The shiznit of all things memory

This past Christmas, I flat-out refused to buy my father his 733rd golf shirt and I didn’t care how many times my mother insisted he needed a blue one.

And because last year I bought my mom liquid gold, otherwise known as Obsession (for all of you who were thinking, What? She bought her mom unleaded?), and she uses an average of five drops a month, there was no need to replenish her stockpile this year.

Also, I was under the mandate that was repeated to me ad nauseam through the year, specifically, DON’T BUY US STUFF, WE DON’T NEED STUFF, WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF, WE ARE SUFFOCATING UNDER STUFF, which, despite the refusal of my parents to cop to it, stems from the ginormous 3D puzzle of the New York City skyline that I bought them one year because #1) I refused to buy my dad his 689th golf shirt; and #2) I decided to be spontaneous and whimsical, thereby proving to the universe that I have no business being spontaneous or whimsical.

I thought that puzzle was pretty cool and referred to it as “the shiznit of all things puzzle.” Nate referred to it as “that big-ass thing.” My parents referred to it simply as “what the hell was she thinking?”

That poor puzzle has never seen the light of day, presumably because of its unfortunate big-ass-ness.

I guess I should be thankful that I’m allowed to see the light of day.

So anyway, I debated on what to get my parents for Christmas. And my in-laws. They’re another couple who just doesn’t need any more “stuff” in their house which is already a 1200 square foot temple of PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, I WANNA GO TO GRANNY’S, I WANNA SLEEP AT GRANNY’S, I WANNA LIVE AT GRANNY’S in the eyes of the seven grandchildren who run, play and/or drool amuck through it.

And just in case you’re wondering, I’m biologically and legally responsible for only two grandchildren of the non-drooling variety. Thank you, God.

One day, when I ran downstairs into my kitchen and abruptly stopped and simply stood there, staring blankly at my sink, trying in vain to remember what was so important as to cause me to fly down my stairs and leave the cocoon of my office in the first place, it suddenly occurred to me.

I need more memory.

Well, that, and the foregone conclusion that my family believes our kitchen sink is not unlike a clown car in that an endless supply of dishes can be crammed into it for their amusement.

Nevertheless … we all need a better memory and I’m not just talking RAM here, although for the record, I would do the happy dance all over my house if it meant I would never again see a “your system is low on virtual memory, dumbass” message yelling at me through my monitor.

My human memory needs more RAM. I bet yours does too? It’s like I tell What’s-Her-Name there, my youngest, the one with the glasses … time goes by wicked fast. Pretty soon, she’ll be entering high school and following in the footsteps of the other one, her older sister, the one with the long hair who’s constantly breaking bones in her body.

I forget what they were like as babies. As toddlers. As little people who hadn’t yet figured out how to make their mother’s head explode off her body in thirty seconds or less.

I forget what they did five years ago.

I forget what they said five minutes ago.

I forget … wait. What were we talking about?

And if I’m forgetting this stuff, can you imagine how my parents and in-laws are faring? Not to mention my 84 year old aunt, who constantly asks me why I find it necessary to refer to her as “my 84 year old aunt” instead of simply “my aunt,” to which I respond, Ummm, I don’t know, because I can be quite verbose when I choose to be.

I’m old but they’re all, like, ancient. And I’m including my in-laws here because, even though they’re not nearly as old as my parents and my 84 year old aunt, I was always taught never to exclude anyone so, Bill and Sue? If you’re offended … go right ahead and blame my parents. It’s all their fault.

So anyway, if I’m forgetful, can you imagine how they must be? My God, it’s a wonder they remember to stay vertical and blink, right?

Which reminds me, someone call my parents and see if they’re blinking. I’d do it, but I’ve got my hands full trying to remember what I’m doing here.

I decided to give them all some memories for Christmas. And those memories arrived under the tree, looking like this:

A twenty-seven page hardbound book filled with photos of the two non-drooling grandchildren (or nieces, in the case of my 84 year old aunt) who arrived on this planet via my uterus.

It came with a thick, acrylic cover that allows you to see through to the first page of the book. It’s bound with a two inch band of black linen which is all but invisible here because I am an idiot and took these photos against a black backdrop, despite the fact that a dark green Christmas tablecloth was readily available underneath the black backdrop at the time.

Someone remind me next Christmas to dress up as a scarecrow and ask Santa for a brain.

Here’s a view from the top – you can kind of see the black linen on the binding, right?

Can you see it now? How about now?


By the way, when I’m done with this post, I’m applying to Verizon. I think they need some estrogen in black horn-rimmed glasses, don’t you?

IĀ  love SharedInk, the company I used for this book. They do top quality work and I used them all the time when I had my custom digital design business. The book is sturdy, the pages are nice and thick, the colors are vibrant.

Just like me!

Except for the vibrant color part.

I included photos of Zoe at various ages:

And Helena at various ages:

As well as some photos of them together at various ages, where they weren’t killing each other or crying or screaming or blah blah blah:

I also threw in some photos of us as a family unit, lest anyone think these two raised themselves because they most certainly did not, and I don’t care what they told you.

I kept it all clean and simple, which is pretty much my calling card in the digital community. Hi digital community! ((waving))

I think my parents and my in-laws and my 84 year old aunt liked the memories and while they may still forget to blink once in awhile, hopefully they won’t forget how beautiful their own DNA can be.

I’m considering doing a book like this every year from now on.

