SLICE OF LIFE- THE FINISH LINE


March 31st.
The Slice of Life Challenge is over.
And I did it. Or almost did it.
I wrote 31 posts.
But I didn't technically totally do it,
because I skipped one day
and wrote two posts another day.
But I almost did it.

I wrote approximately nine posts about life at school.
I wrote approximately fifteen posts about being a mom to teenagers,
or about specific conversations I had had with my teenagers.
I wrote two posts about our dogs.
I wrote approximately four posts about life in general.

I wonder, does the fact that I wrote more about parenting teenagers
than I did about school, mean anything?
Does the fact that I wrote more about Son #1 than Son #2 mean anything?

I loved writing every day.
I loved opening my email and seeing that someone had commented.
Tonight, I loved reading back through the slices
And remembering stuff that I had kind of already forgotten.
And I wonder if I could keep slicing all by myself
To save for the boys.
And I wondered why I had not written more for them sooner
because I know there is a lot I have forgotten.

I loved reading other people's slices
and getting to know people around the world.
I loved seeing all of the different genres people tried
and seeing how different authors crafted their work.
I loved hearing the stories of other people's lives.

If I had it to do over again--
I'd be a better commenter.
I did try to comment on three posts every day.
And most days, more than half, I made it.
But if I were going to do it again,
I think I would choose two Slicers to follow consistently
And then vary the third one from day to day.
And I wish I could have figured out a better way
to respond to people's comments.

If there was one thing I would change about Slice of Life
I wish we would have one day, the very first day,
where we wrote slices about ourselves--
who we were, where we lived, our jobs.
Some people had that on their blog,
but some people I wanted to know better.

Thanks, Ruth, for pulling all of us together.
Thanks, Slicers, for committing to writing every day, or almost every day.
Thanks Commenters, for responding with grace and sensitivity and kindness.
It was a terrific month of writing!


SLICE 31- SO GOOD TO SEE THIS GUY

At 1:00, Son #1 stalks out of the bedroom, where he has been playing video games with brother and friend. "Will you take me to work out with R at 2?" he asks, in a voice that is more than a little demanding.

Despite the ugly voice, I am thrilled. This is the guy I know. The one who connects with football friends every chance he gets. The one who love, love, loves to work out.

"Sure, buddy. Where is he working out?" I ask.

"With some trainer," says my son, "It's a speed camp. You have to pay."

An hour or so later, I sit with another mom, watching him run up a hill. It's a steep hill. They run the hill. Rest a few seconds. Trot back down. Run up backwards. Rest a few seconds. Trot back down. Over and over and over again. One kid throws up in the gutter.

For the first two or three heats, my guy is at the front of the pack. After that he drops farther back. Even so, he is carrying himself in the way that I usually see only on the football field. Big. Confident. Shoulders squared. Light on his feet.

Afterwards, he talks to the coach, who calls him Big Man. He smiles, big enough so that I can see his dimple. His eyes sparkle. He asks if he can go two or three times a week to work out with R and this coach.

We have had a rough couple of months- hating school and not wanting to go. His dreams have seemed far away. Almost unreachable.

Today, it was so good to see this guy.

Today, it was so good to hope.



SLICE #30- LIFE WITH THE GREAT HOUDINIS

It's super windy in Colorado today. I hold off taking out the garbage as long as I can, then finally blow out the back door, dragging a ginormous bag of trash along behind me. I wrestle the back gate open and am trying to stuff yet one more bag of trash in our overflowing can, wondering why our trash guys, who usually come on Tuesday morning have not yet showed up this week.

All of a sudden, the gate, which I thought was latched, blows open and two black flashes, that I quickly identify as my labs, go flying by me. Star, the escape artist and her faithful follower, Jack, have escaped yet again, the second time in the last two days. I debate whether I should run and grab a hot dog, or my car keys and decide maybe I should just take off running.

Within seconds, the dogs have made it the half block to 26th, a pretty busy thoroughfare. Thankfully, both dogs make it across the street, but I feel the glares of three drivers as I chase after them.

"Jack, Star," I shout. "Want a hot dog?" My two escape artists are no dummies however. They pause only momentarily to sniff the air and then, picking up no meaty scent, resume their mad dash.

