Health and Home

What a crazy world.  There are so many beautiful good things in it, I’m beyond more than thankful for those and hope they outweigh the harder bits! This last weekend has been full of both kinds. First, we got snow. You might not know this, but I absolutely LOVE snow. Because I’ve been sore, I couldn’t go outside and make a snowman. But, I wanted to!! It didn’t last long, which was ok. I needed to drive to my doctor and even with snow tires, I didn’t want anything to distract me.

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Although, something did. Before he left in the morning, The Craftsman told me I needed to put gas in the Escape when I reached the larger town. (And that he should have, when he had it on Friday) I’d not gotten very far from the town we live in when the yellow gas light indicator came on. I drove on prayers and fumes, luckily reaching the gas station before I was stranded. However, the gas station’s technology was down. (sometimes technology is NOT the brightest rock on the beach!) I was told 10 minutes, so I waited. Luckily, I’d left early and had some spare time. After my timer went off, I limped back to the station window to be told things were still down!! At this point I was slightly annoyed and on the edges of my window of spare time. I decided to keep praying. I got to my doctor’s office and called The Craftsman to tell him he might need to rescue me after my appointment. He then asked if the yellow light was on and was surprised at how far I’d driven. (I almost was annoyed at him, but he’s a mechanic and I’d actually talked to him the night before for quite a while about life stuff. He was a bit discombobulated!)

At the office, I almost fell asleep. I’m so tired all the time, although it wasn’t why I was there, so it wasn’t a topic. After meeting with the assistant and some poking (why do doctor sorts poke you to see if you hurt???) and discovering I did hurt, I was sent off for an x-ray. Not because it was needed, it was a just in case.  I was also told I need to elevate my leg. Apparently, even though the painful spot is higher, it is probably why my knee is sore after being on my leg all day. It is also probably why my right foot is a billion time colder than my left one at night. (She said the temp was only slightly cooler. I told her it wasn’t bedtime yet!) It is most likely why I limp more after sitting. Anyway, because I am upright, she said the pain would be lower the longer I was up. I’m not sure I understood it, but how on EARTH does one elevate a whole leg when there are things to do??? I’ll need to wait til after dinner is done and cleaned up.

After I was done there, I opted to put gas in the car before getting the x-ray. It was stuttering..(is that the right word??) as I drove up to the gas pump. (The funniest thing, The Craftsman passed me on my way to the station. He had decided to come and rescue me before I called for help!) The x-ray was interesting. It was of my right hip, which is somewhere in that padded bustle of mine!!! I’ll get the results later this week. I’m also going to call the eye doctor about my ‘dry eye. The eye drops don’t seem to be helping. I use them sometimes 8 or 9 times a day and it is often all crusty.

As I mentioned, I talked to The Craftsman for a while. I have learned to use better words (Not ‘you said’ and so forth), explained some of the things I might need instead of just want, and pretty much surprised him completely. Almost like a talking plant. (Audrey!!!) Hopefully, it wasn’t a horror moment. Although, part of what brought on my talking was how much help he’d given me on Sunday. Especially when I found the pork roast I’d set on a shelf to thaw had bled all over the fridge. (I NEVER EVER leave things to thaw in the fridge on a shelf!!) I cleaned up everything, then decided to clean the whole fridge because no need to do something half-assed. (I think my phrasing startled him, too!) The help was getting it all apart and I then needed assistance getting things back together. I had thanked him for the things he’d done, told him I wanted to order Little Bear’s birthday present (he wants some of CS Lewis’s non fiction and other works), and that I didn’t really have anything I wanted for mine when he asked. He was frustrated, which opened the door to my own flood gates of words.

Speaking of words, I finished a couple of vampire stories (I normally can’t stand vampire stories!). These authors are about the only exceptions to my dislike: Elizabeth Hunter is way very cool and I always enjoy Patrica Briggs. However, the oddest thing was a taser. In both books, recent publishings, there were vampires who were taken out momentarily by tasers. Startled by the coincidence, I realised how much easier a taser would be to carry and use than a stake. (and I wondered if the authors read each other….)

