Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013...

grand baby bat

Hi Everyone!  Happy Halloween!  Actually I'm not much of a Halloween person.  I know some, like my DIL,  love Halloween with the decorations and the costumes, etc.  I'm not that person.  It's OK for the kids to come by and Trick or Treat and I do put out a Pumpkin and a few ghosts, ravens, etc.(and heavens know, DH buys enough Snickers, Kit Kats, etc. to feed an army) - but I've just never been fond of the whole idea.  For one, I don't like people ringing your doorbell at night.  Yes, for Halloween I do make an exception, but still... 

Anyway, my feelings are beside the point, as the kids like it.  It can be fun. It used to be fun... when life was different. Now I think everyone is safer with the churches, schools, etc. having parties and not doing the 'door to door' thing.  (Just my opinion)

Anyway, we had another visit to the Vet's this week... but not for Jack.  Jack, as usual, has rallied again and is eating well.  This time it was for Ghost, our little gray cat with the genetic kidney probs.  However, it wasn't her kidneys.  She developed a rash on her back and since I've never seen any skin probs with my cats, I panicked.  As the case was, she had somehow come across some fleas (now our cats never go outside... so we don't get this... but I suppose DH could bring them in from mowing the lawn or something? - or possibly when we took the little feral  kitten that was screaming outside our bedroom window about a month ago inside for a little while before we brought him over to the adoption center, we could have brought in a prob?  He was only inside a short time and we kept him in a box in the bathroom.... but who knows.  Anyway, we treated all the cats... just in case. It cost us another small fortune, but we were glad to know that Ghost didn't have a serious skin prob.

Now talking about 'skin'.  DH and I went for our first ever Dermatology appointment this week.  With all the doctors we already have; Family Physician, Dentist, Eye dr, Eye specialist, Oncologist, OB/Gyn, etc. we now have a Dermatologist (my Oncologist recommended his). A good friend of ours has 2 family members with Melanoma, so we decided maybe it would be a good idea to have things checked out.  It was definitely an interesting experience.  She was very nice and very thorough.  As it turned out, she removed 4 moles from me that she considered 'questionable' which will be sent off to biopsy... and one on DH's face. I've put off doing this for a long time as my philosophy (which is a result of my BC) is that one is well until someone tells them that they aren't. 

Well, that's enough for today.  I have some errands to run before the Halloween Trick or Treaters start their rounds.  And if I have time, I usually make DH a custard pumpkin pie for Halloween.  Have fun!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Do you know what a Horologist is....

It's Saturday afternoon here in Dallas, Texas and DH and I are waiting for our 'clock repairman' to arrive.  We have an old grandfather clock (a Trend) that went out of business back in the 80's (I believe).  Well, we love the old thing (almost as much as our Aga) and have been blessed with listening to it's chimes (the complete 'ding, dong, dong, ding', 'hear the chimes ring', 'from the high tower', 'strikes on the hour') for about 35 years.  Recently... it stopped.

DH went to wind it up and it chimed once, then just STOPPED.  We were floored. Had something broken?  Do clocks have a life-span?  So... we went to the Clock Shop nearby and spoke to a lovely man who knew quite a lot about clocks (altho he was quick to say that he wasn't a Horologist). But his shop had just come from the Dallas State Fair and they had sold quite a few grandfather clocks there... so the place was full of  *sold* and *to be sold* clocks.  Beautiful! We talked for a while and then decided to have their Horologist come out today and take a look.  He will give us an estimate of what it will take to get the ol' boy working again.  Now there's a good chance that we won't be able to go ahead with the repair until sometime next year... not with the holidays and taxes looming.  But that's OK.... at least we'll know if it's fixable.

We both really miss the chimes... especially during the night when I'd awake and could tell exactly what time it was without thinking. Now I will say that everyone is not fond of this.  Sometimes the kids would spend the night and say that the chimes wake them up...  not the grandkids (nothing wakes them up), but our own kids who basically grew up with the clock... whatever (now I know that some people don't like the use of this 'whatever'... but it's better than the more timely 'WTF'... don't you think?)

not a great pic, but the only one I could find at the moment...
It is now almost 5:30 and our 'clockman' has come and gone.  Guess what? Clocks DO have a lifespan. And it's generally between 25 and 30 years.  We've had ours past this and it has run really well... so we are thankful.  But... the good news is that it can be fixed.  It's not cheap and we can't do it immediately, but he did take the 'works' out (looks so sad without it's innards), and will repair it when we give the OK... probably January or February. So, so much for our excitement for the day... and we learned a new word, "Horologist".

Also... for those of you who know our Jack, I wrote an update on his condition on my "Cats, Coffee, and Chocolate" blog.  He is having a difficult time.  

our Jack

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Quick trip to South Texas...


Sorry if I haven't offered a comment in a while, we've been off visiting relatives in South Texas (and watching football games - LSU/Old Miss, etc.).  I brought my crochet and knitting so that as they watched, I could keep my hands busy.  And of course we ate... snacks, desserts, seafood... lots of seafood! We had a wonderful Red Snapper dish at a restaurant right near the water.

