Sunday, December 29, 2019

a few late Christmas day pics...

Here are a few Christmas pics taken late Christmas Day:



Now we await New Year's Eve and our wonderful home-made eggnog!  

We have gone out to celebrate New Years Eve in the past... but no longer. It's usually bad weather and extremely crowded. So now we choose to sit by the fireside and toast the New Year in with home-made eggnog (spiked with a little bourbon)! We also like to watch the Waterford Ball drop... but don't always make it up that late.

New Year's Day Menu:

Pork Roast
Black-eyed peas

Wishing Everyone

Oh... and an update on my Spinal Specialist appointment:

First of all, I really liked this man. He is a big man, but soft spoken and the first thing he said to me is "I'm going to sit here and listen to what's going on with you... so tell me what's happening."

After we talked a while, he said that from looking at my x-ray and MRI, I didn't need any surgery. To paraphrase what he said - it was that everything looked fine for my age. The few abnormalities that he saw were nothing to worry about and he didn't believe were the source of any problem. What he did see was arthritis in my spine and that could be dealt with.  And since I reported that the steroid injection I had received did help a bit, he prescribed a few days of steroids, then Tylenol once or possibly twice a day if needed for everyday pain... and a daily exercise program. If this didn't work, he would order some physical therapy.

I told him that this was what I hoped he would say... but told him that I was worried about my back seizing up again. He said he couldn't guarantee that wouldn't happen... but the exercises should help... and to keep the muscle relaxant and pain pills handy in case it did.

So far, so good. 


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas Eve 2019!

Merry Christmas Eve!  

Saw this on Pinterest and had to post it as it is so very much our house  during the holidays. Luckily we've never had the whole tree go down, but have had strings of lights pulled down and various ornaments knocked off. But that's OK... we put the tree up for the kids when they were young, now we put it up for the cats (and for that wonderful fresh Christmas tree aroma).

our tree 2019 - lots of little things hanging on bottom for cats

Well, my back is better, but not 100%. I'm worried that it may go out on me again, but I do have an appointment with the Spinal Specialist this week. 

I did get my Christmas baking done over several days and the last of it sent out yesterday. They won't get them in Hawaii until the end of the week, but that's OK. We're all a little behind this year for various reasons. I bake for friends and family in New Orleans, neighbors, a few friends here in Texas, and our 3 kids... 

My mother-in-law used to do it for all of us...

So I've taken up the tradition...

Last batch done Sunday

Well, I wish you all

a very
Merry Christmas! 

and a safe 
Happy Healthy 2020!


they were young and now for the cats.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Do I or don't I?

Tux loves my heating pad

For the past 2 weeks I have been unable to walk without pain... and have been taking Rx muscle relaxers and Hydrocodone. Now I'm able to walk again with a soreness, but thank goodness not the spasms I had before.  So... what caused this?  Will it happen again? Am I doing something I shouldn't?

The steroid injection I was given as well as the medications helped, but it seemed to me the condition had to either heal on its own or run it's course. 

My Primary Care Physician sent me for an x-ray of my lower back as well as a MRI. We were thinking pinched nerve(s), bulging disc, etc. But apparently nothing unusual showed up. Now he's referring me to a Spinal Specialist. 

I'm walking OK, but that soreness in my lower back remains. And I have to admit that I fear whatever it was might come back again.  Do I sweep, mop, dust? How can I not? Christmas is around the corner and there's so much to do. Is it age? I find that hard to believe. Age may slow me down, but surely I can still perform these simple tasks?

Well, that's about it. I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Wondering if anyone else has had this happen to them I suppose.
And if so, any suggestions?

cats sharing my sick bed

As always, thanks for dropping by.  I don't really expect any miraculous answers, but thought it wouldn't hurt to put it out there.


Monday, December 9, 2019

thank you for your input...

Ghost and Snuffy

I want to thank all of you out there who made comments and/or suggestions on my previous blog about my  back problems. I really appreciate that you took the time to do that. It means a lot to me.

