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  • Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
  • I Am Not (almost) Invisible.

    September
    1
    2007

    150leanne83007.jpg I disappeared this week – did you notice? (Nod. Just nod. Thank you!) I managed to get a new photo of myself, ’cause I know you were all wondering how long my hair has grown. Okay it was just me then. Ahem.

    So I worked this week, feverishly, and without big results to share. I hate when that happens – but next week, and the week after that, you shall be overwhelmed with updates and eye candies.

    I did get a revamp, upgrade and launch done for Kimberly (previously known as MommaK) – her fall design is up and the thought of fall coming made me run to JCPenney for a couple new pair of sweats. Yes, I bought clothes! Ugh! I shouldn’t have, but baggy sweats are always in, right? So there’s my reward this week, folks. And they are more comfortable than the ones at Old Navy, in case you were wondering. (I linked you right to them, haven’t you gone through checkout yet?)

    petroville blog designBack to Petroville, I gave her an upgrade – she’s running WordPress 2.2.2 now and by winter she’ll be sporting 2.3 or whatever the newest version will be in 2 months. I upgraded her plugins (and threw the social bookmarking up here, too – so use it, people!) and I’m totally having feedreader envy.

    That stinkerhead – I was all gung-ho on installing Feedburner Feedsmith for her, and getting her to put up a chicklet. Obviously I was completely and totally curious to know what her readership is, why else would I do that? heh. So she gave me the chicklet code, I threw it up into her new widgetized sidebar, and her count was 25 yesterday. (neener neener!) Well put hot mustard on my tongue – that plugin harvested up all of her readership – she jumped to 172 overnight. Damn damn DOUBLE TRIPLE dayyyuummm.

    Color me green.

    I do have a few other projects in process, and a bunch more in queue. I will be finishing up a few more (paintings and blog designs both) next week.

    * * * * *
    The girls started back to school yesterday!  This means my productivity will increase – summer vacation is over and there’s a chill in the air – me and my new cozy sweatpants are going to stay in the house, eat core food and work until spring. Okay just until my bulbs and plants get here and I get them planted. THEN I’ll stay in until spring.  When I emerge, I shall be rich, skinny and cute, and have very very long hair.

    * * * * *
    I was approached and interviewed by a student at the University of Strathclyde whose dissertation topic is “Blogs as a Marketing Tool in Small Business”. He forwarded me the final copy of his dissertation and woah – I’m blown away. Most often I look at my blog as a diary, even though my intent is for it to encourage people to think about art, and to help people realize how easy it is to purchase original art direct from artists because there’s a person involved. To know the person behind the talent brings added value to the whole experience, in my opinion. I get frustrated when I see mass production stuff at Target and WalMart. There’s a difference between having something pretty on your wall, and having something personal on your wall. It’s what makes a house a home, to me. Anyhoo, I read through his dissertation and wound up realizing that I could be doing more to get that point across.

    It also got me curious – does reading my blog and knowing me make you more inclined to buy original art? Does it give you a creative spark? What do you get from my blog that keeps you coming back? Do you wish I shared more tips?

    * * * * *
    One last thing – did you know that Yahoo Launchcast has a Richard Marx Fan Radio Station?

    Oh Dear…

    August
    28
    2007

    The general decency of people is on a rapid decline, have you noticed? Being a non-confrontational person in this day and age has it’s benefits – because then I’m not clumped in with the aggressive morons of the world – but it also has its pitfalls, because I don’t say a da*n thing about this stuff. People like me have delayed reactions. Ten minutes after any given event I repeat everything in my head with all of the things I *should* have said, and the results are always way better in my head than they were in reality.

    Here are a few rmmmpf moments I’ve had lately:

    • Dear Mister “We got an offer, but it wasn’t good enough” – It may very well be the only offer you get. And unlike you, it was sincere. I hope if you do get other offers, that they’re lower than ours and that you get a nice little taste of your foot. I also hope you get to have a little side of humble pie with that.
    • Dear Miss “I’m gonna keep doing whatever I want to do because I live in a bubble and I have my own rules in here” – Go right ahead. I am enjoying seeing that whole “what goes around comes around” come to fruition.
    • Dear “Some day maybe I’ll know what I did wrong” – I’ve never had an experience where I didn’t ASK if I didn’t know. Some day, maybe you’ll realize that one-way streets are pretty limiting when you’re looking to go in another direction. You have to make a turn and find a two way street eventually. You’ll never get to where you want to go. And also? You’re a grown up, you should know better, and you should be the bigger person.

    There. I just had to get a few things out of my head, that is all.

    Who, ME?

    August
    26
    2007

    It seems like forever since I just chatted and caught up with everyone. Maybe it’s just the summer – maybe it’s that I’ve been really focused on work, but I’ve gotta make more time to stay connected with the people I care about. I keep thinking “next week…” and “when the kids go back to school…” well, how about now? Now’s good. Now works for me.