Anyway, we're back now and I'm doing 'catch-up' on everyone's postings this past week and weekend. And of course we're trying to apologize to the cats for leaving them in the hands of our sons for the last few days. They were well taken care of... but are always affronted by our audacity to leave them for any period of time.  It will take a few days of 'extra attention' for them to forgive and forget.

Sunday Cat

This is Sunday Cat... a little flame point Siamese with the prettiest blue eyes.  She is about 2 years old and lives with relatives we were visiting... along with 2 other felines (who stayed hidden for the most part).

And this is the Night blooming Cereus with it's fantastic blooms.  We have had this plant over the years, but have never ever seen multiple blooms like this! We counted 22 blooms all in one night on 2 plants.  It was amazing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

a 3 day post...


I started reading 'A Rather Lovely Inheritance' yesterday.  Have to say that I wasn't impressed with the first chapter or two, but then it sort of took off... and I ended up reading over half the book... about 200 pages before falling asleep. So my report so far is that if you can get through the first few chapters, it gets 'rather' interesting after that. The main character, an American working girl,  inherits a 'rather lovely' old apartment in London and part of a Villa in the French Countryside...  but of course there's drama and conflict involved. Hope that's not a spoiler. But it's engaging as... wouldn't we all like a surprise inheritance like that?

In some ways it's similar to the Aunt Dimity Series by Nancy Atherton.  In that one, the main character inherits an English Cottage in the Cotswold's...  but Aunt Dimity is a cozy mystery series.  (It's plot is even similar to 'Buried in a Bog' which is a new cozy mystery series that involves a young woman inheriting a Pub in Ireland)  These are not heavy reading by any means, but light and enjoyable - the kind I like to read at bedtime.

And surprise! surprise!  DH found a new litter of feral kittens on the side of our house.  From what we can see there are only 2 and they look about 3 weeks old.


DH is off to feed son's cats again (but they should be home by this afternoon).  I'm actually spending this Sunday dusting and sucking up cat hair ( a never ending job with 6 cats).  I would like to spend the day underglazing my chess pieces, but until the sample piece comes out of the kiln, I'm holding off on that.

Plan to make a shepherd's pie for supper, clean and straighten a few rooms, and then continue reading Belmond's next book, " A Rather Curious Engagement".

Jack, Julie, and Rose... hanging out


Went to class this morning and worked on my cylinders.  Getting pretty bored with them... but hopefully my 'muscle memory' is improving.  After class, I headed over to the doctor's and got my flu shot... which pinched a bit, but didn't hurt.  However, later that evening, my arm was killing me.  I always wonder if it's the  actual meds or how or where the injection was given that causes this.  Guess we'll actually never know.  Luckily although it's still painful, it hasn't gotten any worse.

The following are some pics I took when DH and I were doing our 'exercise walk' over at one of the local malls.  The pumpkins were so pretty and this French stove in Williams Sonoma's window was beautiful... too beautiful to actually cook on (IMO).

Have a great week!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

no flu shot...

OK, I didn't get my flu shot this morning. DH did.  I went in and the nurse looked at my scratchy throat, said  that it didn't look bad and I had no fever, so it was up to me.  Since I know that something is going on... either sinus or the beginning of a cold, I decided to reschedule for Monday.  By then, I'll know if whatever this is is on it's way out... or has decided to stick around.  In the meantime I will continue with my salt water nasal spray, gargling with Listerine, and drinking hot tea.

Just finished making a tin of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for grand daughter whose birthday is this coming week.  She will be 12.   Some of the family will be driving down to visit them and I will send these since they are her favorites as well as a few other things. Since she started doing cross country trials and shows, she is into all the Dover and other horse paraphernalia. We used to make it down there for all her birthdays when she was little, but since they plan to be up here for Thanksgiving (next month), we're going to skip this trip. October and November is birthday time for 3 of our 4 grandchildren... so it gets busy... followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This is a video from one of the cross country trials B went to last week.  Some of the girls are there for training and some for the show.  My grand daughter was there this time for training (for both herself and her horse).  They get to run the course and see what it's like.  It is my understanding that if you're actually in the show, you are not allowed to do this. But it's great experience for the younger ones to get to see what a course is like.

Going to mention something here that is against my better judgement.  I usually stay out of politics, but I was listening to some people talk in the pottery studio the other day about the 'government shutdown'.  They were saying that 'it should stay shut down and that the country probably works better without the government interference'.  Personally, I don't understand all that's going on, but it seems to me that if it was going to shutdown, then the people 'who cause or who are calling for' the shutdown should have their paycheck or benefits with-held during this period. That might be an incentive to fix the problem... and sooner rather than later.  And I'm not saying that either side should 'cave'... only that some sort of compromise should be possible. And whether it is or isn't, doing something that actually hurts people and the already struggling economy doesn't seem the way to go. That said, I'm done.

Molly is 20 this year!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

one of those mornings...

