Saturday, December 31, 2022

new year's eve 2022

This is a first for me, writing a post two days in a row...but I wanted to reflect a bit on 2022. As usual at this time of year, I go through my journal and planner and jot down the important happenings, sad events, and highlights of the year. One hearbreaking thing was losing Monkey in February. We had to let him go due to lymphoma in his nasal cavity that came on suddenly. I still miss my big, fluffy "boo" deeply. My heart aches when I see his photos. I miss running my hand gently through that beautiful floof on his belly.

In March, we lost Brian's father. He was in his upper 80's and in poor health, so his death wasn't a surprise, but naturally, it was still upsetting and sad. And one of my best friends lost both of her parents this year ~ her mom in January and her dad in December. 

Of course, 2022 brought plenty of good things, too...a weekend girlfriend's trip; our front yard got some sorely needed professional landscaping; I was able to trap a stray mama kitty and one of her kittens in my back yard ~ and a friend fostered until they were adopted; I had a fantastic 60th birthday; got to spend quality time with my cousin and her 7-year old daughter who flew in this summer from Tacoma, WA; Tim came home for a visit in October; I discovered a (new-to-me) poet's group in a nearby town. 

I don't make New Year's resolutions, but one of the things I would like to do in 2023 is to take weekend trips and visit Tim in California. We haven't been able to take weekend trips or go to California because of Clementine. With her being in stage 4 kidney disease, she needs constant care and subcutaneous fluids, so we can't leave her alone or even have a cat sitter. We know she'll be crossing the Rainbow Bridge in 2023, but of course, we have no idea when. In fact, we're surprised she's made it through the end of this year. When she was diagnosed with kidney disease over five years ago, the vet said she'd probably live only another 1-1/2 years. Then when she lost a fang this past February and we declined major dental surgery for her, the vet dentist said that her gums would get majorly infected from the tooth loss and that at best, she'd probably only live another three months. She not only never got an infection from losing the fang, but she's still with us. Clem definitely has "nine lives"!

Tonight, New Year's Eve, we will be staying home. I haven't been to a New Year's Eve party in about 15 years and I have no desire to go to one again. Not that any of my friends have parties anymore at our age! ๐Ÿ˜œ A friend invited me and some other girlfriends over for snacks and games and I even declined that invitation. I much prefer to stay safely home in my pajamas, order good food (Thai take-out tonight), have a glass of wine, play some board games, then cuddle up on the couch to watch a movie. Stay up til midnight? Perhaps. I normally go to bed around 11:30 PM, so staying up til midnight would be no big deal. To me, it doesn't hold any appeal and is just another day. How about you?

Thank you for reading my blog in 2022, for your lovely comments, and for your friendship and support. I am thankful for all of you. 

Friday, December 30, 2022

popping in after christmas

A quick hello...

We were supposed to spend Christmas Eve with extended family, but that was cancelled due to a couple of people having Covid. Instead, Brian and I went to my aunt and uncle's house and we had a fun-loving time talking and snacking in the cozy family room next to the fire ~ where Dandy the Pug snuggled up next to Brian. We later moved upstairs to play board games around the dining room table.

On Christmas morning, I made my traditional breakfast casserole and we ate that along with almond kringle from a famous Danish bakery in Racine, WI. (Our local Trader Joe's carries it!) So much sugar and overeating at the holidays; back to our healthy eating as of January 1st.

We opened our gifts to each other and later we video-chatted with Tim and opened gifts that way, too. Would've been a million times better in person, of course, but grateful for this technology.

As always, missing our oldest son, Philip who passed away in 2009. This was our 14th Christmas without him.

How was your Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate in December)?
I know the holidays can be hard and perhaps not happy or joyful ~ for various reasons: Thinking of those loved ones who have passed away, old family hurts, missing out-of-state family or friends...the holidays can dredge up painful hurts. It's OK to acknowledge those feelings, too. Love and blessings to you all.

Hoping to writing an end-of-year post tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Popping in to say hello and wish all of you a happy and blessed Christmas. (Or, if you are celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or any other holidays, may those be light and love-filled, as well.) 

In my last post, I said I'd show you the Christmas decor in my living room and kitchen. Since I'm late in writing my post and it's only five days 'til Christmas now, I'm sharing just a few photos. I think everyone is probably tired of seeing Christmas decor by now anyway. 

The sweetest present under the tabletop tree, our Clemmie. She is still hanging in there with her kidney disease. She had a vet checkup yesterday and he said Clem still looks like she's doing okay. We'll get the results of her blood tests this week.

We are supposed to be going to my cousin's house on Christmas Eve, but that may be cancelled due to someone having Covid and...we're under a winter storm watch.

Depending on how the storm tracks, we may get quite a bit of snow on Thursday and Friday, but the worst part is supposed to be the 55 mph winds, which will cause white-out conditions.

Then temps are supposed to plummet into the single digits during the day and below zero at night. I like a white Christmas, but not a bitter cold one! And not one where the weather cancels family get-together plans.

If plans for our familynChristmas Eve are cancelled, we'll invite some nearby friends over for appetizers and wine at our house instead.

Christmas Day will just be the two of us. We'll enjoy a peaceful morning with a fire going in the fireplace, my traditional breakfast casserole and an almond kringle, and opening our few gifts to each other. We sure do especially miss our sons this time of year. This will be our 14th Christmas without Philip, and Tim has now been in California for three years.

What are your holiday plans? Will you be gathering with family or friends?
Love and blessings to all.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

my christmas mantel

Minimal and easy is my Christmas decorating motto, and I think it gets moreso that way every year. The less to dig out, fool around with, pack back up, the better. I did have fun decorating my mantel this year though. This turned out to be my favorite part of the Christmas decor.

I had a collection of bottle brush trees, most of them purchased the past couple of years from a local shop, Vintage Art & Findings. Last month I was in Target and spied some inexpensive modern trees that I thought would be an interesting mixture with the bottle brush trees.

I picked up this cute JOY banner at Vintage Art & Findings this year. The felt ball garland I bought years ago at Hobby Lobby.

Added some fairy lights among the trees...

The view at night.

Hope everyone has been staying healthy. Covid, flu and RSV are rampant right now. Brian and I have been sick since right after Thanksgiving, but we're both on the mend. Neither of us had been sick in years, not even a cold, so I guess it was our turn. Thankful for strong, healthy immune systems! 

I'll be back soon to show you my other little bits of decor in the living room and kitchen.

Friday, November 18, 2022

almost thanksgiving already

Hi friends, sorry I've been missing for awhile again. I'm reconsidering the whole blogging thing. Either I just can't get into it and don't feel like writing a post, or life gets too busy. I can understand why a lot of bloggers have given up and just post on Instagram. It's much easier to post snippets of your life there. 

One good thing since I last posted was that our son, Tim was home for a visit at the end of October. We hadn't seen him in a year! One of the things we did was to go to the Art Institute of Chicago. I hadn't been there in many years. What a fabulous museum and exhibits! We spent about four hours there ~ and I'd love to go back and do it all over again.

It is freezing here this weekend. Highs in the 20's during the day and down into the single digits - teens at night. Too early for this nonsense. It'll rebound back into the 30's and 40's next week, so...yay? (I need to be a Snowbird.) 

I'm one of those who don't decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. I like to celebrate one holiday at a time. I think it's a little strange to be sitting around the table eating turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie with a Christmas tree glowing in the background and Santa staring you in the face. ๐Ÿคท But ~ you do you! Whatever makes you happy. 

So in my house, you will still see fall colors and decor.

I get a teeny bit in the Christmas decorating mood when I go into one of my favorite shops and seeing all the cute decor. 

Almost purchased this cutie (loved the vintage necklace most of all!)...and my friend who was with me was "encouraging" me to buy it. I passed and bought just a couple of smaller, less expensive items. 

My little love, Clementine is still with us. I thought for sure this past Monday that this was going to be her last week with us on earth. She had thrown up several times in the middle of the night, wasn't eating, and had weak back legs. Tuesday she rebounded and she's back to eating, though she's more dehydrated than ever and sleeping more than usual. It's so heartbreaking to see your fur baby decline and know the end is near.

Just a little bit of blog keeping...I've noticed that in the past few months, I've had more "Anonymous" comments than usual. I didn't know why this was happening until I saw a post by my friend, Kris at Junk Chic Cottage about it. It's a little confusing to me; something about third party cookies. (All I understand is cookies.) Kris shared a link to Linda, AKA The Fairy Blogmother's personal blog, where Linda explains how to fix Anonymous comments here. Sooo...if you are an Anonymous commenter, check out the link to see how to fix this.

