Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Story of Bravery and faith!


     In a world far  from here lives a brave little princess. She is a beautiful and smart and very happy. Her days are filled with laughter and love. She likes nothing better then coloring rainbows and unicorns and running and jumping with her brother. This sweet princess awoke each day with a smile on her face with not a worry in the world. Her life is grand and she loves it very much just the way it is. 
  One day while the princess was outside playing a deadly dragon came in the yard, sneaking in the side gate he knocked the little princess right off her swing. The brave little princess didn't cry or even get mad, she just got up and started playing all over again in her happy world. Not long after the first visit the dragon came back sneaking once more into the yard where our happy princess played. This time he knocked harder and the princess was hurt. Still she didn't cry or become sad, instead she sat happily in her family's arms and like them simply believed. The king and queen called to the castle all their very best dragon fighters and with the brave and courageous princess leading the way they pushed the dragon back allowing his long sharp claws and fire infused breath to hurt no one. 
   The princess hung her dragon fighting armor away and returned to happy days of play. Just not as happy as the play time she enjoyed before the deadly dragon came. For everyone knew they had only pushed the dragon back and one day he would return stronger and much harder to fight. The days were sunny and long and our little princess enjoyed them all. She continued to enjoy coloring and playing with her brother most of all, but she sure wasn't unhappy with the special trips outside the castle to places like the zoo. Feeding a giraffe can be a lot of fun the princess found out, she thought riding the lead pony in the rodeo was pretty special too. I am sure the vacation to the home of all princesses  had to top the list of fun for our brave and beautiful princess.
  All too soon the princess and her family and the kingdoms best dragon fighters prepared themselves to once again fight this deadly and ferocious dragon. As hard as it was for the princess and her family they continued to believe and hold their faith as they fought this difficult and painful battle. Through it all no matter what the dragon threw at her and no matter what the dragon fighters had to do to her to keep her safe the princess smiled and continued to spread love, faith, and yes even happiness. Days that should have been dark and gloomy this special princess always seemed to manage to keep bright and happy. After a long hard battle that left lasting scars and tired bodies the dragon was pushed back once more. 
  The princess went back to enjoying a princess's life. She dances a happy beat and enjoy the holidays like only a child can. School is a real treat for her, each day bringing something new she never knew. She never lets the sadness show. She loves harder then most children, plays harder, and  fights harder each day to keep the dragon away.
  Even with all her faith and all the prayers from the kingdom and many surrounding kingdoms,the vigilant fighting and all the knowledge of the best dragon fighters, the dragon has returned he stands at the gate ready for a fight once more. No one not even the wisest of dragon fighters knows how to kill this dragon. The best that can be done is to keep pushing the dragon back. The fight leaves the little princess tired and worn but she isn't giving up. Her family and all the kingdom around her will fight and then fight some more to allow this little princess the chance to live without fighting this ugly deadly dragon any more.

    There is no ending to this story because this is a true story and the princess is fighting her fight as we speak. There are very few weapons left to be used for the cancer the princesses has and she is way to young to have to fight this fight at all. Too young or not she is fighting it and fighting hard. I have no idea how this story will end, all I know is how I want this story to end, how I pray it will end. 
  This holiday season please when you say your prayers or your what have yous to the God that you believe in and love please add this princess and all the other prince and princesses who fight the dragon everyday, to your prayers. If you are the kind of person that likes to give freely of them self during the holidays please consider the "Make A Wish Foundation" and "St Judes." Both good ways to help young children like this princess to fight a hard and difficult battle that they shouldn't even have to fight.
 If you do want to donate to St Judes and would like to do it for this princess. She regularly raises money for St Judes. Team Ava
Want to know more about the little princess in my story and the cancer she is battling.
pray for Ava

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Its Wednesday

This week has been interesting to say the least, not exciting but interesting. I am still working hard at my photography and the photo 101 class. It has been fun and a real challenge too. 
  If you read my post last Wednesday it was the Computer held hostage post. I got some feed back from Avast they at least I think it is Avast reached out on twitter and then in the comments here in this blog on the post itself. They asked for some information and I was only willing to give the info that I used to contact Avast on that fateful day. I haven't heard anything back so I don't know if they are still looking into it or my unwillingness to give a total stranger from a company I really no longer trust my personal information led them to just drop it all together. 

 Over the weekend the darling husband came across a real good deal, so we now have a new living room furniture set. We have hated the lazy boy set we had from the moment we bought it. It is nice to have recliners that actually recline.

