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A REAL Job?!?!?

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 23, 2007 in Family Stuff

I knew the day would come. That’s right – I may have to get a ‘real job’ to help pay the bills. Selling Stampin’ Up! stuff brings in some extra money, but it seems that I am my own best customer some months and we need an additional source of steady income.

I am not the only one to fall prey to the ‘real job’ syndrome lately. Several of my friends are also looking at re-entering the world of work. It seems that once your children are all in school (Emily enters kindergarten this fall), it’s time to start bringing in some income again.

Some women sell real estate, some work in the school district as substitute teachers or teacher’s aides, some go to work for the family business…

I may be teaching a computer science class at Rowan University as an adjunct professor.

Does that surprise you? Those who know me may vaguely remember that once-upon-a-time, I had not just a ‘real job’, but a ‘real career’ where I made ‘real money‘.

I graduated from college way-back-when with a dual major in Mathematics and Computer Science (NO – I was NOT a geek!!!!).

When I graduated college, I started working with the FAA and soon began studying for a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering. I finished graduate school right before I became pregnant with Andrew.

I worked for over eleven years as a software engineer, working in many different programming languages and heading up several large software projects.

I continued to work full-time after Andrew was born (my mother watched him while I worked). I also taught part-time at night as an adjunct professor at Rowan University (my alma mater) for about two years. While I was there, I also conducted some software engineering seminars and helped them develop additional software engineering courses for computer science students to help prepare them for careers in software development.

Then when Matthew was born (he’s now 8 years old), I stopped teaching, cut back to a part-time position at work and kept that schedule for about a year.

But working part-time, I didn’t feel like I wasn’t doing a good job either at work or at home, so I decided to stop working altogether and become a stay-at-home mom. We had to make a few sacrifices and downsize quite a bit, but we made it work and I enjoyed my years at home.

I always kept myself VERY busy (as you can probably tell by reading my blog!) with volunteer positions at church, school and in my community. I am certainly not one to just sit around and do nothing, that’s for sure!

In fact, Mike thinks that I’m more busy now than I ever was when I was working – but as a volunteer, I’m not getting paid for any of the work I do.

Except for the stamping. And that’s really more ‘play’ than ‘work’. 😉

So…I decided to send my resume to Rowan and see if they needed any adjunct professors for the fall. They responded this morning and said that they may have a ‘Computers and Society’ class available in the fall. A philosophical/ethical look at the impact computers have had on society.

A ‘Computers and Society’ class like that is right up my alley! And it only meets twice a week for 1 hour and 15 minutes each class. That doesn’t include all the time preparing for class and marking papers and exams, but still…if I have to do something to bring in extra money, this is a pretty good alternative.

They need to double-check and make sure that the class hasn’t been staffed yet and then they’ll get back to me.

But – yes, my friends- it looks like my unemployed days may be coming to an end really soon…

 
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I LOVE My Goldendoodle!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 21, 2007 in Our Goldendoodle Puppies

I can’t say enough how much I love Daisy, our goldendoodle puppy!

She is just so sweet and so smart – we had our Intermediate Puppy Class at PetSmart the other day and she was SO good – she had no problems executing any of the commands.  She was the only dog in the class that would do a Sit-Stay while I walked all the way across the ring and back – good dog!

Here are a few photos taken today…

She loves to sleep on her back and when she stretches out, she’s so LONG!  I think she’s going to be a very tall dog like a standard poodle.

daisy-stretched-out.JPG

And here’s another idea of how big she’s gotten at 5 1/2 months – here she is with my almost-13-year-old son Andrew.  They are best friends – she looks up at his top bunk bed and cries whenever he’s not here…

andrew-and-daisy.JPG

 
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Matt’s Birthday Party

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 21, 2007 in Family Stuff

We had a GREAT day yesterday – it was Matthew’s 8th birthday party! We celebrated at Lake Kandle where the kids could come and swim and play all day. I just love it there – between the lake, the pool, the playground, the arcade, the volleyball and basketball courts, the snack bar…there’s just so much for the kids to do.

Plus, we had a GORGEOUS day – it was supposed to rain, but the skies cleared and it was nice and breezy all day with a bright blue sky and puffy white clouds. It felt almost like a fall day – cool in the shade, but still warm in the sun.

I think everyone had a great time – here are some of the kids at the lake:

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And at the pool:

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And Matt with his cake:

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I made the cake with a beach theme using blue icing, graham cracker crumbs for sand, gummy sharks, Swedish fish and a few beach candles I found at Target. You can see how uncomfortable Matthew is being the center of attention.  He’s such a shy kid.

I also gave the kids buckets filled with beach goodies – a beach mat, sunglasses, a visor, squirt gun, shovel…the usual play stuff.  Here they are trying to get their mats to lay flat in the breeze:

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Matt said it was the best birthday party ever!

