Friday, June 28, 2019

redundancy and women...

Here I am again... at 4 am.  Something I read recently is bubbling through my mind. I can't even recall exactly what or where it was... but it had to do with being 'redundant'. 

Redundant - to me such a strange word.  When you look up the meaning or definition it says, "no longer needed, superfluous, unnecessary, not required, dispensable, expendable, useless, etc." 

I've heard it used more in England (in movies and books) referring to retirement... and it makes me sad. I never thought of retirement in that light. In fact, I always looked forward to the freedom retirement would afford... and does

But lately its come more to my attention that as time goes on, we are redundant in the sense that women as they age after having spent so many years caring for their children and spouses - can suddenly have that role disappear.  Children grow up and away, husbands may no longer be in the picture (due to death or divorce) and then, who are they?  With any careers they may have had gone with time and age, with children off living their own lives, and husbands no longer by their side - they have to refind their focus. 

It is a matter that needs addressing.  How does one do this?  

My children are all married with families of their own - living their own lives as they should. Luckily for me, my spouse is still by my side. But so many of my friends or acquaintances have lost theirs... and are continuing on their own. Those that have children may have grandchildren - and that involves one change of focus. 

Being a grandparent is a new role... a wonderful heart filled complicated role that I'm more than happy to take on. Not having known my own grandparents, I find this a fascinating journey where there's more pure enjoyment and less responsibility than parenthood held. But at the same time, it does expand your 'worry quota'. Yes, parents still worry about their kids, whether they're 5 or 50... and now you worry about grandchildren too.

But there has to be more, right?  You could argue that your grown children still 'need' you. Yes, to some extent... but it's more as emotional support... perhaps more for stability and unconditional love than anything else. This is good of course, but physically one has to accept the fact that they are grown, independent people that can do just fine without you.  And that is how it should be. It's something to be proud of. 


it leaves an aching hole somewhere inside. A hole that must be filled with perhaps - a new focus?  We need to look inside ourselves and try to remember who and what we were before we took on the role of wife and mother. Or perhaps we are no longer that person at all, perhaps we need to find out exactly who we are now. 

Think about it. Now we have the time to think about it. Health and finances may be an issue, but refocusing our lives and figuring out what brings us joy at this stage is important. 

Do you think about these things?  I would imagine that anyone who has reached a certain age has. If so, how do you deal with it? Sharing your ideas may help someone - and helping others (IMO) is an important part of this stage of life. 

Thanks for listening... or reading... or just being there


Thursday, June 27, 2019

one was a keeper...

chicken chili prep

This was a new recipe I tried last weekend. It was a 'chicken' chili. Since I don't do regular chili (for many reasons), I thought this might be a good alternative. It wasn't. 

Might have been partially my own fault in that I shredded the chicken rather than leaving it in chunks.  Next, possibly I 'stirred' too much as the black beans made the chili a mud colored mixture that just wasn't appetizing.

But I will say that it tasted fine. We ate it with some chopped tomato, cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream on top... and I froze the rest. However, I don't consider it a keeper (not one I would make again).  


lemon frozen ice-box pie

This lemon frozen ice-box pie was definitely a keeper! I had my doubts when making it as the ingredients were many and I thought a bit overkill.... but was very happy with the result. It was delicious and may end up being my summer time special dessert.  I was asked to post the recipe, so here it is:


12 graham crackers (doubles - not one square)
1/3 cup butter melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla (might use 1.5 tsp)
1 cup lemon curd
8 oz cream cheese room temp
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk


1. For Crust:  Preheat oven to 350 for crust
Break the graham crackers and add to a food processor. Process to fine crumbs.  Add the melted butter and granulated sugar and process until well combined. 

Once mixed, press crumbs into pie shell (using the back of a measuring cup).  Put pie dish on baking sheet and bake until slightly golden - about 5 + minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. For Filling:  Whip the heavy cream in a mixer with a whisk attachment. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff. Set aside.