 Now I have a house to put back together but I am smiling as I work. The living room looks bigger and is much more welcoming. Happy camper that's me.

 Machinery and I are not in sync at all this week. First it was my computer, and slowly the bottom rack in my dish washer is disintegrating, the wheels are breaking one by one and each day more of my silverware tray falls away like it is dry rotting. 

On top of that Monday I go down to do the laundry, it took me more then a minute to realize that the machine was not spinning. Not spinning even a little bit. It has been a lot of years since I was last in a laundry mat. Let me tell you it is nothing like it once was. The machines no longer take coins you purchase a card to activate the start button on the washers and driers. The price is way past reasonable how in the world do people afford that every week. I didn't use the driers and only 2 washers and I still spent over 10.00. The 30 minutes I sat in the laundry mat waiting for my cloths to spin their final spin was more then entertaining. I went during the dinner hour thinking it would be dead. Nope that place was popping. 

As much fun as that little experience was I will be happy when the parts arrive and my washing machine is fixed.
  I had the pleasure of baking cup cakes with Madeline over the weekend. She did all the measuring and added everything into the bowl, she even got to start the mixer.

 She was very proud of herself and was the loudest singer with the biggest smile when we sang Happy Birthday to her dad.

  Thanksgiving is up and coming, this year it will be just us 3. We have decided it would be easier this way. Planning a menu for 3 for Thanksgiving is not as easy as planning a big ole dinner. Cutting the amount of food down is the hardest part. What do I leave out? I may decide to go less traditional and try a few different dishes mixed in with the classic. See I am talking making less food and and adding to it as I speak.
 On a high note, I was invited to add a photo to a web site called You I am sorry to say it is a photo on my hostage held computer, but the site itself is amazing and to be invited to post there made my day. Turns out I am wrong and the photo is on this computer. Here it is.

 The pictures scattered in this post are assignments from the past week. What do you think am I getting better?
 Happy Wednesday! Thank you for stopping by.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A week in recap

 Good Saturday Morning! I am sitting here curled up on the couch a hot cup of tea in my hand and a lovely warm fire burning in the stove. The sun is shinning bright and later today I will have Madeline with me. My idea of a perfect day. As I was sitting here organizing my day in my head I was thinking I had no post today to write, I really haven't been in my kitchen much this week. As you know I spent the first part of the week fighting with Avast and replacing my computer. The rest of the week was spent catching up with my photo assignments and really getting to know my camera. May I just say I hate this new Acer computer. The mouse pad is giving me such a hard time I feel like screaming at it sometimes, not that it would do any good. I will get use to it sooner or later. So any way while sitting here thinking all this it dawns on me it really doesn't matter that I didn't do any playing in the kitchen because we ate well all week and I am not a food blogger. I write what I feel and what is on my mind, meaning no matter what I have been up to if I feel like it I always have something to post. 
 Today I told myself I wouldn't be so wordy, well it is to late for that. Today I was planning to let my pictures do the talking for me. This weeks assignments were not as easy as last week but they weren't too difficult either. They certainly do have you thinking and using your camera in new ways. It wasn't what we photoed that was important but how we took the photo. We were using light and our ISO, shutter speed, and the AV to capture a feeling or idea. 
 I thought I would give a recap of my photography for this week and let you decide am I learning anything and getting better. 
 Monday was connection. Show a connection in life. Lots of photos were posted of people holding hands, a few telephone lines as well and some cars even. Me I was a day late to submit because I just couldn't think of something unique to fit the assignment. I finally gave in and went with my first thought when I read the assignment. 

It got a few likes and some encouraging feed back. I don't think it is my best work or most imaginative. What do you think.
  Tuesday was Landmark pick a landmark and picture it from different angles. Get low to the ground, try different spot to get the picture. 

I picked Kirby Mill and I am happy with what I got I just don't think it is sensational.  
 Wednesday was Nature. Again it was use the light and get up close or stand back to get the shot. I chose up close and as always I love this type of pictures and this one is no different.

 I couldn't help myself I had to post 2 photos that day. 

I climbed a tree hung upside down over a creek to get pictures so you know I just had to share.
 Thursday was warm, go outside and use the sun to light your subject and make it warm, or use other light sources to show warmth. I went for obvious.

 We had no sunshine that day and what is warmer then fire.
 Friday we worked with mystery. Using light and your settings to show mystery. I was clueless on this one. So I found a subject that could be a mystery and placed it on the counter under a harsh kitchen light. I used white cloth and back drop and then used my ISO, shutter speed and AV to turn the harsh light into a soft illumination. I used yarn because it is colorful and you never know what it is going to be made into. A non knitter might think how does the thin soft string turn into a sweater or mittens and a knitter would most likely look at this photo and wonder what they could make with that pretty skein of yarn. So there is the mystery. I like the crisp clean lines of shadow from the needles. 