Most of us will never meet in real life... yet I feel that I know many of you through your blogs... and consider you 'friends' (cyber/blogger friends?). Through our blogs we share parts of our lives and in that way get to know a little about each other; our likes, dislikes, joys, sorrows... possibly even things we wouldn't or couldn't share with those we're physically close to. 

And of course most of us (but not all) share the 'age' and 'retirement' issues. I'm 74 and my sister would be 84 (if she hadn't died at 51). My brother would be 79 (if he hadn't died at 59). What I'm trying to say here is that without my older siblings to ease me into this aging thing, I have to depend on older friends/relatives, etc. - and you, my cyber/blogger friends have proved to be a great source of information and comfort in this area. So, thank you again (if only for listening to me vent).

However, it's been 10 days since my back troubles started and I'm still hurting I do have an appointment to see the doctor this afternoon. The steroid injection I received from the Texas Health Dispatch last Monday was helpful, but the effect didn't last. The muscle relaxant (cyclobenzapr) and the pain pill (hydrocod/acetam) take the edge off, but it's still painful and difficult to walk. 

I'm guessing that our doctor will schedule me for x-rays and an MRI to determine what exactly is causing this. We all pretty much know/suspect that it's a pinched nerve(s) in the lumbar region... but what's causing the pinching we don't know. 

On a lighter note, you would probably laugh if you saw me now. Strewn across this bed are pillows, meds, coffee mugs, books, tissue, laptop, iPhone, kindle, that thingy that helps you pick up things when you can't bend over.... and of course several cats (who are a constant source of purring comfort)!

But before I shut this down, let me say something about the Texas Health Dispatch. Before this happened, I was totally unaware that such a service was available. As I understand it, it is a service that has grown out of a need to be an in between care for those who either cannot get to a doctor's office to be treated and yet don't feel their condition is a life threatening emergency that would necessitate a visit to the ER. And they take Medicare!  I would ask your own physician if he was aware of this type of service in your area. It certainly came in handy for me.


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Update on back condition...

Well, it's Wednesday now... 5 days running... still in pain, but lessened due to steroid injection and muscle relaxants. I haven't yet taken the pain pills and am still trying to get by on Tylenol. I can walk with my mom's old walker... still hurts, but at least I can walk.

What happened is that it got so bad on Monday afternoon that I could no longer walk at all. I tried... spasms shot up my back so bad that I broke out in a cold sweat and thought I would pass out. So I called my family physician. He said to come in to the office. Said that I couldn't do that as I couldn't walk. Told me to call 911. Said that I didn't want to do that for as bad as it was... I didn't think it was life threatening

Then he recommended I call Texas Health Dispatch. I didn't know what this was, but apparently it is a kind of mobile urgent care that will come to your house, takes Medicare, and will evaluate your condition, treat it, or send you to the emergency room. 

So I did this. They were great.  Two ladies came out, examined my back, took my oxygen level and blood pressure, asked me a zillion questions, and then diagnosed Radiculopathy, Lumbar region - and after checking on my drug allergies gave me a steroid injection and told me to take the muscle relaxants the doctor prescribed.  

The steroid helped as by Tuesday morning I could walk some again. But I think it's wearing off . I'm trying to walk around more today as my back stiffens up so bad in bed or sitting, but it's not fun.  May try a half of the pain pill if no improvement by this afternoon.

I'm trying my best to accept this with a good attitude. After all, we have to expect life to throw us a few curve balls, right? I'll try the mantra "Breathe in, Breathe out, move on".... but its the moving on (physically) that's difficult at the moment.

Thanks for listening to me whine... so sorry for that. But it helps to vent.  

I truly appreciate your taking the time to drop by my blog. It's not exactly a fun one, not even educational or full of pretty photos... but maybe I'll post a few of the cats to spiff it up. All 3 have been laying with me on the bed for days. Tux is so worried. Even when the Health Dispatch showed up, he wouldn't leave my side.

Tux and Julie in my pile of bedridden necessities

Tux waiting for me to come back to bed


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Rabbit Rabbit! White Rabbit! Help!

