Monday, January 20, 2020


Thank you for all of your good thoughts on behalf of Lukas. He returned home this afternoon and has settled in for the evening. Both his blood work and urinalysis came back fine, so we will proceed with his dental work on February 10. Wishing all of you a good week. Cheers!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Oh by the way, have you met my friend Slim Jim?

A friend offered to take us to a discount retailer yesterday but after shedding six months of hair growth at the local chop shop, we both decided to call it an afternoon. I, who hate shopping, was looking for a toaster that might last the length of its minimal warranty. The last two have broken within three months and since toast is not a huge part of my breakfast experience, I've put off the task of finding another.

However, there were days when I was ill that a piece of toast would have fit the bill perfectly. Thus, after treating this friend to brunch at a small place in my neighborhood, we were mid-isle at the store when my friend, a note of panic in her voice, asked, "Have you seen my keys?"

Empty pockets, an emptied handbag and a scan of the ground around her vehicle yielded nothing. The keys, as it turned out had fallen behind the console between the two front seats. 

A locksmith was called and misunderstanding my friend's directions, went to the other side of town after coming from an adjacent county. Waiting involved a lot of my friend fretting and me gently reminding her that it was nice out, despite the clouds, and all was not lost, We ended up at the store entrance near public bathrooms and a mini-cafe. When he finally arrived, the young locksmith was friendly and gave my friend a discount after helping me into the car. 

It was a quarter to six when I unlocked the front door. I am grateful for the quiet although I miss Lukas and his lovely trills of greeting. I am exhausted and peopled out. 

Wishing everyone a good week.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

A Gorgeous Day and A Big Surprise...

Our weather has been the stuff of dreams lately and today was no exception. Sunny, cool and bright, it is the reason this area attracts its heady mix of tax dodgers and climate refugees from other parts of the country.

The task of the day involved getting Lukas to the local Cat Hospital for his vaccines and wellness visit. He graciously climbed in his carrier without a fuss and a longtime friend shuttled him the mile or so from here to his vet for what both of us assumed would be a short, routine appointment.

If you are familiar with the old saying about assuming and how it can make an ass out of you, what comes next won't be too much of a shock.

The boy is spending the weekend at the Cat Nap Inn at no additional charge while the vet awaits the results of blood work and tries to get a urine sample to determine whether Lukas has looming kidney or bladder issues. 

I kept smelling the sign of a urinary accident in the bedroom here and finally determined that Lukas had liberally sprinkled bed pillows, tossed to the floor as I slept. Given his age and no previous history of either behavioral or urinary problems, his vet thought it prudent to check all possibilities.

He also has two teeth that need prompt attention as in extraction. Pet dentals and extractions come with a hefty fee due to the anesthesia, overnight stay and blood work involved. Given that he was there in late October and a future cleaning was mentioned, I had no idea his teeth were actually bad. The practice book out for dentals and related surgery so the soonest it can be done is February 10. I am hoping the bill for this comes in under $1500.00 but not optimistic.

The flat is too quiet...and the cha-ching of money leaving my hand booming too loudly in my head...

I hope there is no heartbreak ahead for either of us.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

A Chili Evening...

It has been relatively cool  and breezy here today. Alas, I have begun to wonder where winter has gone as it is the season I look forward to most during the year. A cold front and a dip in temperature is forecast for next week and I will be happy if I make it into a jacket or two.

That said, one of my favorite comfort foods in cool weather is vegetarian chili over rice and while I normally make my own, lacking a few ingredients meant I used a can and doctored it with fresh greens, tomatoes, yellow squash and carrot along with additional spices. That worked a treat and gave me enough for another meal.

Tomorrow is my day for a light food shop and a visit to the post office and Saturday Lukas will be going to his vet for vaccines courtesy of a friend. I feel fortunate to have people in my life who love him as much as I do. At the moment, he is chilled out on the bed and I must say, I envy his disposition and relaxed existence as the world today continues to trouble me. 

The family tree is growing larger and as I work I am by turns overwhelmed, grateful and sometimes perplexed, all three of which can co-exist and make life interesting.

How was your day?

Friday, January 10, 2020

I Know, this may be confusing but,...

I've never had a fixed sense of home. That very much reflects a childhood spent abroad, moving neighborhoods and traveling. My career military stepfather always knew that he would be moving and had he not had a heart attack within months of marrying my mother, we might well have changed duty stations at some point before his retirement.

