Welcome to 'Attic of the Heart'!

Welcome from north-central Connecticut! In this blog I will share whatever is in my heart, on my mind, or something interesting I've found to share. Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Since this is likely the only post I will get in before Christmas, I want to wish all of you who stop for a visit a blessed Christmas!  Mine will be blessed because my parents are coming Christmas Day, all the way from Canada. That's a 9 or 10 hr drive, and quite a drive for my Dad, who's in his 80's.
And every year, I am just so thankful that they are still able to come.  Very thankful.
As a Christian, I am also very blessed because Jesus the Christ came one night in Bethlehem, in very humble circumstance, as Savior of the world.  'For God SO LOVED the world, that He GAVE HIS only begotten SON, that whosoever should believe in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life.' John 3:16
This has become more real to me in the last couple of years than in my whole life, even though I've been a Christian since I was a teenager. 
Well, am I ready for Christmas?  Uh, not yet.  But I'm getting there.  I procrastinated again this year, much to my chagrin. Seems I just get overwhelmed and ignore things until the last minute, until there's immediate pressure.Yeah.  Not a good way to function. Part of it has to do with my Seasonal Affective Disorder, which starts to kick in late October. The rest just comes naturally.  I am doing my light box every day, and it really does help.  
Every year, when this season rolls around, I tell myself, this year it will be different. I won't focus on gifts, and all the rest, but more on the spiritual aspect of the season.  I'd rather not have to buy gifts at all.  Especially as the family gets added to, there's more and more people to buy for - to think about what they might like, how much to spend, how to get it there, whether they have that item or not...sigh.  This 'snowball' of gift buying just keeps getting bigger and harder to roll every year.  
So I struggle with how to celebrate, how to keep the real meaning in my life, and not get overwhelmed by it. 
Seems it should be simpler than this. Not quite so commercial.  It seems that the spiritual aspect takes a back seat to getting everything else done.  Especially for someone like me, who has a tendency to procrastinate, and not be so organized!  But I cannot seem to get off this 'hamster wheel' of expectations that I have and everyone else has for me.  If someone out there has had similar struggles and has made changes, please let me know how you accomplished that.  
Well, I'm off to go accomplish something! :0)  Get the cards sent, the gifts bought, the tree cut and decorated, the baking done and the house cleaned.  All before Christmas Eve.  
I can see it now. I will be mopping the floors on Christmas Eve. Sigh.
Merry Christmas!!



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Note:  My hard drive failed last week - it lasted 7 years - so the photos in previous posts may or may not be visible.  I haven't check yet.  I do subscribe to Sugarsync, an online storage site, so I had saved most of my photos and all my documents.  Worth the money each month! I need to re-sync so I have access to my photos from my computer again, but I think I will wait until after Thanksgiving.  I am planning an upgrade to Windows Vista, as I am still using XP and service runs out for that in April.  My plan is to gradually go to Windows 7, if my old Dell system can handle it.   The new hard drive was a quick relatively inexpensive fix to my aging computer, but I know I will be in the market for a new laptop or something similar soon.

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My how time flies. Christmas is just a month away now!  How was your summer?  We had a good summer here.  I raised tomatoes this year - plum - which did ok, considering where I put them.  They didn't get real big or thick, despite the composted manure I put in, but I think it was just not enough sunshine.  My yellow tomato plant did quite well - planted it in a big pot instead of the ground. I just don't have the gardening space for more. But I am encouraged! 
I didn't grow the blue morning glories that I usually do, we were having our deck finished, so I couldn't let them twine around the railings, so I just skipped them this year.
I did extend the shade garden between us and the neighbors.  The bee balm I had put in a couple of years ago survived, so I expanded the bed to include some extra columbines - they readily self-sow in my front garden.  A few extra's that seem to do ok in shade as well.  We'll see how they survive the winter.
My cat, Max, has been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease.  What an awful disease.  It's not reversible, and will just keep getting worse until he will need to be put down.  I'm trying to prepare myself, as I love him dearly and I've had him since he was 6 weeks old.  He's 16 now, which is somewhere around 75 in people years.  We had to switch him over to a special vet food for cats with renal problems.  He's doing a bit better, but he's not that fond of the food.  We fed him dry food for years - this can be a contributor to CKD.   I did start feeding him a bit of canned stuff a couple of years ago or so, but I think it was too late.  Now all he gets is canned stuff.  Cats need water.  Dry food just doesn't put enough into their system.  Also, they are thinking now that one of the kitten immunizations could be contributing.  Anyway, I hope they find out for sure what causes it, because many older cats develop this, and it's so sad to see how it causes muscle wasting, loss of energy, many trips to the litter box, and overall deterioration to their health.   The vet food lowers their sodium and phosphorus intake, and their protein intake, so their kidneys don't have to work as hard, which then gets their water intake under control.  I thought he might be diabetic, he urinated quite a bit, but he wasn't hanging over his water bowl like Jellybean did when she was diabetic. 
Anyway, it's hard when your pet is ill, becuase they can't really tell you how bad it is or hurts, you have to watch for the signs.  If you have a cat that's older, and you are feeding dry food, please look up Chronic Kidney Disease and check the symptoms - it's not usually apparent they have this until they are well into it.
http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/cliented/ckd.aspx  is a good site to get started.http://www.felinecrf.org/index.htm is also an informative site.
Well, better get back to work! I've got a pumpkin pie in the oven, and will roast the turkey today as well.
I'm thinking about making a quiche for breakfast tomorrow, something real simple.  Perhaps one with canadian bacon, cheddar and onion.  I usually use regular ham, but I have none on hand.  I'm also going to do candied sweet potatoes - I love sweet potatoes, especially roasted! Plus mashed and gravy, cranberry sauce, and I've already made the homemade biscuits. I may throw in a green bean casserole.  I've been wanting to try making it with fresh green beans instead of canned.
Hope you all have a great day tomorrow!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 2013