Get a clean mixing bowl and add lemon curd, cream cheese, and sweetened condensed milk. Beat until smooth.  Gently fold in about 3/4 cup whipped cream into lemon mixture. Don't mix too well, just fold in a bit. 

3. Pour filling into cooled pie shell. Top with remaining whipped cream.  Freeze at least 2 hours. If longer, cover and return to freezer. Take out 10 - 15 minutes before slicing.


Closing with a pic of our spoiled Tux... who must have a glass of his own water if he sees us drinking:  (well, it's better than having him drink out of our glass...)

spoiled?   ... maybe a little


Sunday, June 23, 2019

just wondering...

this is where I am this morning in my mind..

I slept pretty well last night with not too many necessary side-trips. But for some reason, many times (not all) my dreams are filled with confrontations... usually with strangers. This seems so strange as my life doesn't involve many confrontations.

Maybe to get balance, I dream of these???  I certainly don't like them and they make my heart beat fast. And they're never about any one thing... just stupid stuff. This last one (last night) was about people coming onto our property to watch something (and what they were watching was ridiculous too).  I was angry not so much because they were on our property, but because they blocked our view of what was going on. 

When I awoke, I was thinking about this. First of all, why would I be angry with people on my property??  Why would it make me so mad?  Do I have some hidden anger issues that I'm not aware of? Are dreams random? Are they trying to tell me something? 

I have had dreams that clarify things for me.  I've also had recurrent dreams about a strange, but mysteriously fascinating house with an enormous amounts of rooms and odd architecture. And I have noticed that on occasion my dreams have been influenced by something I either read or saw on TV. 

This might be the case here. I have been reading a mystery (in bed) involving a detective who "travels" through lucid dreams. He is constantly frustrated. (That might be the reason for last night's episode...)

Years ago I used to be able to continue a dream from one night to another... not anymore. I also have had 'dreams' in the past where I thought I was actually traveling 'out of body'.... to different places that I'd always wanted to visit. These experiences were few, but they were accompanied by an unforgettable feeling of freedom... a feeling so exhilarating that it will remain in my head forever.

And yes, I've also had the 'flying' dreams. Those are/were wonderful too.  These I can rationalize by the fascination I have with watching birds (mainly seagulls and hawks) fly. They seem to float on the air with such ease.


Anyway, I digress...  I didn't mean for this to be so long. But my mind slips through my fingers to the page on occasion.  I really appreciate you reading my rambles. 

Have a wonderful Sunday! 


dreaming? or possibly melting in the heat ? (95 F today)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Thursday in Texas...

This is our Celeste Fig tree (on left). It is actually behind the gate, but falls over into the front drive.

The picture on the right show how many figs it seems to be making. We're not sure if they will all ripen as there are way too many.

We enjoy eating these figs fresh...
if the birds (mostly bluejays) and squirrels leave us some.  We do have a Turkey fig tree in the backyard - these we leave for the birds and squirrels.

We also have a ton of mint growing out front. It is taking over our front yard. But we love it and it smells wonderful.  Also tastes great in DH's sweet tea!

even growing out of cracks in walkway!

Weather has gotten warm... supposed to be up to 98 this afternoon. We're also in for more severe weather this evening if the weathermen can be believed. This spring has been a bit much with the tornado watches and severe thunderstorms. Our sirens went off yesterday afternoon and we were like... "WTF?" (sorry) The sun was out in our area and it looked fine - but sure enough, it got black and started pouring in about 30 mins and they kept the tornado watch on until about 8 pm. But luckily our area was fine. Some were not so lucky. But unless I'm mistaken, no one was hurt.

This next pic is oldest grand daughter at a horse event last Saturday. She has been working a lot lately and this is the first event in a while that she could attend. Both she and her horse did well. My daughter sent us the pic.

