Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday night grateful list


That was quite the full week! Lots going on with the family, so of course, a lot on the list of thankfulness...

Seth had a good first week of school. He is happy to be back with his buddies, and enjoying the wider circle that middle school has offered. He's done really well at managing his time and priorities this week (homework, already?) and so I'm super grateful for that! I'm hopeful that his strategy with his daily planner will really work for him this year.

The weather has been just about perfect, with the exception of one really nutty warm and windy day this week. But the cooler mornings and evenings are right up my alley, with sunshine all day long. I'm really grateful for this season, and I want to stretch it all the way to December.

Every new watermelon I cut up and then bite into, I think, "This is the BEST watermelon of the season." I swear, they just get better and better. I'm sure that's possible, don't you think? And I'm thankful for the flavor that only vine-ripened fruit has.

See that pretty rainbow picture above? My mom painted that this week and featured it on her blog. I love that piece (big surprise, right?!), and I'm very grateful to have such creative and artistic parents. They are both gifted in a variety of art forms and are always an inspiration to me.

I'm grateful for my thoughtful husband, who calls me up during the day with ideas for our Labor Day getaway.

I'm grateful for my sister-in-law, Kim, who is celebrating a birthday today. I love our little texts and phone calls and appreciate that she has put the time and effort into our relationship lo these past dozen years. You're the bestest, Kim, and I hope your birthday was wonderful.

The garden has devolved into a wild and weedy place these past few weeks, but I'm still grateful for all it puts forth in the way of squash and cucumbers, green beans and corn.

As I've picked up the running again lately, I'm grateful for the stamina and energy to get out there and put one foot in front of the other. I am hopeful I can achieve some consistency here this fall... I'm also grateful for the beautiful scenery all around me while I'm running... today I just wanted to stop and take it all in, but that's also partly because I just wanted to stop...

Grateful for memories, both good and bad. The good ones, for the warmth and glow they bring to mind, and the less good ones for, well, contrast, really. There's a saying about the sweet not being as sweet, without the sour. Makes total sense to me. One of the last essays in the book I finished today, How Did You Get This Number, was about a love affair that ended quite horribly and how finally she was able to say that during her time with this man she did not have what would be the worst day of her life, nor did she have the best day of her life. And that helped put things in perspective for her. That really resonated with me; kind of an a-ha moment on the lawn mower, if you will. (No, I wasn't reading and driving. Audiobook.)

Grateful for the weekend with my men. Not sure what adventures it will hold, but I don't mind that, just so we're together.

For those in pain and those in limbo and those for whom it all just seems a bit much lately, lots of thoughts and prayers going out for you tonight. May the sour soon turn to sweet.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday 13: 13 things I'm looking forward to

Back to school as an "event" has come and gone around here, and now summer feels like it was just a dream... sigh.

So, let's look forward. What's going on in the coming months (my FAVORITE months of the year, in case you didn't know)? Some of these items are actual events, some are just general fall things that I adore...

1. I have a few girlfriends from high school who are coming to town for a few days next week, and I haven't seen some of them in more than a decade, I'm pretty sure; could be closer to two decades with a couple of them. It will be good to see them over lunch or coffee. We're mostly caught up on Facebook, which has proved to be such an amazing reconnector.

2. Shorter days... I wish we could pause time, though, in a couple of weeks and not get any shorter on the daylight. The darkness is my least favorite part of fall/winter. I could handle it being light 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. year round. Can anyone work that out for me? I'd be ever so grateful.

3. Spending Labor Day with my parents and brother&fam on Mayne Island.

4. Hopefully going to go see Jen in Portland in a couple of weeks. She's had some family/friend stuff going on around her the past couple of weeks, but I hope it still works out.

5. Winding down the garden, harvesting basil and tomatoes and winter squash... all the good stuff is still going on for a few more minutes.

6. Seth's birthday. Woot-woot. 14!

7. My birthday. Woot-woot! 42!

8. Getting out the fall clothes and shoes...

9. Thanksgiving (favorite holiday EVER) AND 5th anniversary with husband. And a little getaway for us to celebrate. Can you believe it's already been 5 years? Me neither. Whoosh. Happy whoosh, but still...

10. Christmas with family. The plan is for everyone to come here, which totally works for me. And Seth is with us this year too. Major joy.

11. The colors of fall. We don't have color, per se, on a scale like the Northeast states, but we still have some yellows, a few reds and of course, a lot of shades of brown... and leaves fall, there's fewer mowings... all good.

12. Fall energy. I love the back-to-school mindset, even if I'm not the one going back... fresh starts, empty comp books ready to be filled up with thoughts and ideas. Some of my favorite things. And I've started running again; fall weather is perfect for hitting the pavement! Having energy for that is just terrific.

13. Fall eating/holiday baking. Is there a season when I DON'T enjoy eating? Probably not, but Thanksgiving dinner is one of my all-time favorites, and all the baking that takes place in the weeks before Christmas makes that time so special and fun... time to pull out the holiday recipes and get ready!

What's going on with your fall? Hope you have some fun things planned. Tell me about it!

For more Thursday 13s, go here. And have a marvelous Thursday!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Daybook: Aug. 24, 2010, first day of school

Friend Jen has done the daybook practice a couple of times lately, and each time I think, "Oh, good one! I should do that one of these days..." Apparently, today is the day! What better day for taking stock than the first day of school?

Outside my window... it's very quiet except for the lawn sprinklers. And a few birds. Oh, and the dogs. But still, quite quiet. And cool. I'm amazed at how quickly it's turned from "too  warm all night, I wish it would cool off just a bit" to "wow, where are my fuzzy slippers?" That's first thing in the morning, of course; looking out at the cloudless sky, I'm thinking it will warm up to a nice sizzle by the time Seth takes his first cross-country run this afternoon.

I am thinking... that the world can be a sad and crazy place and almost everyone I know has a slice of the pain/disappointment pie, on some level. Thank goodness for love, that's what I'm thinking. Because loving each other through the pain is about the best we can hope for, most days. (And if you're feeling like the pain/disappointment pie has passed you by--roll with me here, I know that metaphor doesn't quite hold--just wait for a minute or two. Or, take up post in a public place and people watch. Really watch. There's joy, there's laughter, but there's also a lot of pain. Sorry for the downer paragraph here, it's just what it is, not always sweet tea and sunshine!)

I am thankful for... time. I realize more and more how quickly it's all going by, and the ability to pause and breathe in and out and be appreciative is a skill I'm still working on. It's going to be a lifelong thing, the learning to pause...

From the kitchen... I'm making a nectarine coffee cake for a mom's get-together later this morning, and it's spilling over in the oven, oh joy... yes, the kids go off to school and we celebrate. A fabulous thing, really. Also just made husband his breakfast shake and Seth an egg "mcmuffin." Smells good around here.

I am wearing... my favorite black skirt and a tan polo and my favorite Teva flip-flops too. Comfy.

I am creating...
a physical space to create in. And mental space that is more focused than it's been lately. Trying to pare down the scattered thoughts. Wish me luck.

I am going...
for a run later today. (If I say it out loud, it will happen. That's a theory, right?)

I am reading...
How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley. It's my palette cleanser after the heavier reading of the summer. Well, one heavy book. Give me a break. (Oh, and I just noticed there's no question mark in that title. That could well and truly drive me nuts. That title needs a question mark... I wonder how many editing meetings took place over that title? I hope the copy editor went down swinging, that's all I can say...)

I am hoping...
to achieve some clarity and direction in a meeting later today. Love a little hope!

I am hearing...
that bedbugs are back as an epidemic. This is dampening my travel "bug" a little, so to speak, but not a lot. I'll get past it. And buy some bug spray.

Around the house...
Seth and I did some good work on Sunday, getting a few problem areas in the house under control--my office, for one, and then his game space in the basement, and my crafty space too... feeling much better about the clutter, but there's more to be done. Hello, fall energy, I am glad to see you!

One of my favorite things...
about summer has been the absolute cornucopia of fresh fruit. I have loved it, as always. And already feeling nostalgic for berries...

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Just getting into the groove of the school routines, making lists for fall plans and getting our schedules all on track...

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

 Mr. Eighth Grade, heading off into the world

If you'd like to try out this exercise, go to: The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday night grateful moment

A suprisingly fast week, capping off a surprisingly fast summer. School starts on Tuesday, and I'm feeling OK with that at the moment.

This week we're going true "list style." 

I'm grateful/thankful/full-to-overflowingly-blessed by:

The love and support of family. 

