Saturday, November 21, 2009

The day started out with a workout in the resort fitness center. A very nice facility! I chose a recumbent bike, Katy used an elliptical trainer, and Bruce worked on some of the resistance equipment. Later we had a wonderful time exploring the area! 
We drove to Colonial Williamsburg and walked around their Farmer's Market and enjoyed the drive past the college of William and Mary (talk about a beautiful campus!), hung out in their campus bookstore (which is also a Barnes & Nobels! cool!)

While in Colonial Williamsburg, we toured the old Governor's Mansion, a cart-maker's shop, the home of a pioneer entrepreneur, and stayed to watch most of the evening's re-enactment of pre-civil war unrest experienced by folks in this area. 

Once the sun went down it got too cold for us...we headed back to the resort and the hot tub.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Arrived in Williamsburg early afternoon today and checked in at the Wyndham Kingsgate Resort.

Very nice place! Grabbed a quick picture of Bruce on his way to the get some of our gear out of the vehicle. The weather was just gorgeous ... beautiful blue skies and trees still dressed in their rich fall colors! Lovely.

Our room was nice. It had a small kitchenette and dining table, a sofa bed for Katy, and a master suite for us.
After some exploring we found an amazing video gaming complex on-site ... the ultimate in video games with over 30 state-of-the-art video games and movies ... this would make a great place for future Destination Thanksgivings (once the grandchildren are 8-19 yrs old!).

Over the past couple days, my broken foot started having issues with the running shoes I brought along, so off we went to find a shoe store. Just down the road was a collection of outlet stores (of course we all know they are just a gimmick right?). I found shoes at the Puma store, a warm winter vest at Eddie Bauer, and some perfume at another store. Bruce looked for golf clubs but they didn't have anything he wanted. Katy found some adorable summer sundresses.
Before calling an end to the day we enjoyed their outdoor hot tub ... very nice!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We made great progress yesterday! Katy drove until St. Louis. Then Bruce took over and drove for hour, eventually deciding to pull off the road and "catch a quick nap" (that's PC talk for sleep in the Tahoe!). We had our pillows and blankets along (and our camping gear ... just didn't have a campground LOL) so we were quite comfy.
In the morning, we found a McDonald's (I know...that isn't a very healty place for breakfast...oh well ... it's a holiday ...) and got back on the road.
Check out the beautiful scene we found as we got on the road:
We drove through to Lexington, VA. Found a hotel and headed out to Ruby Tuesdays for some dinner before getting a good nights sleep.
Tomorrow we will arrive in Williamsburg, VA ... the destination for the first part of our Thanksgiving vacation! We'll be there for three days.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm spending the day in Ames while Bruce is in meetings. When he is done we'll be heading down to Kansas City to pick up Katy and begin our trek for the first Jacobson Family Destination Thanksgiving!
While waiting for Bruce I'm off to Sam's Club to have the tire checked on the Tahoe ... the front passenger side keeps losing air. Pesky! Then I'm going to work on getting some digi-scrap pages posted ... my assignments for the first half of November. Hoping my "usual" wifi spots in Ames are working okay today!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today I decided to do a "Spring Cleaning" on my cleaning-closet ... yep ... I know ... it's ANYTHING BUT spring right now ... does it count that the weather is unseasonably warm for Iowa ... in November?

I took EVERYTHING out of the cabinet, sorted, discarded, donated, and then put things back into the cabinet. Here's how it looked once the work was all done. (Sure wishing I'd taken some "before" shots! It was beginning to be reminiscent of Fiber McGee's closet (so, for you young folks that was an old-time radio show...if Fiber McGee opened the closet door EVERYTHING would come tumbling out!)
That's the top half...and here's the bottom half (I have a "thing" about running out of rags for have a big ol' bucket full of them!)Ahhhh...that's one more cupboard that's gotten a thorough cleaning! Feels good!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I don't really have time to add anything today . . . just feeling bad that April was my last update! Since then, let's see ... I've been to southern California for a nice long visit (not long enough mind you, but ...), then to Cedar Falls Iowa for Katy's graduation, to Redwing MN for Katy's other graduation, to Kansas City area twice to help Katy with moving and to see her new employer's store (Palin Music ... very nice!), to Alexandria to visit my mom and two of my sisters and brother (and his family) ... and to Ames to play at the cottage there!

