Hubby Gifts!


So it is time to shop for my hubby’s gift. It is always fun and stressful at the same time. I love shopping, obviously, but when it is for somebody you really truly care about it becomes much more difficult. I usually go to a website like Survival cooking and do a lot of research about all the different new cooking and grilling tools and end up buying him something like that. However, I have been thinking about buying a watch. There are a lot of great choices, so I looked for the best watches under 500 that are available and I think that he would appreciate having a classy accessory like that. He is a bit of a classic, old-fashioned man, but I don’t think that his blue collar will keep him from wanting to look nice every now and then. Every now and then he seems to eye up something nice, like a watch, but he would never spend his own money on something like that. As a woman, I know that means that it would make a PERFECT gift. The “perfect gift” might be a hard thing to expect or to find, but I do believe that this year it is a really nice watch. I have a lot of faith in this idea, and I think he is going to be thrilled with the result that comes out of my great idea for him.

I’m still here….

Finally, on a day I’m at home with yet another allergic reaction to some unknown trigger, I’m able to do some writing. Finally. I’ve been wanting to write so bad over these past couple of months. Unfortunately, my life and my whole world as I knew it changed about 6 months ago.

You see, on March 6, 2014, I became a victim of infidelity. My husband came home that evening and dropped a bombshell on me. He told me had been having an affair, fell in love with the whore (can I say that? Yes, it’s MY blog and it IS the truth – it’s not me just being jealous or petty because believe me, I could NEVER be jealous of someone like HER), and, no, he didn’t want to fix the marriage. Then he packed a bag and left. That’s it. My whole world shattered that evening. I was left sitting in shock, disbelief, anger, and confusion.

That very same morning I received an email that my blog had been nominated for one of the top 10 Food Blogs for 2014. I was so, so happy!!! Finally my blog was heading in the direction I had been working hard on getting it to!! I was dancing. I was happy. I was screaming with excitement!! I was so happy that morning. Little did I know my world was actually falling apart around me at that moment and I didn’t even know it. (You can read my post that I had started writing that afternoon here: I’ve Been Nominated!).

Crazy how in just one day, a person can go to being on top of the world to being utterly lost and scared to death of life. I had been married once before and that marriage also ended because of infidelity. That one was hard for me to deal with as I instantly became a single mother with a young child. However, that first marriage was a very short one and I had already been on my own for almost a year so I healed faster in terms of being able to function on a daily basis. That trust that was broken by my “first love” caused me to be on my own for almost ten years. It took that long before I felt ready enough to try to trust and love again.

So fast forward another 11 years and I was so very happily married to my best friend and soul mate. Or so I thought. He never told me why. He never told me what was wrong. I never knew “we” were having issues. Still to this day, I don’t know what happened. He just walked out the door.

After being together almost 11 years, I had allowed myself to become totally dependent on him. He was the main bread winner and my income was just supplementing his. Everything we had was in his name alone. I blindly gave him all my delicate trust when I fell deeply in love with him. I never once thought twice about any of that because I honestly never thought that he wasn’t my forever. I just saw us growing old together, enjoying some grandkids, and spending our golden years reminiscing about that crazy but wonderful life we had spent together. We had some pretty amazing memories from those first 10 years together – I never thought it would just end.

But it did. He just walked out that door. He walked away from everything. I was left sitting here surrounded by our memories and his stuff. To say I was blindsided is putting it mildly. Not only was I left sitting in shock, hurt, disbelief – oh so many emotions – I was consumed with fear. I had no idea how on earth I was going to take care of myself financially. I didn’t know how I was going to go to work in the morning and put on a smile for my kiddos at school. I didn’t know if I could even look at anyone in the eye because I was afraid they’d see whatever it is that’s wrong with me that would cause my husband to just walk away.

My best friend became ice water in the first couple of weeks after that. I tried to eat but it was so hard. I couldn’t sleep much, but when I did sleep, I developed night terrors. I became afraid to go to sleep because of the nightmares and then I would be afraid to wake up because my living nightmare would become real once again.

Thank God for the internet!!! I don’t think I would have made it through those first weeks and months if it hadn’t have been for my friends and family. Being in touch with so many via chat and messages truly helped me keep my sanity. I also found an online support group who really keep me grounded when I need to be. One of the things he said to me that night he destroyed my heart was: “you’re strong and can handle this”. Really??? Say that while you’re slowly turning a knife in my heart??

Now, six long months later, I can say Damn Right!!! I AM strong enough to handle this!!! I do still have nightmares at times, I still suffer from anxiety attacks, I still have down days, I still cry from time to time, and I still wonder what happened, but I AM moving on. I am functioning. I have accepted what has happened and that, subsequently, I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD which I need to be medicated for. I’m still not at complete peace with it though. I still can’t forgive. That may take years, but you know what?? I will be okay. I did nothing wrong to deserve what happened and the position I was left in.

I now work a variety of jobs trying to earn what I need to in order to be self sufficient again. I still have my “lunch lady” job and I also took on the challenge of opening a brand new restaurant as their kitchen manager. Between those two and a couple of other jobs I do, I barely have time to myself anymore. Phew!!!

A lot of things died in me the night he left, including my enjoyment of making my decoupaged plates. I was in the middle of an order at that time and just cannot bring myself to finish it. I have to pay the money back for that order…. I truly didn’t know what, if anything, I’d ever find joy in again. Luckily, my passion for writing and food carries on!

I will be making changes to my blog in the near future and removing “Scott’s Spot”. I won’t remove all the stories that he’s a part of because one day, I’ll be okay with reading them and remembering that we did have a good marriage and relationship. That it really wasn’t a decade of wasted years. I’d really like to believe that.

I have so many new things to share on here! Working in a restaurant is amazing!!!! I have new recipes, school stories, and a whole bunch of other stories I’m itching to share! I hope to get to a point within all this new “busyness” that I can write more often. However, for today, I just wanted to share what is behind my quietness here on That Crafty Lunch Lady.

I am still here and I’m still cooking! Oh, and in case you’re wondering – That Crafty Lunch Lady did make the top 10 Food Blogs for 2014 AND my blog is now also featured on TheBesty – a website that helps you discover the best restaurants and dishes in your city and when you travel based on input from bloggers. Woo Hoo!!  (Stop by my page on TheBesty and follow me!)

The Fast Changing World

We are now living in a fast changing world. I can definitely feel it. Anything and everthing is right at your fingertips. Mails are now electronics. Cars can now be shared through carpooling and you can book it in seconds. People can now travel cheaper and more conveniently. People can now go places, invent things, innovate things, and even make robots to replace what human does.

Is this alarming? yes, a little. But this can guarantee a better world also if we use the technology in a nice and positive way and not to harm earth and its people.

My kids are always glued in their own tablets or in their cellphone. I am also guilty of this and my husband, who is a specialist in creating app marketing strategy for various companies. We are working with technology every day and we hope we can make the earth a better place through the advent of technology. I work as a home base web developer which typically stays me up all day and all night in front of the computer.

They say technology is changing the lives of people very quickly. From the way they eat, they do things, they date, and even on dealing with relationships.

But I hope technology will still continue to be of good use in the world and not be harmful.

Here’s a thoughtful talk about tech and humanity:

Planning to Visit Vancouver Soon

Vancouver is an area that has always interested me. I’ve been wanting to go there for a long time. I’ve never been there before. Whenever I tell people about it, they don’t really know or understand what I’m interested in visiting the city. There are lots of reasons..

First of all, I’ve actually always been a fan of their sports teams. The BC Lions and the Vancouver Canucks we’re both the favorite teams of one of my uncles who lived in Vancouver while I was growing up, and since I was not that into sports before his influence, I ended up following those teams as well. It was weird, and I have not a die-hard sports fan, but I think my uncle would be proud if I went to a sports game of one of those teams that he taught me to like.

Also, Vancouver is one of those really interesting cities that blends nature and outdoor wonders of the natural environment with urban city life. I’m really interested in seeing that. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the campus of UBC, as well as Stanley Park, and several areas of the coastline along the city. I can’t wait to check that out.

Finally, and this might come as a bit of a surprise, but I’ve been considering making a real estate investment for some time now. I know it might seem crazy to invest in property and one of the most expensive cities on the continent, but it’s actually beginning to seem like that bubble is not close to bursting, and that the prices are just going to keep Rising. I was considering investing years ago, like five years ago, and a lot of people told me not to. Property prices have soared in that time, and had I invested when I wanted to, I would have absolutely made significant amount of money off of my investment. People are still saying that it’s not a good idea to invest, but when I listen to them five years ago it ended up costing me a lot. I’ve been talking to a Vancouver Realtor about Burnaby condos for sale, and when I come up to visit he is going to show me some of the best ones in my price range. Burnaby is just outside of Vancouver. There are also some cool Coal Harbour condos for sale people can check out. Yes, I can’t wait to head up to Vancouver, I’m just finalizing the details now, but rest assured that no matter what happens I’ll have all sorts of interesting photos and stories to tell about my experience!

~Still Struggling~

After struggling through this past week, I’m finding a little strength  to write again. Actually,I’m truly feeling like I’m being driven to put this all down on paper. Well, virtual paper…

Unfortunately the hopeful optimism I felt in my last post didn’t last long. I find myself going through valleys of wonderful, awesome highs and scary, dark lows with a lot of twist and turns and tears in between.

