Monday, February 15, 2016

Quitting Facebook: The FOMO Catch Up

Lemme tell you a lil story about an man named NO!.... And apparently, the gyst of that story is that I shouldn't blog before I have finished my first cup of coffee.  Is that going to stop me right now?  NO.  Remember, deep down, you love me!

In a burst of inspiration, I added a third day to my break from Facebook in February.  It was only supposed to be two days; but all of the people who are logging off for Lent are just so awesome.  Clearly, I'm not nearly as awesome...strong...determined?  Well, when it comes to The Book of Face, anyhow. 

Overall, it was a good break.  The Boy and I played silly games.  I made him read to me (a school requirement), practice multiplication facts and this week's spelling list.  Yeah, he LOVES me right now.  We have also been tuned into the Gravity Falls marathon, awaiting the final episode tonight. I want to be Mabel when I grow up....  Grappling hook!

I also spent most of the extended weekend in achy pain.  Short version (ha!):  Domino's Pizza and I are no longer on speaking terms and I suspect my blood pressure might have been higher than my meds will handle.The aches are way less intense this morning.  In fact, until I started my coffee, I wasn't really feeling yucky at all.  That beesh is only half caff, too!

So, yeah, a good time was had by all.  Valentine's Day was a standard Sunday.  I'm content this Monday morn....Except when I log onto The Book of Face.  Last week, I noted that I didn't feel any fear that I was missing out on the online party.  This past weekend, I still didn't feel that I was missing anything huge...Okay, I missed immediately seeing the pictures of a friends new baby, but I got to see them today.  I'm good there.  It was the never-ending news feed that got me.  My attention span is short...and easily interrupted. By an adorable child that apparently has begun to reflect on the different potions he wants to brew.....  Where was I?  Oh, right, short attention span.  Like many other people, I can only scroll through my feed for several seconds before I want to move onto something else.  Three days worth of news feed would require an hour of focus. I am beginning to miss out.

Truth, I'm a little worried that I'm going to miss some major news from loved ones during this personal challenge.  I'm going to miss more and more information as my breaks increase.  Still, I come back to comparisons to the days before all of this digital connection.  There were days, so many moons ago, that I didn't know A LOT of the daily moments happening to the people I love.  I was still okay.  They were still okay.  We were bound to update each other on the really important stuff when we would talk face-to-face.  I survived.  We all survived.  It CAN be done.  All will still be well.

In the mean time, the biggest thing I'm probably missing out on is a shower.  Since our water test came back with zero counts for lead and copper (Flint, baby!), it will be nice to not worry about one of the best parts of daily life.  The fresh start and preparation to revel in the daily muck of life all over again.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Life of the Party

Hello! I actually made it back two weekends in a row! While I might be the only one pleasantly surprised, I'll claim the win. I returned to chemo this past week and my body has had a couple opinions on the matter. Blah. Anyway, I thought I was going to call it a crafting loss, but I was*just* struck with inspiration about an hour ago so I can play along with the weekly challenge at (relearning proper linking is on my list);use hearts. We have two choices. I could ramble on endlessly OR I could just show you what I managed. Be gentle, please. It's not my best, and I'm mainly excited that I managed anything.

I'm lucky, really. My son's teacher set up a photo booth, so each child took home a little photo. Otherwise, I'd still be stumped. The cellophane bag is actually part of the Valentines Party pieces he brought home. To keep it as flat as possible, I used liquid glue both on the back (to attach to the cardstock) and inside. I didn't think about using it until I started tucking the Valentines into a pocket page, and the kids-decorated gift bag into a 6x12 sleeve. Then the rest quickly came together.

While not brilliant, I'm still giving myself permission to be proud. Up top, me! I hope you enjoy the last bits of your weekend, or your morning routine.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Planner Love: A Necessary Obsession

Picture it, Sicily, 1942.  Wait, that can't be right.....

The coffee is kicking in and the chemo is working on doing the same. I'm a Special Snowflake with nowhere to go. Since I spend a solid chunk of each day studying my planners like I'm cramming for finals, I thought I would share some of what I love.

I started using planners about 25 years ago, in high school. At the very least, I was able to keep my homework focused. The same was true for college, but then I also added my work schedule to the mix. Thrilling stuff, huh? I know. Even I'm wondering what will happen next?  What? ! I even planned as a fully employed adult?! Shocking!

Okay, smart assess, I get it. Get to the good stuff. Right. Cut to today. Chemo Brain hits hard on my current treatment routine. If I don't write things down, they will disappear from memory. That includes appointments, family schedules, bills, notes on side effects, pretty much anything you could imagine. What's worse is that there are some days that my cognitive abilities are so impaired (ie, it took me 45 seconds to find "impaired" floating around in there) that I respond faster to icons than words. As a result, I'm a 39 year old woman who has a thing for stickers.

Yeah, there are actual planner pages underneath all of that. Some weeks show more white space. The following two weeks certainly do. I used to feel self conscious about this, but I learned to get over it. Most of what I use is functional and keeps me aware and engaged. I have a space for my chores, a space for meds, The Boy's education, appointments, fitness and TV. Since I still use it, even five months in, it clearly works for me.

