Sunday, December 30, 2012

a favorite thrown mug...

Snapshot of one of my large clay mugs
 I never got around to showing you pictures of the final stages of our 25-piece clay project. I plan to get my photos together and do that this week.  Some were not glazed, some broke in the kiln, etc. - but I did take pictures on our last day of class.

The photo at the top is one of the 18 mugs I threw on the wheel. This is one of the larger ones. Luckily for me I was able to use most of them as Christmas gifts or just gifts for anyone who wanted to take one home.  This particular glaze combination turned out to be one of my favorites and I made several mugs with it. It's slate, celadon, and butter in an overlapping pattern and I even rubbed some of the glaze off in spots (and fired it in the reduction kiln).  As you can tell, I tend to like the heavy 'rustic' look.

Now I have to tell you a funny story that happened this morning.  Early this morning (between 5 and 6am) I was dreaming... and in my dream I was at a sort of camp ground where I was climbing up this cliff  (and dragging a bike - yeah? well, it was a dream?) Anyway, an animal came into the campground area and in order to scare it off, I jumped up and made a lot of noise yelling, growling, hissing and spitting. It scared the animal alright and nearly gave DH (sleeping next to me) a heart attack!

He reached over - as by now I was sitting straight up - asking me if I was alright?  Remembering my dream and realizing what happened, I started laughing... at the absurdity of the situation and at the fact that poor DH must have thought I was having some sort of seizure. And you must remember that we are kind of inundated in animals around here - my having been in the Veterinary field, my youngest son a Curator at the Zoo, daughter with a ranch full, and our indoor and backyard menagerie, etc. - so dreams having to do with them are not uncommon. 

Waking up laughing isn't bad either... (altho DH may not agree in this case).  ;)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

a first Christmas...

1st Christmas

Christmas 2012 has passed and the New Year 2013 is upon us!  We don't know what it will bring, but "hope springs eternal"...   I'm not worried about the world ending, nor the fiscal cliff.  I'm not worried about whether we will have enough money to last us through retirement nor whether our health will continue.  These things will always be a concern, but not a worry.

The important thing is that we have our friends and family around us and our new baby grand daughter is celebrating her first Christmas with us.  Life is good.

As it happened (and I mentioned this already on my 'Cats, Coffee, and Chocolate' site), we celebrated Christmas Sunday evening this year due to the impending snow and ice supposedly coming our way Christmas day.  This allowed those who needed to get back on the road to leave before the weather got bad.  It worked rather well. 

The kids got to open gifts ahead of time  (which we have never done before - but they certainly didn't mind). And since both older grand kids got 26' mountain bikes, they were also able to ride them Christmas Eve morning.  It wouldn't have been possible to do this Christmas Day as it was pouring rain (before it started snowing).

So... as it probably was in almost every one's home, we ate, laughed, ate some more, sat by the fire, ate even more, talked,... and passed the baby around. She was a little angel... smiling most of the time, but frowning with all the flashes from cameras in her tiny face.

The cats had a pretty good Christmas too  as everyone had left before Christmas morning so they had the whole house to themselves.  I wrote (and posted pictures of them) about this on my other site ("Cats, Coffee...").

Now I'm going to post a picture of our family taken all together (which is a difficult thing to do as they 'act up' and I get 6 silly pics to every good one - but that's normal too I suppose). The silly ones are fun to look at, but not exactly what you want to post.

These are kids and grand kids with the exception of one son-in-law that was home sick and one grandson that was elsewhere at the time.  We tried to take another over by the Christmas tree, but everyone was acting silly and none turned out too great.

So here's wishing all of you out there a Happy and Safe 2013! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Jack in the box...

Jack in Christmas box!

Just wanted to say Merry Christmas to all of you out there!  I've been a bit behind in my reading and posting... but I promise to catch up after Christmas.  I love blogging and commenting and love hearing from my blogger friends. 

Have a wonderful safe holiday!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

crises passed...

Our personal crises has passed. Thank God.  And thank all of you out there so much for your thoughts and prayers. You have no idea how much they meant to us... as well as your comments and concerns.  And I just 'couldn't' write about it... somehow writing about it would make it real... and it just couldn't be real.

Our son called us 2 weeks ago extremely upset.  They had just been informed that their new precious baby girl had failed the blood tests taken at birth and what that could mean. Scary to the max. The tests had to be repeated immediately. We were devastated to say the least. But as I've always believed... thoughts and prayers are powerful!

Yesterday evening the doctor called to let them know that all the new tests came out 'normal'.  We are elated!  And even if some may consider the whole situation a result of a false positive, I prefer to consider it our own Christmas miracle.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

don't know what to say...

I don't know what to say, yet feel compelled to say 'something'... 

Having a hard enough time dealing with our own situation and still in limbo over it, but now this senseless shooting - unbelievable, yet real. Trying hard not to think about the sorrow enveloping those families, but sending loving thoughts and prayers their way.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

please continue...