To those of you in the States, hope your Thanksgiving is filled with love, family and/or friends, and good food ~ all to warm your heart and home.


Thursday, October 13, 2022

totally random ~ catching up

First and foremost, the 13-year anniversary of my oldest son, Philip's passing was September 25th. When you're a parent, it doesn't matter how many years it's been since your child has died. The pain of that day will never fade. I had a headache and basically moped around the house all that day. I could finally exhale a bit on the 26th. 

I love this photo of Phil with his bedhead, unshaven face, wearing his comfy worn out hoodie. It was Christmas 2008 and he was 20 years old. It was his last Christmas with us. He's checking out his new phone with texting keyboard. Hard to grasp the reality that he's never seen a smartphone like we have now.

Fall is here in full force with a beautiful color change and leaves falling like mad. As I do every year, I'm documenting the color change of the gorgeous maple across the street.

The leaf blower can't keep up anymore. It's like shoveling during a snowstorm.

The patio table got taken apart today, covered with a tarp, and put up against the house. We left the two rockers out for now because we're hoping we can still sit outside on the patio at least a couple more times before the end of the month. We'll see. The weather here in Illinois can fluctuate anywhere between the 30's and 60's during the day. 

The glider finally bit the dust this year. It still works, but is falling apart, as you can see by all the wicker pieces that are falling off. We've had this set over 10 years and it was given to us by friends. I don't know how long they had it, so this set has seen good use. We'll possibly be in the market for a new patio set next spring unless we decide to stick with just the two rocking chairs for now.

Back in June, I wrote a post about stray cats that were hanging around our property. I'll update you about the female (Goldie) and her kitten another time. Spoiler alert: that news is all good but there was a little surprise. 

The feral male, Blanco, is still coming around. He's gotten friendlier towards me, though I still can't get within 10 feet of him. He shows up at my house most every evening for food now. 

Sometimes he doesn't show up 'til late at night and I see him out my front door, waiting patiently for me on my porch. He's such a beautiful kitty. The minute I open the door, he takes off. I then set a bowl of food for him on the porch and he eventually comes back to eat it. Long story short, I've been in contact with the county Trap, Neuter, Release program and I'm hoping to be able to trap him so he can at least get neutered. I'm sure he was the daddy of Goldie's kittens. Who knows how many more he's fathered around here. 

I also purchased an outdoor feral cat "house" from a local shelter this past weekend. Volunteers made them out of used ice chests and lined them with straw. They have a flap door where the cat can go in and out. I read online that it's to be put in more of a hiding spot and put up on bricks or pavers about 6" off the ground so that the "house" doesn't get wet from rain or snow. I hope Blanco ends up using it, especially in the winter. I worry about him.

My house is cozily decorated for fall and it'll stay that way til the end of November. You can see Clementine curled up on the throw on the sofa. She's is still hanging in there, though she's now in stage 4 of chronic kidney disease. She's showing more signs of decline with UTIs about once a month and now constipation (which is due to dehyrdration, even though we give her subcutaneous fluids). But she still eats all her food, uses the litter box, grooms herself, interacts with us, and plays with her toys. 

Little touches of autumn decor in the living room and "fauxyer"...

and in the kitchen...

Spent a day antiquing last weekend during the 2022 Midwest Shop Hop. Fun to look around, but only a couple of small things came home with me.

Surprise, it wasn't these cats!

It was almost this mirror, which I initially thought would look above my nightstand. But after taking measurements and also realizing it wouldn't go with the modern prints above our bed, I passed.

It wasn't this lovely chandelier either, as I have nowhere to hang it.

If I had a grandchild, I might've purchased this 1970's dollhouse. I had one just like it when I was growing up. I still have the plastic furniture that came with the dollhouse!

Sorry for the bad quality photo - I had to close the blinds on the kitchen door because the sunlight was so bright. See the two vintage wood pieces in the doorway? That's what I bought. I'm not sure I like these pieces here. I was trying to add some interest to the boring builder grade opening from the living room into the kitchen. No big deal if I decide to move them: they're attached to the wall with Command strips.

Here's where I tried the pieces at first. Big nope.

That's it in a nutshell. More I could talk about, but this post is already too long. Life is busy and it's hard to keep up with blogging sometimes. Other times, I'm simply not in the mood to post. Thanks for sticking with me.