Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas memories

We had a lovely Christmas season this year and made some pretty great Christmas memories.

On Christmas Eve, we went to a late lunch at Steve's Aunt Sue's house.  We had lasagna, salad, garlic bread, and apple cake with cream for dessert.  The food was delicious, and the company was wonderful.  After we ate and opened gifts, we went to their Christmas Eve service.  It was a beautiful, simple service with lots of singing of Christmas carols, and a special kids' sermon, where they all went to the front of the church and talked about what Christmas truly means.  So sweet!


I took lots of pictures of our "babies" over the holidays.  Both of our boys are so photogenic.


We spent lots of time at home, enjoying the fireplace, watching Christmas movies, eating good food.  A couple of times we had our neighbor, Pam, over for dinner and a movie.

This was the cover of our Christmas card this year.

Then, the day after Christmas, we got snow!  Not a lot (after all, this is Memphis), but enough to make things pretty. 


So, all things considered, we had a wonderful Christmas.  Hope yours was warm and filled with love.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas 2012 - the cat in the tree

This is our tree.  We really like it.  However, Hobbes loves our tree.

I hope our tree survives being loved so much. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Back and forth

So, my back has been messed up for some time now.  Years, actually.  However, it has gotten to the point this year that surgery has been length.  I had resigned myself to the fact that it was going to happen, had to happen, before I could get back to living life in a normal way.  Over time, it has gotten to the point where I cannot stand or walk for any length of time, due to numbness and pain down both legs.  Sitting relieves it almost immediately.  I compensate pretty well at home and at work, since 98% of my job can be done while seated. 

But, you can't go through life sitting ... at least not without missing a lot.  And I have been.  Missing.  A lot.  I miss walking for fun -- with the dog or around a store or around the block.  I avoid social situations in large part because I can't stand around and talk.  I always need a place to sit, and sometimes that's just not convenient or even possible.  I have missed doing a lot of things I enjoy this year, like going to a county fair, going to arts & crafts fairs, attending a home show, and any number of other things.  I even miss going to the grocery store and just reading labels! 

So I was taken aback this week when my neurosurgeon said that he thinks I might be a good candidate for a spinal cord stimulation device, like this one.  He said it could relieve most of my pain and perhaps some of the numbness.  It sounds like such a better option than the major surgery with many weeks of recovery we were facing.  I am hopeful.  And scared.  But mostly hopeful.

I have an appointment for a consultation on getting a "test drive" device on December 10th.  If the consultation goes well, hopefully I can get the test drive done before Christmas and perhaps even have a pain-free or mostly pain-free Christmas.  That would be such a gift. But even more, it would mean that I could get the device permanently implanted and not have to face major surgery.  So I hope.  And I wait.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Rainy night

We are having lovely thunder showers as I write this post on a snug and cozy Saturday night.  Steve is watching "The Guns of Navarone" on Blue Ray, and I ... am not.  But being the companionable wife I am, I'm sitting in the den with him and listening to his occasional commentary while I play on the computer. I've got my fall candles burning and am enjoying their scent. 

I stepped outside on our back porch (screened in) for awhile this evening and listened to the thunder (distant-sounding) and soft rain.  I love the sound of rain on our back porch roof.  It is metal and the rain makes a wonderful pinging sound.  Hobbes loves the back porch when it's raining too.  He never goes all the way outside -- only to the back porch, and he doesn't like it when it's too hot or too cold (a cat after my own heart, you could say).  But he LOVES it when it's raining.  Such an unusual, funny boy. 

Tonight is the time change.  I do love getting my extra hour back, but I dread driving home from work in the dark every night.  And, Tuesday is the election.  I will be SO GLAD to see the backside of this election.  I guess all election campaigns are divisive by their very nature, but this one has seemed particularly so.  No matter who is elected, I fervently hope that this election is decided by midnight Tuesday, and that the country (and Congress) can pull together and support our President.

More later --

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Finally, we are starting to see some color in our trees.  There for awhile, I was afraid the fall color was going to miss us this year.  But no ... apparently it was just a little bashful about showing itself.  Come on, pretty colors!

Last night was our first chilly evening this fall.  And I slept so well last night.  Think the two might be connected?  I sure do!

As I see more pretty colors, I'll try to take more pictures and share them.

