My blog dress and header has changed! As a newlywed, I am excited to present a whole new theme.

Friday, January 30, 2009

When the sky falls in

Have you ever felt like Charlie Brown? Like you're running along all excited and feeling powerful, then someone sweeps the rug right out from underneath you?

That's how I feel today.

Today I was told that due to massive funding cuts, my position is being eliminated. In more basic terms, as of 5:00 pm EST on Friday, February 13, I no longer have a job. Laid off. Fired. Jobless. Another statistic.

I feel like the wind has just been knocked out of me. The tears haven't really come yet. I'm sure there will be enough tears to fill a bathtub when I have to start telling my clients that I will no longer be their counselor, well my tears anyhow. I am just vain enough to hope that a few clients will be tearful as well, lol

I'm not sure it has really hit me yet.

Some good things though: This makes it easy for me to decide whether or not I should have mediation to try to save my house. Without a job, that's pointless. Makes that decision easy.

On the other hand, I had viewed a cute 2 bedroom condo, not far from where I live now. It won't be on a river and won't be as private, but I will have a nice yard and its in a nice setting, almost rural but still in town. I have already called and left a message to see if it is still available. If it isn't, the condo next to it is coming up for rent. And they will let us keep the dog!

Although I couldn't see the good points at the time, thank goodness I got sick when I did and still had insurance! I also used up the almost 6 weeks worth of paid sick leave that I have earned over the years due to my excellent attendance. Otherwise, I would have lost it all. I also have almost three weeks of paid vacation coming to me, so I should be able to get a check for that. I just got the bills this week for my hospitalization, and although I won't be able to work out a deal for the surgeon and anesthesiologists fee, I can apply for financial aid on the hospital bill, and there is a chance that I can get a good percentage of the bill reduced, or not have to pay at all due to my income and bills.

As far as continuing health care, I may be eligible for medicaid. Hey, I paid taxes for all those years and I don't feel bad if I have to get that help now! I intend to get a full time job with benefits as soon as I possibly can, though in this economy, that will be very difficult.

Job availability is very poor in this town right now. There are people who spent their lives working in factories who are accepting positions at fast food places. Hopefully, I can find a job locally so that I can stay in this city until my son graduates from high school in 2011. Worst case scenario would be to re-locate, but that's only as a very last resort.

It's a scary time right now. I don't have family that can help me out, and I don't have a lot of savings (in part because some of it went to my mortgage)!

No matter what, I know that my children and I are in God's hands. I am hoping that the economy turns around soon. If that happens, they may start hiring at my workplace again, but I don't expect that to happen soon. A good point is that they are willing to write me nice letters of recommendation, and I will be leaving in very good standing.

Right now, I don't have any more words...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Weight loss photos! And a snow day!

Okay, I promised I would tell you about my weight loss. I started a low carb, low fat diet in September when I found out I was diabetic. I also started walking, first at the local track, then on the treadmill at the YMCA when it got cold. As of earlier this month when I was weighed, I have lost a total of....drumroll please!!! 42 pounds!

People are finally starting to notice.

Here is a picture of me from several years ago. I was at my top weight then, which was about 20 pounds over what I was before I started dieting. I had originally lost 30 pounds, but 10 came back. So I am now over 60 pounds less than I am in this first pic!

Look at me now!

A few months ago for a Fashion Friday post, I had my son take some pics of me. This first is in a black jacket.

Here I am in the same jacket. Not sure if you can tell I am smaller in this pic or not. At least I don't have the goofy hair any more. People have told me that you can really tell my face is slimmer.

Here I am a few months ago in my date outfit.

And again, today in the same outfit. I'm still not sure this pic shows a big difference.

Looking back, I think I looked awfully big in this cream dress. The hair is just cracking me up. No more poofy Bozo hair for me any more!

I didn't put the dress back on, but instead wanted to show you my new tan pants. All my old pants are bagging on me so bad that I can't wear them any longer! These tan pants are a size 18! I wore a 24 before! Granted, they might run a tad large, but all of the size 20s I tried on at CJ Banks were too big for me! Even my skinny jeans are getting baggy on me. (Got the slacks on sale for $20 and the sweater set for the same!)

My son caught this lovely pic of me with my mouth open.

Anyhow, I have been carefully counting carbs. I avoid red meats, fried foods, and anything fatty. I wasn't big on those in the first place. I have cut way down on bread and added more fruit and veggies. I watch portion control too and have my dinner on a smaller plate. It really does help! I don't go back for seconds even if I am hungry. I tell myself that if I am still hungry an hour later, then I can eat more, but I'm no longer hungry by then. I have mostly cut out snacking. I allow myself one day a week where I am allowed to cheat moderately, but I find that I don't overdo it.

