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.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Construction workers vehicles are everywhere


Work is continuing on the house two lots down.  There must have been eight or nine different vehicles lining the roadside today.  Recently we saw the tile delivered, the color cote for the stucco outside, and work on the roof tiles and stone in front going on.  We walk down there a couple of times a week and look at the progress.

The stucco will be dark brown

 This is where the pool goes.  Look at all the water.

They dug the pool a week or so ago and the hole is filled with water, lots of water from the underground stream running through there.  I guess they’ll have to pump it out to pour the concrete for the pool.  I’m wondering how all this will turn out later because the water will be a permanent thing under there unless they install some sort of pump to continuously get rid of it.

 This is the tile

The tile is like what we have in our house, only lighter.  About half of that’s in.  They delivered the cabinets over the weekend.  They’re dark brown, a nice contrast to the lighter tile, but not a color I would pick.

 Some of the cabinets

When we got up today, there was a white contractor truck with trailer attached blocking our walkway and more importantly, the for sale sign.  My husband went out to take care of that.  Naturally, the contractor wasn’t pleased but he did move his vehicle.  That started the day on a sour note.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pondering at night


I always seem to ponder or become philosophical about things in life, as I lie awake at night listening to my husband sleep.  Insomnia is a big issue for me, or perhaps this is my only quiet thinking time.

You would never believe the things that go through my head, usually stemming from some recent news or event, gathering momentum to reach out from there to other people and things like the tentacles of an octopus unfurling and stretching.

I should really get up and write some of this stuff down but I’m trying to sleep.

Sometimes I wonder how my family can be so different from each other in their thoughts, beliefs and expectations in life when we all grew up in the same house under the same conditions.  I won’t go into any particular situation regarding this, but it really makes me think and wonder where attitudes come from.

I always thought the adult that you become forms in the early years of your life, but now, I’m not so sure about that.  I think everyone’s life experiences also play a big role.  We have to face the fact that certain people have an influence on us in a big way.  It’s not only people we meet in the course of our lives, but also places we’ve visited or lived, adventures we were daring enough to try or not, different philosophies and outlooks presented to us by people or books we’ve read.  Even certain movies can have an impact.

We all have choices as well and the choices put us into situations that may change the outcome of our lives later down the road, whether this happens literally, or in the way that we think and view things yet to come.

As I said, once we reach adulthood we all make life choices. Every choice affects the outcome of our lives as human beings.  I’m not just pondering spiritual choices or lack there of, but other things as well, such as diet, exercise, associations with people we view as friends or foes, and family.  Even books we read have an influence.  If only on a subconscious level, they plant seeds in our brains to make us think and learn.  All of these things, plus many more, has an effect on us in either a positive or a negative way.  Sometimes these choices can cause lifelong affects, such as illness or lives of crime if we associate with the wrong people.  It’s important to be wise before we leap.

We all have the ability to be independent or dependent, positive or negative, gung-ho or passive about things facing us.  I’m sure we all wish we had a crystal ball too, so that we could view the future.  That would certainly help us make the right decisions today.

But as humans, we all have to do the best we can with the info we have at the time.  Every experience is a learning one, if we only pay attention to the lesson there for us to see.

Being the writer I am, sometimes I try to work out issues between my characters instead of sleeping, but usually my mind delves into life’s bigger matters as the hours tick by on the clock.  I don’t know why.  Do any of you ever do this?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sandpaper Kisses


Okay, I can’t help it but this is another post about my little man, Raven.  He woke me up this morning with his sandpaper kisses about 4 AM.  He was sleeping on my pillow with his head on my shoulder when he decided that my face needed a bath, I guess.  I reached over to pet him and he was purring like crazy.

This cat is the sweetest thing.  It’s been about twenty years since I had a cat that sleeps on my pillow.  I woke up a week ago to find him nestled into my shoulder two nights in a row.  I don’t know if this will be a normal thing or not.


He’s almost nine-months-old now and clearly content and loving his new home.

I almost adopted a black kitten three years ago from our local no-kill shelter.  In fact, I was in the shelter signing the paperwork too bring the kitten home for a try out with my girls.  They let you do that here, giving adoptive parents a two-week trial if they have other animals in the house.

This didn’t work out because who would call me on the cell phone at that moment – my husband, who nixed that idea real quick – as we already had three cats and didn’t need another one.  The lady at the shelter was a bit disgusted with me as we’d done the paperwork and she had the kitten in a box and had given me a bag of kitten chow.  I felt bad leaving the poor little thing there screaming his head off – he wanted out of that box! 

The next week I ended up in the hospital for emergency surgery.  Now maybe this was a good thing, me not being able to follow up on that adoption.  Three years later, I found Raven who was waiting for me to adopt him and give him a good home.  So everything worked out in the end.  I hope the shelter kitten got a loving home too.  He would be three-years-old now.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

It’s Official

Putting the For Sale sign up

Well we put the “for sale” sign up at last.  I have mixed feelings about this, although I’ve had enough of the desert I think.  We’ll see how it goes.  It’s so blasted hot here.  But we did get one call already so that’s encouraging.

