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.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Halloween Baby

The origins of Halloween have a dark side, even though we prefer to think of it as all the things we love, like trick-or-treating, ghost stories told around an open fire while roasting marshmallows, dressing up in costumes we’d never wear at any other time of the year and carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns.  But Halloween didn’t start out that way.

All Hallows Eve and Hollowmas involve celebrating the spirits of the dead.  At the end of the harvest and with the dormancy of coming winter, people thousands of years ago believed the veil between the living and the dead world is very thin and spirits could enter our world.  Candy was put out to appease the spirits when they came to call.  Makes you feel differently about going from house-to-house to gather candy now, doesn’t it?

In olden times, trick-or-treating was a form of begging.  In Europe the begging tradition was known as souling.  Peasants would dress up and go door-to-door and beg for food in exchange for offering prayers for dead loved ones.

Trick-or-treating is mild today in comparison to two hundred years ago when the tricks were violent and a lot of vandalism took place.

The common Halloween game of bobbing for apples started out a bit more sinister.  Young eligible girls wanted to take advantage of the spirits roaming the earth and the quest was always on to find a husband, hence the first girl to get an apple out of the pail without using her hands would be the next one to marry.  To add to this, if you could peel the apple in one long continuous strand and throw the peel over your shoulder at midnight, it would land in the initial of your husband-to-be.  Interesting, huh?  Do any of you remember doing this as kids?

Halloween has never been about evil or the devil.  Samhain (or Halloween) was a pagan holiday and the pagans and Celts had no concept of the devil.  Fairies, witches and warlocks were always associated with ancient holidays and they weren’t evil.  Evil only came to America after the migration of the Irish who, with their belief in the devil, became concerned with the Halloween holiday.  Conservative and religious people have always worried that Halloween had demonic influences.

 from Wikipedia

There’s a long dark, tale to explain how carving jack-o-lanterns came into being.  To tell a brief version, there was a stingy old Irishman named Jack who tricked the devil into turning himself into a coin to pay for drinks they were sharing together.  Jack pocketed the Satan-coin, but also in his pocket was a silver cross, which prevented the devil from changing back.

Jack promised to free Satan on two conditions, that he wouldn’t bother him for at least a year and that when he died, Satan wouldn’t claim his soul.  The devil agreed.  Years later when Jack died, God turned him a way for his trickster ways so he was forced to wander the earth forever with an ever-burning coal from hell for light, which he eventually put into a turnip he carved that he could carry around without burning his hands.  The Irish would always carve scary faces into turnips, beets and potatoes to scare away Stingy Jack and other evil spirits.

The pumpkin is a recent form of the jack-o-lantern.  Years ago they carved the turnips, beets and potatoes, as described above, but the Irish potato famine of 1846 devastated most of the crops and the Irish immigrants were forced to come to America for food where the pumpkin was plentiful.

Halloween wasn’t the original name of this holiday.  Neither was Samhain.  Various versions of this same holiday have been called All Hollow’s Eve, Lamswool, Witches Night, Samhain, Summer’s End and Snap-Apple Night.

Many animal shelters won’t let you adopt a black cat before Halloween.  Legends say that druids and pagan leaders would sacrifice black cats to the fire in a divination ritual to see into the future.  This may be medieval Christian propaganda.  We don’t know that anything like that ever happened.

Halloween has an evil real world consequence.  A lot of children wonder the streets unattended going from door-to-door for treats.  The statistics say that many are hit by cars, more so on Halloween than other days of the year.  I think parents are more diligent these days, especially since razor blades and other items began showing up in candy.  I know parents walk with their children now and wait for them while they ring the doorbells.  This is probably a good idea in light of the fact we have so many pedophiles living among us as well.

When I was going up, we never had any worries about all these things that are prevalent today.  We always went to my grandmother’s house anyway (up the road from our house) where she had homemade goodies for us.  I can only remember going to an actual neighborhood to trick-or-treat maybe once or twice my entire childhood.  And those days were a lot safer than times today.

 I'll probably be handing out candy dressed like this

When you think about it, the world’s a dark evil place.  Please have fun, but be careful and safe out there!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Container cats

If you’ve shared time with a cat you know they love to get into things, things that are even way too small.  It’s funny to watch.  They’re so curious and always investigating, thinking everything holds a mystery.  And maybe it does.  How do we humans know?


Today is National Cat Day.  I hope you’ve hugged a feline or, better yet, adopted one today.  There are so many in shelters waiting for their forever homes.

Snuggles - Sherry's cat

I’m sharing the cats in my life with you and some of their container adventures.