And now that I’ve just typed that out loud, may we all have a moment of silence for the best of intentions.

Because chances are, I won’t remember a bit of this by next week.

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36 thoughts on “The shiznit of all things memory”

  1. Avatar

    Whoowee, great job on the memory shiz! (I’ll leave out the nits–I hear they’re nasty things). Love the alpha–did you design that?? *major drool* I’ll have to go check your company out–I’ve used Shutterfly and been very pleased, too. Basically, ever since discovering digital, I’ve really been out of hot water come present time… *phew*

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    If I did any digi-scrapping any more, I would be completely inspired. I did put together a book of layouts for the parents and in-laws last year with the promise to add new pages this year. Um, that didn’t happen.

    Your book is exactly what inspired me when I first started digi-scrapping . . . oh, wait . . . that was you!!

    Love it Andy. It’s gorgeous stuff! Your girls are beautiful!

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    What a great holiday gift idea! I wish I could get into “scrapping” alas I tried it for five minutes, then I was done. Beautiful work you did. And as far as you memory goes…well….who are you? JK!

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    The pages are gorgeous!! (As are the photos!) Did you follow a specific template or wing it on your own?? I’m just blown away by the simple beauty of it all!

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    I love it – I assume you did all the page designs (the ABCs I mean) yourself? I really need to get back to doing something with my thousands of pictures. Because my in-laws are in Florida and see the kids once a year, I put together a DVD for them this year of all the little videos I took of the kids on my camera – Michael’s cello concert, Katy’s dance class, etc. Happy New Year!

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    OMG that is absolutely STUNNING! i love the books, and what a terrific idea!!!
    Oh, and at exactly what age do we need reminded to blink? Just wondering if I need to call my family members too…. hmmmm.

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    Great idea. I did something similar for my mother for her 75th birthday last week, but just pasted photos in a scrapbook.

    Before I went to Kazakhstan in 2007 to adopt my son, I had a book made up [digitally, company was Photowerks] with photos and captions showing our family, and he was fascinated with it. So before he came home, he knew what his Granny and sister and room and school would look like, and what America really looks like [as opposed to movies, LOL]. He still treasures that photo book. They are great.

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    The book looks great! My sister does these books too through Cherish Bound.

    Here’s an idea for next year- my sisters and I did a book for my my 4 years ago that was entitled “Tales of the Nielson Sisters” and was all about our childhood memories. It was also a bit of a confessional about stuff my parents didn’t remember or were convienently never told! My Mom STILL cries when she reads it years later.

    Excellent idea, beautifully executed. I need to get ME some digi skills.

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    ahem…**cough**…ANDY!!!! It’s GORGEOUS!!!!! You usurp me ((haha!! I said “usurp”!!)) Ok now that I’ve grinned and “caught up” and drooled over your book goodness I’ll take the time to YELL AT YOU!!!! šŸ˜‰ I’m here ya know! Dying for help and needing advice from Andy goodness šŸ™‚


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    Well, I actually quite like the puzzle idea, but the book is simply stunning and a great idea. I bet they loved it. And thanks for the link the sharedink. I think I will be having my first photobook printed in 2009.

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    I got my ILs a Shutterfly book for Christmas, which they love. I told them I might do one every year for them, if they’d like. Now they are showing the book off to their friends and wanting me to make books for them all….uhh….don’t think so. Too much work and not enough pay. LOL

    I think the puzzle would be neat!

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    don’t worry we will remind you.. I love your book especially the acrylic cover.. you should have a wander past blurb though as they do that size and are going to introduce a 12×12 and hopefully acrylic slip covers and you can import your pages and not use their templates, especially when you are as artistically inclined as you are

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    Andy this is truly amazing book. I will need you to email me the link to have a book printed off for my own family. I am so close to get pages done for 08. Then its time to print off the book. Yeah!!!! Enough of that always make me laugh when I read your blog..

  14. Avatar

    What an amazing gift! Sure beats the hell out of the spa gift certificate I bought for my mom and the gift certificate to the mexican restaurant I bought for my dad…

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    I just had a conversation with someone about how much I hated the things I gave to the people I purport to love for this past Christmas. I just ran out of ideas (menopausal women do that). No more than five minutes later I read your post. Thank you for throwing things back in perspective. Your book is what Christmas, in a secular way, is truly about – family. Great idea and one I hope to remember for next Christmas!

    And thanks for teaching me a new word – had to Google shiznit.

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    The photo book is gorgeous!!!! A great idea for a gift for the people who don’t really need anymore crap sitting on their end tables or on their fireplace mantle, right? I think I may need to do photobooks for our family members from now on at Christmas…it’s definitely a gift that will always be treasured!

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    I was trying to do an A-Z of my kids, but ran out of enthusiasm after “O”.

    Do you have all these pages online somewhere? I would love to have a sneaky peak at your list.

    I love the simple clean style too, I just sometimes forget that I do and get carried away. I love your restraint. (Now there is a phrase you don’t often get to hear about you!)

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    I LOVE this book! I give photo books as gifts, but they aren’t really my personality. So I’m boxed into what Shutterfly offers. I’d love to see a post on how-to do this book…even just one page and we can take it from there.

    As always, great post to read! I NEVER miss a post and check your site every day.

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    *waves back from somewhere in the digital community*

    Beautiful book. I love how you got in all the letters. every time I try an ABC book I obsess that each letter must begin the word & never get them finished. you have inspired me!

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