I posted 2 pictures for this assignment because I couldn't chose one.
 Then I did a mystery do over because what is more mysterious then fire and my dear husband made a doozie of a fire last night. I spent 1/2 an hour with my camera setting the light settings in a dozen different ways. I took 55 pictures and had to pick just 1.

 It was the hardest part of my day. 
  I have learned so much this week about how to set my cameras light setting to get the mode I want even when the light is not there. I am no means an expert at this but I feel like I made big strides this week. What do you think?
  Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you for stopping by. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Computer Held Hostage!

The suns reflection on a cool afternoon.

 Strange title isn't it? It is however how I feel and have felt since Tuesday when my computer froze, and I mean froze. I blame Avast and their tactics for the loss of my computer. It is the direct result of how they handled my phone call to them that my computer has been frozen in time. Avast knows this and really doesn't care. They didn't do anything wrong or illegal, they just didn't do what was right. 
  Tuesday morning my screen turned blue with a error message informing me that if I had never seen that screen before just restart the computer and continue on with what I was doing. I shut down and re started the computer all good and then up pops a warning that I have no anti virus protection. This can't be I think to my self because in August I for the first time ever payed for my anti virus protection. Up in the right hand corner of my tool bar the Avast icon is saying I am in a safe sight as it has since August. I go to my control panel any way and look and sure enough I don't have any Avast in there anywhere. I go to my email and yes I was smart and earmarked the email with all my Avast info on it. So I call Avast and this is where my day goes from bad to worse.
  My first call goes to a young man named Roin(sp) and the call is all sunshine and smiles, sugar and spice everything is nice. And then the sales pitch happens. After verifying I do indeed have the protection program and that it is indeed not installed in my computer and never was the nice young man ask for control of my computer so he can install the program for me. After all he is a tech and can install it much faster. Mistake number 1 and lesson learned " Don't give control to anyone with some thing to sell." Now he goes into areas that I had never been and am not sure I could get to again if I tried. He brings up records that show how many critical errors the computer had had, he then explains that I was lucky my computer was still running. That the errors had been happening since 2012. The word "Critical Error" was used like a death sentence over my head and repeated over and over and over again. I was then told it wasn't really a problem that a special tech could clean this file bucket with all the critical errors in it out. But this service isn't part of what I paid for and was done by another company so it would cost. I was then told that the young man just happened to know how to contact these tech specialist and he would give them a call for me. I get put on hold for a good 5 minutes or more and my computer screen starts looking like the TV screen during Sunday football when the announcers want to show you a play with their magic pins. Back on the line he comes and tells me the tech specialist can clean it all up no problem just take about 2 hours and just shy of 200.00. I say no thank you just install my program so I don't get virus or other nastiness in my computer. The young man says okay fine, now the problem seems to be I have Windows defenders and something called MS Builder already in my computer.? How can that be I never installed the MS one have no idea what it is, and windows I uninstalled when I got Avast at the time I purchased the computer. No answer as to how only that some how they have ended up in the file bucket and can't be deleted with out the special tech. I asked what it meant to me and was told the program may not run with them in there. I was then told for a little over 100.00 they would do an emergency clean up and just remove those two unwanted virus fighters. I said I can't afford it at this time. I then directly asked " Since you can't install your program are you going to refund my money?" The answer came strong and swift " Oh no mam we are going to put a free program in and then force the program you purchased in on its back. It may be able to over ride the other programs or it may not install." I say okay go ahead after all the other 2 programs are not working and I need anti virus on the computer. He does it all down loads the free service installs it and then gets the license # for my service and does it all again down loads and then installs it. Up to this point it had been a long and leisurely phone call. Now it is at the re start time and as soon as he clicked the reboot icon he was gone off the phone leaving me looking at the phone with question marks in my eyes. 
  My computer re starts or at least it appears that way. It gets to my wallpaper screen with the icons to the internet and other such stuff. It is clear that the internet is working and my hard drive is working but they don't seem to know that and I get no farther it all freezes nothing moves. I cry and I mean real tears are running down my face as I am about to learn lesson 2 and that would be " Learn to back you stuff up." After a moment or two of self pity I call Avast back and I get some one named Morty I believe. He berates me for crying on more then one occasion  saying it is rude and aggressive behavior. He says I don't need to worry they are going to fix the problem right away. He puts me on hold and comes back less then 2 minutes later and says yes they can get this fixed no problem I just pay either 100.00 or 200.00 and they will clean the computer and it will be all better. I lost it right here I won't lie. I made a truck driver look like a nun with what spewed out of my mouth. I hate flipping on the phone it does no good and make you feel stupid afterwards. Not this time I hung up and felt good. 
 Call number 3 was no better but I at least kept my temper even when I was being told to watch my temper I didn't flare up. In call # 3 I heard things like You won't take our advice so how can we help you. The young mans name this time was Vaughan and he was very in control of this call. I asked 3 times for them to remove their product from my computer all three times I got a different answer. The first time I asked I was told in a condescending tone that it would be irresponsible to leave a computer with out anti virus protection. When I pointed out that it was the protection itself causing the problem. The response was as if he were talking to a child as he explained well that is whats going to happen when you put the number one best working protection system into a dirty computer. I asked at this point then why did your tech install it knowing my computer was as you say dirty? He told me to calm down and stop being argumentative or he wouldn't be able to help me. We went round and round like that my asking for the product to be removed and him refusing. I at one point said fine I will get a new computer then. He came right back with if you can afford a new computer you can afford to pay us to clean this one. Another favorite high light in this going no where conversation was when once again I asked to just remove the product and I will take my computer and have it cleaned. Vaughan challenged me rather rudely with " How are you going to that, who are you going to take it to?" When I said it is non of your business just take your product off my computer, he came back with a statement that has bothered me ever since he very slowly as if I were on the stupid side explained he couldn't take it off because my computer wasn't working and I couldn't get into it so how could they? The phone call ended shortly after that with me standing my ground that for all intent and purposes my computer had crashed and Avast was directly responsible for it, at no point was I ever informed that my computer may stop working if I allow them to install there protection program. Vaughan very much disagreed with me. It wasn't until I hung up that it dawned on me what Vaughan had said to me about if I can't get into the computer how can they, well how where they going to clean my computer up?
  I am on a new computer thanks to Target and their fair pricing. My old one is still in hostage state with all my beloved pictures locked in side. I called Acer and they helped me try a few things and when I once again broke down and cried the nice guy at Acer was sympathetic and understanding. Acer can restore my computer for me but it will be costly and everything will be erased. My brother even told me how to restore it my self not as costly and I still lose it all. So I wrapped her up in her original box and set her aside until I find someone I can afford to save my pictures for me, then I will try my hand at restoring her.
  From now until forever I will always think of my computer as a hostage and Avast the kidnapper. Even if it was the critical errors causing a problem Avast knew better then to install their program into my computer,knowing I would be forced to use their special tech to clean up any mess made, rather then lose a sale they installed it anyway. To quote the young man in the first call " I am after all tech support"
The sun setting with style!

