Sunday, October 16, 2016

a cat, a dog, kids, and ice-cream...

Julie helping me crochet

I have begun knitting and crocheting again (must be the Fall weather). And I've also gotten back to quilting... although so far I've only bought some fabric for a baby quilt and made a few catnip toys for the cats.

This weekend I was at my son's house spending some time with my 9 year old grandson since his dad had to work.. and his older brother did also. We had fun watching TV programs in Spanish since I was inept at figuring out their remote. We also did some sketching with ink pencils and a little with watercolors to pass the time. 

And since the weather was so nice, we went outside and played what I call "grandma soccer"... meaning we kicked the ball back and forth making sure that it didn't come at me too high or too hard. He also informed me of the significance of the new Nintendo 3DS. Since I know nothing about the old Nintendo, the real significance of the new one was lost on me. But as you all know, the new generation is very tech savy.

At one point when I was sitting on the sofa crocheting, I noticed that their little dog was interested in my yarn. Since I was basically just using up left-over yarn, I crocheted a square into a cylinder and then rolled up one end... and began playing tug of war with her. She loved it! And once she got hold of the yarn, she ran with it and played with it all afternoon. It was great to see her so happy. 

But I think she wore herself out. Here is a picture of her sleeping later on the back of the sofa....  a place where later I learned she wasn't supposed to be. But doesn't she look cute?

Kiki sleeping after her busy day

It's Sunday night and the weekend is now over. We ended it late this afternoon with ice-cream at Braum's (which is DH's favorite place). 

Now it's time for book and bed  - and possibly a cup of tea.  

Wishing you a happy Monday and rest of the week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

private thoughts on public matters...

I was looking recently for 'something' that helped me express how I feel about this coming election. Not sure if it's the candidates involved or the media hype or the huge amount of cyber mechanics involved, but this election certainly has me 'on edge'.

And I've been through quite a few elections at my age. However, this one is 'different'... in more ways than one. For whatever reason, the outcome of it scares me (no matter which way it goes). Maybe it's because people are 'so divided on the issues - as  well as the candidates'.  And both sides feel the other side is so very wrong. 

How can this be? Are we really a nation divided?  If so, we need to fix this... but don't ask me how. And don't say that if we put the right person in office, it'll all be solved because it won't... half the country will still be opposed.

And yes, like so many of you, I already know who I'm voting for and why... and no, I'll not say it... as I believe that it doesn't help anything and a person's vote should be private. And no, I'm not afraid or ashamed of it. I'd shout it to the world if I thought it would do any good. But it wouldn't. People have their own opinions and that's not likely to change because they know mine.

But something I do know - or maybe again it's just my opinion - is that to post and re-post ugly things about either candidate does not help anyone's cause.  In fact, it has the opposite effect... kind of like a person being ugly to his or her spouse in public, it belittles the one doing it. The media can get away with it - for whatever reason, but individuals need to realize that it doesn't help.

My thoughts now are that it will all be over soon and God willing, people will accept what is to be. My job is to vote. Beyond that, it's out of my hands.  And I will do all in my power to respect the office of President (whether man or woman) - as I think it belittles our country to do otherwise. 

So I guess this post is really to get this 'unease' off my mind once and for all. I've always felt that putting it down on paper (or in print as the case may be) helps de-clutter my already cluttered mind. Not likely to work, but it's a start... at least I'm not writing it at 3 am in the morning. 

no worries here...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

"because without me your life would suck..."

Walking around the house today trying to think of something interesting to post,  I came across our kitchen calendar...

and as I was reading the note on the calendar...

... that last line on the note made me laugh - and I had to share it with DH (who also laughed).  And the pic reminded us of some of the outside feral kittens.

outside ferals a few years back

so I decided to dedicate this post to: 


and walked around the house taking pics of our 4!

Tux enjoying a little sun

Rose bundled up on the bed

Julie sleeping among her toys

Ghost sniffing a catnip toy

Oh for the life of a cat!

Even the outside ones seem to be enjoying the Fall weather...

mama feral and Mini Pearl in backyard

black feral in ceramic pumpkin on front porch

closer look

Well, as the note on the poster said,
 "... because without me your life would suck"
(Possibly this is an exaggeration, 
but we do get the gist and agree)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Halloween, pumpkins, tea cakes, and other signs of Fall...


This is our youngest grand-daughter in her Halloween costume. She chose to "back the blue" rather than Spider man (who is one of her favorite Super-heroes) and surprised us all. At almost 4, she is one child that definitely has a mind of her own. 

The next are some pics I took of the Pumpkin Patch at our local Central Market. 

So many pumpkins... 

All sizes and shapes...

It's hard to choose... 

I kind of like these weird ones...

They're also pushing apple cider this week...

We haven't put out our pumpkin yet. And I will make a pumpkin custard pie with it's contents when the time comes. But I did make some caramel teacakes for tea this afternoon. 

closer look at caramel centers

We love tea cakes... and have used the recipe ever since a neighbor gave it to me back in Florida when DH and I were first married. They are simple, not too sweet, and actually perfect with tea or coffee. My daughter makes them now too. She usually does a sugar frosting on hers that is delicious, but I prefer just a little powdered sugar. This caramel center is just something I came up with to try since we once had something similar at Central Market... and it was quite expensive. I remember thinking, " I can make this" - thus, my own version today. 

Update on my cataract surgery:  done and done!! Next is a 6 week checkup in November. Glad that's over. 

Intentionally not mentioning the debate the other night. Yes, we did listen. No, we're not commenting.... but we are praying a lot.

Missing my working on the pottery wheel and my exercise class, but we are walking at least twice a week and I've started knitting again, resumed teaching myself piano, and plan to start quilting again any day. Thank goodness for my books. Have been reading the Irish Country Doctor series... and enjoying it. Will resume my pottery and exercise classes in January.

The cats are all doing well. Inside and out. Rose continues to amaze us. She is eating well, has put on some weight, and in every practical sense, seems to be 'just fine' (at 21). I think she sometimes forgets where she is... walks into a room, looks around like she 's thinking "what was I doing?" and turns around and goes back... but I tend to do that too... so-oo ?

So yes, Fall is here! Time to put out the pumpkins and start collecting Halloween candy. And we are even having some cooler weather... which for us in Texas means mornings in the 60's and afternoons and evenings in the 70's and 80's (not triple digets!). Hurray!

The outside cats love the cooler weather! It makes them very playful and full of energy. 

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy this fall weather!

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...