In between ... I tried to 'work' and catch up on laundry and weeding in the veggie gardens!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Well ... it's almost time for me to say "Good-Bye Bay Area" and I'm not looking forward to it! There's just never enough sister-time (boohoo!) is there? So, for now I'll focus on all that the next three days have to offer and then settle for digi-scrapping all the fun photos, reliving all the fun through the process.

Today, I am playing with some photos of Ms. Scarlett. Her mama's install of Photoshop is getting fussy so I get to have the fun!!! There's just 'something' fun about getting up close and personal with photos of the grans! I love it!

The original image is PERFECT in my opinion, but we decided to brush it out a bit. The second and third images show the progression of change.

Will see how far mama wanted things to go.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It looks like I've been doing nothing doesn't it!'s just that I've been making myself stay focused on the tasks at hand so I could leave on my California visit with a clear conscience! Lots got done this week!
  1. Taxes are all off to the accountant now! (personal and business!) - so, again I'm making a commitment to be better about keeping better records for the business! That is NO fun ... trying to find all the paperwork needed, you'd think I would learn! My action plan for this year - build a Google spreadsheet that both my business partner and I can update AS THE EXPENSES OCCUR! Wish us well?

  2. Client billing is all caught up! Woohoo!

  3. Client work that requires me to be 'in town' is all done. Some tasks will be coming along with me, but that's okay! Something productive to do while Sara is working!

  4. Supplies are not only ordered but have been received (just today! woohoo!). This would be my cooling pad for macbook pro and a smaller external hard drive (1TB) so I can take my data along!

    You'll be as amazed as I am to know that they were sent by Amazon on Tuesday a.m. via USPS and one arrived Thurs, the other arrived today! So...not that I think their top execs (public servants) need a bonus, but all the folks along the path certainly deserve a big round of applause!

  5. Packing is nearly done - waiting on some laundry.

  6. Followed up on some IOUs that we've been waiting on ... should have that taken care of by 2:00 p.m. Ahhhh...another needling detail off the list!

  7. Played with blog header ... as you can see. Still working on customizing other aspects!

  8. Scanned more of our vintage family photos! Finished brother Paul's stack from my mom. Now I only have one small box (a mixture of things from mom) and my sister Wanda's stack from mom. I can almost see the floor under the scanner table now ... yay! (Already returned a big ole' box of scanned images when I went to Alex in January) Looking forward to working with some of these images! Talk about stories!

  9. Took a morning off to enjoy a great speaker at our MOPS meeting Wednesday.
    Elizabeth Hagen, member NAPO (Nat'l Association of Professional Organizers). Thoroughly enjoyed her presentation ... imagine that ... an OCD/ADD girl like me ... haha ... gotta love any reason to use office supplies and bins and labels!!! Right?

  10. Last but not least ... final update to my blog for the week! We are going to be in Ames doing some spring yardwork tonight and all day tomorrow. Saturday evening we'll meet-up with Bruce's siblings and enjoy some time together! Then, Sunday, it's off to California for me!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just finished uploading some images for a test print with a dear friend of mine from the digital printing world (Barb!) We are going to see how digital scrapbook page designs look when printed on her industrial digital wide-format printer (prints on rolls of watercolor paper, canvas, vinyl, etc ... yup ... I'm envious ... and thankful!) If they look great I'm going to start promoting her services on the various sites I like to frequent ... I know! It sounds like I'm a stalker!

Thought I'd post one of my FAV photos of me and Baby Scarlett (she was 6 days old). It was taken the day we had the sweat lodge going in Tara's bathroom. She was just so relaxed and awake. I temporarily 'painted' Tara's bathroom walls ... hope she doesn't mind! :-)

NOTE TO STACEY! WE NEED MORE PHOTOS!!! Seriously ... I'm thinking about writing a book. The title? When you give a Grama a Photo! I've got the perfect story line!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Good-Bye So Soon

As quickly as she arrived ... she's gone again! We tied two of her quilt tops, she did laundry, she and my guy figured out the crazy cell phone bill (oh yeah ... after many months of phantom 'extra' charges we finally discovered our provider, Verizon, charges a minimum of $1.99/mb for accessing their download library ... just for accessing ... the downloading fees are in addition to that ... I'm quilty! Sometimes I bump that dhangh quick key when I'm trying to get at something else ... who KNEW that they would be charging me for that little mistake! I'm not the only one either. It's happened to my guy, my mom, and of course our girlie! Good grief!)

