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, 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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Update on the new house construction

Construction vehicles

We’ve had lots of activity all over the street this week.  The garage doors arrived and are now on the house.  That happened yesterday.  After all the whistles and bells the rest of this house is getting, these doors are a disappointment.  I didn’t expect anything so plain.

 Garage doors installed on new house

 Cement truck in front of the house all day

Today cement trucks were waiting in line to do the pool job.  We had one sitting in front of the house all day, running with no one in it.  Those things are very loud and we had the windows open today.  Once confronted, the driver told us it was broken down and he was waiting for a repairman to arrive.  What a bunch of BS.  No technician ever showed up and he moved the truck when he got ready to.  It makes me wonder about people.


Pool - Jacuzzi on far end

It took all day to pour this pool.  We had a heavy thunderstorm last night and it poured for about two hours.  I’m sure they had to pump the hole first because water’s been standing in one end since they dug it out a couple of weeks ago.  I’m wondering what will happen to this pool down the road with the underground stream there, but I guess it’s none of my business.

I haven’t seen the owners yet, but I think this house is a month or so from being completed.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

This weather is incredible

I’m not sure who to thank but it’s been amazing for August in the desert this summer.  I’m almost afraid to shout too loudly about this.  The last couple of weeks we’ve actually had the windows OPEN!  Yes, you heard that right.  It’s been in the 80’s with a few low 90’s thrown in.  This is unheard of in the desert when temps are usually in the triple digits for most of July and August.

The critters love it too.  The birds can actually enjoy themselves without their little beaks hanging open and their wings held out to cool themselves off.

We’ve had a few thunderstorms so I’m sure that helped, even though little of the rain has reached us.  It did rain good one day and the humidity has been up all month so far.  We’ve still benefitted because of the clouds and got to watch the lightning shows.

I’m sure we’ll pay for all this niceness and be hit with triple digits again before fall gets here.  I love it while we have it.  We deserve it after the last winter we had.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Do you lose your daring spirit in your old age?

This is the front door - reached from a courtyard

I have to wonder about this, as I also wonder if maybe this is more of my rebellious nature coming out.  This all crossed my mind as I was downloading my newest pictures of the house construction two lots down from us.  It had been a couple of weeks since I’ve been down the street to check out the progress, so I decided to walk over there tonight.

“Wait, I’ll come with you,” my husband hollers from the couch.

 This will be the pool.  This water standing under it would bother me.  The water here eats up the concrete after a while.

It was still light enough to take pictures, but I wanted to go inside as we circled the premises and I took the pictures I could.  I hoped someone had left a door open.  As my hand reached for a knob, my husband says, “Don’t you dare touch that door knob.”


“Because I said so,” he informs me.  Well, I wasn’t going to be dissuaded that easily as he tried to distract me by calling me over to look into a window close by.

As we reached the pool area in the back, one of the windows to the master bedroom was wide open.  I looked at it longingly.

Master bedroom opens to patio and pool area in back

“Do what you want to do,” he relents, “but I’m going home and I’m not bailing you out.”

“I’m not getting into trouble,” I said.  “I only want to look and take pictures.”

He left and headed back down the street as I slipped into the window, glad I was agile enough to do so without a lot of extra trouble.

 This is the great room.  This house has a lot of built-in cabinets.

Looking from the great room, this is the left side of the kitchen.

Looking from the great room, this is the kitchen

Looking from the great room, this is the dining room to the right of the kitchen

I meandered through the house, not touching anything except my camera as I took shots throughout.

This is the casita looking to the street.
Casita - opposite side of the room with door to the courtyard

When I got to the casita, I saw the door to the courtyard was wide open, so I exited the house through the door instead of through the window in the back.

My husband had locked the door to the house, so when I got home I rang the bell.  When he answered the door he said, “Are you in handcuffs?”

“Of course not!”  I replied.  “Do you want to see my pictures?”

He promptly took my camera and looked at them.

Front of the house.  Casita is the stone covered section sticking out.  Courtyard entrance is on the other side with the three-car garage on the far end.

I see nothing wrong with going through this house as I’ve been charting the progress from the very beginning stages.  People always go through houses under construction and, besides that, the door was wide open as were a couple of windows.  All the doors would be locked and there would be signs if no one wanted you in there.

