Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Backwards, turn backward...

I read a post yesterday where someone was reminiscing about their childhood.  It  made me think of an old poem I loved.  It was called "Rock me to sleep" by Elizabeth (Akers) Allen.

Rock Me to Sleep

Backward, turn backward, O Time in your flight
Make me a child again just for tonight!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore;
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care, 
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair;
Over my slumbers your loving watch keep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

I believe this poem was written by someone whose time had come to  pass from this world... and although the entire poem is poignant, the first stanza is what remained with me over the years. The rest of the poem follows:

Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!
I am so weary of toil and of tears,
Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,
Take them, and give me my childhood again!
I have grown weary of dust and decay,
Weary of flinging my soul's wealth away;
Weary of sowing for others to reap;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue,
Mother, O mother, my heart calls for you!
Many a summer the grass has grown green,
Blossomed and faded, our faces between:
Yet with strong yearning and passionate pain,
Long I tonight for your presence again.
Come from the silence so long and so deep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

Over my heart in the days that have flown,
No love like mother-love ever has shone;
No other worship abides and endures,
Faithful, unselfish, and patient like yours:
None like a mother can charm away pain
From the sick soul and the world-weary brain.
Slumber soft calms o'er my heavy lids creep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

Come, let your brown hair, just lighted with gold,
Fall on your shoulders again as of old;
Let it drop over my forehead to-night,
Shading my faint eyes away from the light;
For with its sunny-edged shadows once more
Haply will throng the sweet visions of yore;
Lovingly, softly, its bright billows sweep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

Mother, dear mother, the years have been long
Since I last heard your lullaby song:
Sing, then and unto my soul it shall seem
Womanhood's years have been only a dream.
Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace,
With your light lashes just sweeping my face,
Never hereafter to wake or to weep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

This poem still brings tears to my eyes.  How many of us would love to have that feeling of love, peace, and protection returned if just for an instant as a child in our mother's arms... 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday after Christmas 2014...

Grandkids Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014 is over and New Year's 2015 is upon us. This picture of the grandkids was taken Saturday evening by my daughter with her iPhone.  We are missing one grandchild, Caden, who was here earlier but ran off to run errands with his dad. It is increasingly difficult to get a picture of all of them together... or even all of my kids and their families together. They each have their own lives and we seem to get them in shifts. But at least we did get to see all of them. Youngest one was down with a fever Christmas Eve and Christmas day... so we didn't see her until Saturday when the fever was gone. But all in all, it was a very nice Christmas. And I'm thankful for that. 

But I will say that there's this 'after Christmas' slump that I seem to get every year. After being in high gear (which is definitely not my normal mode) for weeks before Christmas; getting all the decorations up, house cleaned, gifts bought and wrapped, goodies sent out, and all the food prepared.... then the rush of Christmas day and weekend... then suddenly it just all stops. It's Monday and I feel strange.... like I don't know what to do.... and don't have to do anything. This is good in one way as I can rest, but kind of disheartening in another. Weird?

We won't take Christmas down until next weekend. That's our tradition. With all the prep, we might as well enjoy it as long as we can. 

The inside cats enjoyed their goodies too. They got a *cat crunchy bag* as well as an assortment of new mice and puffy balls. While they were sent to their restricted area (our bedroom and bath) when everyone was here (they tend to like to run across tables set with crystal, etc.), they were well compensated with treats for this indignity. In this picture above, Ghost has buried herself in the blankets on our bed.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I will spend part of this day reading your blogs posted this past week and catching up.

Have a Safe Happy New Year 2015! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

just a thought... and a few pics

Tuesday DH and I went to see the movie, "Mockingjay" Part One. It was pretty good. Having read The Hunger Games series a few years back, I was interested to see how well they depicted the story. My imagination almost always wins over the actual movie production, but this one wasn't bad. However, it's interesting to note that an awful lot of the stories (The Giver, The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze - and many more) all take a very dismal view of the world's future. I wonder why that is. Is it a sign of things to come? Or possibly a sign of where young minds are going to find excitement in a world where technology has taken over our lives.

