Friday, January 31, 2014

what a difference a day makes...

I'm glad that I like to cook.  Just cooked DH and I an omelet made with bits of bacon, red bell pepper, onion, fresh baby spinach leaves, fresh chopped tomato, cheese... and of course eggs.  It was really good. Most mornings we simply have coffee and a piece of toast, but this morning I awoke hungry. So after my initial cup of 'half-calf' while watching the episode of 'Elementary' that we missed last night, I decided to make us some breakfast. DH, although satisfied with his toast and coffee most mornings, never refuses a more elaborate undertaking.

We are of the generation where wives cooked for their husbands.  Mom had dinner on the table within a few minutes of my dad's return from work. It wasn't slave labor.  Mom liked the routine... as do I.  But it's not the same for our children.  My daughter (as well as my sons' wives) don't do this.  Oh yes, they cook occasionally (and may enjoy doing it), but it's definitely not every night and definitely not at any assigned time. And I will report that my sons (as well as SIL) do cook as well. This is family life 'evolving'.... and my philosophy is 'whatever works'.

You will laugh at this next picture. I should have taken a picture of the omelet, but instead was fascinated by this little tomato.  It was so pretty that I had to take its photo before cutting it. (I know, I'm weird... deal with it).

tomato on countertop

tomato on my windowsill

This next picture will confirm my weirdness.  Tux (as well as Ghost and Molly) were sitting on the bed with me yesterday afternoon while I read a bit, and knitted a bit. The weather was cold, I had awoke in the morning with a migraine and missed my pottery class, and was taking the afternoon easy.  Tux was helping me untangle some yarn.  Doesn't he look cute with pink hair?

And as we were doing this, Ghost was giving Molly 'the look'.... which means "don't mess with me".  Molly is our 20 year old and she had just given Ghost a little slap with her paw as a warning not to get in her sunspot.  Ghost was responding with 'the look'...

The reason I used the title I did on this post is because yesterday I was down a bit (what with the migraine, missing class, and $$$ car probs).  But this morning life is new again.  I feel better and am ready to take it all back on.  And sometimes I think that people don't give this *tomorrow is another day* a chance.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

January is waning...

January is waning...  on the way out... and I'm not unhappy to see it go.

This photo is a shot I took of a crow from my kitchen window.  I like crows... and there's something so very January about the bleakness of this scene.

My poem for January is an old one by Ella Wheeler Wilcox:


Talk happiness. The world is sad enough
Without your woes.  No path is wholly rough;
Look for the places that are smooth and clear, 
And speak of those, to rest the weary ear
Of Earth, so hurt by one continuous strain
Of human discontent and grief and pain.

Talk faith.  The world is better off without
Your uttered ignorance and morbid doubt,
If you have faith in God, or man, or self,
Say so.  If not, push back upon the shelf
Of silence all your thoughts, till faith shall come;
No one will grieve because your lips are dumb.

Talk health.  The dreary, never-changing tale
Of mortal maladies is worn and stale.
You cannot charm, or interest, or please
By harping on that minor chord, disease.
Say you are well, or all is well with you,
And God shall hear your words and make them true.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Creating to fill the void...

I find it best to keep busy when sad things happen... keep the mind occupied so it doesn't go over and over things best left alone.  So... these last few days I've been crocheting like crazy.  Finished a mat for the cats that they can use in front of the Aga when the older rag one my DIL made is in the wash.  Used old left over balls of yarn in various sizes and colors in triplicate to make a very heavy duty rug. Got the idea from Pinterest.  The picture was taken with my phone so isn't the best, but you can see that I used all the different colors and types yarn that were left over from other projects.

Then I finished a small machine-quilted mat which I had started a while back to get the hang of machine quilting. You can see it here in this next picture where I set my freshly made chicken pot pie on it.  It's not great by any means, but it taught me how to go about machine quilting... when previously I had only hand quilted (and not much of that).

BTW, the chicken pot pie was very good.  It had chicken, carrots, peas, potatoes, onions, celery, and a cream sauce with a bit of white wine in it.  