Snuggles - Sherry's cat



And as a reminder, Halloween is coming.  Please keep your cats safe from anybody who would do them harm, especially black cats.

Monday, October 27, 2014

On no! Say it isn’t so!

Unfortunately, it’s time to drag out the woolies.  This coming Sunday night is supposed to be 38 degrees.  Yuck!  I hate to see that already.  Needless to say, I’m enjoying my last days of tank tops, going barefoot and being able to open the windows.

Of course this is only a taste of what’s coming.  Now I have to keep an eye on the situation so I can move my tropical plants to the garage to join all the other stuff out there that still needs my attention.  They can’t be in temps below 40 and I won’t lose anymore plants to this harsh climate.

 This is what I live in during the cold months - sweatpants or jeans.  This pic was taken in 
Snow Canyon State Park

So I’m dusting off your sweatpants and thermals and taking inventory of my socks.  It’s also time to stock up on pantry stuff for soup and other staples.  I don’t go out much in winter so it won’t be long and I’ll be hibernating in the house.

I hate the thought that it’s almost time to fold away the summer clothes and find your winter ones.  It’s also time to try out the furnace and make sure it doesn’t need maintenance before we need it.  But what can I say?  We have no control over the seasons so all we can do is prepare beforehand.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Feather Whirl

Raven investigating the feather whirl

“Oooo, mom, a new toy?”  Raven looked on as I put the batteries in this thing and put the feathers on.  All this took me longer than expected.  This little gadget has a Phillips screw that comes out revealing a small compartment for the AA batteries on the bottom.  It surprised me that I was able to get them installed properly the first time.

What I like about this toy is that the bottom is weighted so the cats can’t turn it over.  It also has an on/off switch and the toy flicks the feathers in a random motion, similar to something alive.  It stops and then starts up again.

 Raven up higher than this "critter" so he thinks he has the upper hand

Raven approached it carefully, as cats do when it’s something they’ve never seen before.  He crept slowly toward it but was too afraid to get too close.  About then, Koki came out from under the furniture to see what was going on.  She was braver about it and actually attacked it after her creeping act.  Raven looked on with wonder when it didn’t attack her back.

 Koki attacking the feather whirl

I picked it up and took it downstairs where there’s more tile.  The cats followed me.  Once I turned it back on, I got the camera and sat back to watch.  Tootie was too afraid to come near it, but she’s older and not feeling well right now.  Koki and Raven had a blast for thirty minutes taking turns attacking this toy.  Here are some of my pics.

 Raven and Koki


Koki in a sneak attack

Raven sneaking through the coffee table

Raven says, "What?  I''m not doing anything."


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sometimes my life gets crazy!

To start the day, I got a crazy hoax phone call from a man with am Asian accent warning me there was a bomb in the house and I needed to evacuate immediately.  Of course I thought what a bunch of malarkey this is.  “Good grief!” was all I said, thinking he was full of s***.

Mu husband called the number back and the guy on the other end denied making the phone call, so he called the FBI and they told him they get hundreds of calls like this a week.  The best thing to do is not engage the guy and act scared or they will call back and demand money in exchange for something.  The FBI agent said more than likely the Asian guy’s phone was hijacked by someone from overseas.  He did say this was only the second report of a bomb call they’ve received.  This is a first for us.  It sounded like the extortionist callers are usually telling the recipients of the calls that their grandchild is missing, etc., or things of that nature.

He chatted with my husband a bit longer and then agreed that being on the do not call list doesn’t work.

On anther note, we’ve been cleaning house for several days to get everything perfect for a real estate lady who had an appointment today to come and video tape the house for one of her clients.  The potential buyer saw the pics and loves the house.  Well at ten minutes after the time she was supposed to be here, we called her and she told us she had forgotten to cancel. Her father had a stroke and she was on her way to Vegas and would call to reschedule when she returns.

Now, we have no reason not to believe her, so for now we are taking her at her word.  Things like this do happen all the time, so we’ll see if she shows up in a couple of weeks.  She assured us her client loves the house.

This was disappointing because both of us could hardly move to get out of bed today to finish the job.  At that point, we just wanted to get it over with.

 This is the resident lizard

To top things off, if you follow my blog, you know we’ve had a lizard living in the fireplace.  This afternoon it’s front left foot got caught in between the frame and the glass.  I have no idea how this happened because he’s been coming and going for a year.  At first my husband didn’t believe me, but Raven and I knew he was trapped.  So once my husband saw him squirm and couldn’t get out, he knew it was true.