I try again. "Jack, wanna go bye-bye? Come on Star, let's go. " The car is another favorite treat, and I think maybe this will get their attention, but that doesn't work either. I look to see if I see any angels that might grab my two wild beasties, but there is no one in sight. We keep running.

Another half block down, there is a construction site. The both dogs are distracted momentarily by a fast food bag and I sneak up and grab Star by the collar. Usually when I get her, Jack will follow along, but that is not the case today. He changes directions, but won't come close enough to allow me to catch him. Instead he stays two or three houses ahead, as I drag Star along, gripping her pink collar firmly in my hand.

I'm afraid to risk 26th again, so I do an about face. Jack pauses, then decides he will follow us. I hear him come tearing up behind, delighted at this new game of doggie tag. I lunge for his collar and am practically pulled off my feet, but I am successful. Jack gags as his forward momentum is stopped in mid-flight.

I get a firmer grip on both collars and the three of us- one slightly winded, middle aged lady and two big black labs, tongues lolling, tails wagging, march down 26th and up our front walk.

Just another day in the life of the Great Houdinis…

SLICE #29- TOO QUIET HERE

I have lived alone for the majority of my adult life. I had a roommate for the first three or four years after I graduated from college, and then one year during my doctoral program, but aside from that, I have pretty much always lived alone.

In 2003, I adopted my boys, and my life changed almost overnight. I went from quiet evenings, Lean Cuisine, walks at the park with a dog or two, to, hmm, I don't want to say chaos, but it definitely was a lot noisier and busier. And I liked it. A lot.

For the most part, my boys are kind of homebodies. They are much more apt to have friends over here than go to someone else's house for a night or weekend. I like it that way. I like having kids around. I like the noise- the pounding up and down the stairs for food, the rap songs they compose on Garage Band, and the laughter. I like knowing where my kids are and what they are doing.

Tonight, though, both boys are across town at a friend's house. Aside from the dogs racing madly in and out, the house feels really, really quiet. I'm watching the CU game. And reading. And doing laundry.

But it's really quiet. And I don't like it. Not one little bit.

BLESS THIS MOUSE- Lois Lowry

Last night I went to Tattered Cover to see Lois Lowry, who is on a book tour for her newest novel, BLESS THIS MOUSE. I didn't intend to buy it, but of course, I ended up bringing the book home.

BLESS THIS MOUSE is the story of a community of 200 mice , who live in St. Bartholomew's church. Hildegarde, the Mouse Mistress, must shepherd her flock through periodic visits from the dreaded X (the exterminator) and also the Festival of Saint Francis, when the parishioners bring their pets, including cats, to be blessed. She is assisted by her bumbling wanna-be boyfriend, Roderick, and Ignatious, a wise old mouse who spent most of his life nibbling books in the university library, and therefore knows a little bit about a lot of things. And then there is Lucretia, the mouse who is constantly trying to usurp Hildegarde as Mouse Mistress…

I'm not usually big on animal fantasy, but this book is delightful. Hildegarde is a brave and resourceful leader. The complex "underground" life of mice, living in a church, where humans are kind of aware of them, but not really, reminded me of the Borrowers, which was one of my childhood favorites. The mice have their own religious life, complete with services on Sunday (led by Hildegarde) that I loved.

A terrific read aloud for primary grade students.

Bookmark it with creative craft challenges

We are looking for bookmarks guys, wether it be on a card or an actual bookmark, anything goes as long as we can see a bookmark, feel free to use any stash you like,

We are being sponsored by 2 different companies for this challenge. 1. little claires


and 2.crafty ribbons



I am having serious internet problems so cannot show you my bookmartk as its not letting me upload it,so pop over to creative craft challenges and have a nosey lol


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SLICE #28- A VISIT WITH AN OLD FRIEND


"Where are you going?" asked my son, as I headed out the door this afternoon.

"To see a friend," I shouted over my shoulder. "I'll be back in a little while."

It was the truth, kind of anyway. I was going to see a friend. OK, a friend I had never met. But a friend who I had known through her books for a long, long time.

Lois Lowry was reading at the Tattered Cover) this afternoon, and so I made the sixty mile round trip, through rush hour traffic, to see my old friend.

