Jul 28, 2022

Mega Dreams


The first time my Mom almost won the lottery was in the late 70s. Coming that close was enough to reel her in - she played for the rest of her life, certain that she would hit it big. 

She was still living in Connecticut in the late 70s and the way the lottery worked back then in that state was that each ticket was either red, blue, or green. If you didn't win the lottery that week, you signed the back of your losing ticket and put your phone number on it and threw the ticket in big red, blue, or green collection barrels that were all over the State. 

One week my Mom's losing ticket was blue so she put it in a blue barrel. At the end of the week, the lottery folks chose a color. That week it was blue. So they picked 5 tickets from all the blue barrels full of losing blue tickets all over the State (really), and one of the tickets they chose was my Mom's. 

That meant that she got to drive up to Hartford and be on a televised game show called Double Play (really) to compete for the big consolation prize, which was $200K. She got my uncle to take her, since she wouldn't drive on a highway. Each contestant had a 20% chance of winning $200K, but was guaranteed at least $2K. She played the game, where the results were by chance, and came in last. But the fact that she got that far convinced her that she would eventually win millions of dollars. 

The second time she almost won was when we were living in Northern Virginia. At some point, she couldn't buy a Power Ball ticket in Virginia, but could buy a ticket in suburban Maryland, about a 25 minute drive on the Beltway. So, since she wouldn't drive, every week, she would get dressed up and take the bus to the Pentagon, switch to the subway, and then take a couple of subway rides up to Bethesda, Maryland to buy her tickets. There was a Hot Shoppes Restaurant (long gone, since that is now an incredibly expensive piece of real estate) next to the store that sold the lottery tickets. My mom bought her tickets, then went to the Hot Shoppes, ate her Chicken Croquettes or Hot Roast Turkey Sandwich, and took the trip home. The trip took about 6 hours. 

Then she would wait for the numbers to be picked. The newspaper would come on Saturday morning and she'd grab it and check the numbers. One day I thought I heard her choking and ran downstairs. She wasn't choking. She was half screeching/half crying as she read each number and realized that she was about to be a millionaire. Until she realized that she wasn't. 

It turned out that she got all 5 numbers of the Power Ball, but not the last number - the Power Ball itself. All that, and she only won $500. But it was another "sign" that she was destined to win. So she bought tickets the rest of her life, but never won anything more than a dollar or two. 

There is no doubt that, had she won, she would have given most of the money to my brothers, who were addicted to drugs and excelled at getting money from her. This was hard to watch and impossible to stop. 

Eventually, Mike and I supported my Mom. She couldn't take the trip to Bethesda anymore. By then she was pretty frail and sick. I would think about all the tickets, all the bingo games, all the drug money, and would grow crazy at the money she had thrown away. I even started to resent the Chicken Croquettes. Saint Mike would just tell me we were doing the right thing and "let it go." LET IT GO?   

It's been over 9 years since my Mom died and I've had plenty of time to look back. Of course, giving money to my brothers was a spectacularly bad move. But the other stuff? She was buying a dream - she needed a respite from the pain of having 2 sons with severe addictions. So she bought her lottery tickets and dreamt of something magical. I'm not sure what that was, but maybe that somehow the money would buy them a cure? Would it buy her peace? 

The passage of time has made it easier for me to let it go. It's a waste to spend time resenting a mother's desperate choices. I'm lucky I haven't been in her place.

Today, after hearing about how the Mega Millions had reached a billion dollar payout, I thought about my Mom and realized that she would have been beside herself with excitement at the thought of such a big prize. So, I decided to do something out of character for me. I wasted $6 buying a ticket. I'm not a fan of lotteries - we know they prey on the dreams of people who have the least. And, honestly, until the news started talking about the big payout, I forgot there even was a lottery. 

I have no plan for my fictional winnings. I spent more time walking to the shop to buy the ticket than I have dreaming about what I would do if I won. I don't need that dream. Yes, I've had my share of life's tough times, but, I also have a husband who told me to let it go. I'll take that win to the bank. 

MOOD WHEN DONE: Solid. It was scary seeing Mike get so sick. I think I'm still processing!! 

Jul 27, 2022

A Merry Slimline Card


I think I like this mini slimline size - 3.5" x 6". It's a nice change of pace. 

Used several Spellbinders products here - Holiday Blooms, More Holiday Decorations, Mix & Match Holiday Greetings, and the Geo Screen Embossing Folder. That Brushed Gold cardstock is fun to use, because unlike mirror gold, it doesn't show my fingerprints or stray bits of glue.  I love those die cut strings of light and hope to make a few, simpler cards with them, later this year.

Feels good to get another Christmas card made! 

MOOD WHEN DONE: Great. I'm avoiding going outside because of the summer long intense heat, but yesterday Mike had a follow up appointment with his doctor so out we went in the middle of the day. Roasty! So grateful for air conditioning!!! 

He's doing better, but after spending his entire life being careful with what he eats, he's having a hard time gaining the weight he lost. I keep telling him -  I'm an expert on weight gain. Just eat what I eat and those pounds will come roaring back! 

Jul 19, 2022

On Spellbinders Blog: Celebrate the Season

I'm on the Spellbinders' blog sharing 3 colorful cards I made with various products from their Celebrate the Season collection. I very much hope you will check it out!! 

MOOD WHEN DONE: Very happy!! I was pretty nervous taking on an assignment like this, but I enjoyed it so much. I was pretty nervous driving my husband in the dark to a hospital far from where we are living, but I did it. I was pretty nervous trying to stop eating so many carbs, but I failed. HA. I am trying so hard to just fight through anxieties, big and small. It's a good feeling to at least try! 

Jul 18, 2022

Parcel and Post Heart Decorations

There's a little add on set for the Spellbinders Mailbox dies called Parcel and Post Heart Decorations. It turns the mailbox into a Valentines or love card. As soon as I saw this small set of dies, I fell in love with the trio of hearts. I love the folksy shape. 

Used the Hypnotic Background Glimmer Hot Foil plate (coming in August) as an embossing plate - it provided the perfect grid for these hearts.

Normally, I'd go for a white background, but decided to go crazy.


Jul 17, 2022

Cards and an Update

Did something I never do - bought patterned paper. I saw this Christmas Traditions collection, complete with foiled sheets, at Spellbinders and bought it (and then it went on sale!). 

Trimmed a sheet by hand to form a tree and, after masking off sections with post it tape, ink blended the colors. Added a foiled sentiment from Spellbinders Glitter Wishes Hot Foil sentiments and another Christmas card for 2022 is done.

fun card made with the envelope die from Spellbinders Parcel & Post Mailbox die collection. Heart is from Parcel & Post Heart Decorations. Sentiment from a Glimmer Hot Foil sentiment set that I think is no longer available.


Husband's second surgery was a success. He went in very weak. I was unable to leave him home alone. After he got home from the surgery and came out of the anesthesia, he was a changed man. Completely back to himself. Yes, he is still underweight and doesn't have a lot of stamina, but he is walking unaided, up most of the day, and really just back to being himself. He should recover just fine - after eating some of my Brownie Cheesecake and enchiladas! 

Got a few questions on what was wrong. He had infected kidney stones, one of which was huge and had embedded itself into the side of his kidney and near a cyst. The infection had spread to his blood stream, which is dangerous. Lots of explanations from the doctor, most of which I didn't understand, but it appears to be resolved. I cannot express how relieved I am. Thanks for your comments here and on IG. They mattered.

Jul 14, 2022

Spellbinders Parcel and Post Mailbox (and some chat)

Spellbinders released a ton of beautiful and clever Christmas products today and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on some of them. 

One of my favorites is the Mailbox die and the accompanying sentiments (in hot foil and stamp versions), part of the Parcel and Post collection. I love when products provide an obvious place for the sentiment, as I always struggle with that issue. 

Used the Christmas Mailbox Greetings hot foil plate for the greeting on this card. The Mailbox dies come with a rectangle to cut out the sentiment, so it was easy to use. Also used the Dazzling Dots embossing folder. 

I timed how long this card took - from start to finish 90 minutes, which is blazing fast for me. 

By the way, I decided to try out some Spellbinders cardstock. I wasn't sure what to expect. I am always trying out new cardstock as I can never find the perfect colors, quality, service, and price all in one company! The Spellbinders cardstock is 100 lb, feels quite sturdy, and very smooth. I would definitely use it as a base. In fact, I really like it so of course I bought some other colors. And - just to be clear - I paid for all of them. I used Alabaster for part of the mailbox and the embossed panel and Brushed Gold (no fingerprints!) for some of the accents. 

MOOD WHEN DONE: Well, very happy with the card, but...

Mike is not well. He got an infection in his blood and was hospitalized. He was so sick and looked so awful that the nurse asked me if he uses a walker at home! I told her he runs 5 miles every other day and rows on the other days. She couldn't believe it!

He had surgery last Friday to address the source of the infection and it was only partially successful. He goes back tomorrow for more surgery. In the meantime, Mike is very weak and not himself. He's lost almost 10 pounds and trust me, this man has no weight to lose. I've talked him into eating bites of ice cream to try and get those pounds back. If only I could give him some of mine!! 

I hope to be back reporting improvement in Mike's health soon. Seeing him so frail has been one of the scariest things I've experienced in a very long time. 

In any event, this is why my crafting has slowed to a crawl, although I've managed to fit it in here and there - it is my drug of choice. And I really do love the products Spellbinders sent me. And some other items waiting to be used. ...