While my love of cooking has returned, I’m very sad that nothing else really has yet. I write down recipes, take pictures of food, and sing and dance all while doing that, but when I sit down to work with it, all the joy just goes away again. I can’t yet bring myself to edit my pictures or work with crafts or even look at my blog. I had no idea that I lost so much in this past year just from one devastating event. I was truly hoping that by the time 2015 arrived, all the hurt and pain would be gone and I would be moved on to something bigger and better for me. That’s not the case at all.

I’m not divorced yet because I cannot agree to the ridiculousness of the “terms”. That’s all I can focus on right now, besides being scared to death of potentially becoming homeless. The way in which he left me and the living conditions in which he left me in do not make for me being very agreeable to his “terms”.

If you read my last post (I’m Still Here), you know he left me for a married whore (and they are now living together). What I didn’t share and haven’t shared with hardly anyone is the living conditions in which we lived in. I’m ashamed of this house and had been for quite a long time – hence the reason we never invited anyone to our house. But now, I feel like I need to share this to get it off my chest. I can no longer feel guilty for the conditions of this place as I never was the one who had the income needed to make any repairs. I still don’t have the income to fix it, but even if I did, I no longer care about this place. I want out. I wanted out of this house for years.

You see, one of the “terms” of the divorce is that he originally wanted me to pay HALF the mortgage to stay here. Uh, I couldn’t help pay when you lived here, I don’t know what makes you think I can now. I mean, yes, I do have 3 jobs now, but my priority is to save money to GET OUT!!! ….Sorry, I digressed there…. Then he reduced the “terms” to $200 a month so that he can put some away for possible repairs. I lost a gasket in my brain when I read the words “possible repairs”.

This house was falling apart on the day he left me. There are numerous roof leaks, most of my appliances don’t work (I haven’t been able to cook in an oven for over 3 years now, but he graciously added in the “terms” that I can have the appliances…), most of the light fixtures half work (I use a heat lamp in my bedroom for light), the plumbing barely works (I am down to one bathroom that functions), and most disturbing/embarrassing of all is that this place is over ridden with bugs. None of that has changed or gotten worse since he left. Yes, there are holes in the walls placed there by all three of our kids over the years we lived here. The house does have typical wear and tear from 10 years of living life. Half of the mess still laying around everywhere is his.  This is what he left me in when he walked away that night.

When I last posted, I was working 5 jobs. Now I’m down to 3. The kitchen manager position I had was taken away from me when they hired a new restaurant manager and then they reduced my hours to 10 a week and reduced my pay to just minimum wage. I politely handed in my uniform…. The Summer Feeding program was just for the summer, obviously. So with these 3 jobs (including a promotion to Manager In Training in food services!!!) my income has improved, but not to the point of being able to be completely independent.

I traded him my car that I loved for one that he bought as I couldn’t afford a car payment. He kept telling me he wished he could pay the car off and just give it to me. Whatever. The reality is that I can’t afford to pay for a home AND a car. I’m scared that I can’t even afford a place to live either. Well, I could afford somewhere to live but then I wouldn’t be able to eat or put gas in the paid-for car. <<Sigh>>

I’ve looked into the Section 8 program – it could take up to 2 years before being approved!!! I can’t wait that long. It’s imperative that I’m out of this hell hole before the end of 2015!!! I just pray that a way will be placed in front of me that will work.

If nothing else over this past year, I’ve learned a lot more about faith, compassion, gratitude, and humility. I still have a lot of grief and hurt to overcome as I found out this past holiday week, but I have also learned that the only way to heal from the pain is to actually go through it. Rascal Flatts’ song, “Let It Hurt”, spoke to me so perfectly early on after he left.  Here’s the chorus:

“So let it hurt, let it bleed
Let it take you right down to your knees
Let it burn to the worst degree
May not be what you want, but it’s what you need
Sometimes the only way around it
Is to let love do it’s work
And let it hurt
Yeah, let it hurt”

I know I’m going to be okay, it’s a just a long road getting there. I am still here and still yearn to find the joy in the things I used to love doing. In the meantime, loyal readers, please just keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I don’t know when I’ll write again, but hopefully it will be soon and with a whole new beginning in front of me.

Breaking Beautiful Blog Tour – Character This or That

Today, I am welcoming Andrew of Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf, to give his answers to a list of this or that pairings!

Night or Day: Night. I’m kind of a night owl. I get my best work/thinking done long after my mom thinks I should be asleep.

