I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Time for a new bird feeder

 Designer Bird Feeder.  The design collapses, which I thought was great!



If any of you have been reading this blog very long, you know we get strong winds in the desert.  Nothing is safe.  I would say, “unless it’s tired down,” but we’ve had staked trees break in half before.  I guess nothing really works against the wind that can gust to near hurricane force here at times.

We’ve had the barbecue grill blow right off the patio and turn over in the lawn.  The grill is not a tiny one either.  Our heavy metal patio chairs have taken flight as well and turned over, or fallen on pots and broken them.  Sometimes the strength of the wind amazes me.


My new summery bird feeder


Anyway, we’re always losing bird feeders because they blow down and get broken on the rocks.  I’d love to put up all my wind chimes (and I have a lot), but they probably wouldn’t be safe around here for long, so instead they’re still in a box in the garage.  That and hubby doesn’t want me putting holes in the stucco on the house.  In the twelve years we’ve been here, I have only put up two and they’re in safer places so they’ve stayed intact (so far).  And I’ve made no holes in the house to hang them up.  I still don’t see what difference holes will have on anything and I guess I never will.



 My new bird feeder hanging from a tree in the front yard
 
So when I was at Home Depot looking for something else, I ran across this designer bird feeder.  I just had to have it.  The bright yellow-gold color sucked me in.  It looked so summery.  I finally got around to putting it up.  It’s in the front yard this time and not the back because the chipmunks living back there on our rock wall will eat anything and tear up the yard in the process.

Now once the birds find it, I’ll be a happy camper.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My new gas cook top


Here's the new cook top


We didn’t really need this, but the other one was hard to clean.  Black appliances can be a bear anyway, if any of you have experience with them.  I would shy away from that color but our kitchen is done up in black appliances and we have a black island and black accents in the kitchen. 



 Naturally, Raven is "helping."
 
The old cook top had too many nooks and grannies to keep it sparkly clean all the time.  We’ve looked at new cook tops for a while now and finally decided on this one.  It has cast iron grates and the whole bottom is smooth so spills can easily be wiped up.  All that is a plus, and I love cast iron.  I don’t think you can go wrong with that.  I have some cast iron frying pans that are forty-five years old that I use all the time.



Close up view.  I'm not so sure I like the burners so close together but we'll see over time.


The cook top we took out was installed in the house when we bought it in 2004.  It works so we’re planning on taking our time to clean it up and then will sell it on Craigslist.  Someone may need one.  We’ve had good luck selling and buying on Craigslsit in the past.  I don’t believe in throwing anything away because I figure someone is out there that can use any discards.  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Tricksters are at it


I got a rare moment at my sewing machine and Koki and Raven conspired against me.  They were into everything, grabbing my spools of thread to bat back and forth.  Anything was fair game as they came after more stuff they could seize with their teeth or paws.  Maybe I would do the same thing if I was a cat.  Who knows?  But they love to get into my stuff.



 Raven is one of the tricksters and of course he has a partner in crime.

Koki's always ready for an adventure and mischief
 
They make themselves part of any kind of project I get into. 

It’s funny to think that when Raven was little, Koki wouldn’t have anything to do with him.  Now they chase each other every day and get into mischief all the time.  I wouldn’t have it any other way though.  I like to have them near me, even if they are grabbing at thread and anything else they can get a hold of. 



 It started out with swiping one spool of thread to bat about the room

 
I took up some shorts today and these old eyes have trouble threading my machine with black, or any dark colored thread.  It’s disgusting to get so old that you can hardly do that anymore.  I finally grabbed the needle threader and had trouble using it too.  I decided I would sew anything I need to in that color so I wouldn’t have to tackle that again for a while.  That’s pathetic, isn’t it?



 It evolved into more.  They get bored easy and come after new "toys."  I had to hide the elastic, buttons  and pins.

 
After all my sewing machine work was done for the day, I sewed some buttons on that I haven’t gotten to yet.  We try to buy all of our white shirts for work at thrift stores because they get messed up so fast.  There’s no use in spending a lot of money for them.  Why we have to wear white tops is beyond me.  I had a blouse that was missing two buttons and because it was I got it for cheap, so I changed out all six buttons today and have a brand new blouse for work.  It’s a miracle it has no stains, not yet anyway.

Before I knew it, the time said 3:30 and I was bound to get the table cleared off today before hubby got home.  We changed out the gas cook top and had to move all the stuff out of that cabinet so the guy could cut the granite to have a bigger hole so the new cook top would fit.  We’ve had it in there but not hooked up for a couple of weeks.  It was no big deal.  I have my electric skillet and the oven and I’m not so hot on cooking anyway.  We eat a lot of salad around here, especially in the summer.

So that’s how I spent my day off this week.  Of course it was beautiful and sunny and about 80 – perfect weather in my eyes.  I had the windows and the skylights open to let in any passing breeze.  I wish it would stay like this all summer but it will be triple digits before I know it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A to Z Reflections for 2016 Challenge



This was my fourth year participating in the challenge.  I love doing it and will probably do it again next year.  At first I thought I’d sit this year out.  There’s never enough time since I started working again, even though it’s part-time.  Somehow I always end up working more every week than I thought I would, but we’re shorthanded so I can understand this.  The extra money is nice too, but hopefully I’ll have more free time eventually.

I wanted to get all my posts written and scheduled ahead, like I did last year, but that didn’t happen.  I only had about five of them written when I signed up for the challenge.  Another two weeks went by without me writing one post toward my goal.  Of course I scolded myself.

This situation turned out to be the case for most of March.  I still had half of the posts for the challenge to write and only a week to do it in at that point.  This isn’t a good spot to be in.  But I had signed up, and obligated myself, so there was no way I wouldn’t get it done…somehow.




