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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday ramblings... tea, Ghost, and more pumpkins!

Sitting here on my bed drinking a cup of peppermint tea and multi-tasking... meaning I'm also reading a mystery novel, knitting, and texting with a friend who is house-bound due to ankle replacement surgery. Ghost usually keeps me company...

DH and I were up early Tuesday morning in order to run a few errands. We went to the cleaners, dropped one car off to be inspected, went to vote, then did our *walk about* at the mall... yes, the mall with all the pumpkins I mentioned in my previous post. Here are more pictures of the abundance of pumpkins there:

I told you... they're everywhere... all colors and sizes! DH and I were wondering just what they did with all of them after Halloween??

In this last picture you can see one of the ponds where there's usually ducks and/or turtles. Right now there are turtles (Red Sliders I believe).  Most were in the other pond that is connected under the bridge you see on the far left of this top picture.

We also received NEWS yesterday about a new Ebola specialty facility that is being created at one of our area hospitals. I don't know much, but from what we hear it is is to be another one of the CDC Special  Ebola Centers... similar to the ones in Atlanta, Maryland, and Nebraska. Since it is basically  *in our backyard*, we naturally have mixed feelings. First feelings were OMG, then... well,  we certainly need more hospitals that are trained and equipped to care for Ebola cases.

Since it seems that we may have things under control at the moment in Dallas with the first group of quarantined and self monitoring persons deemed well, we are only waiting for the second group to have the same outcome. So possibly we're on the right track in our ability to contain this issue. Let's hope and pray that this is true.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

An abundance of pumpkins...

Pumpkins at Central Market

Pumpkins at the Mall

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!  Everywhere we go lately there's a profusion of pumpkins... all sizes and shapes. Luckily I like pumpkins. They aren't scary and they make great pumpkin custard pies!  I was dearly tested when passing these displays in the Mall last week to *pocket* a tiny one or two. Of course I didn't, but when DH and I were walking by, I commented (out loud) "Wow! look at all those tiny pumpkins!  I would love to steal one or two." (And of course I said this just as inadvertently we were passing a uniformed Mall security person. DH and I looked at each other sheepishly and started laughing. But the truth of the matter is that the groceries and nurseries want $1.50 to $2.00 for each tiny pumpkin... and although that doesn't seem like much, it's still too much for me... especially when you can get a good sized one for 3.99.

And this advertisement was in this mornings paper... making little crescent mummies with hot dogs and crescent rolls. I thought this very cute.

Halloween cookies

These were creative also - Halloween cookies using chocolate chip cookies, marshmallows, and almonds!

Last year we found this serpent shaped pumpkin and added it to our outside display. This year we didn't come across any of these. But our front porch display is still a work in progress. We added another smaller pie sized pumpkin this week. It still needs something... but I don't know what. Any suggestions?  Maybe some multi-colored corn to give it some yellow?

...and of course we put our favorite crow in tree that we had last year and left out all year because we liked him there. Of course crow #1 had to be replaced this year as due to the cold winter and rain, he was looking a bit shabby.

We also used to have a sign that said, "black cat crossing"... which is very suitable to our feral sanctuary. Don't know where that sign went. Shall have to look for it.  We do close all the gates to our yard so the outside cats  have a place to stay safe on Halloween. And our inside cats are restricted to one part of the house while treat-or-treating is going on. Our Ghost does not like ringing doorbells.

And last pic of the day is this sign that has been on our kitchen wall for years. One of the kids gave it to us. And of course it is very appropriate... except that it should say "cats" never just "cat" and we're all well trained, not just me.

As I write this, Julie is lying on the trundle bed in the computer room next to me and *snoring* loudly! Do your cats snore?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

our own personal faerie...

I was looking through Facebook this morning at family pics that I hadn't seen and came across this one of youngest grand daughter. She will be 2 next month. She has a very Irish name due to both our ancestry and her parents visit to Ireland before she was born. However, seeing this picture made me think that perhaps she does have a bit of the faerie dust about her. This was not taken in Ireland, but if I close my eyes, I can almost see the ancient stones in the background.  What do you think?

My daughter went in to have some bloodwork taken this morning. She called to tell me she *blacked out* while they were doing this. She has done this before, but it's been years. She said that it hurt terribly and that she tried to hold it together, but finally lost the battle somewhere between the 4th and 5th vial.  I told her that it shouldn't hurt terribly... that perhaps the tech doing it was not very good.  With my C history, they take blood all the time, and it doesn't hurt . The one time it did hurt was when my veins had probably collapsed due to dehydration as part of the preliminaries for a colonoscopy. At that time none of the nurses could find a vein... and that *digging* did hurt.

And talking about techs and nurses, we just heard that  a second nurse that worked with Duncan (the Dallas Ebola patient) has become ill.  They are testing her for the Ebola virus, but more than likely she is also infected. I tend to trust that the CDC knows what it's doing, but I really wish that these Ebola patients would be sent to the 4 CDC hospitals throughout the country that are equipped to handle this type of thing.  Other hospitals are being *trained*, but those CDC hospitals are already trained and equipped. Since the number of cases at this time is so low, it seems that it would be safer to have the patients contained there then at hospitals that are in the mist of being trained. Later it may be necessary to use any and all hospitals available, but for the time being it seems sensible to use the CDC facilities (IMO).

