Monday, December 26, 2016

Twas the day after Christmas...

Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house...

there's wrappings, and ribbons, and an occasional toy mouse!

Well, this is what it looks like at our house anyway. The cats got their toys early Christmas morning and then were delegated to the bedroom to spend the day as the cooking and cleaning commenced and family arrived to celebrate. The cats were however very duly compensated for this inconvenience with liberal helpings of smoked turkey. (Outside ferals were also treated to this Christmas special!)

The menu consisted of Smoked Turkey (compliments of DH), bourbon sweet potatoes, Jalapena' Pecan Stuffing, broccoli-cauliflower casserole, salad, and rolls... not to mention DH's mile-high cheesecake and our family's traditional cookie crust pudding! My challenge is always not to get it all cooked, but to get it cooked and still hot onto the table. I think I may have accomplished this better this year.

All in all, we had a good time together... and enjoyed watching youngest grand daughter open her gifts. At one point, the bubble wrap around one of the gifts proved ample entertainment (for her as well as us) as she stomped and stomped on it to hear it pop! I had planned to take pictures, but got so involved with the serving, talking, and entertaining that I completely forgot. So... as you can see... no Christmas pics for Christmas day (unless someone else there took some that I'm not aware of).

My daughter down in the Hill country (who was here last week with her family) did send what she is considering a Christmas pic (even though she didn't have it in time for Christmas cards). I'm posting this one as it's really cute and it's all I have to post at the moment.

Oldest grand daughter 

So... amidst all the tinsel and glamor of the holidays, I think we were able to enjoy what Christmas is all about... the coming together of family in peace and love. Whether you lean towards a totally religious experience or a more secular one... it can still accomplish the desired effect as long as peace and love are involved. Families coming together  is what the birth of Jesus personifies... a spark of divine love in a world that needed it... and still needs it. I know this isn't exactly how we were taught in religion growing up, but it makes sense to me. And it's certainly no epiphany - just a slip of the keys between my mind and fingers.

Merry Christmas (the day after)!  And sending peace and love out to all of my fellow bloggers! If I don't get back here to blog again before the weekend, Happy New Year to All! 

I wish you all a Safe Happy 2017!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

the days before Christmas...

First dance recital

This past weekend was  our youngest grand daughter's first dance recital.  Loved it! The littlest ones (including ours) were 4 years old and watching them dance... and refuse to dance was adorable.

Ours is on the far left - hiding her face

When asked later why she was acting so grumpy, she said that all she could see was lights and she couldn't see her family... so she didn't know if we were there. 

This last pic was taken at the end of the performance when everyone was on stage. Grand daughter looks a bit bored with it all...

Daughter, me, and Grand daughter

Also our daughter and her family live in the Hill Country around San Antonio, Texas. They came down for a quick Christmas visit this week. We took this pic the morning before they left. I think it came out cute... although it was early and we may have all been still half asleep.

It has certainly been a busy few weeks. 
I'm hoping to have everyone over here for Christmas dinner Sunday... and get a few pics of the rest of the family.  Have the menu planned... fairly simple... Turkey, Stuffing, Bourbon Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli and Cauliflower casserole, and hot rolls! (and DH's cheesecake and our family's traditional baked cookie pudding for dessert)  

However... I'm fighting a possible coupy cough again. Just started yesterday. Kept me up all night. Got up and took Mucinex and Tylenol. Have 48 hours to get rid of it quickly. Gargling and using saline nasal drops... drinking hot tea and hot chicken soup. Any other suggestions? 

The cats are continuing to enjoy the tree... no disasters so far. Here are a few 'around the house' decorations...

Santa in entry

Christmas cards and goodies on bar...

Our Santa Elf on Grandfather clock...

Christmas garland on fireplace

And lastly... Ghost in her new Christmas bed. We bought this little bed for all to share, but Ghost has taken over it.

Ghost sleeping

Merry Christmas!! Wishing everyone a safe and wonderful holiday!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Catching up with Christmas...

tree decorated

Ghost under decorated tree

as I got closer... 