We cleaned like banshees today and will again tomorrow to get everything in order.  People will have to realize we do live here so things aren’t perfect all the time.  I think it’ll be okay.

Now where to move to is the big question…

Thursday, July 24, 2014

An unusual lizard sighting

Wall Maintenance

Last weekend we were having a crack repaired in our block wall.  The mortar between a few blocks had cracked over the last ten years.  This is probably wear and tear due to weather extremes here, but my husband is a perfectionist and this bothered him so he was out there in the hundred-degree heat helping the guy with the repairs.

 Zebra-tailed albino lizard

During the course of this, he spotted this albino lizard in the desert seeking shade under a bush on the other side of the wall.  We’ve never seen one of these in the ten years we’ve lived here, but it sounds like they’re common.

 Zebra-tailed albino lizard

Naturally, I ran for the camera so we could get some pics.  We take pictures of everything around here.  My camera gets well used.

Later I came in and looked this lizard up on Google.  For more info on the zebra-tailed lizard, check out Wikipedia.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


We all have to get creative at times when it comes to fixing things because - face it - sometimes you have to do it yourself.  If you don't you may wait a very long time to get something done, if it ever happens.

This is the repainted door we were working on

Recently, this was true of the garage door. (the fire door between the garage and the house).  We needed to get the springs replaced in the door so it automatically shuts itself since it's a fire door.  It has to pass house inspection and that's something on the list.  We had the door taken off in October to be repainted.  We've waited for someone to come and put the hinge springs back in place since then.  We finally decided to tackle that job ourselves since it wasn't happening any other way.

What an ordeal.  What would take some expert five minutes took us half the day.  This is no easy job when you don't know what you're doing and have never done it before.  But we persevered and finally could cross it off the "to do" list.

This is the spring mechanism we had to insert the pin into.  There is one at the top and one at the bottom of the door.

 Of course, over the months one of the springs was lost.  Nobody would sell us just a spring.  We had to buy the whole mechanism.  So we put on the thinking cap and made our own.  These pins don’t exactly look like a spring, but are more like a finish nail.  They are designed to hold the spring in place, putting tension on it, so the door will close automatically. 

Naturally, we didn’t have any nails the right size, so we cut a finish nail off and with great effort got it in the hole.  And guess what?  It works!
Unless you've been through it, there's more to consider when selling a house than you'd think about on an ordinary day.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Breaking the ice

Have you ever wondered where that expression came from?  I did so I did a bit of research and found this expression came about in the 1500s and had to do with the navigation of boats through ice.  In the 1700s, it took on the meaning we use today, to break the social awkwardness between two strangers.


I think this is finally what’s happening with my cats, Raven and Koki.  As you know, if you read much of my blog, Koki is a female cat I rescued as a wee kitten nine years ago.  She’s been the baby in the house until I adopted Raven from PAWS in February.  She hasn’t taken to him well.  In fact, Koki seems insulted that I even brought him into her space.


This past week they’ve taken to chasing each other through the house upstairs.  They hang around up here now and he’s not even waking me as he used to by licking my face and biting my toes.  He’s too busy trying to make nice with his new-found friend.

I’m actually happy to see this – finally.  I didn’t know if it would ever happen and I hate to say much about it since I don’t feel it’s the norm yet.  I’m hoping this behavior keeps up.  I intended for them to be friends from the moment I brought him home.  I was disappointed that Koki was disgusted with me.

This interactive play will keep both of them in shape and younger longer.  Maybe entertainment is coming my way.

 Dark desert skies behind the house

On another note, we finally got a few sprinkles late one evening.  We’ve heard thunder all around for several days, but the rain passes us.  The humidity is up and it’s very hot here, but at least it’s dropped down to the low 100’s.  Some evenings it’s actually cooler outside than in the house, or so it seems to me.

One thing about the desert, there aren’t many time when it’s pleasant weather-wise.  Usually it’s burning up or freezing cold.  I won’t miss that one thing about living here.  The thing you learn is that there’s no perfect place all the time, no matter how much you wish it could be so.

 The desert behind my house - remote and harsh, but beautiful

If I had never moved to the desert, I wouldn’t have Koki and Raven now because this is their birthplace.  It’s been worth it just for that reason alone.  Fate brought me here to find them and give them a loving home.  I’ll never be sorry about that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The work goes on

House construction two doors down the road

This is true with the house they’re building two doors down the street and with the stuff around our house.

Several people stop daily to walk through the new house.  They are usually looking at anything new and not just using the port-o-potty at the curb.  Who wouldn’t use the bathroom facilities before they left the house remains a mystery to me.

