About Susan

SusanwithAdolf I was born in 1959 in Silver Spring, Maryland to Harry & Mary Simms.  The only daughter of 3 children and the youngest.  I've been married for 18 years and I have 4 children and 2 grandchildren.  No need to get into all the semantics of past relationships here - just suffice it to say I have 3 daughters (Kathleen 31, Kimberly 29, & Sarah 16) 1 son (Matthew, 13),  a grandson whom we are raising (Glen, 10), and a beautiful granddaughter who is the apple of her mother's (Kim's) eye. (Reagan, 1)

I have an interesting family - or at least I think so.  We have our hands into a lot of pots at the same time and there are times I can't keep track of them all for all the confusion, which is why I started this blog - to organize my life you might say.  What it has become over time has been interesting.  Raisin Toast started out as a personal blog and has morphed into my creative home on the web.

I am an artist and I paint in oils, and you can visit my portfolio at www.vaughnfineart.com, or just click on the "Fine Art & Crafts" link in the toolbar above.  I've also been busy building a site for visual artists called Red Easel and you can find it here: www.redeasel.com

There is something very addictive about building websites.  I had no clue what it was all about 3 years ago, but in that time I've built and sold a baby boutique, and 3 other websites, and a few for some of my friends.  I've taught myself how to do it all and I really enjoy it. As a result I have become a TypePad Champion and been featured in the 2010 book "TypePad for Dummies!"  Need a TypePad blog designed by a pro - email me.  I can do it.

You might say I am a "chronic creative" since I have a habit of getting sucked into creative projects that become all consuming, sometimes at the expense of the laundry, the dishes, - oh, but never the kids.  I love to write (obviously), I love to paint, I love to sew and quilt, and of recent, I really love to play around with Photoshop and build storyboards and mastheads.  I don't think it was my goal in life to grow up and build mastheads. 

Susan1977 I graduated in 1977 from Sherwood High in Sandy Spring, Maryland.  I attended Nova University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in my late 20s where I studied Pre-Law and then went on to attend Georgetown University where I majored in International Business & Law and joined Phi Alpha Delta.  I hated Economics and Statistics and was completely lost in Accounting.  I therefore took a sabatical to get married and have more babies since at the time I already had two girls.  My mind had a way of getting all wrapped around the axel in Georgetown.  I was much happier staying home, decorating, sewing, painting, crafting, homeschooling my children, and being a full-time Mom.  Thank you Big Bear.

I have come to the conclusion (just this second as a matter of fact) that this blog is my mid-life crisis.  I enjoy beautiful things - even on my computer.  So, as I have gotten older and grayer, my work gets prettier and prettier.  I suppose that is my balance. Unfortunately, my husband can't hug a pretty website, so he'll have to settle for continuing to cuddle with older, droopier, grayer, goofier me.

BobonBike My husband's name is Robert.  I call him my Big Bear.  He is definitely a Big Bear - he growls on occasion and shakes the forest every night with his snoring.  He walks around all day with a computer in his lap (kinda like me right now when I think about it), and a phone to his ear.  Conference call after conference call and I wonder what it "is" exactly that he does.  He apparently, though, accomplishes a lot in his shorts in our home office and must be doing something right because his phone rings all day, he travels on occasion (not in his shorts), and he brings home a good paycheck so that I can stay home and take care of the kids and build all things pretty.  Note: That was before he was laid off in September, 2008 with only a 2-week severance.  Since then, we've discovered that you really can live on love.

I homeschool my son, Matthew.  He is so smart that it makes me cry sometimes.  My daughter, Sarah is a junior in high school and an honor student.  She makes us all very proud while she works hard to earn a college scholarship.  Glen just started 5th grade and has Asperger's.  He struggles, but he tries very hard to do a good job.  I wouldn't wish his challenges on anyone, however, if I look past the Asperger's, I see a remarkable young man in the making. The kids keep me on my toes and busy washing 536 loads of laundry every week.

MominFlorida My mother, Mary, just turned 86, and has lived with us for 13 years.  I love her dearly but she can be a bit of a gripe at times.  I suppose that comes with age.  Then again, she suffers with lymphoma and diabetes and arthritis, and if I had that to contend with on a daily basis, I'd probably be a gripe too.  Fortunately, or at least up to this point, she has a good memory, although her judgment seems to have flown the coop at times.  Still, we love her lots and are glad she is here with us.  The children will have a lifetime of memories of growing up with their Grandmother M, and that is a good thing.

HOMEINWINTER2 We moved to North Carolina in 2005 shortly after Bob's father passed away.  We like it here but it is different than living in Maryland where we both grew up.  One thing hasn't changed though, we manage to always buy the house that needs drastic repairs, reconstruction, remodeling, and re-landscaping, and no sooner do we finish it all then we end up selling the house. 

Welcome to my story...

Susan