Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

From our house to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year-Marston and Kathy Watson

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fun with Grandchildren

On the spur of the moment two of my grandchildren wanted to spend the night at Grandpa's and Grandma's house. We take these moments and act on them positively because the grandchildren are usually so busy. So, we said yes and dove right in!

We knew in the evening what would be fun - watching a movie. But what to do in the morning? And we had a deadline - Lexie needed to be home by 1:15 so that she could get to her play rehearsal.

Over breakfast, we prepared "a list of ideas of things to do today between now and 1:00 so Lexie can get to her acting on time because that is important"! We came up with a list of six activities, none of which worked out because it was Monday morning and the favorite activities were not open until noon.

What to do?

We live in a gated community close to a walking path which is close to the San Francisco Bay and the Richmond Boat Harbor. I thought of a "photo scavenger hunt". I saw this idea on Facebook when doing research on the other activities.

Sophia came up with our Scavenger Hunt List:
-3 seagulls
-a person walking their dog
-2 kids playing outside
-an old man
-a boat
-the colors of the rainbow
-something floating in the water
-4 different types of flowers
-a bike
-someone running

What do you think? See the pictures I took here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Obituary - Democracy

In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinborough, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage."

The Obituary follows:

Born 1776, Died 2012
It doesn't hurt to read this several times.

Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul , Minnesota , points out some interesting facts concerning the last Presidential election:

Number of States won by: Obama: 19 McCain: 29
Square miles of land won by: Obama: 580,000 McCain: 2,427,000
Population of counties won by: Obama: 127 million McCain: 143 million
Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Obama: 13.2
McCain: 2.1

Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory McCain won was
mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country.

Obama territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in low income
tenements and living off various forms of government welfare..."

Olson believes the United States is now somewhere between the
"complacency and apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy,
with some forty percent of the nation's population already having reached
the "governmental dependency" phase.

If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal
invaders called illegal's - and they vote - then we can say goodbye to the
USA in fewer than five years.

If you are in favor of this, then by all means, delete this message.

If you are not, then pass this along to help everyone realize just how much is at stake, knowing that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom..

This is truly scary! Of course we are not a democracy, we are a Constitutional Republic . Someone should point this out to Obama. Of course we know he and too many others pay little attention to The Constitution.
There couldn't be more at stake than on Nov 2012.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

2011 Continental Congress - Saturday

As the 120th Continental Congress comes to a close, my feet are tired, my brain is fried and I'm ready to return home. Among many bright spots this week has been the incredible Washington D.C. weather. Usually this time of year will bring high temperatures and high humidity. We have been spared the latter while enjoying the former - almost feels like home (California).

No more stats! By this time DAR members have learned the value of belonging to a service organization. We are proud of our heritage and we seek to identify and recognize significant contributions in patriotism, conservation, the bright youth of America, veterans, volunteers and the list goes on.

This post will round out the week in Washington and the Continental Congress with just a few quotes:

Crossnore School is "a place for miracles...a Christian sanctuary helping kids rise above their circumstances".

Tamassee School recognizes DAR as "the head cheerleaders".

DAR is a "small tight knit group of people on a mission".

"it is generally believed that we build on those who go before us".

I have learned a great deal this week, spent way too much money and am now energized to begin the work of the chapter (Anne Loucks) for the coming year. Time to get ready for the trip home.

2011 Continental Congress - Friday

The NSDAR Master Questionnaire is filled in by every chapter; it is the mechanism that provides reporting information for all the National Chairman at Continental Congress.

My DAR chapter, Anne Loucks submitted the master questionnaire and won several recognitions at the state (of California) level. The statistics reported here are from reports of the National Chairman - stats that I thought would be of interest to readers of the Bits n' Bytes.