Just want to thank all of you for your prayers and good thoughts. We really really appreciate it. I know it will help. The words 'hope and prayer' mean so much more at times like these.  But please continue...

Friday, December 7, 2012

a request...

I have a simple, but sincere request for prayer (and/or good thoughts) for our family this week.

Something has happened and we need all the prayers and good thoughts we can get. I believe that our prayers and our thoughts are powerful, so please send some our way....  
with heartfelt thanks, rian

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Tree...

Christmas tree 2012

 I'm still playing with Picasa... thus, the blue tint.  As you can see, our tree decorations have been minimized over the years. Since the  kids have grown, we have eliminated the tinsel and garlands. Now we make due with the tiny white lights and ornaments that mean something (either the kids or grand kids made them or were given to them, some came from our parents' tree, etc.)... and of course we have the unbreakable ones at the bottom for the cats to play with. As we get older, we may also have to minimize the tree size... but so far we have always had one of the boys around to help us get it into the house.

I started this post yesterday, but had to get to Yoga class then over to the doctor's to get my flu shot.  Intended to finish it when I got back home, but ran out of time.  After picking up grandson at school and cooking supper (Chicken Tetrazinni), I was wiped out... and fell asleep on the sofa. When I got up to go to bed, my arm where I had gotten the shot was throbbing. During the night my arm really hurt as well as my head... so this morning I may have to ditch my original plans which was the pottery studio and another doctor visit this afternoon (we try to get them all in before the end of the year because of the insurance deductibles).  However, I just got up and had some coffee and a Tylenol, so we shall see.

The rest of my 'huge mugs' were out of the kiln on Monday. The ones that were in the oxidation kiln came out OK... not exactly what I hoped, but OK.  The last 2 are still bisque, but I'm glazing them in the same colors (Slate, Celadon, and either Butter or Tamaku - sp?).  But I will fire these in reduction.
Once done, I will post a picture.  The picture below is a ceramic rose I made... just for fun.

ceramic rose

And just FYI:   Our 'baby girl' (new grandbaby) is doing fine.  She's a week old today! Thanks again for all your congrats and good wishes...

Friday, November 30, 2012

"The Best Gift..."

the best gift...
I'm afraid that I'm behind again... in my my reading and writing blogs. But we've been a bit focused on the arrival of our new grand daughter. She was due around Thanksgiving, but didn't arrive until this week. And there were a few complications that had everyone anxious.  But she's here now and perfect! So we are all thankful beyond belief. She has blue eyes and red hair - looks like a tiny Christmas elf.

There was a holiday song that Barbra Streisand sang years ago... called 'The Best Gift'. The lyrics have been running through my head all week.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

as the pottery wheel turns...

clay bowl created

clay bowl drawing by Picasa

Thought this was 'interesting'.  Made a clay bowl at the studio and when I was playing with the photo I took, discovered that Picasa has a drawing tool.  Why I thought it was so interesting is because most of the time I sketch things out before I make them in clay.  This was the opposite... seemed odd.

More large mugs getting ready to be fired...

I'm better at making mugs... can now make them bigger, but am still struggling with pulling handles

Here are more birdhouse ornaments and large mugs on the greenware shelf waiting to go into the kiln.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time to start getting the house ready for Christmas guests.  But maybe a day or two to rest first would not be too out of order.  I really need a nap...

Friday, November 23, 2012

the day is done... (Thanksgiving that is)

rose from our garden

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!  This photo was taken of a rose that DH brought in from the garden a few days ago.  He brought it in as a bud, but when it opened, it was huge and really beautiful... a deep pink with red highlights. Don't know the name. We used to have lots of rose bushes (and knew all the names), but as time went by, we've not had as many or paid as much attention.  But this one caught our eye!

Thanksgiving was wonderful. I cooked for 3 days.  DH smokes the turkey, I made Bourbon Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow topping, my mom's Oyster Stuffing,  a new Green Bean Casserole (all fresh - no canned - but similar to the traditional recipe), a Hatch Chili stuffing (for the Vegetarians at the table), cranberry sauce, and cheese biscuits... also a traditional pudding recipe that has a cookie base (boys HAVE to have this) and an apple pie.

We ate, we laughed, we discussed the new baby who was sitting at the table with her mom and has not yet decided to grace us with her presence (she is due to make her appearance anytime). Then we all adjoined to the den so those who were inclined could continue watching the football games while others of us could either knit or sleep... until it was time for more coffee and dessert!  My daughter and her family (who live in the hill country and weren't with us for dinner this year) kept texting us and her brothers as to what was going on at her house.  The boys kept sending her pictures of mom's food.