A thoughtful and kind husband.

A terrific son. 

The love within our little family unit.

Great friends of all stripes!

Beautiful setting to watch fall slowly arrive.

Cooler mornings and evenings.

Doggies who are all well and happy (mostly).

Great vet care in this valley.

Good health. I don't take that for granted. Ever.

More information available than my spongey brain can absorb!

A new start to each day.

Fresh, amazing produce to eat right out of the garden!

The ability to articulate how I feel, what I think.

The value of a list; can't you just tell how I love them?

A creative spirit. Now to find where I left my focus...

Some quiet time with husband over the weekend to look forward to.

The calming effect of prayer. Lots of people in sadness this week, lots of need for prayer. 

The cathartic effect of a rant. (I read this week that an anger rant can actually be good for you, just don't stay IN the anger. I can do that!)

What are YOU thankful for this week?

Wishing you some peace, love and tenderness, wherever you are this weekend. xo

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thursday 13: My video box is overflowing. Time to share.

Video box? What's a video box? I made it up. Pretend I have one, and it's full to overflowing with videos I've collected from here and there over time and have been meaning to share but have just been too busy with this and that (summertime stuff).

So here they are. Hope there are a couple you haven't seen before!

1. A friend shared this video on Facebook recently. Fascinating information, and I think the animation makes it all the more engaging.

2. Can't resist a little Sam Tsui action. I flipped past a rerun of him performing on The Bonnie Hunt show last week and it reminded me how cool he is! And this song is still a favorite around here.

3. Really cool ad for a sports drink...

4. Dance, dance, dance. The fluidity of their movement is mesmerizing to me.

5. Amazing digital editing.

Seaweed from Tell No One on Vimeo.

6. This one has been making the rounds around Facebook too. I love it: scrappy girls!

7. A bit of a time commitment, but so worth it. Natalie Merchant has a new album out for the first time since 2003, Leave Your Sleep, essentially poetry (written by others, not her) set to music. Here she talks at a TED conference about her process, how this project came about, and sings.

8. Very fun stop-motion animation.

9. At Alinea, Grant Achatz's restaurant in Chicago, he makes dessert for customers right on the table. Edible art... a very unique experience.

10. Watch this video and prepare to adjust your expectations of what your living space needs are! Very clever design.

11. Fun music video from Alphabeat. Yes, a frothy Scandanavian band...

12. We've been on a bit of a Brian Regan kick around here. This clip makes me hungry for poptarts.

13. Remember The Element Song I posted a few Fridays back? Here's a song to help you remember the U.S. Presidents... rhythmic and catchy, should stay in my brain!

So, which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

For more Thursday 13s, go here.

Midweek reminder: My own bursting heart

Oh, how appropriate this poem is right now. I think I've eaten just about every cherry tomato this summer straight from the vine. Heaven.

Cherry Tomatoes

Suddenly it is August again, so hot,
breathless heat.
I sit on the ground
in the garden of Carmel,
picking ripe cherry tomatoes
and eating them.
They are so ripe that the skin is split,
so warm and sweet
from the attentions of the sun,
the juice bursts in my mouth,
an ecstatic taste,
and I feel that I am in the mouth of summer,
sloshing in the saliva of August.
Hummingbirds halo me there,
in the great green silence,
and my own bursting heart
splits me with life.
-Anne Higgins

Photo source

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Artichoke heart delights

It's been a while since I posted this heavenly future file idea: fried artichoke hearts!

I had a great time making them--it was indeed a trick to NOT immediately eat the hearts after having roasted the artichokes, but somehow I persevered!

Click on the link above for the original recipe to fry up the hearts, then see below for my adaptation of the dish: Hearts salad! It is a good way to make it seem like you're having something healthy with your fried food, a clever little trick if I do say so myself!

Artichoke heart salad
Layer greens on a dinner plate
Cut into quarters a cup or so of cherry or grape tomatoes and sprinkle over the greens
Place a half dozen fried artichoke halves/quarters over the tomatoes
Drizzle with ranch dressing


Sunday, August 15, 2010

West-side warm and wonderful wedding

This weekend we took a quick jaunt over to the west side of the state for a friend's wedding. (This is the follow-up to that fabulous girlfriend Whidbey Island weekend over Memorial Day, yes indeed, the reason we all got together to celebrate Kate!)