Hope your fall is beautiful as well.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Happy anniversary to me

My husband gave me these beauties for our anniversary.

October always was my favorite month of all.   Now I have even more reason to love it.  And these flowers are a perfect picture of everything I love about Autumn.

Don't they make my den look pretty?

Finally, you will notice Hobbes, who thinks he just has to investigate any and every new thing which comes into this house.  Which means that, when we're not home or sleeping, the flowers go into the guest bedroom behind a closed door.  Crazy cat.

Thank you, Steve, for my beautiful flowers.  Here's to many, many more years together!

An autumn supper

We had our dear friend and neighbor, Pam, over for dinner and a game of Sequence last night.  We are so blessed to have Pam for a neighbor; she has always been a true friend to us and we trust her completely.  We enjoy getting together when we can. 

I decided we would eat at the kitchen table instead of the dining room, just because it's cozy and comfortable and just right for three people.  So I lit one of my new fall scented Yankee candles and got my kitchen ready.  

I put my new owl place mats on my kitchen table for us to use.

With the advent of rain and much cooler temperatures, I decided to make a pot of chili.

I served it with bowls of shredded cheese and sour cream, for us to be able to add what we like.  I also made cornbread, in a cast iron skillet, of course.  A simple supper, for sure.

Then, just to celebrate Fall (my favorite season), I made an apple pie. I am not a baker by any means and, just between us, this was only the second apple pie I ever made in my life.  And it was the first time I ever made a lattice crust.  It turned out pretty well.

We had a nice evening, listening to the rain on the roof, enjoying our chili, cornbread, and apple pie with ice cream, and playing our cut-throat game (not) of Sequence.  Chance and Hobbes were even on their best behavior.

More later --

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Beach vacation 2012

 So, we just got back from our Gulf beach vacation.  It was a beautiful week of sunny days and warm weather.  Not too hot, but still plenty warm enough to swim and enjoy the beach.  We love going this time of year because the crowds are gone, prices are reduced, and we can really relax.

On the way in, we rode the Dauphin Island Ferry.  We had to wait awhile for it and here a picture of  where we hung out.  They just happened to sell ice cream, so we had an ice cream cone while we waited.  We sat under the building in the shade with our ice cream, since it was a warm day.


I saw and heard our first seagulls on this trip.  I love seagulls...they make me feel like I'm truly on vacation.

There was a pier and I had to check it out.

 I took this shot off the end of the pier.

There was a guy there fishing for mullet.

This was the line of cars waiting for the ferry.  I was glad we were near the front of the line!
 Then, the ferry came.  Hooray!!

We finished the drive in, and this was our view from the balcony.

 It really was a little piece of paradise.


We  had a good time and decided we are DEFINITELY retiring to the beach.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saturday supper

So, this crazy heat FINALLY broke, and we've had a couple days of beautiful, sunny days with little or no humidity. It's been awesome.

Yesterday I decided to make soup. I love soup, but it's sort of against the law to make soup when it's 95 degrees or more outside. I do believe you can go to jail for that. So ... as soon as the temperature dropped, then I was in soup-making mode.

I had a bowl of leftover roast with gravy/potatoes/onions/carrots in my freezer, just waiting for such an auspicious occasion. So I took it out and popped it into my big heavy dutch oven.

Here's another tidbit of information. I do not know how to make a small pot of soup. Really.

Anyway, the roast makes such a nice base for an easy beef veggie soup. It adds a depth of flavor I just can't get otherwise. From there, it's just a matter of what I happen to have on hand. This time I diced up onion and celery, added a can of corn, a big can of diced tomatoes, a can of pinto beans, frozen peas & carrots, a can of beef broth, minced garlic, a bay leaf, and pepper. I let that simmer on the stove for a few hours. Near the end I added three large spoonfuls of salsa, just to give it a little kick.

Then, just because it's also a requirement when you make beef veggie soup around these parts, I made cornbread in a small cast-iron skillet. Since it was just the two of us, I halved the recipe to just make enough for us. I didn't take a picture of it, but believe me when I say it was a thing of beauty.

Lastly, I decided to make a pan of bar cookies. I love bar cookies, because they are easy to make and package up for lunches or snacks throughout the week. This time I tried a recipe called "Dream Bars." Very nice.

What's been cooking in your kitchen lately?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Can you be a crazy cat lady with only one cat?