In my estimation, the house is coming along, but has a way to go before anyone moves in.  There's no carpet in yet, or appliances.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I’m a big boy now.


My little man is growing up.  Raven’s now big enough to jump on the counters and go exploring in a completely new space.  He delights in curling up in the sink.  I don’t know what it is about a sink that attracts a cat, but I have several pics of cats in the sink over the years.

Snuggles (my neighbor's cat)


I have one of Koki too that I'll post as soon as I can find it.

He knows the kitchen counter is off limits, but I let him up on the island counter.  As you can see, he loves this sink too.  If I throw a wadded up piece of paper in there, he’ll play for an hour.


He jumps up on the washer and dryer and looks behind them, as if he expects to see some great surprise back there.  I hope he doesn’t get any ideas about jumping down between them and the wall.  I’ll have to pull them out in order to rescue him, similar to the incident with Koki and the bookshelf a couple of years ago.  At least he hasn’t thought about walking the curtain rods yet.  I’m thankful for that.

He looks at me with a face that says he’s so proud of his accomplishments.  It brings to mind the commercials of the little boys wearing the big boy panties because they can go to the bathroom by themselves.

What would I do without these cats to entertain me?  I’m always making up stories about them.  I’ll have to post something sometime, as corny as it may be.

Something else to note, at least in my view, this was the last day of the first Woodstock music festival in 1969 when Jimi Hendrix took the stage to end the show with his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and a number of other songs.  You can listen here.

What a great outfit!  I loved fringe and beads in those days.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Living by the Law of Attraction

One of my girlfriends and I were talking about this yesterday and then last night an article on this subject pops up on my news pages on the internet.

I know many of you have heard of this and others haven’t.  Briefly, it means, “like attracts like.”  In other words, if you are pessimistic and put out that kind of energy that’s what you’ll attract into your life and vice versa.  It’s kind of like, what you sow is what you’ll reap or seeing the glass half-full or half empty.  Even living by the golden rule can apply here.

I once write an eBook for a guy on this very subject a couple of years ago, so I did a lot of research into this at that time.  It will always behoove us to think with positive thoughts, even though in the bad times this may be hard to do.  But you have to train yourself to stay optimistic because bad times will pass.  We could never enjoy the good times as well as we do if we didn’t have the bad times.  Besides, life is a mix of joys and woes.

I’m probably an overly optimistic person because I always think I can achieve certain things up until the last second when I have to admit defeat.  It doesn’t mean I didn’t give it my best shot because I always do, but I’m only one person trying to accomplish what I set out for myself and sometimes my goals are unrealistic.

I’m still waiting for good things to come my way, not that my life is all that bad when you look at the big picture, but I have to wonder if in my subconscious mind I always knew all along I could never accomplish that feat, but yet I tried anyway.  I’m constantly doing this with everything.  Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail, but I’m still optimistic about the next thing that comes along.  I don’t know where I get this, but it’s in my genes.

Now this in one of those conversations I have with myself, as I lie awake at night with insomnia.  Maybe it has to do with the subconscious mind and not with your conscious mind at all.  Maybe that’s what attracts good or bad things to us.  Always these deep subjects boggle the mind and cause a lot of pondering that will keep me awake all night.

I want to share this short article if anyone cares to read it.  You can find it here.  6 Things Every Optimist Believes.  

I really believe the art of attraction does work if you practice it and make it a part of your everyday life.  This really makes perfect sense.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cats are so amazing!


I just love the little critters!  If no one stopped me, I’d probably have a whole house full of them.

I’ve been onto a heavy subject lately, so let’s lighten it up today by talking about one of my favorite subjects – my cats.  Each one is so different in personality, but they all love me everyday no matter what, so that really makes me happy.  When I’m sick, or having a bad day, they seem to be there to warm my heart and make me smile.

Sometimes they can be jealous of each other and demanding, but they always entertain me, meet me at the door, act silly, purr loudly, and give me those wonderful sandpaper kisses.

They all have found their place when it’s their time for ALL the love and attention.