Lowry has a new book, BLESS THIS MOUSE, that has just come out in the last few weeks. She talked first about the origin of this story. Lowry was at her summer home in Maine sitting at the dining room table writing when a little mouse scurried out from his hiding place. Unlike most mice, however, he was not afraid of Lowry, or her dog either. He sat in the middle of the room, and even allowed the author and her dog to approach and touch him. Lowry said that finally she scooped him up in her hand, said, "I think you will be much happier outside," and took him out into the yard, where she released him. When she came back into the house, she opened a new file on her computer, and started the story that became BLESS THIS MOUSE. The book only took her three weeks to write.

Lowry talked a little about the characters in the book, especially Hildegarde, the Mouse Mistress and Roderick, her not so smart friend. An author, said Lowry, must first make her reader care about her characters, and then she must create a problem that leaves the reader worrying about them. Hildegarde and Roderick live in a church, along with 218 other mice. The Feast of Saint Francis is fast approaching. On this day, the parishioners and townsfolk bring their pets to be blessed. The mice hate this day because they know the church will be filled with cats. Lowry read several scenes; one was a conversation between Roderick and Hildegarde that would be perfect for teaching kids how authors use conversation to reveal characters. In the other scene, Hildegarde, wearing a green gumdrop hat tied with a gold cord from the priest's garments, decides that the mice need to receive the blessing of Saint Francis.

Lowry also talked a little about her process. She said she typically starts with a character and a quest. She sometimes, but not always, knows how the story will end. She never outlines, because that makes the writing boring for her.

She also talked a little about her current project. Lowry is writing the fourth book in the Giver series. The main characters in this book are Gabriel and his birth mother. Lowry described it as a long book, she said about 450 pages, which will come out next spring, if she gets home and gets it written.

So far my spring vacation has been more work than fun, lots of appointments, and chores, and cleaning. It was really nice, then, to spend this chilly Monday night with an old friend…

A tiny story involving my father and gambling

The other morning on our walk, Kathy told me a story which triggered a childhood memory involving my dad and a pocketful of quarters.

On one of our many, many, many trips across the Nevada desert--we used to get our teeth fixed for free by a dentist practicing in the Bay area who played football with my dad in college--we stopped at a coffee shop/casino somewhere in Winnemucca. For whatever reasons, my mom stayed in the car while my brother and I followed our dad inside who handed us a bunch of quarters and told us to hit the slots for a few minutes while he picked up some lunch for the family.

That's how things were if you were a kid in the mid-sixties. You didn't wear seat belts, and you played the slots even though you were only nine and your brother was only seven. DUDE! EXCELLENT TIMES! And also LUCK BE A LADY!

Anyway. It didn't take long for one of the Casino Suits to buttonhole my dad (in my mind's eye I can see him standing there with a bag of sandwiches in his hand and a look of profound surprise on his face) to tell him he'd better get those damn kids out of the casino. Which he did. Pronto.

Oh, there are no words to express how much I love my dad and all the happy memories for which he is responsible.

Teagan's Frame

Hello again!
I am finally able to share photos with you!
This is a frame I made for Teagans room
Using lots of Twiddleybitz ;-)
I painted all the Bitz white and then injected colour with the photo and a few flowers.
The background pp is cloud patterned wallpaper.


and for you Leanne.....some closies ;-)




Thanks for stopping by.

SLICE #27- A SINGLE DAY

A single day can shape an entire life.

Today I had lunch with my boys' older sister. R doesn't live with us, but we have stayed in pretty close contact with her since I adopted the boys. She comes over once or twice a month, and we keep in touch with her by phone, facebook and email.Today R and I had lunch.

Somehow, we got on the subject of the day the four siblings were put into foster care. R was seven and she remembers more than my boys, who were 4 and 2 at the time. R remembers being in someone else's apartment, she thinks they were babysitting her. She could look out the window and see where her mom parked. At one point, she saw her mom's car and went back to her apartment. Her mom wasn't there. R remembers that the police came to the door, and that a social worker came and told R and three of the boys to pack up their stuff. She remembers her mom showing up at some point and everyone crying and screaming as they went from the apartment to the car. They went from the apartment to Denver Human Services and then drove a long, long way to a foster home. That first night, R was supposed to sleep in a room with another girl. All three of her brothers were in what sounded like a dormitory room in the garage or off the garage. R had never been away from her brothers and was missing her mom, so she found her way to the boys' room, and slept with them. She remembers doing that every single night they were in that home.

That single day, probably more than any other, has shaped four kids' lives…

A notebook for a friend

Well here is a notebook i made last week at craft club, we were using our bind it alls, and i didnt have alot of time, so made a small 3x3 note book,

ive left it fairly plain as i think too much on a small notebook makes them look a bit to fussy,


I love the way it looks when you put bits of ribbon on the binds as well,


hope you like it xx


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SaraJo Wedding Cake

I just love this cake!  I designed this cake for SaraJo, who wanted a special design for her wedding cake.  She is by no means the traditional bride, which I totally love!  She gave me the freedom to create something unique that would incorporate her style.  I used her invitation and wedding colors for inspiration as well as her dress and some stained glass pieces she brought me (and that she created!).  My assistant Sarah and I worked together to create this edible masterpiece!  Bottom cake was a moist vanilla rum cake filled with creamy vanilla buttercream.  Middle tier was a lime cake filled with coconut buttercream and top tier was a coconut cake filled with pineapple buttercream. 



We also made a special Groom's Cake - Budweiser truck, how cool is that?! 















RECENT CAKES















new life

 The weather in Verona has been amazing in the last week. Flowering trees are everywhere and the sun is shining. It lifts your spirit!

this is the first thing I saw yesterday as I left the house
the view on the way to breakfast at bar, Scio Rum
looking back at the view up to the sanctuary
This morning, I went to view friend and artist, Judy Martin's blog, judys-journal.blogspot.com. Her title is 'trinity', a perfect word for me this morning.

Pietro has chosen me as his godmother.


 He is celebrating his confirmation this afternoon- a new energy of faith in his catholic life.

San Giorgio, church
When I am in Italy I feel renewed.

My friend took this picture of me yesterday.
I find it interesting that you see three triangles...maybe more.
I have new ideas for my textile art, my quilted blankets, my classes and my life.

I fly back home on Tuesday.

Blogger troubles

I am sorry if you have come here thinking that I have updated my blog.
Unfortuntaley blogger is playing games with me and won't show my uploaded photos...talk about frustrating!!
I think I have tried it four times with no luck.
Off to have a go at attempt number 5 ;-)

SLICE #26- NO MOTHERING TROPHY TODAY

Today was the first day of spring vacation.

My sons slept until about noon, then got up and played video games and messed around on the computer all day.

I got up at 6 and did two loads of laundry. I called the phone company to schedule an appointment because our phone keeps saying "check phone line." I called the dishwasher repair guy because our dishwasher is not working. I called the carpet cleaners and scheduled an appointment. I emailed the boys' sister and made plans to celebrate her birthday tomorrow. I took all the trash and recycling out to the alley. I finished getting my taxes ready for the accountant. I copied my taxes. I went to the post office and mailed my taxes. I went and helped with the t-shirt sales for the high school football team. I took my school shoes to the shoe repair shop to be re-heeled. I came back to the house and spring cleaned the tv room- washed walls, vaccumed behind the couch, and dusted (OK, so the basketball games were on in the background, but I really was working, and I only stopped to watch at the very end of each game). I hand washed all the dishes that I had found under the couch, behind the couch, down the side of the coach, etc., from the boys' endless stream of football friends because our dishwasher is not working. I went and got pizza for the boys and their friends.

And then my son told me I was lazy.

And I completely and totally lost it.

This was not one of my finer moments in mothering.

SLICE #25- AN EVENING IN SEVERAL VERSES

Friday night. Son #2 is out with his girlfriend.
Son #1 is in his bedroom, with the door shut,
where he has been, pretty much all evening.
Approximately once every 30 minutes I check in.

Visit #1
What are you doing?
Relaxing. Leave me alone.

Visit #2 (before Son #2 goes out).
We are all downstairs watching basketball. Wanna come down?
No. Leave me alone.

Visit #3.
I'm watching basketball all by myself. Wanna come down?
No. Leave me alone

Visit #4.
You ok?
Yes. Leave me alone.