All in all, it was a nice day. The cats enjoyed it too.  They laid around in baskets and on the sofa with the family... except for Molly who decided to sit on the bench next to DIL during dinner.  Mostly the cats are not allowed near the table while we're eating and they're pretty good about it. But Molly is 19, so when she joined us, no one was offended.  She just sat there and listened to the conversation. The weather was beautiful. This morning it's a bit cooler - 59 or 60 I believe.  

quilt we saw at shop in Celeste, TX

 Took this picture of a quilt my friend and I saw at this little shop in Celeste last week. I fell in love with it. My friend is the quilter, not me. I have one that I did start and it is almost finished except for the last bit... but as it turns out, when I have time on my hands, I'd rather work on the wheel or knit (and so it has sat unfinished in my closet for about a year). Truth is, I LOVE quilts! Just not making them myself. So we bought the material and she is going to make it for me.  She is one of those people that has quilts started and finished everywhere in her house. But, as I told her, there is no hurry on my part. I'm just excited to have found one that I really like. There are so many designs and materials out there that it makes my head spin. Some are gorgeous... just not my house style. This one is perfect.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

memories of Christmas past...

This picture was taken at my daughter's house either last Christmas or the one before.  For whatever reason, I really like it.  It looks so cozy.  They won't be with us this Thanksgiving, but we do hope to see them during the Christmas holidays.  When the grand kids were little, we always had Christmas at our house for everyone (actually we had all the holidays at our house).  Now that they are older and don't all live close by, it's a little harder to arrange.

But it was the same for us when our kids were young. We tried to get them to New Orleans to spend Christmas with their Grandparents each year... but as they got older, it was difficult to take bikes and dollhouses, etc. with us and then there were get-togethers with their friends that they would miss, etc. So going home for Christmas wasn't every year anymore.

This is another favorite photo.  It is Ghost under the Christmas tree.  The cats LOVE the Christmas tree ! We get a huge live tree and hang unbreakable ornaments on the lower branches so they can be swatted at by hidden paws.  There are consequences to this  -  we do find a large amount of ornaments spread about the den and under the furniture in the mornings. And occasionally one of them will get entangled in the lights and take half the strings off, but these things are only minor inconveniences.

And this one was taken of Julie as she sat inside a Christmas basket that had a bird lantern.  It's not especially good... but again, I like it.

Have a wonderful weekend and a Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

a surprise gift...

a gift

Good Morning!  It's 7:30 Tuesday morning and I'm up and about -  drinking my coffee and reading blogs. Life is good.  The cats and I had a early morning 'get together' by the Aga at about 3 am. Occasionally I awake around this time (must be age?) and if I can't go back to sleep, I head for the Aga and a cup of warm milk or tea. The cats are always sleeping on the small rag rug there (my DIL crochets these),  so I just join them.  With a cup of something hot in my hands, a warm stove at my back, and purring cats lying across and beside me, I am content.

My son brought me an unexpectant gift yesterday. Aren't they the best kind?  I had mentioned that I liked and owned a few Annalee dolls - mostly small Christmas and holiday elves.  Apparently he remembered this and thus, the picture above. Wasn't that sweet?

New grandbaby is due anytime. We're all waiting expectantly! Other grandkids are 14, 11, and 5... so, it's been a while since we've had a new baby around. We know it's a little girl, and we know her name is Aoife (pronounced EEf-fa - long E).  I'm told the name is Gaelic and means 'princess warrior'.

PS: Today the check spelling part of my blogger isn't working???

Sunday, November 11, 2012

the calm after the storm...

the lake behind my BIL's house

Wow! I feel like I've missed more than just 4 days.  Having my computer die on Election Day made me wonder what was up? But after the storm of election rhetoric, everything seems so calm now...

... unless you go to FaceBook where there's a lot of 'ranting' going on.  Don't go there. It's counterproductive. People need to 'try' to separate personal and political, which is difficult because the issues are personal.  But like the country, if you don't make this separation, families and friends become alienated. And people have a right to their own opinion. It may not seem reasonable or rational or even valid, but that's not anyone's call. Name calling is immature. Throwing 'facts' in people's faces doesn't change anything. Everyone have their own set of facts. People believe what they want to believe and they trust who they want to trust. Nothing will change that.  Enough said.

Now... where was I?  My computer just plain wouldn't come up on Tuesday morning. Apparently there was nothing major wrong, just a combination of something that had to do with  registration issues (?) and malicious software (?).  I asked if I did something to cause the problem. They said no and that it is hard to avoid totally. We have a good Virus Protection program. They did say that a lot of the malicious software comes in on 'games'. I don't play games. But my grandson does... did... (not anymore). He has an X-box and several other game systems, so he won't be hurting if my computer becomes 'off limits'.

Anyway, we're up and running again. This computer is a bit old. We still have 'vista'.  But as long as it works, we'll keep it. If we do have to get another at some point, we'll probably get a laptop. Being retired does change our perspective a little. We're more cautious with our spending... probably should be even more so, but we do think twice about most things.

In class, we're still working on finishing those 25 piece clay projects... and I will post some pics when they're completed.  At the moment I'm working on some small birdhouse ornaments for the Christmas tree. Here are a few that I've done so far.

