith is running, and another with my Scrapbook friends online. Don't laugh man - some of them know what they are doing. Or at least thier husbands do! Keith is on like, 50 teams.....which is ridiculous, but it gets him really into EVERY game thats on. There's even a channel where we can watch all the games at once.

3. Another HUGE benfit of the Sunday Ticket - all the games are broadcast from the respective networks, so we get the English sportscasters.....which is great unless its Madden. The dude is ancient. But, Keith had a good point, if he's not on TV, how are the kids going to know who the heck he is and still want to buy his endorsed football video games?

4. Sportscasters aren't even the best thing - its the commercials! Keith and I have been CRACKING up because they are all so new to us. At the same time, this has its downside when they show yummy succulent Taco Bell and TGI FRiday's offerings.....and we can't have any :( Same goes for all the TV Premiers they are advertisiing. Its like a huge tease!

5. We had pizza for lunch. A victory in of itself because I ordered it over the phone and had it delivered. It took about 30 minutes to get it all right, but I did it! The only thing better would have been buffalo wings, too, but we opted for these little jalepeno tater tot things instead. They were OK, but I still could use some wings.

6. These are the only acceptable days where I'm allowed to coordinate clothing with Patrick. Not like I'm a big fan of matching jumpsuits and such, but it is kinda cute to wear similar Lions gear. And he just looks so GOOD when he wears jerseys - he's got such big broad muscular shoulders, and he's so big and strong. *SIGH* he just looks so damn dreamy.

Yes, football season is very very good to me :)


Friday, September 08, 2006

Is it really Friday???

The week flew by - maybe I should be sick more often NOT! Its good for time to fly though. Pat O'Brien and I are right smack dab in the middle of our longest Non seeing each other stretch. Before I left we said we would aim to see each other once a month - once every six weeks at the most. Luckily we've kept true to our word.....we have our visits planned out / tickets purchased through December.

Its been an expensive venture, but I don't think I would have it any other way. On one hand, going back to the US so much has probably inhibited my ability to fully immerse myself here - and every time I come back to Mexico after being gone my Spanish seems to take a step back. Then again I could say the same for my US TV watching...and talking to Pat O'Brien every day on the phone. or computer. Whatev. On the other hand, my relationship with him really is more important than anything to me - seeing as how he's going to be the father of my children and all, so if I have to sacrifice a little of my experience here in order to keep him AND sill have my life here, than I suppose its a small price to pay.

Not much in store for this weekend seeing as how the fundage fairy hasn't magically deposited money into my account. Saturday Keith has to work and I have my fantasy football draft (yes I know the first game was last night, and No, I don't know how thats all going to figure in). Saturday night I have a super scrap-a-rama chat, as I will every Saturday night for the next 6 weeks. its a contest thingy. I'm excited because chats usually = free stuff. Sunday maybe we'll peruse the market, and I can look for wedding head gear. I feel more comfortable going to the Market with Keith around.......I don't know how I'd feel about going myself. I might also try to sell my wedding dress there too. It would be nice to get that off my hands.

Oh yeah, and I have to fire my maid on Saturday too. Drats.

So I wish to all a safe and virus free weekend. Catch you on the flip side.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I've been quite sullied as of late, mostly due to this pinche cold thats got hold of me. I stayed home yesterday and came home at lunch time today. Poor Keith is better at toughing it out than I am - he went to work yesterday and today. What a trooper. And, we can't find NyQuil here, so we will be fitfully sleeping through the nights unless this other stuff I bought here works.

I've been productive in other regards though - scrapping the days away. I won't bore you will the zillions of layouts that I've completed, but here are a couple that I really really like.


This is for a Jen Wilson Meaning.ful #2 contest.Papers - Seasonal Scraps - Indian Summer & Arctic tundra; Elements - Jen Wilson Meaning2; Font - Weltron Urban, edwardian script, century gothic

And I am required to add this to my little "List" because I asked for an opinion on paper....Artistic consultation - KEITH

Journaling reads:Friends, Tequila, Good Music -Sometimes thats all you need when you're missing home


A few varieties of flowers we found at high altitudes while ascending the volcano. Sketch - Gina Miller Simply Sketches 1 (altered to 8.5x11); Kit - Gina Miller Fall Flower DST September Kit


One of the pictures I finally scrapped from our volcanoe trip. The trip was scary, but the views were beautiful! This lake is actually inside the crater! Papers & Elements - Jen Wilson All of a Boy; Word Art - Jen Wilson Summer Travels; Font - Felix Titling

I also discovered a better way to keep track of all my stinkin' blogs that I read. Its called Bloglines - and although I know its not new, its new to me and I think its the greatest thing ever. Do you know there are people out there who read like, over 70 blogs a day? I have about 20 or so......and at least now I will know automatically if there is a new post or not, and not have to spend the three seconds to find the link in "My Favorites" and waiting for the page to load. I think I've saved myself 5 minutes a day!

*ick* I hope that I feel better tomorrow. I've got lots to do at work, and I don't think I can afford another day off. I think in Mexico people only take three days off of work if they have had surgery......

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Random Musings……

First off –

Check Out for thousands of custom glitters and layouts

To my little itty bitty should still be a baby sister KARLI! It’s hard to believe she’s a SERIOUS hard core teenager. And I must say she’s doing a much better job of it than I did at her age. I think about that same time in my life my mom was throwing frying pans at my head for sneaking out at night…..I’m pretty sure Karli won’t have those same issues.

So, in honor of her I created this FABULOUS fun layout with stuff from my new CT chick, Shannon Lee.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Everything from Shannon Lee Designs; Papers - Afternoon Delight; Stitching, flower gem - Celebrate Me!; Other elements - Crochet Lace 1, Canvas Tag - Girl, Fun-N-Funky Alpha 1; Drop Shadows by Traci Murphy

This weekend was fabulous. Saturday I got up semi-early and went to the gym, went to take out some cash from the bank, then came home and scrapped my butt off all day. I got most of my sports pics from high school done. Yes, that’s right, I did REAL paper scrapping. Nothing too fancy, just papers, pens and straight scissors. It came out pretty nice, but they’re not fancy enough to scan in and such.

When I was at the gym I saw my friend Rocio, from Peru, who is married to the Cheese Head Tom (I say cheese head with the greatest amount of affection – I love people from Wisconsin). She invited me to go with them to Mexico City to see the Bodies Revealed exhibit…..except here it’s called El Cuerpo Humano. I figured it might be kinda creepy and gross, but I actually enjoyed myself. It was interesting and educational. My favorite part was the interior relief of our circulatory system. TOO cool! I recommend it to one and all, all ages and such. Incidentally, I also saw my first uncircumcised (albeit polymer preserved) penis. Hey, you learn something new everyday, right?

About said money taking out trip – I took out $1500 pesos, which basically has to last me until next pay day (the 15th). Two $500 peso bills, two $200, and one $100. I checked my cash, stuck it in my wallet, came home and DID NOT LEAVE for the rest of the day. Cleaning lady Matilde came in Sunday morning about an hour before I got out of bed….and before I left with Tom and Rocio I went to pay her…..but mysteriously there was a $500 bill missing. Seriously, I think she took it. I think she’s stealing from me.

It’s not the first time something has gone missing. The first couple of times I chalked it up to my scatterbrained ness – I’d like to believe that inherently all people are good and wouldn’t do that. But, after a few times, it kind of shows a pattern, and I think I might have to fire her. I’m going to be subtle about it because she also works in the kitchen at our office, and also for another family I work with……I think she’s doing it because I’m American, and she thinks I’m rolling in the dough. PPpttth. If she only knew.

I don’t think I’ll hire a new person either. I’m 6 months out, and it’s probably a good idea to get back into the swing of cleaning. And if I don’t – its only 6 months and this place can’t possibly get that dirty.