Vampire Movies Cartoons and Comics - funny pictures from CartoonStock

 

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Sticks or Straws On the Range

Freddie was a tiny woman from England. (I wish I could find a picture of her!!) She and her husband, Roy, would often visit their daughter on the Oregon coast. I was blessed to have purchased their former home near by.  (Actually, our  houses were so close we were neighbors separated by a rickety pole fence and only seconds from each other!) She was shorter than my 5’2″, with an iron grey bun on the top of her head. When she let it down, her hair went past  her English buns. Roy was a few years younger and a million miles taller, she called him her ‘boy toy’. During WW2, Freddie was an air raid warden no one messed with.  When her daughter moved to the US, Freddie and Roy did, too. Then they left again only to be frequent visitors. When we met her much later, one of the things we remember best was her baking. Freddie’s scones and cheese straws (also known as twists or sticks) were only surpassed as favorite treats by her tasty fingers dipped in chocolate. (shortbread cookies, I think) I’ve always tried to recreate the cheese straws and my searches online seemed fruitless. Probably because I stopped searching after a few years!

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After posting my last attempt on here, I had more recipes shared. However, I used the old cookbook version instead of the pastry puff one.  (I’m pretty sure Freddie never used anything refrigerated in her straws, except cheese!) Using Colette’s 1950’s find, I mixed and rolled and baked happily. The straws didn’t turn out the way Freddie’s did. (Perhaps she did use milk and baking soda…I imagine the old baking hand she was tweaked recipes to suit her tastes!) I didn’t quite get 50 straws, my cutting wasn’t entirely exact! But, what I ended up with were addicting and are almost gone in less than 24 hours. (I think I made 40ish of varying sizes) The bent straw in the photo above is because it twisted off the pan and was baking down against the side of the oven. (YIKES!)

I did need to find cup and temp equivalents to match the given recipe (silly Americans to not use the metric system~) and I ended up using a LOT of water to get the dough to stick, instead of the 4 TB. I was surprised at how little cheese was needed to make a cup of shredded product and it took a bit of time to cut the hard butter into the flour properly. I didn’t put in seasonings and that made the first pans of straws rather boring in taste. (I have powdered mustard on my list for next time, the other is in the cupboard!) However, as stated above, it was a win win experience when complete. Everyone I gave a straw to, liked them. The straws didn’t appear to mess up my glucose. Even the next day people snacked on them sans reheating. I will make them again with the proper seasonings inside the mix instead of  putting Mrs. Dash on the outside and try to recreate Freddie’s straws with this recipe…..and a few ideas I have. (I recall hers as being more substantial, not so skinny and fragile)

This recipe is why I love blogging. Connecting people to each other in words…and in flavors! Thank you to everyone who chimed in with their ideas and especially to Colette. Happy Baking Sigh!

Trapped Cat Nips

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Think you have nine lives, do you? I saved you once…. don’t make me save you again.” Erin Hunter

The other night Mittens discovered the cat door. She’d gone through it once before, but that was when an extension cord was threaded thru it to help power something outside for a few hours. Since it was ‘open’, she naturally went through it. This time, however, it was just closed normally. We had no idea where she was. A norther furry feline lost somewhere. We looked everywhere inside and called her. Eventually, she was found outside, ready to run back through the open two legger door. She was chilled and unimpressed, it seemed, with her foray into the yard. So, without telling anyone, Little Bear locked the door to where Moses or Maxwell could come in, but they’d need to use human assistance to get out.

Late in the night, The Craftsman couldn’t sleep. As he went out into the kitchen for a drink of water, he saw a shadow streak from the food dish near the sink. Then, he heard a thump and then a frantic climbing of the walls sound with accompanying mews. He went downstairs to the basement doorway area with a flashlight and found, huddled in a corner near the door, a neighbor cat! He quickly opened the door and the stressed feline shot outside into the cold darkness. Trapped no more and quite possibly no longer planning on stopping in for a midnight snack of ‘free’ kibble at the big house inside the fence!!

Needless to say, I was very glad a human was awake and incredibly glad Moses and Maxwell slept through the entire visit.