Rabbit Rabbit! White Rabbit!

Today is Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019 and this 'Rabbit Rabbit!' is a little late in the day. But...  this tardiness is due to my inability to get around today.  Apparently I've done something to my back again. Can barely walk - the spasms are so bad.

First time this happened (September) I was pretty sure what happened. This time I have no idea. Possibly could have been caused by something I did while cooking and cleaning for Thanksgiving guests and dinner.  I forget that at 74 I can't do all that I used to do without consequences. 

I have to admit that my back was aching a bit the last few days, but Saturday evening I realized that it had 'seized up' again. Whatever it is runs from the base of my spine almost in the middle (but a little to the left) and up all the way into my left shoulder and down my left leg. 

Stayed in bed most of the day today applying heat and cold. Walked slowly around a bit with a cane to exercise and stretch a bit (was afraid I was going to either throw up or pass out doing this -  also was afraid my leg would give way) and am taking Tylenol (just one in the morning and one in the evening to take the edge off).

And all 3 cats stayed in bed with me.Tux is my worrier. He stayed close, licking my hands and purring the whole time.

my worrier

Anyway, I'm thankful that it didn't seize up until after everyone had left for home. We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner and birthday (youngest grand daughter's 7th) Thursday. Then we all sat around the fireplace eating, drinking, and talking (watched some football too of course) while the grand kids played video games and otherwise entertained themselves.  Got them to stand still for a few minutes for pictures (which was especially difficult for youngest who was being a grouch as you can see).

Everyone overnighted and Friday morning we all went out for breakfast, then took the kids with us to pick out our Christmas tree. We always get a live one (usually around 7-8 feet) and they help choose. The house smells wonderful... that Christmas tree smell!

So all in all, except for this dern back, it was a good holiday. And no matter what, I'm grateful to be here to spend it with family and friends (and to share it with those of you I consider my blogging friends). 

I sincerely hope your Thanksgiving was good too. Sending you wishes for a happy, healthy, safe holiday season!


PS: DH has been wonderful... bringing me my meds, cooking for us, and taking care of things that need doing. Obviously I'm thankful for him too. 


Saturday, November 23, 2019

Julie hiding, Book on Kindle, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Julie hiding under chair at ear treatment time

I had to post this as she looked so funny. We've been treating her yeast infection in her ear for 5 days now. We put 6 drops in her left ear at 9am in the morning and 9pm at night. She really is good about it and doesn't fuss. But... after only 3 days she realized the time schedule... and while she spent most of Thursday evening laying on the sofa with us watching TV - at 9pm, she disappeared - to be found under the chair in the dining room looking apprehensive.

Her ear still looks pink, but she doesn't seem to be shaking or scratching at it anymore. (I did tell her that if she scratched at it, the 'cone of shame' would be put back on... and I think she understood as she's been really good about not scratching).


On another short note:

"Time After Time"
by D'Arcy Regan Hart (pen name) 
Now available on Kindle!

I signed up to do this this afternoon and was told that it may take 24 hours for it to go "live". While the paperback is $15.99 at Amazon for those book lovers who refuse to go digital, the e-book is only $2.99.  I've had so many good responses from people who have read it, that I really wanted it to be available to more readers - and this seemed a good way to do it.


With Thanksgiving coming up this Thursday we have a lot to do this week so this may be my one and only post.  So I'm going to say "Happy Thanksgiving" to every one now. I really hope that all of you enjoy the day with family and/or friends. 

DH will smoke a turkey, and there will be bourbon sweet potatoes, cranberry pecan stuffing, mashed potatoes, broccoli/cauliflower casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, hot rolls, and 2 desserts: Kentucky Derby pie, and a (family traditional) chocolate pudding with a cookie crust.

Thanksgiving day will also be our youngest grand daughter's 7th birthday... (which she is celebrating with her friends at the Zoo this weekend) but we will still have a small family celebration at the house Thursday (so add Birthday cake to that Thanksgiving menu).