Oops! Back to the subject! We packed a lot of activities into her brief stay! Whew!
  • Figured out the trouble I was having with the iPod (needed a new gadget/accessory ... imagine that!)
  • She brushed me up on stir-fry techniques (so I made cashew chicken for lunch ... my guy and girlie both testify that it was quite good ... my guy has already put dibs on the leftovers for his meals while I'm off to California visiting my baby sister!).
  • My guy helped her with several issues on the new-to-her car (PT Cruiser totally decked out) ... don't ask me the details ... it was moslty greek to me ... but, they are both happy ... so ... I'm happy.

After sending her on her way (back to school) I made a stew for supper that turned out fabulous!! Winter Butternut Squash Stew - the 'secret' ingredient must be the wine ... it was fantastic! ... and ... you guessed it ... my guy quickly divided the extra portions into little containers and hustled them off to the freezer to add to his little stash!

I was SO SURE he'd get suspicious ... I mean ... really ... when is the last time "I" made two, from scratch, meals in the same day?! I thought this would throw him off ... just a bit ... you know ... sorta like the day he fixed two things around the house ... remember that?

Good Bye Sweet Pea! Next time I see you . . . you'll be "all gwowd up" . . . out of school, out there in the big, wide world and (if I know you at all) slaying dragons everywhere you go! I love you and I am so proud of the young lady you've become!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Our youngest daughter is on Spring Break for the last time (well, at least for this stretch of her life!). She came home yesterday just in time for supper. After supper we headed straight to the little craft cottage and set up shop!
She has two quilts she just pieced out of her old sweatshirts ... those she's collected from a variety of high school and college sports or clubs and the miscellaneous vacations she's been on over the past 10 years or so. They are colorful and SO FUN!

She cleverly cut some of the blocks so they would include the fun front pocket (where you can put both hands ... IYKWIM) ... I like that!

We were able to get one all tied ... just the binding left. She said something about needing to run a quality control check and then snuggled under it all night ... I'm guessing it passed muster!

It's nice to have her home ... the house never really feels like "HOME" when we don't have at least ONE of our children here. I think Bruce and I both slept much more soundly last night ... there's just something about having your children home that brings peace to your soul.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sheets of Ice! Bitter cold wind!

A Mac and a stash of photos ... the PERFECT winter's day (IF you must live in this crazy place, that is!) I am hoping the weather doesn't make traveling dangerous tomorrow for Katy . . . 5 hours on bad roads isn't very fun. Worse yet, what if she can't come because of the weather . . . oh now THAT would be bad! We are looking forward to her visit! Crafting, catching up on our late night chats, movies, or whatever else we can squeeze into a short visit.

The highlight of my day today . . . oddly enough . . . was getting my vacuum fixed (it's needed repairs since December . . . yikes! . . . don't EVEN ask how my floors were looking!) My sweet, handy hubby got it all fixed before he went to work (now that's sweet!)- new belt, clean roller with fresh lube job and a new bag . . . woohoo! I was a vacuuming fool today!

Then, when that same sweet guy got home he fixed the ice maker in our frig! It's been nonfunctional since January! He's really earning some big points today, ay?

Hmmmmm . . . you don't think he's up to something do you?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Welcome Emily Ann!

Grandbaby #7 has just arrived (8:20 this morning) in North Carolina! She was 9# and 20" long ... and of course has head circumference 14.75"! Mama is still in recovery as I right this (C-section) and Daddy's feet haven't hit the ground yet. Her older brothers, Alex and Noah, will be by to meet her later this morning. We are anxiously waiting for some photos!!! (PTL for cell phone picture capability!!!)

Well ... the photos have arrived. Here's mommy and baby, getting to know each other. Emily looks like an angel! Awwwwwwwwwwwww

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Saying Good-Bye is always bitter sweet! New and reNewed friendships always make Sunday a little bit sad, yet we leave with the inner joy that comes from spending time with others who share our passion, looking forward to our next chance to get together.

Retreat always culminates with a Show & Tell ... everyone shows the group layouts they've worked on over the weekend and has a chance to tell about new skills they've used, ah-ha moments, ideas for future retreats, and overall impression of their experience at this retreat.

