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.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Oh my! I wear a fur hat in bed.

Unfortunately I don't have a pic of Puffer to post.  I didn't have a digital camera then.  I need to scan some old pics into my computer and haven't had the time.

The fur hat I’m talking about is black and has four legs.  His name is Raven.

A week or so ago, I woke up to find him lying on my head, his front paws and head on one cheek and his hind paws on the other.  I couldn’t move.  And being the kind person I am, I endured this situation and tried to get back to sleep.

I don’t know why my boy started doing this or how long it will continue.  He’s there every night now when I wake up.  If I get up, he spreads out on my pillow.  Once back in bed, he’ll usually leave because he doesn’t like me disturbing him to get my pillow back.  He stays gone about twenty minutes, but then is back again until dawn.

I have a hard enough time overcoming my insomnia so I can sleep every night, but I enjoy him wanting to be close to me too.  He’s such a sweetheart that I guess I’ll put up with this as long as he does it.

This brings to mind another cat I had twenty years ago that would do the same thing, but he was a white furry angel that weighed about eighteen pounds.  Once I rescued him, he was my baby.  Puffer wouldn’t let me out of his sight.  He’s been gone since 1995, but I still miss him and talk to him every night before bed.  His urn is in my curio cabinet.

Does anybody else cremate their pets?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rain in the desert can be destructive

It started out with storm clouds

Yes, it’s nice to have free water for the plants, but too much rain in the desert all at once can have devastating circumstances.  As most people know, it rarely rains in the desert and certainly not buckets full.

Water rushing from the rain gutter

Last night and today, it’s rained more here than it has since we first moved here.  The winter of 2004-2005 turned the streets around here into flowing red rivers, it washed out landscaping and flooded homes.  Twenty-plus homes fell into the Santa Clara River here.  Things were a disaster for quite a while.

The street in front of our house

Another view of the street in front of our house

I haven’t seen anything like that until today.  Our street wasn’t entirely covered with water this time, but it did wash out people’s landscaping and rose about ten feet up the driveway.  Our home is on higher ground, thank goodness, but the residents at the end of the street weren’t so lucky.  Four-five homes on that end got flooded.  One house with a basement that has always been a problem had about four feet of water in it.  The other neighbors got about five inches.

 This is our riverbed in the back.  It follows the natural slope of the land so any water drains off.

After the rain stopped a moment and enough water receded to drive on the street, my husband drove around the neighborhood to access the damage.  People had furniture out on their driveways and there were clean up crews there.  We loaned a shovel and warehouse broom to some neighbors we know so they could remove some of the red dirt.  Their entire backyard is history.

The only thing that saved the new house they’re building two lots down from us was the empty pool.  All the mud and water washed down into it instead of flooding the house.  That will be a major clean up job because once the red dirt dries it’s like trying to remove cement.  It’s in all the pipes over there and the pool drainpipe.  I guess once they shovel the pool out they’ll have to get a roto-rooter in there to take care of the rest of it.  The contractors told my husband the new people wanted to move in next month.  Luckily, this doesn’t happen often because that lot is very low and, as I said before, I think they’ll have future troubles with that house.

So we’re high and dry and thankful all we have to replace is a bit of landscaping in the front.

But roads are flooded and closed all across our area.  They’ve even closed I-15 because of flooding and mud.  If anyone’s thinking of moving here, this would be a good time to drive around town and see which areas flood.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Trouble in the Alley - Part Two

That afternoon the cats wondered in for the meeting, some looking worse for wear, or a bit under the weather.  After clambering for places, they started to settle in.

 Wizard and Tootie
 Comet and Ceaser

Squeakie and Unkie

 Koki and Sukie

Snuggles and Raven

A rustle caught everyone’s attention.  As they turned, a lid clanged to the ground leaving the behind and bushy tail of a female exposed.

“Get out of that garbage, Tootie,” Comet yelled and shot her pistol in the air to bring the meeting to order.


“I just wanted to see if the chef threw away any decent scraps today,” Tootie raised her head and then went back to searching the can again.  Some scraps of paper and several wrappers fell out onto the broken cement.

“Hey, I haven’t had dinner yet,” a couple of the cats scurried over to investigate.

