I was the mini-me of you

Boundaries shape one’s identity.

When you don’t respect my boundaries, you don’t allow for the growth of my identity.

When you manipulate my voice, you silence what I have to say until it matches what you want to hear.

You never let me become me because you are always too wrapped up in you becoming you.

In the process, I was lost.

“Well look what I had to work with? I was young. I didn’t know any better. I did the best I could with what I had.”

Always justifying your poor behavior and expecting me to do the same for you.

And for a long time, I did just that.

But when does the victim mentality end? We are all victims of someone. It’s a vicious circle really.

The reality is, you didn’t see any problem with your behavior. And that’s what hurts.

The real me was unloved and uncared for by you, unless, of course, it served your purpose.

You never respect my boundaries. You just want my identity to mirror yours or a justification for why it doesn’t.

Love is always conditional with you. If I don’t do or act the way you want, you don’t care enough to love the real me.

Not really.

A mother’s love is supposed to be unconditional, remember?

And when I tried to assert myself or speak up for myself, well, that’s when things turned really ugly.

I was the asshole. I was the manipulative bitch. I was the cunt. I was 12.

By not allowing me to have my own boundaries, you raised a person who has never known her true self.

Never truly proud of what makes her… uniquely me. Ashamed I was not worthy of a mother’s love.

No boundaries in our relationship meant I could never develop an identity outside of you.

I was the mini-me of you. And in the end, that’s all that really mattered to you.


When it snows just look up

Last night we had a few inches of that heavy wet yucky snow dumped on us. I know I shouldn’t complain. It has been a VERY MILD winter this year in Chicago. Last year around this time we were still seeing piles and piles of snow everywhere from our 20+ inch snowfall in one day. That was awful.

As I get older, I am starting to detest winter more and more – read that as HATE WITH A PASSION. I never thought I’d be one of those people who would move to Florida when they got older but I am really thinking about it lately. Why wait for older? I’m ready now.

This is what the bottom of my driveway looks like. It’s what most of the streets around here look like. It’s worse where they haven’t plowed. The school parking lot was incredibly bad this morning. You think they’d plow the damn thing from a safety standpoint. Nope. Hopefully it’ll be plowed when I go pick up Dan.

But as I was driving back from the gym this morning (yes I have gotten myself back to the gym this week!) and I saw this mess all over the streets, I looked up.

Boy what a view change! It was BEAUTIFUL! I’ll have to remember to look up more often. My photo doesn’t do the snow covered trees justice.

This week in life

I posted a separate update about my running and my return to the gym here.

Dan is doing well in Karate so much so that they want to move him up to the official “adult belt” class. In the class he’s currently in they let the kids slide more on discipline. The new class will still have kids Dan’s age but it’s focus is very different. Instead of being one of the older kids, he’ll be one of the youngest. Dan isn’t always focused in class but he’s been doing really great – moving up color stripes each time he tests. He really seems to like Karate.

They want to move him up to the other class after his next testing (for his blue stripe) which would be end of March. Usually they move the kids up after they test for their black stripe. I guess they feel he’s ready and is serious and focused. HA! I know Dan can be very focused but he’s also a typical 7 year old boy who goofs off more often than not.

The other class only tests every 6 months so that will definitely be different. Currently he tests every 8 weeks. I’m not sure they’d have him test for a black stripe or test him for an adult white or orange. I’m still unsure how it all works.

Anyway in preparation for the class move, I picked up this belt display so we can display all his belts in his room. They’ve just been hanging in his closet. lol! Now I just have to hang it on his wall.

The girls had their final swim meet of the season this past Monday. It was a long day for poor Dan but he was a trooper.  They had to be there at 3pm and we weren’t out of there until 7pm. Swim meets are so long for watching about 4 minutes of swimming.

The girls each swam 3 events and ended up with personal bests for two of them! They were super excited.  Here are some photos taken with my 55-250mm lens from the balcony. I’m still obviously working on my camera skills but I think these came out pretty decent.

Both of them shaved off a few seconds from their previous 100 free times. Very proud of them both! Jess almost pulled out the win coming from way behind. It seems like she is always last off the block. lol!

So the swim season is officially over. They’ll have a break for a few months until they start up again in the summer.

Welcoming 2012

I’ve been thinking about what my word for 2012 will be.  In order to figure out where I want to go this year, I stopped and took a look back at the last two years to see where I’ve been.


2010 was the year I came to terms with my failed business partnership and dealt with the emotional aftermath of that “divorce”.