Closing this with a picture of Julie checking out the dollhouse that we recently moved to the den for youngest grand daughter to put all her LOL dolls in. This dollhouse was originally bought for oldest grand daughter who is now 18. (I've been using it as a bookcase in our computer room). Time to get it out and use it properly.

Julie says "thanks, I can use this..."


Saturday, November 16, 2019

Books, cats, and other critters...

This is me on days that I've finished all the books I've been reading simultaneously.  When I read the last page, I'm like... 'oh no!'

If I'm completely out of 'real' books, I'll either have to go reread one that I've read before and liked (some stories I find can be reread countless times), or find one from a huge selection downloaded on a friend's Kindle, or perhaps... just go write my own

Today I'm reading an old book written in the 40's that one of my pottery friends loved. She found it on Amazon and gave it to me to read. She read my book, "Time After Time" and decided that I'd enjoy this one. It's called "Mrs. Mike" by Benedict and Nancy Freedman. It's about a young 17 year old girl who leaves Boston to live with her uncle in Alberta. She marries a young sergeant in the Canadian Mounted Police and they manage a life in the harsh wilderness.

I've also been reading "Educated" by Tara Westover - but don't find it pulling me back.  I'm about halfway through both books. 

And I'm definitely interested in "Miss Hargreaves" by Frank Baker (that one of you bloggers mentioned in your post)!



Julie's ear continued to bother her even though I cleaned it and treated it for possible ear mites. So yesterday DH and I bit the bullet and took her to the Vet's to have it checked out. I was beginning to worry that perhaps it was an ear infection and might be causing her pain.

The Vet flushed it out, tested it for mites - found none, but did diagnose a yeast infection and sent her home with Rx Tresaderm ear drops and that dreaded cone of shame. So, we shall see what happens. The trip to the Vet's is enough to wear her out (she is 15), so she slept most of the day when we got home. 

The funny thing that DH and I had to laugh about was when Julie walked into the house with that 'cone' on her head, Ghost took off for the bedroom and Tux hid behind the sofa. Don't know if the cone itself on Julie scared them or if they thought they might be next. 

The unfunny thing is what such a quick Vet visit cost us ($$).


Closing with 2 pics taken recently:

Ghost and Snuffy

Visiting possum this morning

Ghost looked so cute snuggling up with Snuffy on the bed. And our visiting possum was such a chubby healthy looking little critter that I had to take his pic.

Have a wonderful weekend! And as always, thanks for visiting!


Monday, November 11, 2019

Happy Veteran's Day... also grandson's B-day!!

November 11th is Veteran's Day

(love this song!)

God Bless the USA

If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life,

And I had to start again with just my children and my wife.

I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today,

‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.

And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land 

God bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee,

across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea,

From Detroit down to Houston and New York to LA,

Well, there’s pride in every American heart,

and it’s time to stand and say:

I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.

And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land 

God bless the U.S.A.


(and love this kid!)

Nov. 11, 2019 is also our oldest Grandson's 21st Birthday!

Time sure flies...


"Dear Lord, Lest I continue
My complacent way,
Help me to remember,
Somehow out there 
A man died for me today.
As long as there be war,
I then must ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?"

Thursday, November 7, 2019

a new addition...

Snuffy on bed with Tux

Recently fell in love with this little guy while walking at the mall with DH. Originally planned to give it to grand daughter (since her birthday and Christmas are both coming up) - but soon realized that I didn't want to part with him. He now sits (along with cats) on top of our bed!

I have always been interested in elephants (and crows) and have an elephant picture that I inherited from my brother in our bedroom. See below.

They are such majestic animals... as is our Tux.

The weather this week is cold and rainy... so the cats and I are spending our days by the fireplace. 

It seems the smartest thing to do. And DH and I both got our flu shots this week... so taking it easy and out of the weather seems like a good idea.

A few more pics here at the end that I took at Neiman Marcus when DH and I were walking at the mall Monday. Christmas is everywhere already... (abeit a bit early)!

    Love the bear tree best!