    I’ve got some things to share first, tags from friends who I hope don’t feel neglected (I do reply in e-mail, I swear it) and they deserve some blog linkin’ love.

    A whole bunch of stuff to read here….

    Keep reading »

    WW WW #2 … and stuff.

    August
    13
    2007

    ww.jpgWeight Watchers Weekly Weigh-in #2!

    That’s an awful lot of W’s, don’tchya think?

    Today marks the completion of the second full week I’ve been on the Core Plan and attending the meetings for some accountability. The results? Staggering, considering Auntie Flo is on her way for a visit.

    First week: -4.6 lbs.
    Second week: -4.2 lbs.
    Total to date: -8.8 lbs.

    I got a cute little 5 pound sticker at the meeting today to mark the occasion, and the leader was all giddy and stuff. :)

    It’s been surprisingly easy, actually. I eat a lot of bowls of mixed fruits (cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes, pineapple), I eat a few fresh veggies, usually steamed (broccoli, cauliflower, corn, beets, asparagus) and I eat a lot of teriyaki marinaded chicken breasts, eggbeaters and cottage cheese. I even ate at McDonald’s this week – but I chose the grilled chicken Caesar salad with no toppings or dressing (I have a fat free dressing here at home). I found my sweet tooth satisfier – it’s on the core food list, too. Blue Bunny Fat Free Frozen Yogurt. YUM. Oh yeah. The Strawberry Cheesecake actually tastes a bit like Godiva white chocolate raspberry. (And a few of you know how seriously I take my Godiva. Very.)

    We mixed it up lastnight and I tried my hand at grilling salmon and asparagus – and they were both amazing. I’m a happy girl, whose clothes are starting to loosen up quite a bit!

    In other news, I’ll be very busy again this week – completing paintings, launching a new design project for an EWebcsapes client, and a new gallery/portfolio for myself that I’ve been working on for a while. I have 13 projects on my to-do list right now, so things are hoppin’ over here which is just how I like it.

    I’ve also recently completed designs for ItalyInstructions.com and ToddlerDaddy, if you want to check those out, too!

    WW

    August
    7
    2007

    ww.jpgI’ve joined the cult. Holy heck there’s some peppiness going on at them there Weight Watchers meetings! I’m on the second day of my second week – and so far, so good.

    After a few years of battling with the same %^&*@! five to ten pounds and so far away from my goal weight I consider liposuction on a daily basis, I decided it was time to make myself accountable for what I eat every moment of every day. There are a few Very Important People in my life who are having wonderful successes with Weight Watchers and quite honestly, I’ve given myself the “you lazy bum, what are you waiting for?!” speech too many times to count. It was time.

    Yes, there was a specific moment that drove me over the edge and pushed me to sign on the dotted line and step on the scale for the first time last week. Someone very special happened to glance at my bicep-slash-waddle. Some jiggling was involved, and I detected a flash of “wow” in a pair of eyes that I hold in high regard.

    Sometimes, that’s all it takes.

    I’m doing the Core Plan, not the Flex Points. I’m not big into counting beans or anything else – so if it requires a calculator, count me out. The Core Plan allows me to eat whatever is on the Core Food List, and for the most part, that’s all we’ve got stocked in the fridge anyway.

    I also bought a pedometer to count my steps. At the end of the first day (last Monday), I was ashamed. I didn’t even hit 5,000 steps in a day. Ouch! So I bought a bike, and now we all go for a family bike ride every day, as well as a walk. I’m up to about 10,000 steps a day, and “officially” down 4.6 pounds in my first week.

    My first thought when I walked out of my second meeting with such a great loss? “Cool! Now I can go to Hardee’s!”

    Somebody slap me.

    No, I didn’t go to Hardee’s, but I tell you what – those are the demons in my head. I hate them. They have kept me where I am for far too long, know what I mean? I’d really like to see a nice Grilled Chicken Breast versus Fast Food Demon smackdown in my head. Actually, I already do. heh. Strange things happen in my head, eh?

    Ok back to work I go, hi-ho, hi-ho!

    Non-Irrational Fears

    August
    2
    2007

    Some people think I’m crazy for having a fear of bridges. I live just a few miles away from three bridges spanning the Mississippi River, and I only feel safe on one of them – and that’s only relative to my fear of them.

    This is why I am afraid of bridges. Holy moly, here’s a video of it happening.

    This is such a horrifying event, I can’t even imagine the thoughts and fear that these people experienced as they were just driving along on the bridge thinking everything was just fine. Many worlds collapsed yesterday and will never be the same, and those people are in my thoughts and prayers as they heal from the shock of the ordeal.

    I also have a fear of heights, and getting on and off escalators. Yes, escalators. To my credit, I once fell from a pine tree like a pinball in a pinball machine – and my fear of escalators was confirmed when, while shopping with Lisa, it bit a chunk out of her leg. So there. Totally substantiated.

