In January I unexpectedly entered graduate school. "Uh oh" I thought, "How am I going to do justice to LOM when I have grad school???" Well, grad school is half time but it still takes up quite a bit of energy. I thought, well I'll just see whst I can do.
Last week a friend of mine convinced her company to hire me to do a big project for them. So now I am working just about full time, and I am commuting over an hour each way, into the city, every day.
And I have midterms.
Oh yeah AND LOM CLASS BEGAN ON THURSDAY.
How did this happen? A month ago -- yes A MONTH AGO -- I was bored out of my mind and had little to do all day. Oh I did stuff but none of it was vitally important (sorry, I just don't consider cleaning my bathroom to be all that important in the grand scheme of my life).
Now I am working full time, commuting 30 miles one way, going to graduate school, and taking LOM. AAAAAAAIIIIEEEE!!!
It is a function of how bad it is that the class began early Thursday morning and I did not even look at the classroom until late Friday night.
In fact, I am at school right now, having just finished a big paper that was due today. I tried to write it last night but my brain was so fried. I still need to drive the hour home, walk the dog, get my lunch and clothes together for tomorrow, and fall into bed. Right now I am waiting for something to finish up before I can go.
Anyway, enough complaining. I know, the big question is...
Is the class worth almost $100??? And, do you need the class if you have the book?
Well thus far I have to say, it has really given value for the money. If you don't have $95 you don't have it, so you do what you can. I bought the book and I did a lot, In fact, I am far ahead of the lesson plan. But what happened to me was, I did the surface of it, and I can continue to do that indefeinitely, but when it comes to the deeper issues of my scrapbooking life, I am still stuck. I knew that LOM could address these issues, but I was not yet sure how.
On Thursday our first lesson was uploaded to the site. There were many components. This is not something that takes 5 minutes. We received our first lesson, a slideshow narrated by Stacy. I think it was something like 45 minutes long or longer. Embedded in it were links to relevant resources. We also received a long, like 40 minutes long, audio file to listen to, also from Stacy. There were also several handouts to download, and one of them had our first assignment. The assignment was something she talks about in the Photo Freedom book -- to acquire a certain number of photo albums to use as Storage Binders, to go around the house and gather up all our loose prints and packets of unorganized photos, and sort them. Then we were to choose 5 years (maximum) to focus on (any 5 years, and they don't need to be consecutive) and put the photos from those years into the binders. Because this is such a big task, we don't have another lesson for 2 weeks, so we can work on it.
We also received additional information about the pre-class assignment, which was to create digital highlights folders on our computer and copy over a selection of our digital photos by season and year, and then to upload these to an online service and have them printed out. Since I have already printed out all my recent photos, I didn't really do this step. And then I found out that there is more to it than I assumed, and yes, I do so need to do this step. I've actually proceeded some with this task. I have 2008 done now.
Besides for the class materials, we also have a series of message boards, and these are really addicting, and also really valuable! For instance, there is one whole message board just for asking Stacy questions. It's not a discussion board and no one else is going to jump in (a la 2 peas) and give you their opinions. Nope, this is just for you and Stacy to have a conversation. Because LOM has to be customized for each person. Every person has specific special circumstances that need addressing. Some people haven't read the book and they just get confused. Some people -- like me -- have read the book, but their special circumstances have tripped them up.
You can ask Stacy these questions directly. Everyone can read all the threads. You can ask her the same stupid question she answered for 5 other people already. You can post the question there and on 3 other sub boards for all the opinions and ideas you need and no one will criticize you for posting in the wrong place, or ask you why you didn't just go do a search and see the question was asked and answered already, you bonehead. (Back to 2 peas) Nope!
For the first week or two, Stacy is checking that board every single day, multiple times a day. She answers every single question. She is unfailingly enthusiastic, happy, and encouraging. I know it sounds stupid to some people (I might be one of them) like, why do you need some woman you have never met to approve of you -- get a life. But the thing is, LOM is a huge undertaking, and most of us don't know one person IRL who even knows what it is, let alone understands the immense amount of work involved in doing it. Most of us don't even know people online who know what LOM is, even if they are scrapbookers! When I spent 6 weeks non stop this summer just reorganizing and tagging my digital photos in iPhoto, there was no one around who understood the amount of work I did to accomplish that, OR why it was so important. But in the class, every single person there understands exactly what a big task it is to do any of this, how overwhelming it is to get it done, how much time and effort and commitment it requires to set it all up.