June 2019

I'm still working on my seals. This last one, "seal and pup" I just finished.  Well, not finished,  as it will have to dry and then be underglazed and fired. But it's a little larger than I usually do... maybe 6 inches. Most of my sculptures are between 2 and 4.

seal and pup

tiny fat cat

OK... that's all I've got.  Going to go read for a while and maybe take a short nap. Thanks for visiting! Wish I could serve you some tea or coffee.  We have a really good Lemon Ice-box pie in the freezer. It was a new recipe that is definitely a keeper. 


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father's Day 2019

Remembering my dad... 

Dad died in 1982.  He was 75 years old. I was in my 30's, living in Texas and raising 3 young kids. How I wish I had had more time with him. I was the youngest of 3 and after going off to college at 18, I really never went back home again. Spent summers on campus and then married DH 3 days before my graduation (had a very short honeymoon as we had to be back on campus 2 days later for graduation).

Dad was a typical quiet Englishman with a very dry sense of humor. He smoked cigars and a pipe ... and to this day, the aroma of either remind me of him... and Sunday mornings.  His dad, mom, and siblings came to the States from London in 1920. I never asked him why. He was the oldest (13) at the time.  

They settled in Jacksonville, Florida back then. And when dad was a little older, he landed a job as a general manager of a stone company in New Orleans and moved the whole family there. That became their permanent home and that's where I grew up. But hindsight hits you hard when you're my age. I now wonder why they never went back to London, why family from neither side (grandpa William's nor grandma Eleanor's) never visited the States? They certainly weren't rich, but since they traveled back and forth between London and the States between 1918 and 1920 three times before deciding to stay... they weren't poor either.

Anyway, despite all the questions I never asked, I still miss him. He was a good man, kind, gentle, and definitely a good husband and father.  He used to sing "Onward Christian Soldiers" when we would go out driving. Used the expression, "Don't take any wooden nickels" and remembered London during WW1  - dad was 7 - 11 during the war (And since the war ended around 1918 and that's when Grandpa left with the family - maybe the condition London was in after the war had something to do with their leaving...?)

Dad in his younger years

Think this was taken around 1945

I like this pic as if you look closely, you can see how pale blue my dad's eyes were. 

I wanted to find a pic of all of us as a family to post, but my old pictures are in boxes that need to be sorted and there's no time for me to go through those today.... so I'm going to close with a pic that I did find on my computer of another father (DH and our daughter taken in 1970).  

Happy Father's Day!

And this is how our 3 cats are spending the day...

Ghost on chair in front room

Tux and Julie on my work table

This last one is not a good pic, but as you can see, they have to be close by while I work on my clay

And all DH wanted for Father's Day was :


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

cats and art... the art part

My last post was about how cats and art enrich my life... except that I went on a bit about cats and there wasn't time for the art part.

So here it is... although I'm not exactly sure what I want to say.

Basically I love to write stories, sketch, play around with watercolor, and either throw on the pottery wheel or sculpt little critters out of clay.  Am I good at it? I'm OK... don't consider myself an artist... but definitely enjoy doing it. 

The stories I write are original and just pop up in my head... so it's therapeutic to put them down on paper (or into the computer). But  sketching, watercolor (and probably sculpture) is different. When I see something (a picture, an object, whatever...)  and it  'moves' me, I want/need to capture it...  feel the creation of it myself.  I see the 'motion' in my mind and want to feel it in my fingers.

Luckily most of the time, if I can see it in my mind, I can duplicate it on paper or in clay. Does that make any sense? It really is hard to explain. It sounds strange (even to me), but it makes me think how some people say that they see numbers in colors - well, I see motion in things and want to feel that motion. Crazy, huh? Maybe...

And the reason I won't say that I'm a artist is because I've never had a good understanding of art appreciation. It seems that an Artist would appreciate all forms of art. I don't. I don't understand or appreciate lots of famous art. Can't for the life of me find anything about some of it to appreciate... except maybe the effort put out to create it.  But perhaps (like my writing) it just feels good to get it out and onto the canvas or into a physical form. (I think this when I see art that borders on horrific - and think how good it must feel to get THAT out of their head - ha!).

But it seems that for as many of us that don't appreciate it, there are just as many or more that do.