Not that I'm complaining. I love my iPhone as much as the next guy.  And I really would miss this opportunity to communicate through this blog. Guess I'm a firm believer that we need to keep up with the technology... at least to a point. While I do do Facebook, I use it mainly to swipe family pics that are posted and to check in occasionally to see what's going on with friends and family. And I have never done Twitter... and am not sure of it's merits - nor Instagram.

But I would like to see a movie with a much better (more optimistic, more altruistic?) view of the future. I'm not a Pollyanna and I don't expect that we will cure world hunger or completely stop wars, etc. But you would think that with all the wonders of technology at our fingertips (so to speak), we would eventually cure Cancer, stop Ebola, slow down Alzheimer's and maybe put a dent in world hunger, etc. Just a thought.

And I also wonder why I'm not so taken with computer games when so many actually are... or as an older adult not interested in gambling casinos, etc. again when so many are. It's not that I don't care for fiction (like portrayed in computer games) as I love reading fiction. I actually love reading almost anything... but fiction is probably my favorite. Don't know why. Although if I had to come up with a reason I would probably say it's because it amazes me what our imaginations can come up with and I like visualizing other possibilities.

BTW, our 2 little black kittens that live (for the most part) in our front yard are enjoying their Charlie Brown tree we put out there. I hung an ornament on it and came back from the movie to find they had not only knocked the tree over getting it off, but must have played with it on the walk enough to break it (it was glass... stupid of me). Now I've swept up the glass and replaced the ornament with an unbreakable one.

Braveheart in basket on front porch
(taken with cell phone through window)

More pictures of our cats in holiday spirit... (kind of)

Tux in Santa cap ("really mom???")

Molly in Christmas collar... ("whatever...")

Ghost in Christmas scarf thinking.... ("WTF?")

Julie getting ready to attack singing mouse
(I had to take about 6 pics before she would settle down and stop hitting him)

And last of all  this pic I took in the parking lot of Walmart as we were getting in our car. The cart area was covered in birds and as I took the picture, some flew off... but still it's a strange shot... and I like it (although I don't know why). So I thought I'd share. 

Have a great Christmas week! And stay warm and safe!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

a minor set-back...

For whatever reason, my migraines decided to haunt me these last 2 days. Eyes went wonky yesterday morning... took a pill... laid down in the dark... up again and started baking.  Eyes went wonky again a little later, but got by without pill.  It's unusual for it to come back once it's gone.

These *elderly* migraines are a lot different from the awful head bangers I used to have at a younger age. Those usually sent me to the emergency room for a shot of Demoral or a Tylenol 4 with codeine... and they always lasted a day or two.  But these last few years they've developed into *ocular* migraines - the aura of light is still there and my eyes go wonky - can't see straight - but luckily they don't last too long (maybe 20-30 minutes) and even if I'm left with a dull headache, it's nothing like they used to be. I always figured it was one of the *good things about aging*. 

The trouble is that they come more frequently... not the 2-3 times a year as in the past, but now almost every 2 weeks. This one yesterday was unusual in that it returned twice and then later last night my head hurt above my right eye... so much so that I ended up getting my cold head wrap and wrapping it tightly around my head. But by about 3 am, I gave up and took another pill. 

Someone said that I should go visit the Neurologist because of the increase in frequency, but he'll want to run a MRI, then probably tell me something I don't want to hear... or put me on meds. I'd like to try to do without that as long as possible. The pill I take now that seems to work is only a 500mg Tylenol.  It's actually the only med I take... and I try not to take it too often.

Anyway, I finally got a good bit of my baking done today. Will continue tomorrow and hopefully get to mail out by Thursday. We also got our Christmas cards (with Jack's pic) yesterday, so I can include it with our Christmas goodies.

I love sending off packages of Christmas goodies. Don't really know if family and friends enjoy getting them, but I always did. My MIL (bless her soul, she's 97 now and no longer bakes) used to mail us these huge boxes of home-made pralines, candies, cookies, etc. and we were always so excited to get them.  So I try to continue the tradition. So far I've made whiskey balls, pecan tassies, PB chocolate chip cookies, Christmas tea cakes, and chocolate pecan graham cracker bark. Tomorrow I will do espresso shortbread and rum cakes. If there's time, I may do some trash cookies... which have chocolate, pretzels, and nuts in them. 

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

all clear now to Christmas...