Visit #5
Good night. Love you.
Yeah. Love you too.

POETRY FRIDAY


This has been a month, or maybe a year, when everything feels accidental…

WHAT TO REMEMBER WHEN WAKING

…To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged…

DAVID WHYTE

Read the rest of the poem here.

Mary Lee is hosting Poetry Friday at Year of Reading. Thanks for hosting, friend!

Insomnia

I love it when it's 3:00 in the morning and I can't sleep, even though I have a big presentation this afternoon for which I'll need my wits about me . . . I think I'm just feeling bad about BYU losing to Florida in OT. I KNOW. STUPID. I didn't realize I care this much.

MEMO TO SELF: IT'S ONLY A FREAKING GAME. STOP CARING.

There. I'm sure that will take care of things!

Meanwhile I've been listing metaphors (also similes!) about what losing feels like. Losing feels like a bruise, a punch in the nose, a stubbed toe. It's the humiliating realization that you're the only kid in the class who wasn't invited to a birthday party, the only girl in your group who isn't going to a dance. It's the letter from an admission office that says you weren't accepted. It's the morning after evening when you talked too much and said way more than you should have.

Feel free to contribute.

SLICE #24- I WISH I WAS ONE OF THOSE MOTHERS

I wish I was one of those mothers.
The kind that can find stuff--
Birth certificates,
adoption papers,
social security cards.
I try hard to stay organized.
I really do.
I try to keep everything in a special folder,
in a special place.
But inevitably,
when I go looking for it,
the one thing we need
is not there.
And I have to go on a mad search
Which usually last several days,
And consumes many hours,
And involves digging frantically
Through pockets,
and drawers,
and boxes,
and file cabinets.
And greatly annoys my sons
especially the organized one.
I really wish I was one of those mothers,
you know,
the organized ones.

art shows

Participating in Verona Tessile as an artist was a wonderful experience.

I enjoyed sharing the exhibition space, the Loggia Barbaro, with two amazing textile artist from Verona; Maria Teresa Sansotta www.teresasansotta.com and Marina Tavella, www.windowonweb/marinatavella.

the show was on the second floor of the Loggia Barbaro
where you see the arched windows

entrance with poster of the event

We had a fun time hanging the show together.







Even though the heat was on, we had to wear our coats while we worked. With the high ceilings, the space never really gets that warm.

The final look..

 maria teresa sansotta's work (not all shown)

my section, 5 pieces (not all shown)

marina tavella's work (not all shown)

All three artists presented at least one work that has received an award.

My two new textile works will be exhibited in Toronto, Side Space Gallery, in June, 2011.

left-pages of my life, photo transfers, text, hand dyed fabrics, silk, cotton, linen, hand and machine work,
right- many moons, hand painted cloth, photo transfers, text, paper, silk, cotton, linen, plastic

No extra layers on this one

Ive been otherwise engaged recently
My 5 year old went in for a daycase operation yesterday so we have been getting him prepared and now he is a bit sore and off school for a few days,
he had both eyes sorted as he had squints.
Here is a card i made other night so here it is, im going to enter it into a few challenges it fits into.
Challenges entered **
  1. Paperplay ~ distressing
  2. Crafty creations ~ in stitches
  3. Crafts and me ~ anything goes
  4. ABC challenge ~ Q for quilting or sewing

Recipe**

  • 7x5 card blank
  • american arts stamp
  • promarkers
  • sakura
  • stamping up stamps
  • pokey tool for faux stitching
  • brilliance inks for distressing edges

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Beautiful Venetian Masquerade Birthday Cake

Hello Friends!  I could not wait to post this beautiful cake I designed for Serina's 13th birthday celebration.  This colorful cake was designed and inspired by the mask, which was done in gumpaste.  Mom brought it some photos of  masks she liked and picked the one that would become the focal point for the cake.  Sarah executed the mask to perfection and the details on the cake were truly exquisite.  Client was very happy and we were also very excited about this cake, it really turned out as I had envisioned.











SLICE #23- GETTING IN TROUBLE THE KINDERGARTEN WAY

It is 10:15, and I am up to my eyeballs in administrivia when I get the call. Two of my kindergarten friends have had a fight and need to see me. L has been to visit me many times since he was placed in a foster home in our area in early October. Usually we do a little problem solving, then end up reading a book or two. I'm never quite sure that L views our time as punishment, in fact, I think he actually looks forward to our visits.

