Monday, January 31, 2011

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programing

out-to-lunch

Well, here it is, right on schedule.
My February Funk.
It is a bizarre occurrence that has been happening to me for 25 years now.
It seems that most everything painful in my life or the lives of those close to me, have happened in February. Believe it or not, there are three things brewing right now.
True story.
I won't recount them, as that only seems to make it worse.
I've just learned to roll with February.
I wonder if winter has anything to do with it?
Holidays are over.......folks have muddled through and then just given up, in one way or another by February.

Anyway, I open my blog every morning and it stares back at me. I can't think of anything to share.
I continue to read other blogs. You will find that I may taper off in my comments. I haven't disappeared. I'm just taking a break.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Two Questions--Very Random

Question 1 : Do any of you own a Sleep Number bed? What do you think of it?
Lee and I are badly in need of a new mattress. Ours is far past the "8 year" mark that the mattress manufacturers are hyping right now.
I've been researching mattresses and asking folks what they think of the Sleep Number bed.
I was sold on them until I looked for a picture to put here on the blog.
While perusing the Google 'image' page, I came across something that puts me squarely back in traditional mattress territory.
Aaauuuggghhh!
There's a class action suit against Sleep Number regarding a mold issue.

Never mind.
******************************

Question 2: If you own Guinea fowl, do you eat them?


I realize they are pretty and mostly considered watch dogs and bug eaters, but I was just wondering.
There was an article in the food section of my newspaper this morning regarding the birds and how they are even healthier for you than chicken.
"...leaner, lower in calories, and higher in protein."
"...rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, E, B1, and B2, magnesium, calcium and iron."

Of course, I understand they are impossible to catch and won't come home to roost.
I suppose that would make butchering them a problem.
Still, I wonder how they taste.




Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Footloose

Pearl, me and my sister, Jean.
Nope, no Kevin Bacon here.
Although, I'm quite sure he'd have been thrilled with the remake of his 80's breakout hit.
Pearl's high school christened their brand new, state of the art auditorium with a musical production of Footloose.
For two months, the cast and crew worked after school to master enormous dance numbers, all while polishing the more serious side of the story.
Pearl was spot on as Eleanor Dunbar, one of Beaumont's most conservative citizens. She can swing a gavel and burn a book like nobody's business.
We weren't able to get any pictures of the performance. This auditorium is the real deal. Complete with the "no flash photography" rule. By the time we actually located her after the show, she'd already gotten into her street clothes.
It'll take six weeks for the DVD to come out. Until then, she and her fellow cast members will have to wait to enjoy the show. Being backstage, waiting to go on, is not the best seat in the house.
I know she'll be as proud of her performance as we are.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Booby Trap


If you look closely, you'll see what looks like stripes on my countertop.
It's tape.
Upside down packing tape.

What's it for?
It's for capturing the sneaky, counter-surfing, bacon grease eating, bowl licking predator known in these parts as Hobbes.
AKA Office Assistant

I have tried everything short of buying those wildly expensive ScatMats (electric shock) to teach this kitty to stay off the counters.
The fact that he gets on the counters at all, gives me the willies.
I wipe the counters down with bleach water or antibacterial stuff several times a day.
I'm beginning to think that I'll be eroding the surface of the granite before too long.

So far the tape seems to be working.
So far.
I fully expect to come home in the next day or two and find my cat covered in packing tape.
How will I get him out of all that tape?
I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

For now, I sit happy in the knowledge that my counters have been cat free for the last 24 hours.
As a bonus, they are also clutter free.
You can't just chuck stuff onto the counter when it is in danger of becoming covered in tape.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why I Never Get Anything Done

Almost every time I sit down, Hobbes gets up in my lap.
My kids think it's unfair that he "loves you more than he loves any of us".
I believe it's because I have the largest lap with the most padding.

They say that having pets close by causes lower blood pressure numbers and eases stress. At this point, by blood pressure should be so low I should be dead. Either that, or I should be an oober relaxed heap of a human.

There's a saying that goes, "Dogs have masters, cats have staff". Unfortunately, it seems to be true. There's something about a cat in my lap that makes it unthinkable for me to wake him and put him down. Instead, I sit like a stone (so as to not disturb him) and wait for him to wake. If I happen to touch him, he begins purring like I'm his very best friend in the world. Such positive reinforcement makes dumping him on the floor even more impossible.