As per my pal Beth’s instructions, I downloaded “The Last Kiss” soundtrack from iTunes. Now, usually I don’t go spending $10 just because someone says so…..but, there were three good reasons for doing so sight unseen – Beth’s taste in music is usually dead on, I loved the Garden State Soundtrack and I LOVE ZACH BRAFF. Huge fan. He’s not only hilarious, but a fantastic director and unusually attractive. Listening to it right now, and must say, its definitely NOT disappointing!

So, I will leave you with another layout I completed tonight of the ONLY picture I have with Kyle and I. Or the only photo I have where he doesn’t look like he’s trying to be a thug. Not sure if you can see my crutches or not, but it was taken last year in October.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Everything from Shannon Lee Designs; Papers and elements - Sunshine Freebie; Black paper - Afternoon delight; Stitches - Just stitches; Font - my own handwriting by September Myles; Sketch by Jen Caputo - DST September Newsletter

Hope everyone has a FABULOUS and safe Labor Day weekend!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Political Unrest?

OK - I was watching what I thought was the presidential address on TV this evening - all appeared to be happy.

I guess not.

When Fox TRIED to make his address to congress earlier today - THIS is what happened. Who blocks the president from making his STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS? Thats awfully ballsy if you ask me - Thems fighin' words.......

**Side Note** By the way, the stopped selling alcohol last night after midnight (which thwarted our Kareoke plans) so the people who want to sabotage don't get drunk and do even more stupid things. No alcohol needed here.

Seriously, its getting kind of scary. This dude, AMLO, is, oh....I forget what they call it - a revolutionist maybe? Someone who rallies the people and has the potential to influence people to do stupid things. Such as the case is right now. The thought that scares me the most is that he (or the supporters, not exactly sure here) vowed to make Mexico UNGOVERNABLE if Calderon is confirmed president?!?!? WTF? Dude - totally DO NOT want to be here if thats the case.

All over what, you may ask? Well, I really don't know because the people on the news talk too fast for me to understand. I've tried to find info online, but most just talk about how there is unrest and how people are clogging up Mexico City. I did manage to find a seemingly well informed Expat blogger named Jeffrey Wright who gave me a little insight - you can find his BLOG HERE. Now, I have no idea how truthful the information is - but it makes sense. What doesn't make sense is that if that all is true - how can AMLO's supporters not know that it does not constitute NATION wide fraud? Hasn't this election been verified by many other international entities aside from the IFE (Federal Electoral Institute)? Sorry guys, but I don't think the peeps from the European Union that were here overseeing the elections are in cahoots with the government.

And if it was fraud - don't you think they'd fix it to win by more than 0.58%????

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Soooooo........more good news on the Scrapbook front! I was chosen to be a creative team member for Shannon can find her awesome designs at I seriously was sooooooo excited when I read the email! I absolutely love her designs - and she has some of the coolest elements around - I can't wait to get started! I also get to add this cute little blinkie to the end of my signature at all the scrapbook message boards :)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here's her official announcement at her website. It was soooo cool to see my name up there!

I realized today just how stripped down those cute little ol VW bugs are...affectionately known as Bochitos around central Mexico. They don't have blinkers. Their front headlights blink when they want to turn. I still love them. I want one so bad :o) But I suppose its just not practical.....but a girl can dream.

The 16 of September is quickly approaching - the real Mexican Independance Day (once again, 5 de Mayo is only the celebration of the victory of a small battle in Puebla). If just the calender wasn't reminder enough - the plethora of big ass flags and all things red white and green totally give it away. Its kind of ridiculous, but also cool in a picturesque kind of way.

I mean, in the US we're all sorts of patriotic, especially since the deployemet of many service people in the past couple of years.....but I don't think I've ever seen someone strap Old Glory to the hood of thier '76 Ford Pick Up. Yup - I've seen that on the hood of more than one car. Also saw a taxi with a sombrero strapped to its luggage rack. Pretty flippin hilarious.

As over the top as it is, the display of the carts selling the patriotic goods is pretty impressive. I think I may take a trip to the center of the city or the mercado to take some pictures.

And I'm defintely going to buy some stuff. And maybe a big ass sombrero.