Bye-bye Easter Bunny

WHEN THE KIDS HAVE GROWN, holidays just aren’t what they used to be. Granted, holidays were never full of hoopla in our house, but we were all together. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day … these types of holidays weren’t huge deals in our house. I don’t know why exactly, but I’ve never been one to make a big fuss over such holidays.

TODAY IS EASTER. Three of our kids have to work. One is working right now, and two are probably sleeping because they have to work later tonight. The fourth child (now 16) and I are attending her best friend’s baptism. After that, we don’t have any plans at all.

Bye-bye Easter Bunny

bye-bye easter bunny

Photo by Thirteen-Thirteen Photography – also posted on 100 Layer Cake-let.

My sister-in-law invited us to their house at 10:00am, which is when they are sharing a special message at their “home church” or fellowship gathering or … I’m not sure how to describe what she does or if it even has a name yet. A church plant or “life community” in the home type of deal. She’s going through some sort of training, but I don’t understand it. I’m not knocking it. It’s a rising trend it seems, too. I know another couple else who is doing this in their home. At any rate, it was too early for us considering our kids’ plans and schedules.

Speaking of schedules … time to get going!

HAPPY EASTER … however you celebrate – or don’t celebrate!

Peace – Serenity

Serenity now!

That’s what entered my mind as I sat in my quiet family room after work while waiting for my husband and daughter to go pick up dinner. The last hour of work was frantic, so I’m taking a stress exit.

My stress exit includes a glass of wine (Old Vine Wild Thing, 2008), patio door open with ceiling fan on low to enjoy the mild temperature of this evening, and blogging. So peaceful! Even as my dog snores stretched out on his back in the middle of the floor. :)

How many of you enter a room that has a TV in it and feel compelled to turn it on? Why is that? I usually do because I have to have something to stimulate my brain. Reading stimulates my brain; yet, it is taking me forever to finish reading Doctor Sleep because I watch too much TV.

Turtle Swimming

Because no post is complete without a photo, here’s a peaceful turtle!

Great Article on Turner Syndrome

For those surfing the web for anything and everything they can find on Turner Syndrome, here’s an interesting article:

Women with Turner Syndrome tell their stories

It’s worth keeping in mind that everyone has things that make them unique with or without labels, syndromes, or other diagnoses. Just because someone is labeled with a syndrome or is otherwise slightly different due to genetics, that doesn’t make them a proverbial “leper“. Some of them are pretty fantastic!

Laptop Fixed

I may have mentioned my laptop a few times in the past describing how the screen was broken and later how my son (guilty party) had purchased a separate monitor for me to hook it up to so I could at least have a way to use it. That worked great but turned it into a desktop where I had to be in one place to use it. I was upstairs at least, yet somewhat isolated from others.

My other son happened upon a laptop of the exact same model that someone had tossed in the rubbish. He had already harvested the hard drive from it for his own use. Today, he harvested the screen and another gig of ram for my laptop. Oh, and the battery, which is now charging to be put to the test later to see how long it lasts.

HP G60 - It's Alive!

IT’S ALIVE!!!

Now I won’t have to bring my work laptop upstairs if I want to browse the interwebs in the family room. Plus, I can work on photos and create things on Photoshop anywhere I want again! I don’t even know how old this laptop is (over 4 years I think). She has a few minor scars and some fresh transplants and is going strong. What are the odds of stumbling across a tosser like this to be an organ donor of sorts?

To the person who frivolously tossed their laptop and probably bought something brand spankin’ new to replace it, my sincere appreciation!

Winter Storm Titan

Perhaps a result of not being one to watch much news, but I was not aware that winter storms were given names. I thought that practice was only for hurricanes and tropical storms. Winter Storm Titan is stirring up trouble in the midwest.

Winter Storm TitanMeanwhile, in our part of the world:

Denver Area Weather March 2014The forecast for Thursday has me rethinking volunteering to work overtime that day. Maybe I can start super early and get it out of the way with time left to get out of the house for a while. :)

Brighter Looking Future

After years of belt tightening and scraping by, I’m relieved that the future is finally looking brighter. Adjusting a W4 made a big difference on taxes so instead of owing again this year, we’re getting a refund. WHEW!

Finally, we can get rid of the derelict furniture in our family room and replace it with something comfortable and multi-functional. The leather reclining couch and love seat have served us well for about 12 years. It was durable and easy to clean with young children and dogs around. However, it has torn at the seams on each seat, the padding is shot, and one of the recliners is broken. Have you ever tried to sew leather? OW! The best solution has been to toss a cover over them when company comes.

Since we don’t have a dedicated “guest room” in our house like so many others who live far away from family have on reserve for visitors, I’d like to get another sofa sleeper. It’s not as private as a separate bedroom, but it’s got to be more comfortable (and easier to get in and out of) than an air mattress. Of course, using my office in the basement as a guest room for more privacy is also an option but really only if I’m able to take time off work while the guests are here. :) 

I am tossing around the idea of moving the futon from the open area of the basement and into my office anyway. That’s going to take a considerable amount of work. I have four sets of shelves in here with so much on them that I look like I’m in the early stages of becoming a hoarder. It’s crafting/hobby supplies, books, and paperwork that should be filed, trashed, or shredded immediately but has accumulated instead. Ultimately, I would love this room to be a more calming environment without all this crud closing in on me. Bad feng shmay!