Ceaser cleared his throat.  “Let’s get this meting started,” he roared.

“Okay,” Tootie relented and jumped out of the can, stopping to examine her paws and give herself a lick here and there to smooth her dappled fur.  “Come on guys,” she urged and they found places against the warehouse wall.


“Lord you are gettin’ fat, girl,” Wizard said as he watched her waddle over, his hat resting on his knee.

“What do ya mean?  It’s just my fur!”  Tootie exclaimed in her defense.  “I’m skinny under here.  You’re just jealous of my nice coat.”

“Yeah, it’s nice,” Wizard replied, “but I think it hides your body well.”


“Quit fooling around,” Comet yelled.  “This isn’t about beauty or etiquette.  We’re here to defend our territory.  Ceaser has something important to say.”

After some commotion with the felines arguing, flinging garbage to the side, and cans rattling, the cats settled in to listen to the boss.

Comet banged a trash can lid with the butt of her gun, using it as a gong.  “This meeting is called to order.”

“Thanks Comet,” Ceaser stepped forward, looking smart in his leather vest.  Using the trashcan as a podium, he cleared his throat again and began.

“You all know we have a problem with Big Daddy trying to take over the whole town.”  Mumbles and nods went through the crowd.

“He has his own section of the hood,” a cat called out.

“Well, it seems that’s not enough.  He’s wrangled his way into my territory,” Ceaser explained.  “I intend to take care of that matter immediately.”

“That’s not good,” mumbles go through the gathered felines.

“No,” Ceaser agreed.  “So I need you all here to back me up.  We need to settle this.”

“Maybe you could challenge him to a duel,” Comet offered.  “I’ll loan you my pistol.”

“No duel.”  Ceaser held up his arms to silence the crowd.  “I think we need to settle this cat-to-cat in a good old-fashioned scrap.”

“Here, here,” voices rallied from the crowd.


A few days later, Big Daddy showed up to prowl the alley.  He made it his business to sniff the females and pinch them on the behind.  A few slaps ensued, but the big cat just arched his eyebrows and moved on, pushing the males out of the way.

He was a big brute, his muscles flexing under his yellow coat.

“Are you ready for that, boss,” Comet flinched from her place down the alley and made a face.

“I’m as big as he is,” Ceaser exclaimed, “and I intend to defend my territory.”

After a few words, the cats squared off face-to-face.  Ceaser’s gang stood by, waiting and watching for the action to begin.  The girls lifted their skirts as a distraction, but that didn’t do any good.

Hissing and growling, the two big cats became a ball of yellow, black, and white fur as they rolled around the alleyway, punching, scratching and biting.  Ceaser took a big bite of Big Daddy’s ear.

“You think you’re such a bad ass,” Big Daddy roared.  He was mad and tore into Ceaser trying to get some flesh.

“This town is big enough for both of us,” Ceaser yelled panting as he took one to the leg.  He fell in the alley and kicked Big Daddy hard in the gut as he came close.  The yellow tom rolled over and took a swipe with a bloody paw.  With fangs showing, he kept swiping until he could right himself and pounce on Ceaser again. 

Ceaser bit through his shoulder and blood spurted onto the pavement.  Ceaser’s troops moved in to help secure Big Daddy if needed.  Ceaser kept his grip on the yellow guys shoulder, as he darted away from his swinging fists.  The yellow tom finally conceded defeat, so Ceaser let him up.

He sat licking his wounds.  They decided to call a truce with half the town going to each tomcat. 

“Fine, I’ll stay in my half, but I better not catch you over there,” Big Daddy grumbled and finally slinked off to take care of his gashes.

Comet ran to Ceaser to examine him.  “My hero,” she said, throwing her arms around him.  “I’m glad you wore that leather vest I gave you.  I think it really helped.  You saw the shape Big Daddy was in when he left here.”

“You might be right, Comet, but I told you this town was big enough for the both of us.” 

“Let’s get you cleaned up, big boy,” she said, purring. 

“I think this is excitin’ and calls for a celebration.  What did you boys do with that beer?”  Wizard got up from his place on an old wood crate, a lady on each arm. 

