Monday, September 26, 2016

recent observations... critter and otherwise

a nightly visitor in the backyard

This little guy (or girl) comes by daily - usually in the evening, but sometimes in the morning or afternoon. Preference is the catfood, but will eat left over bread, cookies, etc. This one really has a sweet tooth. We had half of a canoli left over from company the other night and decided to give it to the coon instead of putting it in the trash. Well, that was one happy coon! He/she loved it! Obviously the best thing she'd had in a long time. DH said that he/she did her happy dance.

Box turtle and feral cat

These are visitors to our front yard.. I took this through the window early one morning, so it isn't terribly clear - but you can see one of the box turtles as well as one of the ferals in the front garden. The turtles like fruit, figs, strawberries, etc., but they seem to like the dry cat food best.

Julie and Jack napping on our bed Saturday

Ghost getting up from nap on our bed Saturday

Mini Pearl outside kitchen door yesterday

That ends the critter portion of my post...

Now I'm going to mention a few things that I've noticed lately. Being elderly or perhaps I should say entering my *Alpenglow* years (see DJan's post here), I tend to notice more carefully how things are done (scrutinize?). And lately due to my 2 cataract surgeries in the last few weeks and CAT Scan with Angiogram done Friday, I have been noticing how medical personnel  treat patients (perhaps treat older patients since this is coming from my perspective).

And I realized that although everyone I came in contact with throughout was efficient and friendly, some either put out that extra effort or perhaps simply were born to work in the health service profession. One nurse in particular caught my attention. She was efficient, patient, and extremely kind. Not only did she explain everything she was doing and why, but asked questions and actually paid attention to my answers. Even after her time with me was done, she dropped by after the procedure to check on me. DH and I were impressed. 

When I mentioned this to a family member who also works in the medical profession, I was told that this is how all nurses (and doctors) should be. I agreed, but we both know that this is not the case. Guess what I'm talking about may be considered 'bedside manner' - but whatever it's called, it certainly makes a difference.

And possibly part of this is due to me. In the past when put into such situations, I tended to be silent and do as I was told... thinking this was best... don't interfere, just follow their instructions. But now for whatever reason (perhaps it's age-related), I tend to interact and converse more with the person working with me... or try to. I find it makes the whole process less stressful.

Anyway, for the most part, all this is over for a bit. I will get the results of my CAT Scan (hopefully in the next few days) and with a little luck, all that's left to do is normal annual exams... which we generally schedule in the Fall for insurance reasons.

Hope everyone had a great weekend... and wishing you a lovely stress-free week!

PS: I made a bacon and leek pie today. It was from a recipe I saw on either the Pioneer Lady or Farm House rules... can't remember which (cooking shows I record). But I'd never used leeks before. We use a lot of onion and garlic, but never leeks. It was really good... similar to a quiche, but no cheese.

Oh, and I discovered another show to record thanks to my daughter who recommended it - "Fixer Upper" with Chip and Jo-ann. They take old run down homes in the Waco area of Texas and fix them up. After you watch a few, they're kind of addictive. Chip is a bit crazy, but seems to do great construction and Jo-ann definitely has a flair for decorating. (I don't watch TV during the day, but find these great to record and watch during those occasional 3 am wake-ups.)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

not going to "think" about it...

For those of you who know that I had cataract surgery on my left eye a few weeks ago, you'll be happy to know that all is well and I'm going in for the surgery on my right eye this week. Am I concerned? Well...

Seems I shouldn't be, but still a bit anxious. Am trying not to think about it. We just do what we have to do...

Speaking about *doing what we have to do*, I had to make another batch of home-made granola today - since I sent half of DH's batch last week to our daughter in the hill country. When she and I were talking on the phone last Sunday I mentioned that I was making granola and she had immediately put in her order. She and her comrades at work love it and hadn't had any in a while, so... we shared.  Today I was given strict instructions not to mention my making another batch to anyone...

Also I got the book I won from Deb's drawing in the mail a few days ago.  Thank you, Deb, from Just Cats! It's called "Think Like a Cat" by Pam Johnson-Bennett, a certified Animal Behavior Consultant.  So far it is very interesting reading and has confirmed some of our suspicions concerning feral behavior we've witnessed. She mentions that in a free-roaming society, cats will often nurse and care for each other's kittens. We've seen this with the ferals in our backyard.

And she mentions the myth that *cats cannot be trained*. We knew this to definitely be a myth as one of our cats goes to the bed each night at 8. This is Ghost, who is the only one of our 4 that sleeps in our bedroom with us. When we're home, all DH has to do is get up and walk towards her, and Ghost gets up and heads for the bedroom. Occasionally if DH forgets and it's 8 o'clock, Ghost will come and sit in front of his chair and wait. And if we don't happen to be home for 8pm, she puts herself to bed... while all the other cats remain in the den or kitchen.