By the way, I named the elephant Snuffy for Snuffaluffagus...

I should be wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving instead of posting Christmas decorations, but we seem to go right from Halloween into Christmas these days. And besides, I don't really have much in the way of Thanksgiving decorations.  It seems to be more about family and food (which is always fun -although sometimes a lot of work).

But I guess we're now on the big countdown from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas. Always lots to do (hope I'm still up to it).  But as the mantra goes, "Breathe in, breathe out, move on!"


Saturday, November 2, 2019

Halloween cat/bat?

Halloween cat/bat?

Neighbor's Halloween decoration (The Flying Frenchman)

I had to send you a pic of our neighbor's Halloween lawn decoration this year. If you enlarge it, you can see all the skeletons manning the deck. He calls it "The Flying Frenchman"  (he is French and just moved here a few years ago). He always goes all out for the holidays and the neighborhood loves it.

We actually had a busy night of 'trick or treat' -ers. Didn't expect it as it was cold (30 F) and had been raining earlier in the day. But by evening, it was probably in the 40-50 F's and the rain had stopped. So despite it being cold, we had a fair number of door bell ringers.... (maybe about 30+ ?)


Unless things change next week, it seems like the weather here in North Texas skipped Fall this year. We went from the 90's to the 30's already. Fireplaces on - the cats and I are ready to hibernate until spring.

Tux and I under a blanket on the sofa.  

And taken just this morning, the 3 cats waiting by the Aga for a treat... (I must have taken 6 shots and in each one of the cats would turn his head - this one is the best of the lot. Julie was not looking up, but at least she didn't turn away).

The outside ferals already have their new beds out and heat lamps on. And they are definitely using them. One of the feral cats is a handsome black with only one eye. He tends to use the catbed on the front porch a lot. We call him "One eyed Jack" - 'the cat who lived' - as he was in very poor shape a few months back... beat up badly and right eye/side of face all red and swollen. DH and I knew we couldn't get near him to take him anywhere for treatment, so we watched him and waited - expecting any morning to find him dead in the cat bed.

But... he would get up and eat, then sleep the days away in that bed. One day he was gone - and we wondered if he had gone off to die. But tho and behold, he showed up a few weeks later, healed and looking fit. He is definitely blind in that eye, but seems to do well otherwise. Still comes back on cold nights to sleep in that bed. For us he'll always be 'the cat that lived'.

Hope you had a fun Halloween and as always thanks for coming by to visit. Enjoy all that left-over Halloween candy! 


Saturday, October 26, 2019

Halloween Goblin King...

Cutest Goblin King ever... (on right)

My grand daughter (6) loved the movie "Labyrinth" and decided to dress as the Goblin King for Halloween this year. Her mom did a great job putting this outfit together. I just love it!


 Now on another note, I have been back into my clay pottery with a vengeance.  Don't know how long this will last, but it's kept me pretty busy... and my mind off of other things

finished sea turtle vase

I'm not too happy with this vase as the blue background and green turtle almost blend into each other.

lizard on bowl and psychedelic chickens

These are in the kiln for first firing. We'll see how they come out.

Terra Sig balls for Raku firing

An experiment in the making...

world of snakes globe

Two views of my world of snakes globe - still  greenware just drying... (thought of making the world green and the snakes multi-colored, but think I may make the world blue and the snakes green for simplicity).

And lastly, my big silly chicken just finished (which is still wet clay):

silly chicken...

And for those of you not interested in pottery, I apologize... but this was all I had to offer in this post.

Wait! Julie posed for a pic yesterday. I'm a little worried about her. She has had an small open sore under her neck that has been around forever and won't heal (possibly because she scratches at it constantly). Now her ear is red... not swollen, just very pink... no visible abscess and nothing seems to bother her, she eats well, eyes clear, etc. But we're watching closely. She (knock on wood) has never been sick in her 15 years.


Closing this now. Hope you are having a good weekend. Thanks as always for reading (and commenting if you've a mind to).  I personally find the comments sometimes as interesting as the posts.