Anyway, the process of creating art (and even the wonder of seeing others create) brings me joy.  And I imagine some people find the same magic in music or possibly anything. Life is art. I do understand that.

Perhaps this is TMI...???  If so, sorry. But thanks for reading anyway!


Tux found a spot in the sun

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

no cats in the house? I can't imagine...

Woke up this morning thinking about cats and art... not necessarily together.... just how much I enjoy both. Both things add joy to my life that's hard to explain. Both also bring tears on occasion, but that's life, right? Looking back, the good outweighs the bad. 

I always had a love for animals - pretty much all animals. As a child I had dogs, birds, a rabbit, a snake, a few turtles, and an alligator (this was back in the 50's when one could buy baby turtles and alligators all along the coast of Mississippi). But we never had cats. Mama told me I was allergic. Don't think I was... but I do sneeze a lot (so maybe).

When DH and I got married and were living in the married student apartments at LSUBR, we were 22 and had 2 Siamese kittens (Emily and Jai). From that time on (from Louisiana to Florida to Texas), we have always had cats. Cats and kids have kept our lives full... of laughter (and tears)... but mostly joy. 

At one time, we had 8 inside cats (a bit much) but they needed help, so what can you do?  And they all got along... I have pictures of all 8 lined up in a row on our bed. Over the years we decided 3 inside was about right - when it came to caring for them (vaccinations, food, litter, attention, etc.) 

So now in our twilight (?) years, we have 3 inside and quite a few feral ones that frequent our backyard. These are given food, water, and what shelter our yard provides. Would we like to take more in, sure. But it's not practical at our age. We have done the catch, vaccinate, and release program over the years, but now simply provide what care we can.

But I truly can't imagine not having a cat. They each have their own personalities and watching them emerge as kittens to adult cats is fascinating. We took them all in at only a few weeks old. Tux (one of our black and whites) is so bonded with me that he is by my side when I'm home 24/7. He is also extremely sensitive and easily hurt - if I lean down to pet one of the others when he is on my lap, he will go off in a huff. That's Tux. Julie, his sibling is half his size and full of beans. She loves to play, run around, and knock things down. If you throw her a mouse, she will jump up and catch it in her paws. Unlike Tux, she (and Ghost) are not lap cats... although Julie has her moments. Ghost now is a strange cat. She has genetic kidney problems and was not supposed to live past her first year. She is 12 now and although generally a very sweet cat, is also a bit psycho. There are times when she will hiss and growl for apparently no reason... it doesn't last long, but we've never been able to figure out why it happens. She also doesn't jump on things, watches TV, watches iPhone videos, and loves me to do a shadow show on the wall.  

As I said... can't imagine not having them around.







This post is longer than I planned... so I won't go into my thoughts about art today. I'll post that another day. Thanks for listening to my early morning ramblings. 


Sunday, June 9, 2019

just a few things...

I watched a movie with Judi Dench this morning, "Iris"...  story of an English author who dazzled readers and professors alike... both with her lectures and with her thoughts. She loved "words" and in her older years developed Alzheimer's. Story is especially sad because words were her life, but if it plays true, her professor husband is more than understanding and compensating... caring and doing his level best to give her what of life she has left. So yes, it was sad, but also comforting in a way. If any of you have seen it, I would love to hear what you thought.

Oh... also we were able to finally get our tickets to Hawaii to visit our son. It had to be postponed a bit to a later date, but that's OK. He lives on the central east coast of Oahu (at least I think that's right) moved there 2 years ago. Loves it!  The pictures he sends are gorgeous. 

I also have a friend who moved to Hawaii last year. She bought a house on the Big Island... and loves it too! Can't wait!

Currently in the studio:

Bird feeders which are on greenware shelf ready for first firing

These bird feeders will eventually be glazed and hung up with cord one on top the other like a mobile with beads - and  birdseed in the wings (to hang in trees). At least... that's the plan.

