Friday, December 24, 2010

And it is Christmas!! Yee Haaa!

So sorry, no snow pics, no snow here.
No tree pics, no tree here.
Just cats, dog, and son John.
 No turkey either.

Will left over roast do?

 Enjoying my Christmas, hope you are enjoying yours too!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

happy turkey day to everyone. I am back in Texas and (gasp!) actually cooking a turkey. Figured Suza would enjoy pressure cooked turkey remains and we might enjoy bits of it ourselves. Can't believe I'm not just planning on Denny's. Well that might happen too...

In the forties here? and will warm up to high fifties? yikes. At least we don't have the white stuff.

You all stay warm!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vinegar or honey?

I have always liked the little book Silver Boxes: the Gift of Encouragement for what it has to say about our words. Words can hurt or they can help. Which do you choose?

Then I thought about that old saying, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar". My grandmother introduced me to that proverb when I was young. Apparently it comes from Torriano's 'Common Place of Italian Proverbs' (1666). Though I suspect most of us would be more familiar with it in Benjamin Franklin's 'Poor Richard's Almanac'.  

Then I thought about a person I knew as a teen who made up a honey/vinegar combination - basically tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of raw honey plus water, a freshing drink that is supposed to cure about anything that ails you.

Well you know what? It does not take a lot of vinegar to spoil the sweet taste of honey (unless you like vinegar) and it takes a bunch of honey to overpower vinegar. (I do like the mix but just thinking of the pure taste of honey vs vinegar here.) So what if I applied all of the above to my words?

When speaking to others do you serve them vinegar or honey? A mix of the two might be fine yet I suspect that then, you need to have more honey than vinegar for the vinegar-y words to be well accepted. If you mainly hand out vinegar, can you really expect people to keep coming back for more? I'll go along with the thought that a bit of vinegar might make the honey seem even better but will leave with this thought..

Remember in your relationships, whether it is friends or children: 
                         You'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!

Happy trails!

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    Sunday, August 29, 2010

    August vacation

    Took a trip to California again, this time went up to Zion National Park. We even stopped by the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Spectacular country! Enjoyed the walk up the river even while struggling with the many slippery rocks under that water. At one point a doe came running down through the river and then up on a bank, trying to hide from all the people. We wondered if she'd fallen in further up where the banks are quite steep.
    Grand Canyon



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    Wednesday, June 02, 2010

    Here comes Suzaaaaaa

    out to the park to watch John in a run..

    Su had a good time..  and there she is all worn out in one shot, after a walk. She was too tired to object to being piled high with packing materials. Okay, she probably just did not care, wondering what the kids were up to now! LOL

    April trip to California

    Included a visit to Anza-Barrego State Park where we saw some neat metal sculptures at Galleta Meadows


    then there was Torrey Pines State National Reserve where we had a lovely walk on the beach..

    of course  we went to the beach itself at Oceanside and ate lunch at Islands.. and visited Forrest Lawn Memorial Park to see the stained glass and much more.. along with a night out in San Diego to see Kooza !!

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    Cooking, for a change of pace

    Cooking is something which I have not done a lot of lately so after watching the ladies from the county extension office prepare a healthy meal at the Christian Women’s Job Corps, I was inspired. Unfortunately not incredibly inspired, just a little bit inspired, to cook.  So instead of hunting a lower priced store I hit the one on my way home.  There I picked up almost everything that was called for:

    • chicken breasts, skinless, .43/lb @ $10/lb, $4.25
    • 12 oz of cottage cheese, $2.39
    • 32 oz plain yogurt, $2.19
    • 8 oz light sour cream, $1.49
    • 20 ct santa fe tortillas, $.99
    • roma tomatoes  .79lbs at .88 lb,  $ .70
    • colby cheese, $2.50
    • enchilada sauce, $1.79
    • bell pepper, red,  $.99
    • bell pepper, green, $1.69
    • cucumber, $.50

    Ouch. Almost twenty dollars worth of food.  I should see what that would have cost somewhere else but perhaps I do not want to know. So.. on to the meal…

    There’s only two of us and the meal serves 8 so my plans were to prepare about half of the recipe. The package size available at the store meant there would be a good bit of leftovers with some of those items. ISo sizing down, for the chicken enchilada dish I used portions of some things:  most of the yogurt is left, half the cottage cheese and the sour cream had nothing to do with the recipes so there’s all of that. Nearly all the tomatoes, half the bell peppers (half each that is) and only a portion of the cheese.

    The recipe called for a different cheese, two types actually, I took the easy way out with just one. From twenty bucks our meal is now down to under ten and if I enforce portion size the chicken dish should serve us twice, while the salad will go a good bit more.