Koki hangs out upstairs most of the time and stretches out on my desk.  When I’m on my computer typing something critical is when she decides it’s time to cuddle.  She starts by climbing all over me (and the keyboard if I’m not careful), pushing her little face into mine and purring and nuzzling me.  I know I’m in trouble when she has those lover eyes.


Tootie’s time is at night just before bed.  She loves to get in the bed and eat her cat treats, a bad habit my husband started.  Many mornings I wake up and find a couple of cat treats she missed and realize I’ve slept on them all night.  After her treats is her loving time.


Raven, my baby boy, is growing like a weed.  He gets my attention all the time, if he wants it.  He’s very attached to me.  Raven always meets me at the door when I come home, even if I only go into the garage and back.  He always has that thankful look on his little face that says, “Thank god, you didn’t leave me forever.”  He really pulls at the old heartstrings.

He usually follows me all over the house because he’s curious about everything.  This even includes the bathroom, but we’ll save that for later.


At dinnertime, Raven falls over at my feet in the kitchen and I have to be careful not to step on him while I’m cooking.  He’ll sit at attention while I get his food ready and knows not to get on the kitchen counter, even though he’s able to now.  I only told him no once.  He’s such a good boy!

Now I want to share a video that brought tears to my eyes.  No, it isn’t about my cats, although they are all rescues like the cat in the video.  I urge everyone wanting a pet to adopt a cat or dog from his or her local animal shelter, or animal rescue group.  These dear creatures are looking for a forever home.

Please enjoy The Cat Prince

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I couldn’t sleep last night, so my thoughts turned to the suicide of Robin Williams, as I set about analyzing why someone so successful and well liked would take his own life.  Of course, we’ll never really know the answer to that.  Depression does things to people’s minds and sometimes life probably seems unbearable any longer.

I think he worked a lot to keep himself happy by making others laugh at his silly antics.  I really think that was the only way he knew how to cope with his illness and put it on the back burner a while.  I can only speculate what torture his private life must have been.  I bet his household was in a constant state of turmoil, not a good situation for anybody.

We all have a dark side where unsavory thoughts and feelings live.  Most of us are able to push those to the side knowing another day will bring better things.  But what about the people who can’t rise out of their feelings of despair?  It’s when you let the dark side take over that you’re a danger to yourself and possibly others.

Look at the troubled times we live in today and add to that all the things that come your way in life.  There are over eighteen million Americans with depression, some of them not even treated for it.  It’s no wonder we have mass killings at schools and movie theaters.  These people come to the end of their rope and are beyond believing things will get better tomorrow, next week, or next month.

Sometimes even treatment doesn’t help as we’ve seen with Robin Williams who, I think, simply got tired of fighting his demons after years of therapy and rehab.

Some people believe that if you take your own life, you’ll face an eternity of fire and brimstone.  I’m not one of those people.  Personally, I think we make our own heaven or hell in the afterlife, but if we are judged, I think it’ll be by all the deeds, good and bad, that we’re responsible for throughout our lives, not a single irrational act.

And there’s some thought as to if you’re mentally ill, are you responsible for your actions?  I think Mr. Williams was in terrible pain behind the smiling mask he wore.  He had to be in order to make killing the demons a priority and leaving his family and friends behind.

Robin made people laugh and probably bright joy to some at the time when they were hurting the most and needed that to look on the brighter side of things.  He probably saved some lives.

We all should cherish our family and friends and take note of any unusual behavior so if anyone we know is on the brink of depression we can get them help before it becomes a disaster.  There’s so much pressure in today’s world that you never know when someone will snap.

What are your thoughts on this?  Have you ever had thoughts of suicide, or had anyone close to you take their life?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Life keeps me busy

My neighbor’s back from her hiking trip so I’m relieved of my cat and garden duty for now.  Raven is happy to have me home, but runs to the door if I’m stepping outside a minute.  He doesn’t want me to leave him home.  He really enjoyed his visits across the street.


We held an open house for agents last week because we were inundated by calls from them wanting to preview the house for possible clients.  My husband is nicer than I am, I guess, because he wanted to do it.  I have no warm fuzzy feeling when it comes to real estate people.  I guess time will tell if they really have a client or not.  I’m always skeptical.