I'll be back with some photos from today! Already missing everyone ... SYS (see you soon) I hope!
Quick camp update ... the date/time stamp says "Sunday" ... but we are all choosing to think it's still Saturday ... it's 1:24 am (or 2:24 am daylight savings time ... I'm not gonna think about that ... having too much fun!)

Earlier today (yesterday/Saturday) we tore ourselves away from our keyboards and enjoyed a walk in the sunshine. This photo is a little bit deceiving ... it really was a beautiful day ... blue sky, birds chirping, melting snow, and the smell of a wood-burning stove wafting through the air ... a wonderful break from our computer screens!

Left to Right:
Kim, LeAnna, Barb, Denise, (me!), Debbie, Janelle, Judy!
GO DigiChicks!

Today we've learned to:
  • create custom shadows
  • create custom brushes
  • change brush settings (spacing, roundness, fade, etc) for some pretty cool effects!
  • create straight stitches (use Hard Round brush w/special settings)
  • create reflective layouts using masks, blending modes, etc
  • warp a photo frame & mask in Elements (bent-looking photos...)
    (don't forget that wonderful combination of CTRL+SHIFT+ALT or just CTRL+click corner control handle when you are in Free Transform mode! Woohoo!)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Spring Retreat is officially underway!
Here we are ... all working hard ... (it's 1:25 am ... such devoted scrappers!)

This group is on-the-ball!

In addition to getting through the Accelerated Intro Class (really! just ask them ... this Intro Class includes Clipping Masks ... it's not a whimpy class!) we've already worked our way through lessons on:
  • the Gradient Tool and all it's settings
  • creating a fade-out clipping mask
  • creating a clipping mask that uses text as well as a box
  • using templates that arrive as a group of .png files

So ... it's off to bed now so we are ready for the first lesson at 9:00 am. TTFN!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Off to the annual Spring DigiChick Retreat!
We have some returning guests this spring and some new ... it's always exciting to spend a weekend with other enthusiasts of digital scrapbooking and/or photo restoration. I'll be sure to post some of the happenings ... bbl!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Polar Plunge!

Last Saturday, Bruce and I found ourselves standing at the edge of hole, cut into a frozen lake in Minnesota, watching our youngest jump in! It was 11 degrees below zero, there was a bitter breeze, and a deceptively bright blue sky . . . MAN IT WAS COLD! Never-the-less, she and two of her friends donned their swimgear and jumped into that hole. All to help raise money for the Special Olympics.

NOTE: If you want to see a clearer version of this photo ... just click on it.

Hmmmmm ... I'm thinking, "Do they have any 'special' olympics for folks crazy enough to get half-naked in the freezing weather and jump into a frozen-over lake?"!

Friday, February 27, 2009


Well, I can honestly say I had a 'new' experience recently. After being gone for a full month I have to say my little hovel in Storm Lake looked SO GOOD TO ME! It actually took me by surprise! I'm often fussing about how small it is (esp in the winter!), how chopped up the floor plan is, how this or that it is or isn't ... you know, crumbling in general (I know! I'm to be content in ALL THINGS, right? right!) Everything seemed 'different' somehow ... I don't really have words for the sensation, but it was GOOD TO BE HOME.

January 18 I left Iowa for a stay in California. The first week I was at Tara's being a 'helper' in preparation for the arrival of her third child. Then Bruce drove out to join me (poor guy! He somehow managed to give himself food poisening! So...about that idea ... leaving your 1/2 eaten sandwich 'on top' of the cooler ... yeah ... 'not' such a good idea after all!). A couple days after he arrived, we checked into a beachside condo at Mandalay Bay near Oxnard.

Ron and Cheryl (Bruce's sister and brother-in-law) joined us. We stayed on the beach for a week.

We spent one day visiting the Santa Barbara Zoo with Tara and the kids.

On Feb 6, in celebration of Cheryl's birthday, we went to the Ronald Reagan Library (which happens to be Reagan's birthday too!). All four of us were amazed by this experience. WOW! What a tribute. This man had so many qualities and was accomplished in so many things we were unaware of ... guess that goes to show you can't trust the media to be your only source of information!

We enjoyed boarding Air Force One! and seeing the recently retired Presidential helicopter (Marine One?).

While at the beach house, we had a several sleep-overs with Savannah and William. They loved the easy access to the beach ... just a partial block (two houses between us and the beach). The little storage closet under the steps provided hours of fun! It had a louvered door and they just had a ball 'hiding' in there and surprising us when we'd walk by! It was just too cute! Then, to top off all that fun, "Gwampa" would get up with them early in the morning (they LOVE to wake up at O'Dark-hundred, as does Grampa) and together they would make fresh cookies for the day ... we are totally loving the Grandparent role!