Of course I also believe that the cats train us too. It only takes a few meows and running back and forth for me to realize that Tux wants me to sit down and read so he can sit with me... or Julie to start her crazy jumping around on the counter top for me to realize that she wants me to play with her toys with her. She loves me to throw her a mouse or a ball so she can bat the thing across the room!  And Ghost sits on the bed steps (we have a high bed) each night waiting for me to do her shadow show on the wall before she'll climb into bed to sleep. I probably should explain this... but I read every night at bedtime... and use a book light. It throws shadows on the wall and Ghost has become addicted to watching and jumping at these shadows each night. Yes, we are a weird bunch...

These next few pics are of Mini Pearl and her mom in the backyard. She was always such a tiny thing, but lately DH and I think she's starting to get a little size on her. 

This one's a big foggy, but it was taken from my kitchen window...

And lastly I have to post this pic of Julie going Berserk with the catnip toy that Deb put in with the book!

And they also loved the treats you included... Pure Bites? We had never heard of them. Thanks again!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday morning... making granola

This morning I was in the mood for making some home-made granola. It doesn't involve that much... just some oatmeal, maple syrup, brown sugar, salt, a little oil, and vanilla... oh, and lots of fresh chopped nuts!

I use almonds, cashews, pecans, and macadamia nuts

This is after 30 minutes in a 325 degree oven. 

Comes out in 1 piece after 30 mins cooling

Then I break it up and put it in tightly covered container... for us to snack on or eat for breakfast.  You can crumble it if you want smaller pieces, but we like to eat it like cookies.

The only thing I do differently than is said to do in the recipe is that right before I put it in the oven, I sprinkle it with a little cinnamon sugar. Adds a little sweet to the salt, and makes the house smell marvelous while cooking. And it's yummy!!

Now for some funny photos:

I think this is a great sign!

grand-daughter goofing around

Julie amongst her toys
and lastly...

Baby girl feral with her bro's

We've started calling her "Mini Pearl" because of her small size and the fact that she stands out like a Pearl among all the black ferals...

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

quilting, knitting, new purchase, grandbabies, and cats...

A few updates...

Eye surgeries and Time:

Have been trying to decide whether to use this time (between eye surgeries) to start knitting or go back to quilting again. I can't do my exercise classes nor my pottery classes for a few weeks, so I have time on my hands to do things that don't require too much exertion - told not to pick up anything over 10 lbs, not to bend over but keep head up over heart, raise head upon sleeping, and put my eyedrops in 4X daily.

I'm eager to quilt... so may take a run to Fabric Fanatics this week. And although I have plenty of yarn about, may also check out a few yarn shops. 

last quilting project

New Purchase: 

We did purchase a new refrigerator this week. Our old one is still working, but is 16 years old and we have to keep a heavy bottle of water in front of the door to keep it closed. With the Labor Day Sales Monday, we found one we liked and went ahead and got it. They will be delivering it tomorrow. The old one will go into the garage. This one is a Kitchenaid French Door model, but not one that has all the bells and whistles. Some have too many doors inside for my taste. Here is a picture of the one we purchased. 

It's pretty simple, but had the necessary requirements. We did like a certain LG model, but it was one that had all these plastic doors inside... and we decided that we didn't really need or want that. And our old one is a Kitchenaid and has been very reliable over the years. 


Our 3 year old grand daughter has become enamored with Spiderman. So... after her bath the other night, her mom let her dress herself and this is what she came out with. 
Interesting outfit, yes?

As you can tell, she was pretty proud of herself and her get-up!

Ghost's new favorite spot: 

Ghost has taken over one of the two large arm chairs in the living room. We don't use this area much except in the winter when we sit by the fireplace. But for whatever reason, Ghost has chosen this chair as her new favorite spot.

And last, but not least... a picture of two of the outdoor ferals laying about on the back patio.

The little Siamese kitten is the youngest out there at the moment. But she has several black teen-age brothers or cousins around that seem to take care good care of her. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Saturday night live... in real life

This is a picture I took outside yesterday. It's a dragon fly (we called them "mosquito hawks" when I was young) that was sitting on the bushes when I went to the car. We used to see them all over the place years ago. Now... not so much.

It's Saturday night... DH is watching football and I'm watching ""The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" - not much on TV tonight. There is a marathon of "Murder She Wrote", but I've seen most of those. And actually I've seen this movie before also, but it's interesting... about a group of Seniors who move to India in an attempt to spend their remaining years with limited financial means. It's about acceptance and the ability to adapt. It's not a place where I would want to spend my advancing years, yet there is something about it that intrigues me. I especially like the young Indian man who owns the hotel and uses the saying, "Everything will be alright in the end, and if it's not alright... then it's not the end". 

one of our feral kittens laying on back porch

Our skunk has been back to visit quite a bit. It's usually late at night and the outside cats don't seem to mind... although they do keep their distance. There is a little possum that also comes by in the front each night. 

Oh, I started driving again this week. I probably could have driven sooner, but since my left eye had it's cataract surgery, it's made me a little "off- balanced" feeling. However,  it's getting better each day and I felt that the time had come. Anyway, I went to Barnes and Noble to get a new book since they had a 40% off coupon for their Labor Day Sale.  I ended up with "The Dark Witch" book, one of a Nora Roberts Irish trilogy. And I  met a friend for coffee at LaMadeleine's. And... the doctor's office called to schedule my right eye surgery - which will be in a few weeks.

