Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Believe in Yourself

Have I mentioned the class I'm taking this summer is 5 credits? And that it meets for 2 hours a day Monday through Thursday? And that we have a quiz every day? Or that the guy teaching it is...actually, I have not a bad word to say about the man.  But damn he moves fast!

This whole process has been a fun challenge up to this point.  I'm not going to lie: I've complained a lot a long the way, but it's all been doable.  But things ARE getting harder. And I have my doubts.  It's funny, because I've done this before (I already have a degree in math, so shouldn't this be a piece of cake?), but it's not like riding a bike. And having not used those muscles for 20 years, it's like doing it for the first time.

But I really want this.  And I'm entirely different person than I was at 18 and 20 and 22.  I have a focus and a determination that I never had before.  I have my priorities laid out and I'm honoring them on a daily basis.  I know myself, my strengths and my weaknesses.  I know how to manage my time, how to push through and when to take a break.

This won't last forever (although, it's sort of feeling like it at the moment), but I am seeing the end in sight.

And all of that ↑↑↑  is what this ↓↓↓ is all about:

This is a lousy shot of a page I really like.  If you know the kinds of pages I make, I'm not one on embellishments - love them, but they feel awkward unless they have meaning.  (even then, I'm no master, so I often remove them before committing to them)  But this does have symbolism - the graph paper represents my math journey, the butterflies are...well, duh...the leaves are growth, the metal shows the strength that I want to have.  Even the hexagons are routed in an assignment on tessellations I had last semester that really pissed me off. :P

But yeah - the hexagons are hot right now.  I love them and this won't be the last time they pop up on a page.  Maybe next time they'll be a little "funner" than they are this time around.  But I *love* these - they way they're wonky and just trail off.  And here's a fun tidbit: I asked Kerri Bradford to make them and she did.  How cool is that? The set can be found HERE.

I spritzed the background with Mr. Huey's and cut the hexagons out of the patterned paper and then cut the hexagon edges in black and mounted that on top of the patterned paper, then mounted the whole thing on the spritzed cardstock using foam squares. I love the way the elevation creates the shadows.  Sadly, it just doesn't show up in the photos.

So that's that today.  It's not my usual way, but I like it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

It may not make sense to you, but to me, it means the world.

Scrapbookers document.  Through photos, words, and products, we chose a story, we convey a mood, we record our perspective.  We choose big stories - life's monumental occasions: weddings, new babies, graduations.  We choose the reoccurring biggies: first days of school, lost teeth, Thanksgiving and birthdays. But we often forget to record those fleeting moments that make up the seemingly mundane of every day life.

Listen, I'm guilty of this, too.  Kids whining about not wanting to unload the dishwasher is hardly compelling scrapbook material. But I got this one right.  And it may not make sense, or you may get mired down in the minutia of what was said, but for me the fact that I got that crappy cell phone photo and a quote from my son down - that's my definition of hitting it spot on.

One night when I was too lazy to cook I herded Ted and Molly into the car and we headed for Chipotle.  On our way a personalized license plate sparked a conversation that eventually meandered into a conversation about the phrase "In God we trust" on money, and whether the sentiment is unconstitutional.  I have to admit, having a seventh grader who questions whether ANYTHING is unconstitutional makes me pretty proud. We talked about how our country was founded by people looking to be free of religious persecution, and how William Bradford wrote extensively on the importance of respecting the religious rights of others.  We don't need to believe what other's do, but we do have to give them the freedom to worship as they see fit.  And then we talked about how we have different ways of referring to God, and different thoughts about what He wants for and from us, but that we can probably agree that "God" is a widely accepted terms, and is probably plenty constitutional.  Just about then we arrived at Chipotle and as we walked through the parking lot he said it: "But not all religions are monotheistic."  My son, whose every thought seems to revolve around football and baseball and video games, used the word monotheistic correctly in a sentence debating the constitutionality of...well...anything.  I'm not saying he was right or wrong, I'm saying: Wow. It was such an unexpected thing that as we stood in line at Chipotle I typed the sentence into my phone.  We sat down with our food and while I fussed with my foil wrapper and getting everything just so it occurred to me that I should snap a quick picture of Ted - something to remember the day with.  By the time I finished with the phone and started eating I looked over and noticed that he was taking the last bite of his burrito.  In the time it took me to unwrap my straw, tear off the top of our chip bag and peel the foil off my burrito he was DONE.  Apparently this is what it is to have a teenage, sports-playing son on the cusp of becoming a grown up.

I love that I saved this memory.  It might not make sense to anyone other than me, but it's my memory and every time I turn the page and see this, I will smile and my heart will be happy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bouncing Back

So I said I'd post something scrapbooky soon, and there's no time like the present!  We started a new chapter in Calc today and apparently the first sections  are easier than subsequent sections, because I got my homework done in about 2 hours, which is down from the usual 5. So I've got a little unaccounted for free time! YEE HAA!!