The new house is really coming along now.  They started putting the stone on the front last week, but it’s a slow process.  The rest of the house will have stucco.

 Stone for front stacked to right .  It actually has moss on it, which won't last long in the desert, but these people are from SLC and have no idea...YET

The inside has the Sheetrock up but it’s not textured yet, so there’s a lot to do on the inside before anyone can move in.  We walk down before sunset and take pictures occasionally.

They finally did get doors on the outside entrances/exits, but the house isn’t locked yet.  The doors still have to be painted.

Look at this beautiful front door.

The new owners will be sorry they put this big window in the front of the house.  This is the west side and is extremely hot in the summer.  This looks impressive on the outside, but this room will cook and be very hot in the summer.  This is their casita.  Perhaps they’ll keep that door closed off to the rest of the house unless a guest comes to stay.

 Here's the pretty window on front that faces west.

Here are the inside doors yet to be installed.

The work in our garage has come to a halt as it’s in the triple digits here now, and even though the garage is insulted, it’s hot out there.  It’s impossible to bring all of that stuff inside to sort for donation, sale, trash, or keep.  I’m still doing a little at a time, but can’t stay out there without becoming a drowned rat with sweat running down my back and dripping into my eyes.

We spend a lot of time on the internet looking for property and watching the wildlife in the yard.

This morning is the first time Raven has actually sat down like a normal cat and tucked his paws under him.  Usually when he wants to get down, he just falls over from a standing up position.  I wish I could catch that on video.  I’ve never seen a cat do that.  He has quite a few quirks.

Raven, my gorgeous little man I love to death!

He’s also starting to bite me on the head in the morning to get me up.  Good grief!  He starts playing in my hair and then trying to bite my scalp.  When I swat him, he just purrs.  What a silly little guy.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Orioles are eating us out of House and Home.

First there were two

I’m so glad to have this big hummingbird feeder this year because we have quite the flock of orioles around – more than we’ve had in the past.  They used to suck the small feeder dry in a couple of days.  This big once holds four-plus cups of nectar.  The only drawback is that it’s very hard to put back together after you clean it because you can’t see to line up the little notches that hold it.

Then there were three

 And then four females - I was thinking it was the girls day out.

 And then the male showed up

We go through lots of sugar feeding these birds, but they’re so colorful to watch.  They’ve been hanging out in our trees and dipping down for a drink all through the day.

 Here are the girls taking a dip in the birdbath

Another thing I find astounding is the orioles and the hummingbirds can drink this nectar hot.  They have no problems sharing the feeder.  It got low the other day and this oriole came to sit on the patio chair and stared at me through the window, as if telling me I needed to fill the thing up.  Usually, the hummers do this.

Here's the female scolding me

These birds are fascinating and fun.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mysterious Chiming

Our chiming clock

On Sunday afternoon, the chiming wall clock we’ve had for years started working again on its own.  We heard a chime upon returning to the house.  This clock hadn’t worked in months.  A hand came off and we need to have it repaired.

We had it at a cabin we used to own where we’d go in the summertime when it was so blasted hot here where I live.  My husband found it at an estate sale years ago.

Today, after I fed the cats, I noticed Raven staring at this clock and the ticking pendulum.  After that, I noticed there was a hand on the floor (we kept the one that came off in a small compartment behind a door you open to set the pendulum).

 Raven always looks at me with the expression, "Who, me?  I didn't do anything."

There’s a half-wall there, but this cat doesn’t jump upon anything yet.  He doesn’t know he can and I’ve never caught him up there.  There’s a possibility he jumped on a chair nearby and then made a leap for the half-wall.  Perhaps he saw the brass pendulum and decided to check it out.  The door doesn’t close very tight.  Cats love anything that moves.

So the clock is working again, chiming away on the hour and half hour, except it’s fifteen minutes off and one of the hands is missing.

If Raven didn’t start the clock, we have a clock fairy that came to visit.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I’m in love with a devil

My little boy is a very small devil, but he’s so loving I can’t say no to him.  Look what he’s done to the cat tree?

 It's down to bare wood at the corners - bad boy!

I always let the cats freely roam the house and always have let them do what they like to their furniture (the cat tree).  They leave my furniture alone and are good about that.  The problem with this attitude is that we humans have to repair the damage to the cat’s furniture so it looks halfway decent in the house.  This is done around here about once a year (if I’m lucky), but is especially important now that the house is for sale.  Not everyone you meet is an animal lover and understanding about them.

Time flies so fast that it seems like repairing the cat tree is always on the calendar.  I’ve never had a cat this destructive, or this loving (to say something in his favor).  I guess his good naturedness wins out and he gets away with a lot.