I haven't been exercising since I got sick. Until last week, I really don't think I would have been well enough to go to the Y, but I really need to get back there! Just so hard to get out in the snow and cold. Some people thought that I lost weight because of my illness and the surgery, but actually, the continued weight loss was consistent with what I was losing before it all happened.

Today was a snow day! My son's school was cancelled due to 7" of new snow. It was a pretty messy storm. I sure had a mess to clean off of my van. Maybe I should clear out the boxes in my garage so I can park there again! Anyhow, when I got to work, I found out that we were closed for the day due to the weather! Well, five other people also didn't know we closed. We ended up all walking to a nearby restaurant where we had breakfast and shot the breeze. I filed a few notes into client files, then went home. Nice to get paid for a lazy day!

Anyhow, here was what I woke up to this morning. Mind you, we already had several inches of snow on the ground from a week ago. I like when its fresh and unmarred though before the neighborhood kitties leave little footprint trails through it.

Here is my deck from my previous post.

And now look at it! Even more snow!

Here is my table on my deck from a week ago.

And now look at it! I estimate that there is about 15 inches of snow on it. I love the rounded top. It reminds me of a Hostess SnoBall!

See what I mean? lol

Thought I would leave you with one last pic of my patio. I really really should have at least taken the chair cushions in for the winter!

Hope you are all staying warm and safe wherever you are. And if you live where you don't get snow, enjoy these pics! For those of us who live in the northern states though, we are getting very tired of winter! I can't wait for spring!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Frozen Wasteland or Winter Wonderland?

I know that some of you have been concerned about me since it has been so long since I've posted. I returned to work on January 12, and it was an exhausting week, plus I did feel some pain. I've also been trying to get to bed earlier as I don't want to wear myself out. On the whole though, I have been healing very well. I didn't have pain at all this week, though I could feel some pressure.

Sometimes I also have to fight the kids for my computer, and sometimes, like this past week, I just have a bad case of bloggers block. At any rate, I might not be able to spend as much time in blogland as I'd like. I am way far behind in visits and leaving comments, but I am here when I can be. Please don't take it as a slight if I haven't visited or left a greeting in your comment box!

Anyhow, here is what I've been waking up to lately. Just look at all that snow! These pics were taken about a week or two ago. There must be 8 or more inches!

It wasn't long ago that I was sitting out on that deck with a good book or magazine and setting my glass of iced tea on that table! I can't believe I didn't get it covered before the snow fell.

Here is a view from the deck out to the riverbank with the frozen river beyond. Last year the river never completely froze over. That sure changed this year!

The trees and bushes do look pretty covered in snow!

See that pretty evergreen tree? Only a month ago, it was weighted down in ice and the top was bent over!

So what do you think? Is this a frozen wasteland or winter wonderland?

All I know is that I really miss this!

And I miss doing things like this!

Oh spring, you can't get here soon enough!

In an upcoming post, I'll talk about a little controversy going on in the comment section of my Adventures in Internet Dating post from some time back. I was going to ignore an Anonymous poster's comments, but I think it has come to the point that some things need to be addressed.

Also, I will give an update on my weight loss. I have exceeded my own expectations, but I need to get my kids to take some pics so you can see before and afters. People are starting to notice the difference!

I won't be on much in the next night or two. I need to finish some online CEU's (continuing education credits) for the recertification of my counseling credentials. Very time consuming and expensive process!

I'll be around as I can!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Blue Monday/ Blue Golden Globe Dresses (and more!)

I have a guilty confession. I just LOVE looking at the dresses on women attending red carpet award shows! Once I took a quiz where they displayed dresses, and I was able to actually indicate who wore them. I know. Embarrassing!

I also take great joy in reading the critiques of star's outfits. Sometimes I agree wholeheartedly and sometimes I disagree. I thought it would be fun to play fashion police with this year's Golden Globe stars! In honor of Blue Monday, I am starting with the starlets clad in blue. All of these photos are scarfed from MSN's website coverage of the event. Credit goes to AP and Wire photographers.

This first dress is a lovely confection in dark blue worn by the gorgeous Anne Hathaway. She looks like a princess, as she has often portrayed a princess. My only criticism is the severe hairstyle, which was also sported by several other starlets. I don't like it.

