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.