Closing with a poster I came across on someone's site and thought it was great. I'm sorry that I forget where I saw it or I would post the original source.

This is what our kitchen floor looks like on grocery days...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ready for Halloween...

Ready for Halloween

This weekend was a busy one. Friday night we went to another of grandson's high school football game to watch him play his baritone sax with the band at half-time. They had their new band uniforms on... which was nice, except with those hats and uniforms covering them, it's hard to tell whose who from up in the stands. Still it was a nice night and although it rained later in the second half, we enjoyed being there. After the game we *blew* our SW diets a bit by having some chocolate truffle cake over at son's house .  It was REALLY GOOD!

Julie (the cat that loves the countertop) discovered some birthday decorations that we had hung up and this video shows her noticing them.

Saturday morning younger son and grand daughter came over.  Grand daughter who enjoys taking all the toys out of the cabinet in the den and spreading them around - handing out various ones to each of us, has now discovered the bookshelves in the front room. She had a grand time removing all the paperbacks from the lower shelves and distributing them among us. I tried to put them back as fast as she took them out, but easily fell behind.

Here she found that she could climb up on the bench at the table with her bear. That's her dad's arm beside her making sure she didn't fall...

As for our Ebola scare here in Dallas: Our first case (Duncan) died last Wednesday. The Sheriff's deputy that was taken to hospital last week was a precaution. He didn't test positive for Ebola. But we now have a health care worker that has tested positive (although they are testing again for confirmation). They say that this person did have on protective gear... but somehow was still infected. I guess with all the people that were involved with Duncan, it isn't surprising that protection or no, some may come down with the virus. I choose to believe that they are doing all they can to keep the virus from spreading. After all, what good does it do to panic....

Hope you're having a good weekend. The weather here yesterday and today is wonderfully cool! Beginning to feel like Fall... although I'm sure the warm weather is not through with us yet. And that's OK as I'm not in any hurry for winter.

Friday, October 3, 2014

October now...

Dallas Skyline

It's almost 4 pm Thursday and I'm thinking about supper tonight. Baked chicken, corn on the cob, and a pear salad is what I have planned. DH and I have stayed (pretty much) on our SB diet these last 3 weeks... occasionally having a thin slice of wheat toast during the week as well as a scoop of ice-cream over the weekend. But we've pretty much avoided bread, rice, pasta, and sugar for the most part. We've past the strict 2 week stage and have entered the "add in a few things like brown rice, corn, etc." stage... keeping the portions small and not over-doing. We weigh again tomorrow morning. Since I'm not feeling hungry nor skinny, it's hard to know if we've lost any more weight. But I'm sure that no matter what, it's been good for DH's borderline diabetes. So we will stay with it... hopefully until Thanksgiving. Once the holidays get here and I'm cooking for everyone, it may be a little more difficult to 'stay on plan'....

I've also been thinking about the approaching holidays... Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. We're not big into Halloween. It's nice for the kids, but we've never done much more than put out a pumpkin or two, a few  black crows here and there in the trees, and of course have an abundance of candy ready for the trick or treat-ers. But there are less and less of them each year now. Seems like it's the now thing to have Halloween parties at the churches or schools (or even trick or treat at the mall) rather than door to door. To be honest, I'm good with this. I've never liked the idea of kids going door to door... (except the little ones do look so cute).  And it's always un-nerved me to answer the door to teen-agers that are taller than me!  I do have one Halloween tradition that DH likes... I make home-made pumpkin pie from the carved out pumpkin. It's actually more of a custard pie with some cooked fresh pumpkin added in... but it is good.

Thanksgiving is the big one for us. Usually my daughter and her family come in to stay for a few days. The boys and their families come over and we have a big traditional Thanksgiving dinner. DH smokes a turkey, and I make our traditional sweet potato and bourbon casserole, as well as caramelized onions and green beans, hatch pepper and cranberry stuffing with pecans,  and sour cream garlic mashed potatoes... and of course cranberry sauce. For dessert DH makes his famous cheese-cake and I make the kids favorite, "Church pudding" which is a layered pudding with a baked cookie crust. Sometimes we have a pie or two also... generally Buttermilk, Chocolate, or Kentucky Derby (which is a bourbon pecan pie with chocolate chunks).

Now Christmas has changed since our kids all have their own kids. Used to be they would all come over for a formal Christmas dinner, but now that the kids are older and they sometimes have their own plans, we've down sized our get -together on Christmas morning to a late morning Christmas Brunch. That way they can still have their Christmas at their house, then come by and open gifts here (with a little coffee and pastry) and still get home in time for afternoon naps for the little ones (and parents) as well as time for the older ones to do their own thing. It seems to work out well.

Update:  It's now Friday morning and DH and I just did our *weigh in*.  DH has now lost 10 lbs. I have lost 8.  As I said, we plan to stay on it for a few more weeks... gradually adding back some good carbs (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, etc.). Then hopefully we will have jump-started our minds and bodies to consciously watch and be more careful without having to actually write everything down and weigh in as often.

Rose (21)
 I need to correct a misunderstanding on my last post where I had a picture of Rose with the caption, "one of our 20+ cats".  I didn't mean that we have 20 + cats, only that Rose was 21 years old... as is Molly. The other 3 cats are 10, 10, and 7 years old respectively.

Molly (21)

Tux (10)
Julie (10)

Ghost (7)

Have a great weekend!