The wedding was held at a beautiful garden in Mt. Vernon. About nine (of the 51 total) acres are landscaped into beautiful gardens, ranging from formal rose gardens to more informal perennial beds. I don't think we walked all of the grounds, but we did do a bit of exploring after the ceremony, before it got dark, and there were many beautiful flowers and shubbery on display.

The entrance to the rose gardens.

One of my favorites: hydrangea!

There were apple and pear trees trained horizontally between fence posts. Very cool.

Lots of paths like this through flower beds... it was nice to wander in the shade!

The flowers inside the dinner tent were pretty amazing as well.

There were a few chalkboards with quotes on them, around the garden.

Kate on her way down the aisle. It was an unbelievably warm day for that area--around 90 degrees, I think, which is average for over here. But for that side of the state it was like a furnace! The shade extended during the course of the ceremony to include most of the audience; sadly the bride and groom never got shade... but they made it through just beautifully.

After the ceremony we went to see Tabris, the garden's resident pygmy goat.

Handsome son just finished with taunting the goat.

Megan and I posing by our handiwork. My woodworking/painting skills combined with Megan's painting/lettering skills and voila! A sign is born.

The dessert buffet--how fabulous! It was quite amazing, and I sampled a great many morsels.

I do believe these little blueberry cream tarts might have been my favorite.

I can't remember how many layers are in this coconut cake, but it was very tasty!

And how about this espresso gem? Heavenly.

Really, something for every sweet tooth...

And, in between the ceremony and dinner, there were passed hors d'oeuvres on the lawn, and gelato! Four amazing flavors: strawberry, apricot, espresso and salted caramel. I had three of the four, and no, I don't think that was overdoing it!

See, small servings. Really.

Kate and Tony having first bites at the sweet treats. They were such a joyful couple. It was wonderful to witness their first evening together as husband and wife!

A dark picture of the "Whidbey Women" just before we cut loose on the dance floor.

I think this was my favorite quote of the evening.

We three went back to our hotel and slept quite soundly, woke up and came home. Whoosh. The sound of a weekend zipping by... but a happy one, and one that we were so blessed to be a part of.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happy 44th anniversary, Ma and Pa!

Isn't this the cutest young couple, ever?! Wishing you much joy and love in the next 44 years!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday night grateful moment

Nothing quite beats a Friday night... and on this night I am grateful:

For reminders of my childhood. I have a wonderful family and I don't take that for granted. I was blessed with a great platform from which to spring off into the world. (See picture above: Wasn't 1980 just the best?!)

For the laughter of good girlfriends. For six (at least) conversations happening almost simultaneously, and that we all get our stories told and heard in that chaos. For one-on-one time too, to share and catch up. For support through rough times and celebration through good times.

For the joy of a silly summer game played with two adolescent boys in the pool. Such sweet silly boys. I am so grateful for their friendship too.

For the unbelievable giddiness at learning new computer skills and for the ability (and patience) of teachers.

For a husband who misses me and the boy when we're gone and says so. For welcome home signs, and flowers.

For a beautiful summer night to lay on my front lawn and watch the meteor shower

For the reminder, as I look up at that vast sky, that I am a child of God and that as insignificant as I feel some days in the whole scheme of the universe, I am pretty significant to Him.

For an appreciation of the seasons; even though I have twinges of sadness that the heat of summer is passing and the days are getting shorter, I also think, "The heat of summer is passing! The days are getting shorter!" (See, exclamation points make all the difference!)

For the BEST watermelon of the season, which is phenomenal.

For a son who runs with me, even though he can now probably outpace me (at least in the short haul). I tell him it's for HIM that we're running (to get him conditioned for x-country) but I think we both know better...

For the anticipation of a wedding tomorrow, and all the joy and laughter and tears that will be a part of it.

For a quick but (hopefully) fun road trip with my guys. Singing, anyone?

For winning the Curly Girl blogging contest! Thanks to all of you who commented, I am soon to be in receipt of her magnetic hook board. Oh joy. I consider Curly Girl one of my biggest inspirations in all things crafty/arty/wordy. Bless her!

May your weekend be filled with all the good things that only summer can bring.