And also remember today is Veteran's Day!  I keep a poem that someone had written taped up here by my computer because a long time ago when I read it, it moved me.  This is it:

Dear Lord, lest I continue
my complacent way,
help me to remember
somehow out there
a man died for me today.
As long as there be war,
I then must
ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?  (W. H. Auden)

Monday, November 5, 2012


I have this card...
DH and I have this card.  We bought it a while back... too funny.  Seemed fitting sentiment for a Monday morning... and a busy week ahead.  Also reminds me of the song I have on my iPhone by the Irish Rovers called "The Unicorn"  (in the song, it's the unicorns that miss the boat).

Thanks for the photo editing advice some of you sent. I will be checking out some of the programs in the next few weeks. Don't think I'll have time this week with pottery deadlines and doctor's appointments. 

The weekend was fairly uneventful. I'm reading three books at once, "The Racketeer" by Grisham, and two cozy mysteries, one of the Midnight Louie series and a Pie Shop mystery.  I keep the Racketeer by the sofa and the 2 cozies by my bedside. This way I'm ready for long commercials or reruns in the evening (in the den)  and always read after I get into bed at night.  We don't have a TV in the bedroom. Tried it once years ago and decided that we definitely didn't like it. Oh, DH did make a huge pot of red beans and rice Sunday... it was great!!

books I'm reading

BTW, I still can't change my font style or size within blogger.  I'm sure it's something I did that caused this. But I went to tools at the top of my windows and enlarged it a bit.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween pumpkins...

Halloween pumpkins... can you see the serpent's tongue?

Happy Halloween everyone!  Actually we didn't get many trick or treaters last night.  The numbers have been dwindling the last few years.  Can't say that I'm upset about it.  I don't care for people ringing doorbells after dark... and don't think kids should be out on the street after dark either. But I do love to see the little ones in their costumes.  I guess the trend has gone to Halloween parties at churches and other places.  Perhaps this is safest for all.  For a while we had truck-loads of kids (literally hauled in on hay trucks, etc.) from other areas. Apparently this has stopped also.   I'd be curious to know if you had many trick or treaters in your areas? 

I did make a pumpkin pie!  I'm not a big pumpkin pie fan, but I make a 'adapted' version... mainly a custard pie to which I add one cup of fresh cooked pumpkin and plenty of cinnamon and sugar.    We like it!

This morning I've already been to Yoga class, stopped by the pottery studio for a few minutes to get a few more things into the kiln, then home for lunch by 2.  Now there might be just enough time to take a short nap with the cats before having to think about supper...  ;)

a few of the cups/mugs I'm working on at the studio...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Baby Shower...

Baby Shower Cake
This week my daughter and I gave a Baby Shower for my daughter-in-law.  (This is why I haven't been on the computer for the last few days... lots to do. ) Anyway, this is my youngest son and wife's first baby and the nursery is being done in a zoo theme... so we followed through for the shower.  We started out with a luncheon, then a few simple 'baby' games, then opened presents... then dessert and coffee.  We kept things pretty much pink, green, and white.

We set up the cake and cookies in the (used to be dining room) now grand kids game room, the luncheon in the living room (which we now use as a dining room - because we like to eat by the fireplace), and the strawberry lemonade punch in the kitchen. 

It worked out well.  We had some of the out of town guests staying at the house Friday night so it got a little hectic with all of the bedrooms, guest rooms, and even the trundle bed in the computer room being used, but in general, we all had a great time. Saturday morning we sent the men and boys off so the women and girls could play.

When all the guys returned, they helped themselves to cake and goodies... and went back to the den to watch football while the rest of us sat around the tables drinking coffee and talking.

Everyone left this morning after a big breakfast of scrambled eggs (with green and red pepper, cheese, and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce, bacon), biscuits, danish, bagels, chocolate chip pancakes, orange juice, and coffee.  (We didn't all eat all this, but the kids wanted the chocolate chip pancakes so-ooo we obliged.)

Now I'm catching up on my blog reading, blog writing, and will soon go sit by the fire and fall asleep...
Baby is due in 4 weeks!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Elsie, the Borden's cow, at the State Fair

My friend asked me to check out the Quilts with her at the State Fair last week.  She is a wonderful quilter and I have attended several local shows with her.  And I have to say that some quilts are really works of art... absolutely unbelievable.  However, the quilt show at the Fair was a bit disappointing. For one thing, we expected to see a lot more on display (there really wasn't that many). 

But to the point here, we went to the Fair mainly to spend time at the Quilt Show (I'm not one for fairs... or rides... or crowds), but as it turned out, we had a lot more time to spend so we walked around a bit, shared a turkey leg, and did some people watching. As luck would have it, the weather was wonderful, so it was not too hot (as it can be at Fair Park).  As it got later, the crowds increased and we left.  But we did get to see Elsie, the Borden cow, before we left.  She's a very handsome animal... but looked a bit depressed and unhappy in her little crate in the tent. People were oo-ing and aah-ing over her, but she looked like she was saying, "Can we go home now?" 