Can you believe that the summer is over and September is here? The kids are back in school... and Halloween (and even Christmas in some places - like Cracker Barrel) decorations are beginning to show up. Funny thing is, I keep my "Merry Christmas" sign on the front door year round... (because I like it and also because I don't have any other sign to replace it), But recently I hung up a bat (for Halloween) beside it. It may not be seasonally correct, but my 3 year old grand daughter likes it!

On another thought, I read recently that in order to avoid dementia or Alzheimer's in old age, one should learn a new word in a new language every day as well as possibly learn a musical instrument. These things keep the mind active by making new neuro-connections (to put it simply). They also recommended certain foods... which is something most of us have heard before.  There are no guarantees, but  I think possibly it boils down to being willing to accept change and to never stop learning new things. 

I'm OK with that.  How about you?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

city life vs country life...

Life in the country... how we all think we would like it. But having 
been brought up in the city of New Orleans, the only time I spent in the country was at my uncle's farm in Mississippi when I was a kid. Every summer for a few years,  I got to spend a week at their place. I loved it! Horses, cows, chickens, etc! Since I loved animals, it was heaven for me. I also got to swim in a creek, plant crops in a field, and ride horses! These were not things ordinarily done in the city. 

When I was growing up, we lived right off of Canal Street in N.O. and had access to St. Anthony's School and Church, a corner grocery right next store, and a street car line just 2 blocks away. The street car took us to downtown shopping as well as the French Quarter and the Mississippi River. It was convenient... but not the country.

Now my daughter and her family have a few acres in the Hill Country of Texas. They also have horses, no cows at the moment, dogs, cats, alpaca at one time, and chickens. But last week she called to tell me that they found a bat inside the house on the staircase one morning and 2 goats of unknown origin in their vegetable garden. So... life in the country does have it's oddities.

Here in Texas DH and I live in a subdivision outside of the city of Dallas. It offers a bit of the country life (just a bit) by being on a creek and greenback - which  we are privileged to share with Texas wild-life. While some in the area would do without even this, we consider it a benefit. It does require a little patience and kindness... and some compromise, but we think it's worth it. 

And there's a horse stables a few blocks down where our daughter used to board her horse when she was younger. AND...  down the road there are cows and several community gardens. So we have what you might call a pseudo-country life style.

If I had my druthers (and unlimited income) I'd spend my winters in Texas (winters are generally mild and short) and my summers around Damariscotta, Maine where I'd have access to Audubon's private beach in the area. I'd also visit Oregon's beaches and Vancouver Island, and see the New England in the Fall, and perhaps visit Quebec, Canada. But life is short (and getting shorter all the time), so I don't really need a bucket list. I'm happy as things are... and consider it a boon when something good unexpectedly happens. 

My oldest son called the other day to check on how I was doing after my cataract surgery, daughter called this morning to tell me she thinks one of their horses is lame, and youngest son and his family went to dinner with us last night for his wife's birthday. We came home for dessert - connolis from Carlo's Bakery ("The Cake Boss Guy"). They are so-oo good.

Ordinary things... ordinary life. Am I grateful? Definitely yes!  And 
I enjoy sharing it with those of you who may be reading. Just as I enjoy reading about your lives... some ordinary, some not so much. 
Even if I don't get to see or do some things, I get to share the experiences through your pictures and words.
How great is that!!

Oh, and Tux says Hi! 

not really...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cataract surgery update

Saw this on Pinterest. It said why throw cataract eye patches away
 when they can be useful..
(gross, but funny)

Just a quick update. Had my cataract surgery done Monday. It went fine... despite the fact that I was terribly anxious (just because it was my EYES). When the doctor checked me Tuesday morning, everything was fine. My eyesight without glasses in my left eye is 20/20 and very bright and clear. I did have to wear a clear patch protector over my eye the first day and at night for the first week. 

The only thing that bothers me and is something that will gradually adjust is that with my left eye 20/20 without glasses and my right eye needing glasses, it makes me feel "off"... not dizzy, but oddly unsettled. We did punch out the left lens from my glasses, so that with that eye being good and the lens remaining in the right side, it should help... and does. But it's still "off". Once the right eye has it's surgery (which may be in a few weeks), this should no longer be a problem. 

And the one other thing that bothers me is that there is a fluttering in the far corner of the surgery lens... kind of like I can see the edge of the lens. The doctor told me that it's just the lens getting settled in my eye. Hope so.

It's only the 3rd day. So I guess my eyes are still adjusting. They say it actually takes 6 weeks to heal.  It is astonishing how bright and clear everything is through my left eye.

Anyway, for now I'm wearing my "modified Rx glasses" and some "drugstore reading glasses" around my neck to compensate. 

Those of you who have had cataract surgery and are familiar with all this, please feel free to give advice.

Happy Wednesday!