Archive | July 2013

Cee’s Share Your World 2013: Week 25

Is it me, or did Cee’s questions suddenly take a serious turn to the serious ~ and difficult?!

 If you could choose between Wisdom and Luck, which one would you pick?

I don’t believe in “luck” ~ it’s all in God’s hands.  I’d choose wisdom anyway.  With wisdom, you create your own “luck”.

 What is success for me?

Success, for me, equates to personal happiness and growth.  I have recently achieved the most success ever in my personal life, and am reveling in it this summer!

 What is your biggest fear or phobia?

That my best friend, soul mate, love of my life, husband will die before I will.  He won’t, of course, because we have a “pact” about that.  I don’t want to have to find out whether or not I can go on in this life without him.  At this point, I’m sure I cannot.

 What physical attribute do you like about yourself?  Can be anywhere from beauty to heart to physical strength.

This is particularly hard!  I’ve always struggled with self-esteem issues, and have never considered myself physically attractive… although that is changing recently.  I like to think of myself as compassionate, and beauty lies within that.  I am a child of God, and I think beauty also emanates from that.

Thanks, Cee!  Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt


Cicada Killer Wasps ~


They’re baaaack!  The cicada killer wasps are always so intimidating as they emerge/arrive for their 3-4 week takeover of our front, back and side yards.  This is the eighth year they have invaded us, and I never get used to them! 

Cicada killer wasps 009 Cicada killer wasps 008







First off, they arrive pretty much without warning, just when you’re getting used to the honey bees, the flies, mosquitos and smaller species of pesky flying insects.  The females burrow underground, kicking up dirt PILES as they go.  And the males all fly around the yard, cruising just above the grass, looking for a female to make his own… for awhile anyway.  These insects are just massive in size, that’s why they’re so intimidating.  Our first year discovering them, I almost had a massive coronary.  But we researched and learned all about them, and how really docile they are.  I think it took me at least the first 4-5 years to really believe that!  The first couple years, I defended myself whenever I walked outside with a full size tennis racket.  Then I became more at ease when I discovered I could literally drive my Troybuilt Pony lawn mower right through them all without repurcussions.  They do not sting you.  Let me say that again… they do NOT sting you.  They’re almost as big as my flippin’ HAND, but they are not aggressive.

This ^  ^  ^ ^ is what one looks like compared to a human hand.  (not my photo, borrowed off the web just to give you an idea of the size)   And when you see one coming at you carrying an actual dead cicada, you MOVE ASIDE QUICKLY.  I have seen them carrying still struggling, live cicadas in flight.  You don’t forget that sight too soon.  The females burrow underground in a web of tunnels, then lay their eggs to hatch the following summer.  In the early years of trying to combat these pests, Al once took gasoline (?) or kerosene (?) ~ something really flammable ~ and one evening just about dark (when they’re all back in their nests) he poured into each of the burrows all over our front yard with the intention of killing as many as he could.  When he lit one of the nests, the entire front yard went “WHOOSH”! and all of the interconnecting corridors all lit up underground, but we could see it all since the corridors are not that deep underground.  He ended up stomping quite a few little fires out rather quickly that evening!  I watched the whole episode from the safety of the front deck ~ wish I’d gotten a picture of THAT!  LOL!  We quickly learned not to combat them, but to live and let live for the few weeks we share the property.

Does anyone else share our affinity with cicada killer wasps?  Want to see them first hand?  They should be in absolute full swing over the weekend through late August.  Bring your tennis racket and practice your swing.

Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Beginner Photography ~

I like taking pictures.  I’m extremely novice at it, as anyone can see, but I enjoy it just the same.  I don’t do a lot of that touch-up stuff, although I might crop or increase the vibrance of a photo on occasion.  That’s about it.  I don’t have a professional type camera with all of the bells and whistles, but I like what I have.  In the past, I’ve been disappointed with lots of photos that I’ve taken, and wished for a “better” camera, like a Nikon or a Canon.  But usually I find out the issue isn’t the camera, but the photographer’s lack of knowledge and experience in getting the camera to do what I’d like it to do.

While I’ve been on vacation this week and doing nothing but hanging around the house, I’ve taken snippets of spare time and gone walkabout looking for photo ops.  Here are some of the things I’ve seen:

I hope you enjoy my little corner of New York State, and I hope you come back soon!  Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt


Cee’s Share Your World: Week’s 23 & 24


I’m so behind!  Here’s my effort to catch up on sharing my world:

Week 23: 

Are you mostly a clean or messy person?   Well, one can be clean with an organized mess.  I’m generally clean, with little organized messes here and there.


As a kid was there any kind of candy that you didn’t like to get?  How about now?  This is a trick question, right?  I can’t think of any type of candy I didn’t or don’t like to get.


Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets?  Yes, I do.  I think it would be arrogant and unrealistic to think we are alone.  I believe God made other beings as He did human beings.


Have your blogging goals changed?  Maybe a little.  I’d like to be more prolific both in my photography and my personal blog.  Sometimes it seems there isn’t enough time in the day.