Good Morning!  It's Wednesday and I've been up for a bit this morning.  Woke up with a scratchy throat and made some tea, tried to go back to sleep, but couldn't.  Got up and made crude clay jewelry from some left over tile pieces I had from my chess set.  What do you think?  I like this kind of stuff.  I wonder if anyone else would...

Anyway, it gave me something to do at 4 am.

7:20 pm :  Have been to the pottery studio from 9 till 2, lunch, read the paper, napped, supper, now back at the computer and maybe some TV.... (but not much on on Wednesday nights).

Ghost is here helping me with my crochet yarn...

Tux is wanting on my lap...

And that's the news for today.  DH and I are supposed to get our flu shots tomorrow, but don't know if they will give me mine with this scratchy throat.  We'll see.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

a new Halloween Pumpkin...

Box turtle with dry cat food in his mouth...

This turtle (which we dubbed 'Pumpkin') showed up in our yard yesterday going after the dry cat food we put out for the feral cats.  We hadn't seen any turtles in a while and figured it was too hot for them. Now that it's getting cooler, they may start going into hibernation... but I think it's a bit early.  Anyway, we were surprised to see him and dubbed him 'Pumpkin' since we had just put out our huge Halloween pumpkin in the front. And if you look closely you can see the small red mark on his back where I 'touched' him with nail polish.  We do this to recognize him when he turns up again.

DH is in the process of making a huge batch of red beans and rice.  I love his red beans.  It's one of my favorite meals.  We probably won't eat it tonight although the house smells so good, it will be hard not to. I bought some cod on sale at Central Market yesterday and need to cook it tonight... along with some very young fresh asparagus tips.  But we will have the beans for Monday and Tuesday... and I'll probably freeze the rest.  I don't freeze much.  But red beans freeze well and still taste delicious.

Julie in my messy kitchen

I've just started reading some books by C A Belmond.  The first is called "My Rather Lovely Inheritance". My friend got hold of the whole series from Amazon and since she is still reading the Someday Quilts series by O'Donnohue, she gave them to me to start.

This is Ghost with the new series by Belmond.  In the next picture, I spread out the books so you can read their titles.

I haven't gotten very far so I will reserve judgement at this time.  But I was told that they were a good read as well as some other series called 'Ladybug Farm'.... or something like that.  I believe the author is Bell?

And lastly, I did complete the crochet baby blanket that I've been working on.  It is made of big fluffy variegated yarn and is very soft...

Friday, October 4, 2013

blogs I follow... lost again

It's Thursday morning and when I logged in this morning it was apparent that the blogs I follow were gone... again.  They usually turn up at a later date, but I do wonder why this happens. Guess it's just a blogspot glitch?

The new Fall TV programing has started.  Too soon to really make any comments, but it is nice not to have all reruns in the evenings.  I've started watching some new (new to me) BBC programs; Lark's rise to Candleford, Last Tango in Halifax, Death in Paradise, Miss Fischer's Murder Mysteries, Hetty Wainwright Investigates - to name a few.  There's not a lot on TV that I like these days, but it is nice to have 'something' to watch in the evenings.  Most of these BBC programs come on very late at night or very early in the am... so I have to DVR them.

The cats are doing fine... both the inside and outside ones.  I'm making a cat bowl set (food dish and water bowl) for Molly.  She is 20 this year.  And it gives me a little break from making all those cylinders.

I'm also working on glazing my chess set . It's a slow process as there are 64 little tile squares that first need firing (I underglazed them on the greenware. Unfortunately the underglaze I used for these acts more like glaze and will stick if I don't wash the bottom part off - some of the other potters realized this when their work 'stuck together' in a clump). Once they are bisqued, I can then use a clear glaze and fire them again in the oxidation kiln. And I'm thinking about maybe using some color on the chess pieces themselves.  They have only been bisqued so far.  Here's a pic in case you forgot what it looked like as a 'work in progress' last spring.

This picture shows the chess pieces bisqued (the platforms they sit on are underglazed in light and dark greens - these underglazes don't stick), but the tiles under them had not yet been underglazed (they are now in rust and black).  I'm thinking maybe doing the birds a light blue, the dog black, cat white, rat gray, bunny tan, and snake green. What do you think?

And I'm almost finished my second baby blanket.  Gave the first (the basket weaved one)  to my nephew's daughter who is due in December and just had a baby shower last week.  This one is much larger and will be for my grand daughter to use as a toddler blankie.  I'll post a pic once I've got the border done.

DH just popped in here to ask me if I was still making him a peach buttermilk pie this morning.  I told him that I planned to do this before leaving later to meet a friend for lunch. So I may have to put this post on hold for a bit.

OK, pies are made (made a fresh peach buttermilk and a plain custard).  Pork roast is in the oven.  And the blogs I follow are back!!  Hurray!

Friday, October 4th - I didn't get to post this yesterday, so am continuing on today.  Have already been to Central Market for groceries and am now about to meet a friend for lunch.  She is one of my B&N friends... a customer that came by the bookstore several times a week  (and probably still does). We hit it off when I was working there in the mornings and still really enjoy getting together for coffee and conversation.

one of our cats' observation posts