“Comin’ right up,” the cats yelled and it wasn’t long the alleyway was turned into a party house. 

 Ceaser and Comet

Ceaser lit up a cigar and sat back to survey his domain, peaceful again, at least for a while.  Comet snuggled into his neck and licked him on the ear.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Trouble in the Alley - Part One

Hello all,

I thought I’d do something different this time and post a short story about my cats.  I’ve been writing stories about them for years.  I wrote this a while back and it’s crazy, as I like to make up goofy stories about them according to their personalities.  I’m posting this in two parts so it isn’t too long.  Thanks for putting up with me.  Fell free to leave comments below.


Ceaser walked around surveying his domain.  Comet, his assistant, stands ready, pistol on her hip.


Cats lounged about the broken pavement and dented trashcans.  The alley behind the local deli was their hangout and home.

Ceaser lit up a cigar, his foot perched on a discarded stump as he bent in conference with Comet.  As they talked, a shiny black car cruised down the alley, going slow, the silver wheels glinting in the sunlight.  Their eyes turned to the car as Wizard drove up in his pimpmobile, his pink fedora cocked on his head, the feathers fluttering in a burst of wind.


“Now you get on over there darlin’ and get some rest for tonight,” the black cat sashayed out and opened the heavy door, a couple of sexy felines got out dressed in leather mini-skirts.  They strutted off toward the brothel as Ceaser walked up, followed by Comet.

“Hey, bro, what brings you out to this part of the alley?  You know some of these cats don’t take too kindly to you pimping around here.”

“That’s right,” Comet jumped in, “You’re in dangerous territory, too soft for this neighborhood.”

Ceaser, Comet, Wizard

Wizard shook his head, leaning back on his slick black Cadillac.  He took off his large felt hat with a flourish, the puffy pink feather hitting Comet across the nose.  “What you mean, man?” he said.  “I’m just dropping some ladies off.”

“You watch that feather,” Comet growled, a hand on her hip touching the butt of her gun.  She backed up to lean against the warehouse door, eyebrows creased, on alert.

“One of these cool hats might brighten up your outfit, girl,” Wizard swaggered over to look Comet in the eye, twirling his hat around in his hand.

“Who is going to listen to me in some sissy hat like that?  You bring me cowboy leather and maybe we can talk.  It’ll go better with my boots and holster.”

“When you going to show a little leg?”  Wizard asks.  “Golly girl, what’s the matter with you?”

“Ain’t nothin’ wrong with me.  You best get in that fancy car and get outta our neighborhood.”

“Come on now,” Ceaser intervened, puffing his cigar, hanging from the edge of his mouth.  “This is my bro you sassing to.”

“I was goin’ anyway,” Wizard replies and ambled over to the waiting car.  “I’ll be back later to pick those girls up.”

Comet kicked a few cans and went on down the alley to start a little trouble with some cool cats down at the other end.  They’re sitting around downing some alcohol, and shooting the bull, bragging about last night’s affairs.

“Don’t go sticking your nose into their business, you hear Comet.” Ceaser warned her as she strutted off.


"Just keepin’ everyone in line,” Comet glanced back, her gray fur bristling.  “Makin’ sure they know who the boss is in this alley.”  The soles of her boots clicked against the cement, silence falling over the group as she drew closer.

“Hey Poncie, Unkie, how you guys?”  She looked into their eyes, drooping and bloodshot, their clothes rumpled and smelling of whiskey.  They passed around a warm beer offering her some.

“Nah thanks.  You cats have a rough night?”

“Lookin’ for Poncie’s fountain of youth,” Unkie shrugged.  “Not found it so far.”

“Hey Squeaky, you okay girl?”  Comet nudged the black ball of fur with her boot.  “You lookin’ rougher than them.  Why don’t you go inside and sleep?”

“I’m okay here, leave me alone,” Squeaky managed to get out before she puked against the wall.

Comet backed up and tried to ignore that.  She didn’t want any vomit splatter on her boots.  How much info can I get out of these pitiful cats?  She decided to venture another question.  “Anybody seen Ringtail and Missy?”


“They was smooching it up downtown last I saw of them,” Poncie answered his voice more of a croak, as he spit beer to the side.  He nudged his partner and they snickered.

