black cat stretched out on concrete driveway

image: Tuffy in a calm moment

|| 19 June 2021

Cat Calming Spray

Tuffy is a nervous cat. The photo above was taken in an usually calm moment (for Tuffy) on a sunny spring afternoon. But Tuffy becomes particularly agitated during thunderstorms. And we are. having a stormy spring.

After a couple of sleep-interrupted nights with Tuffy yowling LOWDLY through long thunderstorms, I researched and ordered a cat calming spray.

The product I picked was Feliway Classic Travel Spray. This spray is designed to work inside the carrier when you must take the cat to the vet — or on longer trips. But you may use it inside the house too if you follow the instructions.

The most important instruction is you NEVER spray the product directly on the cat. You do not even spray it on their bedding.

For first usage, about two hours before Tuffy came inside on a night on which a thunderstorm was forecast, I sprayed into the air two sprays about three feet from the ottoman where Tuffy sleeps. The instructions say you spray more, but I find two sprays work fine.

When the first rumbles of thunder began, Tuffy came into the house upset and yowling. But after reassuring stroking on the head and some soft words, he hopped up on the ottoman and his yowling stopped. We both got a good night’s sleep despite the thunderstorm.

We will see how well this calming spray works inside the carrier when I have to take Tuffy to the vet for shots.

Another calming product I have purchased but have not yet tried is HomeoPet Anxiety Relief that is to be administered into the pet’s mouth — or in food or water. This product is designed not just for cats, but also for dogs, rabbits and parrots. (I once did a session of housesitting for a woman who owned a parrot. Vicious animal. I could have used a calming product for it.)

Good sleep is essential for health — and for chic. If you have an agitated cat keeping you awake when you should be getting your “beauty sleep,” a calming spray might help both you and your cat get better rest.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 10 June 2021

Air Like Hot Soup

For the second day we are under a Heat Advisory. The afternoon air feels like hot soup. Though the thermometer read 92 F. (33 C.) the heat index was 109 F. And it felt like like 109 F. (43 C.). My tolerance for heat and humidity I developed when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer has vanished in the intervening half century. The past two days I have spent the afternoon ensconced in the comfort of air-conditioning.

But neither the extreme cold of our winter Texas Freeze, nor this week's heat seem to have damaged my daylilies. They are blooming more profusely than in previous years. These are daylilies I transplanted from a bed at my grandmother's house that were blooming in her garden on the day I was born all those many decades ago.

I also have five purple balls on tall stems behind the daylilies. Those are garlic. Five or six years ago I bought two "elephant garlic" at the supermarket curious as to the taste of those big garlic. Before I ate the second, it sprouted. So I separated the cloves and planted them. The garlic plants they produce never make more edible elephant garlic. But every year I have these pretty purple garlic flowers.

Daylilies, like garlic, are edible. The Chinese dry the flowers, grind them and put them in soup. Last summer I tried that. I added the ground, dried daylily blossoms to some French pumpkin soup I was making. I did not digest the soup well. In hindsight, I should have made a Chinese soup to which ground daylilies are traditionally added. Perhaps I will try that this summer.

I certainly have plenty of daylilies with which to experiment.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 28 May 2021

Motivation — or the Lack of it

On the its page for Brain, in the Motivation section, Wikipedia tells us that animals (including the human animal) engage in survival-promoting behaviors, such as seeking food, water, and shelter — and that the motivational system in the brain monitors the current state of satisfaction in these activities and activates behaviors to meet any needs that arise.

Motivation plays a big role in staying slim — actually motivation plays a big role in just about anything we accomplish in life.

Lately my motivation for writing and posting the regular Thursday and Sunday Nouvelles has been next to nil.

I am bored with the current website format and ready to design something new with the idea that, if I enjoy the creation more, you will enjoy and benefit from the information more.

Additionally, the program I have been using for the past decade to design this website will no longer work when I soon am forced to replace my aged computers. Thus, out of necessity, I have acquired two new pieces of web design software and am working to learn to use them.

But learning new software and creating a new website design takes much time and mental energy — no matter how motivated you are. So, beginning with this Nouvelles and for however long it takes, new Nouvelles material will be posted on whatever day I find time — and motivation. Likely new material will not appear more often than once a week.

Also, you might want to reread any of the previous Nouvelles that you particularly enjoyed. When I have the new website design up and running, most of the Previous Nouvelles and 5 o’Clock Teas will vanish.

Previous Nouvelles

5 o’Clock Teas

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone

|| 21 May 2021

Cicadas: For Good Luck in Provence & More

After I posted the Nouvelles about eating cicadas, I received an email from Ann Leslie in New York with more interesting info about these insects that are currently receiving a lot of attention in the media. (Merci, Ann Leslie) She also included some interesting info on crickets. More . . .

|| 28 March 2021

Twyla Tharp's Keep It Moving

Last eveing I had an email from Rocki in Austin commenting on the PBS Twyla Tharp documentary broadcast on Friday evening. Rocki wrote:

Bonsoir, Anne. Just read your Nouvelle about Twyla Tharp. I watched it!! It was so inspirational. I actually saw Baryshnikov perform those dances. It was late 1970’s. I saw him twice. — Rocki

Also in the email Rocki alerted me to Twyla Tharp's latest book Keep It Moving which she has added to her library. Somehow I had missed the book's appearance. I have Twyla Tharp's earlier book The Creative Habit which I always reread before beginning any major project — book, website redesign, remodeling. I look forward to reading Twyla Tharp's advice on aging.

About Keep It Moving, the publisher says:

One of the world’s legendary artists and bestselling author of The Creative Habit shares her secrets—from insight to action—for harnessing vitality, finding purpose as you age, and expanding one’s possibilities over the course of a lifetime in Twyla Tharp's newest New York Times bestseller Keep It Moving.

Merci to Rocki for her comments on the PBS documentary and for the tip on Twyla Tharp's latest book. How thrilling it must to have been to see Baryshnikov perform in a theater. Not once, but twice!

You can learn more about the Twyla Tharp documentary on its PBS page.

be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone