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Gross-ology, Part Deux

Let's talk about gross stuff, man!

Karl had physical therapy this morning. We missed last week because I was in Boston, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Two weeks ago, which was the last time we were at therapy, I treated myself to Starbucks.

And here's why . . .

I was sitting in the waiting room of the pediatrician's office where Karl receives his therapy. There were the usual comings and goings of sick and well kids and parents but I typically park myself in a corner with a book and tune out everything else. That Thursday was no exception. Until . . .

"Oh my gosh! Emily! Why did you do that?!!!!!" came the frantic cry of a mother in the waiting room.

I looked up and quickly figured out that this mother had two little girls - one who looked to be about 4 years old and the other, Emily, who was only around 2. The 4-year-old was running around saying "We've got to get the doctor! We've got to get the doctor!" while the mom scooped up Emily and headed for the sign-in desk.

"I'm sorry, but we've made a mess," she said to the lady behind the counter, clearly embarrassed.

Everyone's eyes tracked with the mom's like a Wimbledon tennis match and came to rest in the middle of the waiting room where the dreaded evidence was. My brain neurons were firing back and forth as I quickly assessed the situation.

Clue #1: Emily's pants were around her ankles.

Clue #2: Emily looked to be about a pound lighter.

Clue #3: The mom looked like she wanted to crawl under a rock and die.

The waiting room has carpeting, by the way.

You could have heard a pin drop as everyone stared at the steaming pile. OK, it wasn't steaming, but in the cartoon version it would have been.

Now here I have to applaud the composure of the front desk employee. I'm not sure what her position is, how long she's done it, or how well she is paid, but she needs a raise. She immediately assumed a calming, reassuring air of nonchalance and said (I am not kidding):

"Don't worry, ma'am. It happens all the time."

LIAR!! The mom didn't look particularly reassured as a couple of other employees arrived with paper towels. She was flustered, apologetic, trying to calm the 4-year-old who was still running around calling for the doctor, and holding a messy 2-year-old who seemed very content, come to think of it. Someone went in search of wet wipes, the mom looked like she was going to lose it, and this was my cue to exit.

I initially tried to return to my book and thereby convince the mother that I hadn't witnessed any of this, but one glance at her burning cheeks and teary eyes convinced me that the most humane response was to go next door for Starbucks. So I did. It was a delicious latte.

When I returned the mom and girls were elsewhere - probably back with the doctor as the 4-year-old told him all about the mess her sister had made and the mother stewed about how this was all her husband's fault for knocking her up in the first place and whatever possessed her to give up her career as a financial planner to be a stay-at-home mom anyway?! She could be in Hawaii right now sipping a Mai Tai and closing a deal via e-mail as she sat poolside, dammit! Oh he's going to HEAR ABOUT THIS!!!!! If he asks "What's for dinner" she'll throw a frying pan at his big, fat, smug head and ask hysterically if any of his colleagues pooped on the floor that day!!!!

But I'm just guessing.

Back in the waiting room the mess had been cleaned up and there was a faint smell of disinfectant. Two chairs, with signs that said "Do not Use" covered the scene, as though preserving it for the CSI's or at least a janitor with a steam cleaner.

I'm fairly certain that *if* the mother scrapbooks she will *not* be preserving this particular memory.

Or maybe she will. After some time has passed. And her husband buys her flowers. And takes her to Hawaii. And Emily spends another few months in pull-ups for good measure. And they find a new pediatrician. And her husband buys her flowers. Heh

Oh, and to my friend who e-mailed me this morning . . . that story's for you, babe!

Speaking of friends, I have to just give another shout-out to the wonderful folks at The Scrapbook Cupboard. It was a joy to spend three days there. Bev and her staff are some of the nicest nuttiest kookaburra's that I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Especially EggsBacon (aka Michelle) and Jeanne "My dream room is better than yours and ask me about the time I used a paper piercer to clean out my eyelet setter" Machine. The owner, Bev, will be happy to read my Starbucks story, seeing as how her blood vessels are actually full of coffee (cream, no sugar) and to Kim, KerriAnn, Donna, Karen, Sue and the rest - MWAH! Let me come back.

EggsBacon made iron-on shirts with my face on the front for my final day. They said "Karen Burniston thinks The Scrapbook Cupboard ROCKS" on the back. True Dat! Here we are  (Bev, me, EggsBacon) showing off our shirts (I only wore mine for the photo):

Bev_eggs_karen

And here I am with Jeanne. This may be the last time we see a smile from Jeanne once she hears the horrible, horrendous, nightmarish news that was reported in the Living section of our newspaper yesterday. Yes, Jeanne, it's true . . .Jeanne_and_me

SKINNY JEANS ARE BACK IN STYLE!!!!!!

I know, I know. Just take a deep breath. Put down the paper piercer!

Before heading to the boat taxi that would take me to the airport, I was treated to a lobster dinner with Bev and Sherry. (er, Cheryl) Mmmmm. I wore the bib and everything, and I think Cheryl has photographic evidence, which really should make me cautious about sharing this next story, but I think she's still on vaca, so there's that! Heh.

Cheryl hung out with me on the dock while waiting for the ferry. A lady offered to take our picture:Me_and_cheryl

Now you really can't tell here, but I'm chewing gum. It's this new gum called Stride or something like that. It has a big S on the package and the flavor lasts much longer than you actually want to chew the gum, so I highly recommend the brand, but only if you have access to a trash can.

Which I did not.

So I was chewing away, no trash can in sight, no ferry in sight, and my poor jaws were just aching and aching. But the peppermint flavor was fabulous. I'm not kidding about the flavor, folks. Go buy some! And this is just awful to admit, but I was truly at my wit's end.

I tossed the gum into the water. Yes, I did. It was not one of my finer moments. I'm not a litterer, I promise, but it was an emergency. I just HAD to get rid of that gum!

Cheryl was aghast. She said, and, again, I'm not kidding:

"What if some poor fish gets that caught in his beak?!"

And here we have to just decide if the damage done to the environment by my gum-tossed-into-the-drink was worse than my untimely demise. Because, you see, if that gum had still been in my mouth I would have choked on it while we were laughing so hard. I don't know if Cheryl knows the Heimlich maneuver, but based on her knowledge of fish anatomy, my guess would be probably not. And then I would have died, right there on that dock, big ship in the background, gum lodged in my throat while I choked out my last peppermint-scented breath. (Because, truly, the flavor lasts forever!)

I guess we'll never know if any fish beaks were gummed up by my litter. Hopefully their hooves were OK as well. And of course if you milked the udders of the fish that ate my gum I have to wonder if it would taste like peppermint . . .

Now I'm just being silly.

Cheryl, I love ya! I love to know ya even when I didn't know ya! And to your awesome son Jon - next time, we meet!

Next place for fun and merriment - Lasting Memories in the Seattle area, November 1st. All three classes will be offered in one power day of teaching. Would love to meet some new friends - how about it, West Coast? Can you beat the fun of the East Coast? Hee.

RMQOTD (You're gonna need a bigger boat!)


BAH-STON

I am having a bahll! I mean a wicked good time here in Bah-ston.

Eggs hasn't killed me yet with her ah-ful driving, and that's a good thing.

Jeanne, (those of us in the circle of trust call her Jeannie) can sell a popsicle to an Eskimo. She also gets wicked honest after half a mah-gah-rita.

Tonight's Transparency Techniques students RAH-CKED! I mean, they were wicked smaht yo!

And the "World's Dumbest Karen" awahd goes to . . .

Me, of cah-se.

"Karen, this is Sherry"

"Hi Sherry! How nice to meet you"

"I braht you some Wahppers"

"Oh thank you!" (thinks to herself, Sherry must read my blahg)

"So Sherry, tell me about yourself"

"Well, before I started working for CI . . ."

"Oh geez. Are you CHERYL?!!!!"

"Um, yeah, Mrs. Dumas"

"YOU are!"

(OK, so we didn't say those last two pahts.)

It's true, though, that I didn't recognize, having never met her or seen photos, my DEAR FRIEND CHERYL who was introduced to me as Sherry. (OK, maybe I just *heard* "Sherry")

Cheryl_and_me

Trying to read what's behind us? Well Michelle "Yankees Fan" Eggs decided to spell "Karen's Work" under some layouts I had pinned to the board. And from there we had a good time rearranging the letters to spell something entirely different. At this point it said "SNARKKEROW" Heh

I only screwed up teaching, like, twice in class tonight. That's pretty decent!

Tomorrow I'll try to get photos of the rest of the crazy crew. Suffice to say that Scrapbook Cupboard is an awesome store, owned and staffed by awesome people.

Big day tomorrow - teaching three classes! Off to bed go I!

RMQOTD ("You love the Red Sox, but have they ever loved you back?"  "Who do you think you are, Dr. Phil? Go on, get outta here!")


As you wish!

Annabet asked to see a recent picture of my levitating superhero sister who can SFree2_2candinavian dance and mind-meld with squirrels. (hee)

I grabbed this cute shot from her blog:

Mama and baby Owen are doing fine. If you click that blog link you can see some adorable pictures of both her sons. (Versus this one, which is a cute one of Julie but Owen, I'm afraid, looks more like a coconut.)

I am happy to report that my legs are feeling more like rubber and less like jello. I can also make it down the stairs without wincing and, big news here . . . no Advil yet this morning! Woo Hoo!

Can't chat - must pack! I'm going to Boston in the morning. Ding Dong! The bells are going to chime. The kits are in a box. I must go wash my socks. But get me to the jet on time! (With apologies to Alfred P. Doolittle)

RMQOTD (Wouldn't it be loverly?)


It doesn't hurt (much) to type

But getting down the stairs to the computer was agony!

To my Boston students this week let me apologize in advance for the limping, wincing and the cane. Heh.

I didn't make it to the top of Pikes Peak. They have these cut-off times that you have to make or they'll turn you back. You have to make the first cut-off (7.6 miles) in 3:15 and then you have another 1:15 to make it to A-frame which is close to timberline and 10.2 miles from the start. From there you're only 3 miles from the top, but those last 3 miles are apparently a killer.

I wouldn't know about the last 3 miles because I arrived at A-frame 14 minutes past the cut-off and was turned back.

And for anyone doing some quick math, that means a 13.3 mile race to the top of the mountain, where you pour your aching and triumphant body into a shuttle bus to bring you back down to your car, becomes a 20 mile hike for idiots like myself, who arrive 14 minutes late to a cut-off. *sigh*

I walked down with Jim, who had arrived at A-frame just 5 minutes after cut-off but said it was a mercy killing since he didn't have 3 more up-hill miles in him. You learn a lot about a person on a 10-mile hike down a mountain. Jim has 9 children. His 2 teenage sons, who did this race with him, made it to the top. *clap clap clap* He's an atmospheric scientist, which made me less anxious when the thunder and lightning rolled in. He wasn't crouching, so I didn't either.

Occasionally we walked with Petra, who seemed to have a bit of altitude sickness up near A-frame. She was freezing cold and somewhat delirious. When she got down to Barr Camp the officials took over, warming her up and hydrating her and such. We kept going, but later she passed us in a steady jog, looking ever so much better. We didn't see her again until the sky opened up with 2 miles to go. I don't think I've ever been that wet, even in all those years on the swim team! We were drenched to the core. My cell phone stopped working at some point, but seems to have recovered this morning enough to e-mail me the one photo I have from the day:

Karen_pikes_peak_ascent

This was before it started raining, when I was still smiling! HA!

Evelyn had a sinus headache. I begged her on Friday to use it as the official excuse for us to not show up and look ridiculous, but she would not agree. Breathing on the mountain was really hard for her, and only got worse as the miles went on. Somewhere along the way our roles reversed, which she laughed about while trying to catch her breath. I can't really explain it, since I never wanted to do this race in the first place, but once I was on that trail I had an overwhelming desire to finish it.

Actually, having never walked that far in my life, I mainly had the overwhelming desire to make it to the first cut-off within the allotted time. I figured we would quit, but I wanted it to be *our* decision. Evelyn did quit, but encouraged me to keep going. So I did. Not sure why. I actually passed a few people on the way to A-frame, trying to slow the clock or increase my speed to make the cut-off. It was uphill the whole way, though. No real flat spots to catch your breath. When it was 5 minutes until noon and I couldn't hear voices from the aid station I knew that I wouldn't make it, but I still didn't quit. I just wanted to make A-frame so I could say that I did.

If I had made that cut-off I would have kept going. I know I would have. Mostly it would have been a question of math - suffer through 3 uphill miles or stroll down 10 miles - and 3 is less than 10. The logic . . .so good at the logic! They probably would have had to amputate my legs, though, so maybe it was a mercy killing for me, too.

I called Evelyn from A-frame to say that I was walking back and it would be probably 3-4 hours until I made it down. I suggested that she go home and send John back later. But she didn't.

Evelyn waited patiently for us, even moving the car to the bottom of the trailhead since it was raining so hard. Never had we seen such a welcome sight as that dry car! We gave Jim and Petra a ride to their car/hotel and then headed home. I was drenched, so a hot bath, "My Fair Lady" on TV, two Advils and an early bed-time was all I could manage.

Next year I'll take it more seriously.

Next year I'm making it to the top!

Today I'm just concentrating on walking upright. Heh

Thanks for all the encouraging words. I'm happy (make that downright shocked) with what I accomplished on that mountain.

RMQOTD (OK, but I get to be on top!)


OH! And one other thing . . .

Yes, I realize that you come to this post before the one below it, which makes it more like a headnote than a footnote, but this is just too exciting not to mention.

My new website, karenburniston.com, is up! Notice the linky-loo on the sidebar to the left. Or just click here!

I put all the info for my current classes there. I'll be teaching in Boston next week, as will a bunch of other teachers, some of whom are much bigger superstars than me. You know - like not just famous in Europe. So I know you have lots of class choices, but the projects are really rather nifty, and they're chock-full of techniques.

The Oregon students mentioned that the photos didn't really do the projects justice. Like you really couldn't tell how they moved, jumped and did laundry (OK, not that last part) from a flat photo, so I thought "Well why don't I just shoot a video preview?"

And so I did.

I didn't dress up or anything, and I'm just sitting on my living room couch, and the cameraman was my good pal T. Ripod, and I'm sort of hoping that I don't ACTUALLY look or sound like that (sigh) but feel free to head on over there and laugh at my amateurish video skills.

Now if you can't make it to Boston next week, I'm lining up a few other venues, but they haven't been solidified, so I'll update the calendar as they firm up. But you'll also be able to get the kits by mail, including color handouts and a DVD of me teaching the projects. (Expect home-movie quality on those DVD's - I'm just starting out here!) So check back for updates if you're interested in the classes.

And now I really must rest up for my crazy tomorrow activity . . .


OK, as long as I don't have to ford any streams

OK, you see this lovely picture of my tulips last spring?

Do you also notice the thing in the background that looks suprisingly like a 14,000+ foot mountain?

That would be Pikes Peak.

And tomorrow . . .

Blog_photo

. . . I'm supposed to climb it.

Oh snap!

It all started with a phone call last February-ish. My friend Evelyn, aka Mother Superior, thought it might be cool to train for the Pikes Peak Ascent. Well sure, I said. We've got, like, 7 months to get into shape . . . no problem!

We started walking almost every day, increasing our distance and choosing challenging elevation-changing courses. Our only goal was to make it to the checkpoints before the cut-off times so we could keep going. It would give us 6 hours to make it to the top. We weren't going for any kind of speed records - just the endurance to finish.

But then her husband got deployed to Iraq. And suddenly she was a single mom to 4-year-old twins without much free time for walking. So we stopped. Her husband came home a few months later, safe and sound and, side note, thank-you very much for serving our country, but did we start training again?

My sources say no.

When I got home from Oregon my first order of business was to call up Evelyn and explain in no uncertain terms that my body had not miraculously transformed itself into mountain-climbing shape by sitting on the couch, and so therefore it was futile, borderline dangerous, and most definitely embarrassing to show up to the race.

"We have to at least try," she said. WHY?! Why do we have to try?! Why can't we sleep in and eat some bacon and watch the highlights on the 6 o'clock news after popping some popcorn and settling in for some rigorous channel surfing? Maybe "Legaly Blonde" will be on TBS and during the commercials we can switch to "White Chicks". This, THIS, sounds like my kind of Saturday . . .

. . . but Mother Superior can be very persuasive. Especially when she's singing about climbing mountains, fording streams, following rainbows and finding dreams. *&^%$^#@ ambitious people!

Evelyn is very active in the local twins club. I'm not a member, despite meeting the requirements and crashing a lot of their events. The requirements luckily do not include being in mountain-climbing shape although most of the women are, which is a whole other grumble that I'll just let go for now. But anyway, a few of the members are also doing the Ascent tomorrow, so we met at Noodles & Co. for dinner. (Must have those carbs, you know!)

Wendy, who flew in from California after training for this event for, like, a year, was sitting with Evelyn and me. She's a serious runner - has done marathons (although not for the last 13 years, she said, as though that was supposed to make her any less impressive to me, a sloth, who couldn't run around the block, even 13 years ago), half-marathons, and perhaps is a super-hero in her spare time, when she's not busy feeding the homeless, volunteering at the childrens hospital, or teaching the English language to immigrants. OK, I'm not sure if she does any of those things, but she has run several MARATHONS and that qualifies as impressive!

Anyway, she doesn't know us, which is why we tried really hard not to laugh hysterically when she predicted that as walkers we would pass up several runners who started out too fast and didn't pace themselves.

"You'll be surprised how many people you'll be passing on the trail!" she said, confidently and encouragingly.

"Oh yes," I replied, "If I can pass at least two wheelchairs and maybe a kid or two, I'll be satisfied!"

The sarcasm, so good at the sarcasm!

Anyway, I've got to toddle off to bed, trying not to get winded from two flights of stairs. If I live through tomorrow, I'll post about it. I told Evelyn I'm only agreeing to try this crazy stunt because of the sheer blog-worthiness of it. We've changed our goal to making the first checkpoint and then, most likely, we'll turn back. We're stupid, but not crazy!

RMQOTD (I see dead people!)


On Jeniuses and City Slickers

Well that was fun!

Hanging out in my hometown again was pretty darn cool, I must say. The kids had a blast in the country, even if this picture indicates otherwise:

Smell_a_fart

Hey Karl and Emma, Joey called, he wants his "Smell a Fart" look back. Heh

We were on our way to the Scandinavian Festival this particular evening and stopped to see Dad who was running a big sprayer on a bean field. When I was a kid Dad would work summers on his friend's farm, and it was always a thrill to ride with him on some huge piece of farm machinery. All three of the kids got to ride in the sprayer and thought it was about the coolest thing EVAH. I called John later to tell him about it:

Sprayer"Dad took the kids for a ride on the sprayer!"

"Lovely. Did they get exposed to any pesticides?"

"Huh? Oh, I don't think so. It was a closed cab, and the kids really enjoyed it!"

"How nice. I'm sure their deformed children will thank you."

Geez. Talk about a City Slicker! He probably would have had a coronary if he'd witnessed some of Karl's other favorite activities:Karl_danger

Karl and Emma turned 8 during our trip. Birthday_2My step-brother, Robert, came over for the festivities and started talking about our brother, Brian:

"Brian's a genius, you know."

"He is?"

"Yes. He knows everything about computers. He can fix anything on a computer. He's a genius."

"Well I'm pretty smart."

"Yeah, but he's raking in the bucks."

"OK, you've got me there."

Can you believe that? The partiality! The unfairness of it all! I spent the rest of the week cracking jokes with the family about "Brian the Genius" and how nice it would be when "The Genius" arrived for the weekend.

The Genius showed up Friday night, just in time to be my date to the Festival's wine terrace. We were joining my childhood best friend, Kay, and her husband John. Here I am with Kay, who is expecting a little boy this fall. Between her three, his two, and one on the way, they will have 6 kids. Kay, you're my hero!Kay_and_karen

We're standing in front of the pool where I worked for many years as a lifeguard. You may remember my reminisces about nearly electrocuting myself with the vacuum and how I was rescued (aka chided) by Kay's brother Rick. Well as we were standing there, who should show up? You guessed it! And he even remembered me! *giggle*

But let's get back to the wine terrace with Kay, Kay's John, and The Genius. I had high hopes that I would run into some classmates, but the truth was that I didn't recognize anyone. Kay pointed out some people that I knew, even a couple of girls that were in our class, but it's been (sigh) almost 20 years, and everyone's changed so much. I'm sure I wasn't particularly recognizable either, even though I went to great pains to return my hair to blond before arriving. (A point that The Genius rather inconsiderately called me out on. "Did you go blond for this trip?" he asked, in front of everyone. Thanks, Genius.)

After the wine terrace closed at the unspeakably early hour of 11 pm, we walked to the other end of the Festival for Community Dancing. It was fun to watch the dances, so many of which we had done as kids/teenagers. I begged Kay to dance just one dance with me for old times, but she refused, citing pregnancy and poor memory as an excuse. I tried to goad her into it by reminding her that she ALWAYS got to be the girl and I ALWAYS had to be the boy since I was taller. It cutteth no mustard. She tried to get her 15-year-old son to dance with me but I think we all can guess how that idea was received. Brian said not "no" but "Hay-ull no!" so I had to just watch.

Losers.

Speaking of losers, Brian and I discussed on the way back to Dad's house that we probably fell into that category for some of the insensitive observations we made about small town living. (No Wi-Fi or Starbucks, specifically. One Starbucks would actually solve both those problems, come to think of it.) Anyway, Kay - if you're reading - our apologies. JC is a fabulous place to live and raise kids. I'm back to city living, and although I may be able to update my blog while sipping a Frappacino, so can every other suburban mom in a mid-sized city. What I CAN'T do, is give my kids this experience every August:

Scandifest

So if I sounded anything other than jealous, I misspoke.

We were also just one short hour from the ocean. Ah, the ocean, the powerful Pacific! How I've missed you, you beauty.Beach_blog

We also visited my only remaining grandparent. Grandma is in her 80's now, and her health isn't what it used to be, but she is just delightful to talk to.Grandma_and_kids

Our last day was spent packing, hanging out, one last cruise through the Festival, a barbecue dinner and then fireworks to end the day. At dinner I explained to Brian why I had been referring to him as a genius all week and then he said something so absolutely perfect that I couldn't have SCRIPTED better irony:

Jeniuses_1 "My friend has a T-shirt that says 'genius' but it's misspelled with a 'g'."

"Don't you mean that it's misspelled with a 'j''? Genius is spelled with a 'g', Genius."

"Whatever. And I prefer to be called 'Jenius'."

As you wish.

Here we see Jenius and Mini-Jenius, trying to figure out how to wear a hat:

I mentioned the fireworks, right? This was a highly anticipated night for my kids, who didn't get much of a 4th of July because of the rain and the Colorado ban on fireworks. They banned them because it was too dry. Did I mention the torrential downpours around the 4th of July? (Irony, so good at pointing out the irony.)

Colorado officials are jeniuses.

HehFireworks_blog

We flew home on Sunday, liquidless and gel-less, but otherwise hassle-less. A weather delay put us home an hour late, but the kids still got decent sleep before their first day of school, which was yesterday.

Yes, the days of bliss have arrived. My children are in school. Oh happy, happy day! Third graders. Crazy, huh?

Kids_school_blog

Now let's talk quotes here for a second. I haven't quoted the entire movie yet, but all the good quotes are pretty much gone in The Princess Bride. I've switched to some Napoleon Dynamite quotes, but I think I'll just quote whatever strikes my fancy from now on. A RANDOM movie quote of the day, if you will. (And you will, won't you?) Then maybe after Christmas we'll just start right over with TPB. How's that sound?

RMQOTD (Two dollars! I want my two dollars!)


Grandpa & Grandma's House

Dull_moments

I'm bootlegging a weak wireless signal from someone in the neighborhood with an unsecured network. Thanks Sally!

Uploads have been sporadic, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this post in case it goes *poof* as soon as I publish.

More later - must vaca!

NDQOTD (I caught you a delicious bass)


I fought the law . . .

OK, not really. But I *did* get pulled over yesterday on my way to A Joy Forever to teach classes. My rental car had expired plates, apparently. There was also no registration in the glove compartment, but I had my rental agreement so I gave him that, plus my license, plus my insurance card. When he came back to the window I thought I was in the clear until he pointed at my rental agreement and said "Where's THIS car?!"

That's when I started sweating.

I had upgraded, you see, because the guy at the counter took one look at my burgeoning luggage cart and two antsy kids and suggested that the tiny compact I had reserved wasn't going to cut it.

Good point.

So I upgraded to a cute little Volvo S-40 which still barely held all of our luggage and two boxes of class kits, but in the name of all that is sporty and fashionable . . . who cares?! Heh

But let's get back to the side of the interstate where Officer Friendly (thank goodness) was asking me why the rental agreement didn't reflect, oh, the car I was currently driving. (Technicalities . . .so hung up on the technicalities!) I stammered out that I had upgraded and didn't know why the agreement didn't say so. He then noticed my cute license plate purse, asked about it, we discussed its features, and then he let us go with advice.

The advice was to call up the rental car agency and tear them a new one. I thought it was particularly good advice.

I tried to do some tearing today, but the lady on the phone seemed more annoyed with the officer for not noticing the prominent temporary registration sticker that she confidently stated was on the back window. "They know better. They should have just called that in!" she said, not particularly sympathetic to my plight.

Unlike face-to-face meetings with store cashiers who want to charge me sales tax on favors and make me comply cheerfully by performing some sort of Harry Potteresque backbone-removal spell, I am surprisingly confident on the phone with rental car agents who are annoyed when I bother them with trifling little issues like being pulled over for expired tags. "Well that may be," I said, referring to her statement that the police are supposed to 'know better', "But I didn't rent the car from the police, I rented the car from YOU, and I was inconvenienced and nearly late because of it!" (The logic . . . so good at the logic!)

She had to call me back. In the meantime I checked and found that Officer Friendly was completely correct. There was no temporary registration on the back windshield. There was a license plate with expired stickers on it. When she called back and I told her about it the tune changed immediately. I was invited to return the car for another of the same model with apologies and suck-uppage.

I love suck-uppage.

I love the free Wi-Fi in the airport.

I have the keys to a red S-40 to replace the blue one. The tags are supposedly not expired but I shall check as soon as I drag myself away from this technological heaven.

Karl is begging for the computer to feed his Webkinz.

The classes went swimmingly! The store was large and lovely, the owners and staff were awesome, and the students were amazing! (Yes, even you, K2!)

I would type more, but Karl seems to think that since it's his birthday and all, I should be more generous with the computer. Oh, and the family is waiting on the pizzas we're picking up on the way home.

But let me at least leave you with this - a comparison shot almost exactly 5 years apart. Dez is my nephew and these three have become fast friends!Cousins

NDQOTD (Give me some of your tots!)


The Oregon Trail

Well I'm back from Philly and frantically preparing for Oregon. The kids and I leave Thursday for a 10-day fun-filled trip visiting the relatives. It will be Scandinavian Festival time so I'm excited to share that with my kids.

No, I won't make them dance! (Unless they want to) Heh

But I wanted to provide more information on the classes I'm teaching at A Joy Forever in Gresham next Saturday. Here are the partics:

A JOY FOREVER, 586 NE Burnside Road (corner of Kelly), Gresham, Oregon

Phone: 503.661.1400

Date: Saturday, August 5th, 2006

Cost per class: $30 per class

Class Times:

MEMORY ART 10:00-noon

TRANSPARENCY TECHNIQUES 1:00-3:00

WILD SIDE 4:00-6:00

Here are the class descriptions. If you're already enrolled or are planning to enroll, please take note of the list of supplies you must bring to class.

