Crying over spilt milk

Goodbye, milk. Goodbye, yogurt. And cheese – I think I’m going to miss you most of all.

Beginning Monday, I am going dairy-free for four weeks on my doctor’s advice (I will spare you the details.) Depending on the results, I may end up being dairy-free forever. I’ve always thought that a life without macaroni and cheese is a not a life worth living, but I guess I am going to have to rethink that philosophy.

Like an addict about to enter rehab, I am on a complete dairy binge this weekend. Milk, cheese, yogurt, cheese, butter, cheese, sour cream, cheese…oh, and did I mention cheese? This is probably not what my doctor had in mind when she told me to get all of the dairy out of the house, but that’s what she gets for not being more specific.

To prepare for next week, I am researching dairy-free diets and alternatives. I know I can buy soy or nut milk, but is there really a good dairy-free yogurt – not to mention cheese? I’m pretty sure Whole Foods is going to be my best friend for the next four weeks. Anyone have any advice on going dairy-free they’d be willing to share with me?


On life, aquariums and peas

Anyone who knows Chuck and me knows that we are huge animal lovers. Since we are now at Official Cat Capacity with three (Chuck says it’s a one in, one out policy from now on), I was very excited to add to our Wild Kingdom with the addition of a fish tank. I expected the run-of-the mill duties: feeding the fish, cleaning the tank, chasing the cats away from the tank, etc. But what I didn’t expect was the midnight feedings, emergency trips to the pet store, and nagging guilt and worry that one would normally attribute to parents of a new infant.

In fact, as I type this, our new tiger barb is struggling for life in a Tupperware container on top of the fridge, with mushed up peas floating on the surface. Cruel and unusual punishment? No, it is the makeshift fish hospital I constructed after I noticed his erratic swimming and frantically rushed to Google for advice. I have taken the liberty of diagnosing Tiger with fish swim bladder disease, which can apparently be cured by isolating the fish and feeding him mushed up peas.

Oh, did I forget to mention that we didn’t have any peas in the house, resulting in my emergency trip to three local corner stores? Fortunately the gas station down the street had one dust-covered can of peas buried on a shelf behind the Vienna sausages. I had to fork over $2.49 for them – which is more than Tiger cost – but I figure that’s nothing when you consider the average cost of an out-of-pocket prescription for a sick kid.

I tell you, you’ve never lived unless you’ve tried to force feed a sick fish mushy peas while he floats about in a Tupperware.  I was actually trying to talk him into eating them (while kicking the three prowling cats at my ankles away). Finally, I just had to set him out of feline reach and hope for the best. But not before dropping a few peas in the fish tank for the rest of the fellas for good measure.

My makeshift fish hospital

We’ve already lost two other fish this week and in retrospect, I think they all had this swim bladder disease business. So of course now I feel guilty for not Googling sooner and stocking the house with peas galore. I am a bit sheepish about being so concerned over a fish. Yet at the same time, when I watch the little guy literally struggling for life, I can’t help being struck by the somberness of watching a living creature taking his last breaths…struggling to move…dying. And there’s no way I can just sit on the couch and watch Raymond reruns while that’s going on. I have to make a frantic pea run – knowing the whole time it’s probably futile – because at the end of the day there’s a sanctity to every life, no matter how small.

I’m not saying I’m going to go into mourning at Tiger’s passing. But I will definitely say a little prayer as I retrieve him from his mushy pea-ridden container, flush him down the toilet, and send him to the big aquarium in the sky. Where I hope there are peas.

Thoughts on starting a blog or; how I realized I’m a web snob

Welcome to my own little corner of the blogosphere! Since I work in digital and social media marketing, the fact that I haven’t had my own blog up until now is a shameful one…however, it has not been for lack of trying.

This simple little WordPress blog you see before you is the fruit of my labor…or lack thereof…that began over a year ago. I wanted my own blog but refused to consider any of the bourgeois “templates” available to the blogging masses. No, no, I needed a blog with it’s own hosted address, a beautiful customized design, and of course, a well-thought out strategy, key messages, target audience, etc.

So after a year of wasted money and attempts to be my own host, designer, and strategist, I humbly launch this (gasp) templated, WordPressed, basic blog. I have accepted that my vision will not become a reality without dipping my toe into the simplistic waters. I have also realized a couple of things…

I am a web snob. I didn’t know it. But admitting you have a problem is the first step. Since I work in this area, I am used to having a team of great designers, programmers, etc available to make everything look, sound, and function exactly the way it should. I have always known that the work they do is much, much tougher than it looks on the surface. But my forays into this area (how the heck do I change the color of my font?!) have given me a newfound appreciation for those that have conquered this territory that has given me countless hours of frustration (what do you mean my custom image is not the correct size?!)

But on a larger level, it also makes me appreciate the work of “amateur” bloggers, many of whom have absolutely incredible sites that reach millions of people. I am realizing that these amateurs took it upon themselves to learn HTML, CSS, PhotoShop and many as-yet-undiscovered technical conundrums in order to share their work with the world. Along the way, they have changed the publishing and communications landscape in a way that is, quite frankly, impossible to put into words. It’s a shift of power where anyone, anywhere, has the ability to share their thoughts with the world without the need to filter through any media powerhouse or journalist or editor or agent. It’s humbling to be a part of your community, and ask you to bear with me as I learn to navigate your waters – templated or otherwise.


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