(cont'd from Thursday)
15. There were 1,306 American Indian minutes read at chapter meetings.
16. Bacone College received 23,268 soup labels.
17. Chemawa Indian School received $32,091 from NSDAR for Christmas gifts.
18. Twenty DAR Medals of Honor were awarded (list will be in the proceedings from Continental Congress).
19. Ninety eight percent of chapters prepared Chapter Achievement Reports. Fifty eight percent were Level 1, thirty three percent were Level 2 and four percent were Level 3. Thirty seven chapters reported over 1,000 points.
20. Three hundred forty four Community Service certificates were presented.
21. A relamping project at DAR headquarters cost $63,000 with a 16 month payback. The project was recommended by the Conservation Committee.
22. An announcement at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway of Constitution Day on September 17, 2010 was heard by over 1,000,000 people.
23. The 225th anniversary of signing the Constitution is September 17, 2012.
24. The American Spirit magazine (an award winning publication) has a circulation of 43, 271.
25. Scholarships awarded by chapters & states totaled $716,000.
26. DAR daughters traveled 955,703 miles in service to Veterans. $1,444,389 (cash and in kind) donations from DAR daughters to Veterans.
27. Over 29,000 flag certificates were presented for proper display of the American flag.
28. NSDAR has a net gain of 1,068 members - we're growing!
29. Wikipedia entry for NSDAR will be revised to reflect "Today's DAR" instead of our past history.
30. Out of 169,800 members 97,000 have email addresses.
31. More than 620 DAR members chose to volunteer at Continental Congress.
32. DAR Project Patriot Committee celebrated their 10th anniversary.
33. DAR members on the Speakers Staff traveled 160,000 miles to present DAR programs.
34. New "years of service (10, 20, 30)" pins will be available for sale; one can be worn on the ribbon.
35. There is an "internet monitoring" committee always on the lookout for DAR insignia (pins).

Whew!! DAR members are busy contributing and serving in many, many ways. The list will continue in Saturday's post.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

2011 Continental Congress - Thursday

Have you ever seen what happens when the President General enters DAR Constitution Hall?

Tonight's post is all about statistics! Most of the business session today was reporting from the Executive Officers, Administrative and Standing Committees and reports from State Regents.

In all the reports, here are the stats that I noted:

1. Membership is now 169,800 - goal is 170,000 by the end of the year.
2. Membership dues only covers 30% of NSDAR expenses.
3. There are now 2,763 chapters - newest Overseas Unit is in Moscow.
4. 11,200 applications were processed - 10,827 were approved.
5. 5,430 supplementals were approved - now takes about five months to process.
6. 99% of record copies are done online.
7. New Roberts Rules of Order (11th edition) will be available in Sept. 2011.
8. Forty-four special project grants were approved for a total of $209,600.
9. President General's project has raised $462,320.
10. Donations through Heritage Club, Annual Giving Circle, Founders club account for 26% of revenue.
11. Oldest DAR member was 112 in September 2010 (she'll turn 113 this year).
12. California has 9,043 members.
13. New DAR Handbook will be available in October 2011.
14. Founders Club has 473 members - 74 new since last year.

NSDAR Outstanding Junior was announced: Susan Margaret H. Wood from Michigan; runner-up was Julie Ann Bird Tiska from New York.

2011 Continental Congress - Wednesday

What a jam-packed day at DAR headquarters! First, no complaints about the bus ride in-arrived on time and stopped for me. Catching the early bus allowed me to arrive in plenty of time for the 8:00 a.m. Chapter Achievement forum.

Ladies, the form has been changed for 2012 reporting! One of the best changes is to allow electronic entry-what a pain it was this year to gather all the signatures needed. Sorry if I'm so eager to do things electronically-must be because of working with computers for nearly 50 years.

Next on the agenda was the Heritage Club breakfast. As a member of the club, members can attend a breakfast or a lunch depending on level of donation. The food is good and there is an opportunity to make new friends from all over the country.

Following the breakfast, I wanted to view the Commemorative events posters to see the winning entry and the State winners. This year the posters commemorated 9/11. We have some talented ladies in the DAR! Next year the poster contest will commemorate the War of 1812.

Networking was next - the vendors had been open for a while and needed my attention. I was blown away by the Miss Virginia Mary Cabell Junior Doll. She comes with thirty outfits with twenty-nine of them made by one DAR member (she won in the American Heritage Fiber Arts division nationally for this effort). I bought some tickets-the doll would be great fun for me and my grand daughters!

The afternoon session was hearing from the Registrar General about applications and Is That Service Right? I'll share the handout with my Lineage Research and Supplemental team upon my return.

I took time out from the busy day to have a relaxing dinner with Marston before Opening Night festivities. We went to the Jockey Club in the Fairfax Hotel. Food and service were top-notch.

Opening night was fantastic! Did you watch Congress Online? If not, you missed an awesome tribute to 9/11. It "kicked off" a year-long commemoration of the events at each location on September 11, 2001. We were convinced to visit the Pentagon Memorial on Sunday morning before we head home.

Well - it's off to the first Business session!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 Continental Congress - Tuesday

This day did not start at all well! The plan was to take the N3 bus but the driver did not stop! After chasing the bus and catching up to him, he would not open the door! Suffice it to say that I filed a formal complaint with the Metro.