We had to take the fireplace apart to get the little guy out.  So I shut Raven up in our bedroom and we took the pieces off one by one.  My husband nudged him, but instead of going the other way, he jumped out into the room and ran at full tilt toward the couch.  I knew we had to catch him because the cats would have a field day chasing him all over and breaking things along the way. 

I grabbed a cotton dishtowel to throw over him, but he scooted out and underneath couch.  So we moved tables and then the couch and there he was, but ran back under the couch again.  This went on a few more times with us moving furniture and him eluding us. 

He headed toward the kitchen eventually and got under the cupboard at the kick plate.  My husband opened up the patio door nearby, but he ran under it and back into the family room.  Finally, realizing the door to freedom was open; he bolted out, stopping near the water dish to catch his breath.  Then he got on the wall of the house outside.  My husband could walk up to him.  Either he was worn out from trying to escape with his life, or he trusted us.  I guess time will tell if he shows back up in the fireplace again.

We got everything back in place just in time for my husband to pick a neighbor up and have his men’s night out at a friend’s house in the neighborhood.  They are barbequing and telling stories.  I know this will be a fun evening after the east few days of non-stop work and these guys haven’t gotten together this year because everyone’s been out of town and not all here at the same time.

 Unwinding before dinner

I was going to the neighbors for a girl’s night, but she just got home from a trip and has to clean house, so we’re doing our thing tomorrow.  I have the whole house to myself tonight for a couple of hours.  I guess I’ll kick back, enjoy this peace and quiet, and read or maybe get some writing done.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Raven’s Always Looking for an Adventure

This cat is always into something around here.  Recently he discovered the large decorative pots we have in the foyer of the house.  Koki always jumps in and out of them and I guess he thought he could do the same thing.  He’s been craning his neck from the stairs for weeks and even putting his feet on the rim to look inside.

Raven finally decided to take the plunge.  We were watching TV and heard the pots rattling.  This is what we found.



I’m glad we were home because he could have been stranded for a while.  He was glad we came to the rescue when he discovered he couldn’t get out himself.  But do you think this stopped him?  Not for one minute.  He was back at it jumping in there again a few minutes later.  I didn’t want him to become boisterous in the night and actually knock the pot over and break it, so I had to get clever with a solution.

This is what we did as a temporary fix until he gets older.

 This is an old pizza pan that fits just right.  Koki got a surprise when she tried to jump in there not knowing this pan was there.

Of course now that he can’t get in there, he’s attacking the dried straw arrangements we have in other pots around the house and looking for something else he can get into.

He finally dug out a dust rag and played with it on the floor for an hour.

Occasionally he can indulge Koki to play too, if he runs at full speed from end to end of the house on the second floor.  She finally can’t stand it any longer and will chase him.  If they were kids, I’m sure I would hear the laughter because they have a blast.

My computer problems are finally solved and I’m up and running again, but have been working on a website for our house the last week.  That challenge is finally finished.  Thank goodness.  It took way longer than it should, but my husband was helping with the project in between several football games.  It was so noisy downstairs I couldn’t even think about what I was doing.  I’m not up in my office again where it’s quiet and peaceful.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Living in a whirlwind

I say that because it seems like I’m too busy to do anything.  I’m surprised I’ve managed to get some writing and reading done.

My computer issues are solved, I think.  My laptop crashed causing me to call a tech who wiped everything out.  There for a while he thought my hard drive and motherboard were both bad, in which case the computer would be toast and I just as well throw it into the trash, he said.  Thankfully, he was able to restore it to new condition and reload Windows 7.  Then of course I had to reload all my other programs.  And copy all my saved files back to the laptop.

I can’t stress enough to everyone how important it is to back up everything that’s worth keeping and do it daily.  I would have been sick had I lost all the files to my books and WIP’s, not to mention all my pics.

 Great room (family room) finished except carpet.  It's in now but the house is locked and I can't get in to take a pic.  The carpet is too industrial looking for my taste.  It's a very low pile and cream color.

This is a built-in Murphy bed in the office.

This is the kitchen - no appliances in yet.

Master bath double sinks

Looking down hall from great room - office to right - second bedroom also to right past office - courtyard to left and casita at end facing street

Ceiling fans throughout the house

Entry light

These are outside lights to go by the garage doors

They are still working on the house two lots down and I don’t know when they’ll finish that job.  Right now, there’s all kinds of debris in the pool floating in the ground water.  I think they are using it as a trashcan while they work on the patio area.  The patio still needs concrete, but they have poured the driveway.  To me this makes no sense at all because it makes it harder for a big cement truck to get in to pour the patio in the backyard.  It’s too heavy to drive on the new cement driveway.  But a lot of the things they do in this state don’t make any sense.
Here is the pool being used as a trash pit.

