Some of us are dog lovers, and some of us are cat lovers. I like dogs, but I’d rather live with cats. Since adulthood I’ve had several cats: Louisa, Mathias, Tomas, Miranda and currently Isabella, Oliver and Stella. Isabella is a sort of a dusty yellow with gold eyes. She’s very independent–doesn’t like to be picked up or held. Olivier is a black and white tuxedo cat whose muddy paw prints I find everywhere. Stella is slim, brindled/gray girl and very friendly. She and Oliver are good friends.
There are advantages and disadvantages to owning a cat. They are wonderful hunters. I think it was the Egyptians who valued cats for protecting their grain from mice and rats. I’ve read that the well fed cat is the best hunter. He (she)’s able to be more patient. Cats discourage snakes. The cat finds a snake highly entertaining much to the snake’s displeasure.
My cats are able to come and go as they please through a cat door. It’s very convenient for me and for them; however, over the years I’ve had lots of unwanted critters in my house–live prey brought in by the brave hunters: two snakes, birds, a bat, several moles, a rat (dead), a couple of crawdads, numerous frogs, toads and lizards. Yesterday I returned home to find Stella batting at something under the grandfather clock in the dining room. It turned out to be a half grown squirrel! I don’t know how the live squirrel got in the house. She may have chased it in the cat door! I had gardening gloves and a pillow case ready, but fortunately my neighbor arrived, donned heavy gloves, reached under the clock, grabbed the squirrel and deposited him in a small cage. The squirrel was unharmed in spite of his ordeal–and mine.
This was a wonderful Christmas season for me which culminated with a visit to Susan’s home in Austin on Christmas Day where we began the festivities with raw oysters and champagne provided and served by her son and son-in-law. Gift exchange around the Christmas tree followed.
As one approaches (or has attained) the age of 70, consumable gifts are often the most desirable, and I again received lots of those gifts this year: a box of grapefruit from Pittman and Davis, pecans from San Saba, Texas and Georgia, homemade jalapeno jelly, tomato jam and pickled okra and several bottles of wine. I also got some sweets which I really tried to share with others.–Too tempting to have in the house! I ordered coffee, dark chocolate and almonds from Equal Exchange which is a Fair Trade worker-owned co-op which distributes a variety of organic products produced by farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. I think they also offer tea and cocoa. I sent grapefruit and oranges to family members as well.–Have you noticed that we give things we like to receive?
In case you’re wondering what I’m doing with all those pecans I got, I found this recipe. The result is even more tempting than sweets for me!–I’d better give them away.
Toasted Pecansfrom Cotton Country
12 cups pecan halves
1 stick butter
Place pecans in a 17 x 12 inch pan in a 300 degree oven. Toast 30 minutes to dry; then add 1 stick butter, sliced. Let pecans get completely greasy, stirring once or twice. After pecans and butter have mixed well, sprinkle with salt generously and stir very often sprinkling with salt each time as all the salt does not stick to the pecans. Toast pecans one hour or more to desired taste and until butter has been absorbed.
I bought a book titled Shopping for the Real You by Andrea Pflaumer. There are a few gems in the book. One point that the author makes is the importance of a good haircut and good shoes. While I’ve always subscribed to the merits of a good haircut, I’ve been lax in the purchase of shoes. I’ve bought several inexpensive pairs that aren’t really that comfortable, or I’ve bought a pair that’s fills only a need for a special occasion. Here’s what Andrea writes:
“Years ago there was an article in Town & Country magazine that ran down the principles of making a home look affluent and refined. If you did just two things, the piece said, you could achieve the look of elegance. Lay out the money for expensive picture framing and good Persian carpets. I would say dressing well follows a similar rule. If you splurge on only two things make them the things people see framing you face and anchoring you to the ground: your hair and your shoes. Well cut, healthy hair will make any outfit look better and will make you feel good inside. Well-made beautiful shoes will do the same. More important, they will likely be comfortable which can definitely show on the outside.”
I’m going to make an appointment for a hair cut this week, and I’m turning over a new leaf in 2016. From now on I’m shopping only for well-made beautiful shoes. I’m sure my feet will appreciate this resolution! It also conforms to our original goals: buy less but better. Happy New Year!