I can go into the challenge much more relaxed if everything is done ahead of time.  There’s some research involved usually, as a lot of you know.  I wanted to find unusual things this year and write about those things that most people probably wouldn’t know.  I thought this would be more interesting instead of my usual cat and/or life stories, although a bit of that may have sneaked in there.

I have to confess I didn’t visit as many blogs as I did last year.  But I still intend on visiting more over the summer, so I hope the blog list will be on the A to Z website for a while.  I should be ashamed of myself I know, and I am, but there’s only so much time after work and part of that has to be spent in the kitchen cooking and then cleaning up before I feel right about rewarding myself with some computer time. 

I had fun and did make some new friends and found some new interesting blogs to follow.  All that’s a good thing.  I’ve been blogging with some of you well over a year or two now.  I love reading what you have to say and about the things going on in your lives.  I feel like we’re blogging family.  My hat goes off to the people who can actually blog daily.  I really don’t know how you do it.  I wish I could manage that, but I know that won’t happen.  Twice a week for me is pushing it.

Thanks to everyone who visited me over the challenge, before that, and since then.  I hope I always have something worthwhile to say.  I enjoy all your comments very much.  All of you make me smile.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Visitor Arrives


When I got home from work a couple of days ago, I was standing at the kitchen sink washing my hands to fix dinner.  I have a nice window there that looks to the backyard and the desert beyond.  Looking out at nature makes chores more pleasant.



 This was the only way to get his length from the window

 
I spotted our visitor right away and grabbed the camera.  Hubby was oblivious until I said, “Look what’s drinking out of the water dish?”  He was lying on the couch watching politics.





I proceeded outside after the snake slithered off across the grass.  There was a lizard on the rock wall that surrounds the top level of our yard and I think he had his eye on that for dinner.  I got this shot of him/or her on the rocks. 




Once he saw me he slithered down to this hidey-hole.  I had to come in and fix dinner so I’m not sure how long he stayed there.  The lizard escaped, as far as know.  The snake was probably annoyed with me for interfering with his meal.

I don’t know what kind of snake this is.  Someone told me last year this type of snake was a red racer, but I’ve never heard of such a thing.  Apparently, they’re common in this part of the desert and are harmless.  We started seeing this type of snake a couple of years ago, always drinking from the water bowl and then slithering off into the desert again.  I suspect he’s always come and we just weren’t looking.

I always leave water pans around in the yard for any critter that happens by so they can find water.  It’s in short supply in the desert.  However, we've had rain lately and things are gorgeous.


Happy Mother’s Day

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A close call


The hummingbirds have been pestering me to put the feeder up for about a week or two now.  I finally got out and did it.  I had put it in the garage over the winter.  It was full of dead bees that I had to clean out.  It’s been rainy and chilly so I guess this job wasn’t at the top of my list

I really love this bird feeder because it holds a lot but it has a poor design as it takes a while to get it back together when I take it apart to clean and fill it, another reason for my procrastinating.

Baby Hummer
 
Then hubby was out sprinkling some grass seed in the bare patches on the lawn when this little guy hit the window.  At this point, I still had the feeder inside.  I felt terrible.  However, I don’t know if this had any bearing on whether this poor little thing would have hit the window or not, as birds hit the big windows all year long.  The hummers had been scolding me through the kitchen window, so maybe I was feeling a little bit guilty about not wanting to tackle this feeder.

 Things aren't looking good for this poor little hummingbird

Trying to get it's act together

We grabbed the camera and took multiple photos of his/her recovery.  It was touch and go for a while.  When this little bird finally took flight it landed about a foot away from my husband who reached down and petted it gently.



 Recovering slowly
 
It finally made it to this twine we have holding a tree up and then eventually to a tree.  We were happy it would be all right and live to see another day.



 "I can fly again."
 
The next day it was on the feeder along with the first orioles of the season.  It didn’t take them long to find it.  The orioles can drain it in under a week with several of them working on it along with the hummingbirds.  Assembling this feeder never gets any easier either.  But I’d rather face that than have winter here again.

A male Oriole has found the feeder too.  Can they smell the sugar in there?


I got flowers planted too about two weeks ago, so things are looking a lot like spring and summer at my house.  Now we just need the weather to cooperate.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy Birthday to Mama

This is Mama on her birthday 2 years ago.  I'll post a recent one as soon as my sister sends it.

My sweet mother turned 85 today.  We’re so thankful to still have her in our lives as we had quite a scare last month when she ended up in ICU after a stroke.  We didn’t know how things would turn out, but she’s a fighter just like her mother and came bouncing back from that pretty quick.

Not every person life-flighted to a hospital ends up coming out of there alive.  I hope we don’t have another incident like this in the future, but she has dementia.  The doctors say this condition weakens your blood vessels so even a small bump on the head can cause a vessel to break.



 This is my mother a couple of hours before her stroke
My little sister and I live out of state so our middle sister kept us informed daily on what was going on with Mama.  In fact, I think the whole family would be lost if Tedo didn’t step up to the plate to take charge and organize things.

Once in a while all seven of us and Mama get to talk on a conference call.  Those are fun times but noisy with everyone laughing and talking over each other, like we do in person.



 This is Mama today - age 85

And this is various family helping her celebrate.  It would be impossible to list everyone here in any order that made sense, but this group includes siblings, nieces and great nephews and friends.
 
Mama is back in the nursing home where she lives now.  She has lots of friends there her age.  My sister had her cake made and arranged to get everyone there tonight to help her celebrate.  She sounded very happy on the phone.  I wish I could have been there, but talking to her and pictures is the next best thing.

Happy Birthday, Mama, and many more, I hope.

Happy May Day and Beltane to those of you that celebrate that.


Thanks to everyone who reads my posts and leaves a comment.  You all make me smile.