So, here I sit. As we speak. I have a cat on my lap. Maybe I'll get to get up and eat some breakfast sometime before lunch. Maybe not.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Sunny Public Service Announcement

Are you getting enough of this?

How about this?

Okay, how about these things? Getting enough of these?

I would say, probably not. You are likely, at this point, wondering what the heck I'm talking about.
Good old Vitamin D.

But what's the big deal?
It doesn't keep away sickness like Vitamin C.
It doesn't help with cholesterol levels like Vitamin E.
It doesn't help your eyesight like Vitamin A.
It doesn't help with alertness and brain function like the Vitamin B family.
Heck, it certainly doesn't help grow healthy babies like Folate (a member of the B family).

The big deal is, most of us don't get enough of it.
But what does it do? Why do you need it?
Here's what the Mayo Clinic has to say.
"The major biologic function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. Recently, research also suggests vitamin D may provide protection from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, and several autoimmune diseases."

I know, you've heard it all before.

My question is: Are you achy? Are you tired? How about a little depressed? Do your bones hurt?

"Of course, it's winter silly. Everybody hurts in the winter. It's cold, haven't you been outside?"

One of the two main symptoms of vitamin D deficiency is bone and muscle pain.

For two years, I suffered bone and muscle pain that would just not let up. I went to four different doctors, had many blood tests, and was exposed to probably far too much radiation with x-rays and CT scans.
Diagnosis: Heck, we don't know. Take some Advil.

My sweet hubby convinced me that at 43, I should not have so much pain and groan every time have to get up or down out of a seated position. What would age 60 hold for me?

One last doctor. A rheumatologist.
Eight vials of blood later, I had my answer.
In addition to having a thyroid that was barely working, I was vitamin D deficient in a really big way.

In all the bloodwork I had done, over the 2 year period, they never checked for a vitamin deficiency. The rheumatologist said it's just not something doctors look to when pain is involved. We are a vitamin popping, vitamin-enriched-in-our-foods sort of people here in the US.

She also pointed out that the primary way most of us receive enough vitamin D, is sunlight exposure. BUT....we now cover ourselves in sunscreen to ward off skin cancer.

She said that bone and muscle pain is especially prevalent in the winter. We cover ourselves, head to toe. The only exposed skin is on our face and hands. Women, especially, have sunscreen in our makeup or moisturizer. That just leaves the poor old hands to have to soak up all our vitamin D. You folks up north probably wear gloves most days.
Your sun exposure, even on a sunny day, is practically none.

So, my message to you is this:
If you're feeling pain, depression, and just plain achy, it might be something as simple as a vitamin D deficiency. I just pop 1,000 mg. a day and I feel worlds better. I had forgotten what it was like to feel good.

I'm not your doctor, obviously. I just hope this helps somebody get through the winter with a little less pain and discomfort. Snow and cold temperatures already make that hard enough.




Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Office Assistant Really Gets Into His Work

Sometimes, you hear of office assistants that do odd jobs for their employers.
Running out and picking up some lunch.
Picking up dry cleaning.
Talking care of the boss' pet while she is on vacation.
Whole sitcoms are based on this relationship.

I'll admit that Hobbes has been asked to look over my children's homework.
He take this job very seriously. Nothing like a second set of eyes on something to make sure it's all done properly.

A few days ago, I found him busily checking a project on The Secret Life of Bees, that Pearl had completed. (Fabulous book, by the way)
I didn't have the heart to tell him that the project had been done over two years ago.
Two years before he was even born.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Recipe for Your Feathered Friends


Migratory birds come through Texas each year on their way to vacations in South Texas, Mexico, Central and South America.
Here's a quote from a very interesting article on migration from Texas Parks and Wildlife.


"Of the 338 species that are listed as Nearctic-Neotropical migrants in North America (north of Mexico), 333 of them (or 98.5%) have been recorded in Texas. This means that of the 629 species of birds documented in Texas, 53% of them are Nearctic-Neotropical migratory birds. Texas is important to these migrants and these migrants are important to Texas."