BTW, we did swap our 25-piece clay projects yesterday.  However, I didn't get any pictures yet as some didn't bring their original pieces and others spent part of the class finishing them up.  But most of us swapped out.  I got instructions for a clay tree made of little squares, twirls, and flowers.  Am working on it - almost finished, but the clay swirls were still too soft to attach - so they are stiffening and I will attach them Wednesday. Lucky for me, it was a simple piece and easy to assemble.  One of the others is an art square with a decal on one side (hard to explain, but I'll get a picture soon). Then we had another birdhouse (similar to mine - maybe more elaborate - made out of porcelain), and then a building structure (kind of like a city street scene).  All in all, it was an interesting project (I won't say 'fun'), but we all 'learned' something from it - which I guess was the purpose.

Never the less,  I will be happy to get back to working on the wheel. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A birthday breakfast...

Our oldest son's birthday is today.  We had a 'get-together' with cake and ice-cream yesterday evening. But this morning I made a birthday breakfast.  Sunday breakfasts were common when DH and I were working full time. But now that we're retired, we sometimes go out for breakfast or just get by with toast and coffee. However, there are days when I get the urge to cook something special.  You know how that is... maybe it's a chocolate nut scone day or pecan or blueberry waffle day.  Today it was scrambled eggs, bacon, and apple walnut bread!

And our youngest son and his wife are expecting their first in the next few weeks. So Thanksgiving this year is taking on a whole new meaning. 

I love Sunday mornings.  Actually I love Saturday mornings too.  Maybe because when I was in the 'work world' these days weren't always available. Working in the Veterinary field for 20 years, Saturdays were a normal workday and occasionally it was necessary to work Sundays too. So-oo when Saturdays and Sundays became available as 'free days', I was ecstatic... and possibly still am. Even though all days can be free in these retirement years, I choose to take classes, run errands, and do necessary things during the week, leaving my Saturdays and Sundays for 'whatever'. 

This 'whatever' can be anything from artsy endeavors (sketching, photography, watercolor, clay, writing stories, etc.) to watching an old movie, reading a good book, going to grandson's soccer game, baking a new recipe, or just sleeping the day away with my cats (who are excited and all join me on the bed when I do this).  I am never bored.  But I do worry about the day when for whatever reason (age, physical or mental changes) this sad state of mind should overtake me.  I have seen it in people... and know that it can be debilitating.

However, today is today and that's a good thing.  So enjoy your day and thanks for reading my rambling thoughts...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Simple snapshot of my life...

Maine chest that we use for coffee table (cluttered)
 I happen to be going through some photos online today when I came across this one taken one night a few weeks (?) ago.  At the time I was sitting on the sofa watching TV, reading a book, and playing with my iphone (I multi-task...) when I snapped this pic of our cluttered coffee table (which is an old wooden chest I picked up in Maine the summer '2000). As you can see, Julie was lying among my knitting, sketch books, and graham crackers.  As I looked at the photo, it hit me like a reality check... this is a simple snapshot of my life.

Isn't it funny how certain pictures, scenes, etc. can invoke feelings? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

25 piece hand-built pottery project...

birdhouse consists of exactly 25 individual pieces

Due to the fact that I was the only one who actually had their project finished this morning, our Instructor gave everyone until Monday to finish. So-oo, I don't have any photos of the other projects at this time. But I should by Monday... hopefully. Normally the greenware would be fired before adding the perches and wood columns, but we had to show our work in its entirty at this stage.  Later, I will fire and glaze, then add the either stained or painted wood perches and columns.

Here is another view showing the words "Home Sweet Home" etched on the walls. 

Now back to our retirement topic from yesterday.  I'm probably too tired this evening to make much sense, but after reading the comments that showed up on my blog, I feel pretty confident that we are basically all in the same boat (and it doesn't seem to matter where we live).  Since most of us are already into our retirement years, saving now is moot (well, not entirely, but pretty much).  If there isn't much coming in, how do you save?  Unless one wants to go back into the work force? I, for one, am not there yet .

So-oo what do we do? We use what money we do have carefully - meaning meet our obligations and ensure for possible future medical emergencies by having adequate insurance. Will that be enough? Who knows.  But I choose to think of it as Plan A - live within our means.  If it doesn't work, then we'll go to Plan B - which could entail either or both of us going back to work in some capacity... or heavens forbid, moving in with our kids! (just joking.. our kids are wonderful, but have no plans on imposing on them) 

And unforseen events could happen, but when they do, I will engage philosophy #1 - "what is, is and we can handle it."

Then there's always the ACT philosophy:

1. A...  Accept the things you cannot change.
2. C...  Choose to envision the way you'd like things to be (and be realistic).
3. T...   Take action towards that vision. 

Also for me, the most significant factor about retirement is the 'freedom' it brings.  This is terribly important... more so than having money to travel or splurge. Our whole lives are spent doing things that need to be done because we have an agenda.... study hard & get through school, get a good job, raise a family, etc. etc. NOW these things have been accomplished, and we 'own our own time' as it were. 