Photos: source, source, source

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thursday 13: Thirteen interesting articles I read this week

Seth and I returned Wednesday evening from journalism camp in Ellensburg, Wash. A great camp, and lots was learned by all. But the lack of wi-fi in the dorms was a bit sad for this internet-dependent soul; the iPad saved my bacon, truly. I streamed Netflix, I checked email, I tweeted and Facebooked, I took notes while sitting in class sessions... it really played the role of a mini-computer. Thank the 3G gods for connectivity!

But my ability to save/bookmark articles was limited (I still haven't gotten that piece of things working properly yet on the iPad), so I emailed articles to myself quite frequently. Kind of your lazy-woman's approach to a feed, don't you think? Very 2000 of me, if I do say so myself!

As I was cleaning out my email upon my return home (to my happy wi-fi situation), I thought I'd share some of my favorite news or blog articles of this week, in no particular order.

1. The secret to success article on The White Hot Truth site. I swear, I've been saying this for years... now to actually DO it, consistently. Therein lies the challenge!

2. From a blogger who is tired of the "brand" mantra, her manifesto:
The internet is made of people. People matter. This includes you. Stop trying to sell everything about yourself to everyone. Don’t just hammer away and repeat and talk at people—talk TO people. It’s organic. Make stuff for the internet that matters to you, even if it seems stupid. Do it because it’s good and feels important. Put up more cat pictures. Make more songs. Show your doodles. Give things away and take things that are free. Look at what other people are doing, not to compete, imitate, or compare... but because you enjoy looking at the things other people make. Don’t shove yourself into that tiny, airless box called a brand—tiny, airless boxes are for trinkets and dead people. -Maureen Johnson

3. On Twitter, my friend Jen shared this piece on how 16 companies got their names. Enjoyable trivia!

4. This Why I'm Not Hiring article from the Wall Street Journal is an interesting read on how it stacks up from the employers' side, dollars-wise. Frankly, the current system doesn't seem to work well for either side of the equation right now.

5. I like copyblogger most all of the time, and this article on increasing your online influence is valuable--if I implemented a fraction of these it would be helpful!

6. Can't help but put a spoonful of food love in here: The LA Times had a tidbit on figs and I loved the following paragraph especially: "The fig lover develops almost a mystical rapport with his fruit, alert to the many external hints—striated or stretch-marked skin, a touch of sunburn and a drop of honey at the bottom—that a supreme treat lies within." Mystical rapport. Supreme treat. Yep, that about sums it up!

7. This New York Times opinion piece on plagiarism got my wheels turning. Tiny sample: "All texts are palimpsests of earlier texts; there’s been nothing new under the sun since Plato and Aristotle  and they weren’t new either; everything belongs to everybody." This is not necessarily the author's opinion, but one that has been floated in recent years as viable, and one that calls into question the very notion of originality... these days plagiarism relates to much more than academic papers/books or journalistic practices, as the world of the internet has broadened everyone's horizons and makes "borrowing" easy and source-citing quickly forgotten and rarely noticed.

8. 20 magazines with the largest circulation from the Huffington Post. You'll at least get a smile from the one with the highest circulation, OR maybe not be surprised at all...

9. Anne Rice quits Christianity. This news gem has gotten a fair bit of play, and I read a number of articles about the whys and wherefores; not really surprising to me, her perspective. I appreciated this piece from the Washington Post, as well as this one written by Rev. Bill Schuler. Always intriguing when someone's innermost life (I can't think of anything more inner than spirituality) makes mainstream news. Or rather, when someone chooses to reveal these things to the world. I get why she's revealing, but it just seems rather orchestrated for a sound bite.

10. Five tools for productivity. Again, now to implement... I think I will start the experimentation with RescueTime, though it freaks me out a bit... maybe I don't want to know how I allocate time on my computer?! (Or, maybe I already know...)

11. Tips for music blogging. Not that I'm considering starting a music blog, but I'm always on the lookout for new music, and this gave me more than a few good ideas of where to be looking...

12. iPhone coverage moving from AT&T to Verizon? We follow this particular news thread rather religiously around here. Just waiting for the day when our coverage improves and my (and now Seth's) cell bill gets smaller, with a simple switch in carrier.

13. Procrastination smashers. Some really good thoughts here; I think my personal favorite is #6: Sprint Against the Clock. I do love a deadline!