It's the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Black Friday is over (didn't participate)... and the weekend is here clear and sunny. Time to start baking those Christmas cookies to mail out. I always feel that now it's clear sailing till Christmas day. Of course it means shopping, cooking, and cleaning/decorating the house and the tree for the big day. I'm OK with that.

We had Thanksgiving at our oldest son's house this year. This was a first that we didn't have it here at home. But it was great... since we just had everyone over here for grandson's 16th birthday dinner the week before, it worked out well to have it elsewhere. Food was delicious. Company was great. As usual we had way too much food, but hey, it means we could all divy it up and not have to cook for a few days! Another great.

Friday was also youngest grand daughter 's 2 year old birthday. She had a party with an *Elmo* theme (she loves Elmo) with friends and family. DH couldn't attend as he has developed a coughy sneezy miserable cold this week. It started Wednesday and we thought it might just be allergies as he didn't feel too bad on Thursday, but by Friday morning, he had almost completely lost his voice. So he stayed home from the birthday party Friday and drank hot tea, gargled, used nasal sprays, and slept. He seems a bit better today.

This morning we went to pick up our tree. Here it is... un-decorated, but here!

xmas tree 2014
It's about 8-9 feet... not as tall as some we've had, but as you can see it almost reaches the ceiling in that corner. DH and I have *downsized* a bit since the kids are not always around to help us get it up... and we're (let's see how to put this... ) not as *strong* as we used to be (didn't say *young* but you get the picture). We tried a few years ago to go to an artificial tree (some really do look real), but ended up sending  it back... just really missed the smell of Christmas... and the cats love the real trees. 

Molly made it to another Christmas! She's 21 and counting... and she is really doing well. She moves a little slower and sleeps a little more - but don't we all?  

Molly and sneaky snake

We watched an old  movie last night... not old, old.... but we'd seen it before. I think it was called "Parental Guidance" with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. It's about grandparents going to take care of their grandkids for a week... and the grandparents are totally tech-handicapped (I'd say computer illiterate, but now it takes more than just computers - no Facebook, pokes, Twittering, hash tags, etc.) Truth be told, if you're going to have any kind of relationship with the younger generation, you have to know a little about it all - to have some common ground. But  IMO the movie shows how both generations add to the mix and neither have the monopoly on healthy relationships. 

It's Sunday morning now. DH had a bad night of coughing. He moved himself to the den where he could try to sleep upright in his chair.  I woke up with a head-ache, but it's better now that I'm up and had some breakfast (and snuck in a little coffee - which I'm not supposed to be drinking anymore because of the acid). Anyway, the morning has progressed and I've started baking Christmas cookies today...

Have a wonderful weekend!

(Question:  Does this font seem too small?  It's called *normal*, but large seems to jump to really big... and it feels like I'm yelling when I use it.  Could just be me... being my *introverted* self. I read John's post (Reflections) on Introverts and if I ever wondered, that convinced me.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

a box of kittens... brings on memories

One of the blogs I read posted this picture and I thought it so adorable that I had to re-post it!   The kitten in the far top left reminds me so much of our Ghost when she was a kitten.

These three pics are from Ghost's *early kitten* days. She loved to play with Julie (who is still our most playful cat). Memories...

Ghost now

And speaking of memories... we lost our beloved Jack this past year. He was only 10 and had fought the good fight with Feline Leukemia for 6 years. He will be forever in our hearts and minds. We wanted to do something in memory of him this Christmas and although we did get an ornament with his picture for our tree... decided to put his picture on our Christmas cards this year. He was such a handsome fellow.

Jack is at top right
Jack is *middle* (see the black nose)
Jack on left
Jack and his brother Tux

Jack with toy rabbit
Jack in box at Christmas

Jack and his brother Tux

Jack - forever in our hearts

 a short walk down memory lane...   =^..^=

Saturday, November 22, 2014

catching up...

No, this is not my youngest grand daughter... although when my daughter saw it and sent it, we both had to look twice (this is the way that my grand daughter looks when she squeezes her cat).  However, I think this child is older than 2... but adorable just the same. It did remind me of pics of my oldest grand daughter when she was very young (she's now 13 - going on 18).