We can now do what we want to do (example: relax and enjoy the family we raised (children, grandchildren, etc. ), take pottery classes, fly fishing, whatever! Yes, I've always wanted to try fly fishing, weird, huh?  Maybe we can't take a vacation around the world, but who cares?  There are wonderful things all around us... if we take the time to look (and wonderful online friends who share their adventures and lives in blogs and photos).   Choose to be happy.  

That reminds me.  There is one other quote that I will share here. I read it somewhere years ago and it 'spoke' to me. 

"Beyond the gloom of this world lies joy...  take joy."   I did.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

So much to say... so little time.

Brother-in-law's yard in Louisiana

This picture has nothing to do with my post this morning, just wanted to add some interest.  I'm starting this post late as I've been trying to read all of yours.  And they have been really great - which is why I'm so late getting around to my own.  But I have to leave for Yoga in a few minutes, so I may start this now and continue later this afternoon.

We have a "Clay Project" due in class tomorrow and I've been a bit crazy getting it all together. It's not our usual throwing on the wheel stuff (which I prefer), but rather something our Instructor came up with. We have to put together a 25 (not 24 or 26, but 25 exactly) piece clay structure, then draw up the assembly instructions (similar to Ikea plans), then cut out a second set of clay pieces, house them in a wet box, and give them to a partner along with the instructions for them to assemble on their own (no verbal instructions allowed). Ha!  The assembly instructions are considered part of the 'art' and must co-ordinate with the project. It's due tomorrow.  Should be interesting...   I'll take some pictures of the various creations in case any of you are curious.

And one of the posts I read today brought up so many thoughts regarding 'worries about retirement' (our own and our kids), that my thoughts are spinning. I'm a firm believer that our lives are a product of our choices (both good and bad) and it's not so much what happens to you, but how you handle it that really matters. Yes, we all come from different backgrounds, but I think the majority of people are the same. We studied, we worked, we took care of our families. We tried to save (what's the saying, 'one step forward, 2 steps back), and now we're in that long awaited phase called 'retirement'.  Were we financially and emotionally prepared? Probably not.  We're not as prepared as we should have been, but then I'm sure that many aren't.  Can we handle day to day expenses? Yes. Do we worry about the future? Yes. Can we travel extensively? No. Does it matter? Not really.  Are we happy? Yes.

I could go on, but I've got to go for now.  Will continue this later today... or tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chocolate Tea...

I'm sitting here drinking chocolate tea and waiting to leave for my Yoga class.  My friend and I bought this particular loose tea at a Quilt Fair recently and I had never taken the time to try it.  It's actually very good... mild pleasant chocolate taste. The booth that sold it was all about "Tea" with small samples, cute paraphernalia,  and info on Tea magazines and Shops.  Very cute. 

As you can probably tell, I do like tea... black tea, green tea, hot tea, iced sweet tea, etc.  And I love tea cups! Have many (well, a dozen or so...).  And I use them daily.  (I'm a firm believer in "using" what you have... not saving it away for some later date). 

But I'm a coffee lover too (couldn't be born and raised in New Orleans and not love coffee)!  Mostly love it fresh and black, but would probably drink it any which way. 

My messy corner cup cabinet

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Today (Saturday) I made a custard pie, nothing fancy, just a simple custard pie my kids have liked since they were little.  The difference today was that I made it for my grandson.  He liked it too. It's one of those recipes that are so simple, yet good that you forget for a while that you even have them. I've even made this same recipe with fresh pumpkin to make a pumpkin pie. It's a milder form from a regular pumpkin (no spicy taste), but we like it better. AND because it is made with mostly eggs and milk, it makes a great breakfast pie!

Do I need to say more here?  Obviously we LIKE pie!  My very favorite is a dark chocolate cream pie, although I do like a fresh apple pie with home-made crust and melted cheese on top... and I do like buttermilk, and maybe... OK,  enough about pie.

When I started this post, I wanted to ask you readers out there if anyone has a fool-proof favorite recipe for biscuits. I've had many, but none that I was crazy about. I'm going to post one here that I recently cut out of the newspaper for 'Incredible cheese biscuits'.  I will warn you that I haven't tried it yet... but am planning to do so this week.  However, if anyone does have a favorite recipe for light airy biscuits, I'd really appreciate if you'd share it with me... or all of us?

Incredible Cheese Biscuits

2 cups (8oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup sour cream (regular, not lite)
2 cups self-rising flour (or substitute 2 cups all purpose flour mixed with 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1 tsp salt)

Preheat oven to 425F.  Mix all ingredients together and spoon into mini muffin pans a tablespoon at a time.  Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for  5 mins.  Makes about 3 dozen.  Can freeze if desired.

Sounds simple?

Now regarding biscuits... I know (or think I know) that biscuits here in the US are similar to scones 'across the pond'.  I love scones and do have several favorite recipes for these.  But my recipes for scones are generally flavored like lavender scones and chocolate pecan scones. When I was working, my associates loved the lavender scones...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cutest picture ever...

I had to post this photo that I took off a blog I visited a while back. Can't remember the name or I would link to it.  But isn't this the cutest thing you've ever seen?  They are baby bunnies in a tumbler. (If anyone out there remembers where they have seen this, let me know and I will give that blog its credit.)

