Just a number

I have had conversations with a friend who, from time to time, deactivates her Facebook account for various reasons.  One reasonRecipe Challenge is because it can get pretty annoying at times.  I have felt the same way.

The majority of the people on my friends list are those who I went to school with.  Some of them are family and the others are people I have befriended through places of employment.  I don’t believe there is a single person I don’t know on my friends list, and even if we aren’t really friends outside of the virtual world of Facebook, we were or are connected in life in some way.

When I signed up for Facebook 5 or 6 years ago, I thought it was great.  Everyone did and yes, in many ways, it still is.  But lately, it’s just one of those things I check on throughout the day out of habit.

I post status updates about random things that happen during the week, as they happen, and it’s usually something involving my kids.  I mean, I’m with them all day and night.  I post pictures or videos of them, or dictate a conversation I had with them that I found amusing.

When I actually get to go somewhere, like on a weekend trip out-of-town (it’s usually only for a night), I’ll post pictures of that.  Sometimes I’ll come across an article that moves me in some way and I’ll share it.  Aside from that, there’s nothing else I do on there.  I don’t play the games.  I don’t partake in the quizzes.  None of that interests me.

But, do you want to know what my biggest pet peeve about Facebook is lately?  The fact that it seems that people don’t feel the need to act as if they have manners.  There is no proper “web etiquette” in place.

The reason I say this is because, as I said before, I started another blog, specifically for food, recipes, food styling and photography.  I added a page for that blog and I have it connected to my own Facebook page.  I sent the invites out to all 249 of my Facebook friends.  Only 43 of them accepted the page invite and “liked” the page.  Keep in mind though, that a handful of those 43 are family members.

Now, I understand that it’s not fair to expect that everyone would be interested in “liking” a food blog page and receiving those notifications in their news feed.  Here’s the deal though.  I get plenty of Facebook page invites from the same people who I have reached out to with my page invite, and have gladly accepted.  I skim through my news feed and read the status updates from their special pages because it’s there, in my news feed.

The acceptance of page invites from those on my “friends” list is proper web etiquette to me.  It’s having good manners.  It is a sign of support, not a sign of interest in that particular topic or company they are promoting.  What gets me is that I currently have about 10 pages that those I know have started who I have accepted page invite requests from, and there is only one of them that reciprocated that gesture.

I posted a contest today on the blogs Facebook page offering a $20 virtual gift card to a random winner.  All you had to do to enter the contest was tell me the name of a dish or desert to challenge me to cook/bake, style & photograph for my blog and tell me your favorite place to eat.  I started the contest, not to gain likes, but to gain experience and practice my skills with food styling and photography.  I figured I’d make it fun and reward those who have liked the page with this kind gesture.

Catch is that it was only available to those who “like” the page.  That’s because it wouldn’t be fair to those who have already liked the page to award someone with free money who only came for the prize and was never to be found again.

The only person to enter was my boyfriend’s mom who has no interest in the prize of course.  How pitiful is that?  These are some of the reasons I feel this way.  Where has the care and common decency and manners gone?

This is why I wonder what the point of it all is.  Yes.  It’s nice to see how much everyone has grown.  It’s great to see the adorable families they have made.  It’s nice to know that people are successful, or loved, or happy, but I am starting to feel like my “friends” list is too long.

This is not because I’m bitter.  This is because it’s true.  There are plenty of places and systems in society where we are just a “number”.  Personally, I’d rather not be a “number” on someone’s friends list.  That itself, is basically a huge contradiction.

Tonight, We sang…

Tonight we sang. All of us, as a family. Not all together, at once, but we took turns on the microphones.
I played the role of DJ and selected songs per request for everyone. We had a blast.

My daughter got a karaoke machine for Christmas. It’s not super fancy, or of high quality, but me being the karaoke lover that I am, I rigged it up to where it sounds pretty decent for what it is.

I got a set of laptop speakers and a subwoofer for Christmas and connected it to the karaoke for better sound.

On YouTube you can find the karaoke version of almost any song you can think of with lyrics on screen, for free, so that’s what we did.

I’ve been rocking out on home karaoke systems for as long as I can remember. A lot of people find it strange to come over and watch people sing at home, but I can assure you, it’s more fun when you participate (as opposed to being a spectator).

You don’t have to be a great singer either because it’s all about having fun. You know what else? I have found it to be a great way to de-stress as well.

So, there were a few songs that Ryan and I sang together. He started getting really into it, and I couldn’t help but follow his lead.

At one point, during the instrumental break of an Audioslave song, we found ourselves taking turns extending our arms out along with the guitar solo, and it reminded me a lot of how Beavis & Butthead danced when they rocked out watching MTV music videos.

I couldn’t stop laughing. I needed that. We both did.

It’s hard, at times, to really let loose nowadays. We are parents. We have responsibilities. We have kids who are constantly in need of things; Attention, food, love, and interaction. We are constantly worried about things. It’s hard to be ourselves around one another because we are always too busy being responsible adults and parents.

But, there are those times when you have a night that’s simple, and so much fun. A night that involved your family, yet you could still be you, and still be respectable as mom and dad.

Tonight was one of those nights.

Tonight was a good night.

Hey you, Snow!