For the first time in a long time, I was able to use my quarterly bonus from work to purchase something special just for me that I wouldn’t have bought otherwise. After nearly two years of waiting, I was finally able to buy the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens for my camera. A sampling of it’s capabilities is here. It’s not limited to taking 1:1 ratio close up photos, though. It’s also great as a portrait lens. I hope to do some portrait work with it soon. I did take it to a high school musical last night to test it at a distance. We were sitting in the first row of the upper section of theater seats, and I was able to get shots like this from my seat:

The Who's Tommy | Pinball King and QueenWe do have another special treat coming up that I’m very excited about! For privacy reasons, I won’t divulge the details until after the fact. ;) Must be mindful of spammers, scammers, and other creepy stalker types.

Though the future looks brighter at the moment, we know better than to get too carried away. That can lead to trouble and ultimately right back to the same place. Careful decisions must be made to be mindful of the budget.

 

Increasing Weight & Obesity Issues

My intent was to find British documentaries to watch this morning, but I stumbled upon something else that intrigued me so much I ended up watching all four parts:

The Weight of the Nation: Consequences
The Weight of the Nation: Choices
The Weight of the Nation: Children in Crisis
The Weight of the Nation: Challenges

My biggest obstacles are portion sizes and a sedentary life. What are yours?

Dr. Seuss and the First Amendment

This quote has been making its rounds on social media networks. It’s mistakenly believed to be by Dr. Seuss but is correctly attributed to Bernard M. Baruch, a presidential advisor to Franklin Deleno Roosevelt. Bernard said, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” about his dinner party seating arrangements.

In any event, I shared the viral quote myself but added that some of those who mind DO matter when they’re people you work for or with. You absolutely need to watch what you say in public. Freedom of Speech is great, but that doesn’t mean we should throw tact and class out the window. Filtering is a good thing!

Dr. Seuss: Be Who You Are...

The use of tact goes for those who are offended by what someone else says. Whether or not tact was used when the offending  statement or speech was delivered, those speaking in defense should be tactful in their rebuttal. It really is that simple, folks!

Farewell 2013

It’s time to bid adieu to 2013 and start fresh with a brand new year. Yes, it’s just another day – the day after yesterday and the day before tomorrow. Time marches on as it always does. Yet, it’s nice to symbolize a new beginning with the start of a new year. From the top, 2014!

As we pack away Christmas decorations, we can reflect on the past and hope for good things in the new year.

Santa Christmas Ornament

Comedy and Tragedy Theatre Ornament

Christmas Ball Ornament and Pine ConeI’m not saying 2013 was all bad. Of course some good things happened along with certain struggles and hardships. Overall, though, it was a very hard year. I’m ready to leave it in the past and carry only the memories of the good times into the future. If I were triskaidekaphobic, I’d blame it on the number 13. :D I know how to take responsibility for my own actions, though. I wholeheartedly believe that I’m suffering the natural consequences of my own mistakes. It’s a long, hard punishment to suffer through, but I’m on the downhill slope now. That tiny glimmer starting to appear in the distance just might be the light at the end of this tunnel.

So I’m saying farewell to 2013 and putting out the welcome mat for 2014!

The Day After

Day After ChristmasYou wanna know something about my brain? No? Well, that’s alright. I’ll tell you anyway. It’s defective. There. I’ve said it. I have a faulty brain. At this point in my life I blame it on the not-managed-by-medication ADD combined with aging. It’s the day after Christmas, and I have the day off. The hustle and bustle of the season is over, and I thought it would be a perfect day to do something I used to love to do but now only long to do. It would be, but my brain had other ideas. It’s full of thoughts, and my heart is full of emotions, and together they make one interesting soup. Let’s see if I can isolate some of those ingredients to come up with somewhat of a coherent blog post.

I’ll start with over-abundance. More than ever, this really stood out to me this Christmas. Even in our own current state of belt tightening, we have an over-abundance of material possessions (aka: stuff). It has taken us a number of over-spending years to accumulate much of that stuff, and we’ve worked on that considerably. That’s why it stands out to me even more as I observe others adding to their over-abundance of stuff. Pictures of Christmas trees with oodles and gobs of presents flooding out from underneath resonated deeply with me this year. We had just a puddle of presents under our tree. My heart ached a little (OK, a lot) because I can’t help but compare and because I don’t want to be pitied.

Being in the financial situation we’re currently in has been an eye-opener. Not only do I see what careless use of credit can do, but I also see that there is so much stuff out there that we don’t need. Oh my gosh, there were so many things I would throw into a shopping cart for no other reason than I wanted it and then blindly hand over my credit card at the checkout! Every time I go through an uncluttering phase and come across such items, it disgusts me a little. I beat myself up. I’m becoming the opposite of an over-spender. I’m not quite there yet; more so with myself than with my kids. I can’t tell you how many things I look at in stores and really want but know that I don’t really need and then leave it there.

Like my favorite ornament here with exhausted Santa soaking his feet after a busy Christmas season, I just want to rest for a minute and be thankful that it’s over. I’d say I’m looking forward to a new year, but I’m not sure that’s true. If I knew that the new year would bring better times, then I’d absolutely be looking forward to it. I’m thankful that we made it through Christmas without going completely broke. This was due to having one less car payment plus a considerable amount of overtime I worked in November.

If my defective brain were better at planning enough to come up with a financial forecast, I might feel better. It’s the unknown that’s causing the anxiety to hang around. I have this ultimate budget formulated on Excel with an entire workbook of expense tracking. I’ll try to make that a New Year’s resolution one more time. My goal is to update that budget over the weekend and then stick to it in 2014.

I think I’ll end it there. There is so much more I wanted to vomit onto this page, but spitting this part out caused enough anxiety (and a bit of depression). Perhaps my next post will be brighter.