Sunday, April 29, 2018

birdhouse, lawn sale, cracker barrel breakfast, and birthday cookies...

moss covered birdhouse

Bought this moss covered bird house this past week for the little Wren that is always looking around for a place to nest in our yard. It may be a little too late for her (meaning she has probably already nested), but we got it anyway... another bird perhaps may come upon it.  Finding a place to hang it where it will be relatively safe from feral cats wasn't easy, but hopefully it will be alright here.

Also bought these little chicken kitchen timers over at Cracker Barrel... one for me and one for a friend. 

Thought they were a cute addition to my Aga chicken collection.

We ran to Cracker Barrel this morning for breakfast so DH could try their chicken eggs benedict - a new dish that his brother had tried and liked.  It met with his approval (I had cheese grits and hot tea).

And our Home-owner's Association had their Saturday Garage/lawn/driveway sale yesterday. It went well. Reported about 20 houses participated... which isn't a large number, but OK. We've never done a garage sale before, so it was interesting. DH and I sat outside on the front lawn under a tree with 4 tables of "stuff" set up on the driveway. Got to meet a lot of our neighbors as they walked by and checked things out. We didn't have any furniture or big items, so most of our stuff was priced from $1 for tons of movie DVDs, books, etc. to $5 for banker's lamp, old land line phones (that still work), etc. Luckily it was a nice sunny cool day for the most part. 

The highlight of the day was when our old next door neighbors (of 30 years) who had moved to Austin 3 years ago dropped by. They were driving by their old neighborhood and stopped to visit for a bit. So good to see them!

Today I'm making espresso shortbread cookies to send to my daughter for her birthday this week. They are her favorite!

espresso shortbread cookies with dark chocolate centers

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

a dreary Saturday... and an earth day Sunday

Look at his little pink fingers...

This is our fat squirrel watching me take his pic...

Two of the frequent visitors to our backyard here.  Neither are too bothered by my taking their picture. 

I know that many people don't like squirrels, or possums, or raccoons, etc. Some don't even care for people feeding the birds. And I do understand that sometimes these critters can be pests... But the truth is, that we've been in this house for 33 years and we've not ever had any problem. We do feed them... and leave out water... and put out a heat lamp when the weather goes below freezing. And in return they don't go into our attic, or chew holes in things, or even disturb our garbage. I know it doesn't make sense to say that we have 'a working arrangement'... but sometimes it does seem that way. 

Registered for both my pottery and a walking class this semester. I'm not sure if this walking class is an extension of the aerobic/yoga class I took a while back... but it has the same Instructor and is given at the same time. We shall see. Classes start again in May.

The weather is cold, wet, and dreary today. I can't quite get myself motivated to do very much. Ran some errands early on, grocery shopped, made lunch (1/2 liverwurst sandwich and plantain chips), worked on Minecraft for a bit, read for a while, and now blogging. 
The liverwurst is something I haven't eaten in a long time... and thought it might be good for me. I do like it. I also started taking my 'one a day petite' vitamins... but haven't taken them long enough to tell if they will make any difference.

My youngest son, daughter-in-law, and grand daughter are in Seattle this weekend. We took them to the airport Friday. Son had some work related event and grand daughter was excited about her first plane ride. Today our DIL sent some pics from their first day. Look at the snow... and the wonderful wooded areas! 

snow up in the mountains

owl up in forested area

grand daughter by stream

Looks like they're having a great time. They love nature... and this area is beautiful!

Happy Earth Day!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

my kind of crazy...

First of all, I'm going to say that even though I've missed my pottery and exercise classes this past semester, I have to say that I did get a few things done that needed doing. Accomplishing tasks have taken on a new meaning these days.

I have at least a dozen clay creations ready for the kiln when class resumes, I finished several quilted pillows - some for my cousin and some for myself, and the most exciting accomplishment (although it is still in the works) is that I actually have gone through boxes and boxes of old paperwork in the computer room and either shredded or refiled the contents. This is the job that I've been dreading and have started and stopped over the last few years.

