Sunday, January 15, 2017

coping mechanisms for aging...

This post is in answer to DJan's recent post about coping mechanisms for aging. I started to respond in her comment section and then realized that my response was going to be too long. So I've put it here. The first 2 paragraphs are the comment that I did leave.

"Great post, DJan. I think your *coping mechanisms* for aging are very good... and they stem from a very healthy psychological viewpoint. I believe that a lot depends on our attitude and I try to keep mine positive with a dose of gratitude. Having lost both my parents, sister, and brother over the years, I miss them terribly, but grateful that I've been given this time for whatever reason (and that I still have DH and my children).

I started to elaborate on this here, but it got too long. So I will share my own coping mechanisms on my next blog. Thanks again, friend, for sharing yours."


As you know, I don't take any medications and at 71, that's a pretty good thing. I do have several ailments; BC, migraines, IC, sensitivity to several foods and drugs, etc. - but these are all manageable without meds. I take Tylenol on occasion if need-be, sleep 8 hours a night, take a nap when I feel tired, try to eat healthy, and exercise at least twice a week (walking and aerobic/yoga) - not near the exercise you do, DJan - and it could be more, but so far this is what works for me.

I find that keeping the house in order with 3 cats, caring for the outside feral cat community, helping with the grandkids, cooking, pottery, writing, reading, crochet, knitting, meeting with friends for coffee/tea, and sharing time with DH and our grown kids is enough to keep my life full and happy. We don't travel a lot, but do spend some time in the Hill Country with our daughter and in New Orleans with family, but travel is not high on our agenda these days... enjoying our day to day activities is.

Blogging with online friends and emailing and texting with family members does add joy to my day. It's a simple thing that technology has brought. And as much as there are down sides to iPhones, I get quite a bit of enjoyment from mine. Texting with children and grandkids brings us closer on a day to day basis. Keeping dates and lists of everything on hand from doctor visits to grocery lists makes life easier and exchanging pics on the spur of the moment is fun. I have to admit that I don't use the iPhone for talking much... oh, maybe to confirm appointments or let someone know that I'm running late. But then, I was never one to spend much time talking (maybe that's why writing is more my style). 

And I'm very much against texting while driving and talking on your phone in public places - I find listening to another's loud private conversations very annoying! My phone is put on vibrate whenever we are out to eat, at the doctor's, etc. Now, if I look at the caller's ID and feel that I must take the call, I will go outside to do so. And besides, there are buttons you can push that will send the message that says you can't talk now. How easy is that?

If I do ever find myself *down*... usually doing something for somebody else will bring me back up. It needn't be anything too extravagant... just baking a batch of cookies for them or emailing a "how are you today?" works.  (And of course chocolate helps!! - very dark chocolate in my case!!)


BTW, for those who know how last week went (last post here)... 

Tux is doing better this morning. He is eating again, no throwing up, and is acting like his old self. (Actually he wasn't acting like he was in any discomfort before,  but he was spending all of his time on my lap... looking worried.) Don't know how long this will continue, but we are so grateful for this reprieve.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Weird week...


It's been a weird week... 2 of our 3 cats have been sick. Ghost, due to her genetic kidney problem, has episodes where she doesn't feel well and goes off her food. 

But Tux has never been sick in his life and he dearly loves his food. 
So, for him to refuse food is very unusual. He hasn't eaten since Monday... although he took a small bite yesterday and immediately threw up.

So, we're off to the Vet's this afternoon. I really hate to take him as outside of the 'not eating' bit, he acts fine and looks fine. He's still drinking water and using his litter box. He's still purring and acting his usual self. But he's not eating! So we're worried and don't want it to go on too long... and didn't want it to go through the weekend.

I'm a little afraid that possibly he ate some of the Christmas tree needles or some of the potpourri that I had on the front room table. But he's never done that before... and he is almost 13.


OK, we are home from the Vet's. They were at first as perplexed as we are as he certainly isn't acting sick..  The Vet even asked me if I was sure that he wasn't eating and that he was the cat throwing up. Assured them that he was... and had thrown up yellow foam each time right in front of us.

So-oo they took bloodwork and x-rays thinking (as we did) that maybe he ate something he shouldn't have or had a hair-ball that was causing problems. 

