Saturday, February 28, 2015

Farewell February

Hi friends,

Before I get into today's post, let me first share a fun birthday card I made for my co-worker.  I made this at a Stampin Up workshop and it's the kind of card I never think to make, but love it.  Very colorful, very fun and very 3 dimensional.

I am so happy to bid farewell to February.  It actually was a great month for me, a lot of really great things happened, but oh my word - the snow - the cold - I'm very much ready to flip the calendar to a new month.  And flip the calendar I will!

For those who don't live in New England, we have had near record breaking weather in February. 100 inches of snow in one month.  And that was IN ADDITION to the 2 feet of snow we got the last week of January.  Almost every week there was a storm that dumped over a foot of snow on us, cancelling work, school and making a mess of everything.  And if that weren't trouble enough, we also were breaking records for cold. We had 28 consecutive days with lows of 20 degrees or colder. Last Sunday the temps rose to almost 40 degrees.  People were out in shorts!  It felt so much warmer to us compared to the bitter cold days we had been having, it was like summer to us.  This is a picture of my back yard.  Can you see the fences in the back?  Those are 8 feet high fences and the snow is almost to the top.

So, what does all that cold and snow do to my routine?  Well, it made things really inconvenient but for me it was really just a nuisance. Driving to work was difficult because it's really hard to get out of my neighborhood since 2 lane roads become one, pulling out from my side street onto Beaver Street is dangerous because it's very hard to see the on-coming traffic, and once I get on 128 south, with all the salt on the road, it's nearly impossible to actually see where the lanes are.  And of course, my back and shoulders ache from shoveling, shoveling, shoveling.  Thankfully Bob has the snow blower and does most of the heavy lifting in this area, but I shovel the dogs path in the back and shovel the front walkway for the postman.

So, overall an inconvenience for me, but for others, it was much more significant.  Many people in the Boston area rely on public transportation or have jobs that they can't do from home.  For these people, this February has meant many hours of lost wages (when a company can't open, workers can't earn money.)  When public transportation shuts down (which it did several days in Feb) people can't get to work (even if the company is open.)  And when public transportation is not running at normal schedules, people arrive to work late and/or have to leave for work much, much earlier.  And I don't think it was very pleasant to walk to bus stops or train stops with giant snowbanks blocking the sidewalks and waiting on a snowbank corner for an extra long time for the bus.  I really feel bad for these people and am aware of this is just one more area where the difference between rich and poor is significant.

So, in the opening sentence I alluded to many great things happening in February, let me tell you about those things.

First, on February 1st, I started my new job as Contract Center Manager.  Having been in the new role for a month, I can say that I really like it.  I'm still heavily involved in my old job, but have started tackling some of my new 2015 projects in the contract center and am enjoying managing a team of 4 people.  I forgot how interesting it is to work with direct reports.  People are so funny.  I've already had a number of funny instances with the team and since I'm an old lady now, I just laugh and don't ponder these things and stress about them.  So I'll give you a 'for instance.'  So I had our first team meeting and I asked them to each share something about them that they want to share with the team, particularly something I may not know about them.  I was thinking of sort of an ice breaker to start the meeting.  I also asked them to share the accounts they support, the challenges they face in their job and where they think they add the most value to the company.  So we get into the meeting and the first person to share says 'well, I really want to be a super hero - Captain America'  I'm like 'okay....'  Then they proceed to share that their wife also wants them to be Captain America.  Now, I'm getting nervous - please don't over-share here!!!  So, we move on to the next topic.  The next person shares that they want to be a Minion.  At this point I'm trying hard not to bust up laughing.  I was actually thrilled.  These people are not brown nosers who wanted to impress the new boss.  Imagine how dull it would have been if they said 'well, I like to read the Wall Street Journal in my free time and spend my weekends advancing my excel skills so I can write macros.'  Instead I have super hero's!  I'm looking forward to more adventures with this great group!

So, second, on February 7&8, I headed to NYC with my mom, daughter and met my sister and cousin.  We had such a nice time visiting the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa.)  They had a Matisse exhibit that was really interesting and we enjoyed a fun lunch of Ramen and dinner in Jersey City.

Then on February 10th (was originally supposed to be Fec 9th, but the snow storm cancelled my flight and I had to fly out one day later) I headed to Dallas for the Vendavo Price Summit.  This is a great event that I've been to for the last several years.  This year was extra special because I was one of the break-out group speakers.  Jin and I had been working on our presentation materials for several months and we were very prepared.  The session went well and we got good feedback that our session was interesting and the topic was relevant to the audience.  I think they published the sessions in You Tube format (only for session attendee's) and I'm kind of afraid, but also curious to watch it back.  Did I really nail it as much as I think I did?  In the end I plan to watch it.  How can I grow as a speaker if I'm too afraid to actually watch my own session?

Here I am presenting on such an exciting topic 'change management!'  Notice my hand gestures!  I was probably very animated!

 Below:  Rich (my boss), me, Aditya and Jin at the hoe-down party.

Below:  In the back, Mayur, Rich, Aditya (and me in front) during one of the sessions.

Christine, Jin, me, Mayur and Aditya at the 'Gala.'

