Another Year Has Gone Bye Bye

So much has happened since I last wrote here.  I’ve managed to publish a book – link below – get my nose broken (accident), take a nice vaca to Disney World and Universal with my sis and family – celebrated wonderful holidays with my son, DIL and grandkids, won the decorating contests for both Halloween and Christmas this past year and am already working on this years themes, lost that weight I wanted to drop; on and on. Need to break it all down into bite sized pieces of occurrences – including the continuation of the ferral cat story (who is now becoming pretty much a domestic kitty and has just had 3 babies inside the house).  Fun times.

So pics are worth a 1000 words – here’s some from 2015.

Folk to Fine Art Show – Commerce GA

Now I know what to do with all that “stuff” that I keep accumulating – turn it into art.  Went to the show today and it was fun although a tad overpriced considering the size of the exhibit area was equivalent to half a basketball court and the price of admission for hubby and myself was $14 – a little stiff for what there was to see.  Guess I’ve been spoiled by the Folk Art Fest held annually at the N. Atlanta Trade Center in Norcross, GA – that place is huge and has hundreds of artists. A show where I usually spend a bunch because there is so much to choose from.  Some pics from today’s event – DSCN7616 DSCN7617 DSCN7619 DSCN7613 DSCN7614 DSCN7615 DSCN7618 DSCN7620


Well, that diet has been in a holding pattern.  Haven’t gained, but have only lost 3 pounds.  Must admit changing my eating habits is a real killer, since for all my life I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted to and not gain weight.  With spring almost here in Georgia, however, my activity level is increasing, and that is where I believe success will be found as far as dropping another 15 pounds (my goal), hopefully to be reached prior to or coinciding with bathing suit season!  We shall see.


Christmas Update 2014

Never did get those photos up of all the outdoor decorations we did this year.  Won Fantasy Favorite for the neighborhood – did the theme from Frozen – I loved it!  So here are the pics!

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Feral Cat Adventure

Two cats have been visiting my backyard for the past three months.  A mama – all black, and her baby – a tortie.  Being soft headed I started feeding them, regularly.  When I would put out their food and milk I would “meow” to call them.  At this point they come to the deck fairly quickly and start chowing down; usually within 3 – 4 minutes.

This was all well and good when the weather was warm and balmy and nice.  But this year we are experiencing some pretty cold nights early in the season.  So, to my mind, a cat house was in order.  Went on line and found a heated waterproof house – ordered it – and set it up.  Unfortunately the heated part did not work out well – seems it made the baby poo – and would get too hot for them.  Sent that back to Amazon.

Set up a large Rubbermaid storage box – on its side so the front was wide open – put in a fuzzy mat.  They used it but it was way too exposed.  So added a cat carrier – insulated inside the Rubbermaid box.  Not too bad – but still too exposed – found that out when it started raining and the carrier wicked in the water.

Final phase of house construction was using blue board insulation and designing my own cat house / shelter – my own dimensions and bouts of looking up Pythagorean Theorem on how to calculate the triangular dimensions on front and back pieces to accommodate a pitched roof.  I have not had to use that math since college – so was kind of fun.

Sealed all the gaps (which were minor) with foam spray insulation in a can – that stuff is amazing and actually works – put a heavy black rubberized floor mat on top – to give it some weight in case of wind conditions, measured out and cut an opening just right for them – but not big enough to allow other critters access – and made in front to back long enough that if they snuggled toward the back – no wind or rain would whip in to them from the front opening. Final touch a base to raise it all up off the wood deck and keep the bottom insulated – did not attach it to the house (for ease of cleaning) – and put in another batch of fuzzy padded pet blankets – like a sheepskin nubby type – lots of thermal radiating qualities to those.

Outcome – they love it – it works – they stay inside all night all snuggled up together.  They are safe and sheltered and protected from the elements and other “critters” and seem very happy as they keep it very clean.  Of course, I change out the linens regularly to launder them when they go out during the day.

Why I am pleased? Well, for one I do love animals and was delighted to be able to give these two some comfort in their lives for the return privilege of being able to watch them and their antics and their sheer beauty. Secondly, because even as I get a “tad” older (old) I was able to construct (research, draw the plans, figure the details) of their new home myself.  I think we need that at every age and am glad I have opportunities to keep doing things like this – probably a minor challenge to many people – but to me was kind of special.

There is one fellow that shows up once in awhile – not so much lately – I call him Big Daddy – a huge white and grey cat.  The little black mama does not like him and the baby tortie flees the scene if Big Daddy shows up – so I keep a look out and if I see him I let him eat a bit then move him along by stepping out onto the deck.  He is apparently feral as well and seems not to want me anywhere near him.