I am so enamored of my cat, Hobbes. He just makes me happy. I love his smuushhy face and his sweet little paws and how his tail curls tightly around him when he is happy. I love his personality and his spunk and his acrobatic abilities. I love that he wants to cuddle in the mornings and that he and Chance get along well (when they're not chasing each other through the house growling, that is). I love that he drags his toys over to my feet when he wants me to play with him. I love that he does this big, plaintive, MEOWW to get my attention.

Actually, I could go on and on ... and thus, no doubt secure the title as the craziest cat lady in the history of the world with only one cat. But you know what? Bring it on. I'll wear the title with a smile. Because if loving Hobbes is wrong, I don't want to be right.

This is Hobbes in a kitty-grass induced sleep. He is smiling because nothing makes him happier than getting to munch on fresh kitty grass. Speaking of that big ol' LOUD meow, he puts it to good use when he wants the grass and I am not moving fast enough to provide said grass.

I love how he sits up on the end of the couch, like he is watching TV. Honestly, he looks as though he's going to change the TV channel and look over at me any minute and say, "hey, couldya bring me a drink?"

This is how he loves to sleep on me ... just splayed out like nobody's business. He likes me to pat his tummy while he's in this position. He's part dog.

By the way, sorry about some of these pictures. My digital camera is going out on me and I haven't replaced it yet. I plan to this weekend, though!

But back to the subject at hand ...

Are these not the sweetest little paws ever?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My new phone

I am not the type of girl who needs the latest and greatest electronic gadgets. I'm never on "the leading edge" of anything, and am pretty okay with that. I'm fine with keeping computer, phone, whatever, for years, as long as they still work for my needs.

That said, though, I have found myself coveting (and I use that word absolutely correctly here) a new phone made by Samsung -- the Galaxy Note. This phone has the biggest screen size out there: 5.3 inches.

Isn't it divine? The Note has been out for several months now, and I've watched the price drop over time from obscene to painful. (I am nothing if not frugal.) The break came when Samsung announced the second generation Note II would be coming out soon...perhaps even later this month. Then, the price really started becoming more reasonable, because they need to unload all the first generation phones they can to make way for the next latest and greatest.

Anyway, last week I went to the AT&T website, and what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a refurbished Note for only $49.95. It was available in white and midnight blue, and I chose the white. In fact, it's exactly like the one shown above. And yes, it actually comes with a stylus.

I love it. I can go online, play my games, text friends and family, read my Kindle books, even watch TV shows and movies -- and actually SEE what I'm looking at. Having had a cornea transplant (and 50+ year old eyes) makes that harder than it used to be.

My friends at work are teasing me (good-naturedly) ... "wow, Patty, is your phone gi-normous enough for ya?" etc., but I could not care less. I tease them about their microscopic phones and how sorry I am for them that they have to strain to see what's on their screen.

So, I am just really, really happy with my phone and hope to live happily ever after with it. Or at least a few years. : )

Sunday, July 29, 2012

So it's come to this . . .

I was, along with the rest of the nation, shocked and horrified to hear about the Aurora, Colorado shooting at a midnight movie. What an awful and senseless death for so many young people.

So it was with interest that I saw an article in today's paper about an instructional video which the City of Houston has released. It's called Run. Hide. Fight. and it puts forth a scenario in which a gunman enters an office building. Would you know what to do? Would I? It's one of those things I don't even want to think about and, yet, in today's world ... we all know it can happen.

It's worth the five minutes you'll spend watching it. God willing, you'll never need that information, but if you ever do ... maybe it will help.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bar stool kitty

One of Hobbes' favorite places to hang out is in one of the bar stools in our kitchen, with his front paws hanging over the back of the chair. He's so funny ... he will stand there and just survey things. Here's a few pics of him.

Crazy cat ...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A summer supper

It's that wonderful time of summer now ... when fresh fruit and vegetables are in abundance. I went to our local farmer's market early this morning (to beat the heat and the crowds) and got some beautiful produce. Among other things, I picked up some fresh purple hull peas and lady peas.

So, needless to say, supper tonight is comprised of fresh vegetables and fruit. Lady peas, cornbread, corn on the cob, sauteed cabbage, sliced tomatoes, and sliced cantaloupe. This is my kind of summer meal, and pretty typical of what I grew up eating.