(Note: I've tried desperately to upload a photo, like I usually do, and for some reason blogger gets stuck after I choose a photo.  It just sits there.  So if anyone has an answer, I'd appreciate some advice on how to fix this problem.  So bear with me until then - Thanks!)

May already!  The leaves have popped out, flowers are blooming, birds are calling - especially that poor little house wren, who just sings his heart out looking for someone to love him and make a home with him.  Last year, I think he sang a month straight, all day long.  Wonder he didn't get laryngitis.
It's dry here.  We haven't gotten our spring rains yet.  We are down about 3 inches over the last 2 months.  Not good.  We are supposed to get some rain today and over the weekend - I sure hope so.  I've been transplanting a few things in the flower beds, and it's dry about 5 or 6 inches in.  I've been watering already since April.  
I'm still volunteering at the library.  I enjoy my job and the girls that work there.  And it's only 5 minutes away.  
We've had the bass boat out a couple of times - in fact, my hubby was so excited for fishing season that he was ready the day it opened - 3rd Saturday in April!  It was working quite well, but the motor has a leaky gasket issue, so it's in the shop right now.
I made Lemon Meringue Pie yesterday, along with pulled pork.  Anyone out there have a good pulled pork recipe?  I looked at several, and chose one with a dry rub which had ingredients like cumin, cayenne, chili powder, paprika, garlic and onion powder, and brown sugar.  Not bad, but I'm thinking celery salt was missing.  Then you are supposed to slow cook it until tender, which I did.  Then add your own BBQ sauce.  I did that too, and since I couldn't decide whether to go the vinegar route or the BBQ sauce, I did both.  I mixed a bit of cider vinegar with the bbq sauce, and it wasn't bad. I think liquid smoke would have really topped it off.  (of course, doing it on the BBQ would have been wonderful, but I couldn't see wasting all that propane...)
Next on my list this week is Broccoli/Cauliflower salad with dried cranberry bits, shredded cheddar, and bacon bits. And a bit of sliced onion, preferably red.
My hubby has been literally begging for homemade bread.  I made good bread, but for some reason it's hard to get cranked up to actually make it.  When I do, I tend to make a 5 loaf batch to do us for awhile.
It's rhubarb season again here in CT.  I still have a couple of packages of frozen in the freezer to use up, along with some frozen blueberries I picked last summer.  So I see maybe a rhubarb pie, or bars or something in my near future.  I really should make the blueberries in to a sauce for pancakes or ice cream.  Yum!
It's a good thing I can't afford to hire a cook, I'd be huge!! :0)
I've been trying to change how I eat, after watching that documentary 'Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead'.  Anyone watch that?  About the australian dude who came over for a couple of months to try a juice fast?  I really liked the second part of the movie about Phil.  I'm so proud of Phil!  Anyway, it was a good documentary, very motivating to me.  My diet hasn't been bad, I've cut way back on sugar and baked goods.  I'm trying to eat grapefruit first thing most mornings, and incorporate more veggies for breakfast.  I tried a greek omelet at a local restaurant, and it wasn't bad!  Feta cheese, diced tomatoes and spinach.  
So I bought a 2-pack of goat cheese at Costco (less salty) and a big container of plum tomatoes (we like them just sliced) and baby spinach, which I sauteed a bit with garlic and olive oil.  Stirred all this into scrambled eggs, made a nice tasty breakfast.  I have also gotten into gluten free bread.  It's expensive, but good.  I'm trying to cut back on gluten to see if I feel better without it.  Doesn't hurt to try, right?
I also bought a big container of Kiwi.  Kiwis are underrated, don't you think?  A nice zing in a fruit cup, or sliced on the side for breakfast.  
I've got some dried black beans waiting to be done up. I really like black beans, and they are good for breakfast in eggs too.  W
e ate out for breakfast this past weekend, which we like to do at least one each week.  I had an old favorite, Mexican breakfast burrito.  A burrito, filled with scrambled eggs, black bean salsa, cheddar cheese, mushrooms if they remember to put them in, and I add sliced breakfast sausage.  It also comes with onion and peppers, but I omit them.  It's served with sour cream and extra salsa on the side.  YUM!  Very nice, and I always bring home 1/2 of it, because it's too much, especially with the side of home fries and toast that comes with it.
Yeah.  I see that - home fries, and I dare not say I like the 'deepfried', right??! Ha!
Well, I'm making progress, anyway.
Now I'm hungry.  Better go have some breakfast. Max, my 15 yr old cat, is letting me know I haven't taken him out for his 2 minutes outside the front door and his 3 blades of grass.  That's all he gets, because if left to his own devices, he would eat grass like a goat, and then leave me a present a bit later.  Yeah. Not cool.  
Have a great week!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

We gave up Dishnetwork...