The marathon is on here and then the senior games start.  This is a yearly event that brings a lot of people to town.  They come from all over the States and Canada and even overseas.  They ran the marathon today and the games start on Monday.

Of course this is really a good opportunity to sell the house to someone tired of shoveling snow.  I now have to involve myself in setting up a website for the house, so I’ve been doing that along with the usual things that go on around here.  I don’t know why my husband thinks I’m so good at these things.  He knows I’m not a quitter and I have patience and will keep at it until the job is done.  I guess that’s why I get elected.

A real nice guy came in to say at my neighbor Sherry’s house.  He was coming from Idaho for the marathon.  I got a brief break from cat and garden duty while he was here.  He left this afternoon.  He did well in the race and finished in second place for his age division.  I can’t fathom running 26.2 miles ever.

The lizard is back in the fireplace

Another shot of the lizard

Raven trying to figure out how to get in there and get him

Now Koki's at it

The lizard is back living in the fireplace again.  Koki and Raven go crazy watching it, but Tootie could care less.  They’ll sit there for hours like staring into a large TV with a great movie playing.  I’m glad they’re getting along better, not great yet, but better.

 Raven - I hate to see him growing up

Raven is really growing and won’t be a kitten much longer.  In less than a month he’ll be a year old already.  Where did that time go?  He’s so shiny, sleek and black.  He’s also a very good boy and minds well and still purrs all the time.  I’ll have to take him for another play date across the street soon.  He loves that – going somewhere.

The desert is all abloom with a carpet of bright yellow flowers from all the rain we’ve had.  They are so beautiful and a stunning display in contrast to the old black lava flows jutting from the earth all around here.  I still have to take pics of those before they disappear.  October is a wonderful month here when you can open the windows everyday and enjoy the sunshine and mild temps.  I know winter will be here all too soon, so that spoils it a little bit.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How many of us take ordinary things for granted?

This is a timely post for me as I really have a hearing issue at the moment.  I’m hard of hearing anyway and only have about five percent hearing in one ear.  I have bad allergies and my whole head has been stopped up for three weeks now.  This situation has made my good ear hard of hearing also.  It causes a lot of frustration in my house because I have to ask to have things repeated if I’m not face to face with who is speaking to me.  I rarely hear the phone ring or notice anything else going on in the house.  I simply can’t hear it.

This has made me realize how much we take the little ordinary things for granted on a daily basis.  I’m talking about the ability to hear, see, and speak for starters.  I know these are issues people don’t normally have to deal with, or at least not until they reach old age, and even then it doesn’t affect everyone.

The last month has taught me to cherish the senses I do still have, not that I haven’t always been grateful for those things.  I’m hoping this hearing problem will rectify itself as winter gets here, as much as I dread the thought of the cold months coming.

Problems like this never crossed my mind when I was younger.  Young people never think about these things.  They are too busy living life and having fun.  Nothing can touch them, or so they think at the time.

I lost most of the hearing in one ear after an accident when I was thirty.  I learned to deal with it once I discovered the constant ringing and buzzing sound was coming from inside my own head.  At first I would put the pillow over my head at night to block it out so I could sleep.  Then I tried the radio to mask the noise.  Finally the constant racket became normal, although I suffer from insomnia most of the time.  I’m extremely thankful on the rare occasions I can sleep all night without getting up to pace the floor, or lie in bed thinking half the night until I can fall asleep at dawn.

This new hearing impairment is a situation for me at the moment, but I will learn to deal with it if it never clears up because that’s what I do – survive and not let things hold me back.  I can still hear certain pitches of sound so I don’t entirely miss out on the birds chirping and my cats purring.

As if all this isn’t enough, last January I learned I have macular degeneration, so I’m stuck with these glasses that drive me crazy.  I can’t see out of them and I have to clean them twenty times a day.  It’s a pain in the butt, but if they will help my eyes, along with a different diet and eye vitamins and drops, I’ll wear them.  This is one sense I would hate to lose.  You have to face the fact you can’t do much without your eyesight.  My daddy was blind so I can only imagine how hard life was for him.  I’m too independent to depend entirely on other people for my existence.

I can still write and read and draw and sew and all the other things I like to do if I can see, so I can give the other senses up if I have to.  This isn’t a pity post, so please don’t feel bad for me.  I want to make everyone aware that what you have today isn’t necessarily what you’ll have tomorrow or sometime in the future, so guard your health if you can and be grateful for the simple things we all take for granted everyday.