Some of the boxes contained old papers and bills from both my mother and my brother's estates. I couldn't throw them out without going through them in case something of importance was stashed inside. I did come across some letters and things that I felt worth keeping.

And in the course of doing this, I came across boxes of my own writings; journals, web pages, letters to my siblings, letters to my kids, essays on life, poems, and stories I have written over the years, both finished and unfinished. This slowed me down as I had to re-read some of these. But by doing this it motivated me to get on with the one I started this past year (The Gift of Time and Money)... and possibly to complete some of the others. I really like the feeling... it's like the creative muse has returned and stirred things up.

Anyway, it's Sunday morning and I've already been up for a while, made pecan waffles for DH, read the Sunday paper (yes, we still occasionally pick up a Sunday newspaper - very 'old school' I know) and done a few things around the house. Now it's time to write this blog and perhaps get back to working on "The Gift...".

Oh, another thing I want to mention. It's most likely not going to be of any interest to any of you, but like anything else that has us use our brains to learn new things, I think it could be helpful. (I'm not a game player, but I do enjoy this) My grandson put a program on my laptop called "MindCraft". I guess it could be called a computer *game*, but in creative mode, it simply allows you to build a world... from the ground up: create towns, houses, gardens, caves, etc. and people it with villagers and animals. The villagers and animals move about on their own, the chickens lay eggs (which you collect), the wolves chase the rabbits (and I chase the wolves), and day turns to night. 

So far I've built 2 walled towns a good distance apart, planted gardens, built homes, guest houses, corrals, etc. -  and in one I made 'a maze' that is interesting to watch either the villagers or the critters get lost in... but eventually find their way out.  There is another mode to this game - survivor mode which is very different and not to my liking  - although my grandson prefers this one. In this one you have to create things 'in order to survive' - like weapons and tools, etc. (and in this one there are Zombies!). 

Anyway, it is an interesting diversion - makes me wonder what other computer programs like CAD for architecture or programs created for animation must be like. Creative technology - I like it! 

While I was googling a saying I once knew to end this post, I came across this and it seemed fitting:

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort."   
 - Franklin Roosevelt

Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sorting through the past...

Sorting through boxes of my past writings today and came across this.

17 years ago (April 2001 to be exact)  I was writing on a site called "Themestream".  This is what I wrote:

Good Morning to all of you out there who might also be awake at 3 am!  Teela, Molly, and Thibbadeaux (our 3 cats - all deceased now in 2018) surround me with their love and support even at this early hour.  Molly is jabbing at Teela trying to get her to play. Thibs is lolling around... just being cute. 

The theme of this post is 'focusing on the present'. I guess one can't get any more present than 3 am. It's an odd time - too early to actually do anything and  almost too late to try to get back to sleep. So when all else fails, I write.

I could use this time to dust my china cabinets, you know the ones that contain all the little treasures you collect from friends or travel (or traveling friends). I have 3 (china cabinets, not friends)  I'm sure it must be these wee hours of the morning that are making me silly. It takes me all day to lovingly go through even one cabinet as I tend to reminisce on each item as it is dusted and carefully rearranged.

Most of my treasures consist of a hodge podge of pretty china cups and saucers picked up in second shops in England or France, a lovely Lladro figure from Harrrod's,  a few Waterford pieces from our trip to Ireland,  and small seal and puffin figurines picked up on the Orkney Islands . 

Well, I'm probably too knackered (is that the right word? hopefully it means tired and silly) to dust anything at this hour without breaking it, so I'll sack that idea.

Well, it's now 2018 and I still have the occasional 3am wake up call. It doesn't happen often (thank goodness), but it does happen. And although the remaining cats here now are Tux, Julie, and Ghost... they react pretty much the same as our others did back then. They are happy to see me up at strange hours and generally join me in whatever endeavor I choose. 