So... as you can see, I've kept busy.  The flu is still around (last count North Texas has had 44 flu-related deaths) so we haven't ventured out much except to grocery shop or run necessary errands. We're not dwelling on it as there's no point to that... just being cautious. The weather is chilly, but not bad.  We have had some nice days lately with the sun shining. DH and I try to walk around the neighborhood when the sun is out - grab some Vitamin D while we can!

Hopefully the weather will get better for everyone in the next few weeks. Winter will evolve into Spring and life will go on...  God willing (or whatever Higher Source you believe in - or don't). 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

a memorial for Jack...

"Jumpin' Jack Lickytispitt"
2004 - 2014

Jack was one of five kittens left in our backyard by a feral female in 2004.  They were about 4 weeks old. We took him and his siblings in and for the first time had more than 3 cats living in our home. 

Grand daughter with kittens at 6 weeks
For a litter of ferals,  these were the most loving and well behaved kittens. Having worked in the Veterinary field my whole life, I have had experience with all kinds, but have never regretted taking these into our lives. My grand daughter (3 at the time) took home Cocoa (white-ish) when he was 6 weeks. Son took home Jasmine (grey). We kept the 3 black and whites. 

Although all are good cats, Jack had something special about him. He was extremely curious, very friendly, and highly intelligent. But the most significant thing that endeared him to us was that although he seemed to be the one 'in charge'... he accepted and was kind to all other animals and people that entered our home. He never hissed when other animals were brought in. He'd follow workmen around the house watching closely to what they were doing, sniffing out their bags of equipment. When most of the other cats would run away from strangers, he would be right there to greet them. 

When the grand kids came over and many of the other cats would hide, Jack would be right there ready to play. The kids would run around the house pulling long strings of cord and he would run right behind them trying to catch it.  He wanted to be right there in the middle of things. If we weren't home and the other cats were hungry, Jack would go into the pantry and pull out the bag of cat chow... so they could all eat. (We had to start locking the pantry)

Jack and grandson

Jack and Tux (his male sibling) were extremely close. Jack was the brave one. Tux... less so. But together they checked out everything and kept our household on it's toes.

When Jack was diagnosed with a form of Feline Leukemia when he was 4, we were flabbergasted. How could this happen? We had them all tested as kittens and not a one of them had or has ever set foot outside. The only possible explanation was that he had contracted it 'in utero' from his feral mother. We had all the others re-checked and he was the only one affected. The prognosis wasn't good, but Jack was a fighter.  He had his bad days, but in general he held his own for 6 years.  

We do worry about Jack's sibling, Tux. What will he do without Jack?  But luckily for him, he does have his female sibling and a family of loving cats to support him. 

So... yes, we are heart-broken to have lost him. However, we have  wonderful memories and realize how lucky we were to have been able to share these last 10 years with him.  Who would have known that a little feral cat could bring so much joy?

*Oh, if you'd like to know how he got the name "Jumpin' Jack Lickytispit"... it was because as a kitten he never seemed to walk... but jumped from place to place like a bunny, then as he got older the Lick-yti-spitt came from the fact that he loved to lick you (give you kisses) and if he was really in a loving mood, he drooled (thus the 'spit').*

Thanks so much for all your kind remarks. DH and I really appreciate your taking the time to make them...

In loving memory of Jack

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Can I think of Spring yet?

Cute little owl DIL gave me: measuring cups inside

I know it's been almost a week since I've blogged... forgive me, but I'm beginning to think Texas is the "Flu Capital" of the world.  We get nightly posts on the news that the number of people who have died from the flu has gone up (19 in Dallas last I heard).  It's certainly caused those who didn't get the flu vaccine earlier to go out and get it.

And it's caused some of us (at least those of us who are retired) to avoid crowds and stick pretty close to home.  DH and I were sick right after Christmas (cough and fever -  yes, we got the vac in Oct) and were never tested for the flu... but son, grandson, and ex-DIL were tested, had it, and took that Tamaflu.  Other DIL was sick this past week, but symptoms were more like a stomach flu and seemed to end in 48 hours. 3 friends were down with 'something'...