Lady peas are probably my favorite variety of peas. (Although, to be perfectly honest, I never met a pea I didn't like.) I'm making them using this method, which I love because it makes extra stock that I can freeze and use for future "messes" of peas or beans. And the peas turn out so creamy and satisfying.

Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying summer's bounty of fruits and vegetables as well.

More later --

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain

Like much of the country, we in Memphis, Tennessee have had more than our share of dry, 100 degree days ... ugh.  The older I get, the more I want to live somewhere other than the mid-south.  I just don't do heat and humidity like I used to. 

This morning, though, we were gifted with some rain.  Not the violent, wind-driven, here-this-minute-and-gone-the-next type of summer storm that is so typical of summer ... the kind that leaves everything steamier and even hotter than it was before the rain.  No.  This was a soft, gentle pattering rain that soaked into our thirsty yard and flower beds.  Thank you. 

We have a screened-in back porch with a metal roof, and I love the sound of rain on that roof.  It just makes me happy. 

Here's a blast from the past to accompany today's post.  Sorry, I just couldn't resist.  And, wherever you are, I hope you get just the right mix of sun and rain.

More later --

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Company's coming

I got a call this morning from Steve's cousin.  She and her sweet husband are in town for a wedding, which just happens to be at a church right around the corner from us.  So I asked them to stop by afterwards and they're going to!

It will be great to see them.  It's been several years.  They recently moved from Florida to Colorado, but have family in this area, so we get to see them from time to time. 

Have been tidying up the house a bit and am looking forward to our company. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

The literary cat

I have a very literary cat.  Every time I try to read a book, the newspaper ... anything, he jumps on top of it.  What can I say?  He's such a lover of the written word.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My big fat iron infusion

I've been anemic my entire adult life ... low in both iron and B12.  I take B12 shots twice a month and oral iron.  But, the other day I got an iron infusion for the first time in my life.  It took a LONG time (almost six hours).  But as it turned out, it was well worth the time.

All I can say is, what took me so long??  I feel so much better and more energized and, strangely, my legs feel lighter.  I didn't have any of the horrible side effects that can occur. 

So I'm happy.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Satuday night supper

I cleaned out the fridge yesterday and washed all the shelves and drawers.  Whew!  It's a big job but a rewarding one.  Now, it looks like a brand new refrigerator.  Didn't do the freezer side, since it's pretty packed with stuff.  I'll tackle that when it's a good bit emptier.

I had a pound of kielbasa-type beef sausage that I needed to use up, so I made a potato sausage bake for supper.  I got the recipe off  I like that website because there are reviews and you can see how people adapted the recipe to suit their personal tastes.  Here's what I did:

Sliced up the sausage and combined it with sliced carrots, diced potatoes, and diced onion.  Over that I poured 1 can of cream of mushroom soup (lower sodium) and 1 can of broccoli cheese soup, 1/2 cup sour cream, and plenty of seasonings (paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and parsley).  Did not add salt, because there was plenty in the ingredients.  Put it all into a 9 x 13 pan and covered it with a light sprinkling of sharp cheddar cheese.  Covered with foil and baked for almost an hour and a half at 350, uncovered it and baked for another 15 minutes. 

It was tasty and different for us.  We're not big sausage eaters, but this was a good dish and could easily be changed up to add different veggies and flavors. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Remembering Barbara

I have an older sister, Barbara, who was born deaf. Today is Barbara's birthday. She was nine years older than me. Sometimes it was hard growing up with a disabled sister. Sometimes I felt like she was my younger sister instead of my older sister. I have to say, we had our share of sister fights growing up. I distinctly remember throwing a hairbrush at her one time.  Thankfully, I had lousy aim. 

But I also remember giggling sessions and eating ice cream together. There was no lack of love between us. I loved her like crazy, and she felt the same about me I know.

Barbara died a few years ago in a sudden and tragic accident. It tilted my world on its axis, and changed my life. I mourned her, and continue to mourn her, for all the things she did not experience, for all that she lost. However, I choose to believe that she is in a peaceful and beautiful place with those she loves. And best of all, she can hear beautiful sounds, music, and the voices of all she loves.

This picture is how I best remember my sister -- young, happy, and beautiful.

Happy Birthday, Barbara. I love you and I miss you.