My 3 China cabinets have now been reduced to one - having given one to my daughter and another to a friend.  And as you all well know - as we age, we need to simplify and downsize. However, a few things were kept...  

Lladro from Harrod's

Aynsley cup from second shop

puffin and seal from Orkney Islands

These too will go to my daughter (or a grand daughter) eventually. 
But for now I will continue to dust them and enjoy the memories they bring forth. 

I'm sure that many of you out there do the same.  

It has become a little easier to go through things and sort. I've been using these questions:

1. Do I need this?
2. Do I want this?
3. Do my kids want this?
4. Would anyone want this?

If all answers are no, it goes into the trash.

Do you have a system that works for you?

Saturday, April 7, 2018

from my kitchen window...

Someone mentioned at some point how much they enjoy their 'kitchen window'... and I remember thinking... "Yes! a kitchen window is a must for me too!" So much can be watched, observed, and enjoyed from one's kitchen window. I never mind washing dishes as my eyes are always entertained by the goings on outside.

One of my cousins once told me that she has her sink opened to the living area where she can watch TV while doing dishes. This while  expedient in her case, would never work for me.

Our backyard is just too fascinating to choose TV over the wonders of the outside world.  Watching kittens chase each other or mama raccoons and their babies splash and play in the large water dish is much more interesting. Sometimes the kittens, raccoons, possums, and turtles interact in the funniest ways. Watching a kitten follow a box turtle around the yard or watching 3 young cats circle around a tiny lizard that jumps at them is hysterical.  The fat squirrel that shimmies down the chain to the bird feeder makes us laugh... and the blue jays are the bullies in the backyard bird world (until the crows show up). Nothing bothers the possums... I read that they have both poor eyesight and poor hearing, so unless something is right on top of them, they don't back off. 

Anyway, on the list of *musts* when it comes to housing, it would have to be a kitchen window that opens to the yard. 

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

an insignificant, but interesting retirement question...

While reading Postcards from Across the Pond today I was taken by the fact that Michael mentioned that he brought his wife tea in the morning. Since we do this also... except it's coffee (tea in the afternoon), I wondered just how many couples (retired or not) do this. I know my daughter and her DH do it. In fact, she was saying that they alternate.  I'm always the first to make coffee at our house and bring DH a cup while he's feeding the cats. Then he makes the second cup and brings it to me. 

Such a little thing... but somehow significant and I don't even know why. Makes me wonder how other people distribute their chores. Here I do almost all the cooking even though DH is a pretty good cook. He will occasionally make a Cajun dish like red beans and rice or jambalaya (makes pretty good stuffed peppers too!)... and actually makes  great chocolate lava cakes and flan when the mood strikes. And even though I love to cook, I still enjoy it when he takes over.

Since we've retired he does the heavy duty chores like mopping and mowing. I tend to do the dishes and the dusting, etc.  - although on occasion again I will cook and he will clean up. It works. Grocery shopping we do together... although he goes off with his cart and I go off with mine. We meet before checkout. Usually he's buying all the catfood and supplies while I'm picking up fresh meat and veggies for us.

We both wash our own clothes. I think we started this when the kids were grown, but still at home. We told them that they needed to wash their own clothes... and they did. I occasionally folded as somehow kids (even grown ones - especially boys) don't seem to care if the clothes are folded or worn right out of the dryer.  But we kept this practice up even after the kids were off on their own. Again... it works.

This is probably a weird subject (coffee and the delegation of chores), but it does touch on retirement practices... 

And before I go any further I want to mention that I read the Kindle sample of Dee Ready's "Prayer Was Not Enough"... and do plan on ordering the book. My friend lent me her Kindle and I didn't feel I could buy and download the book on someone else's e-reader, but did enjoy the sample pages I read. Dee has her own blog, "Coming Home to Myself" where you can read more about her new book.

Have a great week!  

My *One a day Women's petites* order came in. I haven't tried them yet, but they do look small enough for  me to swallow without too much trouble. They are not tiny, but about the size of a Tylenol caplet.