Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blogging From the Heart - In the Year 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, I, like so many other bloggers, have been reflecting over the year as a whole. Perusing. Contemplating. Deleting. Cringing. Smiling. Laughing. Giggling. Sharing.


In that vein, I'd like to share some photos + words on the most memorable moments of 2011. While this past year can be most aptly characterized as challenging, in many ways 2011 also brought a multitude of happy, positive, wonderful and exciting opportunities. After culling through my daily planner, iCalendar and thousands of photographs, I humbly offer the Best of 2011.

10. Hilton Head, South Carolina
 Good friends + beach + continuing medical education = funnest business trip ever!

9. The "Dream" Journey
For the past 12 months, my One Little Word has been dream. This word has guided much of my thoughts and reflections in 2011. Each month I completed specific prompts, participated in a blog hop and spent a great amount of mental energy identifying and documenting my dreams. One of the things I felt was so special about this journey was that it was devoted to my dreams - not dreams for my family, not dreams for my marriage or my husband, just my dreams. I have found in my life and heard from many others that women have a particularly difficult time focusing on themselves. It has certainly been true in my life. I loved how easy it was to spend a few hours focused on me. I am very excited to see where my dreams are going in 2012...I will be revealing my OLW for 2012 tomorrow morning as part of the OLW Blog Hop. Be sure to check back at 10:00am CST!

8. This Boy's Smile
Although he has had his share of struggles in 2011, this amazing, talented, creative, loving boy has brought me so much joy. His smile is infectious. His zest for life is inspiring. He helps me see the little things, the small every day details that add up to a full and happy life. He makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

7. Reconnecting
I feel blessed to have reconnected with extended family...just in time for a very special 90th birthday.

6. A Visit From The East

We were so excited to host Jim's sister and family this past July. It is the first time they've come to Nebraska since Jim and I married. We explored the city, discovering new places together and sharing old favorites. One of my fondest memories is straddling the state line between Iowa and Nebraska while standing atop the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge and marveling at the flood waters that were so prevalent this spring.

5. This Girl
Jim & I are so lucky. We have the absolute best circle of friends, both as a couple and as individuals. Deana has been my best friends since we met when I was 18 years old. That we've remained so close is a miracle. That we've celebrated birthdays and holidays with each others' families is a gift. That we are godparents to each others' children is a wonder. That we've spent the majority of 2011 laughing is the greatest thing of all.

4. My Mother
The more years go by, the greater my appreciation for my mother. She is my everything.

3. October in Hong Kong
This trip to visit friends in Hong Kong was the highlight of the year.

2. This Man
Jim is the best thing that ever happened to me. I say a little prayer for this man every day. He is everything that a husband should be. He is my partner, my lover and my very best friend.

1. Graduation Day
I have never felt prouder than when my son received his high school diploma. He worked so hard and at times it seemed as if he would never reach the stage. But he never gave up. When several of his friends dropped out or decided the getting a GED would be easier, he stayed the course. Even when he was sad.  Even when he was unsure of the future. Even when he was ready to rip out his hair in frustration. He never gave up. This says so much about his heart and his level of determination. This says so much about who he really is. This says so much about his intelligence and abilities. He never gave up.

I hope that each of you had moments to celebrate in 2011. I hope each of you learned something valuable in 2011. I hope each of you laughed and cried, sang and danced, read and wrote, created art and let go of trouble in 2011.

And I wish you the very best as we prepare for 2012. Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Post-Holiday Musings

I've been doing a bit of reflecting on this past holiday season - this past year really. There were so many lovely moments and a few things that stressed me out, but overall I am left with so much gratitude.