 
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Finished The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 21, 2007 in Books I'm Reading

Well…yesterday I read The Reluctant Fundamentalist for my book club – I read the entire book in one day. It’s only 184 pages long (and did I mention that I’m a fast reader? Never took the Evelyn Wood speedreading class, but I’m quick nonetheless).

While it was interesting enough to keep my attention, I think I was hoping for some sort of different ending. I kept thinking that the book was going to wrap up into some sort of definite answer about who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, but given the world we live in, it’s not that clear cut who is who anyway.

The book is about a Pakistani man named Changez who was educated in the US at Princeton and who takes a prestigious job in New York City after he graduates. He is working for the New York firm when 9/11 happens and he notices the changes toward him from the people around him. He also begins to worry about his homeland, and expresses anger at the US for not providing protection for Pakistan.

The entire book is written in a weird sort of dialogue – Changez is talking to an American in a cafe in Pakistan. The American never speaks and the dialogue is told as though Changez is telling his story to the American. Kind of a weird way to tell the story. It had to be short – the format grows tiring after a while.

There’s also a side story about Changez and a lovely American woman named Erica. Erica is already on a downward mental spiral after the death of her boyfriend and 9/11 only intensifies her confusion. This story could probably be left out entirely without changing the book too much.

I felt like I never really got to know Changez or Erica – perhaps because the book was so short. Or maybe it was the way the story was told…while I’m glad I read the book, but I don’t know if I would recommend it for others to read.

 
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Kid Clipboard

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 18, 2007 in Crafts, Other items

I should be going to bed, but I was just dying to play with some of my new stuff from Stampin’ Up! that came yesterday.

I bought one of the triple clipboards since it’s a unique shape and I have three kids (it was made just for me!). I knew that I wanted to use the new Outlaw paper, some new ribbons, the Pretties kit and chipboard shapes…and here is what I came up with:

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I just LOVE this new paper series! I used Sage Shadow ink directly on the clipboard to add some color and other colors directly on the chipboard pieces.

I also tried dying the Pretties Kit flowers with Stampin’ Pastels for the first time – very easy to do with just a Q-tip.

And…am I the only one who has trouble getting the darned glue dots off the roll and onto chipboard? Half the time (maybe even more than half the time) the back of the chipboard comes off with the dot.

Okay – it’s *way* past my bedtime – time to turn in. Even Daisy is barking at the bottom of the steps to go to bed…

 
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Daisy Is Getting SOOOO Big!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 17, 2007 in Our Goldendoodle Puppies

I haven’t posted in my ‘Watch Daisy Grow’ category for a while, so I thought I’d post a recent photo to show you just how big my goldendoodle has grown. Here she is kissing our friend Cailin yesterday:

Daisy kissing Cailin

Daisy is about 5 1/2 months old now – isn’t she adorable (and big!)?

 
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Scratch ‘N Sniff Cards

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 17, 2007 in Cards

This month’s Stampin’ Success shows a technique to make scratch ‘n sniff cards using embossing powder, and I decided to give it a try to show my Stamp Club tomorrow night.

The article said to use a mix of clear embossing powder and sugar-free drink mixes and then emboss the image on the cardstock.   When you scratch the embossed images, they will release the scent of the drink mix – sounds pretty cool, right?

Somewhere between home and Shop-Rite, I thought I was supposed to buy Jello, not Kool-Aid.  Oops!  I bought the wrong stuff!

But I gave it a try with Jello anyway and it seemed to work okay.  I bought lemon, lime and strawberry (sugar free – the sugar will scorch from the heat tool) – the lime was the most fragrant. 

Of course, I couldn’t help but reach into the archives and pull out the retired Fresh Fruit stamp set – how could I not with lemons and limes?!?!

Here are the fruit cards:

Card - martini

Card - lime

For the lemon card, I used a martini stamp and then cut the corner with the slit punch so that I could insert the lemon.  I used my new SU! scallop punch for the first time (I have a feeling I’ll be using it a LOT in projects to come!) and punched out two shapes, offsetting them just a bit so that I could get both colors. 

But back to the scratch-n-sniff – you just mix clear embossing powder with a little bit of drink mix (or Jello, in my case) then heat emboss as normal.   The ratio is supposed to be 1 1/2 parts embossing powder to 1 part drink mix/Jello, but I wasn’t that scientific. I just mixed some EP and Jello together until I thought it looked good (and used up almost all my clear embossing powder in the process!).

I also used another trick to get the bright colors – the Jello was just not colorful enough.  I don’t have all the craft inks, so I took my stamps and inked them in Versamark first.  Then I took the same stamps and inked them with the color ink (Yoyo Yellow for the lemon and the new Wild Wasabi for the lime) and then stamped it on the cardstock.  The extra Versamark keeps the ink wet long enough to apply the embossing powder.

