Thursday, December 30, 2021

NOT a Christmas post...

This is not a Christmas post... it's just something that DH and I were talking about one day and many of you may not agree with these sentiments - just realize that I'm stating how I think about the situation on my own blog. 

I had listened to someone on the news talking about the new variant, Omicron. They were saying that it "seems" to be more contagious, but less deadly (nothing new, we've all heard this) - but - they also said (and I'm paraphrasing) "... and those of you unvaccinated out there who might feel, OK, I'll take my chances with Omicron... need to realize that although you may not get very sick, the person or persons  you come into contact with may not fare as well. So if you've not a medical reason for avoiding the vaccine, then get vaccinated for the good of those around you. It's the right thing to do." 

When I was mentioning this to DH, he said that his take on all of this was more like... we're at war with a common enemy (Covid)... and in war, one must count on your brothers (band of brothers/soldiers)...  to protect not only themselves, but you as well. And in this war, the only way we have to do this is to get vaccinated and wear a mask, etc.... for your own protection and your fellow soldiers. 

Now when I think about those unvaccinated (for health/medical or other reasons), I think of conscientious objectors They should not go to war as they would be of no use in a war... not willing to fight/kill (which is understandable) and in war, they would be a danger to the other soldiers who could not count on them. 

I feel like those who refuse to get vaccinated (for other reasons besides health/medical), are like conscientious objectors in that they are of no use during this war... but besides that (which makes the pandemic war a little more dangerous), they can inadvertently bring the enemy (Covid) to their fellow soldiers and cause their death. So in that way, they are actually aiding the enemy (Covid). I realize that this is 'a bit harsh', but that's what it seems like to me

Now I also know that those of us that are vaccinated and wear a mask, etc. can still be contagious (vacs and masks are not a guarantee), but at least we're doing everything available to us to protect ourselves and others.

And those of you that don't consider this a WAR...  I ask, how do you condone the loss of over 5 million lives globally (over 800,000 in the US) and not call this a war?  Maybe you have not lost a family member or close friend (yet) - but others have and it may not be a matter of "if" but "when" your turn (or mine) comes.

I may not post this now with Christmas just a few days away and to be honest, I'd like to keep the magic and feel of the season for a little longer before continuing with this war and 4th wave (Omicron)... which has already started and sure to rear it's ugly head even more in the weeks after the holidays. 

This is one of those early morning posts - the things that run through your head and won't let you continue sleeping. So bear with me. I welcome your comments - but know that if they are ugly or down-putting, they will never see the light of day. Again, this is just how I see things... and don't expect that everyone sees them this way.

As always, thanks for reading and putting up with my early morning ramblings. It's therapeutic to get these things out of my head.  I know we're all so tired of hearing any more about Covid...  but let's face it, it hasn't done with us yet.

Hugs (virtual),


Other posters I saw when looking for something that 'fit' this post:

(Posting this Thursday, Dec. 30th... wrote it before Christmas... since then several people we know have been tested positive for Covid after family or friends' Christmas gatherings (so far no one we have been exposed to - yet).


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

the day after Christmas... 2021

Merry Christmas (the day after)

Even though we had a quiet Christmas, there was much to do with cooking, baking, putting gifts together, etc.  Spoke and texted back and forth with kids, family, friends, etc. during the day and had coffee and rum cake with youngest son and his family in the evening... and exchanged a few presents.  All in all, a good day!

We did get both our AGA fixed and the Breville toaster oven fryer delivered before Christmas... so we were in good shape. I have tried the new toaster oven for toast, begals, and pizza... works fine. Haven't tried to actually cook in it (made our roast in the AGA Christmas day). But curious to see how it air frys... not something I'm familiar with as we never fry foods here. If anyone has any comments concerning air frying, I'm happy to hear them.

toaster oven and rum cakes

And I'm going to add a few of our granddaughter's 9 year old pics.... (which were taken recently and just sent to us)

I find it so hard to believe she's growing up so fast...