  • It was a year of healing. I had lost my way. I had lost my drive. I was depressed. I had completely lost myself. Who the hell was this person? It certainly wasn’t me. I had been hurt so deeply and my recovery process was painfully slow.
  • It was a year of reflection. How had I gotten to this point? What part did I play in all of it? Could I have prevented it? Why did it happen in the first place? Could I have chosen better path for myself?
  • It was a year of decision making. What did I really want to do? What would make me happy?
  • It was a year of rebuilding. Where did I want to go from here? How was I going to get there?
  • It was a year of rediscovery. Where was the “professional” I used to be? Did I still have any design talent? Was I even any good anymore? I had so much to re-learn.

2010 was a very hard year for me.


2011 was my year of moving forward.

At times it doesn’t feel like much happened in 2011.  But looking back I found that I really did accomplish a lot of great things last year. More than I thought I did.

  • I designed. A LOT. I got back into designing on a regular schedule. I found some mojo along the way. I designed more in 2011 then I have in all my other years in the digital scrapbook industry combined – going all the way back to 2005. That’s how design intensive 2011 was for me.
  • I paid off old business debt. I found a design home with a top digital scrapbook company and as a result have been able to pay off some serious business debt that I accrued trying to get my failed business partnership off the ground.
  • I scrapped. I scrapped over 100 layouts last year including printing and putting them into a 12×12 keepsake binder. This was a wonderful accomplishment for me.
  • I cleaned. I got my house under control. I did some major house clean-up in 2011 and put myself on a regular maintenance cleaning schedule every Monday. I felt good because my house felt good.
  • I exercised. In July, I started working out regularly again. I set a goal of losing 30 lbs by my birthday (Jan 7th). During this time I started running again. I certainly didn’t set any barn burner run times. But I was out there doing it. Regularly. Running. ME!
  • I lost weight.  While I didn’t reach my weight loss goal of 30lbs, I did lose 17 lbs.

Even with all that, I’d have to say the biggest accomplishment of the year was that I moved forward and stopped looking back.


2012 will be my year of letting go and start saying “good enough” more.

  • I will stop holding myself to unrealistic goals and standards.
  • I will let go of my perfectionist nature.
  • I will stop over analyzing everything before I do it.
  • I will try more things.
  • I will create more for myself than for a paycheck.
  • I will keep “good enough” control over my designing.  My collections can get out of control quickly and often I find I can’t stop designing.  “Oh it needs this one more thing” and before you know it a collection that should have 40-50 embellishments in it has 75-90 embellishments in it. Basically TWO collections in one. Overkill.
  • I will take more photos (and be IN more photos).
  • I will learn more about photography.
  • I will scrap more “everyday” stories of my family.
  • I will let go of my personal web store.

That last one was a very hard decision for me. I started thinking about letting my personal store go back in November. Maintaining both a personal store and my ScrapGirls store was not working. Over half of the products in my ScrapGirls store never made it to my personal store. It was just too time-consuming for the little it was generating even with having help (thanks Nikki!).

The reality is I have more exposure and financial potential with my store at ScrapGirls and need to be focusing all my design effort stocking and promoting my products there. When I joined the design team back in April, I wasn’t mentally ready to take the leap of faith and give up what I perceived as control. But almost a year later, I’m now ready.  It is simply a better use of my time and money.

As part of letting my personal store go, I have also switched over my design blog to JenReed.com. During the next year, my goal is to blog more in general including sharing more photos of my family. I’m starting everything over. Fresh new blog. Fresh new start. Feels good.

“Good Enough” in 2012

My 2012 “good enough” journey begins today. I’m turning this blog on live even though I haven’t added all my collections to it yet and I only have one post on it. I’ve spend the last week or so working on getting the basic look how I wanted along with getting the blog to showcase my products in an easy to maintain way. So I feel the blog is “good enough” to go live. So I’m jumping in.

This journey won’t be easy for me.  There will be times I will fail as I am too much a control freak and perfectionist. I will definitely have to keep reminding myself.

  • “Good enough” does not mean half ass.
  • “Good enough” does not mean unprofessional.
  • “Good enough” does not mean being sloppy.
  • “Good enough” does not mean not striving for excellence.
  • “Good enough” does not mean excuses.
  • “Good enough” does not mean giving up.
  • “Good enough” does not mean failure.

Good enough simply means that I will not torture myself by setting ridiculous expectations. I will be kinder to myself. I can be a high achiever and not an unrealistic perfectionist.

  • So what if it takes me longer to run a mile?
  • So what if it takes me longer to produce new products? (I will not be working myself like a dog this year.)
  • So what if it takes me a little longer to lose the weight I want to lose?
  • So what if it takes me longer to do <whatever>?