As it was, I spent my formative and teen years in a place which would eventually, due to historical and political change, no  longer exist in the way it had during previous generations. While I could dwell on the whys and wherefores of these changes, what is important here is that I learned quite early that what made a home for me was feeling comfortable both in my skin and in my space. For years I was more at home in my space than in myself, a situation that happily altered with time, experience and learning. 

Often as a kid I would look out a window and wonder what life would be like when I was older and how other people came to decide how and whom they should be and where they should live. Now, of course, I know that such decisions are based on myriad social, political, economic and personal factors. 

As an older person now confronted with mere snippets of recorded information regarding the lives and histories of some of my ancestors, I consider the question of home and what it means yet again, 

Having identified some of the immigrants in my paternal tree, who came to the then-British colony of South Carolina in the 1730's from Germany, I of course would like to understand the motivation for so radically altering the course of a family's life by crossing an ocean to a place virtually unknown. In this case, a potter, his wife and their children made the voyage hoping for land and the chance of a new life. How they chose where to go and why they settled in Orangeburg, South Carolina is a matter of some speculation at this point though I suspect the growing German immigrant population there may have been a draw. Another possibility was the opportunity to build a community of their own.

Sadly, a small son was lost en route, several babies were born and died as infants after their arrival and within twenty years the family would be decimated by an unspecified illness which swept their community in 1758 leaving only three surviving sons and a daughter.

The three sons would later serve in the revolutionary war and one of them went on to have my fourth great grandmother, born in 1783,  a woman whose son had a daughter who moved from South Carolina to south Georgia and produced my great grandfather, the man whose surname I carry which is English rather than German or the Scots-Irish of my fourth great grandmother's married name.

If you can read that last bit and keep it straight, I commend you.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Clean Sheets, A Happy Cat and Leftovers...

I was finally well enough to brave crowds and get in some groceries on Thursday. It had been over five weeks and both my fridge and freezer were empty of all but condiments and water.

My favorite fruit and veg stand was a hive of activity, but the gentleman at the cash register remembered me with a New Year greeting as I loaded a bag with broccoli, greens, chopped cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes,  yellow squash, big garden grown carrots, some apples and a couple of oranges. I did well for just under $20 and a lot of that has gone into the crock pot with some chicken and Tikla Masala  for tonight's dinner. A large, fresh salad, loaded with greens also sits waiting to be eaten this week with left over Hoppin' John .

I've gotten the recycling out, done all of the laundry, changed the sheets, fed the cat, taken care of his box, gotten a nice shower and look forward to a book in bed. Everything has been organized and put away. Work on the family tree continues at a snail's pace and hit a sad note when I learned of cousins related through my great grandmother's brother.  Their family lived here in the eighties but are sadly no more. One was the victim of a strong-arm robbery attempt which became a first-degree murder charge for three individuals when she died of her injuries. The full extent of her injuries was neither caught in the emergency room where she was seen nor taken seriously by a private physician whom she saw after going to the ER. The headline references purse snatching which sounds benign compared to what actually occurred. It should have said, "strong arm robbery victim."

An air of mystery about her father remains since I've been unable to find any death or divorce from a first wife. The murder victim is the child of a second wife though I've not yet located a marriage record for her.

 One can glean much from newspaper collections when researching individuals, and this was beyond the confines of the ever popular Ancestry website, an entity which often leaves me with more questions than answers. I must admit that I now have a great respect for my maternal grandmother who researched her origins in the days before the Internet, and DNA testing.

On that note, I wish you all a good week and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A New Year...

 The New Year begins with a steaming plate of what is commonly called Hoppin' John. Black-eyed peas, rice and collard greens, to which I add fresh sliced tomato and salt and pepper. The peas, reputed in the South to bring good fortune, are an old tradition of African, Caribbean, French and Carolinas origins. Often cooked with onion and bacon, black-eyed peas, also known as cow peas, symbolize coins. Greens symbolize money, corn bread symbolizes gold and tomatoes, health. 

While none of us know what awaits us in any year, starting out with a hot meal of black-eyed peas (which are actually a bean high in soluble fiber and protein) and rice is both filling and a reminder that no matter how humble our food, it is sustenance for which to be grateful. I will be eating the leftovers tonight and tomorrow which is a nod to frugality and also believed to increase one's wealth in the coming year. This is the perfect meal for a chilly day.

I wish all of my readers a wonderful year ahead along with my thanks for your continued interest and comments. Happy 2020!