 This bad little fur ball wore himself out

He was chewing on my arm constantly, making a mincemeat package out of it, so I decided to shop the infant’s department in Walmart.  I have never had any kids of my own, but the idea struck me that he needed a teething ring.  I bought one of these with varying sides for him to bite on (from soft to firm) and that seems to have solved the problem (knock on wood).  My arm is finally healing after months of his bites.

 Koki looking innocent in the dining room.  Unfortunately, I can't get a pic of her attacking me.

However, Koki is a very jealous cat and decided to attack me yesterday for no reason.  I figured she was taking out her fury because I was paying too much attention to the boy.  I give all three cats attention, but you never know what goes through a cats head at any given time.  Now I have a new wound, but I clipped all their nails after that.

On a better note, another lizard showed up to take up residence behind the shudder on the front of the house.  Koki is very pleased about that.  She thinks her friend is back.  I guess when you’re an inside cat, what else do you have to look forward to each day?  I hope this one interacts with her as the last one did.

The real estate people who came over last week loved the house and gave us some ideas on price, etc.  We busted our butts cleaning around here and most of it probably needlessly.  We need to get an appraiser in here next.  This is still daunting since we have no idea where we’re moving yet.

From the desert, it’s a bit cooler.  Thank goodness for that.  I watched fireworks outside from my patio until about 11 PM.  It was a nice 85 with a soft breeze.  I didn’t want to come in.  That was heaven compared to the 105 we’ve had recently.

Work still goes on with the new house two lots down from us and in the garage.  I’ll post pics of the house next time, but not the garage, which is a disaster.  The front door on the new construction arrived and it’s gorgeous.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day in America

Independence Day

Be safe one and all as you gather with friends and family for picnics, cookouts, games, stories, and a good time while waiting for fireworks to begin.

Let’s not forget the importance of this day as we all are caught up in celebrations and camaraderie.

Today, in 2014, much to the dismay of some, we can still celebrate this day.  But the way things are going, who knows if this time will come around again.  The world is so unsure and becoming a dangerous place, although I think probably every generation has had something like that to say about the state of things.

As we’re giving thanks for freedom, family and friends, and watching the colorful display of fireworks overhead, let’s all remember our forefathers and the glorious things they had in store for our nation at the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  These fellows were real men with a genuine concern for the country and its inhabitants, unlike the people we have in office today who make careers out of their political lives and many of them for personal gain.

Our ancestors were in another place and time and that’s behind us now and gone.  We must deal with all the current things going on in our nation.  I’m sure these great men never saw a future with a nation so big and full of chaos as we have today.  It makes you wonder how they would handle things if we could bring them back.  I’m sure there a few of you who’ve thought about this very thing.

I would like to point out that three of our former presidents, and signers of the Declaration of Independence, died on July 4.  That seems so strange, doesn’t it?  It makes you wonder of there’s any meaning there that we’re missing.  Three is quite a few with 365 days in a year.  I always wonder about oddball things like that.

I’d also like to say I guess my father is in good company, if you can say such a thing about a day of death, because this is his death date too.  I always think about him taking us to see the fireworks as kids, as I’m watching them on July 4.  I love and miss you, Daddy.  You’re not forgotten.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Triple digits in the desert

Hot, Hot, Hot is the only way to describe July and August where I live.  The birds are panting and looking for any shade that they can find to get a brief respite from the intense heat.  Today it was 106 here, but a whopping two-degree difference below the forecast high.  We’re in for it all week, those days when you have no energy to do anything except sit under a fan.

There’s a lot going on here at the moment, wildlife wise, people wise and work wise, so I’m going to do a few short posts.

Today I downloaded my camera card.  This is the first time I’ve had it full since I got it several years ago.  I guess I must be taking too many pictures, or maybe I need a bigger card.

About a week ago, Koki’s outdoor friend, a lizard that lived behind the shutter on the front of the house, was caught and eaten by a passing roadrunner.  This broke Koki’s heart as she witnessed the whole event, which shows how cruel life is in the desert for the animals.  But as we all know, it’s all about survival and the smaller animals are prey for the larger ones.  I caught this whole episode with my camera and Koki sat glued to the window, her eyes large and focused on the scene.

Let me say Koki and the lizard played peek-a-boo a lot with it engaging her from its home behind the shutter, darting in and out, as she pawed at window.

As I said before, it’s like watching National Geographic around here.  I’d never seen this much action before involving a roadrunner catching its prey.  They have very sharp teeth and are definitely not afraid of us, as we’ve chased them off many times, only to have them stand up to us and not actually leave until we’re within a foot or two.  Of course, they’re right back in a minute or two after disappearing behind the wall for a short while.

As if catching the victim by the throat wasn’t enough, it went on to beat the lizard to death on the concrete wall to the side of the house.  Once it was satisfied, it shook it violently from side to side before taking off to the vacant lot next door to eat its prize.

 Poor Koki’s been sitting at the window looking for her friend.