And on February 13th, we closed on our NH cabin.  That was fun, exciting and exhausting.  We had a u-haul truck reserved for Feb 14th and another snow storm was on it's way.  We felt confident we'd have time to get the furniture (couch from craig's list, mattresses from Bob's discount furniture), drive the truck up to the cabin and return the truck back before the snow started.  We managed to get it all done, but not before the storm came.  We had some harrowing driving on NH back roads, in a non-snow friendly 17' U-haul truck, but all worked out in the end.  Sunday February 15th, we awoke (after sleeping on our new comfy mattresses) to a beautiful winter wonderland in rural NH.  In winter, with the snow falling, it really is magical.  Our cabin is in the middle of no-where and at night, it's soooo dark and soooo silent.  No light pollution and just utter and complete silence.  It's very  nice.   Last Sunday we went snow shoeing right out the back door.  Then we filled the wood stove, sat our new sectional, read a book and R-E-L-A-X-E-D.  I think we are really going to like the cabin winter-spring-summer-fall.

Since then, nothing interesting has happened, but it was a very busy and exciting 2 weeks from Feb 1-Feb 14th.  Today I'm going to make 'from scratch' slow cooker bolegnese sauce and my friend Karen is coming over.  I haven't seen her in forever and I'm looking forward to catching up with her. How about you? What's on your agenda for today.  I hope you have a great day and thanks so much for visiting my blog today.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Papertrey anniversary - stamp that hasn't seen ink

This challenge was to make a card using a stamp set that hasn't seen ink.  I discovered that my background herringbone set had never been used.  Gasp!  How could that be?  It's beautiful.  It's trendy and it's sat in the stamp bin for over a year unused.

Thanks for visiting today.  Make it a great one.

Papertrey Ink Anniversary and a ton of snow (again) {sigh}

Hi friends,

Well, it's Monday so that means MORE SNOW!  Every Monday lately it seems we get 12-24 inches of snow.  For the past three weeks, work, school, activities have all been cancelled and my dear husband has been snow blowing, shoveling and otherwise struggling with the snow to keep our family going.

But, I'm not going to complain.  Instead I will show you some fun, bright and cheerful cards I've been making.  I'm warning you.  There will be several posts on my blog today.  Each card I made (that matched the challenge assignment) needs its own blog entry to be entered in the contest.  Last year I won $100.00 gift certificate so I'm trying again this year and hoping I'm lucky again.

So, here is the first one.  The first challenge was to use both a sketch and a color recipe to 'make' your card creation.  Here is what I came up with:
And here is the color and sketch recipe I worked with.

I can never have enough thank you cards.  Want to see snow?  A lot of snow?  Well, even if you don't I'm going to share.  As I've said, we have sooo much snow.  First a look out the back door.  Bob went out with the snowblower this morning and cleared the driveway of 5 inches or so.  He'll have to do it again tonight to clear.  He is really running out of places to put it.
 This is the view out the front door.  Can you see how high the snow is piled next to the road.  It's very dangerous.  There is no visibility when you pull out from a street at an intersection.
 Yes, it sure is pretty, but oh my word, there is so much of it!  Will spring every arrive?  I hope so.
Well, thanks for visiting my blog today.  I'll have a few more posts all in a row, but will be back to normal blogging by the end of the week.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wedding Card, Superbowl win and so much snow!

Hi friends,

Today's post is rich with photos.  First up is a wedding card I made this weekend.   Sarah has been asked to be a last minute bridesmaid in a friends wedding.  I guess Sarah and this friend are casual friends, mostly she is a friend of a friend but one of the bridesmaids had to step down at the last minute so Sarah will be in her wedding in mid-February.  I was happy to make a card for her to bring. I wanted to use the brides colors, but the colors are more burgundy/plum than the colors I used, but since it's February and love, I thought this deep pink/red was nice and all my other colors were too lavender like (not really plum like.)  Note to self - buy plum inks and papers when I see them.
This card follows the sketch from Karen Giron's Sweet Sunday Sketch.  It uses Quilled Elegance by Papertrey Ink and some fun Stampin Up patterned paper.  The bling on the edge makes it fun and festive for a wedding and satisfies the sketch element of circle design elements in the upper right corner. 

Here's an up close view of the front.

And here is a picture of the sketch.

So did you watch the Superbowl on Sunday?  Did you root for my team, the New England Patriots or were you there for the party and the commercials.  Oh my word, what a night.  We had soooo many mood swings throughout that game.  Vibrating with excitement all afternoon (well my husband was, me not so much), then elated joy in the first half as we played well and seemed to stand a good chance of winning, then frustration, anger and fear in the 3rd quarter, to downright dismay in the 4th quarter, only to end the game in elation again!  At various points in the 2nd half, my dear husband almost went into cardiac arrest.  He cares a bit too much about how a bunch of young men handle a ball!  Here's a picture of him at the end of the first half feeling happy and confident.  
We found a great way to watch the big game.  We headed to our local pub - John Brewers.  They had great bar seats with good views of the TV, a lively and fun crowd and attentive bar tenders.  The food is good and unlike going to a party, everyone was there for the game.  The place went WILD at the end of the game and it was a lot of fun.

Monday morning brought snow.  Lot's of snow.  this was on top of the 2 feet of snow we got the week before.  Did I mention we have a lot of snow?  It's very white, very fluffy, very cold and way too much of it.  I worked from home and Tank kept me company (with a watchful eye on the neighborhood) all day.
 Bob did a great job clearing the driveway.  This morning was his third pass a the snow.  It just kept snowing all day and night so it required three passes through to enable us to get in an out with the cars.
 The view of my neighbors house from the driveway.  Poor Bob has no place left to blow the snow.
 Tank and Joey put their coats on this morning to go out.  They don't mind the cold, but the salt and sand really bother their feet when we walk in the street.  Of course the sidewalks are not passable!

 This gives a little perspective around the neighborhood.  See how the snow in this yard is up to the doorknob of their front door?
Yup, it's a MESS!  This is after all the snow plows came through.  I think we are going to be walking and driving in this snowy mess for a few weeks.

 Well, hope you have a great day.  Stay warm!