How odd, and how weird, to feel relief in giving up our satellite receiver. Yes, we gave up our Dish network after many years with them.

Why, you ask?
I guess because we finally decided that there
A) wasn't much worth watching, at least at that price
B) it was now nearly $80/month just for the second tier, including a $7 DVR fee (was $6).
c) we decided that we were going to change our viewing habits, and much of the regular programing was not included in that change.

 We found that. for the most part, we only watched about 3 or 4 channels out of hundreds.  We only watched for 3 hours or so a night, plus maybe 4 hours on weekends.
We also started ruling out any 'R' rated movies.  PG-13 is getting so bad with violence and language that I can't trust that anymore either.
We calculated that we would be spending about $900/yr on tv, not including ppv movies at $5 a pop.
Let's see, what would I rather spend $900 per YEAR on?  Oh, i could think of a lot of things!! I do need a new washer and dryer, I would like to have a kayak, a horse, pay off the car, a house of our own, rent a cottage for a week or 2 each summer...and so much more.
see, there are many things I could do with that $900 (each year!).  And TV moved WA-a-y-y down the list.
So we shipped the receiver back yesterday, dropped it off at the UPS store.  I was surprised to hear my husband say later how relieved he was that it was gone!  I knew I would be, but he was a bit harder sell on this idea.  but he does really like netflix.  He says ' it's there if you want to watch something, but you don't have to if you don't want to.'  Meaning, it's at our leisure.  That movie will wait.  yes, the dvr did kind of do the same thing, but we ended up with dozens of things to watch, and no time to watch them, because we were still watching live tv too.
Do we miss anything?  Yes, there were trade-offs.  I miss the Tcm channel (Turner Classic Movies), sometimes HGTV and he misses nascar.
HOwever, like i said, we do have netflix, and there is a small selection of old movies for me to start with there. 
and, we bought a $39 mohu leaf indoor antenna from amazon.  It allows us to get several local network and pbs channels, and fox - which is broadcasting several weekends of the Sprint cup.  My hubby is thrilled.
We also bought a router and new dvd with wireless capability to make this setup work.  and it's working great!
We do want to try Amazon Prime at some point, maybe next week when our free trial at Netflix runs out.
We also can pull from our local and state-wide libraries for viewing free dvd's.  What a resource!  
we did have some up front costs, like the router and wireless dvd player, to change our viewing habits, but we are still saving a lot of money.  and funnily enough, tv has a lot less hold on us now.  and that's a good thing in my book.  there is so much of life to be lived outside of the living room.  don't you think?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a nice holiday season.  We did, except we both had colds for the whole week.  This time the colds weren't too bad, we've certainly had worse. We still managed to enjoy our families while they visited us.  They live a day's drive away, and we had this planned for some time.  It was so good to see everyone, as we don't get to see them more than a couple of times a year.
We got out to the mall for a day for the after-Christmas sales.  Mom and put together a couple of puzzles (we both love puzzles) and we played a few games of 2000. (a card game)
What's new? First I want to mention my light box and how I'm doing with that, since it is the season for it.  I'm doing pretty good, thank you.  Much better than last year.  I started the 3rd week of September, with about 5 minutes a day. Then, in October sometime, I went to 10.  Then 15. Now I'm up to 25.  Last year, it was 30, and I was sitting much closer to it than this year. (I use the HappyLight, by Verilux)
This year, it's hanging on my wall just to the left of my computer screen.  It's about 3 feet or slightly less from my face.  Usually, I have to have it within about 15 inches or so.
How do I know if I have enough?  Well, at some point I start to sigh, and feel more relaxed.  Like my body is saying 'Thank you!.'  Also, if I get too much, I get a bit edgy, and feel like I have to shut it off.  So far, this is working for me.  It falls within the parameters of using the light box.
I also can tell if I start to feel lethargic and down, that I didn't do enough.
I must mention too, that for years I had situational depression. At least, that's what my doctor said.  I just know I had depression.  So I had both, and the 'SAD' didn't reveal itself until I got the depression dealt with.
That's when I discovered I started feeling down in the fall, more and more so as the winter wore on, and I couldn't understand why.  I was worried I would have to go back on antidepressants.
During my research, I discovered 'SAD', felt I had the same symptoms, and bought a light box.  Best investment ever besides addressing my depression.
So I just wanted to update you on this, in case you too are suffering from this disorder, and hope something I said will help you or point you in the right direction.
As for other news, not sure I mentioned this earlier or not, but I am volunteering at my local library.  I started in late July last year, 1/2 a day a week, in the Inter-library Loan Dept.  I really enjoy it! The ladies are very nice to work with, I get out of the house, and I do love books. :0) 
Speaking of, I am due there this morning in about an hour, so I better get this posted.
Until we meet again, God bless!