I probably should have posted this on one of my other blogs that have more to do with animals and/or photos, but alas, I did it here and am too lazy to go back and do it elsewhere.  Maybe I can link it some way to "Older... but better?"  Let's see, eventually these little guys will be older but better bunnies (but not as cute).  Hey, that works for us retirees too, don't you think?

That's the best I can do today for a post. I've already been:  up since 7 am,  to Yoga class, run errands, made chicken enchiladas for supper, and am about to pick up grandson from school in a few minutes.  So I'm about 'done' (or 'done in') for the day.  After that, it'll be home, serve supper, clean up, and pass out while trying to watch the shows I missed last night (Revolution and Castle).  Not exactly exciting, but definitely busy.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Strange dreams...

I had a strange dream last night.  My mom, sister, and brother were in it. They are all deceased and have been for quite a while.  And these dreams are not repeats of past events, but totally new scenarios where they each play a part. Sometimes I realize during the dream that they have passed, sometimes I don't.  Funny thing is that it really doesn't matter. I awake happy for the 'visit'.

Dreams are a mystery to me.  Sometimes they comfort (like these I just mentioned), sometimes they worry you, and sometimes they actually solve a dilemma.  When I was younger I used to have what might be called 'lucid' dreams.  I not only knew I was dreaming, but could kind of direct them and continue them the next night.  Haven't been able to do that in a long time...

I have also had episodes of 'dream travel'.... where you feel like you leave your body and your mind or spirit travels to another place (another geological place).  It's awesome.  The feeling of freedom is amazing (similar to dreams of flying).  This hasn't happened lately (maybe 3 times in my 67 years).  And I don't really care if what is happening is real or all a dream, it's still awesome!

Now that you all consider me a crazy person, I will close this post. Have a great day... and Happy Dreams!!

*borrowed sunset picture from 'Satisfying Retirement' site. Great site! You might want to check it out.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday morning...

my cluttered kitchen window

Good Morning!  Isn't it a gorgeous day?  We've been up since about 7 am., had coffee, made biscuits and bacon for breakfast, DH off to run errands already, son off to work, grandson still sleeping?? (He's 13- so I guess that means 'sleep until noon'?)   So...  I'm reading and catching up on my blogs.  So far I've written a new post for Cats, Coffee, and Chocolate about our visiting possum, and updated my favorite picture blog (Simple Things) with pictures of my grand daughter and her horses, and now this one. 

I didn't have anything special to blog about today so I decided to take some pictures of  'around the house' to see if anything stood out.  Outside of sleeping cats and a sink full of breakfast dishes, the only picture I liked was my 'cluttered kitchen window' (go figure?).  I wish I had some dramatic mountain or ocean scenery, but I don't.  It's Central Texas.  It does have its own beauty, but not necesarily in my backyard.  Although you have to admit, our backyard is a busy place.

Jack on the living room table

Rose in the living room window

 I do plan to make a roast, potatoes, and carrots a little later today. And saved some of the breakfast bacon to add to fresh green beans, onions, and garlic.  And if I get motivated... maybe even a pie with home-made pastry crust?  I love making pies, but DH doesn't seem to care if the crust is home-made or store-bought (Pet-Ritz is pretty good).  But I care.  I love home-made crust! (but it does take time).

Friday, September 21, 2012

Where do you live?

We live in Texas

Ever since I started this blog, I've been meaning to do 'something' to remember where the 'bloggers I read' live.  Some are easy to remember by the pictures of the area they post. Others are generic or (like myself) change their pictures from day to day.  In the beginning when I read just a few, it was easy... but now since I've increased the number (and decreased my brain cells), I'm finding it more difficult. I'll be reading a site and then have to surf over to their 'profile' to check out their home base.  Anyway, now I've started a list that immediately shows me who is from where. Archaic, but hey,  it works for me. 

The picture at the top is one that my son sent me when he was in West Texas doing some amphibian research for the Dallas Zoo. I figure it might help people remember that WE LIVE IN TEXAS.

I know that I post a lot of pictures of New Orleans because that is where DH and I were born and raised (and our family is still there), but we've lived in Texas since 1971 and raised our kids here. That should qualify us for honorary Texas residents, don't you think?  (BTW, my oldest son was born in New Orleans, daughter in Florida, and youngest son in Texas - we stopped moving after that...)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dancing as fast as I can...

I'm still trying to 'catch up' since being gone last week.  Have read almost all the blogs I missed... but haven't had time to comment on all.  Hopefully I will be back on track in the next few days.

My pottery classes are already in critiques and that along with Yoga classes (as well as picking up my grandson after school) is keeping me hoppin'.  I need a nap! 

Oh well, I'll survive...

Am behind on a bunch of things like a dental cleaning, eye exam, mammogram, etc. - but only by about 2 months.  Hope to get it all in before December. 

