Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Updates and such...

So, there are new things and new old things going on in my world. Some I can speak freely about, and some I would love to speak freely about if I felt right about crossing the line between sharing stuff that’s mine and stuff that really belongs to someone else.
I recently quit following a fibromyalgia blog that I had subscribed to. I also removed it on facebook. Initially, I had stumbled across the blog while in the midst of the worst of the worst flares this past year. I remember thinking, “Aha, someone who gets it! There is someone who may be able to give me some coping mechanisms to work with, someone who will understand me!”
Instead, what I realized was that I was constantly inundated with all the negative aspects of fibromyalgia. It became my sole focus in life. I started every day with a status update from her that mentioned her pain or a blog update that showed up on my newsfeed mentioning her pain. My entire world began to revolve around how badly I felt and I couldn’t dig out of the hole. It makes sense, really. If you spend all of your waking hours thinking about pain and being miserable, of course you’re going to be in pain and miserable. Now, she’s gone and I feel better. Wonder if I should tell her all of that?
Over the last few weeks I’ve begun to notice just how much I’ve alienated myself. I’ve been sequestered at home, leaving only to go to work and run an errand here and there. I haven’t talked to the few friends I have in weeks, some for even months.
So, I made the nudge and scheduled some time for me. The plan is to see a movie and have dinner with my lifelong friend Friday night. Saturday I’m getting some salon time and having my hair done. I will also try and spend some time with my mom, maybe take her to run her errands. Saturday night I’m spending much needed quality time with my husband. Sunday is family day. I’m taking my husband and my kiddos and we’re finding something fun to do together.
After being off unpaid all week last week to help my mother out while she was sick, I probably shouldn’t spend the extra little bit to indulge myself and the family. However, in my defense, the bills are paid and there’s food to eat. No one is going to do without.
The “Birth-aversary” is coming up in a few weeks. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Don and I were married on his birthday. We use the term because it’s so much simpler than saying “Don’s birthday slash our anniversary”.  No plans yet. But, if I had my way I’d just find a quiet corner to snuggle up with him and enjoy his company for a little while. Working opposite schedules wears on me sometimes and I miss him.
I’ve had a lot of disappointments lately.  I lost my little Lola a few weeks ago. She was playing in the yard with the kids and ran out into the street. Thankfully, it was instant and she didn’t suffer. We buried her in the yard underneath a big pine tree. She would have liked that.
People that I felt secure about have made some major life changes that have slightly shaken what I thought I knew about the people in my world. It’s not me being judgmental. Far from it. It’s more like me having trouble absorbing that what I thought “was” really “isn’t”.  You can never really know enough about what someone is thinking or feeling to judge them for their choices. Wish everyone knew that. All you can do is try your best to understand their point of view and be there in whatever way you can.
So, aside from discovering I was a little lonesome for some adult company, I guess I’m actually doing much better. Little by little, I’m slowly crawling out of my hole and looking around to see what I’ve missed.
If you happen to see me give me a wave…

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Shame on you Lifetouch (and the school)...My letter ('cause that's what I do..)

DISCLAIMER: This is strictly my OPINION based on my PERSONAL EXPERIENCE with Lifetouch. You make your determinations based on your own experiences, not mine. :)

Dear Lifetouch,
My son is in the 4th grade at (deleted because I'm a smart Mama who is looking out for her kiddo). Since his first year of school when he started Pre-K five years ago, I do not have a single school photo of him.  I remember picture days as a child always being given a personal little black comb to make sure your hair was ok, and teachers and photographers making time to ensure that you were presentable prior to having a picture taken.
I emailed you about this same issue in October of 2010. I wish I had saved your response. I vaguely remember being told that it was the first year for Lifetouch to do photos at (that school) and that your photographers did everything possible to make sure photos were good. However, I did post a copy of the email I sent to you to Facebook and found overwhelming agreement regarding the quality of Lifetouch photos. I will be posting this letter on Facebook too. I will also be posting it on my blog. Again, overwhelming agreement when I mentioned it on my status update this morning.
Since Lifetouch has taken over, I have only bought a school portrait ONCE because his hair is a mess or, in the case of last year, he was wearing a hoodie over his nice shirt that I sent him to be photographed in and his hair was a mess or, because shirts are twisted, facial expressions are off, etc. The list goes on.
In fairness, I’ve bought pictures of my other children. However, they are much older and, unlike "J" (because I don't post kiddo's name on the blog), do not have special needs so they can be counted on to check their own appearance.
My question to you, in this digital age when a photo is instantly viewable after being taken, how in the world do you expect to sell portraits that look like this?

Is the ultimate goal to sell a portrait, or are you just trying to find something for budding photographers to do during the day and forking out money to pay them with no return on your investment?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Remembering Lola....

This was the day we brought her home. She was so tiny.

She tried to nurse on Sky. Poor old girl let her, too.

Here she is with Mom's little one, Margo.

Sometimes she had bad hair days. I always thought she looked like  Phyllis Diller when she did.

Mostly she just looked like a sweet little angel.
We will miss you,  Princess Lola McFluffy.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....   Author unknown

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Cake That's Not Carrot Cake But Still Didn't Break My Heart

I love cake. I don’t think I can even begin to express to you how much I love cake. Cake makes my world go round.
I wanted carrot cake, because it’s my favorite. However, I really didn’t have the energy to stand around grating carrots for my homemade carrot cake. So, I went to the grocery store to get one of those box cakes. They didn’t have carrot cake.
Can you believe that? No carrot cake?
*sigh* I bought myself a spice cake mix and two blocks of cream cheese instead and carried it home. Then, I got to thinking, spice cake isn’t really what I wanted either. How to fix it?
(I should have taken a picture but the cake was pounced upon before I thought of it. Sorry.)
Anyway, how to fix it? Raid the pantry.
The result was wonderful. Here goes…
You will need:
1 spice cake mix
2 blocks of cream cheese - softened
1 stick of butter - softened
About 3 ½ cups of powdered sugar
1 small can of crushed pineapple drained with juice reserved
7 ounce bag of pecan pieces
½ of a small bag of coconut
Vegetable oil
Orange juice
1 tablespoon of Vanilla extract

Mix the spice cake according to package directions adding the oil and eggs – EXCEPT – where it calls for water, use the reserved pineapple juice and orange juice to make the amount required in the instructions. When the batter is mixed well, fold in the coconut and pecans.

Bake according to package directions. Don’t forget to grease and flour your pan!

While the cake is baking, make up your icing. Keep in mind, I like my cream cheese icing extra cream cheesy tasting and a little less sugary tasting. That’s why I use two blocks where most recipes only call for one.

First blend the butter, vanilla, and cream cheese. Then, while continuing to mix, add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, and mix until fluffy.  Or, you can dump it all in at once. But, don’t forget to call and invite me over first so I can laugh at the cloud of powdered sugar that explodes all over your kitchen and then quickly leave before you’re ready to clean it up.  J

You can use more or less powdered sugar here depending on your preference.  This makes a rather large batch, but we like lots of icing on our cake and I needed enough to ice 2 nine inch round cakes.

Note: a more standard cream cheese icing recipe uses 1 block of cream cheese, 1 stick of butter, and all of 1 small box of powdered sugar