So what?

I’m moving forward and that’s all that really needs to happen.  It’s going to be good enough.

Weekly Goals Review: Week of 6/14/10

This was my goal list for last week…

Business Goals

  • Biggest goal – to get back into the swing of designing again. I’m still making this a priority goal.  I did okay last week but need to keep this front and center as a goal. :) I’m trying to get at least 3 days of active designing in somewhere… hoping that will be a 5 day thing down the road.
    SORT OF – Still working on this one.  Didn’t get 3 days of designing in this week – only one.  I am really trying to make this a priority.
  • Rework, refresh and stock 2 of my oldies.
    SORT OF – Got one oldie reworked and stocked.  I did get my Pick Ur Bits paper pack previewed and uploaded.  So I got two products uploaded… but only one oldie refreshed..
  • Break out my design stuff from my personal blog.  At least I’d like to have the new blog installed and design things moved over.
    SORT OF – I got the blog installed at least.  But didn’t get farther than that. 🙁

Personal Goals

  • Stay on track with my cool running – M-W-F
  • Do 30 minutes of aerobic walking on T-Th (we’ll see how this one goes)
  • Sit outside for an hour every day and read.  I’d like to finish the ChiWalking book. This one might be easier since I’ll get some time during swimming lessons to sit out and read.
    SORT OF – Some days rained and I didn’t get outside.  I also only got halfway through ChiWalking.
  • Clean something every day for 30 minutes.
    SORT OF – I did this two of the 5 days.  LOL!
  • Work more on Dan’s room.

    Hmm… only one blue goal this past week… This week was the first week of camp… and next week we’ll have double sessions in the morning.  I think for my goals this week, I need to keep that into consideration.  Basically my mornings for the most part are shot.  I did blog this week and do my running so I stayed on track with those things.   I think I also lost some focus on the afternoons that I was able to work on designing.  I’ll have to be better about this coming week.

    Weekly Goals Review: Week of 6/7/10

    I’m going to try – try I said – to keep up with doing a review of the goals I set for the last week.  I did pretty well this past week actually.

    This was my goal list for last week…

    • Biggest goal – to get back into the swing of designing again.  I have been gone from the digiscrap industry for 3 years now.  My last release under my own name was back in 2007 and prior to that I didn’t release a lot of things (always wrapped up in the backend technical admin of various sites).  So just DESIGNING… is going to be my biggest goal for awhile.
      DONE – I’m excited to say I met this goal.  I was able to design 3 days of the week.  That’s a great step for me actually.  My eventual plan is try and design some every day… but for now 3 days was a great accomplishment. 🙂
    • Blogging regularly – I actually created a weekly blogging calendar for myself. lol!  Maybe that will kick me in the ass to blog more. I was never a very good blogger so this is a bit scary.  lol!
      DONE – I actually met this one too… WOO HOO!!!!
    • Finalizing my own store site – I am almost there with this one.  Have some finishing things I need to tweak before I go live with the site.
      DONE –  I got my store up!  I had actually been working on this on and off for the last two weeks… but it needed some final tweaking and testing before I put it out live.  I’m sure there are little things that still need to be tweaked and maybe things that are off a bit… but I’m happy with how it is starting off.  Oh… and I do need to get some products stocked.  LOL!

    This weeks personal goals

    • Keep up with the cool running program. 20 minutes. M – W -F
      DONE – I was able to stay with this for M-W-F.  I think I may walk on T and Th just not do the running part.  Maybe more of an aerobic walk.
    • Start lifting weights again. 20 minutes. T-Th
      NOPE – I didn’t do this part.  I think maybe this will come after I get my walking more regular.  I was afraid I’d be sore and jinx my walking… so I’m going to put this on hold.
    • Do the Creativity Boot Camp every day.  My intention is to release whatever I design as a freebie. I *really* want to do this.
      NOPE – I did the first two days of this and then from there it went downhill.  Not because I didn’t make time… but because the bootcamp turned out to be geared mostly for photographers.  The prompts weren’t all that inspiring to me.  So I consciously made the choice to not do this and spent that time designing for the DSO July Pick Ur Bits.
    • Sit outside for an hour every day and read.  I’d like to finish the ChiRunning/ChiWalking books.
      DONE – I wasn’t able to sit outside every day because it rained 3 of the days this week.  lol!  But I did make it outside the days it didn’t rain for an hour and finished the ChiWalking book.  I plan on reading the ChiRunning next week.
    • Clean one of my kids rooms.  Last week I did Sam’s.  This week I should get into Dan’s. It’s a complete disaster!
      SORT OF – I didn’t get into Dan’s room all the way like I wanted to. But I did have the kids pull out all the clothes that don’t fit anymore.  So two bags of clothes were donated this week.  A little progress…

    And this is my horoscope for today.

