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The Client

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Meet Vince.  He is a darling English Springer Spaniel and the apple of his parents’ eyes.  This painting was done from a picture taken at a photo shoot for our vet’s website http://www.hazeldellanimalhospital.com.
Vince is a beautiful dog who descends from a champion, James, aka Diamond Jim, who won at Westminster in 2007. 

I really enjoyed painting him. I love the pose of him in the photo but was told to take a little of the red out of his coat to more accurately capture his liver coloring.  I’m pretty happy with the result and I hope his parents are too…after all he is practically royalty.

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Love Chocolate

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We at Love All, love chocolate.  Okay, I at Love All, love chocolate.

Who doesn’t really?  There are a few people in this world who don’t like it, but frankly, we all know those people are a pain in the butt anyway.  I think sometimes people feel the need to just go against the grain and celebrate their independence from the rest of us commoners.  Well good luck celebrating without chocolate!

Above is a picture of a celebration at our school.  The PTO put together a beautiful table to celebrate our teachers.  It is “choc” full of love in the form of beautiful strawberries, bathed in the good stuff.  The perfect blend of flavors.  If you’ve never dipped your own, you need to try it.  It’s really quite easy and a great way to impress people (especially those who don’t know how easy it is.)

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There are many ways to do it but frankly the easiest for me is to buy the microwaveable chocolate and follow the directions.  Just make sure not to get it too hot, too soon or it’ll burn and it won’t be useable.  Trust me this does happen.  You must be patient and actually follow the directions on the package.  I just got the basic stuff and keep this on the down low but…. I don’t think it’s even real chocolate.  That said, it works well, looks gorgeous and tastes yummy. 

If you want to be fancy, buy the white chocolate and drizzle some across the chocolate and vice versa.  Another trick is to dip the tip of the still wet strawberries in colored sugar.  This is sure to draw more “Ahhhs” from your guests.  I also love giving pretzel rods the chocolate treatment.  Glitz them up a bit too for fun.

Enjoy making anything chocolate for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day.  It’s so meaningful to show your love with acts of service and deliciousness and who needs another pair of boxers with hearts on them anyway!

If you’re a chocolate aficionado as I am, you may like one of my earlier blogs…”Peggy’s Prozac” or try “My Wedding Cake Came in a Box.”

Welcome to Holland

 

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I’m posting this beautiful essay that our Cousin sent to us, describing being a parent of a child with a disability.  

By
Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

C1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

Seeing Snow

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     One of my old tennis buddies took a beautiful picture of this cardinal and posted it on her facebook. I thought it was beautiful and asked her if I could paint it. She said sure. I decided to do this little pencil drawing as a start for now. 
     It’s amazing what one sees in a picture.  I first saw this photo and what struck me was the bright red of the cardinal and the white of the snow. When I  started to draw the picture it became clear that the cardinal is really more orange than red and the snow isn’t really white at all. Art really does reflect life.  The closer you get something and the more time you spend with it, the more you understand it.
     So on this cold and snowy day, I am going to look at the “white stuff” a little differently and maybe those around me too.          Happy snow day!

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This is from a blog I read and she is a really good writer. I enjoyed reading it and thought you might too. The new year is making me think about eating better and being in the upper 40s now is really making it challenging to eat as much as I used to, so I like her advice to savor the treats and not waste time on the stuff that isn’t devine! I wrote a comment that references the chocolate cherry cake if you’re interested.

Enjoy!

Eat What You Love. Eat What You Crave.   I distinctly remember pulling through the drive through window of McDonald’s in the twilight of a wintery Tuesday with my best friend six years ago.   Everything about it was regular. We were doing the usual. A late night drive listening to the best bleeding heart singers with no fan base nor big time record deal. We were singing, we were laughing, and most essentially, we were talking about life and love and the logistics of entering … Read More

via Can You Stay for Dinner?

Maggie

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This is Maggie and she’s a Christmas present. Shh…don’t tell.

Have been busy with various projects and working a lot, so my postings have been far and few between.  I got a new toy for Christmas, a droid. Now I can do all kind of crazy and cool stuff on my phone. But…you will notice that it isn’t always perfect, so forgive me for various typos and what’s as I learn this system.
Well, off to work on Boots, the cat.  Enjoy your day of rest!

This was forwarded to me and I liked it enough to pass it on.  I like some of the ideas in it and you might too.

 

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The man that sent this information is a computer tech.  He spends a lot of time clearing the junk off computers for people and listens to complaints about speed.  All forwards are not bad, just some.  Be sure you read the very last paragraph.

He wrote:

By now, I suspect everyone is familiar with snopes.comand/or truthorfiction.com for determining whether information received via email is just that:  true/false or fact/fiction.  Both are excellent sites.

Advice from snopes.com   VERY IMPORTANT!!

1) Any time you see an email that says "forward this on to ’10’ (or however many) of your friends", "sign this petition", or "you’ll get bad luck" or "you’ll get good luck" or "you’ll see something funny on your screen after you send it" or whatever — it almost always has an email tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and emails of those folks you forward to.  The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of ‘active’ email addresses to use in SPAM emails or sell to other spammers.  Even when you get emails that demand you send the email on if you’re not ashamed of God/Jesus — that is email tracking, and they are playing on our conscience.  These people don’t care how they get your email addresses – just as long as they get them.  Also, emails that talk about a missing child or a child with an incurable disease "how would you feel if that was your child" — email tracking.  Ignore them and don’t participate!

2) Almost all emails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards.  All it was, and all any of this type of email is, is a way to get names and ‘cookie’ tracking information for telemarketers and spammers — to validate active email accounts for their own profitable purposes.

You can do your Friends and Family members a GREAT favor by sending this information to them.  You will be providing a service to your friends.  And you will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam emails in the future!

Do yourself a favor and STOP adding your name(s) to those types of listing regardless how inviting they might sound! Or make you feel guilty if you don’t! It’s all about getting email addresses and nothing more.

You may think you are supporting a GREAT cause, but you are NOT!

Instead, you will be getting tons of junk mail later and very possibly a virus attached!  Plus, we are helping the spammers get rich!  Let’s not make it easy for them!

ALSO:  Email petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress of any other organization – i.e. social security, etc.  To be acceptable, petitions must have a "signed signature" and full address of the person signing the petition, so this is a waste of time and you are just helping the email trackers.

One other tip I have is to set up an e-mail just for friends (relatives too) and do NOT ever use it for purchasing anything or write it anywhere, not even for your child’s teacher.  This e-mail hasn’t gotten any spam and my other one gets tons. 

I have to say that I’ve always had a problem with Jesus threatening me if I didn’t forward his prayer on….it just wouldn’t be very Christian of Him.

Ta Ta and may your inbox be much lighter!