 

For tooth—

 

In June I had that interesting experience of a first root canal. The last day of December, the dentist here suggested it might be infected. So, he sent me to a root canal specialist. Today, I learned that the tooth with the root canal looked pretty good. He wasn’t surprised to see there was some swelling, apparently root canals can take a long time to get better. However, a tooth nearby has a crack. (It is number 12, the view is front and back of the tooth next to the one with the ‘black’ root which is missing.) I’m sad cuz that is the tooth that was ‘capped’ after mum died (the call I answered in the hall and when I came back in the room where 3 others were, she had gone). Dr. Todd wanted to address it asap, so it wouldn’t need a root canal done on it…

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The specialist likened it to a ding in the windscreen. Once you get a mark in it, the window is compromised. You can mend it, cover it up, or even replace it eventually, but the damage has been done. So, he gave me a couple of options for the tooth in question. One, he could look into it and see if it was able to be taken care of. Two, I could get it removed and have a transplant put in. Three, the second one might happen after the first one anyway. He suggested not waiting too long as the tooth appears to be taking punishment from being used. (so, not sure if I can wait til I’m back in Alaska. You know, where the same ‘mechanic’ can fix the old problem? lol) However, as one root canal dr to another, he felt the one done was well done!

My immediate plan: I’m going to continue to take pain killers as needed and decide what to do without dental insurance. This is one of the few regrets I have about being north. I should have stood my ground about meals and not eaten so many containers of glucose tablets. I should have brushed or chewed sugar free gum after eating glucose tablets and refrained from too many caffeinated beverages. However, you can only go forward and I reckon I’m thankful my back hurts so much this week! At least it has cut down on the mouth pain a bit!!

Dream Chasm

In the last days I have gotten to facetime a fellow blogger (JOY!), baked and discovered a single ingredient changes the outcome (I’ll share that later), fallen on icy steps (my back hurts so much this Monday), and remembered another dream.

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The fall was horrible. I woke up on Sunday feeling not so great, but by the time I got dressed, I was much better. I admit, I was wearing a very cute blue and white striped short skirt and oversized white sweater with blue and white paper beads from Ethiopia and earrings from Alaska (white ivory dangles with forget me nots painted on), so that helped me feel great. I had gotten on a pair of nylons (I think I lost a few calories in that exercise!) and had on new blue comfy Sketchers. I had thought about dressier shoes, but figured I’d better not risk it. (Thank God, I wore the comfy ones!!!) I confidently strode out onto the porch, then off the doormat onto the deck, and slipped like a take in a Laurel and Hardy film. Except it wasn’t that funny. I was crumpled on the steps, managed to finally gingerly get up, balanced my way back to the door, and discovered I’d ripped open a knuckle. I then determined I was NOT going to go to church, I’d wait for the kid to wake up for Sunday School. Most of Sunday I felt ok, but this is late on Monday and I feel like I’ve been dragged behind a Zamboni! (OK, not quite that bad, but I do hurt!) Thankfully, I can sit up straight in a favorite old kitchen chair and it only aches most of the time.

My dream was on Saturday morning. I hope it doesn’t take up too much post, it was fascinating in a way and I recalled quite a bit of it. Reading comments from my other dream..they make sense. Trapped and taking care of things and wanting release of some kind. I’m going to write down those response and the ones to this one and see what I can make of them. I’d think about a journal, but well, I’m doing that! Lol

This dream was full of youth as well. Except these were all young adults. Although we were outside in a camping situation, this one was more of a science study station. It was a change of a season, possibly winter? Many of us were leaving the station, I was one of those. We were on a beach shore and needed to take a small boat to a larger vessel that would ferry us to our final destination. The small craft could only carry one passenger. (No, I hadn’t been watching an ocean documentary!)

The man in the small boat reminded me of a nice tall thin man from the Oregon Coast. He had a dry sense of humor and was a good friend. He arrived in a canoe and said we had to cross a chasm. I remember asking if there were life jackets aboard. He replied, ‘No’, but that was a good idea. He went off to look for some. But, the next thing I knew, I was alone in the canoe with all my gear, traveling across grey stormy water with no life jacket!! Oddly, I did make sure my camera was nearby because as terrified as I was, I might have a chance to get some good pictures.