Oh – and my other new favorite stamp set – Define Your Life! You’ll see that I used it twice on these examples – I think it just covers so many occasions that it’s worth the price.

So…I also made a card using the strawberry Jello but decided to go with a flower center from the new set Pick-A-Petal and the new Pomegranate ink:

Card - scallop hole

Actually, this card design kind of started as a fluke.  I needed a scallop punch in Soft Sky for one of my other cards and hadn’t even cut a piece of that color yet.  After I punched the shape (did I mention that I love the scallop punch?), I decided to use that negative piece for this card. The scallop is open on the top of the card and opens to the guava scallop inside.  I also used my new Wild West alpha (LOVE that too!) and new guava double stitched ribbon.   I think this is a nice color combo – sky, guava and pomegranate.

Stampin Success also suggested using sugar free cocoa mix for a chocolate scratch-n-sniff.  So I gave that a try.  I didn’t think the chocolate smelled as much as the fruits, but my kids thought it did (and my craft room smelled REALLY good while I was melting it with my heat gun!).

This card was inspired by one in Stampin’ Success:

Card - choc cake 

And I also made this card with the chocolate cocoa too:

Card - cocoa

Again, I know that the Like It a Latte stamp set is retired, but when you’re working with chocolate, how could you NOT use it?

My next goal is to play with the rest of my new  Stampin’ Up! goodies and accessories that came yesterday and create some fun stuff.  I just wanted to get these ready to show my Stamp Club first…

 
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Weight Loss Update

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 17, 2007 in Uncategorized

Well…I finally stepped on the scale this morning for the first time since my ranting post about my weight a few weeks ago.  And to my surprise, I’ve lost 7 pounds so far.  Not too bad….

 
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Summer Reading

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 16, 2007 in Books I'm Reading

So…as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m starting to read again this summer.  Not that I forgot HOW to read, mind you – I just haven’t had time to dedicate myself to long reading endeavors.  Small magazine articles – yes.  Five hundred page novels – not quite.

But spending so much time at the lake this summer has given me more time to just relax and read.

So far…I’ve read:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.  A great book about relationships between women in China in the 1800’s.  I do have to say that the foot-binding passages did make me quite nauseous – I guess that’s the sign of a great writer.  I had to put the book down for a few days before I could get through that section.  I really enjoyed the detailed descriptions of the customs of the time – and I realized that we still go through painful customs for beauty even today.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.  Another good read that follows the story of Dinah in the book of Genesis in the Old Testament.  It imagines what would have happened if Dinah had not, in fact, been cpatured and raped by the son of the king, but instead had been madly in love with him.  It really got me thinking about other Bible passages and the possible stories behind them.

She’s All That by Kristin Billerbeck.  This book was a gift from my friend Linda (Hi, Linda!!!!) and I FINALLY got a chance to read it.  Fun, fun, fun – a nice, light beach read about three friends in their early 30s.  This is also a Christian chick-lit book, so it was nice to see faith worked into the story.  I think I’m going to get the next book in the Spa Girls series – I want to see what’s going to happen next with Lilly and her friends.

And I’m currently reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.  This is a BIG book – over 500 pages – and I’m only on page 384.  But I’ve read those 384 pages in just three days – it’s a book that really keeps your attention.  This is much different than the books I’ve read so far – in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it.  It focuses on three generations of a Greek family living in this century.  The modern-day family member happens to be a hermaphrodite that lived as a girl for the first 14 years of his life.  But that’s not really the focus of most of the story – it’s about family life, immigration, living in Detroit during the race riots…it really covers a lot of ground in those 500 pages!

And next on my reading list…The Reluctant Fundamentalist by  Mohsin Hamid.  This book was chosen by my new book club – The Ladies of Lake Avenue.  Looks like a political thriller – again – not what I would normally read on my own.  I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve finished it…

 
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Wedding Cigar Box

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 16, 2007 in Crafts, Other items

While I was away, I missed my neighbor’s son’s fiance’s bridal shower – can you follow all that? ;)  So I’m making a gift for the couple.  They are young and modern, but also like a little bit of vintage thrown in, so I thought I’d make them a custom box to hold small wedding mementos.

I started with a black, vintage cigar box and covered it with some paper by Basic Grey (that’s the modern).  Then I took a bride image from a 1940’s Ladies Home Journal and decoupaged it over the paper (that’s the vintage).  I added some glass glitter to her veil and cut out some letters using my Cricut.  I also added some felt flowers, some buttons and a rhinestone brad for a little bling.

I think I’m going to fill the box with a journal, pen and thank you cards made using the same Basic Grey paper.

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