Well as it turns out, the blood-work shows kidney impairment (possibly the beginning of kidney failure). X-rays show enlarged spleen and small shrunken kidneys with possible tumors. No obstructions seen. 

But the Vet was very concerned with what he did see. Told us to put him on KD diet, gave him a nausea injection, some appetite stimulus pills, and said that if he didn't start eating soon, we'd try force-feeding with some liquid nourishment and a syringe, and if that didn't work, we could try steroids.

We are in shock... knew something was wrong, but didn't really expect it to be bad. But the nausea injection seems to have worked as when we got home, he ate... and so far has not thrown up.

Tux with his worried look


Saturday, January 7, 2017

It's snowing!

It IS snowing today, but THIS is an old picture of our house in snow.

I don't expect it will snow this much anyway. In fact, I think they are surprised that it is snowing at all... (we were just supposed to get a few flurries) but it started about an hour ago and is still coming down. I won't go outside to take a picture as the feral cats are either all huddled up under the heat lamps on the back porch.... (it's about 21 F)

heat lamps on back porch - taken through the den window

OR... they're snuggled up together in the bed in the box on the front porch...

feral hostel on front porch

So I don't dare open any doors to take a picture... as the ferals would all run off into the cold. 

We did take down all the Christmas decorations this week. I think it's kind of sad... I like the Christmas clutter. This is what my table looks like when I collect all the Christmas stuff together before putting it away.

Having written the previous portion of this post yesterday (Friday), I'm continuing it today. The snow has stopped, but since it's still in the low 20's, the flurries that did stick still remain white on the ground. Feral cats water dishes are frozen solid and have to be continuously thawed. But the sun is beginning to shine, so hopefully all remaining snow will be gone by afternoon.

I did make DH and I a Dutch Baby Pancake this morning. I've probably posted a pic of it before, but can't remember. It's kind of a combination of pancake and custard pie... and it's served with butter, powdered sugar, and lemon.

They usually rise really high in the oven and then flatten out after you take them out. This particular one for whatever reason didn't flatten out... but stayed rather high?? It tastes the same... which was good!

I'm continuing to watch "Pie in the Sky" on DVD. May go from there to "Downton Abbey" DVD's if the winter weather keeps me inside. But I'm not a total couch potato as I do jump up ever so often and throw in a load of wash or continue my scrubbing soap scum off the showers with my new hurricane spin scrubber. It really does work well!

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend! Stay warm!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 1st, 2017

Julie with her toys and my new Mexican Hot Chocolate discovery

It's Sunday, January 1st, 2017 and I'm in the middle of cooking black eyed peas, cabbage, and a delicious pork roast for our New Year dinner!  DH has run off to the store for a few things, and the inside cats are contently lounging about. Even the outside ferals seem to be in a happy mood... mama feral is playing on the back porch with her kittens (swinging her tail back and forth as the kittens try to catch it) and the furry feral out front came running up to the window this morning to greet Tux (who always helps me open the plantation blinds first thing).

So it begins... a new year. Don't know what to expect, but will hope for good to prevail. I don't make New Year's Resolutions, but I do usually pick a direction. Last year it was to 'put myself out there' more. Don't know if I accomplished that... maybe a little. This year I will double my efforts for that and possibly add 'open up' a bit more. Us introverts don't like the limelight, so staying in the background is our comfort zone. I'm a firm believer in Mother Teresa's quote "man was not made to do great things, only little things with great love" (or something like that). This fits my philosophy that we may not be able to save the world, but we can do our part... whatever that may be.

I'm taking this day to be thankful for our health, our families (including the furry ones), our friends (including online ones), and the things we do have that make life good... not just the material things, but our freedom, our country, our opportunities to make life better for all... (and I'm praying that we have the wisdom to know how to do this). 

Going back to our black eyed peas and cabbage (which you probably know is a southern tradition to ensure health and prosperity), DH and I have another tradition we follow on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day... I make his mom's home-made eggnog (to which we add a dash of whiskey) and serve it in our champagne flutes (which also represent health and prosperity). We drink it hot on NY's Eve and cold on NY's Day. It is so-oo good!