I made this layout for the Cord Camera Scrapbook Studio Design Team for June and it was posted a little while ago and I haven't had a chance to add my 2¢ about it.  I was asked to play with Bella Blvd's Sunshine and Happiness line.  I absolutely love bright, vibrant colors and I gravitate towards playful, small(ish) patterns.  These papers hit all my favorite things! Well, not my graph paper favorite thing, but that's another day's post...  Naturally I had a ton of fun with these papers. 

Sometimes you start the layout process holding a picture and thinking about the story you want to tell.  In this case, I had the papers first, I immediately thought of a picture of my older daughter Maggie wearing an orange striped swimsuit in our community pool when we lived in Rochester, Indiana 15 or so years ago.  I set out to find that photo but got sidetracked along the way.  That can sometimes happen when you have something like 20 shoeboxes of photos to dig through...  Have you ever been flipping through photos looking for something and coming across something that stops you dead in your tracks? You let out a little sigh and stare at the photo while memories wash over you? So cheesy, I know, but that's what happened.  

When I got my first studio light I didn't really know what I was doing, and the best way to learn is to play and practice and experiment and analyze and retry.  Molly was both my assistant and my muse.  She was so good about letting me practice on her.  For my part, I did my best to make it either short or fun or a little of both.  On this day, I had a big cup full of bouncy balls and had her fling the balls at me.  The shots were super fun - globs of color floating in the air and her happy expression and chubby toddler hands behind them.  

I love the way the Bella Blvd papers convey a fun and happy vibe.  I love (lovelovelove) the wonky scallop borders - can't get enough of that!

I used the words that came on the sticker sheet interspersed with my journaling, but wanted to add just a little more color to keep the flow - so added colored text boxes around various words.  For the sticker words that were white, I just used a colored pencil and none-to-carefully traced around them just to help them pop a little more.  I love that the journaling became a design element.  I want to remember to try this again sometime soon.

I feel like I might be the last person in the scrapperverse to try these stick pin/flaggie things.  

I'm gonna come right out and say it:
I don't know why, but they do.  I envision injuries and blood.  But I'm here to tell you, no bodily fluids were lost in the making of this layout or in any subsequent handling.  Maybe they're not that scary after all.  And they're danged cute!  
Oh.  The little graphic prints make my heart happy.  The grids, itty bitty polka dots and chevrons in happy colors are perfect.  They couldn't have picked a better name for this line than Sunshine and Happiness! I totally agree.

And now, Molly aged 11 11/12 is waiting for me to beat her play her in a couple of games of ping pong!

Thanks for stopping by!

p.s. Did you notice that there was NO SILHOUETTE used on this page?  I know, right? CRAZZZY!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Epic Flail

Have you ever watched a drowning scene in movie or tv show where the actor is swatting at the surface of the water and gasping for air? Only their head is above water more than it's under, so they're not in any real danger (yet) and you feel like yelling at the screen "If you'd just calm down, take a deep breath and keep your fingers together, you'd be FINE!"  It's that flailing around that is so desperate and so very unproductive.  And yet, when you're in that moment, when you feel so helpless and scared and the panic sets in and takes over, it's the only thing your confused body can muster.

Sometimes all you really have to do it put your feet down and stand up to find that you were never really in danger in the first place.

I don't know what this has to do with scrapbooking or blogging, except this round-about "this is where I am" post.  I am not prepared to say that I am a perfectionist, because I am far too lazy for that.  But I'm not fond of failure and I'm even less fond of half-assing it.  And while I'm not a perfectionist, I do have a little "thing" about my grades.  I was never like this the first time around.  I worked kinda hard(ish) but maintaining a good work/life balance was more important than my grades.  And sometimes my definition of "life" was a little way off base.  Note to the 20 year-old version of me: Wheel of Fortune reruns do NOT count as "life."  Anyway, my grades: frankly, it's not the grade that concerns me.  If that were the case I'd cheat.  It's not the grade that concerns me so much as the level of understanding and ability it represents. Someone who earns a B simply doesn't have the same grasp of the material as the person who earns the A.  Theoretically, at least.  Because the person who earned the A could turn around and forget it all by the time their lunch is digested and ultimately know less than the B person, if that B person were diligent about learning from his or her mistakes and keeping the information active within their memory banks.


There it is. The 83% on my Calc II exam.  That leaves me with an overall  89%.  The good news is, I kept the dumb mistakes to a minimum - maybe 3 points were because I just transcribed something wrong or made a sign error.  That's good.  The bad news is, the other mistakes were because I had genuinely forgotten, or didn't have a good enough grasp of the concept.  Now that is where I feel like the bad actor slapping the water and gasping for breath.  Because I do know this stuff.  And now, because I didn't have it on the day of the test, hopefully I've kicked into my brain in such a manner than I'll do better next time the question comes up.

Oy.  This going back to school as a bona fide adult isn't for wimps.  You develop that work ethic and standards and you raise the bar a little higher and suddenly really decent just isn't good enough.

Remember when this was a scrapbooking blog? Yeah. Me too.  I miss it.

You should take a minute to watch that. Especially if you have kids.  Because it's fun.
And also, so you can walk around singing "Potato, potato, potato. Potato, potato, potatooo. Potato, potato, potato" in your head, like me.