Oldest grand daughter when she was 4

I find it hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas a few weeks after that. You'd think that after all these years, it wouldn't surprise me how fast winter and the holidays set in. We had some pretty cold days (for Texas) this past week. But of course it's warmed up a bit since. 

Never-the-less, it's apparent that another cold winter is upon us. And I have to say that I'm not looking forward to it. But I am grateful that we live where we do and don't get the really heavy snowfalls and icy conditions like some places. It may  be beautiful... but my southern soul would have a hard time surviving.

I've missed reading blogs and posting lately as grandkids' birthdays have taken precedence. Our oldest grand daughter just turned 13 and spent some time here in Dallas with us in October. Our oldest grandson just  turned 16 and we celebrated at our house this past week with a big batch of red beans and rice as well as bread pudding with whiskey sauce! And next week, our youngest grand daughter will turn 2!  So... life has kept us busy... keeping up with them.

Our inside cats react to the cold as do I and are either cuddled up next to the Aga, by the fireplace, or curled up on a blanket on our bed. The outside ferals have taken shelter either on the back porch where DH has installed heat lamps or in the front corner of our house where we have placed heaps of hay, or in the garage (which we have locked, but leave about 6 inches open so that some of them can find warmth in the hay or blankets inside).

We have one mama that has brought her 2 young kittens to the front corner. They look to be about 6 weeks old. Most of the other kittens are older (born in the Spring) and these tend to huddle together in baskets or under the heat lamps on the porch. We have one mama that has always preferred the garage. She seems to think it's her own personal haven... and can be found settled in a mound of hay in a wheel barrel almost any time of day or night.

It is unbelievable how much snow some areas up north have had this week! I can't imagine how the rooftops are not all collapsing and pipes bursting... not to mention how difficult it must be to get around anywhere. The pictures on the news of all that snow are absolutely amazing... and more than a bit frightening.

But... it is time to take down the Halloween decorations and start putting up Christmas ones (actually one of our neighbors already have their Christmas house lights on...)  Usually we get our tree the day after Thanksgiving and start putting up the live garlands not long after that. I do like the smell of Christmas in the house. And the inside cats of course love the tree! It's their own personal cat toy.

Julie and her mouse on kitchen chair

Tux helping me knit...

Oh... and Happy Thanksgiving!  (Just in case I don't get back here before then)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

a new toy...

my new toy

Yes, I have a new toy!  It's one I've wanted for a long time, but didn't want to spend the money. Well, the other day when I was making cookies for my grandkids, I realized that stiff dough is really hard on the arms/shoulders... (never used to be, guess it's another boon to aging?). So I made the comment to DH that I'd better think about getting one of those mixers before too long (not really considering doing it anytime soon). 

BUT... the next time we went walking over at the mall, we popped in and had a look at them and their prices (still too high). Then not a few days later I got an email saying that they were having one of their 20% off for only the next 2 days sale.... THAT AND the mixer I wanted (The blue Artisan) was $50 off online and there was a GIFT WITH PURCHASE of a large clear glass mixing bowl that ran through Nov. 1st. Well, it was too good to pass up... so we got it. And I love it! (Just thought I'd share my excitement - I am considering it my early Christmas present).

Now a comment about Halloween:  We only had about a dozen kids drop by... and these mostly in the 2 - 10 age range. Some were really cute. We had 2 little girls that were maybe 2 that came really early on - one was dressed as a little troll, the other as a tiny fireman (fire-woman?). They were adorable. We had our lights on, but later when we walked outside to look around the neighborhood, most of our neighbors didn't. I guess the door-to-door thing is going out of popularity. I really don't think it's a good idea myself - these days.  My youngest grand daughter who will be 2 next month was a black kitty.  They took her to a friend's house for a Halloween party and then to just a few houses to trick-or-treat.  She really took to the ringing of doorbells to get candy.  I think she wanted to continue this practice after Halloween was over...

Youngest grand daughter

Youngest grand daughter and friend

Youngest grandson

And I've also decided to give Nanowrimo another try. I've done it many times in years past, but skipped it the last few years. If you don't know what this is, just check out and it will explain. I only do it because it *makes* me write daily and that gets my juices going. Sometimes it takes a few days to even prime the pump... so I just start writing and see where it leads.