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Photo by Thach Tran on Pexels.com

 

When I got to the chasm, it wasn’t what I had imagined. I had figured it would be a deep darkness of wave with foaming water walls with my craft climbing the side like something from Deadliest Catch (Alaskan TV series about crabbing). Instead, the chasm was a deep abyss of nothing and I was almost on a ledge of water on the side. I remember scarcely breathing, huddled against the metal side of the canoe as it slowly traveled along the ledge, like a moving sidewalk of water. Across the chasm, there were waves and it seemed like glass was holding the water out of the darkness. Yet, I noticed a humpback whale swimming in the grayish wall. I carefully inched my camera out and snapped photos as I gripped the side of the canoe. I could hear music in the water. There was greenish white light, but it was magic in the midst of my terror of being trapped or lost or whatever it was.

I reached a dock of sorts. Wet steps leading somewhere up. It wasn’t where I was supposed to be, but it wasn’t in a canoe in water! I crawled out of my boat, secured it, and climbed the ancient looking stair. They went into what seemed to be an abandoned cabin resembling a ship. I called out and opened doors leading into closets. (one of them had a sign on the door marked similar to something from the Wonka chocolate factory!) I opened one that went into a cheery, masculine library and a voice behind me asked what I was doing. It was a grizzled sea captain sort and I told him I was a bit lost and my name. He then seemed to know exactly who I was. He said I’d missed a turn, he’d call for me to be picked up, and would I like a cup of tea. I stared out of the windows and saw where I had started and the larger boat waiting beyond the island I was now on. Bewildered, I woke up still hearing whale song off in the distance. I never did get the tea!

The very oddest part of this dream was The Craftsman. For some reason we actually got to talk to each other after I woke up. Earlier in the week, I had worn a pink and black tank top to bed and he mentioned I had on a nice shirt. Encouraged, I decided to try and talk- if there was a chance. It was like pulling teeth. Why can I talk to others and not him??? (NOTE: I find out about the tooth on Tuesday morning.) In the short discussion, it turned out he felt inadequate because he doesn’t stay as erect as he once did. (Now, I have no idea where he got that idea. Size and what not have never been important to me. Turn me on with your touch or words and I melt like butter in summer sunshine. What is between the legs isn’t near as important as what is between the ears! It is interesting, but not as important!) Then, he said about sex ‘I always want it, but I don’t like to do it.’ Startled, I asked for clarification and found he thought I always wanted sex and he didn’t feel up to it and was letting me down and wanted it because I did.

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Photo by Zun Zun on Pexels.com

So, I finally learned some things. I also know he’s done a bit of self-pleasuring of his own. The unopened box of condoms from ages past has two left and there is a tube of astrolube on his side of the headboard. I also know I need to be less interested in intimacy that ends up an actual penetration of any sort and be more content with petting. When I was in Alaska, I did experience more..hands on?.. intimacy. Perhaps that is the distant whale song I hear?

Crossing cultures On the Range

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I have been not exactly busy…but well, walking upstairs to my laptop is a lot of work. The main desktop is often in use when the kid is home and I tend to have other things to do during the day, when it is free. (wow, that was a bit of a sentence!!) I need to get caught up on the blogs I read in my inbox and add the comments I think when I read them! Oh if there was a way to instantly add those comments…ok, maybe not!!! lol

One of the things I baked recently was an experiment. OK, not exactly, but somewhat of one. When we lived on the Oregon Coast, my neighbor’s mom would visit from England. She’d make these amazing crispy tasty cheese twist treats. She called them cheese straws and a few times she made them, her daughter and I would try to figure out her recipe. She was of the generation of a scoop of this and a handful of that and a pinch to make it taste better. Needless to say, we never managed to get her recipe. It would completely muddle her when she’d grab a handful of flour that we’d want to measure!

I looked online, but nothing ever quite matched Freddie’s. I’m afraid it is gone with her now, but I decided to try and make them again. I used my basic biscuit recipe (what Freddie called scones) and it was too soft. Little Bear called them twists and I suppose that is what they are! The straws were good, but not exactly right. I’ll keep trying and maybe less baking powder next time…..

Stuff and Dreams

First, I reckon I need to share the funny thing in the recipe. If you read the directions, early on you are told to combine flour and salt and baking soda and then to set it aside. It doesn’t have a direction to add it later. You add egg and the chips (PB chips are available, I used them once in a recipe with chocolate cookies) and other ingredients to the dough, but not the flour mixture. Being a person who is sort of meticulous in following directions (which is funny, I also tweak a recipe to my own taste! But, I first follow it as written.), I kept reading it over knowing something was not right. It just took a while to find it! I think I finally had to read it aloud.