I'll be back in a day or two with an honest to goodness scrapbook post.
Thanks for stopping by.

And hey! Did you know that St. Hubert is the patron saint of mathematics?  He's also the patron saint of hunters, which means he has a pocket protector AND a cross bow.  How cool is that?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What I did on my Summer vacation:


Yesterday was one of those days where my professor talked and I listened...and for as much as I understood, he might as well have been speaking in Portuguese. Ok, maybe it wasn't quite THAT bad.  But it wasn't that good, either. And then he assigned the homework, which looked a little like this:

Chapter 5.8, page 398

Chapter 6.2, page 420

And then, for good measure, a worksheet.
Oh! And don't forget to study for the quiz.  You know...the QUIZ...the one we start every blessed class with.  His favorite phrase is "...I'll take a point off for every time you make that mistake." I'm convinced it's entirely possible to get a negative score on his tests.

Anyway, yesterday. Holy cow.  By the time 11:00 rolled around last night, I was done.  And by "done" I don't mean "finished my homework." Rather, I mean, I was done trying.  I was throwing in the towel. I woke up this morning with a lump in my stomach. This is the day that it all unravels.  This is the day that the gig is up.  You're not smart enough. You're not strong enough.  You're not dedicated enough. You're a sham. Just like before.

What a crappy way to start the day.

Plus, I hadn't even studied for the quiz.  Most of the time, in a math class, a quiz is "do these three problems."  With Mr. I-Will-Whip-Your-Sorry-Ass-Into-Shape-and-You-Will-EARN-Whatever-Grade-You-Receive it means memorization of definitions, theorems, and formulas. It's a page worth of regurgitation.  Math? Not (generally) a problem. Regurgitation? Sort of an problem.

My big issue yesterday is that we were doing something based on something I learned in 11th grade.  For those who don't know me personally, 11th grade was 1984. Holy SHITBALLS.  (excuse my language, but I deserve credit for holding that in until now) Normally when a teacher is working on something relatively obscure, like, say, hyperbolic trig functions, a teacher might elect to do a brief ten minute refresher.  No.  Not Mr. Damn-The-Calculus-Torpedoes-Full-Speed-Ahead.

Despite the self-loathing mantras I started the day with, I am smart enough to "plug-and-chug."  A mathematical term meaning "just plug the damn numbers into the formula and get the friggen answer already."  It's common practice for people who don't actually know (or want to know) the theories and concepts behind the math.  So I was able to - painstakingly - get through about 70% of the homework.

But 70% isn't really good enough in a class that meets for an hour and 45 minutes Monday through Thursday.  I suppose it would be fully acceptable on Thursday, but if you pull that 70% crap on Monday you are seriously putting yourself behind the eight ball for the rest of the week.  This guy moves fast and if you don't get what we talked about yesterday, you might be building your flimsy house of cards on a sandy beach in a windstorm, if you get my drift. Which is partially why I woke up with nothing kind to say to myself this morning.  "You're fucked" was kind of as nice as I could muster.

But the heavens smiled on me today.  He hadn't even taught the whole chapter yesterday.  And during our break I mentioned that I hadn't been in a trig class since 1984 (which, by the way, is a critical error when surrounded by a bunch of 19 year olds. There was a faint ripple of "1984??"s heard in the room after I said it. What an ego booster.  Because I'm taking that as they all had no clue that I was ...well...as old as I am.  Guess that cat's out of the bag now, eh?) Anyway, I mentioned the 1984 thing and that I couldn't really remember what it all meant and the professor didn't really say anything.  But then after he covered one or two things, he offered us an impromptu extra credit assignment.  In the course of telling us what he wanted us to do, he fully unfolded the concepts that I hadn't understood.   He drew and labeled graphs, reminded us what things meant, worked some parallel problems.

Gratitude is one of those things that has been ingrained in me from a million years ago.  I don't know if it's from years of "Say 'thank you.'" or the format of the way I pray, but good doesn't go unnoticed.  I am so grateful for the way he dropped back and punted.  That he changed up his lesson to quietly accommodate the old lady and did in a way that wouldn't bore the other students, and would even throw a life raft to some other students.  Despite my panic today, I'm doing well in the class.  I don't "need" extra credit, per se.  However, doing the exercise will reinforce what I had long ago forgotten.  That he didn't throw me under the bus for the other students to see or ignore my issues, for that I am extremely grateful.

Oh, and that homework up there^^^?  For the first time ever, he reposted it and told us to finish it up.


And so I came home with a HUGE weight off my shoulders.  Today would not be the day it all unraveled.  Or the day the gig was up.  I might revisit the sham thing, but I can let go of it today.

And then I allowed myself to work on some design team stuff.  Oh how wonderful it is to "have" to scrapbook.  To be able to switch gears, switch from left brain to right brain is such a relief sometimes.  And how grateful am I to have this opportunity to have this balancing agent in my life? ETERNALLY.

And the Instagram shot at the top of the post? That's the sneak peek.  But you knew that already.  ;)