If any of the details spoke to you, I recommend you check out the following Etsy stores and companies:

*Plum Paper Planner (this is the family planner)
*Vintage Gypsy Road (for pretty much everything else)
*Add A Little Shine (for the foiled pills)
*Crafted By Corley (for the martial arts kiddos)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Quitting Facebook (The World Won't Fall Apart)

So, confession time? If I could actually live in Facebook, I probably would. I joined in 2009, connected with a core group of friends and haven't really logged off since. I'm not checking my feed while driving. I do get approximately eight hours of sleep each night. I do check Facebook within ten minutes of waking up each morning, virtually all day long and before I go to bed each night. I read local articles, shared in local groups, selective political blurbs, funny memes. I check on my beloved online friends to make sure they're okay. I update my husband on family activities, whenever relevant, because he doesn't log in unless absolutely necessary. It hasn't been "absolutely necessary" for years. He's proud of that. I admire him for that.

While I enjoy most of the time I spend on Facebook, it doesn't satisfy some part of my core that knows there is something more to life; that there is this real, tangible, thing known as life. After a day on Facebook, I don't feel the pride, and value, of accomplishment. I feel the regret of squandered opportunity.

Beyond the guilt, I feel wounded by hurtful generalizations. I feel angry because I see too many memes fueled by fear and hatred. I feel like giving up. I have learned that I love people more when I don't know about the darkness that has escaped from their hearts and flowed out of their pecking fingers. It's getting harder to look specific people in the eye and attempt to listen to them when we see each other again in the flesh. It's even worse in an election year. Everyone is so certain that they are right; everyone ends up being wrong.

I made a choice to remove myself from Facebook this year. While trying to decide how exactly I should follow through, I came to accept that a few specific groups, and people are still important to me, and my daily life. I couldn't just delete my account and lose them. I couldn't temporarily deactivate my account because I would lose my admin status and abilities. I can, however, remove the app from my devices whenever I want without consequences. Gradually increasing the duration of my absence allowed me to get used to the concept of having a life, and getting things done, at a rate I could handle.

I started in January, just Sundays. That was pretty easy. Sundays are busy days, especially when I'm healthy enough to be busy. I learned a couple valuable lessons.

1. I function beautifully without 24 hours of Facebook.
2. Nobody misses me when I'm gone that long. It was a valuable bit for my ego to acknowledge. I am not so fabulous that the world will end without me.

This will be the first full weekend (48 hours) that I will be off of Facebook. Late Saturday morning, I had a solid reminder of days long ago; when friends weren't just a text away. I couldn't just start typing away to get my friends' advice on some First World Crisis. I had to sit still and think things through on my own. I had to remember that, ultimately, I control my outcome. I'm responsible for handling my own problems. The world didn't fall apart.

I am also remembering how to entertain myself. This blog is actually part of that. I have always enjoyed writing. I'm a wordy gal.

Heard of FOMO? I learned about it thanks to Facebook. This weekend, I don't have it. I'm at peace while drawing imaginary friends with my son, helping my mom with cookies, getting The Boy's hair cut, going to church, ironing, boiling eggs, going to Mass.... I'm not worrying that we're not sky diving, attending festivals, and anything else you can imagine. I look forward to seeing the pictures Monday, but I'm not comparing myself to others today. Anxiety managed.

Don't misunderstand. The Boy is enjoying YouTube videos while I type right now. My husband is upstairs sleeping off a potential illness. We're not suddenly bonding all day long, and I'm okay with that, too. Four years ago, I worked hard to encourage independence and space because I was too sick from cancer and chemotherapy to be engaged in anything at all. Independence and space were necessary goals. But now, there's a happy relaxed layer of love to it all. I think we're going to be better for it.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Let Me Take A Selfie

And let's see if I remember how all of this goes....

Aside from the annual December Daily project, I haven't really played with paper in a year. I have started a few pages here and there, but nothing like I have truly enjoyed in the past. Then, Glitter Girl returned. Suddenly, I could feel the love again. That Sparkly Miracle is magical!

Shimelle Lane is also pretty awesome. If you're willingly reading this, chances are good that you're already well aware of this. This first challenge, to use a selfie, was indeed a real challenge. Yes, I take photos of myself, especially on rare pretty days, but I never intend to add them to albums. This one time, however, I snapped a selfie to show my husband how well an organizational project was coming along. The Boy joined in and made my point better than I ever could on my own. He's a helper! The photo became the natural choice for a scrapbook challenge. The result.....

Almost the entire page can be attributed to Crate Paper, Boys Rule collection. Red alphas and sentiments are from My Minds Eye Basics. Oh! The airplane brad is from a Basic Gray collection. A moment of silence.....

Since I am rusty, I'll cut to thanking you for taking the time to read and see what I'm up to. I do intend to begin a routine posting schedule;  hopefully Wednesday and Sunday. Fingers crossed that my groove remains as I return to chemo.

So. Many. Moons.

I don't know if anyone would actually read this post. According to my data, I haven't written anything in a year and a half. Looks abandoned to me!

So..... In the event that anyone recognizes the name, as I pop into your blog feed,  Hi! How are ya? What's the haps? Personally, I'm okay. I'm alive. I'm mostly functional. By the bullets, I have.....

* Enjoyed two more summers with my family and friends.

* Watched my son grow more into the young man he is going to be.

* Ended one hellacious chemotherapy treatment,  which was probably the largest part of why I stopped blogging.

* Nudged my son through second grade, and several important personal events.

* Tried alternative methods of killing cancer. Basically, they worked on the areas for which they were designed.

* Tried a new chemotherapy treatment for the cancer that remains. Far less hellacious than the one before.

* I'm currently nudging my son through third grade.

* I decorate my planners.

* Now that Glitter Girl has returned, I'm suddenly inspired to create again. I'm inspired to move past existing and celebrate life again.

*I'm inspired to share and blog again.

* While I do have two posts planned to share ASAP,  I need to work with The Boy on his spelling again.

Hello!  I have missed you.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Never A Dull Moment

Good Monday morning!  Surprise, surprise, I have another layout to share!  I am trying really hard to get back into the swing of things.  The Powers That Be might have helped a little.  Much of last week was spent dealing with weather-related headaches.  The most comfortable room in the house (the cool basement) also happens to be where I craft. Awesome coincidence!  Anyway, on with the share, yes?

The photo is from Mother's Day this year.  I've held off from scrapping it because I couldn't decide on design.  I've loved multiple sketches that in the past two months, but none screamed out to be matched with this page.  Colors have been tricky, too.  Also, my printer was bratty and made this far too blue. I still might not have gotten the color choice right, but it was high time I got this photo taken care of.  THAT was enough struggle for me.

Confession of a Challenge Junkie:  I've relied on inspiration from other people for so long -- give me a sketch to follow; tell me what colors to use; tell me what elements to use -- that I stopped trusting myself.  I learned a BIG problem with that in the past few weeks.  While I LOVE participating in challenges, and likely will continue to do so, I will actually STRESS about fulfilling them; all of them.  I will stress over esthetics, time management, and rules to the point that my blood pressure spikes even more than some stupid chemo drug can manage and then I'm physically worse off than I would have been otherwise.  Then nothing is fun, nor relaxing.  Screw that, right?  Agreed.  So, while I am looking forward to seeing what fresh challenges await in August, I am going to practice chilling out and seeing what I can make all on my own.  On that  note, how about some close ups?

First off, this is how it all started.  I wasn't sure if I really liked it (or if anyone else would, either), so I posted this in the Facebook group, NicoleJones911.  I then got loads of great ideas from others.  Thank you so much, ladies, if you happen to stop by!

One of the big changes I made was to create a lot of torn layers.  It's such an easy thing to do -- tear paper -- but I have hesitated to do so for... over a year.  I know! So, I did it.  I also happened to pull out this little airplane while I was grabbing tiny bottle of sequins.  Yep!  Aint no party like a sequin party!

Initially, I was just going to use the layers of torn paper below the photo.  Unfortunately, that headache I mentioned earlier also meant that all of the patterns and colors were too much for my eyes. It was fun to create but painful and distracting; so I layered some vellum overthe top.  Instantly, I was able to concentrate on the photo again. As for the journaling, I kinda wanted to add some interest and attention to the area, so I used up roughly half a sheet of alpha stickers.  I really like the alphas from MME, but I can see how it will be wise, going forward, to buy two packages of the ones I like.  They played it well by NOT supplying enough vowels.  OR I can play it my way and stop giving them money because I kinda think that's a shady thing to do.

Back to the page, I had originally intended to put the title on top of the vellum, but the shiny gold Thickers just weren't working for me.  Also, I discovered a card that had my desired title, "Never A Dull Moment" that won the day.  Instead, I snagged a coordinating photo frame, attached left-over strips from the cream cardstock and worked on adding journaling.

Basically, "See the vellum hearts that I cut out by hand?"  This was the awe-inspiring moment in the FaceBook conversation that started a complete overhaul.  One member of the group suggested I trade out the stars in the circle for hearts; to match the bockeh in the photo.  Then it became vellum hearts.  It's possible that the was also thinking that I should ditch the circles and stars altogether, but I just couldn't do it.

More vellum hearts and a stray, clear, sequin.  It amused me so it got it's own photo.

I still feel like I want to add more to the page, but I'm making myself stop.  It's supposed to have a light feel with the vellum. It could be counter productive to add more, right?  Also, in this moment, I've getting 104 comments in the background about Minecraft.  I'm a distracted human being.  As always, I will work on posting this page to my galleries at A Cherry On Top and Scrapbook(dot)com in the next day or so.  There, you can find links to all the of the products I've used.... or at least as many as I can find on those sites.

Thank you for stopping by!