Each day is a little adventure – checking on these two at first light  – mama and baby – and enjoying them as they slowly make my back deck their little safe haven. In sunny warm weather they make use of the lounger and will sleep there for an hour or more.   My  husband has started calling me the Cat Whisperer, but I think that title is already taken by someone else.  Since childhood I have been fascinated with and love cats.  I grew up in New York City – older days when things were much safer and a child could walk down to the corner alone – where there were shops along the street.  I would always go to the butcher shop on the corner (age 7) and he would give me a couple of slices of bologna and I would attempt to lure the shop cats back to my parent’s apartment. Usually I was successful, but my mom would not allow them inside.  But they always followed me home no matter how many times they had to go back to  the butcher shop – bologna is obviously a great cat lure!

Beside the kitties, I feed birds and deer and squirrels and chipmunks in our backyard.  A rather pleasant little menagerie.  Except of course when the cats look at the bird feeder as a cafeteria.  So far they have not been successful in catching a bird and have landed in the shrubs below the feeder enough times to know the feeder is only cat TV – not a snack bar.

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Savor Each Moment – Each Mouthful – Each Taste Sensation

Since starting this diet – and btw – managed to do 3 in 7 not the  full 5 pounds I wanted to lose – but back to the point. Since starting this diet I have noticed something I have totally forgotten and apparently ignored since childhood when my mom would say – stop eating so fast – slow down – enjoy your meal. Now she was no great cook so for me there was never much to actually savor.  Probably why I learned to cook really well.  And for all those blissful years – defined as years I never had to diet as compared to now – when I was doing all the cooking – that is what I did – slow down, savor the meal and the company and the entire experience.

What this did?  I actually ate less because you fill yourself up in more ways than just your tummy at mealtime. You refuel not only your body, but your mind, your spirit and your total disposition about life.  Going through a meal scrolling rapidly through emails and messages on your phone – you just missed the boat, baby.  Do you even recall what you just ate?  Did you actually taste what you just ate?  Probably not.  And, that is what changed in my life over the past year when I noticed I put on a little extra weight – my habits during the dinner hour.  No longer focused on my meal, but on my computer or cell phone, on news, on texts, on twitter, on facebook, pinterest or ebay or emails.  Dinner is not for tech – it is for dinner – whether alone or with someone – put the tech aside – just for an hour – it is a breath of fresh air, a mini vacation and most of all  a focus on the details of life that really matter.

I am noticing again that marvelous delight, as so aptly portrayed in the old old movie – Tom Jones (the dinner scene) that there really is a sensuality about a well prepared meal.  Try it – you really will be amazed – and IF you are lucky enough to share that dinner with someone like minded – don’t be surprised where all that attention to detail and savoring may lead.  Those are days at this juncture that are becoming pleasant memories for me, since my current partner is not like minded – and definitely is totally plugged into tech during a meal and – worse sin –  overuses ketchup (sorry a pet peeve of mine – particularly when I work hard making fabulous gravies, sauces and gourmet fare).  No – I’m not French – but loading up on ketchup and salt before even tasting what I have cooked – well I have zero tolerance in that department.

So – long story short – at least for me and probably many women – dinner hour is a reflection or microcosm of our state of mind – where we are in life or in a relationship or self image or in general.  Rethink how you spend that dinner hour – you will be very surprised at the changes you will make for yourself – and all for the better.

Happy dining – and dieting – and don’t forget to wear your tiara everyday!


Pot Roast For A Rainy Day In Georgia

Awful weather today.  It is late autumn but here in Georgia many leaves still cling to the trees. The golden luster is gone and it is more of a landscapes of varying shades of brown and muted scarlet.  Two feral cats, mama and baby, snuggle inside the little house I made for them on my deck.  No matter what I try they won’t come inside the house.  Fear can be a good thing for survival and protection and trust is hard earned, I have learned.

It is definitely not a day I want to consider dieting to reach my goal of 5 in 7, nor do I feel any desire to step up my activity level.  But perseverance is the only way to achieve any goal, so I will plod on even with the lack of enthusiasm this solitary rain brings.

And, to brighten the possibilities, I will make a pot roast for dinner.  Pot roast has long been my favorite from childhood when my mom would cook it for special occasions – like my birthday.  Mine is a bit different than her pot roast – I like to add wine to the cooking🙂  Eye round roast, seared, add sliced onions, 3 cups of water, 1 cup of the red wine of your choice, 3 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons paprika and 2 tablespoons of garlic powder.  Let it cook at a simmer in a large pot for about 2 hours – probably adding a tad of water here and there – but don’t totally immerse the roast.  At the end, remove the roast, add 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup and stir till thick.  This roast will fill your home with a fragrance to die for – long before the roast is even done.  It makes me happy.  I usually like to serve it with butter and herb mashed potatoes and either brussel sprouts or julienne beets.

When my son was growing up it was a fav for him as well – although as a child I think he considered the gravy more of a beverage – must admit it is yummy.

It definitely is a meal that takes the edge and loneliness off a rainy day in Georgia; it smells of home and love and warmth and casts away the chill dampness and loneliness.  And, bonus, not overwhelming in calories.  How do we count the calories that fuel our soul – not just our bodies – I wonder.


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