BTW, I did get to go to youngest grandson's first soccer game a week ago.  It was great!  The 5 year olds are so cute.   Here are a few pics.  GS is the dark haired one on the far left.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

95th Birthday!... no, not mine

Beignets and Cafe Aulait - Again!  This time in Baton Rouge.

DH and I just returned from another trip to Louisiana. This time to Ethel, La... a little town outside of Baton Rouge.  DH's mom had her 95th birthday this past week.  She is doing well, still lives in her house, and gets around fairly well with her walker (when she remembers to use it).  Her mind is sharp, but her body is failing... which I guess at 95 is expected.  But as she says, "it's frustrating" because the things she likes to do (gardening, cooking, walking, taking care of her cats and the outside birds) has become increasingly difficult. She can no longer drive and dislikes being dependent on others. And she's "tired".

What can you say? I know all this is true and I feel helpless. She has wonderful family nearby that keep close tabs on her and try to involve her in activities, but as she says, she doesn't enjoy needing all this help. She does feel grateful that she has lived this long, but she misses her friends who have all passed on. I can relate (on the friends' issue).  I have lost my mom, dad, and both siblings over the years. And this past summer I lost a very dear friend.  She was 86 and had lived a long happy (for the most part) life.  But I still miss her.

BTW, the photo at the top is beignets and cafe aulait at a place in Baton Rouge. The cafe aulait was good, but the smaller beignets just didn't do the ones in New Orleans justice. We're LSU graduates (class of '68 ) and try to visit our old haunts whenever we're in town. (Usually eat at Mike Anderson's, but this time tried Pairran's- cajun for godfather.  Had poboys and gumbo!) LSU's campus is covered with huge old oak trees.  Most of the limbs touch the ground these days (whether this is from age or hurricanes I'm not sure). But I have to say that even all these years later, the campus is still beautiful.

We stayed at DH's brother's house outside of Houston on our way home so we could watch the LSU-Idaho game (score was 62-14) Saturday night.  Wasn't much of a game...

DH's brother's cat

Friday, September 7, 2012

Back at it... yoga and pottery

"I meditate, I do Yoga, I chant...
and I still want to smack someone"

This morning I started taking Yoga again!  Used to take it years ago and loved it, but had to quit after surgery made it hard for me to stretch for a while.  And then the problem became finding a time that didn't interfere with my pottery classes.  This year I've done it!  Pottery on MW and Yoga on TTh.  Of course I always end up on the pottery wheel or in the studio 4 - 5 days a week (it's addictive) playing around with the clay in some way or other. 

Last class we made Black Birds (need 400 of them - in all stages of flight - for a combined art project).  Think they're going to have this display of a flock somewhere on the campus later in the year. After this we'll split off into our own individual projects. Haven't decided what I'm going to work on yet... but it'll definitely be 'on the wheel' as this is where I need the practice. Hand sculpturing is fun, but wheel work takes time.  So I'm hoping to take the time this year to devote to it.  Have only been at it for 2 years, so as the country and western song goes, "I'm not as good as I'm going to get, but I'm better than I used to be".  The picture here was on a card DH gave me today that he found while waiting at the hospital for me to get some test results.  It was funny AND it looks so much like our cat, Ghost... such a happy face. 

And keeping this post on a light note, I'm going to add a simple household picture... nothing important just a little part of my life.  This is one of my favorite cups. I like cups and saucers and have collected a few that I use for tea (or coffee).   Perhaps some of you collect things that for whatever reason... make you happy...  or have a story behind them? 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New turtle in town...

We have a new turtle... or at least one we don't recognize.  The one little male that we usually recognize has been marked with a tiny red heart on the far back of his shell.  This one I quickly ran out and marked with 2 tiny red stripes on the right side of his shell (see them?)... and I rewarded him with a strawberry. They like to come up and eat the dry cat food, but they also like figs and strawberries.

The 3 young black feral kittens were fascinated with him and kept surrounding him, but would run away when I got too close.  However, this black female who has been in and out our yard for years, came right up and checked him out.  She didn't seem to mind that I was taking pictures. 

Now I have to send this picture to my grand daughter who has a 'thing' for turtles.  She also has her own turtle website and club. As of this summer, she now owns 3 African dessert tortoises, one Red-foot, one Eastern Box turtle (that is from our yard), and 3 Red Sliders (not to mention 3 horses, 2 dogs, 3 cats, and at one time a squirrel, several toads, and 2 alpaca).  Yes, she has inherited my gene for loving all critters big and small.

I will close this today with one more picture of the raccoons that frequent our yard.  They come every morning and evening (and occasionally in the middle of the day), look in the back door (as you can see) and scratch and knock on it until DH goes out and puts more food in the plates. Last night there were 17 of them (most are mamas and their babies).  We really don't want to encourage them, but we do put catfood out for the ferals and don't discriminate. (It's similar to the squirrels and the bird feeders - all are welcome).

Our backyard is a certified wildlife habitat and even though we live in a suburban neighborhood, it is on a creek with a greenback and floodplain... thus, the abundance of critters.