The article also states that sudden changes in weather can greatly affect the outcome of the migration for the birds.
Tonight, we will be having one of those "sudden changes in weather". For the last week, it has been mild (70+* and sunny). Early this evening, a cold front will bring torrential rains, thunderstorms and high winds. The temperatures will drop into the mid-30s. Tomorrow is rainy and cold for this part of the world (45*/32* and very windy). Monday, it will be partly cloudy and 50* (maybe). It will also be very windy as well.
I would say that could be considered a sudden change.
Humans can bundle up and stay indoors. Birds can do neither.
It's at these times of the year that I offer them a little something to help generate heat in their tiny bodies.
My dear mother-in-law showed me the recipe years ago. I've altered it by adding wild bird food.

Ingredients:
1 cup cornmeal (no additional additives--just ground corn)
1 cup wild bird food
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup margarine

Blend it all together until you can make a ball that will hang together. I ended having to add more peanut butter to mine.

You can put it in a suet feeder, on a platform feeder or in my case, an old log.
The 'old log' is my feeder of choice. I have a real problem with White Winged doves eating all of it, otherwise. I do put some for them on the ground, but I want the smaller songbirds to have a chance at it as well.

My sweet father-in-law taught me how to quickly make the log feeder. All you need is a dry piece of wood, a drill and 1 inch drill bit, and piece of wire to hang it. Put as many holes in it as you like.

Fill up the holes and wait for the birds.
Once the squirrels find it, you'll need to put some out for them as well. :) If you really, really want the squirrels to stay out of it, add a couple teaspoons of cayenne pepper. Birds have no "heat/spicy" receptors on their tongues. Squirrels do.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hi, I'm CeeCee and I'm a Winter Weather Wuss

blog post photo

I live in the south for a reason. Well, several reasons really. But for the sake of conversation, let's just focus on the reason of "Weather" today.
In the south, you can count on two things (most of the time).
Hot in the summer. Crazy hot sometimes. That's what air conditioning and swimming pools are for.
Mild in the winter. Mild means that I will occasionally have to wear two layers under my jacket, but infrequently. My jacket is not goose down or flannel or wool. It's cotton and lightweight.
The heater does not run every second of every day. In fact, some days it doesn't run at all. I have great love of the fact that there are years where I can wear short sleeves, outdoors, on Christmas day.

I grew up in Kansas City, MO. They have a real winter there. I got the heck out of there as quick as I could and never looked back. When I get cold, I'm miserable. My feet and hands get cold and stay that way. My bones begin to ache. I just can't get warm and stay warm. Socks set up a village at the foot of my bed from being worn to bed and then taken off. I make hot tea and coffee, just so I can hold the cup. I don't want to get in the shower because it's cold in there. I don't want to get out of the shower because I'm finally warm. I......you get the picture.

When we have a cold snap here in Austin, I expect it to visit and go on it's way in a day or two.

Imagine my horror as I watched the news last night and they had a special report on upcoming weather.
"It will be colder than it has been since 1989--single digits overnight. Some days, it won't get above freezing. Not only that, but it will hang around a while. Possibly up to a week or more.........yada, yada, yada". I quit listening after that.
My brain went into "Oh my goodness!" mode.
I'll take a month of 100* weather before I'd ever want a week in the teens and 20s overnight. My poor plants! My poor chickens (will be sleeping in the garage)! The poor wild animals! The poor homeless! And doggoneit, poor me!

Yea, yea, I know you folks up north are laughing your heads off. I'm officially a weather wuss.


With all that whining in mind, take a look at the 10 day forecast from Weather.com

Either my local famous meteorologist, Bob Rose, has been in the sauce, or the Weather Channel is just making things up.
Just for kicks, I looked it up on the NOAA weather site as well.
It says the same thing as the Weather channel.

So, in fact, the sky is not falling. I got all bent out of shape for nothing.
My goosebumps will be at the ready, though.
You can never be too prepared.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Granny Glasses

Graying hair hasn't made me feel old.
Aches and pains haven't made me feel old.
Having a kid in college hasn't made me feel old.
The wrinkles that form the number eleven between my eyebrows don't make me feel old.
The age spots on my 'too much time in the sun' neckline don't make me feel old.
Heck, turning 45 didn't make me feel old.

Buying 'readers' from the Walgreens and having to hang them off the end of my nose to see far away makes me feel old.
Go figure?

Okay, I'll admit, the drooping jaw line has made me feel a bit old, but not like the Granny glasses.