    You might believe that changing your attitude is all that’s necessary now, but unfortunately breaking free from old habits is not that straightforward. Your current responsibilities could require hard physical work, too. Today’s New Moon in your 6th House of Details indicates that you will be more successful if you take many small steps instead of trying to reach the summit in one big leap.

    I think it rings true for me.  I’m trying to break some old habits and get back into enjoying my little daily successes.  Small steps every day this past week have put me on track for my new journey.  It’s not about the destination for me… it’s about the journey and the little steps I’m taking along the path.  Yeah… mushy… I know even for me.  But I’ve come from such a dark place it’s time to be more positive again even if that means mushy.

    Living Room Makeover

    Awhile back I exchanged the furniture between my front room and my back room.  I had always intended that to be the first step towards a living room makeover.  This past month, I finally was able to complete the makeover – including getting a new couch, loveseat and chair set.

    Here are the BEFORE photos which were the AFTER photos from the post above (I only had iphone before photos so the quality is rather poor).  As you can see my walls were mauve/pink as were my blinds and the couches (that were not purchased for this room) were a nice green.  What a perfect match! lol!

    So as part of the makeover, we picked up new couches and new drapes (couldn’t wait to get rid of the venetian blinds).  I also refinished the tables and the coat/shoe racks.

    This was the end result. What a difference a coat of paint makes.. 😉

    We have a beautiful bay window that we never saw with the other drapes.  They were just so cumbersome to open that we always left them closed.  With the new drapes, I can open them and see those wonderful windows and all that light. Love it! 🙂

    I always wanted a big clock for the front room.  Picked this one up at Kohl’s during their clock sale last week.  The photos in the frame are 8 x 10 to give you an idea of the size of the clock.  Nice!  (also that door is actually in the hall… looks like a door to this room in this photo)

    All the couches and the chair have recliners in them which the kids LOVE!

    You can see in the before photo above how light the wood was for our corner storage units.  I sanded both of them and stained.  I also added non-slip runners to the storage seat top and the inside bottom where we keep shoes.  (After the dog ate the pillow top last year, I just kept the top for boots)  So during the winter when the kids put their boots on top the runners should work better to protect the unit.  I wish we had a real foyer but we do not so we have to make due.  The stain doesn’t look this dark in person but if I could do these over, I’d go a bit lighter on the stain.  Overall I’m happy with how they came out.

    I should have taken a good before photo of the tables, but I didn’t.  All I have is some poorer quality photos.  The first one shows the quality of the table finish and on the second one, you can see the light corners where the dog chewed – she got all 4 corners when she was a puppy.  It was very nice of her.

    So I sawed off the overhang edges thinking the top was completely wood.  But I had a nice surprise to find out that the top was actually cork filler with a wood veneer instead.  sigh… Lovely.  So I did the best I could and still sanded and stained the table along with the cork sides.  The tables actually look 100% better than they did.  But the project only came out on my scale at about 70% of what it could have had the tables been 100% wood like the storage units were.

    I actually like how the smaller table came out.  It was in worse shape.  The camera flash and room lighting makes the tables look really different but they match rather well in person.

    Overall I’m rather happy with how the room turned out.  I wish I was a better photographer though….

    Shawn Michaels Retiring

    Well it looks like Shawn Michaels is officially retiring after last night’s “Career vs Streak” match with the Undertaker.  My two favorite wrestlers of all time are Shawn and Taker so if Shawn is leaving, going out to the Undertaker is the way to go, IMHO.  Still sad.

    Rick and I were at Wrestlemania 13 in Chicago when Undertaker beat Sid Vicious.  Got my official Undertaker shirt (that has since disappeared)… but last night, I was wearing my Shawn shirt. Hoping that Shawn would pull out the win…

    But after several kick-outs when Shawn knelt before the Taker and Taker didn’t want to pin him… somehow I knew… I had seen it before… the look in the eyes… the pleading… Shawn pleaded for Undertaker to just DO IT…

    Rick Flair had also begged a hesitant Shawn not too long ago to “end it” too.  Flair went out to Michaels and Michaels has now gone out to Taker. 🙁

    I have mixed feelings…  I think it’s great to see Shawn, my HBK, go out on top.  He really is retiring as The Show Stopper and Mr. Wrestlemania.