I just wish whatever it was would go away. And this weird weather probably doesn't help... 70 degrees one day and below freezing the next. Today it's beautiful out... sun shining... DH and I took a walk around the neighborhood after lunch. Good to be out in the fresh air. We've curtailed even our 'walks inside the mall' since everywhere you go, people are coughing.

Anyway, now that I've ranted, I will say that since Christmas we have had a lot of rest time. I chalked it up to getting our strength back and healing, but enough is enough, yes?  I did crochet a bit... working on a large afghan for daughter and a smaller mat for the cats. And we did resurrect the tread mill (or at least I did)!

Our cats spend their days cuddled up by the Aga, curled up on the sofa on comfy afghans, or all together in a sunspot on our bed. You'd think it was cold inside the house (which it isn't... we keep it at 68) the way they huddle. Actually I'm always cold inside too, but I'm cold-natured and don't have a natural fur coat as they do.

Molly in her spot on the sofa

The outside cats do fine.  They either sleep under the heat lamps on the back porch at night or curl up on the many blankets in the garage. But even when the weather is cold and dreary, they play and chase each other around the yard... climb trees, etc. and don't seem to notice the cold. Guess they are a hardier breed.

Well, it's only January and we've got a bit of time before we can think of Spring... but you know what, I think I'm going to start thinking about it NOW.  We've probably lost some of our potted plants due to the weather... so we'll have to get some new cuttings. We were careful about covering them in the early days of the Arctic Blast, but as the cold continued and we weren't feeling well, we got lax, and have probably lost them now. But we'll replant...

And we really want to paint our bedroom blue... a light grey blue to match the wonderful quilt my friend made for my birthday last year.  Hopefully we will be able to get to that in the next month or so.

new quilt
We were watching Nick Stellino (Italian cook) on Public Television the other day. He was making Pork Chops with a Whiskey Apple Sauce... and then a Pineapple Upside Down cake.  Both looked very good, so we are giving it a try today.  Will let you know how it turns out. If you are interested, you can go to his site and look up the Pork Chops with Whiskey Apple Sauce under recipes.  There's even the same video to watch...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

holidays over...

This is a picture my daughter sent me recently of grand daughter and her horse while at a cross-country training lesson. Since grand daughter is 12 now, it reminds me of when my daughter was 12 and she too was taking lessons... deja vu?

The holidays are now over and hopefully flu season with them.  I have to say that I'm grateful that all of us got through November and December  as well as we did. And really thankful that both Jack and Molly passed another Christmas with us. I'm also happy to see the New Year here. For whatever reason, I'm hopeful that 2014 will be a good year despite all the strange happenings (climatic disasters, etc.) that have occurred in 2013.  The weatherman says that the Northeast is due another Arctic blast this weekend. I surely hope they are wrong...

Have I made resolutions? No.  I simply plan to be more organized than I have been in the past. But unfortunately I have tried to do this before. I can GET ORGANIZED easy enough... it's just that I don't KEEP ORGANIZED - for whatever reason.

Non-the -less, now that our principle battle with 'whatever DH and I had' is winding down, I hope to spend the next few weeks before classes start again... putting all our paperwork in order.  Who-ever said that computers would make for less paperwork were... confused if not totally wrong. Sure, you can store things at your fingertips and bring them up very quickly... most of the time. BUT if you don't have the info down on paper somewhere, then you're really screwed if/when the computer has problems.

DH took the tree down today.  It's always sad to see it go.  And it always wants to hold onto one of my favorite ornaments. As it was being dragged out today, it let go of one of my baby cherubs it had apparently held hidden in it's clutches.  I quickly retrieved it and replaced it with a felt ornament that it could keep. I think it gets awfully lonely laying out on the front sidewalk waiting for the city workers to come pick it up.  It should have something to remind it of Christmas to take with it.

very old Santa ornament from my parents' tree

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year !

Happy New Year 2014 to All! 

It took me a minute to find a photo that *felt* right for the New Year's sentiment, but I finally did.  This was a photo taken inside a cabin in Gruene, Texas on the Guadalupe River.  It seems to say,

"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life".