It's been an interesting week of reading online... I hope there was an article or two that you found interesting in that eclectic bunch!

For more Thursday 13s, go here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Flashback to Freshman 15

Did you notice, no "Bits of My Weekend" this week? Yes, I knew you would. Well, I'm going to take a break while waiting on Michelle, blogger at Six in the City and the founder of "Bits," until she's back at it again... She's had a really immense tragedy in the family the past couple of weeks, so is obviously taking time to be with her family. Michelle and family are in my prayers during this difficult time, and I'm sure she'd appreciate yours as well.

This weekend was mostly about getting ourselves to Central Washington University for a journalism camp for Seth. He is going to be on the staff of his middle school newspaper (The Trooper Times) this coming year, and his teacher wasn't able to accompany the kids so I said I'd go along and chaperone. We all drove up together Sunday morning, and the kids got right to it yesterday afternoon with sessions in their specific areas of interest.

Seth and his fellow journalism campers from Garrison.

I went with them to their main keynote yesterday, by Logan Aimone, a CWU grad who now works for the National Scholastic Press Association. I was, of course, struck by how very much has changed since I was on the staff of my high school and college newspapers... it's a wildly different world. The kids, though, and the issues, are very much the same. What to write, who to appeal to, how to not tick off the administration, how to meet deadlines... the difference now is: do you tweet about it? Post it to Facebook? Update your newspaper's website? Or all three at once? Never a better time to be in communications, it seems. It's still all about the story, just finding the appropriate medium for the telling...

While the kids went to their evening sessions, I went for a walk around campus. It's a bigger campus than I first glimpsed, and quite pretty. There is something about the quiet of summer on a college campus that I've always appreciated. Very peaceful, compared to how it will be in a few weeks. Takes me back to my first summer of college (19-eighty-freaking-six!), which was very good and not so good, all at once. I don't need to go back to being 17 any time soon, no thanks. I'm happy to wander as the 40-something mom/chaperone.

There's a Japanese garden on campus. How lovely. I bet it's packed during finals!

There are these large irrigation ditches/creeks that run around the campus. The kids were warned quite loudly to NOT go in them, upon pain of great rashes. Nice. So they're the "looking" kind of water, not the wading...

This artist, Deborah Butterfield, has her work cast at the Walla Walla Foundry, that's how I knew to recognize this horse!

I had a lovely walk around campus and into town, looking for a recommended cafe: Valley Cafe. I found it and it looks lovely. I am not sure this is the trip to check it out, however... The conference/camp provides all meals, and I need to be in touch with the kids at regular intervals throughout the day... so the loveliness of Valley Cafe will probably be for another trip.

But it was fun to look, and to see some of the downtown parts of Ellensburg before heading back to the dorms... when was the last time I said that phrase? "Heading back to the dorms..." A couple of decades! And, it took one quick meal of mashed potatoes, chicken nuggets, veggies and gravy (with cake and a side salad) to take me right back to the concept of the Freshman 15! Good times.

Another flashback? A pounding on my dorm room door at midnight to take me back to the "room check days... Apparently the monitor on Seth's hall couldn't find him. So let's wake Mom. I'm happy they did, of course. I was pretty sure he was where he was supposed to be, asleep, and the monitor was the one who didn't know what he was doing. But I was also more than happy to get up and lay eyes and hugs on him to reassure myself of this fact.

Sure enough, there he was, asleep in his room. They put the lone middle school guy in his own SUITE of rooms (complete with his own bathroom. I have a serious trek to find a bathroom. Not. Fair.), and he simply couldn't hear the hall monitor banging on the entry door--he figured it was someone else's door. Figures. Seth was back in sleep in minutes. I, on the other hand, was wide awake for another hour. See, yet another thing to remind me of college: limited sleep!

Off to my next cafeteria meal. Wonder what they'll fry up for us today?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

And the winner is...

While I have yet to hear the word on the Curly Girl Design blogging contest, there's really no reason to wait to do my own giveaway, right?

So, using the completely reliable and objective random integer generator at, the winner is the 8th unique comment, which makes Janet our winner! I will be in touch asap with your prize details, Janet.

Thanks to you all for playing along so nicely. I appreciate it very much and will keep you posted when Curly Girl announces her winner too.

And now that I've taken the leap into blogging giveaways, I might have to do it more often. Very fun indeed!
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