Well, the tree is up and decorated, the mantle has it's garland, and I started baking Christmas cookies and whiskey balls today... 

Christmas tea cakes

whiskey balls  - DH's favorite

And I also made a big batch of African Chicken Peanut soup today!

So-oo good!

And as I cooked and baked, DH watched football and the cats enjoyed the warmth of the Aga. I've gotten use to cooking 'over' them in the kitchen...

keeping warm...

And regarding feral cats, I have to mention this. One of our neighbors wrote on our neighborhood association watch (which goes through our cell phones) that he had recently put out a box with a cat bed in it for the neighborhood ferals - to help with the cold. He called it his *feral B&B*. 

Several others commented on how nice this was... and so far, no negative comments. (I wanted to say that I've been doing this for years along with heat lamps and straw on the back patio - but don't want to rock the boat) So happy that there are a few around that feel the need to help these homeless critters. So we silently joined his B&B idea and added a box and bed on the front porch. As you can see, it has occupants already.

feral B&B 

And I will post this sign again... as it really makes a point:

Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Home again... after 2 weeks in New Orleans

Christmas tree 2016

Hi! Sorry I haven't blogged in about 2 weeks, but I flew down to New Orleans to help my cousin with her knee replacement surgery. (BTW she's doing very well, but did have a hard time of it) I just got back home this weekend and am now busy catching up on reading all the blogs I missed. 

My cousin, Barb,  is still working (at 73), so she scheduled her surgery during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays. This will give her time hopefully to get back on her feet by January. 

I actually flew down the day of Barb's surgery and my other cousin, Darnell,  picked me up at the airport and kept me at her place in Mississippi until Barb was released from the hospital. I appreciated her doing this so much as I love the Gulf Coast area where she lives and it was nice having 2 days to visit with her. 

Now, where to start. So much to say. Besides all the adventures of taking care of my cousin (which included a middle of the night visit to the Emergency Room due to a severe reaction to Oxycodone), and another quick visit to her doctor (due to to a reaction to either the adhesive used on the surgery wound or the glue used in the surgery), we did get to visit an old N.O. icon, "Angelo Brocato's Italian Bakery".

Luckily it happened to be on the route home from the doctor's visit. DH loves the sesame seed cookies (I do too!).

And of course they have a wonderful selection of Italian and Sicilian cookies and pastries, as well as Gelato and fresh hand-made Cannolis. We bought DH's cookies and took home a selection of others for my cousin and I to try. Delicious!! This is definitely a place to add to my "have to go's" next time we visit.

Angelo Bracato's Bakery

My other "have to go's" include cafe' au lait at the Morning Call in City Park and several restaurants that have the best Red Beans and Rice as well as oyster po-boys! This was not a vacation visit, so happening upon this bakery was definitely a plus.

My cousin, Darnell, has a tiny little Yorkie named Titan. Here is his picture.

And Barb has 2 cats. I didn't get a pic of Anna as she stayed off on her own a lot. But here is a pic of Kuchi.


A friend of mine, Karen, picked me up one afternoon and took me for a walk in City Park. It is really the most beautiful park with all the lagoons and oak trees with their hanging moss. She and I went to high school together and later were room-mates one semester at LSUBR (back in the 60's) before she left for nursing school. So-oo... even though it was Thanksgiving week and I didn't get to see all the family in N.O., I did get to visit with 2 cousins and one friend while down there. This was more than I'd planned to do, so it was great.

trail through City Park

And thank you all so much for all the sympathies and condolences for our having lost Rose the weekend I was preparing to leave. It was a shock... even though it shouldn't have been - considering her age. I still look for her at her place besides the Aga...

So, again forgive me for not blogging or commenting recently, but I will try to catch up in the next few days. 

Have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

In memory of our Rose...

