The first story: (or, making bold plans for a brilliant future)
I sold a quantity of rubber stamps which I no longer used (or, sadly, in some cases, had never used) on eBay and earned a total of $219.20 doing so. Thinking toward our future in Portland and the extended period of poverty we will doubtless encounter after our move, I decided to invest this money wisely in something that would sustain me through those days of rice and pinto beans.
So I bought a Powell’s (City of Books!) gift card for $219.20.
The second story: (or, keeping the memories while losing the guilt)
My sister’s sister-in-law, Kate, is getting started in scrapbooking and wanted to know if I had any advice for her. So I present for your amusement and possible edification: What I Wish I’d Known When I Started Scrapbooking.
* You’re not going to be able to, or want to, do something with every
picture. Or with every holiday, every birthday, every first day of
* In fact, the best thing to do before you even start
scrapbooking at all is to just group your pictures VERY loosely
chronologically (like by season and year) and put the prints into plain
old 3-pocket photo albums. As you go through, if you have several
similar photos, feel free to choose the best one or two and throw the
rest away–or if you can’t throw them away, try taking the stack of
pictures and sticking them all in one album pocket together. If you’re
working with digital images, it’s really easy to organize them using a
program like Adobe Photoshop Elements (I can’t recommend Elements
enough–you should be able to get it for $70 or so at Costco or online
or something). Just put them in folders or categories, once again by
season or by year. Once your photos are organized even at this
super-basic level, it becomes much easier to scrapbook what’s important
to you and what sounds inspiring and fun to record, rather than feeling
overwhelmed by stacks of photos.
* The one album everyone should make, even if she has no
intention of ever scrapbooking anything else in her life, is a
"Pictures I Love" book. Photos that really show off someone’s
personality, pictures that just make you stop and go "aww" every time
you come across them. Put these together in a separate place–these are
the important ones to scrapbook.
* Less is more: you can make absolutely beautiful, classic,
timeless scrapbook pages with nothing but a good supply of colored
cardstock and a nice black pen.
* Two books you MUST have…
really… are Stacy Julian’s "The Big Picture" (less than $14 at
Amazon) and Cathy Zielske’s "Clean and Simple Scrapbooking" (either the
first one or the sequel). Stacy’s the founding editor of my magazine,
and she is a really amazing woman. I’m not very easy to inspire, but
MAN, Stacy is inspirational. She’s chockful of great ideas about how to
approach scrapbooking and turn it into storytelling. And Cathy has an
incredible design sense–she does lots of "cardstock and black pen"
pages that are beautifully graphically balanced and have a very modern
sensibility. Very nice for the "non-cutesy" scrapbooker.
The third story: (or, why imprudence is sometimes the prudent course)
Yesterday dawned clear and sunny–I was wakened by sun streaming through the window for the first time in oh, months. It was warm and pleasant; the sky was azure and the sun was… er, sun-colored. It being Thursday, Jim had the day off. All in all, a perfect day for some Family Funtime.
But wait! One member of our family would not be able to join us! Fisher was due, as is his wont, to appear at school promptly at 8:45 a.m. ("Prompt" being a relative term… I’m a bit ashamed, really, at the number of tardies he got last quarter. 55% his fault, 45% ours–those percentages may well be reversed.) Our outing would have to proceed without him!
Fortunately for all concerned, Fisher has parents with extremely lax notions of propriety. Perfect attendance, shmerfect attendance. (Didn’t the kid in your second-grade class with perfect attendance just bug you? Wasn’t she a prim little pruneface with no virtues to recommend her but her aberrant punctuality?) So we informed Fisher that it was in fact Not a school day for him, and that we were going to go on a hike instead.
He and Rhys spent the morning playing with their army men (which are, for some reason, not green; they’re blue and brown and supposedly represent figures from the Battle of the Alamo). We had a lovely lunch of Papa’s famous homemade tacos. Then we went to Rabbit Valley and hiked the 1.6 mile Trail Through Time, where we saw dinosaur and plant fossils embedded in the rocks and learned a lot about the geology of the Grand Valley and the spectacular LaSal Mountains. We touched the bones of creatures that lived here over 140 million years ago. We talked about magma building up enough pressure inside the Earth’s crust to force sedimentary rock up into a giant bubble, and about the erosive forces that could wear down that bubble into eight jagged peaks. We prowled around a working fossil quarry and were thoroughly amused by Mama losing her shoe into a pool of sticky grey mud. (This amused some of us more than others.) We met a paleontologist, a guidebook author and a paleontologist’s cute dog. We crossed a sheep stile and were amused by the thought that sheep are too dumb to climb stairs.
Then we went to Best Buy and played video games for a while. Because there’s only so much Glorious Educational Family Unity we can take in one day.