Dear Snow,dear snow

Hey snow. I’ve been watching you from the window all winter. You have created quite a mess out there and I’ve cursed at you, under my breath, when you’ve caused my car to get stuck in the driveway.
You’ve made a prisoner out of me this year. I’m captive in the comfort of this structure of walls. All the while, you sparkle and glisten out there in the open space. You have the sun shining down on you and yet, you remain perfectly intact.
Well, not for long snow. As I watched you glisten from my window as the sun was rising this morning, I heard you. You called my name. But not the name Michelle; you called me Elly. The nickname my brother and sisters called me when we were kids.
Then, I remembered, snow. I remembered how much I used to love you. There was a time when your arrival was the most spectacular time of the year.
When you came, you brought snow days. We got to miss school and bundled up, if only, to cover ourselves with you. We had so much fun together, snow. You are one of my oldest friends. My childhood companion; We made so many great memories together.
Hey snow, do you remember the time when my brother rolled you up, packed you into giant balls and threw you as hard as he could at my face? It hurt so bad I almost cried. Do you remember? I got him back though, didn’t I?
How about all the times we took empty ice cream buckets, and packed them up full of you. We made the most remarkable igloos. We would hide out inside of them. They were safe havens during a snowball fight.
We enjoyed you while using our Snoopy Snow Cone maker too. We poured in the colorful flavors and made you taste so good!
Oh snow, how did I forget? I can hear us laughing now. My little sisters, smaller versions of them, running and screaming, frantically, as huge balls of snow zoomed past their heads.
My brother, as the only boy of four sisters, telling me that I had to be his brother because he didn’t have any. I took a lot of beatings playing football in the snow with the neighborhood boys.
You softened the fall, snow, when a game of two-hand-touch turned into our neighbor friend, Rob, plowing into my shins to tackle me, causing me to fly 3 ft in the air, and land directly on my back.
I had the wind knocked out of me, but if you weren’t there, blanketing the earth, it could have been much worse. Thank you for saving me snow.
It’s true.  We’ve all grown up snow. The smaller versions of us are bigger now. The gang of kids we once were, have gone our separate ways now.
With age, we have grown bitter with you and it’s sad, but true snow, you can be a nuisance.
We’ve been on some great adventures as “grown ups”. I’ve even been to the other side of the world and back.
But thank you for reminding me that at one time, the world was only as big as our home and our backyard.
You are a beautiful nuisance.
I do have something to tell you, my dear friend, snow. You don’t have to keep beckoning me anymore. I heard you call me, loud and clear and, I remember now.
I have good news for you too. Even though “Elly” grew up, and learned to hate you, today is a new day. Elly grew up to have two kids of her own. Those kids have been her greatest adventure yet.

Let me tell you, snow, my kids have been pleading to go out to meet you this year. You’ve already met Ashley, but you haven’t met my baby, Jackson.
Today, snow, I’m going to bundle them up, just as my mom did for me, and you’re going to get a proper introduction.
Yes, snow. You have been sitting pretty in our backyard for far too long, perfectly untouched; perfectly intact.
I heard you calling my name. It’s time for you to meet my family.

You’ll be seeing more of them lately. Have no fear. I love you snow. And, I know my kids are going to love you too.
They will get older, as time passes. They will forget how much they once loved you, and grow bitter with you one day too. But the circle of life will continue, snow.
Don’t get discouraged, though. I know how you will miss them, just as you have missed me. One day they will be introducing you to their own children too.

I won’t let them forget.

Love Always,

Been busy…

one cup love one ounce timeMy car got stuck at the end of the driveway again.  This is the 2nd time this winter so far, which is a lot for me….considering that I haven’t gotten out much this year.  I pulled the parking brake up and left it there.  There’s not much I can do about it right now because I had my 1-year-old with me and a gallon a milk I had just picked up for him from the store (daddy is at work).

I figured since it’s raining today that it would be easier to get around since the snow is turning to slush, but that theory must not apply to someone who needs two new front tires.  I was slipping and sliding all over that driveway.

It felt like one of those cheap rides that cost a penny at the grocery store or toy store.  You know, they’re also in little sections of the mall (only they cost way more than a penny there).  My Jeep (that’s not a 4×4) would move forward a little, sort of tilt, and then move back again.  I think my son enjoyed the ride.

Anyways, so I wanted to say that I’ve been pretty busy lately.  My kids, as usual, keep me on my toes daily, but we all got hit with some winter sickness that lasted weeks.  Finally, we’ve pretty much recovered.  Hopefully that bug stays away from us for the rest of the winter (fingers crossed).  Also, I started a new blog a couple of weeks ago.  It’s a blog to represent my love for photography, cooking and baking. So, basically, it’s a food blog.

Let me just say this.  That blog is proving to be more of a challenge than this one ever was.  I love doing it though.  I mean, I love food and I love to cook and bake anyways, so it’s fun sharing recipes.  I have also come to discover how much I really love photography.  I’m saving up for a nice camera and I can’t wait to get one.  It’s really neat how you can bring out the creative side of you that you maybe never knew about.  I am aware that I can be creative, but I never knew I could be with food photography until I gave it a shot.

You see, it never hurts to try something new, huh?  Imagine all of the things you haven’t tried that you may be really great at.  Something to think about I should say.

Well, I just wanted to post an update.  Oh, if you get a chance you should come take a look at the new blog.  It’s at acupofthat.com (also a WordPress blog).  It’s where you can see more of the picture I added to this post.  I’m working on building new website through WordPress.org that’s already hosted, but that’s going to take some time, considering the fact that I have no clue how to code.  One thing you should know about me though is, when I want to do something, I will learn how to do it.  I’ve been teaching myself and I’ve learned a lot already.

I can’t wait to get all this work done.  Since the family is feeling better again, hopefully I’ll have some time to post more here.  Inspiration is a fickle thing when a virus comes to town.