    Flair needed to retire a long time before he “did”… he lost his shine… I say “did” because he is now back wrestling on TNA these days looking half past dead. He supposedly pissed all his money away and can’t retire.  hmmm…

    It was also nice to see Bret and Shawn make amends. Their feud was real and very personal. Shawn was able to move on but Bret has been living ’97 Survivor Series over and over for the last 13 years and it’s torn his entire life apart.  Wrestlemania 26 tried to wrap everything up in a nice little bow… Bret comes back, Stu gets inducted in the Hall of Fame, Bret and his family beat the hell out of Vince, Bret patches things up with Shawn and then Shawn retires at the top of his game.

    INSERT – Top of his game…  Seriously?!? Did you see Shawn’s back flip off the top rope onto Undertaker laying on the announcer’s table? DAMN! I mean DAMN! If that ain’t worth an “ECW Holy Shit!” I don’t know what is… Classic Shawn!

    Bret and Shawn won’t ever be close… the history and wounds are too deep.  But hopefully both of them found some peace and can move on with their lives especially Bret who has allowed that one moment in time to define his personal life and has ultimately destroyed him.

    Shawn Michaels makes his final walk through the backstage area after Wrestlemania.

    Hopefully RAW will have an official Shawn retirement tribute tonight. Mixed feelings for sure…

    Today’s Capricorn Horoscope Right on Track

    Today’s horoscope seems awfully on target with my life… Interesting when that happens…

    I have been fascinated with horoscopes since I was little.  I’ve got a bit of my Dad in me.

    Jan. 29 Capricorn Horoscope

    You’ve got something to say, and you won’t be able to hold it back another second.  This has been a long time coming, but with the stars’ intense emotional energy arriving this morning, keeping quiet any longer isn’t necessary, and won’t be possible.  You’re being asked to express yourself, and knowing you, you’ll find a gracious, affable way to do it — even if what emerges is a good-bye.  You have to do this.  Now do it.


    But I think I’ll pull a Costanza instead and do the opposite of what I would normally do.  I’ll just do and say nothing… well… maybe just a quick Goodbye as it really has been a long time coming.

    OnlyWire a Free Social Bookmarking Tool

    OnlyWire allows automatic submissions to the top social bookmarking sites with a click of a button.  I usually submit my links manually (digg, twitter, facebook, etc.) but thought I’d give this little tool a try and see what happens.  I might have to remove facebook because I believe I already have my facebook attached to my blog postings – I just can’t remember.  Sad.

    You can use the OnlyWire service for free if you add an only-wire widget to your website.  Here’s the OnlyWire WordPress Plugin.

    Website Re-Design Donated to Non-Profit Organization

    A few weeks back, I saw a posting on the MomPack looking for a web designer who would barter design services.  It’s been so long since I’ve taken on any web design clients and even longer since I’ve donated or did design work pro-bono.  The first websites I ever designed were back in 1996 (yes that means I’m old).  lol!  My first design clients came in 2000.  And some of those I took on as pro-bono sites to help me build a portfolio.  One of those sites (which is no longer up and running) was done for an older woman who created handmade floral craft items.  I took her site on for free so I could learn more about shopping carts.  In the end, I had created a very large ordering site for her that brought her a nice chunk of regular orders and income to supplement her retirement.  It was a website that she could never have afforded.  It was a great feeling.

    I’m not sure what spurred me to e-mail this particular lady back.  I have no idea how I even caught the e-mail because I haven’t been actively reading the MomPack list in a long time.  But I did.  So I checked out her current site and saw that it had enough content in place that it would work as a wordpress site.  Having just redid my blog, I thought it would be nice to delve a little more into wordpress.  So I e-mailed the lady.

    The non-profit is an Indiana organization run by Christine Martin.  She started it last year in hopes of helping local single parent families and families who have experienced a loss of a child.  It hit a little too close to home.  Having just helped Jeanine get through a nasty divorce and seeing firsthand the changes single parenting has brought to her life, I thought karma seemed to be staring me in the face.  I was going to help this lady if she’d let me.

    So after a few e-mails back and forth with her, I started working on the website over the past few weekends.  Unfortunately, I did not take a before shot of her old website. I usually do when I work a redesign but I completely forgot and the DNS switched.  Bravenet – her old hosting – does not allow website viewing of accounts that aren’t pointing to them so there was no way to go back and view the old site using Bravenet’s server domain.  I tried.  So, I have no before shot unfortunately.

    The before site was mainly white with text.  It had a menu at the top that linked to all the individual text pages.  It was designed using Bravenet’s website creator and was very basic.

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