Ma_handout_visual MEMORY ART:

Come create an artistic and sophisticated girl-themed double page spread using beautiful Creative Imaginations products from Marah Johnson, Sonnets and Narratives. We will incorporate epoxy, transparency, chipboard, twill, patterned papers and ribbon. We'll also create an ingenious interactive feature that really pops! (No, really – there’s a rubber band hidden inside!) The technique can be used for cards as well, and the included extra template can be copied over and over for future projects. All materials, instructions and templates are included. Celebrate a special little lady with some Memory Art in her honor!

Students must bring: Adhesive, Glue dots or tacky tape, Trimmer, Scissors, Stapler & staples, Pinking shears (zigzag scissors), Paper piercer or thumbtack, Anywhere Hole Punch with 1/8" bit, Regular scotch tape, Straightedge & scoring tool

Photos: Can all be added later

Tt_handout_visual_1 TRANSPARENCY TECHNIQUES:

You know what transparencies are good for? EVERYTHING! Get ready to try a little bit of everything in one power class dedicated to our friend; the transparency. You'll make a travel layout that incorporates four different interactive features all made from, you guessed it, transparencies! From pockets to pop-ups to spirals to archways, you'll be amazed at what you'll create. It's more than a layout - it's a toy! We will concentrate on the interactive layout in class, but you'll receive extra materials to create a companion page of your own design. All templates and instructions are provided, including extra templates for future projects. Photos can be added later, except for one photo - a scenery (no people) photo measuring 3.5 inches wide by 2.5 inches tall. The photo can be color or black/white - you choose! And since you're in the choosing mood, make sure you choose to take Transparency Techniques!

Pop_ups_2 Students must bring: Adhesive, Mini Glue Dots, Trimmer, Scissors, Stapler & staples, Paper piercer or thumbtack

Photos: Bring one scenery (no people) shot measuring 3.5 inches wide (up to 4" is fine) by 2.5" tall. All other photos can be added later.

Wild Side Mini Album:

Ws_handout_visual_2_2

Ws_handout_visual_4There’s nothing wilder than LOVE, sweet love, so get ready to celebrate the love you feel for a child, children, significant other, friend, pet or relationship with a fun, funky and  definitely unusual tri-fold mini album. The album folds up for travel and storage, but also stands up as decorative art. Confused? I know! It’s wild! But wait – there’s more! Each of the three sections opens up to reveal more surprises, Ws_handout_visual_3including hidden areas for photos and journaling and two pop-up doodads. Photos can be added later, except for one photo – a horizontal photo of the album subject that measures 4.25 inches wide by 2.5 inches tall. The photo can be black/white or color. Album colors are red, taupe and black. All templates are included, as well as extras for future projects. Bring your favorite black pen to add some fun doodles (or Ws_handout_visual_5 don’t – it’s up to you!) Just be ready to go WILD over this project!

Students must bring: Adhesive, Trimmer, Scissors, Standard office hole punch or anywhere hole punch with largest bit, Scoring tool and ruler, Black journaling/doodling pen, Paper piercer or thumbtack

Photos: Bring a horizontal photo of the album subject(s) measuring 4.25 inches wide by 2.5 inches tall. All other photos can be added later.

There is space in all three classes, so call the store if you're interested. I'd love to see you there! Or if you know anybody in the Portland area who might enjoy the classes, please link them to my blog. I would probably classify these classes as intermediate/advanced, but truly, I welcome scrappers of all levels.

All three classes feature interactive hoo-ha's for which I've designed original templates. The techniques and templates can be used on a multitude of future projects, so consider signing up for the techniques even if my colors or designs don't float your boat. You'll get a detailed color handout that will tell you everything you need to adapt the projects to other color schemes, etc.

Ooh, and you might just spot Karen Russell there - she's enrolled in one of the classes! How cool is that?!

OK, must get back to packing and preparing. Hope to see some of you on Saturday!

TPBQOTD (Whoever he is, he's obviously seen us with the Princess and must therefore die.)