Since I haven't posted this yet... and it's already Monday afternoon, I will report that I had the CT Scan of my heart done this morning. Haven't gotten the results yet... but it all went well. I did feel a bit shaky after the procedure, but think it was due to the nitroglycerin they give you during the test. 

I've had the iodine contrast before in other CT's and outside of the flush of heat after administering, that has never bothered me. The nitroglycerin that is put under your tongue gave me a slight headache... and possibly the shaky feeling after...  Hopefully I will get the results in the next few days.

Tuesday morning: Got the basic results this morning, both on my health portal and by phone from the Cardiologist's office. My CT apparently was all good... no blockages, etc. The doctor will go over it all and explain at my next appointment in 2 weeks. He is sending the results to my family physician. All sounds good to me... guessing the episodes of heart pounding and high bp  I have sometimes in the early morning are due to the valve leakage and the pvc's  -  and are all a part of 'old age'... 

Closing this now as it's turned into a 3 day post. Want to mention that with the numbers of cases due to omicron rising, our son made us promise that when we went to the hospital for testing, that we wear all our personal protection equipment (mask, gloves, face shield) which we did... and although it seemed a bit of an overkill, the hospital personnel told us it was a very good idea. 

Really closing now:  Happy New Year 2022 to all of you!  Hopefully it will be better than the last 2... but I'm honestly not too optimistic about that. Still... best wishes for a happy healthy 2022!

Hugs (virtual),

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Our AGA is fixed... and other things

This morning a repairman came out and fixed our AGA.  As DH said, "OMG, it's alive again!" That's what it feels like when the pilot is lit and the whole thing becomes warm again. It is the 'heart' of the kitchen and we've had it since 2005. 

It's only had one repair in all those years and that was in 2011. But when the workman who were putting in the generator last week tried to put it back on, they broke the simple mechanism that lights the pilot. So the poor thing went cold after all those years. We were lucky to find someone who knew how to fix it, as you don't find too many AGAs in Texas. But we love it... and really missed it. So we are so happy to have it back working again! 

She's back!!

Of course we also have an old wall oven... but we've had it for 36 years and the thermostat on it doesn't work well.  We have been told that it is too old to repair the thermostat so we either have to put a bought thermostat into the oven and regulate that way or just order a  new wall oven... (and who knows when that will get here - and it's definitely not a priority).

We did go out and buy a Breville toaster oven that has air fry capacity. THAT is supposed to be delivered before Christmas (we shall see). This was a precautionary measure in case the AGA parts had to be ordered and we wouldn't have any kind of oven for Christmas dinner. 

And I have to say that these last few days without an oven has taught me how to microwave more. Up until now we only used the microwave for heating things up... not actually cooking. But I've learned to cook scrambled eggs in the microwave (and baked potatoes)  as well as some microwavable dinners (like Stouffer's lasagna). I always knew they were microwavable, but just preferred to put them in the oven.

Anyway, now you are up to date on our latest Christmas dilemma.


Our oldest son and his wife drove in from Texarkana this past weekend and we had our little family get-together Sunday. They were going to come Christmas Eve, but for one reason or another ended up coming this weekend. It was so good to see them as they have moved from Oahu, Hawaii to Grandbury, TX to Texarkana during the pandemic and we haven't gotten to visit much. 

Their dog is a Golden Doodle... (funny name for a breed I know), but very family oriented. I think he really believes he is just another kid. 
Here is a picture of Winston in his Christmas sweater.

He usually runs around the house except when we're eating - and then they 'corral' him for a little while. But he is a sweetie, loves to play and loves to watch TV... especially dog shows... but he watched football with us Sunday. 

We won't see our daughter and her family this Christmas, but we did see them Thanksgiving... and hope to be able to visit them in the hill country this spring or summer (if this virus would stop mutating and we could feel safe to travel).

Youngest son and his family will come over Christmas evening. Granddaughter is 9 now and her class recently had a Christmas event at school. We almost always go to these events, but decided that perhaps with Omicron rearing it's ugly head, that we would forego any crowded gatherings. They understood. No one wants any of us to get sick.