Oh... and just to explain the pic at the top. I love Mexican Hot Chocolate (which seems to be hot chocolate with a touch of cinnamon?). Anyway, recently when I was watching the Pioneer Woman on the cooking channel, she was making this and used this "Abuelita's Mexican Hot Chocolate" - which I'd never heard of, but immediately googled (and found!) It's chocolate tablets that you melt in hot milk and is really quite good (I add a touch of cream). Just thought I'd share my discovery.  

a better picture of the package

And I didn't want to say goodbye to 2016 without a picture of our Rose under the tree last year.  We really thought she'd make another Christmas with us, but we lost her in November. She is truly missed.

Rose 2015

Monday, December 26, 2016

Twas the day after Christmas...

Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house...

there's wrappings, and ribbons, and an occasional toy mouse!

Well, this is what it looks like at our house anyway. The cats got their toys early Christmas morning and then were delegated to the bedroom to spend the day as the cooking and cleaning commenced and family arrived to celebrate. The cats were however very duly compensated for this inconvenience with liberal helpings of smoked turkey. (Outside ferals were also treated to this Christmas special!)

The menu consisted of Smoked Turkey (compliments of DH), bourbon sweet potatoes, Jalapena' Pecan Stuffing, broccoli-cauliflower casserole, salad, and rolls... not to mention DH's mile-high cheesecake and our family's traditional cookie crust pudding! My challenge is always not to get it all cooked, but to get it cooked and still hot onto the table. I think I may have accomplished this better this year.

All in all, we had a good time together... and enjoyed watching youngest grand daughter open her gifts. At one point, the bubble wrap around one of the gifts proved ample entertainment (for her as well as us) as she stomped and stomped on it to hear it pop! I had planned to take pictures, but got so involved with the serving, talking, and entertaining that I completely forgot. So... as you can see... no Christmas pics for Christmas day (unless someone else there took some that I'm not aware of).

My daughter down in the Hill country (who was here last week with her family) did send what she is considering a Christmas pic (even though she didn't have it in time for Christmas cards). I'm posting this one as it's really cute and it's all I have to post at the moment.

Oldest grand daughter 

So... amidst all the tinsel and glamor of the holidays, I think we were able to enjoy what Christmas is all about... the coming together of family in peace and love. Whether you lean towards a totally religious experience or a more secular one... it can still accomplish the desired effect as long as peace and love are involved. Families coming together  is what the birth of Jesus personifies... a spark of divine love in a world that needed it... and still needs it. I know this isn't exactly how we were taught in religion growing up, but it makes sense to me. And it's certainly no epiphany - just a slip of the keys between my mind and fingers.

Merry Christmas (the day after)!  And sending peace and love out to all of my fellow bloggers! If I don't get back here to blog again before the weekend, Happy New Year to All! 

I wish you all a Safe Happy 2017!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

the days before Christmas...

First dance recital

This past weekend was  our youngest grand daughter's first dance recital.  Loved it! The littlest ones (including ours) were 4 years old and watching them dance... and refuse to dance was adorable.

Ours is on the far left - hiding her face

When asked later why she was acting so grumpy, she said that all she could see was lights and she couldn't see her family... so she didn't know if we were there. 

This last pic was taken at the end of the performance when everyone was on stage. Grand daughter looks a bit bored with it all...

Daughter, me, and Grand daughter

Also our daughter and her family live in the Hill Country around San Antonio, Texas. They came down for a quick Christmas visit this week. We took this pic the morning before they left. I think it came out cute... although it was early and we may have all been still half asleep.

It has certainly been a busy few weeks. 
I'm hoping to have everyone over here for Christmas dinner Sunday... and get a few pics of the rest of the family.  Have the menu planned... fairly simple... Turkey, Stuffing, Bourbon Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli and Cauliflower casserole, and hot rolls! (and DH's cheesecake and our family's traditional baked cookie pudding for dessert)  

However... I'm fighting a possible coupy cough again. Just started yesterday. Kept me up all night. Got up and took Mucinex and Tylenol. Have 48 hours to get rid of it quickly. Gargling and using saline nasal drops... drinking hot tea and hot chicken soup. Any other suggestions? 

The cats are continuing to enjoy the tree... no disasters so far. Here are a few 'around the house' decorations...

Santa in entry

Christmas cards and goodies on bar...

Our Santa Elf on Grandfather clock...

Christmas garland on fireplace

And lastly... Ghost in her new Christmas bed. We bought this little bed for all to share, but Ghost has taken over it.

Ghost sleeping

Merry Christmas!! Wishing everyone a safe and wonderful holiday!