 Week 24:

If you had to eat only three meals/food for one month, what would you choose?  Wow!  for a month?!  Well, I’d have to have cereal… my favorite comfort food morning, noon and night.  Another would be a big salad ~ you know, a salad, only bigger, with lots of stuff in it?  (from Seinfeld).  Thirdly … hmmmm, probably baked chicken.  If I hadn’t started eating healthier in the past 10 days, my answers would’ve been way different!

For your main meal do you prefer sweet and sour, hot and spicy, spicy and sweet, bitter, salty, bland or other?  I like “hearty” flavors.  Especially meaty flavors.  I wanna know that it’s there and not have to guess what “it” is.

Do you prefer eating things with nuts or no nuts?  I like nut flavors, but no actual nuts preferably. 

For potlucks or parties do you cook it yourself, buy from a grocery store, or pay for catering?  I cook it myself, primarily.  Seldom do I buy from a store, as they just can’t make anything as good as I can.  And if I’m providing food for family, friends etc., I want it to be the best for them.  I don’t skimp.  If in a pinch, I might have it catered ~ but only because I have a personal friend who is an exceptional Chef and I would trust no one else.

Now!  Are we done with the food stuffs , Cee?  This has made me particularly hungry!  Off to scarf up some blueberries for a middle-of-the-night snack.  These were all great questions!  Thanks, Cee!

Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Made to Crave: Clothing Optional ~

Today I received three catalogs in the mail for clothing… fat clothing. Normally I would be excited looking at what’s on clearance (already) from their summer stock, but loathing that they’re advertising their fall/winter wear already! I took the stack, as I normally do, and cuddled up in my loveseat/recliner (my comfort zone) and proceeded to look through to see what, if anything, I could even afford. You see, I cannot purchase the majority of my clothes at WalMart, Macy’s or any “over the counter” clothing store. They who claim to carry “fuller figure” styles are kidding themselves. But they aren’t kidding me. I outgrew those sizes in the mid to late 80’s. I do shop at Catherine’s on occasion, if I’m desperate for something I can’t wait to come via USPS from one of the fat clothing stores.

Another “advantage” from buying online or from a catalog is that you can’t try them on. You purchase your item(s), pay to have them shipped only to find out that they don’t fit ~ one way or another. Too short, too tight, too long, just barely too tight but will shrink when I wash it, makes my arms look too fat, doesn’t hide my belly enough. Then you have to ship it back and either exchange it or get a refund… and you pay for that shipping too. So by the time you’re through, you’re into this $59.99 pair of crappy jeans for at least $21.99 for shipping alone.

“Making It Big” ~ my favorite catalog store. Yep, they make them big… up to 8 XL. I’m not there yet, but I WAS well on my way. I love Making It Big’s clothing, just not their prices. Your typical dress that I would wear to work is around $125.00. The tops in these photos are also $85+… for a flipping top! I can no longer afford to wear “nice” stuff to work, or at home either. This has to end!

Fall Fashion Preview - Shop Now!

Now for a lifestyle update: The weekend was a little tough for me. I’m still learning what to buy, how to prepare healthy meals (and actually DOING it!) and how to curb my increasing hunger pangs. But it’s working! I went to an appreciation dinner on Sunday held by my church for church volunteers (of which I am one). It was at a nice, lakeside restaurant (Borio’s on Oneida Lake), and I was concerned about what I would/could eat without compromising my goals. I did good. I had a good sized portion of greens salad with a drizzle of dressing, and then I put that bowl of salad right on my plate as I continued down the buffet line picking foods. I took ONE small meatball, TWO pcs of Penne pasta, about a teaspoon of some gelatin/marshmallow salad, and a slice of Italian bread with no butter. I made it look to others like I had a lot, so “that conversation” wouldn’t come up. You know the one: “you’re hardly eating anything! Have some more …. ” whatever. No, I didn’t WANT any more. And I also passed on the dessert of cake and ice cream (“there’s plenty more, help yourselves” Pastor said). I drank lemonade. It was “enough”. And I was full ~ for about 3 hrs. But the test of cake and ice cream was H-A-R-D and I almost failed. But I stood my ground and watched my husband and other table-mates eat theirs ~ I even said “no” when Al offered me “just a taste” several times! Geez, Al!

I totally missed telling you the POINT to this post! I ended up putting the catalogs in the recycling bin. Why would I buy these fat clothes knowing that, perhaps by winter, I won’t even fit in any of them? All clothes shopping is officially on hold for now.

My niece, Lisa’s “fancy shoes”.

One of the wonderful “side-effects” of the weight loss I’m anticipating would be to be able to wear clothing that I like for a change… and not just what fits me. Above is a photo that my niece, Lisa, took to show her family what she was wearing out for a fancy date with her beau. I want to wear things like this. I love color, patterns, bling. This is my goal. Watch out, Lisa, I’m coming for these shoes! Are they size 7?

Thank you, whoever you are, for reading my progress and lending support. By the way, and I have no intentions of weighing myself so often, but just for fun I got on the scale again this afternoon. I lost one more pound ~ for a total of three in seven days. Don’t think of this as “bragging”, I won’t officially BRAG until I’m down about 15 lbs. Until then, I will quietly watch the scale and revel in whatever it tells me. I know, even if I gain a pound or two back, this is my journey, and I will prevail!

Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt