It’s February. The month cupids points his little arrow and stabs you in the heart. And cupid got me, oh yes he did! His little arrow pierced me right in the sweet tooth! And there’s goes the meal plan. Or, at least, a few extra “free days”.
These images are all part of my Project 52 on Flickr. I take part in two groups. One is the Alphabet challenge and the other is the 50mm lens one. I had a brilliant thought that if I did TWO projects, then quite possibly, I would finish one. I, also, like the flexibility to use other lenses on the Alphabet one. As well as a different theme. But I must say, I really enjoy the nifty fifty lens, too. This is somewhat of a surprise to me, because I RARELY used it to take photos before this project.
This week, I picked up many February/Valentine’s Day theme(y) stuff. SWEETS. CANDY. SHINY THINGS. HEARTS. Oh for the love all things HEART. I ♥ you. XOXOXO.
These yummy cuppa cakes made for great photos, in which, I was REWARDED heavenly for doing such a good job posing them, and prepping them. Oh, yippee ki-yay! Soooo tasty.
And Valentine’s Day would not be complete without kisses. Lots of kisses!
They are calling out to me. To love them completely. To kiss them with my taste buds (that might be me, not them). And I do! I certainly do. No Kiss was left behind!
Lastly, I got a wine glass. For those more difficult (pointing at you SNOW STORMS OF THE CENTURY) work days.
And for project purposes, I filled this one with hearts of the pure kind.
I found the font used on Bach’s conversation hearts a little different, shall we say? I’m used to a more blocky type face and this computer font threw me off a bit. I guess it takes some getting used to. Conversation hearts have to move into the future sometime, right?
So there you have it. All the hot stuff I could muster and more.
I hope your Valentine heart is just as full of every sweet nothing my camera could offer. And I hope your teeth don’t hurt as much as mine do.
That means, we figure out what we will eat for the week, and then buy what we need from store. And the last step in this process is…making it.
Sticking to the plan. Making it work.
And while that is not easy…it’s a better start than just making up meals as you go along. And well, that is pretty much what we have done for YEARS.
Actually, one time, we made a meal plan. A week’s worth. It was AWESOME. We had a plan. We would eat at home. We knew what we would fix and shop for. We’d save TONS of money from not eating out. YEAH!
Disaster. That week four of our five family members were in a roll-over car accident. Outright creamed and knocked over by a giant Chevy Silverado as they happily headed home from ice cream.
Worst day of my life. Probably because, I was the one member NOT in the car.
From that day on, meal planning was cursed, and strictly forbidden. Because. Hello? Accident from Hell.
So as this year begins, we have thrown caution to the wind and created a MEAL PLAN.
But so far, no accidents. No near disasters. No bad mojo.
It’s a just a meal plan, dammit.
And a damn good one at that.
Well, except for the nuts. One cup is a trillion calories. A handful is a good guide. And eat as many carrots as you want. Crunch. Crunch.
So Day 3 of the “plan” and all is well. I have even danced like no one is watching in my old Zumba class.
So take that, doomsday plan! In your face!
As you can see by our fancy meal planning board, part of our plan involves GREEN juice.
As in, all veggies, and no fruit syrup.
My sweet tooth cried.
But that is okay. It’s good for you! And do you know what I discovered? I feel a heck of a lot happier when I am on the GREEN juice plan.
Maybe, my body is getting all the nutrients it needs and so it concentrates on sending me feel-good hormones.
I don’t know if that is what it is. But, I’ll take a another cup of whatever it is!
Oh yeah, GREEN juice!
My husband has a special recipe. He takes spinach, cucumbers, zucchini, a pear, a few mango chunks, and a bit of lime.
So yes, a bit of sweet (the pear and mangos) and sour (the lime) to offset the taste of pure boatloads of spinach.
We actually didn’t have all these ingredients last night. My juice connoisseur husband was having a fit. He had to use Apple instead of pear. And NO LIME at all. The shame.
But I thought it was fantastic!
Guess I don’t have the juice palate. Because I honestly can’t tell what from what. I just chug-a-lug and be happy.
If you want to know more about green juice and other benefits. You can check out the video we watched before we started Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. And keep in mind, I don’t take everything I see or read to heart. It’s a guide. It’s one movie’s opinion. Believe me, there are plenty more where that came from.
Our good friends recommended the movie and they juiced with their meals. It looked like they discovered the fountain of youth or something. They look absolutely amazing! We tried the Whole Foods juice (they have a juicer on-site). And liked it enough to invest in our nifty juicer.
Isn’t she a beaut?
Cheers to you who are trying something new this year. Cheers to you for doing something that makes you feel better and feel happier.
Wishing you much success!
And for those without New Year Resolutions? Cheers to you too.
I dislike resolutions and that is why I have a MEAL PLAN.
Or back to whatever this thing called life is….full of wonder, surprise, and perseverance.
I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday. ~Author Unknown
My wonderful daughter and almost son-in-law brought me a balloon, flowers, and my favorite chocolates the day after surgery.
What an incredible surprise.
And do you know? It did make me feel better.
The beautiful flowers, and colors. The well-wishes. The good thoughts. And really? My favorite chocolate. I couldn’t eat anything before or after surgery, but by golly, I could eat those chocolates. Oh yes, I could!
Surgery was as horrible and not-as-horrible as I expected. Horrible in the way of FOUR incisions into my body, anesthesia blues, and the souring of my appetite (forever?).
The not-so-horrible in the way of removing a very dead, and non-working gall bladder. One that would have very soon begun poisoning my body. I thank GOD they did not wait until after Thanksgiving to remove it.
Also, not-so-horrible, the very real, and valuable advice of my older sister. She told me to ask the anesthesiologist for a patch behind my ear. She swore it would help with nausea when coming out of surgery. I asked and he gave. I have to tell you. Not being sick after surgery? Not having nausea? Not wanting to puke your guts up? When your guts are already in distress?
The BEST advice I have ever received. Even the recovery room nurse was shocked. She proclaimed EVERY gall bladder surgery should require the patch, because of how good I came out.
Apparently, this type of surgery causes more illness than normal due to removing part of the digestive system. So, truly amazing not to feel sick. Not at all. I felt bloated, and sore, and not hungry at all. But sick? No.
I wore that patch for three days. It’s a lifesaver. If you ever have surgery, ask for the patch.
The rest of the week, I spent with dogs (and sometimes kitty) lounging around my legs. Watching TV, dozing off, and just trying to rest. I thought I would blog and not mess up my “challenges”. But man, just the thought of sitting up and being at a desk gave me chills. I didn’t want to move much. And although, I wasn’t sick from the surgery medicine. I did not have any type of appetite. I couldn’t eat at all.
I’m not big on mobile blogging. I could do it from my Google pad or my iPhone, but it’s really hard for me. It is the keyboard, I think, plus the pain meds and what not. Who knows what I would have written? Heh.
So, I took time to heal and get better. And you know what? I did. It was surprising to see by the end of the week, I could stand up, and sit down as if nothing had happened. I still felt weak. My appetite still lacking, but the wounds were healed up. How amazing is that?
I made plans to go back to work. I left myself a day to get paperwork done. I probably should have given myself more time on that one….because Sunday I ended up super sick. All the bragging about not being sick from anesthesia? Yeah. Well…I got the stomach bug of all stomach bugs. If I stood up, I threw up. And my “day” to do paperwork went to getting over the worst stomach flu (with fever) of all time. Basically, just when I starting getting my appetite back, I lost it again.
It’s still gone, but if you want to bring me chocolates?
The paperwork is still in never, never land. I don’t understand (the red tape!) why if *I* want to go back to work, why can’t I? Do they really need a Doctor to tell them it is okay? A busy Doctor that doesn’t have time for eight pages of forms. One that has a hundred other patients with forms stacked up in their office. Not to mention that mine went out-of-town for his Dad’s surgery. I have called. I have emailed. I’m not sure what else I can do. It is a little daunting to be off-work and unpaid right before the holidays. It would be different if I had some paid time off. But I don’t. Not any. None.
I’m annoyed. I’m antsy. I’m ready to move on. I’m ready for a normal schedule.
Shouldn’t I know more than anyone if I am ready?
So, I stop to smell the flowers. I stop and wait for clearance. Maybe, I think I am ready, but the delay is for my own good?
And you know? Despite the paperwork, the bug, and the recovery?
Six years, five months, three days, and 18 hours, I met my husband for the first time on the driveway of his beautiful home.
Four years, one month, two days and 2 hours, I moved into his beautiful home and I loved our quiet neighborhood.
Two years, four months, two days, and 8 hours, I found joy in the solitude of my new telecommuting job. A job I can do from the comforts of my office nestled inside my beloved home in my quiet neighborhood.
1 day, 23 hours, and 2 minutes, I lose my peace. I lose my comfort. I lose my home to a shattering invasion.
Thank God, I wasn’t at home.
But just barely…
See, my husband and I had left the house together at 730 am. We took the girls to school and then he took me to a Doctor’s appointment at 8am. I had crippling abdominal pain all weekend and my doctor sent me to have an ultrasound on my abdomen to see if they could find the cause. The ultrasound hurt like HECK. The kind assistance helpfully pointed out my “sore” spot based on my grimacing face. So helpful, but whatever it takes to learn (and stop) the painful episodes.
After the torture, we stopped for gas, and to pick up my husband’s dry cleaning. Then a quick stop for a breakfast sandwich through a quick drive-in.
All of these things taken care of within three miles from our home, and all of it done pretty close to the start of my shift (9am). We only ran about 15 mins late. I had no idea how long the ultrasound would last, so I was feeling pretty good about our timing.