This morning DH and I are sitting here at home awaiting the rain forecast. We really need the 2 inches promised, but although it did get dark and windy for a little while, there's not been a whole lot of percipitation yet to speak of.  

Have a wonderful week! I may not get back to posting for a bit... but will eventually. 

... and yes, we both voted in the early voting! =^..^=

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween 2014!!

one of our black feral *Halloween* cats

Happy Pumpkin Pie Day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween 2014 is approaching...

Happy Halloween 2014!

As most of you know from my blogs, we're very fond of cats here... especially black cats... especially this little black cat! (our youngest grand daughter)

She is also very fond of cats herself as you can see from this video: 

And her mom said that she insisted her toenails be painted for Halloween too! (I am glad that she painted them pink and not black...)

such tiny precious toes...

As Halloween gets closer, I'm getting ready to bake my Pumpkin Custard Pie.  DH has been wanting pie ever since we started this SB diet. It's gone rather well... although with 2 birthdays and Halloween, it has had it's setbacks. But I will make the pie tomorrow as it is tradition here at our house.

And our oldest son just spent a few days down in New Orleans for his birthday. They should be back any day now and I'm anxious to hear of their adventure. I hinted at some of my favorite haunts when I'm there (but it's my home-town so I look at it differently). I recommended Cafe Du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait, Tujaques for po-boys, Central Grocery for Italian seed cookies as well as mufalattas and stuffed artichokes, Jackson Square and the Cathedral, walking along the Mississippi river, the Aquarium, Aunt Sally's, Court of Two Sisters, Pat O'Brien's and Preservation Hall. These should keep them busy in the French Quarter for a few days.

beignets and cafe au lait

Italian sesame seed cookies

* I enlarged my font here also. Do you think it's too big? I can make it back to normal which is this size... what do you think? *

Also our neighborhood has had a rash of *solicitors* (some of whom haven't been very polite) lately. DH and I do not open our front door unless we know the person standing there. We have a camera out front. But listening to some of our neighbors texts lately, we decided to put out a "no soliciting" sign. There are quite a few of them on Etsy, but we chose one that mentioned "to smile at the camera".  Once it arrives, I will post a picture of the one we chose.

And lastly I saw this recently on Pinterest and had a good laugh! This hasn't happened to our black feral mamas yet... that I know of anyway.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

cats are such a big help...

Where's the good stuff?

These smell interesting...

As you can see our cats have always enjoyed grocery day. Julie likes to check out everything from the counter level, whereas the others are lying about on the kitchen floor either playing with the bags or trying to get their fat selves stuffed into one. I always tell them that they are a big help (whereas DH tends to tell them that they're "A PAIN IN THE A..." - but he does it affectionately).  I've had to cut the handles of many a plastic bag that Ghost has slipped her head into in order to keep her from getting caught and running about the house in a major panic as the *monster bag* hangs onto her. 

This morning I was putting together a few packages to mail out and Tux was with me in the computer room *helping* of course.  He is such a sweet boy... but gets his feelings hurt quite easily. 

When I went over to work on the computer, he immediately jumped up and grabbed my chair. If it were possible to type around him, I would... but it isn't. He's a big cat and doesn't ever sit still. He keeps circling my lap, slapping at the keys, trying to pull my hands towards him, etc. It's not that he doesn't get enough attention, but he's one that always needs more.

Come on... sit down, mom

and then when I hid behind the back (it's a high back swivel chair), he jumped up to find me!

You didn't fool me, mom

No, they don't fool easily.  Well, I've got to actually go and take the home-made granola out of the oven. My timer just dinged! This is straight out of oven. Has to cool for about 45 mins to an hour. It hardens as it cools. Then I'll break it into edible pieces. The maple syrup makes the house smell so-oo good. And all the toasted nuts (almonds, macadamia, and cashews) smell pretty good too.

And one more pic before I go on to do something constructive.  Ghost is lying on the bed with her puppy. I have to get a picture of that. But you can tell from her face that I'm *intruding*...

beat it, mom...

Have a great Sunday!!

Oops! Rose just jumped on bed. She used to be a huge cat, but now that she's 21, she's not so big anymore. We used to tease the other cats that if they weren't careful, Rose would sit on them. Now that's not much of a threat.