So it is really really nice that Stacy starts off many of her answers with complimenting the poster and giving some kudos for the sheer amount of work we have already done on our own. No one else understands or cares.
There's also a board just for the 6 coaches to be asked questions and give answers. The coaches are people who have taken the class and already implemented the system and usually have had to tweak it as well. They have great ideas and give lots of great advice.
Since so much of LOM involves digital file management, there is one coach with her own message board to answer specific questions about every kind of software in both Mac and PC and suggest how to do what you want to do, and answer your questions. For many people fumbling along in digital never never land, that is invaluable.
The best thing is, Stacy always has the answers to your burning questions -- no matter how big or small. No matter how complicated your situation is, or how fuzzy your goals are, she can cut right to the quick, tell you what to focus on and what can wait, tell you what is coming up in the future and how to prepare for it. I asked her this question that was so complicated she couldn't even answer it when she read it. Here is part of it:
Hi Stacy! ....I am so excited to be here! Here is where I am thus far, before I get into my question. I bought PF in July and began right away. I have bought and set up category drawers, storage binders, and library albums already. I got a new camera in 2008, so I printed my photos as I went along, put them in binders, put some in drawers, scrapbooked some stuff, even created more than one gift album since I could...
So my question might be a little ahead of where the class is right now....
...Since I don't have a family or kids what excites me about scrapbooking is telling the story of my own person history and connecting it to today...I feel like my brain is full with all these memories and I want to clear some of it out on scrapbook pages and projects. And I am kind of stuck because I have a lot of ideas and inspiration, but the photos and images are like all over the place. They are in all these different forms, and in all these various locations and so I am so frustrated!
a few years ago I was able to [get from my mom] all of our family photos, photos from my childhood and her childhood and going back to the 1940s. Many are b/w. I have no idea what is happening in them. My mother is the only person I can ask and there's a limit to how much...
I took them all out of the sticky albums. I tried grouping like photos together. I made a guess as to what decade some of these photos are in. Many were labeled in Polish and I have done my best to get them translated. They are in archival clear mylar envelopes in a clear storage box....I have the memorabilia too. You would have to know [our special family history]... It's all so precious and I want to scrapbook it all so it is organized and safe.
So on the one hand I feel I really want to somehow scrapbook these photos so they are in order and the stories are told and the new generation of our family will know where they came from. If I did this, it would be very simply done ... and the photos would go back to my mother after I made color copies of the pages for me. But I am also scanning those photos so a digital archive is created. And so I can print them and have prints to do the creative storytelling I want to do. My mother emphasized the originals were "her photos" and she would loan them to me but it is only a loan. So the idea of putting them aside until some "later" time is killing me, bc I finally got them in my possession, and for 2 yrs they have been sitting there and the stories are not told.
Then I have "my" photos. Before I started scrapbooking I sorted and journaled every print of every photo (and all my negatives) of "mine" from college, when I started taking pictures, until I went digital in 2003. All are in archival albums with journaling. The story is told, but I like scrapbooking bc I cannot put memorabilia in a photo album with slip in slots. I scrapbook to combine the photos and the memories and the real items I have kept. Those pictures are buried in a storage room I have been renting for years. I have tried to dig them out but they are really buried. I'll have ideas for what I want to scrap ... But I get frustrated bc even if I have the photos, the memorabilia is buried somewhere else and I have a lot of it, and I want and need to use it.
And I have my more current photos, which were all neatly organized digitally on my HD but I rarely did anything with them bc they were not printed....
A lot of times I'll get an idea for a page or a whole project but I get overwhelmed bc I can't just pick one picture out of my current stash and scrapbook it.... I am finding that more and more unsatisfying. When I want to tell a story I am frustrated bc the photos might be in storage, or I might have them but they are my mom's and not scanned, or they are scanned but since PF and the class emphasizes current photos, they are not printed. I get so frustrated I don't do those projects and those are the ones I am aching to do.
I know LOM isn't a family history system, but it's not even family history I want to scrap, it's my history. This is my Library of memories and it is all stuck in my head.
I see that LOM is an awesome process for people with kids who are snapping a lot of pictures of "right now" and needing and wanting to keep up with them and capture those fleeting memories, but that's not really me. I do take pictures now and they are important to me, but my constant source of inspiration is older memories and photos and especially, especially all the memorabilia....
Stacy answered me with "This is a big question and I have to sleep on it. Don't worry -- I have answers and you will be fine!"
Ok library is closing, gotta go. Stay tuned....