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The second thing I wanted to write about was an actual sleeping dream. I daydream all the time. I doze dream (where you are mostly awake, but too cozy to actually get moving from your position in the sun or on the couch or wrapped in blankets). Dreams are odd things. Usually I don’t recall what I dream, most of the time those things I do remember are confusing, and rarely are they scary. (I have remembered scary ones. I do NOT like being chased!) Sunday morning I had a doozy of a dream! I wrote down as much as I could. I didn’t eat ‘an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato’ (A Christmas Carol) before going to sleep and I slept for AGES! (I took a nap about 830 pm and found myself sleeping til my 1030 shot. I woke for maybe a half an hour and didn’t rise til after 8 am!) I was so out of sorts, I moved over to The Craftsman to be held. Which was another unusual bit of the morning. So, let me explain and if you have any ideas on what this might mean, please tell me!!

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Photo by Karyme França on Pexels.com

One of my very best friends from High School was a main feature in this dream. We were grownups, mostly. (you know dreams. At one point we were adult, in another we were older teens. I have not seen RC in decades!) His dad was dying, but not really. He was in a bed and ill, but not dying. Although, we were told he was. The dream was in a huge coed camp with housing units and a lake and lots of uniformed youth. The two of us were holding hands while we were with his dad. At one point RC said, ‘We are out of the closet.’ I think he was talking about us being a couple. Something we never were, but always thought we should have been. (in fact, he was my first kiss—I think I wrote about that in here somewhere—and my first not quite skin to skin intimacy. I say ‘not quite’ because we were more like kittens rolling around in a basket than anything else!) He was only in the part with his dad and then, he vanished.  Anyway, in another part of the dream I was on a bus full of girls. The back of the bus had several rows of clique girls and my things were in the very back seat. I had to wade past them twice to retrieve all my belongings. The stares of those prissy females in immaculate uniforms were awful!!! I remember the camp being different than photos I had taken of the place a couple of years before, I was looking at those photos when I was sitting in the front of the bus. I remember being horrified when watching some crazy rite of passage stunt thing where boys sleeping on levels of a platform like a giant ladder were plunged into deep water and pulled back up. I also got lost. I was in a basement bathroom area and it turned out it was the men’s section and I couldn’t find a way out. Every stair I went up ended up somewhere I didn’t want to be. The bathrooms and shower curtains were that awful sea green color from the 70s.

I mentioned I was disturbed when my alarm went off just before 8 and moved over to be next to The Craftsman. I needed to check my glucose, take my insulin, and most importantly, pee, but was too nervous at the moment. I woke him and did get held before he went back to sleep. I was not sleeping and didn’t want to move because he doesn’t sleep much. Eventually, I remembered something one of my good friends once told me. (I actually have this written down where I see it every day) He said something like, ‘Dear one, no one will care more about your health than thou.’ So, about 10 after 8, I pulled myself away from the fabric covered embrace (I had on a tank top and panties, he was wearing a t-shirt and shorts and I was too warm under his chin.) and got on jammies in case I ran into our son and left the room.

My glucose was very good. I was still very bothered by the dream. I felt rather well and even wore a long skirt with moderate heels to church. It was interesting. The part of the message I wrote down above where I jotted my dream notes was this. Apparently eons ago there was a machine to make in house rotisserie chicken. The creator coined this phrase for his product, ‘Set it and forget it.’ (I don’t remember this commercial, I do remember some jingles!) Anyway, our pastor mentioned this doesn’t work in relationships. All you end up doing is spinning in the heat and getting burned. It was a rather sobering thought. Because of that message, I’ve written more emails this week than usual. I’ve texted and sent out real letters. I don’t want to be a rotisserie friend!!! Spicy or flavorful, but not one who forgets. (OK, these last sentences are loaded with puns, aren’t they…ouch!)

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Baking On the Range

I made these simple peanut butter bars today. Little Bear gave them a good review, but we both agreed the recipe itself was lacking something. It took me several read throughs before I caught it. I had to tell the kid what was missing. Can you find it? Thankfully, I’ve been cooking for awhile, so I was able to make them properly. But, I did laugh. Note: mine didn’t use peanut butter chips, I put in what I thought would be too many chocolate ones. But, that’s note the omission in the recipe. 😂😂 I also used my mixer machine. Fun, fun, fun!

