Today in America…

Is there hope for a better year?

It’s a new year and where are we America? I desperately want to think positively of 2022. I wanted to think positively of 2021…but that didn’t really work out now did it?

Being Irish (mostly), some Scottish, some German and who knows what else, I believe in luck. Furthermore, I believe that you can change your luck and that begins with positive thoughts and positive acts.

So here goes…Happy Birthday 2022! I’m counting on you! We all are!

Happy Birthday 2022!!!

I have to say while remaining hopeful that we’ve had a rocky start to this brand spanking new year.

1) Insane Gas Prices: why did we close the pipeline and give up energy independence again??? Anyone???

Gas prices in America Suck!

Remember: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” -Ronald Reagan.

Well, how about: “Mr. Biden! Open that damn pipeline!!!” -Me

2) Rising Food Prices and Empty Shelves: is it all “supply chain” – which is what exactly? Is this just a misnomer? Are people hoarding again? Are we being duped? I would like to know what’s really going on, wouldn’t you?

Gee maybe devaluing our own currency and printing money is a bad market strategy after all.

I’ve heard our nations leadership blame the empty supermarket shelves on everyone from the farmers to the truckers to the supermarkets.

I don’t know about you but I don’t know anyone who works harder than farmers. I know that I’m not getting up at 5am to milk the cows or tend the herd and I’m certainly not blaming the guys and gals who do.

The truckers? My uncle drove a semi…that’s no easy life! It’s long days and nights away from home, with extreme traffic, stress, and all while remaining alert! I can do about 4 hours in a car before I go completely bats! My vision of hell is that they give me this job to do for all eternity.

What about the supermarkets that remained open all throughout the height of the Covid epidemic? After a brief stint working in a supermarket, I can tell you these folks work their butts off. While working this job I didn’t have to worry about tracking my steps because I logged over 15,000 daily!

Are we seriously blaming them for empty shelves? The next time you go to the market, please say thank you to the employees who work there busting hump and dodging customers to keep the food on the shelves, while earning low wages and logging terrible hours.

As for management, running a supermarket and trying to make a profit is a nightmare. They’re dealing with government regulations, FDA, employment issues, perishable goods, and now “supply chain” issues.

The Bread Section of Target in Reston, VA 1-10-22
If we run out of bread, there’s alway cake!

3) COVID – OMG!!! Why are we still dealing with this!!! We have the vaccines which we were promised would be our saving grace. Yet somehow none of what we were told ever added up right.

The medicine aisle in Target yesterday Reston, VA

Pretty much everyone I know including myself was sick for Christmas. There was lots of Covid under the Christmas tree and especially for fully vaccinated folks. What gives??? Does anyone else feel like we’ve been sold a bunch of baloney at a filet mignon price???

4) Rising Crime and Changing Public Support for Police Officers. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/10/26/growing-share-of-americans-say-they-want-more-spending-on-police-in-their-area/%3Famp%3D1

5) The Border: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-restart-trump-era-border-program-forcing-asylum-seekers-wait-mexico-2021-12-02/

6) Afghanistan- Lest We Forget! https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/01/13/afghanistan-taliban-takeover-worsens-rights-crisis

7) School Closures: what did our youth learn in 2021? How many suffered and continue to suffer from issues with mental health? I was very proud of the parents here in Loudoun County for their resolute efforts to get our children back into the classrooms and to raise serious concerns about the current curriculum. As parents we have to fight for our children, because no one else will.

Hope, where art thou?

My hope is that 2022 will be the year of the independent American, the free thinker, the doer, and the questioning American. That it will be the year of taking a stand, righting wrongs, and banding together. Division has gotten us nowhere. Hiding in our homes has rendered us fearful and lost. We can’t afford another year of cowering and doubting ourselves America. Our children are watching. And the world is watching.

Glimmer of Hope!

In 2022 we need a spark to ignite and rejuvenate American ingenuity, strength, unity, pride, creativity, honor, hard work, spirituality, and patriotism.

July 4th 2021

Let’s go…America and 2022! I believe in you!

American Flag

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” – Ronald Reagan

Cozy Snow Daze!

Ten great reasons to stay inside where it’s cozy and warm!

Baby It’s Cold Outside!
First Snow Storm of 2022 in Northern Virginia
Breakfast cookies and hot cocoa with mini marshmallows AND whipped cream!

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/breakfast-cookies-3864548.amp
Nap Time! photo by Katherine Slovak
We didn’t have a white Christmas, but were having a white New Years, so we’ll take it!
Cozy comfort food!
Gooey grilled cheese and tomato soup, yum!
Not quite ready to un-decorate…
A great day for a roast!
Cheers to 2022!

Happy New Year all!

Pet Safety at Home

After a tumultuous start, Loki’s finally settling in. He had some sort of gastroenteritis that we weren’t sure any of us would survive.

Somehow we all made it through!


Loki Pokey photo by Katherine Slovak

We’re still navigating the co-cat coalition…

King of the stairwell!

News to me was that cats may at times need probiotics. For Loki’s uncontrolled bowel, our veterinarian prescribed a combination of antibiotics, prescription food, and a probiotic regimen which I was only able to administer by mixing it in liquid and using a syringe. It was several weeks of hell!

Loki naps!

I was skeptical about all of this at first but ultimately it worked.

The veterinarian thought Loki may have eaten something toxic. All I know is that he was a very sick kitten.