Tomorrow I will continue baking my Christmas rum cakes since the AGA is back in service.  I need to get these out to my neighbors sometime this week... and then I'm finished baking. We have gotten so much in the mail from friends and family... and even neighbors that we have enough goodies around this house to last for a year. 

These are the cannisters and rum cakes I send out... 

DH's brothers sent us a ton of dark chocolate 'everything' from the Chocolate House in Houston and bags of Italian seed cookies as well as quarts of Spumoni Ice-cream from Angelo Brocato's in New Orleans and a variety of different flavored pecans. I will have to put some of this away or we will all have diabetes by the end of the year. 

Well, Merry Christmas to all of you! Stay well and stay safe! And I'm glad that we at least have this safe way to stay in touch and communicate during these strange days. 

Hugs (virtual),

* For those who have shown an interest: Sorry I couldn't get the sequel to "Time after Time" out before Christmas. But hope to do it sometime early in 2022.  But good news is that I'm still getting hits on Amazon for both the paperback and the kindle edition. *

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

almost done... but always something

 The tree is done... for what it's worth... but it's beautiful to us!


The outside cats have been around a lot lately, so I've been trying to get some good pics:

ferals looking in from back yard

First pic is mama cat, others are her kittens

...and of course this is One Eye

The pics are taken through the back French doors (which are always grubby due to little feral paws) so sorry the pics aren't terribly clear.

We've also got a family of raccoons coming by these days... but no pics. They usually come by after dark.


Cardiologist report:

Results from heart monitor, Echocardiogram, and Nuclear stress test shows tachycardia, premature ventricular contractions, and some valve leakage. But none of this is too serious. He wants to do a CT of my heart to make sure he hasn't missed anything. But he thinks a Rx of Beta Blockers should help with the episodes I've been having. So that's pretty good news in my opinion


Just about finished all my Christmas baking and sending. Most have received their packages by now. FedEx is pretty good at getting things out in a day or so. USPS - not so much. I sent 2 packages of goodies to N.O. on the same day. The one by FedEx took 2 days. The one by USPS still hasn't arrived and it's been a week (?).  And others sent all over by Fedex were delivered on time. Guess the Post Office is having a tough time...

It's also time to start doing some Christmas cleaning. We may not be getting together with family this Christmas, but there's still a lot to do. There's Christmas boxes, bags, wrap, ribbon, etc. all over the house. And there's Christmas dinner shopping to do (although we aren't doing a big Christmas dinner since there's only 3 of us). We will probably do a roast with gravy, potatoes, carrots, and onions... and maybe some bacon and green beans. Since we have turkey on Thanksgiving and a pork roast (with black eyed peas and cabbage) on New Years, Christmas is not always traditional - although we have had baked ham in the past.

Also today they are putting in our house generator (we are not waiting to see if the Texas grid will stand up to extreme winter weather). They have been digging trenches and using loud machines all around the outside of the house today... and will have to turn the electricity and gas off for a few hours. So we may be calling for pizza this evening. The outside feral cats are at a loss as to what all these workmen are doing. However, it hasn't deterred One Eye or Squeaky from coming to the back door... even though they have to jump over the dug trenches. But Olivia (the mama cat) has not brought her babies by... (she is a smart mama).

These were dug manually along backyard and side yard....  and I'm not sure what is going on everywhere else.  But you can see how long and deep the trenches are from these pics. I will take more pics as the process continues. 

On a 'not so great' note, they did turn the electricity and gas off for a while and when they turned it all back on... the Aga wouldn't come back on. Now we have to find an Aga repair person and that's not always easy as there aren't too many Agas around Texas. And I still have a few things to bake before Christmas (like rum cake for our neighbors) so hopefully we can get it repaired before too long.  

That's enough ramblings for today. Hope you are all enjoying your week before Christmas. 

Oh, I've been reading some rants on our neighborhood network (called Next Door) that includes several neighborhoods in the area. Someone started complaining about stray cats or ferals coming into their yard. I was surprised at the number of people that defended the ferals (although there were quite a few that want them gone). I don't get into those group neighborhood discussions. To me Next door should be used for safety and alerts, not petty annoyances. There are enough real problems in this world that need attention to worry about a few homeless animals that wonder into your yard. 