I am grateful for my husband. As I've mentioned before, my husband is, ahem, enthusiastic about Christmas. This is such a blessing to me. Every year, we not only host a holiday party/birthday party for moi, but also host my extended family for celebration on Christmas Eve. This season, both events were totally successful. We added an extra element to the holiday party this year but having a "Mad Men"-themed party. It was quite glamorous, with family and friends alike dressing in retro '60s fashion. Here we are, looking both lovely and in love:

I am grateful for my son. As some of you may be aware, my son is battling with substance abuse issues. I am so proud of him. He is still struggling, but he is taking responsibility for his choices. He is working to stay sober, though not always succeeding. He is living life honestly, sometimes asking for help, more often than not avoiding those who could most help him but always being truthful about his choices. Believe me when I say, this is a major change and has gone a long way toward mending our little family. The truth is a soothing peace in this case, even when I know he has relapsed I am so grateful for the truth. He is addressing his legal problems with courage and grace. It is so, so hard...standing by and watching him battle his demons is the most difficult thing I have ever done. But all of that seemed somehow removed this Christmas. This Christmas he was affectionate, funny, sweet, helpful and comfortable in his own skin. He joked and laughed with family. He shared loving sentiments. He was generous and wonderful. We love him so much.

I am grateful for my job. I work outside of our home - and I love it. I am a physician assistant, working for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Each time I go to work, I encounter people who have served bravely, served loyally, served compassionately, served without reservation, served humbly, just served. I am blessed in that every day I am able to give back. I am pictured below with a World War II veteran, Bill, who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. I'd like to thank him again for sharing his amazing story, as well as permission to use his photograph on my blog.

 I am grateful for family and friends. I am amazed by the support that has been offered to us over this past year - which has, frankly, been a bit more arduous journey than in years past. I have not come close yet to understanding all the ways that we are changed as a family, I am changed as an individual...but I am quite certain that we could not have done it without the support of our family and friends. I am particularly thankful for our mothers.

I am grateful for each and every breath. I have severe asthma. This past year has also been a challenge on the health front. I have been hospitalized several times, struggling to get and stay well. I have been alternatively hopeful and frustrated. At this moment, the entire year seems like a repetitive cycle of illness and (relative) health. I am really struggling with these limitations right now...but I have hope for the future.

 I am grateful for my dreams. For 2011, my one little word has been dream. I've blogged monthly about my dreams using prompts from Ali Edwards' One Little Word class at Big Picture Classes. You can read all my previous posts related to OLW here. I have really grown comfortable with the word dream. In fact, I am even more certain now than one year ago that this word chose me. Between the stress of our family situation and the limitations of my health, much of this last year has been spent in meditation and contemplation, allowing me to fully flesh out my dreams. I have great plans for the coming year to take action on these dreams. I am quite excited about it.

I am grateful for you, dear readers. I look forward to sharing the coming year with you.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

New Discovery - Jewelmint, Baby!

As I was catching up on my blog reading earlier today (serious understatement, I haven't even opened my laptop in at least a week), I read a great post on Elizabeth Kartchner's blog about a new jewlery website.

It's called, Jewelmint. And it's totally awesome.

Jewelmint is a new concept for a website selling jewelry. Fashionista Kate Bosworth and celebrity stylist Cher Coulter started the website, which customizes a style profile specific to your taste based on a style profile that you complete when you reigster. The site is a membership site, so every month a new piece of jewelry picked just for your style is emailed to you. You do not have to buy it, but if you don't opt out between the 1st and the 5th of the month then you will be charged for it. Check out the site

Check out my style, baby...

click to see image larger

I am a sucker. Not only did I register for the site today, but also I bought my first piece of jewelry today! These awesome Crystal Cascade earings were too amazing to resist.

May you find chic style and kick-ass jewelry - and just in time for a post-holiday gift to yourself.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Free Holiday Printables

Oh my, oh my, oh my - the Holiday joy is spreading. The Creature Comforts blog featured amazing *free* printables that you can download for all of your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Festivus projects!

Check it out here!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Little Inspiration...

Here are some random things I've seen around the interwebz this week that I am loving.

This calendar by etsy seller Alexander C Sprungle reminding you to get your crafty on.
This 5x7 print by etsy seller BookFiend offering the key to happiness (in my humble opinion).
 This totally cute card posted by Amy Tan on Instagram.
This fabulous tag set, plus an amazing giveaway on Janet Hopkin's blog.

And lastly, this title page for my very own December Daily album.

What's inspiring you?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gratitude Sunday - I {heart} Christmas

click on image to see larger
I know it is hard to imagine, but I haven't always been a big fan of the Christmas holidays. I used to be quite a Scrooge, in fact. But my husband, Jim, is an amazing optimist and Christmas is his favorite time of the year. At first I just tolerated his enthusiasm...but being around him during the holidays is infectious.

And now, I {heart} Christmas.

He's made me a believer in the spirit of Christmas. He's made me look forward to Christmas. He's made me happy and cheerful to be around in December. He's made me anticipate Christmas carols in November. He's made me complete.

I saw this manifesto on Shimelle's blog the other day and it reminded me of everything that Jim has taught me. I am so grateful to have a partner that brings out the best in me. I am so grateful for Jim.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

OLW Blog Hop - Reflections On Dreaming

Here we are again, fellow OLW-ers. Welcome back for this month's One LittleWord Blog Hop. I am so excited to share my thoughts and my project this month. I can hardly believe that a only single month remains in 2011.

For any new readers, One Little Word centers around the concept that a single word can be powerful and enriching, impacting on our lives in ways both large and small. Each year, I for the past several years I have chosen a single word to inspire and guide my journey. For 2011 my word has been Dream. You can see al previous posts pertaining to OLW here.

I was first introduced to the OLW concept by Ali Edwards, who I consider my personal hero. I loved following Ali's journey with her OLW on her blog  so you can imagine how stoked I was when Ali announced that she had teamed up with Big Picture Classes to teach a year long class specifically focused her OLW philosophy. Each month Ali sends out an email of encouragement and reveals a prompt relating to our word. Several of the other ladies in class and I have been posting a report about each month's prompt on our blogs. The clever and amazing Margie organizes our merry band into a cohesive unit for a blog hop where we share our work and support one another through comments.

I cannot thank these women enough.
They always inspire me.
They always support and encourage me.
They keep me accountable in documenting my OLW journey.
They sometimes make me laugh.
They sometimes make me cry.
They never cease to amaze me with their warmth, creativity and insight.
No, I cannot thank these women nearly enough.

This month's prompt brought us back to writing. Oh, the writing. How I love the writing. Ali developed a series of  "I statements" that were starting points for reflecting on varying aspects of our word. I loved this approach as it right away lent focus and direction to my journaling. The different completed journaling will back the nine photos taken for last month's prompt in a divided page protector. Six of the cards were pre-printed with "I statements" but the other three were left blank to allow for individual creative expression. I adore anything that offers a bit of structure but still allows for a massive influx of creativity and arsty exploration.

Here's my completed project for November:
click on image to appear larger

I was pretty simple in my documentation this month. I used my own handwriting for most of the journaling cards, but I had to break out my trusty vintage typewriter for one card (snatches of a favorite poem). I laid out Studio Calico's butterfly masks and then misted the entire page with Mr. Huey's Custard and a couple of pops of Heirloom Blue. Then I sprayed over the entire page with Mr. Huey's Calico Shine (such awesome stuff!!). I layered varying washi tapes over the center card and added the small canvas letters for my title.
I left two cards wordless, relying the butterfly to convey my sentiment. I have used butterflies throughout my album as symbols of my dreaming.

I am excited to see what Ali has in store for us with the final lesson for 2011. Also, if you've been following my blog and wishing that you would have joined us for this year's OLW journey, I have good news for you. Ali is doing it again! She will be offering another year long OLW class for 2012 through Big Picture Classes. I strongly encourage you to register. It has been an amazing experience.

Next up in the blog hop is Cindy. Check her out her fabulous blog here.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Typographical print by Jeff Rogers as seen on the DesignWorkLife blog.
I am totally loving this quote - and the typography as well. Here's to living a dramatic life - in the Hitchcock sense anyway...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Photo Love - The Exotic Edition

Recently my husband & I took an amazing trip to visit friends in Hong Kong. They live on one of the outlaying islands away from the hustle and bustle of HK central. This was the amazing view right outside our home-away-from-home on Lamma Island. I plan on posting a more photos from HK, as well as photos of a mini-book that I completed to document this amazing vacation.