Bruce took Cheryl and Ron on a tour of Hollywood, various interest points in LA, Malibu, and the famous pier, ending in a meal at a restaurant at the ocean's edge (recommended by friends of Ron & Cheryl).

When our little grand-daughter didn't arrive on time (in fact she was two weeks late!) Tara and Nathan bought me a return flight so I could stay until after baby arrived. We said good-bye to a very disappointed grampa and great-aunt and great-uncle ONE day before baby arrived!

Scarlett was born at home and immediately welcomed into her family by not only mama and daddy, but big sister and big brother! The older siblings fell in love immediately with their little sister ... it was so precious to witness! I feel so blessed that I was there to be part of her first day here on earth! And, of course, happy that I had the extra time to get to know her before I had to come home.

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land. ~G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tomorrow morning the 'fun' begins! I'm going to be part of a "Creative Team" competition over at I'll be on the Hula Girls team (sure hope I don't have to wear a 'real' hula skirt ... yikes! ROTLOL!)

All teams will get one assignment per week. Then the general public votes on our galleries and the team with the highest number of votes will win (I don't really know WHAT we win, but hey...who cares ... we WIN! LOL!)

I'll try to stop back with any exciting news!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lawn Ornaments - Iowa Style!

So, this morning I wake-up to the sound of a semi-truck approaching our acreage on the county road, then ... silence. Hum. That's odd. Normally that sound is followed by the sound of the semi disappearing on the other side of the big hill. Up & At 'Em!!!

Outside our picture window there lays a semi ... on it's side ... across the entrance to our drive and the ditch area on either side of the drive! So much for anyone 'going anywhere' today!

This is going to be an adventure ... it's one of those severe, ice cold, winter days in Iowa. The good news is that the driver was fine. His load was beans (thankfully NOT turkeys, pigs, or cattle as so many of the trucks that drive by carry).

Bruce happened to be AT the end of the drive getting our trash cans in place for Wednesday pickup. He saw the semi coming up the hill from the west and a snowplow climbing the east side of the hill ... stood there for a few seconds and decided he'd best high-tail it out of there when the semi began to move toward the shoulder hoping to avoid hitting that snowplow! Good choice dear! Those garbage cans ended up under the semi's cab!

I've posted a slideshow with photos taken of the process required to extract a fallen semi from a snow-filled ditch and back on the road HERE. If your browser has trouble with the slideshow, HERE is a link to the gallery.

Monday, January 05, 2009

It's another New Year ... and next time around it will be the end of the first decade of the first century of this millinium ... who'da thought? The year's do seem to fly by don't they? ... Wow!

Christmas has come & gone. We are still enjoying the warm glow left behind by Paul & Andrea and the two dogs ... what a wonderful visit we had. Not one of those action-packed visits, nope. This was a slow-paced, quiet, and thoroughly enjoyable visit! We had time to catch up on all their news, play with the pups and learn more about 2009 dreams for their family. (oops! the back porch wasn't 'supposed' to be featured on our blog! teehee!)

I did my best to get a family greeting sent out this year ... as always, it's the details that give me the biggest challenge. Designing the greetings was the fun part. Then I got bogged down while getting the mailing list up-to-date (if I had a dollar for every time I've entered addresses into a program of one sort or another I could buy a house I think!). My effort grew into a project that included the making of a mailing list for my mother too (that's not just more family, but friends as well!). I just keep thinking, "Maybe when the technology outstrips my cognitive skills someday there will be a child somewhere in my family that will be happy to do this for me." Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

True to form ... the computer analyst in me kicked in! My mailing list update has turned into a full-scale IT Project! Once the addresses were being collected, it only seemed natural to expand the scope and collect/record birthdays and anniversaries. Weeks later, I wondered, "Why not get all that data published somewhere online so any family member can access it? Someplace that allows subscriptions that can then be posted to their Google Calendar or iCal!" Oh yeah! I'm goin' there (... with Paul's help of course)!

With my MacBookPro in tow ... iCal linked to AddressBook ... all published to GoogleDocs/Cal ... I'm jumping into 2009! So, my big question is ...

Will there be more time to play Photoshop now?