The mishap with the bus meant a trip by the subway and then on to another bus to get to DAR headquarters. I was 40 minutes late for the Library orientation session slated for 9:00. I wanted to be in the session with other members of my chapter-we had exchanged schedules in advance so I knew that they would be there. Had I been able to get there, my readers would have the latest information about the DAR Library and what is available online - however that information will have to come from Sue, Sally or Judy!

There was more time today in the Library and then lunch over at the Department of Interior cafeteria - a new place for me. Food was good, reasonably priced, and the cafeteria is huge affording space for a number of DAR members to have lunch.

Two other events were scheduled for today: the VIS (Volunteer Information Specialists) Committee meeting and the California Tea. The VIS meeting consisted of questions to the chairman - a bit different format than in prior years.

Anne Loucks chapter 1st Vice Regent Sue Busenius, 2nd Vice Regent Judy Onopchenko and I went through the receiving line at the same time-just like it was planned so that we could get a picture with California State Regent Karon Jarrard. As the "kick-off" event, it was wonderful. There was good food including a chocolate fountain and an opportunity to network with other California daughters.

2011 Continental Congress-Monday

Woke up excited - today would be spent at DAR Headquarters - intended to be one of the first people to register for the 2011 Continental Congress - the 120th!

The trip in was made by bus - gave me an opportunity to test the bus run (N3) which would take me from the Anderson House to DAR Headquarters. I had prepared ahead and knew to be at the bus stop for the bus which left at 8:07. This would give me a few hours in the DAR Library before doing the Registration "dance".

The test run identified a problem with the bus schedule - it had changed and the bus actually arrived at 8:02. Heard by phone later that this change took effect in May, but the Metro web site was not up to date. No problem for later days in the week - I'll adjust by arriving earlier to be sure.

One of the fun things about this week at the DAR Library is being able to renew friendships and make new friends while doing genealogy. Today was no different! I saw many people that I know from California - today I sat with Judy Kimball.

When it came time for registration to be open, Judy and I went down to the basement where we expected a long line. Much to our surprise there were only 30 (approx.) ladies in front of us. The pages instructed us to have a seat (this is the registration "dance"). A few minutes later we were instructed to get up and move forward and then sit again. Despite the ups and downs, registration is very organized and a fairly pleasant experience.

With our name pages and seat assignments in hand, it was time to stop in at the DAR Store. I had a short list of items to purchase for the chapter. As a seasoned DAR Congress attendee, I knew that stopping today was good for two reasons: the store is close to registration and there would be fewer ladies than on other days.

Purchases in hand, it was time to go back to the library!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Our Home for the Week

Just arrived in Washington D.C. for the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Continental Congress. Most of the daughters in town will stay at the J.W. Marriott close to DAR Headquarters. While I will miss the camraderie and fellowship of my sisters in the society, I have chosen to stay at the Anderson House on Massachusetts Ave. close to Dupont Circle.

Anderson House was built between 1902 and 1905 in the heart of Dupont Circle, which was at that time, our capital's most fashionable neighborhood. At a cost of nearly $750,000, the Boston firm, Arthur Little & Herbert Browne, designed this Beaux Arts mansion ... read more

The Anderson House is home for the Society of the Cincinnati which was founded at the close of the Revolutionary War by the officers of the Continental line and their French counterparts, who had served together in the struggle for American independence. They wished to preserve the rights and liberties for which they had fought and to foster the bonds of friendship that had been formed among them during the long years of war.

Members of the Society are welcome to stay in one of the thirteen guest rooms (each is named for one of the original thirteen colonies). We happen to be staying in the Maryland suite for the duration of the Continental Congress.

There is a bus which will take me each day to DAR Headquarters - looking forward to the first trip in tomorrow for registration and perhaps a little time in the DAR Library.

Bits n' Bytes for the next few days will focus on the events of the day at DAR Headquarters with a picture or two along the way. Should be fun!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Card Creation with a Twist

Something happens to me when my "to do" list is really long: the brain goes into creative mode and an outlet is the only way to appease it. So, all the to-dos are forgotten and I enter my craft corner. Now, all I do is greeting cards. I use the same materials that scrapbookers use on their pages.