Rose Christmas morning 2015

Saturday, November 19, 2016 we lost our Rose. She was 22 years old and headed for another Christmas with us after a year of several setbacks. We thought we'd lost her a few months back, but she rallied so well then that we didn't doubt she would continue to do so. And she did... until this afternoon when she suddenly had a Gran Mal Seizure on the kitchen floor. I have to say that after all these years and all the cats that have come and gone in our home, this was something I'd never seen. Her seizure was so violent and went on so long that it shocked DH and I. It lasted 2 - 3 minutes... and I didn't think she'd live through it... but she did. 

It was about 2:00 and our Vet closes at noon on Saturday. So we bundled her up and took her to the Emergency Animal Clinic.  They examined her and suspected a possible brain tumor, but at her age weren't recommending tests or treatments. She was acting strangely, growling and swishing her tail (which isn't that strange for Rose)... but it wasn't like she was angry at anyone, just at whatever was going on within her. 

After they took her in and got her settled, we were taken into the exam room to be with her. We thought they'd sedated her as she was lying curled up and not moving. But when we pet her, she'd swish her tail and growl. The Vet explained that they hadn't given her anything, but that after a seizure, an animal is generally worn out. I think she was in pain... (mental if not physical). We didn't know how the seizure had affected her and if she would be able to function, so decided that the kindest thing to do would be to give her a tranquilizer to calm her and make her comfortable, then to give her something to help her pass over. 

As the Vet said, she'd lived a good long life and that not many cats live to be 22. I think the fear that she could possibly have another of those seizures is what helped us make the decision. It was so awful that I couldn't imagine her having to go through that again. Rose was never a lap cat, but she had mellowed over the years and came to expect to be petted in the morning and anxiously awaited her dollop of cream whenever I had my tea.  


and lately...

She will be missed

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

lightness of heart...

I'm no poet, but years ago, I used to write a little poetry... just for myself.  Someone's blog reminded me of this when she recently posted a really pretty poem about teatime. My old memory got a jumpstart and I remembered this. 

"a cup of tea and me"

give me a garden
and a cat

beauty and quiet contemplation

add a favorite book
a cup of tea

       these are the wonders of the world
                       ... to me.

I don't know if some of you are on Facebook, but if you are, you might have read "A letter to the U.S. from John Cleese", the English Comedian (it may not have even been written by John Cleese, but it was funny non-the-less). It says that in light of the recent election, England was revoking our independence, re-instating the *u* in words like neighbour and favour, and went on and on about football, etc. I have to tell you that after these last few weeks, it felt *so good to laugh*.   Now I know that the situation here is serious, but give me a break. If you don't laugh, you will cry... and crying really doesn't help anything. So... if you need a laugh, and you haven't yet seen this, I'm sure you can google it somehow (as far as I know you can google anything).

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

hope lives on...

It's taken me a few days to collect myself after this election. Even now I don't have a lot to say. Was so totally floored by the outcome. But now I have decided to go on with life and let things unfold as they may. The world will handle it's problems as best it can... and so will the U.S.  Who knows? I like that saying "it will all be OK in the end... and if it's not OK, then it's not the end." So... hope lives on. 

Now I'll return to a safe subject... cats. Our 4 have been looking forward to the big Christmas Tree event! It's not for another 2 weeks, but they love having that huge tree in the house for a few weeks. We always get a fresh live - approximately 10 foot tree to put in the den. And the cats love it! They sleep under it, climb up into it's branches, and have a great time knocking ornaments off... and unstringing lights! It's the ultimate cat toy!

Ghost in Christmas tree

We actually haven't spent much time thinking about Thanksgiving or Christmas yet, but will get to it eventually. The elections, as well as a few other things have side-tracked us recently. And the weather is still relatively warm... in the 70's. 

It was nice enough to take a walk with my little grand daughter this morning down to the stables to see the horses. She will be 4 at the end of this month and is growing like a weed. Her little mind is growing too... as she asks "why?" for everything... and comes up with some pretty good answers on her own. At one point she told me that she kept thinking about 'something or other that she had left at home' and even though she kept 'telling her mind not to think about it.... it kept thinking about it anyway, Gra Gra ??' (got to love 'em).

Grand daughter in Halloween outfit

Again... walked around the house checking on cats and came across these pics.

Tux loves to lay on shoes

Julie has to move to table when I'm using the counter

Ghost hidden among pillows on bed

Rose at her favorite warm place by Aga

Life goes on...

We will continue to believe in all the good things that can be done. We will continue to work towards making them happen. Life seems to be a one step forward, two step back dance. But we will keep trying. Have a good week...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

the lizard whisperer...

First of all, these photos were shot this morning just so I'd have photos to go with my post.  The lizard in the pic is definitely not real... as you can tell from Ghost's expressions. In the first, she is interested, then dismayed, then a bit aggravated, and then mad.

"what the...?"

"oh... not real"

"What's with the camera?"

"Really, mom, this isn't funny?"

Twice this week I have found Ghost (Yes, Ghost! the last one of our cats I would expect) with a live lizard in her mouth!  Don't know how the little critters get inside the house, but they need to know that coming inside THIS house with our 4 cats is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. I've rescued some, but most have already been 'played with to death'.  They don't eat them. Heavens! That's a bit too gross for our well brought up kitties (they don't eat bugs either), but playing with them until they are no longer fun is not below their standards. I know it to be their feline instincts and can't condemn them for it... but still.

The first time I saw Ghost acting strange... I looked at her more closely and she had 2 legs and a tail hanging out of her mouth. I startled, then said, "Ghost! what have you got there?" She released it and  a good sized lizard (not the tiny gecko ones)  ran along the floor a few inches before she grabbed it again. 

You know, it's odd, but I've watched the outside ferals doing this... and there seems to be some type of honor code among them that the others (while fascinated) don't try to take the owner's prize. They watch... possibly waiting for the stalker to tire and give it up... but they don't jump in and try to take it. I find this interesting.

I did watch once when three outside ferals were surrounding a lizard in the backyard. These cats were not kittens, but not grown either (maybe 8-10 months). DH and I had seen these 3 hunt together before. We called them the 3 Velociraptors - working together, but not catching much. But I wish we had gotten this particular episode  recorded. 

The 3 had circled the lizard who kept backing up and trying to keep them in front of him. Then one cat would stretch out his paw and hit the lizard's tail and the lizard would spin around with his mouth open... and the cat would jump back. But the funny part came (and this could have possibly got us on World's funniest videos) when one did this and the lizard spun around and jumped at the cat latching onto the cat's mouth... who panicked and started swinging his head from side to side trying to dislodge him. The other cats all ran away. (I guess this is the advantage of taking the offensive...)

DH and I (as well as our kids and grandkids) have been entertained for years with the wildlife in our backyard.  We have learned how different species co-habitat - raccoons, feral cats, and possums all eating together or lying under a fan on a blistering summer day. We once saw a rabbit and a tree rat that were friends and would lay side by side in the sun every afternoon (we were having our kitchen remodeled that summer and the workers were astounded to watch these two). We have seen things that make us smile (like a big ol' Tomcat letting a young kitten sneak under him and eat his food), and seen things that made us cry (like not too long ago when a coyote jumped over the fence and snatched up a young cat right in front of us.)  But it is nature's way and we try to understand this as best we can. 

But back to Ghost and her new found achievement. We took Ghost inside when she was about 5-6 weeks old. Her feral mama and siblings would take off like the wind when we opened the back door... but Ghost would just sit there. We knew that something was wrong and that if we didn't take her in, she's never make it as an outside cat. The Vet didn't think she'd make it inside either... gave her maybe a year... suspected mental probs, diabetes, and genetic kidney disease. I still think her sight is affected and her agility is not great, but she has done well and is now going on 10. I'm probably making too much of her lizard catching, but I think this is a great accomplishment for her. So forgive me if I boast...