Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pretty is Nice





I am sitting down after a whirlwind morning of checking off my to-do list for the day. Posting this is on the list too and after I press the "publish" button I will be treating myself to a blanket in the shade in the back yard with a good book and maybe even a pillow in case I decide to actually take a nap! Yes! I have been trying to do this as often as possible these beautiful, warm days. We've had SO much rain this spring and this week - this Independence Day week - is looking like clear, blue skies, no rain, and very little humidity. So far, the weather is staying true to the forecast and when I can steal a moment to luxuriate in what summer has to offer, I am taking it!

So, I'm feeling pretty accomplished and satisfied right now as the oscillating fan passes over me every few seconds. One of our kitties, Tessa, has found her afternoon nap spot in a sunbeam below the open window. She's feeling satisfied too, as our three cats have just enjoyed their favorite part of the day: canned food time! So, here is one of my Titus 2 Tuesday tips I am sharing with you today: Feed your cat canned food - even if it's just a portion of what they get daily.

My cat of 19 years passed away last spring. In her later years, occasionally she struggled with urinary tract troubles - an ailment that can kill cats, especially males. You can tell when a cat is having this trouble when they act like they want to urinate, but cannot or do just a small amount and/or the urine has blood in it. When this started to happen with my cat, I was concerned about her as well as the potential vet bill we'd face. Then, around that same time, I was listening to Colleen Patrick Goudreau's Food for Thought podcast and she was talking about her cat that had struggled with the same issue, but that once she put him completely on canned food, it cleared up. And I found the same thing happened when I tried this with our cat. Once every few months she would exhibit a bit of the same behavior, but it would only last for a few hours and then it would go away again. I would say that this was her condition the last 3 or 4 years of her life. Given that she lived a very comfortable and long life, I do not attribute her death to anything but old age and she passed quite peacefully in her sleep.

[Note: I am in no way suggesting that you forgo veterinary care for your pet, but instead, to practice preventative care with a healthy diet.]

Since that time I have read how important it is for cats to have canned cat food, since they get a great deal of water from their food. They don't drink as much as dogs do. For me, despite the fact that canned food is more expensive than dry, I still find it more manageable to purchase canned food and serve it once-a-day in addition to the dry food than to just offer dry and risk the health of our remaining 3 cats. As they age, I may end up switching them to a completely wet diet like I did for Nimue before them. I have seen the newer "Urinary Tract Prevention" formulas of dry food and don't know what they might do to it to make it better, given that it's still dry. Feeding wet food is an easy choice for me to make and the kitties like it too!

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The to-do list is what it is today, in part, because we are hosting family and friends at our home on the Fourth. I'm making it easy on myself this year and am having everyone bring their own picnic supper and I'm providing desserts and games. But often Potato Salad is a part of a Fourth of July - or any summertime picnic menu. A little tip that I love to share in this regard is to add a tablespoon of vinegar to your cooking water while you are boiling your potatoes. The vinegar will keep the potatoes more firm and they'll hold up nicely in the salad, not getting mushy when you stir in your other ingredients!

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And finally, as Maia noted earlier, as I added chocolate mint leaves to the water in the ice cube trays, "Pretty is nice!" The whole of this little project took me less than 5 minutes. I love little touches of flavor or thoughtfulness or delight tucked into not just our entertaining, but the everyday. These are the things that make a day or season memorable, that elevate the ordinary into something special. We actually have an ice maker in our freezer, but I bought this pair at a thrift store for 99 cents just for this purpose.



Think of all the lovelies you could float in your summertime drinks: lavender flowers, raspberries, chamomile blossoms. You are limited only by your imagination!

Time to head out to that blanket in the grass! Hope you're all enjoying this July day in your own way: snuggled up south of the equator or enjoying a popscicle in the sunshine in the northern hemisphere. Have a lovely day!

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