Stay tuned...and happy weekend!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo courtesy of Anthology Magazine
I am grateful for so many blessings in my life, most importantly my family and friends. Here's wishing a happy Thanksgiving to all.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Gratitude

 I am grateful for the fabulous sock monkey slippers that were a present from my best friend Deana...but I'm even more grateful for her love and friendship.

I still like presents though....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Photo Love - 11.11.11

I am blessed to work with our nation's veterans every day. But today I am particularly grateful for to have that honor. Thank you to all veterans for the gift of your service.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

OLW Blog Hop - My Dreams in Pictures Redux

Welcome back for this month's installment of the One Little Word Blog Hop. As the year winds down, I am so very grateful to be able to look back at all my previous posts about my word of the year, Dream. I love having the concrete evidence of how much my word has come to be an active part of my life. I love seeing where my word has taken me. And I love seeing how much I have changed and grown with the influence of my one little word.

This month, we have 14 amazing women participating in the blog hop. I've said it before but it's worth repeating. Be sure to check out all of these fabulous ladies' blogs. You will be amazed at the creativity, humor, sentimentality, depth and joy that shines through on every single page. I know I can't wait to see each and every post.

October's prompt was a return to a class favorite - using 9 photographs to illustrate your word right now. What I really enjoyed about this prompt was going back to look at February's collage after I had put together the collage for this month. It was interesting to see what inspired my dreams now compared to those images that sparked my imagination near the beginning of this journey.

Below is this month's collage. I've listed the words behind the photos underneath. Once again, I plan to make a layout incorporating these words + photos. But in my album, the photos will not have any words on them (or numbers for that matter). The numbers correspond to the written statements for each photo.

1.I dream of new directions.
2. My dreams are bright and sometimes burn with intensity.
3. I dream of the exotic, the foreign, the unfamiliar.
4. Some dreams strip you bare, exposing all of my vulnerabilities and fears.
5. My dreams, collected and savored.
6. Dreams can be mysterious, leaving only hints and remnants for me to piece together.
7. I am ready to go where my dreams lead me.
8. Some dreams are comforting, like the sun shining warmly onto my face.
9. Some dreams are a baptism, like a clean rain sluicing through my soul.

I've been thinking a lot of the dreams I had in childhood, how as a child I wasn't afraid to dream, how I didn't put limitations on my dreams. Through my recent experiences in Mondo Beyondo, I've re-connected with these childhood fantasies. Some bring me laughter and amusement, some are unrecognizable, some generate a bittersweet sense of loss, and some still ring so true. More importantly, Mondo Beyondo taught me how dream again. I mean really dream, with abandon and imagination and longing...and without practicality or limits or fear.

I am learning to let go of fear, of all anxiety as I face the future.

I wanted to use a photo enlargement to convey this re-connection to my childhood dreaming.

What are your dreams right now? Are you pursuing these dreams? I really hope so...

Next up in the blog hop is the fabulous Cheri. Check our her blog and enjoy the rest of the hop!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

OLW Blog Hop - Catching Up

Welcome back to the One Little Word Blog Hop! For those unfamiliar, OLW is a year-long class offered by Big Picture Classes and Ali Edwards. Each month, Ali puts together a prompt that explores a different aspect of our word, as well as a creative project that reflects the month's theme. This year, my OLW is dream. You can see all of my OLW related posts here.

Due to recent events, I missed out on last month's blog hop. But I have completed the prompt. In August, we were tasked with a self-portrait and a loving message to ourselves. I used a photo taken with my iPhone.

For this month, we went back to deeper thinking. Ali challenged us to choose a battle worth fighting for in relation to our OLW. She also asked us to identify a battle that we are willing to surrender.

Powerful stuff.

I chose to fight for my dreams by enrolling in Mondo Beyondo, an online course devoted to dreaming big. I had seen the class many times before and was always interested...but I had not been ready to take the plunge. Shortly after watching Ali's presentation about choosing our battle, I received the Mondo Beyondo newsletter. It seemed serendipitous that the Fall Session started September 12th. I registered immediately. I am LOVING this class.

One of my favorite exercises so far was identifying my core values. I'll leave you today with my list:

Acceptance – Giving myself permission to dream big & small and then being open to what I discover. Having the courage to believe in the goodness of myself and others. Seeking more gratitude, less judgment in my beautiful everyday life. Weathering the storms of life with grace, wisdom and humor.

Authenticity – Keeping it real & owning my own particular brand of crazy. Being true to myself in all my varying roles. No comparisons, no competition. Seek to add value in all the I do. Admit my frailties. Allow venerability.

Balance – Set priorities for family, work, household and creativity. Adopt and keep a schedule to avoid becoming overwhelmed! No more paralyzing fear of imperfection. Know it’s ok to be ok. Learn to say no, kindly but firmly. Celebrate the wins.

Commitment – Keep pushing to improve dedication and reliability. Follow through. Self-motivation. Work harder at marriage & motherhood. Heathy habits are now imperative! Manage chronic disease, eat better, move more.

Love – Hold fast to “the greatest of these is love.” Let this be your anchor. Kindness first. Generosity of spirit and materials. Honor my husband. Support my son’s move to independence, guide him without guilt or smothering. Learn to love from afar. Grow my spirituality. Take care of our earth.

Next up on the blog hop is  the wonderful Nicky. Check out her post here.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Farewell Coco

Last night we had to give away our sweet, sweet Coco girl. And it just about killed me...

I've had allergies since childhood, but as I've gotten older, both my allergies and my asthma have progressively worsened. And while I knew that I was somewhat allergic to dogs, I've never had a severe reaction to any type of dog. I've had dogs as pets my whole life.

I'm a dog person.

When Jim & I got a dog together in January 2007, we chose a breed recommended that was recommended for people with allergies, a Chinese Crested. From the start, she was a perfect fit for our little family. Loving and sweet. A snuggler. A lap dog, but not a 'yip' dog. Protective. Smart. A little dog with a fierce heart. And so, so loyal.

During my recent hospitalization, the pulmonologist advised us that no dog is truly hypo-allergenic and that we needed to "get rid of the dog."

Thankfully, a co-worker of Jim's was willing to take her. I couldn't be more grateful. We know she has a loving home. We know she will be well cared for. We know she will bring joy to another family. I am certain of that.

But I am certain of one other thing as well

Coco will always be my dog.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Return To Blogging - From The Heart

 As many of you might have noticed, I've been conspicuously absent for the past six weeks on my poor blog. I have been dealing with some fairly overwhelming family and personal issues during this time. Partly out of shame, partly out of fear but mainly out of not even having enough energy to open my laptop at the end of every day, I told myself that I was "taking a hiatus" from blogging...but less like a planned sabbatical and more like just plain running away.

I was really just avoiding the issue of how to creatively express myself in the face of adversity. How do you present the struggles and challenges of real life without becoming overly emotional or coming across like you're just complaining? I mean, god forbid my blog should read like an overwrought teen diary, teeming with angst and drama. While life has certainly felt like I've somehow wandered onto the set of the "Real Housewives of Omaha," I was less than enthused with the thought that my blog should be perceived as such nonsense. I admit it -  I was worried about being too open, oversharing or (gasp!) wandering into the dreaded TMI zone.

But then I read this post on Ali Edwards' blog last week which started my thinking that maybe I was holding back unnecessarily, that I can be real and authentic about my struggles in a productive way. Shortly after, I read this post on Stephanie Howell's blog and was completely thunderstruck, awed and inspired by her challenge to Blog From The Heart.

I hear you, universe. And I offer you my heart in return.

My heart is breaking. My darling boy, my only child is a drug addict. He has been since the tender age of 14. To save him, we had to let him go for over 1 year when he was 16. A year  filled with insight and laughter and tears and healing and sobriety. After returning home, he underwent close monitoring and remained sober for an additional 8 months. He relapsed in January of this past year at the age of 18. We had an intervention in mid-August but he declined help. We had to have him removed from the house after he destroyed our living room furniture and assaulted both my husband and I. I have had only sporadic contact with him since that episode. Right now, my family is broken but I cannot fix it. I am helpless, forced into the role of observer as my only child battles his demons, doomed to stand by and merely watch. But I have hope, always hope.

My heart is overwhelmed. The stress of a blended family is taxing to a relationship in the best of circumstances. Obviously, the present is not something that could be characterized as the best of times. Jim and I are working through these challenges. I'd ask for your support and prayers over the coming weeks that we can grow tighter, stronger and more committed through our shared strength.

My heart is grateful. We are blessed with an amazing and wonderful circle of friends, as well as both of our families. To say that these individuals, our tribe as it were, have banded together in a truly awe-inspiring display of support for our family wouldn't come near enough to describing the outpouring of love that we have received.

My heart is healing. In the midst of all the turmoil, my asthma flared up (thanks again, fall allergies) and quickly developed into a serious pneumonia. I spent the majority of the past week in the hospital and needed two days of ICU care to remain off of a ventilator. This was truly one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. But I am lucky. I received excellent care and responded perfectly to medication. I have been home since last Tuesday and am feeling my strength coming back.

My heart is kick-started. Needless to say, this recent health scare has reinforced an urgent need in myself to make some lifestyle changes. I hereby commit to improving my eating habits and increasing my physical activity. I am completely deconditioned. But I am strong. I am capable of change. I am focused and determined.

My heart is inspired. I joined the fall session of Mondo Beyondo. As the site says, "I have joined Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen as together we explore Mondo Beyondo--the powerful point of view that transforms our deepest dreams into practical realities." I'm really looking forward to focusing my emotions and energy into a positive endeavor.

What is your heart feeling right now?

Friday Photo Love - The Someecards Edition

Due to some unanticipated health problems, I have been woefully absent from my little blog. But I am back! And glad to be here...although still no running allowed for me if I want to keep breathing.

Look for a longer and more authentic post later this evening...and thanks for sticking with me, readers.

Monday, August 1, 2011

OLW Blog Hop - The Musical

Welcome once again to the One Little Word blog hop. I have really come to love these monthly gatherings, my friends. Participating every month in an organized group activity (thank you so much, Margie!) has been supremely helpful in keeping me on-track and accountable with my OLW dream adventures. Even when I haven't actually completed the prompt, preparing for this blog hop keeps thoughts and ideas about my word at the forefront of my mind.

Bet you thought all that was a lead up to my explaining how I don't have this month's prompt completed.

Well, you would be wrong. ; )

Because there is no way that I would miss out on a prompt that involved music. I cannot tell you how excited I was to see song lyrics as the main component this month. Music has always been a huge part of my life, my family's life. Just about this time last year, I wrote a post describing the soundtrack of my life. It is one of my favorite blog posts ever (if you're interested, you can check it out here).  And I got just as much satisfaction exploring songs from the perspective of my word, from seeing where my dreams lead me as I did when I wrote about this last year.

Music is just magic to me.

I actually did my cards digitally this month. I do all kinds of scrapping - traditional, digital and hybrid - but this is the first time I've done an all digital layout for this class. Truth be told, it was fun playing with type and color on my laptop. I'm a little bit geek at heart so sometimes I find great joy creating through technology.

Here's the listing of my lyric choices -

1. The Cave | Mumford & Sons
So make your siren's call and sing all you want
I will not hear what you have to say
'Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it's meant to be

2. All You Need Is Love | The Beatles
All you need is love

3. Love at the Five and Dime | Nanci Griffith
Dance a little closer to me
It's closing time 
And love's on sale tonight 
At this five and dime

4. Thunder Road | Bruce Springsteen
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night

5. F*cking Perfect | P!nk
Pretty, pretty please
if you ever, ever feel
like you are nothing
you're f*cking perfect to me

6. She Got Her Ticket | Tracy Chapman
She got her ticket
I think she gonna use it
I think she going to fly away

7. Dream a Little Dream of Me | Ella Fitzgerald
Sweet dreams til sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me

8. Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise | The Avett Brothers
There was a dream
And one day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage
I broke in and demanded somebody free it

9. Defying Gravity | Wicked
It's time to try defying gravity

And I utilized the feature on my printer that prints directly onto a CD in creating my playlist! Total score. Here's a peek at this month all together in my album.

Next up in the blog hop is Maureen - check out her blog here.