    The fiesta salad is a mix of canned corn (already had that), tomatoes, cucumber and bell peppers with some seasoning and vinegar. It called for canned tomatoes but I prefer fresh. So there we go. All cut up and ready to eat – when the chicken dish is done in a few minutes! Almost a real meal instead of my usual, there’s some salmon patties, that’s it.

    For a similar salad without the simple vinegar dressing visit Big Oven and for a similar enchilada dish check out I rarely follow recipes precisely and changing things to make them lower fat is easy to do if you wish.


    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    March Madness continues…

    What can I say? We wanted to take a trip to California so I had to buy a car. Any excuse right? well the old one was a bit of a beater though I love it so now I’m the proud owner of a 2010 Mazda. zoom zoom…

    The trip to CA was so nice! John and I left late on Friday so had a hard two days to get there by Saturday afternoon but we did it. Then the fun began. We made a visit to Anza-Barrego State Park and saw some neat metal sculptures at Galleta Meadows . The next day we went to Forrest Lawn Memorial Park to see the stained glass and much more. There was a sunset visit to Oceanside beach but also a visit to Torrey Pines State National Reserve. We were delighted to include an evening watching Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza in our plans as well.

    And then there was the shopping. We enjoyed the discount stores and the second hand shops, picking up things as we went until my little car was stuffed! John picked up some nice clothes and so did I.. two reversible skirts from Coldwater Creek for four bucks each. I found a cloche for baking bread to mention a few things.

    Of course we took plenty of photos.. John put up a few on his blog and also on his flickr account. While mine are not as good (much cheaper camera, MUCH cheaper, LOL) I do have a few up over on my picasa web albums that I hope are open to the public (that was the plan anyway, let me know if they are not).

    We had a great time and I at least came back to Texas all worn out! Pleasantly so I will add.


    Tuesday, March 09, 2010

    March madness

    Saw Alice in Wonderland last night. What fun!  And it is a good thing to take time out for some fun once in a while when in other areas of life problems pile up. Not all of them my problems but still they affect me.

    My ulcerative colitis is flaring up again. It has been over a year since the last one. I had so hoped the meds were going to do the job and my worries were over.  The last time I had a bad flare up the doctor discussed the condition of my intestinal tract and surgery. Complete removal of the large intestine. I just want this flare up to go away!

    Then there’s the lungs. That’s how I refer to it now, the lung issue. Coughing for ages (months) and finally figuring out that things like stumbling around were due to lack or oxygen, ha ha. It has been going on for four years now, off and on but mostly on.  We’ve tried different things, I think I’m fine and don’t go in til it bothers me enough to affect daily life.  An appointment with a pulmonologist is scheduled. Hope to find out what is the problem and what to do long term. And here I always thought of myself as healthy, in spite of the colitis. Sigh.

    My youngest is off at work in Miami. The work vehicle is a rental supplied by his company. It was stolen yesterday. He had all of his tools in it.

    The oldest lives in CA. Middle son and I have long planned on a trip out to see her. We have saved up for that but not enough to fly or rent a car. My car is back in the shop after just getting out last week. It is old now with a lot of miles on it. The mechanic advised against taking it on a cross country trip. Well, that pretty much rules out the trip. Not a thing to cry about yet it is frustrating at times. No money to buy another vehicle so there goes that. Yet I probably need to think of some day having to purchase a car to replace my 14 yo car with 247,000+ miles on it. That made me look at money, income and outgo.

    It is so much nicer to not look at money things! Oh dear. Well if I included all the outgo, averaged it out right, my $1300 a month covers it all and leaves me about $200 a month leftover. That is the “discretionary” spending part. Personal items, clothing, car repairs, house repairs, maintenance etc. Not terribly discretionary but much of that can be put off a bit unlike the electric bill or food. Usually I depend on subbing to help but with the u.c. and the lungs that is not working out well this school year.

    Well this is a downer of a post. Maybe no one will read it anyway. Off to find some fun on facebook with all my friends.

    Tuesday, March 02, 2010

    March 2, Texas Independence Day!

    This is a drawing of the Alamo Mission in San ...Image via Wikipedia

    Here's to Texas Independence Day! *

    To Willie and Waylon, the Alamo, the Palo Duro and the Big Bend, but most of all the wonderful people who call themselves Texans - to all that makes this a great state, we raise a toast today.

    .. We're so happy to live in the great state of Texas!

    *the historic event 174 years ago on March 2, 1836, the day Texas gained its independence from Mexico
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    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    February in SC

    Here I sit in South Carolina for a while - visiting mom and taking it easy.  She's getting along pretty good except for a hip that bothers her lately. I am so glad my son is staying at my house while he goes to college so that it is possible for me to leave home on extended visits like this.

    Mom and I get along fine but it does get rather amusing in the grocery stores. She heads for the pastry section while I aim for the fresh produce. She's perusing the frozen breakfast items such as strudels and waffles as I pick up yogurt and rice cakes. Sometimes when I visit I just let go and eat whatever but that has sure been hard on the waist line. With all the sweets available it isn't easy to not succumb to more than my normal intake but overall this go round I've done much better with my diet. Mom does say if I mention salads for supper one more time she's going to whop me.   