Silly seal I sculpted Saturday also awaiting first firing

This little guy wasn't planned, but since some of my clay works hadn't been fired, I didn't have anything else to work on... so I made this silly little seal.

Oh... great,  another severe thunderstorm warning for our location just announced.  Here we go again. Sky has turned black... Guess I need to shut down the computer. Have a good Sunday and thanks for visiting.


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Turtle Alert! Gra Gra down!

tea at 3?

Here I am again... up at 3 AM... drinking tea and trying to get a million different thoughts from running around blindly in my head.  I picture them all flitting around bumping into each other in some sort of mad frenzy... each vying for my attention... while I try my best to make them go away or at least settle down so I can just regain that soft calm druggy feeling of relaxed sleep. 

But on these mornings, its no use, so I get up, make a cup of tea, and sit with the cats in the kitchen for a bit. Now I'm reading blogs and deciding if there are other more productive things I could be doing. 

Ongoing projects consist of creating mobile bird feeders - have 2 of these sitting on the shelf in the studio (still greenware), continue proofing a book a friend of mine is helping me self-publish, work on another that is in progress, shredding tons of old paperwork that has accumulated in closets and computer room, cleaning out the garage - which hasn't been able to fit a car into these last few years, and finding the time, money, and ability to buy tickets to Hawaii to visit our son - hopefully in the next few months.

Also DH and I were watching "Chernobyl" on Netflix or Hulu last night before bed - not exactly conducive to a restful night's sleep (interesting story though). We have Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and Acorn.  Acorn is our favorite... love all those shows based in the countryside of England, Ireland, Wales, New Zealand, etc. One of my favorites was a non-assuming little series that didn't have any murders or any real action-packed anything, yet I really enjoyed watching it. It was called "The Detectorists" and it was simply a little group of people in a small town that spent their days roaming the countryside using metal detectors and then sharing what they found. (I'd love to do that - but I'm sure some would say.... "boring!)

Which reminds me (since our 6 year old granddaughter was at the house yesterday evening - and says "boring" a lot). Our youngest son dropped her by for a few hours so he and his wife could go out to a quiet dinner alone for a change. No problem. She and I watched a new Christmas movie together (well, I watched, she chatted the whole time - sitting still is difficult for her). But I had been at the pottery studio all day and was tired, so watching a movie rather than running around playing with her was more my speed last night. But she seemed to be fascinated with the story and asked a million questions. And for a Christmas (Santa) story, it was interesting... different. It was called "The Christmas Chronicles" on Netflix.

That's about the news here. Yes, I know... "boring"!  Oh, there was another thing we did recently... went down to Terrell, Texas for our semi-annual visit to Ham's Peach Orchard! We bought fresh peaches, fresh peach ice-cream, peach cobbler, fresh picked pecans, and peach-pulled pork sandwiches.  All wonderful! They have the little store out front and then a pavilion out back with tables and rocking chairs. It's got to be a tradition with us to go every May and July, stock up on goodies, and sit out back in the rockers eating our ice-cream. There's always a cool breeze blowing - very calm and refreshing way to spend a morning. DH's brother and his wife come down from Houston and go with us in July. (They bring a huge ice-chest and stock up too)

some of our Ham's Orchard purchases (not the cat)

OK... that's it for today... almost 5 am. Maybe I'll go back to bed for a bit. Thanks for being there. 

Oh... I forgot to explain the title of this blog , "Turtle Alert! Gra Gra down!"   One of my sons sent me an Alert bracelet/pendant  (for Mother's Day) to wear that alerts any falls or scares, etc. by not using a monitoring system but by connecting to a app on one's iPhone where when the alert is set off, it sends a text message to any 3 people whose phone numbers you set up. (Yes, although I luckily haven't had a problem with 'falls' so far, I must be officially old now) Well, you have to put in the text message, so instead of putting in the familiar "I've fallen and I can't get up" message, I thought of myself as a turtle on my back and since youngest granddaughter calls me Gra Gra ... "Turtle Alert! Gra Gra down!"