“Everybody clean up.  Ceaser’s havin’ a meetin’ this afternoon,” Comet announced.  “Pass the word around to the others.”  She left them in their misery and gave the tin cans another kick as she headed back to find Ceaser leaning up again to the warehouse door, the cigar hanging loosely on his lips with a gray curl of smoke drifting skyward.

“You pass the word around?”  Ceaser asked as he pulled her close and nipped at her ear.

“Yeah, but those cats are in bad shape.  Not sure half of them will show up.  Maybe we better postpone the meetin’ until tomorrow, give everyone a chance to recoup from Mama Wong’s party.”

 Ceaser and Comet

“I’m top cat here.  They better come when I call.” Ceaser nuzzled Comet’s neck, “Why don’t we go upstairs a while, darlin’?”

“Who’s goin’ to keep everyone in line?”


“Maybe Koki will do it.  She has a pissy streak about her at times.”

“No, anyone but her.  We don’t get along at all,” Comet complained.  “I always have to remind her I’m the boss, know what I mean?  How about Tootie?”


“Tootie’s too nice,” Ceaser said.

“Maybe so,” Comet considered that point.

“Aw now you’re not jealous of Koki are ya, Comet, sweetie?”  Ceaser licked her on the cheek.  “You know I only have eyes for you.”

“Then you ask her.  I’ll meet you upstairs.”  Comet winked and swayed her hips as she slinked off to the door and disappeared inside.

Ceaser looked over at Koki sitting on a barrel whittling a point on a stick and wondered what that was for as he walked over.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

We have big thunderheads rising over the mountains again

Sunni's Photo's 
It has really rained this summer, much more than in the ten years that we’ve lived here.  Of course that means it’s been more humid too.  I’m okay sitting under a fan, but cooking and cleaning up is hell.

We have storms coming in for Sunday though next Wednesday unless they change the forecast.  At least the temperature is going down this time to the low eighties and upper seventies.




The cats don’t like this weather much either and lie about like limp rags all day.  I know some of this is due to the fact we try to open the windows around here as much as possible.  There’s only a short window in the spring and fall when you can actually do that in the desert.  I always hope for some breeze or air circulation.  However, this doesn’t always happen.  But I honestly have to say that it still feels cooler outside at times, even when it’s ninety degrees.  In my opinion, we keep this house way to warm in the summer.

When we do turn the A/C on later in the evening, Raven goes crazy jumping for joy that it’s cooler.  He’s been playing with Koki more, but only if Koki is in the mood.  Raven’s always in the mood to play and have a good romp about the house.


Workers are still working on the pool area of the new house they’re building down the street.  Installation of the rain gutter happened last Thurs. and just in time for a downpour that lasted ten minutes.  We’re not sure where that came from, but the water was pouring out of the rain gutters and pounding on the patio, splashing up because it was hitting so hard.  It even knocked the Dish out for a few minutes.  That didn’t go over well because my husband was watching one of his political shows at the time.

My work in the garage is on hold until I get over my earache and it gets a bit cooler out there.  Maybe all this muggy weather is just a trial for the next stage of life if we move south.

My neighbor’s back from Wyoming, so I’m off cat and garden duty for a few days.  She has three more trips planned before winter sets in here, although she hasn’t told me about them yet.  I saw her calendar while she was gone.  I guess she didn’t want to lay that news on me right away.

I’m really getting in the mood to write so maybe somehow I can find time to get back to the edits on my mystery book.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Too bad the lady’s dead

I’m actually quite upset over this, voicing this to my neighbor in language not fit to post here.  She laughed because sometimes I surprise her, but we can and do talk about all issues.  I’m going to miss that when I move.

Most of you reading this will probably say, “Big deal.  It’s only a plant.”  But to me it is a big deal because this is the oldest plant I had.  I’ll give you a brief history of this lady’s tragic life.

I rescued her from the garbage room right after I moved to California in 1979.  She was small then and I’d have to dig through a ton of old pictures to find a photo, so I borrowed one from the net for this shot.