 Happy Wednesday! Thank you for stopping by.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Here A Squash There A Squash Everywhere A Squash!

 Today was another beautiful day. The sun shinning, warm temperatures, and just the gentlest breeze blowing. A perfect day to hang the laundry and sit on the porch and day dream. That is what I did as much as I could. Totally enjoyable. 
  Yesterday after a wonderful day outside enjoying the fine fall weather I came into the house and my kitchen. While I am working on the photo 101 class and challenge I have been working on another challenge. This one has nothing to do with photography other then I will photograph just about anything and all this squash is no different. The squash is almost easy when you consider I have over 10 full full bushels of sweet potatoes some weighing in over 5 lbs. What am I going to do with all this food? Giving some of it away will happen for sure and preserving what I can will help I am certain. How many ways are there to prepare sweet potatoes and squash? Well I am about to find out. 

 Last night was a stuffed acorn squash. I really didn't use a recipe for this. I looked up baking temps and times as well as methods and then I just shot from the hip. I stuck with what I know and made a stuffing of rice and beans topped with cheese. I heated 2 tbsp of oil in a skillet and added 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp cumin powder, 1 tbsp curry powder, Salt and Pepper to taste. I mixed the spices into a paste and then added rice that I cooked according to the package directions to the paste and mixed completely. Then I mixed in the beans and stirred until everything was blended together. I removed it from the heat and kept it warm until the squash was ready. Before cooking the rice I cut the Acorn Squash in half and cleaned out the seeds. Placed both halves cut side down in a baking dish with 1/4 inch of water at the bottom. In the oven for 30 minutes or more until tender. Once the squash was ready I heaped the rice mixture into the bowl that the squash naturally makes covered in cheese

 and put it back in the oven for 15 minutes or so. Until the cheese is melted and everything is good and hot. I served this as a side dish but it would make an excellent main dish too.

