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December 2006
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February 2007

My family needs an intervention program

So the other day I wrote a blog post mentioning (again) the geekiness inherent in my familyTamara commented that her family is big into the second WoW update, and I realized I hadn't shared that geeky story yet.  Sigh.

Last week my husband David heard that 60 copies of the expansion pack for Burning Crusade/WoW was going to be available at Walmart at 11:59pm.  Since David was one of the beta testers for "BC", and since the kids were going to be off for a "snow" day the next day, the three of them trooped up there at 10:30pm, to wait in line for an hour and a half, so they could each get their own copy.  As luck would have it, Walmart also had 2 copies of the guidebook, so the kids each got their own copy of that, too.

(Never mind that David already pre-ordered 3 copies of the expansion pack AND the guidebooks from Amazon, and they would be shipped later that week.  It simply wasn't soon enough - for him OR the kids.  When the Amazon order arrives, he'll just return it. <roll eyes>)

THEN when they got home about 12:30am, David INSTALLED the software on BOTH his computer and James' so it'll be ready to go this morning.  THEN he logged on "just to say hi to everybody...for an hour and a half."  He stayed up until 2:30 the next morning playing "BC", and got up at 7:15 for a Linux certification class.  Can you say GEEK?

The kids were up before I even left, practically vibrating with excitement.  I told them they needed to eat something, get dressed, and brush their teeth before they logged on.  You would think I had kicked their dog.  I said to Joanne (9), "Geez, it's almost like it's Christmas morning!"  Her whole face lit up, and she nodded vigorously, exclaiming, "You're RIGHT!  It is!"

David spent about 20 minutes on the phone with me on my way to work, recapping the whole glorious experience.

And he had the nerve to say to me, "Ang, you should have seen the nerds at Walmart last night - I felt so out of place."  Out of PLACE??  Oh honey, you rank right on up there with them.  Just because you're wearing Dockers and a golf shirt doesn't mean you're not a nerd.

I wrote this "event" up and emailed it out to friends and family, and CC'd David, so he would know I was making fun of him.  ;)  He wrote back, "Not David.  [His Shaman name].  For the Horde!!"

Sigh.  At least I'll never run out of geeky stories to tell in my scrapbooks!

My Licensing Agreement with Blizzard Entertainment

In this blog post I mentioned that I entered into a licensing agreement with Blizzard Entertainment for my recent article for the March 2007 issue of Memory Makers. I also mentioned I would leave that story for another post.  Consider this "another post".  ;)

A little background -- I have mentioned what Geeks certain members of my family are.  One of their favorite geeky pastimes is playing World of Warcraft.  To document this part of our life together, and the relationship between my husband and son, I created a layout titled, "Geek Speak".  The journaling contains an overheard conversation between my husband and son:

James: What level is your Tauren Shaman?
David: Level 60
James: Awesome!
David: ...Yeah, but he sucks at PVP, so I'm trying to level my Mage and Warrior.
James: Which do you like better?
David: A high level Mage would be great for AOE, and sheeping is awesome.  But I stinkin' hate clothwearers.  Tanking as my Warrior rocks.
James: But for PVP, Rogues are the best because of DPS.  They're über.

On my layout, I created a border using some screenshots from the WoW website.

When I started working on the "Gotcha" article for MM, I knew this layout would be perfect, because it documents one of my family's passions, as well as the relationship between my husband and son.  So I submitted the "Geek Speak" layout along with two others, with my article.

My editor at MM expressed some concern about the layout; she was worried that we might run into copyright infringements if we printed the layout using the website images.  I did a little research, and found that you can use images from the website for "personal use", but my editor and I agreed a layout published in a magazine probably didn't count for that.  So I emailed Blizzard to ask what I could/should do.

The email went to a general Tech Support mailbox, so I had no idea when it would be received and a response sent.  Unfortunately, this was about 11am on a Thursday, and my article and layouts were due on Friday, so the editors could work it in to the magazine to be sent to the printers on Monday afternoon.  About 2:30pm Thursday, I dug around the Blizzard and WoW websites, looking for a phone number.  I called their tech support #, got a general email address for the PR department, and shot off an email to them, describing the situation and the fact that my deadline was the next day....

Continue reading "My Licensing Agreement with Blizzard Entertainment" »

Blogging Words to Live By

Via Denise Wakeman in How to Build A Better Blog, the "Bloggy Golden Rule", coined by Teresa Valdez-Klein.

“If you wouldn’t want it written about you, don’t write it about someone else. If you wouldn’t approve it in your comments section, don’t write it in someone else’s.”

Seems to me this would also apply to message boards/forums.

This is sound professional advice, for those of you looking to brand yourself or your business. It's also sound human-type-being advice -- you'll be a better person if you don't "Turn to the Dark Side" and allow yourself to become a flame-happy Troll.

Free Scrapbook Page Sketch Designs

Scrapbooking Guide Rebecca Ludens has compiled a resource archive of Free Scrapbook Page Sketch Designs selected from the galleries.  TONS of sketch inspiration in this archive. I added it to my list.  Kudos to Rebecca!

Feel free to share your favorite sketch resource links in the Comments.

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Altered Project Idea: Day-to-Day Planner/Album

Now I know what to do with my MyBook Planner!!  More inspiration from Lifetime Moments' 30 Days of Gifts: Day 25.  I must have missed this link the first time around, when LM was offering gift inspiration for Christmas.  Wendy Chang put together a "day-to-day" planner/album:

On a day to day basis, I will be tracking what we’re doing, and attaching the bits of memorabilia of everyday...And in the page protector part (there is a front and a back), I will be inserting a photo collage of the events of the month, with memorabilia/ephemera from the everyday, etc...