Elephants Foot

Believe me the box of old photos I have is one of those large dish packs that’s about twenty by twenty and three feet high.  I don’t have time for digging in there right now.  This was all before they invented the digital camera.  One day when I have spare time on my hands, I want to scan most of those pics into my computer.  However, there are so many I don’t know if I’ll ever have that much free time.

We lived in a condominium complex back then.  Our neighbor had thrown the plant in the garbage room wanting it to go out with the trash because she was tired of taking care of it.  She laughed when she saw it sitting on our patio.  “I wondered who would rescue that plant,” she said.

As time went on, we bought a house, moved, and repotted the plant.  It grew, obviously happy with its placement in the yard under some trees.  The root ball (body) increased from about six inches in diameter to about twenty-four inches in diameter.  Eventually it grew too tall, so we had to move it out a tad because it was touching the tree branches.  We repotted the lady several times over the twenty-five years we lived there.

When it came time to leave and move to the desert location we now occupy, I couldn’t leave her behind.  She towered over my head by then, obviously in love with California as much as I was.  The lady was specimen quality.  Everyone commented on her beauty.  So I loaded her, and other plants I wouldn’t leave behind, onto a trailer and a friend drove them to our new home.

Well the first catastrophe happened when the wind snapped her off about halfway down.  This occurred on the drive when she was on the trailer.  Poor girl.  I still have this top portion and intend to use it in an art project someday.

 This is the lady to the right of the door (in happier times a few years ago).  This was after she broke off twice and before the top froze causing her to sprout in other places.

The first winter we were here, she was caught up in the wind again, snapping her green bladed fronds off, leaving her about three feet high.  I felt terrible, but she wanted to live and started to sprout in funny places then.  At this time, I realized she was a lady, but a headless one now.  See the picture below.

 Elephants Foot - See her arms?

I’ve done my best with protecting her over the years.  In the desert where the weather is harsh and brutal, I kept her in the shade of the patio and close to the house.  I watered her good in the warm months and I always wrapped her well every winter.  In the spring, I trimmed off the old, dry fronds and new ones always sprouted – until this year.

But I wanted her to live.  I continued to water, talk to her, and didn’t give up all summer.  However, now it’s the end of August and there’s not one little sprouted green blade anywhere on her body.  I’m going to have to announce defeat this time and resign myself to the fact that she’s gone and has lost the battle with the elements.  That’s what I was spouting off to my neighbor about.  We had such a horrible winter with record-breaking temperatures and snow.

This is the poor lady after last years winter

 As goofy as this sounds, I feel like giving her a burial and not just hurling her over the back wall into the desert, or putting her in the can at the curb.  She’s been with me too many years for that kind of disposal.

I don’t want to live in a place where I have to cover plants and worry about their welfare ever again.  I’m done with that and I can’t wait to get the heck out of here.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Snuggles and Me


If you haven’t guessed, I’m taking care of the neighbor’s cat again and watering her garden.  She’s off to hike the mountains of Wyoming before the weather gets too cold.  I have no idea who will step in after I move because Sherry’s gone a lot.  I feel sorry for the cat that is very sweet.

Storm clouds brewing over the desert

At least we got a good old-fashioned thunderstorm last night so watering the garden was done by Mother Nature.  It rained heavy about two hours and put on a lightning show over the desert.

 Snuggles and Raven

Tonight I took Raven with me because he loves to go over there for a play date.  I didn’t have to water so I could look after the situation, or so I thought.  However, tonight ants invaded her kitchen so I spent most of my time taking care of that situation.  The cats were fine while I went outside to spray Raid around the doors.

Raven is so good, but so funny.  He can wake from a dead sleep and be up and at my feet as soon as he hears me get the keys for Sherry’s house.  I take him over in the carrier and he gets back in there by himself when it’s time to go back home.  I think he just likes going places and getting out of the house.



I’ll be taking care of Snuggles until September 5.  But I know Sherry starts another trip on the eighth.  She hasn’t asked me to take care of the cat and garden yet, but I figure it’s coming.  I saw the dates on her calendar.

 Tomatoes and Peppers from the garden

I do get to pick veggies as a side benefit, but she knows I have a lot to do in order to move.  I will miss her cat though.  I’m sure Raven will too.