Don't tell my husband, but I went shopping yesterday at my favorite store and bought some more "tools" to introduce to my card making toolkit (could this be what kicked me into creative mode: the desire to use what I bought?). The perfect use for what was purchased was a friend's birthday coming up on the 16th. While one of my cards in the stash could be used, it would be more fun to do it with new "stuff". The materials marked with an asterisk are new in this list.

Patterned Card Stock (cut to make 5 x 7 card)
Cream card stock
Gross grain ribbon and lace edging from Jo Ann's
Hero Arts Stamp (have a fabulous birthday)
*Elizabeth Craft Peel-off sticker (cupcake)
*Opaque Jewel Glitter Ritz
Stamp n Stuff Embossing powder (Stampendous)
Powder Puffs ink (pink cheeks) (Quick Quotes)
*Be Creative Tape
*Copic alcohol-based markers
*Floral Embellishments (Recollections)

The real work in the front of this card is the cupcake which combines the sticker, the tape, the glitter and the markers - all new to me so I will concentrate here. The cupcake had to be done twice-the first was ruined in trying to apply it to the card stock.

There is a trick! Step 1: cut the card stock to the desired size for the sticker. Step 2: cut the Be Creative Tape to fit the card stock (step 1). Step 3: apply one side of the tape to the card stock. Step 4: Peel off the desired sticker and place non-sticky side down on work surface. Step 5: Peel off second paper from Be Creative tape. Step 6: Take card stock and "kiss" the sticker with the sticky side.

Now, you will add the glitter to the side of the card stock with the sticker on it. The glitter will stick. Use your finger to "seal" the glitter to the Be Creative tape and the sticker. Use your Copic marker to color the cupcake. Voila!

Are you wondering where the twist is? I have never seen the inside of any hand made greeting card! So, here is the inside of this card. Note, that I always try to tie in the front of the card on the inside. In this case, there is glitter around the saying in the middle.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Inspiration for Life

Just doing a quick post today. I found this in my documents - don't know the origin but I saved this for inspiration to my volunteer activities.

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest person with the biggest ideas can be
shot down by the smallest person with the smallest mind.
Think big anyway.
What you spend years building may
be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack if you help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have
and you might get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Confessions of a Foursquare Addict

All right, I admit it - I'm a Foursquare addict (and a chocaholic-but I cannot do anything about that). Foursquare is primarily for letting your friends know where you are and figuring out where they are. Secondarily, it's for collecting points, prize "badges," and eventually, coupons, for going about your everyday business.

And it's popular. At February 21, 2011 Foursquare crossed 7 million users IDs!! I'm one of those 7 million and here is my confession:

You make up reasons to go out and check in
You study ways to get badges
You know how to maximize your checkins
You figure out how NOT to get the "Whoa" message
You follow Foursquare/AboutFoursquare on Twitter to get the "latest news"
You submit issues to 4sq help desk
You categorize venues to earn badges
You add venues to get more points
You watch the leaderboard in your area
Wish you could have attended "hackathon"
Look forward to "anniversary" to be able to create Infograph
You structure your day around foursquare.

I just checked my "stats". Been out 292 days (73 to go until my 1st anniversary) with over 4000 checkins. I just added a countdown so that my Infograph will be posted here! LOL - gotta get a life!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Been Way Too Long!

My last post was November 25, 2010. No way that I can "catch up". Just have to start anew with the blog.

I seem to have more time now for making greeting cards. This is not really true - usually events happen which require me to make a card. So more events are happening thus more cards getting made.

Thought that a new slant I could take with the blog is to showcase my cards - that way I would have a record of them and maybe someone would enjoy seeing them.

So, I start today with the card made for Sophia, my granddaughter who will be 14 on June 2. Here is her card with a coordinated gift card holder:

I used GCD Studios paper for the quilted effect both on the card and gift card holder. My trusty Cricut helped out with the "Birthday Girl" on the card and the tag on the gift card holder. Her name was embossed on the tag.

While the inside of the card is not shown, I always try to carry the theme from the front of the card on to the inside. In this case, the quilting affect was also on the inside, but just with strips of the paper at the top. The card is in the mail otherwise I would snap a picture of the inside.

After the 4.5 by 6.5 quilting was completed, it was mounted on black cardstock and then attached to the front of the card. The gift card holder was black cardstock and the quilting was done on the front.

The card itself was patterned paper on the outside and solid on the inside. This paper was not GCD Studios (my favorite) but matched the color theme of the quilting.

Future blog posts will highlight cards as they are made. This weekend I've signed up for a "make & take" class at Scrapbook Territory. So look for a post on Sunday!