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Meds and Mail

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’ve never been afraid of medical drugs. I need them to stay alive. I’ve been wary of them, I understand they are necessary, and I use them when I have to. This week it was found I had an infection in the tooth I’d had the root canal in last summer. I was given a script for an antibiotic. I took my first dose on New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Day I slept a great deal and took more of the pretty turquoise caplets. By the end of the day, I noticed I had a sore throat with swelling and difficulty in swallowing. I figured I’d picked up some kind of bug in the few minutes I’d been out on New Year Day’s Eve. I was incredibly tired, but I had an infection. I think it was Wednesday I read over the drug information and decided not to take any more medication unless the doctor said it was ok. By Thursday morning, after more than 12 hours of no meds, I could almost swallow again. I reached the dentist’s office and they said not to take the rest. I agreed. So, now we are letting the infection take its course and we’ll see what happens next. I do have an appointment with a fancier dental person (one called an endodontist). I’ve already put several thousand into this darn tooth and I’m not sure what to do next. Do I have it pulled or pour in more money??? Ugh!!!!

Then, on Wednesday, I got mail. TONS of the stuff. I have three email addresses. Two I check often. One of those two is attached to this WP account. I hadn’t done much of anything online on Tuesday, so I figured there would be a few things needing checked. I was right, sort of.  There were 253 messages dating back to December 18! (Where on earth were they all that time? Is cyberspace so full around this time of year they couldn’t deliver them???) So, if someone sent me an electronic missive during that period, please excuse my lateness in responding. I also go a packet of forwarded snail mail. I had arranged the mail for mom’s Alaskan address to be sent to me here in Oregon. Every day I’d get one or two things. Well, I got a phone call last week from the post office lady in Alaska. It turned out that one of the workers wasn’t sorting and separating mom’s mail, she was sorting and stuffing it in her box, anyway. (The boxes for snowbirds-people who aren’t in AK over the winter–have a bit of paper over the opening so nothing is placed in the box.) The lady was apologetic and said she was mailing me an envelope. It arrived and was STUFFED. It also held bills, which explained a phone call I got that morning for mom. I hadn’t paid for her last ambulance runs and the company called to talk to her. Everyone has my number, but it was a bit disconcerting to get a call for someone needing to talk to mom. When I explained, the company waived the final bills. I almost cried, it was so kind!

2019 is starting off on an odd note! I also did a couple of those silly FB predictions. (Insert eye rolls!) It appears my word for this next year is Joy (I think that was the word I was given) because I’ll shed a lot of tears this next year, but all the hard work and sacrifices of last year will pay off in ways I can’t imagine. (I don’t know, I have a pretty good imagination…) In another one, it turns out this next year I will have change, a new love, my lucky day will be May 15 (National Chocolate Chip Day), my song for the year will be ‘It’s My Life‘ by Bon Jovi (I’ll take it...), and my quote for the year is ‘To be rich is not what you have in your account, but what you have in your heart.’ (which made me think I’m going to lose everything I’ve put in the Alaskan house and more, but since I don’t have much to start with, it won’t matter to lose what I could have had! lol)

It is a bit more selfish than what I learned from taking care of mom (to live every day and enjoy life while you can), but it is a GREAT dancing tune! Thank you YouTube!

It was a Meowy Christmas Cat Nips

’The trouble withcats is they’ve got no tact.’ Sir Philip Sydney

Usually, the tree has a train around it to play with and derail. This year, the locomotive and tracks were kept boxed. It was altogether a boring season for the cats. Briefly, Mittens was interested in the two trees, but that thrill was short lived in that there wasn’t anything to play with. Maxwell was completely concerned with keeping warm and fed. As for Moses, he was unimpressed with the fire call that pulled the kid from playing with Christmas presents. (Our firefighter is on the ladder in the smoke!) I may have scoured social media looking for updates, hoping Little Bear would be home for dinner, but Moses seemed quite content holding his place at the table. I do believe the striped feline was expecting to be served!

At least the December holiday was less stressful than New Year’s Day, no fireworks!