Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kitty Nests

Katie made herself at home in my jean drawer:

In the mail basket:

A little ball of black fur made itself at home on my bed:

It was Munchkin!

Hi Munchkin! Did I wake you from your nap?

The outdoor kitties like to make nests, too. Here is one curled up on a cushion on the deck:

These two outdoor kitties were cuddled up together in their nest, next to the rain barrel.

Some Local Color

Our local flea market: this is true Kentucky. "If they don't have it, you don't need it."

Friday, April 27, 2012


Aging parents... that's the issue today. My mom and David are both 88 years old. They have been living in the house that he has had for forty-some years. The house is too much for them; there are maintenance issues they can't handle. For a couple of years my sisters and I have been trying to convince them to move from their house into a smaller, more convenient, more senior friendly place. Our suggestions have fallen on deaf ears. Now it has come to the point where David has macular degeneration and can not drive. He also suffers from mild dementia.

Last week David had a stroke. Since then he has been living with his son and his wife; she is a nurse. So mom is now living in the house alone. She doesn't know if is going to be able to come back to their house, and she is confused. They think he is going to require medical and nursing care. She's worried about finances, about the house, and where she should go next.

My sister and I live about an hour away from her. We are doing everything we can to help, including moral support. I know this is a situation that many people our age are facing, or are going to face. Our parents worried about us; now we worry about them.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

One Step Forward, Two Back

I am only too aware that I don't get enough exercise. I spend too much time sitting and reading. I get out of breath when I walk up stairs or up a hill. I know I badly need to work on this. A couple of years ago, I joined a fitness center for women. Their program involves a circuit of exercises, where you move from one to the next in a set amount of time. The problem was, I couldn't keep up the pace. I ended up out of breath and dizzy.

A while back I wrote a post about Sjogren's Syndrome. I was diagnosed with it years ago. It's an autoimmune condition that causes your immune system to attack your body's ability to create moisture; the symptoms are dry eyes, dry mouth, dry skin, etc. I have learned to treat the symptoms and live with it. But a year or so ago, it was in the news, when Serena Williams was diagnosed with it. She was tiring easily and had to drop out of competition. I wondered if the same thing could be affecting my endurance. Also, it can get worse as you age.

I've been thinking about this and decided to do the best I can to get into better shape and get more exercise. So I joined our local YMCA. Our Y is very well equipped and has a variety of great activities for all levels of fitness. I went for my orientation last Monday. Then I stayed for an aerobic exercise class. It wasn't a high level class, and all of the participants were about my age. The class was 50 minutes long. I was doing fine until about the 30-minute mark. Then I got tired and felt like stopping, but I kept going. Now I know that was a mistake. I've been exhausted and out of breath for two days.

I am not going to give it up. But I am going to take it slower. I have learned my lesson. I am going to go at my own comfort level. The people at the Y tell you this; they say do what you can, the important thing is to keep moving. So I am going to keep moving, but at my own pace. Now I know this is more important than ever. I believe that, at my age, I am at a turning point. I must decide if I want to have an active lifestyle or give up and be sedentary for the rest of my life.

Update: After I wrote this post this morning, I got back "on the horse". I went to the Y and took a cardio class that was less strenuous than Monday's. I told them I might not make it the whole fifty minutes, but I did. It got my heart rate up and I worked up a healthy sweat, but I felt good afterward, not exhausted.

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Brake for Clouds

One day last week, I got into my car and backed out of the driveway. When I looked ahead into the sky, I noticed these clouds. It reminded me of a Harry Potter story.

Why Harry Potter? I don't know... something about spirits being let loose and flying across the sky. That's what these clouds looked like to me. They looked like they were dancing up there, or flying around on their brooms, playing Quidditch.

Or, maybe someone up there with a giant paint brush. Anyway, I pulled over to the side of the street and started taking pictures of the sky. One of my neighbors was outside working on his truck, and he kept glancing over, clearly wondering what I was doing. Just a crazy cloud lady, Mister!

I always notice clouds and I always notice trees as I'm driving around, and want to stop and take photos of them. It's a wonder I ever get where I'm going.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Favorite Saturday Night

We went to our favorite restaurant last night.

It has a nice, cozy atmosphere and really good food.

We shared a bottle of wine.

I had my favorite meal; salmon with a spicy/sweet chili sauce, sweet potato fries, and their special brussels sprouts.

Then we went to the Playhouse in the Park, our favorite local theater.

My favorite things to do on a Saturday night!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Girls Getting Ready

I was with my nieces yesterday as they were getting ready for a special occasion. The house was abuzz with feminine activity: nail polish, hair brushes, new dresses, what shoes to wear, etc. I have been watching them while their mom is at work since they were little girls. Now they are becoming young ladies. I was reminded of this as I watched them get ready to go out.

Aubrey was helping little sister Molly with her hair.

Sarah, the oldest sister, decided to put her finishing touches to Molly's hair. (Sarah is a perfectionist. She takes after her dad, as you will see in a moment.)

Aubrey was all ready to go...

Till dad came home and decided to add his own finishing touches to her hair. (The perfectionist, remember?) Sarah is a gymnast and her dad is a surgeon; both are areas where I guess being a perfectionist is a good thing!

Finally, they were all ready:

They are growing up so fast!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Our Feral Cats

This is "Big Blackie". He's one of the feral cats we have "adopted". By adopting, I mean we have trapped them, had them spayed/neutered and released them back outdoors. They now live all around us and we feed them and provide outdoor shelter on our deck. Big Blackie is very friendly and lets us pet him when he comes to the door. The others will run up to the door when they see us coming, but back off if we try to touch them.

These are the "little black kitties". We adopted their littermate; actually she "adopted" us, making it clear that she wanted to live inside with us. We named her "Munchkin" and she looks identical to these two.

As you can see, they seem to be very comfortable on our deck. In fact, you might say they have taken it over. We still go out there when the weather is nice; some of them run out into the yard and the bolder ones stay up there but keep their distance from us. The little black ones will come close if we hold treats out to them.

They are still feral cats, but I think they have become half tame. When you see these photos, how could you not want to take care of them?