Today is no different. L marches into my office, dragging B, who has only been at our school about a a week, along behind. We ascertain that a small physical brawl has indeed occurred, and we talk about other ways we might solve the problem and apologize.

Then the fun begins. "Can we read a book?" says L.

"I don't know how to read," says B. I tell him that he can read the words or the pictures.

L chooses DO YOU KNOW WHICH ONES WILL GROW, which I read to his class a week or so ago, and sits down in his favorite corner of my office. B hasn't practiced the routine, so it takes a little longer to convince him that it really is ok to read the pictures, but soon he is paging through a book too.

I settle back to my administrivia, but it isn't long before L interrupts.

"Dr. Carol! Dr Carol! I see yes. See, it's right here!" He turns the book to make sure I can see the big red yes. I exclaim over his reading skills and try to go back to the administrivia. I last about 8 seconds, then L interrupts again. "Dr Carol, here's no. I see no and yes." Once again, he turns the book to make sure I can see it. L, meanwhile has gone through about three books.

I return to my administrivia. This time I last about 6.4 seconds. L interrupts again, "Dr. Carol, look, there's hat and cap. Hat and cap rhyme, right?" I explain that hat doesn't rhyme with cap, but that it does rhyme with mat and bat and fat, and lots of other words. "Oh yeah," says L. "That's what I meant. I meant hat and cat."

Back to the administrivia. Four seconds. "Dr. Carol," says L. "Look at this big cake. It has one, two, three, four rows (layers). I want a cake like that for my birthday. Do you know when my birthday is, Dr. Carol?" I don't, but that's ok, because L is more than willing to tell me. I ask B if he knows when his birthday is. He doesn't. L looks a little perplexed.

Having talked his way through DO YOU KNOW WHICH ONES WILL GROW, L is ready for a new book. "Hey, Dr. Carol, where's the one where the guy says Blargy blargy?"

I push my administrivia to the side and find CAT THE CAT. L is at the really great stage, where he is just starting to develop voice print match. I watch as he works his way carefully through CAT THE CAT, touching every word, but still making up a little text when the words are too hard for him. It takes about five minutes to get to the blargy blargy part. By this time, B is getting a little restless.

"Can we go back to class?"

"Not yet," says L. "I haven't read the skeleton book yet." L drags Steve Jenkins' BONES out of a different box. "Look, Dr. Carol, here's the skeleton one. Remember you promised you would come and read it to our class? Hey B, you want to read the skeleton book with me?"

B doesn't. "I think it's almost time to play outside," he worries.

L remembers an activity from a previous visit. "Hey, you can see the playground from here." He drags a chair to the window, climbs up, then scoots over so B can climb up also. "Do you see?" says L, peering out my second floor window at the kindergarten playground below. "We are really high. Just like the birds."

This time B is at least a little impressed. "Is that our swings?" he asks.

"Yep," says L, with the authority of one who has climbed on this chair several times before.

"Can we go back?" says B. "We might miss recess."

As we walk back down the stairs, I try to think what I might say to the kindergarten teacher, about how the boys have spent the last 45 minutes. I'm not sure the time we have just spent together was exactly what she had in mind…




spring

I hear it snowed in Toronto.

view of the snow-capped mountains
from Ponte della Vittoria

In Verona, it was a gorgeous day... sunny and warm and wonderful.

me this morning waiting for a coffee

After a few errands, I met up with my friends at the Ad Maiora studio. I had some time to sew after lunch. I tried out the new quilting technique I saw on one of Jennifer Manefield's quilts. It is just straight sewing but not too straight. In fact, the lines are slightly crooked on purpose. I think it will look great using variegated thread on one of my scrap quilts.


preparing for my class on Friday. 
On Friday morning, I am teaching how to make a zippered pouch. As a sample, I am using the fabric pieces I dyed in Marina Tavella's class (www.windowonweb/marinatavella) while the Canadians were in Verona.

It has been a while since I have been at the sewing machine. It felt really good to sew for an hour while the sun danced on my fabric.