I’ve been back in the garage and doing house repairs.  The laundry faucet sprung a leak and flooded the cabinet below and under the washer and dryer, so we had quite a mess to clean up.  Why does all this kind of stuff happen around midnight?  My husband wasn’t a happy camper because the last thing he wants to do at that time of night is pull out the washer and dryer and take stuff out from under the sink to clean up the mess.  Plus, we were both upset at having to replace the faucet.

Yesterday, on the way back from lunch with some friends, we stopped at Home Depot and bought a new faucet, so we put it in today.  Naturally, with the two of us doing the repair, it took half the day.

I’m not sure where the weekend went, but here we are almost facing Monday again.  Have a great week everyone.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Real Estate People


Okay, my intention isn’t to insult you if you happen to be a real estate person, but I have to say I have very little respect for realtors as a whole.  Why is it they won’t listen?  As you know, if you follow my blog, we have our house for sale.  We’re selling it ourselves and want to do it this way.  We’ve sold homes and land by owner in the past.  We know the rules, have a good relationship with a title company here, and don’t have a problem with this.  We’ve made it clear we’ll work with a realtor who brings us a legitimate buyer, but we don’t want to list the house, thank you.

We’ve had a sign professionally made, put up our own website for the house, had photos professionally taken and post ads for the house in good places on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, realtors troll these places now looking for homes for sale by owner.  We are inundated with calls.  So my husband says, “Why don’t we have a day with limited hours that we have the house open to any realtors who are bugging us – but only if they will work with us controlling the situation and have qualified buyers?”  Many times the real estate people say they want to preview the house first, as if they can’t do that by looking at the photos of every room from various angles and landscaping front and back.

Well today was that day.  And the first thing the people want you to do is give them a listing on the house.  We are upfront in our desire to sell it by owner.  Why would we change our mind?  They always seem to think we will, which is annoying.  Most of our discussions go back to this question throughout the house tour and talking afterward, which is an adamant no.

We even had a young guy, probably very new to real estate, ask us if we actually lived here?  What?  He said our house was too clean and orderly and how do we manage to keep it that way.  Am I that good a housekeeper?  Really?  I didn’t think so.

This whole venture was probably a waste of time, but we did it so we’ll see if anything comes of it in the future.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Cat and Garden Duty Again

Well what a picture, but they were all over the house

Well August has arrived and my neighbor is off on another hiking trip.  She’ll be back in full swing with these trips now that fall is around the corner.  Well honestly, it’ll be a while before fall comes to the desert, but come August, she’s busy planning trips big time to get them in before the snow flies.

 Raven can't wait to see this carrier land in the house because he's going visiting.

So I’m watching Snuggles again until next Saturday and watering Sherry’s big garden.  Snuggles is no problem and very sweet.  I feel sorry for her when her “mom” travels so much of the time.

Part of the garden

 The garden is another issue because watering in the intense heat we have here is not very pleasant.  Usually it’s still in the 90’s at midnight.  Today we did get a rare reprieve because we had intense thunderstorms that rattled the windows and pounded us with large drops most of the night and part of today.  The high was only 78, something that doesn’t happen in the desert in July.  Good thing is I didn’t have to water the garden tonight and the water all the plants got was free.

 The desert sky was like this most of the day

I’ve been taking Raven over with me for a play date with Snuggles.  So far, this arrangement is working out pretty well.  Both cats are entertained.  There’s no hissing or growling.  They mostly check each other out at this point in their relationship and haven’t started playing yet.  Tonight Raven was real upset when I left him home to go over there.  He knew where I was going and wanted to come with me.

Snuggles on the play date

Raven on the play date - it was hard to get both of them in the same photo

 When we got back last night, Raven didn’t want to get out of the carrier.  When he finally did, I took it back to the garage and he shot out the door and found a completely new place to explore.  Heck, I didn’t want him out there.  It’s such a disaster area, anything could fall on him, and I’d never find him in all the conglomeration of stuff out there.  He managed to make it to the far wall where I seized him before he could slink his way under a box.  At least he didn’t crawl under my car.

 Part of my garage disaster -  almost embarrassed to post this, but I'm working on it

My husband said Raven watched from the window tonight and cried while I was gone.  So tomorrow, I’ll have to take him with me again.