    Here's  a snow picture from the past week  - it did not last long here so we enjoyed the pretty sight -

    dad's barn

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    Life (and death) Preparations

    Well I can't believe this - I sat down and wrote a long post in this new editor and it is simply gone. How annoying. On the other hand it may well spare you ready a bit of sappy writing. Not totally mind you as here I am again but we all know how those rough drafts go - or not.

    With everyone talking about New Year's Resolutions a while back and some conversation I can't remember coming up between my son and myself, my thoughts turned to preparing for the worst. Resolving perhaps to make sure the ones left behind have an easier time of it than they'd have if you simply fail to plan. Let's face it, no one wants to talk about it. To the extent all to often that a loved one dies and the bereaved find out nothing was done that should have been done, so now they have not just the grief to cope with but a huge mess to boot. Funeral plans no one thought to consider prior to the need. Financial issues of paperwork or money itself because no one wanted to think about morbid topics like dying. Once the person is dead it is too late but how many times do we hear, if only...

    If only the house had been in both our names.

    If only we had had mortgage insurance.

    If only we had bought enough life insurance.

    If only I knew where all the papers were or what bills we have the wife might say...

    If only..

    Let your new year resolution be to put the ax to as many of those "if only" types of statements as you can ahead of time. Have that impossible conversation. Think those impossible thoughts. If they died - what needs to be done, what needs to be in place?

    My husband died in 1998. We had some time to prepare but many things we let slide, or it was too late once the diagnosis was made to change some things. Lapsed life insurance. A large mortgage. Debt. We thought he'd live forever and have a good retirement? Well yes we all do that don't we however life sometimes throws us a curveball.

    I won't write about what to do as there are wonderful sites with more information you need than I could put here in a short time. My only hope is if you read this you will consider preparing for the worst. Take care of your loved ones. Don't let it slide. Start the new year out with taking care of those unpleasant things because you know what? Whether you want to talk about it or not, death comes to all of us.

    Here's three blogs you can look at to start -
    What You Need to Do Before you Go
    5 Financial Lessons to Learn from Celebrity Deaths
    Things I've Learned Losing A Parent

    Thursday, January 07, 2010

    Morning Rambles

    Snuggling down under the comforter with the cat, sleeping in seemed a good idea on this cold morning  (currently 25 out). Normally Su sleeps in nicely but this morning she got up and turned my light on. Dang it. While a touch lamp seemed a great idea Su quickly learned to turn it on when she wanted something. Like me out of bed. Nothing quite like a light coming on in the wee hours of the morning when it is totally dark to get up you fast. Now that it is obviously just Su not a midnight prowler I just groan and drag myself up.
    Su out and Lucky-cat with her, it was time to tend to the rest before letting the two back inside. Precious (20yo ex-feral) was yowling for ( 1) attention (2) water (3) food, pick one or all.. she wanted water. There was water in her bowl mind you but it had been there all night. Eww yucky, old water. She wanted Fresh water. At least she no longer demands RO water like she did when we lived in the country and well water came from the tap.  Mellow cried to be let out. Fela sat patiently waiting for her treats. And Su wanted back in. Lucky was ‘knocking’ on the door (body slamming it) and I was trying to figure out why the coffee was not perking (ah.. it needs water in the reservoir not in the pot) ….
    so begins the morning. Can I go back to bed  now?  Well no, the trash truck is coming.. sigh. I run out in bathrobe and the men kindly take the trash and even bring one of the trash cans back to the garage for me. Not their job but it is cold out and I am obviously not prepared for this. Greeting them, smiling and saying Thank you probably helps.
    Everyone is back in, if not happy (make it Warm momma!) and the coffee is done, John’s up telling me his crazy dreams and I’m ready for for a morning nap.

    Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    A new year

    It seems the last few posts were done on Woolgathering, with the dog as my subject. Life would have been simpler if I had not forgotten about starting a blog and later on started a blog only to find out it was the second one. At least they are with the same outfit! Oh yeah.. there's that third one too... Yes you can laugh at me, roll your eyes, whatever is your style. I'm unorganized and we all know it.

    2010. It would be nice to have something memorable or philosophical to say about that number but mostly what I think is, remember the movie 2001? And how far into the future that seemed back then? And here we are pushing into that other year that is getting so much attention right now, 2012. More than likely when that year gets here, we will laugh about that one too.

    Meanwhile, this blog needs a focus. Which is asking a lot of me these days but we shall see if over the next few weeks it can find one.

    Meanwhile since the other blog has so many dog pics in it, let's go for a cat pic here. For better cat photos, check John's out. He has some beauties of Fela.