Mary Louise Parker is wearing a beautiful form fitting royal blue gown. I think it is stunning on her! But oh dear, could she have been bothered to run a hairbrush through that mane before stepping out? She also could have gone with a lighter hair color as this seems too matte black.

Here is another starlet in a dress that is in a blue and black print. I have to wonder why Maggie Gyllenhal had to swipe a dress from her grandmother's closet and have it altered for the event. I am not impressed.

I couldn't just show dresses in blue! This is too much fun! Next up is Amy Adams in a gorgeous black dress that fits her just right. My only criticism is that the actress wore something that contrasts too sharply with her porcelain complexion. She is such a natural beauty and I think that some actual color would have been lovely on her. She could also have done better with her hair.

I have always adored Drew Barrymore. I think the dress is cute, and I am totally loving her hair!

Elizabeth Banks is another natural beauty, and her hair is so cute here. I like the style of the dress, but could it have been cut from different fabric than her chenille bedspread? A little color would have been pretty too. Still, I rather like the dress.

Beyonce Knowles has the most gorgeous curvy figure and I just love how this dress is styled to accentuate her hourglass figure! Spot on!

It's hard to find a dress for a teenager that is both age appropriate and still sophisticated, but I think Miley Cyrus hits it here! Again, I think of a little princess with this style. Adorable!

This is one of my faves for the night. Oh how I envy Brooke Burke's curvy figure, and this dress fits it like a glove without being sleazy.

My favorite of the night though would have to be Kyra Sedgwick in this form fitting red dress. Her hair is understated and lovely as well. Very well done!

Then there were some beauties who just seemed to kind of miss it. Angelina Jolie is one of the most beautiful women in the world, yet she wears this shapeless shift. She also wore a similarly shapeless, non-stunning frock to the People's Choice award. The looseness is going to fuel pregnancy rumors in the gossip rags. Maybe its simply that she bore twins a few months back! Still, she could have done better.
And Brad needs to lose that pornstache!

Yikes, Cameron Diaz, when did you last have your roots done? A year ago? I am sure this star can afford a hairdresser so that she could have showed up with hair that actually looked like she hadn't just got up. What is with that ill fitting pink dress and the black shoes? She can, and has done a lot better.

Not sure what image Jennifer Lopez is trying to get across here, but she just looks sleazy. Oh my goodness, a fat roll! Now that doesn't bother me a bit, heck the women recently bore twins and she is in fabulous shape, but Hollywood doesn't allow that sort of thing. Hmmm, seems the oft gossiped about wedding ring is missing again!

This tacky get up just made me utter, what on earth was she thinking? Marissa Tomei bared her bod in The Wrestler, so we know she has a shape. You just can't see it here in this concoction that even a septugenarian wouldn't be caught dead wearing.

The alltime award for Most Horrible Outfit of the Night and the What the Hell? award goes to Renee Zellweger. I don't even have words for how tacky she looks here! Ewww! Almost makes me want to take a bath! The hair is awful, the makeup is awful, but there are just no words for the toplessness implied here. Yes, you can see she is wearing a flesh colored bra, but still. NASTY! A double THUMBS DOWN!

Well this was fun! Who got your vote for the best and worst outfits of the night?

For more Blue Monday posts, find the links on Sally's website Smiling Sally.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pink Saturday/ Some Goodwill Finds

For this week's Pink Saturday, I thought I'd show a couple pinky type things I found at Goodwill this summer. I love this little hook with the pink flower which I found for $3. It is perfect in my bedroom though I haven't hung it up on the wall yet. Not sure what I'll hang from it.

I also found this pretty shabby chic letter holder for only 75 cents. I know those are grapes and you would think they should be purple, but they look pink to me! My intent is to put this in my living room.

To check out other bloggers' Pink Saturday posts, visit our hostess Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.

A couple months back I posted about a pretty teapot that I had found in a thrift shop for only $8. It was, however, missing the lid. Thanks to help from friendly bloggers, I found out that the teapot was from Lefton china in the Heritage brown floral pattern. Not only that, a lid could be found at! I was shocked to learn that even without the lid, my teapot, which is actually called a coffeepot, was worth around $79! I sure got my money's worth! With a lid, it was worth as much as $115. So of course, I ordered the lid! It increased in value by more than what I paid for the lid alone.

I was sure excited to see my coffeepot looking whole with it's beautiful lid!

Have a happy Pink Saturday! We are supposed to have a very snowy Saturday with up to 10" of snow on the ground.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Prizes Won! And an update

I have been VERY remiss in not posting this past week. I have just been in such a funk lately and didn't feel like posting or even doing much visiting. I am just so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I am not good as a sick person. Thankfully, I am recovering very well and should be able to return to work next Monday which is a month after surgery. I think that being busy will definitely help with my mood. The staples came out December 30, and for some reason, I was in more pain afterward! It's better now, but the incision feels very sensitive and I am constantly aware of it. I asked my doctor how bad my gallbladder was on a scale of 1-10 and he said it was near the top and one of the worst, if not THE worst he had ever seen, and he has been a doctor for decades! Gangrene had begun to set in. Ick! Thank goodness I had surgery when I did.

I have also been feeling very lonely. I'm sure that's due in part to too much time on my hands! I have been reading voraciously and watching a lot of movies. It will be good for me to get back to work and be with people again.

On more note. I haven't wanted to say anything, but I am in serious risk of losing my home. Even if I could get out of this predicament, and that's possible, I'm not sure I want to because this home is just too expensive for me. I love it, but I don't love not having money to go on vacations or get my van fixed, things like that. If I empty the rest of my savings, I have absolutely NOTHING to fall back on and I don't want to be in that position. I have reassured my sons that although I dearly love this house, my HOME is wherever they are.

Anyhow, on to some HAPPY STUFF. Since I was laid up, I didn't get a chance to post some wonderful giveaways that I won! To me, getting these packages in the mail felt like Christmas had come early! Each of them was so appreciated and I was so happy to be the lucky winner!

I won two books on two separate occasions from Sally at Smiling Sally. I hear so much good stuff from my clients about the Joyce Meyers books! I think I am going to share from this book with them.

She also sent me this book from Carmindy. If you have ever seen "What Not to Wear," you know this women is a miracle worker! All the makeup I ever wear is just some eye liner and mascara. I ordered some Avon and am now going to have fun experimenting with makeup!

Sally is usually always having book giveaways, so go to her site and check it out! She also hosts Blue Mondays which are so fun! I need to get back to Blue Monday posts too!

Back in November, Deb from Deb's Country Kisses had a giveaway with a choice of a Prim package or a Cottage package. Though I dearly love cottage and porcelain pieces, I also love prim, and what she was giving away would fit in perfectly in my family room. I was thrilled to be the winner! Look at these darling candlesticks which are great on my kitchen table!

I had really been wanting a vintage looking prim gameboard for some time. Now I have one, thanks to Deb!

And how much do I love these letters spelling out "HOME!" There are a couple places in my home where they will be perfect if I stay here.

Deb is such a sweet blog friend and I love reading about her family get togethers in her basement which has a karaoke stage! She seems like just the type of person who would be so much fun to visit!

Also back in November, I entered a giveaway contest sponsored by Donna at An Enchanted Cottage. I couldn't believe when I won it! The first part of the prize was a book about the HGTV show "Sensible Chic." I used to just love that show! I liked how they would recreate a room using furnishings and accessories that cost far less than was spent in the inspiration room. The book came wrapped in the cutest package!

Donna also included a sweet card and this darling bird ornament! It wasn't until later that I also discovered a bookmark featuring a drawing by Aubry Beardsley who was my very favorite artist when I was in my 20s! I somehow didn't get a picture of that, but I love it!

The second part of Donna's giveaway was for a $20 gift certificate to Cherry Blossom Cottage. Free shipping was part of the deal. This is the most darling online shop and I encourage you to go visit the shop and Ronda who handcrafts many of the beautiful products!

For my $20, I got this beautiful chair slipcover for only $15!

And this darling, sparkly mitten ornament was only $5.

Ronda tossed in this darling lavendar scented sachet as a gift. It smells so good and hangs from a knob on my dresser. It's perfect in my cottage-y bedroom!

Of course, I couldn't resist buying a couple things on my own! I got this Waverly pillow which matches the valances that will eventually go in my kitchen!

And I also bought this adorable and funny picture! There is no wrinkle in the vintage picture. That is due to bad photography. Anyhow, I just love the pearls and the pretty buttons, but what really got me going was the saying "I dreamed my whole house was clean!" Yeah, that is just a dream here at my house! I so identified with it!

I also encourage you to visit Donna's blog. I first saw her home on Rate My Space, and was captured by her wonderful sense of shabby chic! At RMS, I would return to her pics again and again. I just love her gorgeous home!

Well, that's it for now! I deeply apologize to those who sent me these wonderful prizes because they weren't posted earlier.

I'll try to get back in the swing of things from this point on!