    Tell me, do you have any fears that people thought were silly – and later on you had that “see?! This is EXACTLY WHY” moment?

    And also, tell me if you know anyone affected by this tragic bridge collapse. I have confirmed that the few people that I know live in the area are okay, but it’s a small world – everyone knows someone who was affected by it.

    Friday Quickie

    July
    27
    2007

    Just a few things for you and I’m going to dig in and try to get as much accomplished today as possible:

    1. I need a couple of volunteers for what I’ll call beta testing, it requires honesty – tact is optional.
    2. We’ve had a very cool bird here again, and now I’m all worried about my bunnies – this gal (I think she’s a she) has been perched on this poplar tree right behind my house. Gorgeous, indeed – hopefully she keeps her talons to the tray feeder, rodents – and the occasional locust.
    3. My family-less baby bunny is loving his (or her) little treats. I had to pick up more carrots so I opted for the big whole carrots (cheep cheep) for keeping my grandbunnies spoiled, this little dude looked hilarious this morning “I have a big carrot, and a little mouth! I’m just not sure how well this plan was thought through!” (think Meet the Robinsons)
    4. I’m going to be attending THE cocktail party Saturday night. You know. That huge girly blogging conference in Chicago? Yes, I’m going to go meet some very cool people – will you be among them? Let me know if you’re going!
    5. Add-on: Wicked cool – a hummingbird moth that has eluded me and my camera for weeks finally posed for me! These are cool!

    That, my friends, is all I got. I know – but next week promises to be more creatively entertaining, since I couldn’t put finishing touches on any of my projects this week. Once I wrap up these next few, I’ll be painting a few custom portraits – so I’m gearing up to be in the studio with my brushes again very soon!

    Stick with what you’re good at.

    July
    4
    2007

    I love to sing. When I was in high school, I was in Madrigals, chorus, A Capella choir. I sang a whole lotta songs people, I sang all. the. time.

    I kinda thought I was ok. I mean how could I be in all that stuff if I wasn’t at least an ok singer? I even had a fleeting thought while watching one of the American Idol tryouts that maybe I could do that. heh! That woulda been both fun and humiliating at the same time. C’mon, I know I’m not the only one who thought about it. Fess up. (For me? Wouldjya huh wouldjya?)

    It should come as no surprise then that I sing around the house quite frequently. I sing to my girls, I sing silly songs and I belt out a tune off key just for the goofy looks I get from my kids. Admittedly, I remember giving my mom those sqwishy eyed “ohh my GAWD my MOM is SINGING again” looks, and I go for them intentionally with my own kids, just because. It’s fun. And I’m glutton for punishment, and stuff.

    The other day, I had mentioned to our neighbors (the Reverend and The Reverend’s Wife) that I was thinking about joining the church choir. My husband shot me that glance. You know the one. “Are you kidding? Mmmf. crap, I just made a face. I better look away now before I get in big trouble.”

    I was confused. Perplexed, even. But I’m good, I thought. I’ve been good since I was in high school. He is such a dork.

    I had to get to the bottom of this, and thank God for children who don’t know how to lie to their parents very good yet, because I finally got an honest answer from someone.

    In the car yesterday (on the way to get DIE for my HAIR because the WHOLE RESTAURANT NEEDED TO KNOW that MOMMY HAS GRAY HAIR AND IS GONNA MAKE IT BROWN!) I asked my 10 year old Catybug if she thought I’d be good in the church choir.

    I got the face.

    Catybug: “Yeah, mom, I think you’d be ok in the church choir, are you going to join?”

    Me: “I’m thinking about it. Do you think I’d be good solo?”

    Catybug: “You mean like by yourself, with nobody else singing?”

    Me: “Yes, honey, that’s what I mean.”

    Catybug: “Well, you know when you have the earphones in and you’re singing along on your MP3, you kinda sing high when it should be low, and low when it should be high, and you don’t sound anything like the song, Mom.”

    Me: “So, if I’m being drown out by people who sing better than I do and loud accompanying music, I’m ok, right?”

    Catybug: “Yeah! Then you’re really good!”

    Me: “Uhhhhh…. ”

    Reality check. High school was 18 years ago.


    Have a fabulous 4th, with special heartfelt thanks to our Men & Women in Uniform for our ability to enjoy and celebrate this day. Be sure to check back for some amazing fireworks photos, too. I’m taking my camera!

    Tiny Text?

    July
    3
    2007

    After receiving a comment about the font size being much too small – the word tiny was used, in fact, I made several modifications to my template to increase the font size and make it larger.

    I’ll be adding a text resizer in addition to having made adjustments – but I do need to hear from you, my readers – how is the text size for you? And yes, this is a big deal – because the way that I design and the text sizes that I choose for my clients are all based on the browsers I have available to test on, as well.

    Thanks for your feedback.

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