We pull up to our house and the first thing we see is a car in our neighbor’s driveway. Our neighbor that moved out about a month ago. We did know from the owner the house would be occupied next week, and in fact, met our new neighbors Sunday afternoon. They were not moving from Georgia until next week. And they did not drive a car with Texas plates that looked like that.
I didn’t question it. Why would I? It’s just a car in the drive-way. Maybe a cleaning person? Who knows? But my husband did not like it. He insisted it didn’t belong. And he walked to the end of the driveway and took a photo of the car.
My hands were full and I waited for him to unlock our door. He walked back over and unlocked the door, but didn’t miss a beat. He went back to the neighbor’s house as he insisted something wasn’t right.
I pause a moment to look at the car again. I still don’t see anything menacing. I open our front door and walk into the foyer. It is that moment. The moment I realize the car has everything to do with us and nothing to do with our empty neighbor’s house. I see my iMac on the dining room window sill. It is the only thing that registers from the entire scene. I don’t see the glass. I don’t see a burglary in progress. Just that. My iMac in a place I did not leave it.
I slowly back out of the house. I am frantically looking for Jason who has his phone and is clear across the neighbor’s yard. I motion for him to COME HERE. He says, “I think I hear someone walking over here.” I shake my head and make crazy jumping head motions to get him to COME HERE. He does. And as soon as we are side by side walking into our house. The mysterious car peels out from next door.
We watch where it goes and which way it turns.
I didn’t want to enter our house at that point. I knew what I would find. Precious things taken. Lost forever. And for what? Because someone decided to be a professional criminal, instead of a salesman? It’s horrifying feeling to be violated. I thought of all the things in easy reach of eager hands. My camera bag left at the dining room table. My other camera bag left on the couch. Most likely those are taken my cameras! I felt stones churn in my belly as we slowly surveyed the damage in the kitchen.
The mess is devastating.
We immediately see how they gained access as both the front and back door are still locked.
They threw a fireplace log through our beautiful window.
At this point, I am wondering where my kitty is. There is no sign of her…and all this glass! Is she cut? Is she bleeding somewhere? My heart hurts. I am in shock. That is when Jason says to get out of the house. We are a priority one and the police are on their way.
We wait while they investigate the house and check for anyone still inside. My old black lab is put outside to keep her off the glass. She was the only dog not locked in a crate. She is twelve-years-old. I doubt the poor girl had the strength to stand up to them. Those old bones don’t move so quick and I am very grateful they didn’t hurt her.
We answer a billion questions about where things were and what they might have touched.
Both iMacs were moved from the office. Those were definitely handled. The police took lots of time to dust for prints on them and the window glass. No blood was found. I don’t know how.
Eventually, they gathered up all the evidence they could (and the vehicle’s tag number from my husband’s picture!).
They left us to clean-up the astounding amount of glass.
Our biggest loss, we discovered in our bedroom. They took my husband’s jewelry box, dumping out all the credit cards and passport, but taking all his Marine coins and watches.
They dumped our nightstand drawers on the bed and dug out all my husband’s empty gun boxes. Yes, empty! All his guns locked in the gun safe.
The other photo is the place my jewelry box used to be. Yeah. They got it too. Along with every piece of jewelry my deceased step-father ever gave me. I doubt they get much for trinkets I received in a gold box at Christmastime. Their monetary value greatly diminished, but their sentimental value is crushing. I try to tell myself they are just things: my Mom’s charm bracelet, her baby ring, and baby bracelet. But it is hard. None of it is replaceable.
These thieves took more than my valuables. They took a chunk of my heart. They took my peace and they took my safety. I don’t know that I will ever heal from the intrusion.
I found my baby kitty under Molly’s bed. Her eyes as big as saucers and she ran to me as soon as I called her. She looked so scared, but completely free of any cuts.
I found BOTH camera bags. One was still at the kitchen table, but it was covered by my husband’s shirt. One was in a pink bag on the couch that said Somebody special calls me Grammy. Apparently, a pink Grandma bag didn’t look valuable to them.
We almost walked in on this burglary in progress (or did). I could have (should have) been home when it happened. The person waiting in the car might have used a gun if Jason hadn’t moved out of the driveway. None of these things escape my conscience.
Last night, we installed an alarm system. An interactive high-tech alarm system. It has a glass break sensor. If the window ever breaks again, it will set the alarm off. There is a keypad in the office AND the bedroom. No matter which part of the house I go, I have the security of a panic button.
I am still broken by the things we lost and relieved over the things we didn’t. I am still a little jumpy at home alone. But the new security system helps.
Tuesday morning at 9:15 AM, I discovered how easily a robber can wreck your safety, and your quiet neighborhood. I discovered I wasn’t exempt from clear and present danger that walks in our world today. Maybe learning these things will keep my attention on the surroundings. To question and not accept. And to guard valuables in heavy lock boxes and places they wouldn’t look.
Most of all, I hope this story helps save someone else from the same distress. Check your security. Check where your valuables are. And more than anything, be aware of something out-of-place in your neighborhood.
This is the time of year for robberies. Christmas is coming…