  With the amount of squash I have to use I have a feeling I am going to learn a whole lot more stuffing recipes and ideas.

 Do you have a squash recipe or idea? If you do I would love to hear it.
 Hope you had a cheery Monday! Thank you for stopping by. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Playing In The Kitchen, Playing With My Camera

This is day 4 Bliss, This is my bliss.

Good Morning to you! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. It is absolutely beautiful here. I was lucky and spent most of the morning yesterday out in that beautiful crisp fall weather. It is getting colder here the winter coats have come out and we fired up the wood stove. There is nothing better then curling up on the couch in your fuzzy robe with a cup of tea and a warm blazing fire.
  I have been really busy with the photo 101 class. Every day requires a photo and to get that one photo you have to go places and see things and take dozens of photos. Then you have to post a blog with the photo you pick so others can see it and comment on it. For the most part the feed back has all been positive however I will be going back to retry a few photos. I like getting the feed back it helps more then you might think. Honest feed back rather then flattery is the most helpful. Yesterdays assignment gives me trouble all the time and the feed back I got on the pictures gives me a better idea of how to achieve good wide angle landscapes.

I wanted the focus to be the sand pile and summer toys against the contrasting fall back ground.

 My favorite feed back on yesterdays work was one that after giving me a few suggestions on directing the eye, she suggested that maybe I was ready for a wide angle lens. Now how did she know what is on my Christmas list? 
  After not finding the picture I wanted I came home and played in the kitchen with my camera on hand just for the fun of it.

 I made pumpkin pie and pumpkin cups. I won't be writing out the recipe because well it is on the can of Libby's pumpkin. Not the pie mix just pure pumpkin. I followed the recipe word for word. Do your self a favor and get 3 pie shells if you are buying the pie crust instead of making your own. Yes I bought my pie shells, I was going to make my own but changed my mind. The large can of pumpkin will make 3 pies instead of the 2 the can says it will make. I think that is because the recipe is 50 years old and pre made pie shells were a little bigger if they even had them back then. Keebler sells a crust that is bigger 2 extra servings it says, 2 of them would work as well. I always thought making pumpkin pie was hard I am not sure why but I did. This was one of the easiest things I have baked so far. Also very good.

 I didn't have 3 pie crust or the larger ones but I had enough pumpkin for another pie left over and I really just didn't want to make a crust I also didn't want to throw away the pumpkin. What to do, what to do. Well if your me you make pumpkin cups.

 I crushed some graham crackers sprayed a cupcake pan and lined the cups with the crumbs and then poured in the pumpkin mixture. The baking time was about 30 minutes for the cups. They were good but we all agree the pie is much much better.

 Today will find me back outside with my camera retaking some pictures and trying something new. I hope your day finds you doing something you love as well.
Day 5 Solitude. I took this picture once before and was blessed to see it again on a cloudy day.
 Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dressing Up The Mashed!

 What do you do with leftover mashed potatoes? Me if it is only enough for one I warm them up in the microwave melt lots of butter on them and have them for lunch. If there is almost or enough for a second dinner I normally just add a little cream or milk and heat them up on the stove top,if need be I add a freshly mashed potato to the mix to make enough to go around. They taste just as good as they did the first time around so good in fact most people wouldn't even know they were eating left over potatoes.
  The other night we were having leftover mashed potatoes and as I started to put them in the pan I got an idea and decided to dress em up a little. Since there is loaded baked potatoes, and loaded french fries, I know there must such a thing as loaded mashed potatoes. If there isn't there is now.
 I had bacon already cooked on hand making it even easier to take my leftovers to the next level. 

 All I needed to do was slice some cheese and green onions and I was all set to decorate. I spayed a baking dish and heated the oven to 400.I mixed about a 1/4 cup of chicken broth in my leftover potatoes to loosen them up and make them creamy then I spread the potatoes evenly in the pan. I topped the potatoes with thin slices of provolone cheese, the green onion and bacon. I put it all in the oven for 20 minutes until the cheese was melted and the potatoes hot through. ( Note to self leave green onions off until after cooking) Let sit a minute or two and serve warm. 

 This is what I call comfort food at it's finest.Just a little hind sight here but I think some brown gravy would have sent this dish right through the roof. Now I think of it! 
 Have a happy Wednesday! Thank you for stopping by.  
My assignment yesterday was street. This is what I did. I was on an over pass looking through a chain link fence.