Rain or Snow: I’m going to have to go with rain. Have you ever tried to maneuver a wheelchair in the snow Read more

A Good Resource for Stock Photos

Okay, so I usually try to make my posts about the general reader and things that might interest a wide variety of people, so this one might come off as being a little bit self-serving. But, I think that one I am about to provide is actually helpful for anybody that ever intends on using a blog post, or writing any type of online content, because it deals with something that I know quite intimately and often struggle with.

It’s no secret that stock photography can be a really tough aspect of creating engaging online content. Sometimes, you have the best article that you are so proud of, or you have a post that you really can’t wait for the world to see, and then all of the sudden you can’t find a proper photo that does Justice to the post that you’ve made. To be honest, this happens to me all the time.

For years I have really struggled to find Stock Photos  that I actually appreciate and enjoy. So off and it feels like I am spoiling the piece of writing that I am putting out by attaching a haphazard photo to it, but there is no other way. You have to use stock photography, there’s no other option. So, I recently stumbled upon EyeEm and I have to say that I’m quite pleased with my experience so far. All of the mediocrity and annoyances of other stock photography resources which I have not enjoyed having to use in the past do not exist on this platform.

And, I have to say, the quality of the images is simply remarkable. Instead of choosing between a whole lot of photos that don’t work for what I’m trying to get across, now I am supplied with an abundance of amazing content, and it is actually difficult to choose because there are so many that would work well, rather than the office it. Obviously, this is the problem to have, and I’m very grateful to be in this new situation due to EyeEm. So, if you are involved in a field like blog writing, article creation, or general website work, I absolutely endorse this new solution EyeEm. For me, it’s been a total game-changer, and I hope that others start to use this platform as well.

I can only see it growing and becoming bigger and better as time goes on, but there is no point in not jumping on early. Seriously, I love it. So happy with this new stock photography option.

As for my next move after discovering this, I should be improving my website too, and I definitely need a great website builder agency for that.

Till next time!

 

Forbidden (Teen Book Scene Blog Tour)- Author Interview

 

Today I am happy to be hosting Ryan James, co-writer of the all-new paranormal book Forbidden!

Hello, thank you for joining us today! My first question is what was the inspiration behind Forbidden, and what led to the collaboration between you & your mother in writing this book? 

Several years ago, my mom had wanted to write a book about a teenage girl who begins getting psychic messages from a mysterious source, and falls in love with a boy at school who she enlists to help solve the mystery. Around that same time, we also co-wrote a screenplay about a young, lonely, supernatural action hero in a dark world, whose heart’s desire is to be human and lead a normal life.

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Review: Kiss the Morning Star

The summer after high-school graduation, a year after her mother’s tragic death, Anna has no plans – beyond her need to put a lot of miles between herself and the past.  With forever friend Kat, a battered copy of Kerouac’s DHARMA BUMS, and a car with a dodgy oil filter, the girls set out on an epic road trip across the USA.  Maybe somewhere along the way they’ll prove or disprove the existence of God. Maybe they’ll even get laid . . .
It’s a journey both outward and inward. Through the Badlands and encounters with predatory men and buffalo. A crazy bus ride to Mexico with a bunch of hymn-singing missionaries. Facing death, naked in the forest with an enraged grizzly bear . . . Gradually, Anna realizes that this is a voyage of discovery into her own self, her own silent pain – and into the tangled history that she and Kat share. What is love? What is sexual identity? And how do you find a way forward into a new future – a way to declare openly and without fear all that lies within you?

 

I fell in love with the cover of this book, which made me want to read it without even reading the summary. When I reread the summary, after I began reading the book, I was rather surprised that I had signed up for this tour. It is not the type of book that I usually enjoy, and it deals with some thing that are a bit outside of my comfort zone. However, I did end up enjoying this book, although I did not love it.

Anna irritated me a lot. I get that her family life absolutely sucked, but I felt like that was not an excuse for her behavior. She was rude, indecisive, and frustrating. That pretty much lasted for the entire book, but, thankfully, I loved Kat. Kat was pretty much the opposite of Anna in every way. She was adventurous, caring, and thoughtful. I felt like Anna abused Kat’s friendship throughout the book, but at the same time, I did enjoy the bond between them.

I generally love books about road trips, but this one did not wow me as much as many do. I liked Kat, and some of the people that Anna and Kat meet were interesting. The journey is just somewhat random, strange. I disliked the author’s tone regarding religion. It did not seem as much a natural part of the story as the author’s own beliefs being impressed upon it.

Overall, I think this may have been worth the read, but I am not sure if I will read the author’s next book. There were elements of the story that I enjoyed, such as Kat! I loved her, cannot say that enough, but there were so many things I disliked. Anna is the perfect example of this, I could not relate to her at all, and she was supposed to be a sympathetic character. I am not sure I would recommend this one, but I am sure that there are some who will find it enjoyable.

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