Really going to close this now. Thanks for taking the time to visit. And I really appreciate your comments - if you wish to leave any. If not, that's OK too.

Hugs (virtual), 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

a little more Christmas...

 A few other Christmas decorations... 

We added the ornaments we had made of our cats over the years to our critter tree. If you enlarge it, you can see some of them better...

and these are two of our ceramic cats sporting Santa hats! (I forgot about them on my last post)

And then there's our Christmas Elf that sits on our grandfather clock year round... (you may have seen him before)

The tree is still a work in progress... but should be done sometime this week. 


And I started baking Christmas goodies today.  So far I have the rum cakes, Christmas almond tea cakes, and home-made nutty granola done. Tomorrow will be chocolate nut brittle and bourbon whiskey balls.  If time permits I will add espresso delights and chocolate pecan tassies.

These I send out to the kids and a few friends and neighbors. My mother-in-law always sent us a box of her home-made Christmas goodies every year (we loved it!) - and after she passed,  I decided to keep up the tradition. 


And also DH is in the process of making 

my well loved 

red beans and rice!

He is making it today (Sunday) although we will have it today and tomorrow. Monday is the traditional day in New Orleans to cook and eat red beans. If you google why Monday is red beans day here:  Monday's Red Beans, it will explain. You can almost always find it on the restaurant menus on Monday and probably on the table in many households - even today. 

(DH is still in the process of cooking... 
so I used a pic taken earlier this year.)

Guess I will close for today. 

I however, have to show you something

I bought for me for Christmas.

It reminded me so much of our beloved black and white cats

 that we lost at the beginning of this pandemic

that I had to have it to put under the tree.

(and he purrs...)

Hugs (virtual),


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Dec. 1st... white rabbit! and other things...

I saw this prayer on Facebook the other day and it hit home with me. I'm not an especially religious person, but this prayer says a lot that is in my heart.  So I'm sharing it with you.  

Yesterday I had my nuclear stress test. Just thinking about it was 'stressing'... but I got through it just fine. (long day, but fine... we left the house at 10:30 am and got home close to 4:00 pm. DH was with me thank goodness) However, something mentioned in one of the books I've been reading about mindfulness helped. It may mean nothing to you, but it was exactly the words I needed to hear. It was in the 3rd book in the Dalai Lama's Cat series. The words were (and I'm paraphrasing) "Your mind is full of thoughts... some good, some bad... but what you have to remember is that they are just 'thoughts'... not truths." 

Anyway, I should get the results in the next few days. And I have an appointment in about 2 weeks with the Cardiologist to go over it all (the heart monitor I'm wearing for 30 days, the echocardiogram, and the nuclear stress test). Then... we should have some answers. 

Next I want to share this pic taken at the Mall the other day. It's the 12 days of Christmas structure that has been there for years. It's nostalgic as well as fun for the kids (and grown ups) as each section opens as the mechanism sings the 12 days of Christmas. DH and I were there to do a little Christmas shopping and it looked so pretty that I had to take a pic.

I wrote this post very very early this morning... as I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep (which happens on occasion). Also I was hungry as the only thing I had had to eat all day yesterday was a half of a peanut butter sandwich and a half cup of coffee when we came home from testing. So I got up, made myself a cup of tea, read blogs, and returned to bed around 4am. Now I'm reading to continue with this post. 

It's time to start Christmas baking this weekend. Christmas cards go out today and  if all goes well, some of the Christmas cookies for mailing will go out on Monday. 

We put out a few more of our inside Christmas decorations: 

And that's about it...

I hope the rest of your week is good. Enjoy the holidays and the holiday preps. Do something to make someone smile today... (even if it's you).

Oh... one more pic. It's of Big Boy, one of the ferals that spends a lot of time around here. Don't know if you can tell from this pic, but he has a huge head and is a rather handsome fella.

Hugs (still virtual),