LOVE this idea!  With my son turning 13 next month, I feel his youth slipping away by the moment, and want to capture as much as I can.  Kudos to Wendy.  I have a weekend crop coming up next month, and I know just what I'll be working on (along with catch-up from Shimelle's Christmas Journal!)

BTW,  I mentioned MyBook Planners in the article I just turned in to Memorytrends magazine -- look for that feature in the March issue!  And look for my article on capturing personality on paper with journaling in the March issue of Memory Makers magazine.  I'll leave the story of how I entered into a licensing agreement with Blizzard Entertainment for that article for another post.  ;)

Book of Me ideas: Studio Matters' Scrap Therapy

More super thought-provoking prompts from this sub-blog: Studio Matters' Scrap Therapy.

They have seven prompts up, including layout examples, focusing on concepts like:

  • Pick something that you regret doing and think about what you would do differently this time around!
  • Pick one area of your life about which you have not been able to forgive yourself.
  • Journal about someone who has changed your life

I think it's always so inspiring and encouraging to see how someone handles scrapping a challenging topic.  You may or may not scraplift her actual layout design, but reading the journaling helps you realize how important it is to document those moments.

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Book of Me Ideas: A Fancy Word for Simple

Via a post on Shimelle's Christmas Journal YahooGroup list...

Here's another writing-prompt blog geared toward writing about yourself: A Fancy Word for Simple

And check out this post: Trendy Tuesday 1.9.07.  It's a variation on ABCs of Me!  A super easy way to throw together a Book of Me layout.

I added the Fancy Word blog to my blog reader -- I'm looking forward to reading more prompts.

Book of Me idea: Goal-setting, Resolutions & Personal Manifesto

Some super writing inspiration in the latest newsletter from Inspired2Write.

Editor Susan Letham offers two valuable writing exercises that provide fodder for potential Book of Me pages.

The first: an ARTivity Prompt for writing a Personal Manifesto, based on the poem, I Am Willing, by Margaret Dubay Mikus.  It's an empowering poem that can easily inspire one's own poem/manifest-writing efforts.  It actually reminds me of poems from a book I have by Ulrich Schaffer: Growing into the Blue.  I used one of his poems in my Book of Me - it's the "I am Strong" layout on page 60.  The poem begins, "I will not be stifled...".  Mikus' "I am Willing" poem strikes me as similar, and using the ARTivity prompt, you can compose your own version.

Another activity to try is Susan's Instant Writing Class: Your 2007 Goals A-Z.   In it, she has you write the alphabet down the side of a piece of paper, and list active resolution-type verbs for each letter, like Arrange, Buy, Choose, and Develop.  The alphabet is a great, easy foundation for making lists, and lists are an easy way to inspire journaling.

Work on these writing activities, hand-write or print them out, mat them on cardstock, find some pretty background paper, and you've got yourself a couple of great Book of Me layouts!  The journaling will help reveal who you are today.

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Valentines' Gifts: 14 Days of Crafting, Scrapbooking, & Altering

Rock On Jackie & Team!! is again offering a holiday countdown of gift-making: 14 Days of Valentine's Gifts.  You may remember that I pointed out their 30 Days of Gifts for the Christmas season.  The Valentines' edition is sure to be just as good - cute, do-able projects, offered in plenty of time to get your craft on before the big Heart-Day.

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Teaching Legacy Book Classes at a Senior Center

Kim Branson recently left me a Comment with the following request for advice:

...I was wondering if you have any tips or input on getting the elderly to talk about their pasts?

I have been given the opportunity to lead a crafting class twice a month at our local Senior Center. One of the projects I would love to work with them on is a mini-legacy album. My own Dad (who is almost 72) will often share some fascinating tidbits from his childhood or the early years of his marriage to my Mom, brought about by seeing an old photo or hearing a phrase from long ago.

It's easy to get my own father to open up, but I am wondering how to do this with strangers? I realize that many of your journaling prompts from the Book of Me and the Book of Us would be useful, but was also hoping you might have some other tips for me?

Good question, Kim!  If I were in the same situation, I would probably pick a theme for each class, like Childhood, Young Adult Years, Jobs, Friends, or Travels.  I would open the session by discussing the theme, and try to encourage some discussion to get the "memory juices" flowing.  Ask leading questions -- start with, "Does anyone have any stories to share about a trip you took?  What was your favorite vacation?  Where is the most exotic place you've visited?" 

You might notice these "leading questions" are basically journaling prompts.  Look through The Book of Me or The Book of Us for appropriate prompts before each session, so you'll have some idea where to lead the discussion.  You can also just brainstorm your own conversation-starters, just by focusing on the theme, and seeing what questions pop up in your mind. 

Often when people start sharing stories and memories, other people in the class will get a vicarious jumpstart to their own memories.  So, if no one feels like sharing right away, you should consider having a few of your own stories to share to get things started.

After you've discussed the theme of the session, describe various craft applications (layouts, framed art, altered memory boxes, etc), and show some examples.  Then set them loose.

As they work on their projects, walk among them.  If someone seems to be struggling to tell a story, sit with them for a few minutes.  Ask them to show you their photos.  Ask questions to lead them through telling you the story.

  • Who are these people?
  • Why are they all here?
  • What happened after that?
  • What was it like when it happened?
  • What did you think about that?

You might also try playing some Oldies music before the class starts.  Ask what scents, sights, sounds, and textures come to mind when the students think of that day's themes.  Sensory descriptions are very effective for bringing scrapbook journaling to life.

I hope these thoughts and tips have helped a bit, Kim.  If not, just comment here, and we'll try to get you the resources you need!  Anyone else have any suggestions for teaching Senior Center scrapbooking/journaling classes?