Plants, the veterinarian said, are often the cause. We were referred to the ASPCA website to review a list of toxic plants: https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/17-plants-poisonous-pets

Lily’s make the list of toxic plants

It has been awhile since we have had a kitten roaming the house. It was a little like having a baby again! Everything goes right into his mouth.

Loki chilling

We still have no idea if Loki came to us ill, or if he got into something in our home. Regardless, he survived thankfully!

Typically, cats are very neat and easy to cat box train unless there is a serious issue.

Right now he is a bundle of energy, a coiled spring ready to snap! Teenagers!

Loki entertaining himself.

We are counting our blessings that he is both healthy and happy!

Happy #Caturday all! And Merry Christmas!

This Christmas Give Yourself the Gifts of Faith, Redemption, and Charity!

I’m not about to lecture anyone…Lord knows… I have always considered myself a “catholic in progress”. Both spiritual and religious, I spend a great deal of time questioning, always seeking answers for the unexplained.

But this year, I let friends and family know that I was scaling back on gift exchanges and the “trappings of Christmas” and decided to focus instead on the “reason for the season”.

Statue of Jesus and Mary from the National Shrine Grotto, Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, MD
https://www.nsgrotto.org/

With rising inflation and gas prices, empty grocery shelves, and supply chain woes, after two years of COVID-19 riddled with grief and loss, I refused to be disheartened. I planned to take back Christmas this year!

My family went back to church in person, no masks! And we went to confession, which always makes me feel physically lighter, as well as spiritually elevated.

While I truly believe God is all around us, I was missing the community, the ceremony, and the sanctity of being in a sacred place of worship on a Sunday morning.

I was concerned about crowds but attendance is way down. I was concerned we would be judged for being away for so long but instead, we were warmly welcomed.

The third part of this plan was charity: giving charitable gifts to great causes, volunteer organizations that I support, and random acts of kindness, large or small. You do not have to be wealthy to make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate, and no matter how bad you may have it, someone always has it worse!

In the fight against darkness, never surrender, always seek out the light!

Merry Christmas all!

Advent Calendar Brilliance!

Wine and cheese!

Wine Advent Calendar from Lidl

This year we were lucky enough to snag one of these wine advent calendars from Lidl. They fly off the shelf just as soon as then become available. At around $60.00 for the box, we hoped for the best. So far, so good.

There are 24 mini wine bottles behind each snowflake!
Cheese Advent Calendar from Lidl

Also a Lidl best seller is the clever Ilchester cheese advent calendar and what better to go with wine? The cheese advent calendar (in the refrigerator section of course) costs around $14.00.

December 1st:

Tonight’s pairing was a mini bottle of Chardonnay (equal to one large glass or two small ones for sharing) and a lovely English sharp cheddar. I would really like to know more about this wine and the cheese because both were terrific and fabulous together! The wine was just as the mini label stated, buttery, pear, Meyer lemon and vanilla.

Cheers to twenty-three more days of wonderful surprises to come!

Happy Advent all!

Ten Beautiful Things Part 2

Flowers!
Hibiscus “bruise” in full bloom
A Nature Visitor!
Autumn Sunsets!
Hummingbirds!
Cheese!!!
Waterfalls!
photo by Katherine Slovak
Rainbows!
Freedom of Speech
Road Trips!

Finding beauty is not difficult, beauty is all around us. Noticing, and appreciating beauty when we discover it is the hard part.

Have a blessed and beautiful day!

Turkey Day Wine!

Looking for a great bottle to pair with the bird? Really anything goes, but for this very American meal, I like European wine best.

The traditional rich flavors of the Thanksgiving feast need a high acidity wine for balance. Try French, German, or Italian white wines or even lighter reds for a better pairing. This makes perfect sense if you think about the liberal use of butter and cream in French, German and Northern Italian food.

If you’re undecided, sparkling is an excellent choice and the bubbles will help aid with digestion.

We began the day with a Cremant De Bourgogne, or what I like to call affordable French champagne.

For more options, let me take you to the cellar!

German Riesling

German Riesling is fruity and often sweet but not always. Look for a dry variety if you prefer less sweetness. Riesling also has a little fizz, and is an excellent option for guests who are not big wine drinkers but like to have a glass on special occasions.

Pinot Grigio from Italy
Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand

In my house we serve the turkey with a sausage stuffing, so light reds, or rose also pair well.

Rose from the Loire Valley
Pinot Noir from France

If you are strictly a red wine drinker, I can’t think of a better meal to enjoy with Pinot Noir. I usually prefer rich reds like an Old Vine Zinfandel or a Merlot, just not today. The wine should not compete with the main event: turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin, or pecan pie, and all of the fixings.

Pecan Pie

Have a Happy Thanksgiving all, and I hope you are enjoying yours with family and friends this year!

Loki’s Feeling Low

Loki Pokey photo by Katherine Slovak

We suffered a major setback when shortly after joining our ranks, Loki showed signs of major dysentery. The veterinarian gave us a plethora of things to try like medication, special food, and probiotics. He’s hanging in there, but it’s been a rough few weeks. I’m hopeful all of this will work.

Loki Cat Napping

He’s still playful, and sweet, and has even convinced Licorice that he’s not so bad.

Double Cat Nap
Licorice & Loki helping us unpack from a trip. Photo by Katherine Slovak
Kitty Video Games photo by Katherine Slovak

We’re hoping and praying it’s not serious, but it’s hard to know. The vet does not seem entirely sure what’s going on with the little guy which is frustrating.

Cozy Cat

You would never know he’s suffering by looking at him, right? Hoping for a better week this week!

Happy #Caturday All!