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

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Clouds fascinate me

Clouds taken from my backyard

I’m always taking photos and the sky is a favorite thing to photograph.  I love all the cloud formations and when puffy, white clouds adorn the sky giving the field of blue a bit of character.  

This also reminds me of growing up when my siblings and I would lie on the ground in the summers and pick out animals and things from the formations of ever-changing clouds.

 Clouds taken from my yard
Sometimes this is almost better than just a pure blue sky, at least for pics of scenery and such.

Here in the desert, we don’t get many days with big, cumulous clouds all over.  It’s usually black clouds, or all blue sky.

Here are a few pics from the past few months.

Do you like the clouds or prefer blue sky?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Robotic Dogs

The Aibo robotic dog by Sony

Okay, now this belongs in the strange news category in my opinion.  Unbelievably, I heard this news story a few days ago.  They are expecting robotic dogs to replace real ones in the future, especially in dense urban areas.  Right now, supposedly 37 percent of households in the US have dogs while 30 percent have cats.  There’s also an overlap where people have both cats and dogs and the estimate is that half the population keep pets.

A study in the Frontiers of Veterinary Science predicts that by 2050 it will be impossible for people living in densely populated areas to have pets due to enough room for people and their beloved pets.  I can see how large dogs would be an issue over the smaller ones if housing areas will be smaller and perhaps with no yards.  I don’t see cats as being an issue because they don’t require much space and can use litter boxes.  Maybe dogs can be trained to use a litter box. 

The study says that people care for their robotic dogs but treat them more like the characters in a video game and use them for entertainment, something you wouldn’t do with a real dog.  People feel less responsibility for robotic or virtual pets, thus requiring them to be repaired at times.  Apparently, a robotic animal can also die of neglect and mistreatment, especially since Sony closed its last Aibo robotic repair clinic a few years ago.  (Sony invented the robotic dog.)  So people in Japan who own the robotic dogs even hold funerals for them.  Yes, you heard that right.

I think the lack of spaces to walk dogs and let them have exercise will be limited in the future, but I think the timeline might be a bit further away than the predicted 2050.

What do you think about all this?  If space becomes an issue, would you have a robotic pet in place of a real one?  What good are they really, other then there are no food and vet bills?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Gentle Heart


I can’t keep from posting about my cats for very long.  They are my kids after all.


I woke up Saturday morning to find my little boy sleeping with his head on my shoulder and his arm around my neck.  Raven was purring so loud and it was so sweet, so despite the fact I really had to pee, I laid still a while and just listened to his contented motor running.  This cat has the gentlest heart.


My husband told me that when I leave the house to go run errands, Raven goes to the door and cries for me.  It about broke my heart to hear that but, of course, I can’t take him with me.  He loves to go places too, so that makes me feel guiltier.

I think someday soon, I’ll put him in the carrier and take him for a ride.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sunset in the Desert is Astounding

Desert sunset

Despite the cooler and rainy weather and the overcast days, we’ve had a few great sunsets when the sun emerges from a bank of dark clouds before disappearing behind the mountains in front of the house. 

 The desert behind my house
The light catches the rocky bluffs in the desert behind our house and sets them all aglow.  This situation only last about five minutes so if I don’t get the camera quick, it’s gone.  These pictures are natural too and not improved by Photoshop or any other photo enhancing software.

 The desert behind my house
These rocks really look as if someone is inside and has turned the lights on.  This is another fantasy moment for me as I can imagine these rocky crags being home to all sorts of creatures with all the same comforts we have, couches, beds, a kitchen, etc.  My mind can go wild writing a short story in my head.  I guess desert scenery serves as a nice picture prompt for me.

What do you think of these rocks?  Aren’t they exquisite?  Could you write a story from these pictures?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Guinness Book of World Records

The sisters today - They don't look that old, do they?

I’ve been reading a lot about this lately.  In today’s news there’s an article about four sisters who will beat the age for the longest surviving siblings with a total of 391 years lived between them.  Of course, they stated that they think diet contributed to this longevity.  Eat your veggies, as your mother always told you.  I agree that diet plays a major part in your overall health, but lifestyle and genes are a consideration too. 

 These are the siblings growing up
These ladies had two other siblings that lived into their nineties as well.  That’s remarkable that no one died in another way over the years, such as accidents or disease.

To read more of this article, please click here.

Of course, this story got me to thinking about all my siblings and the fact that all seven of us are still around and working on our sixth decade of life.  If all of us were to make it to our nineties with no calamities, and this is possible because we are all nine years apart, we would have a collective span of 662 living years.  That’s interesting, isn’t it?  Longevity runs on one side of our family, so I guess we’ll see what the future brings.  One never knows how life will turn out for anyone.

Then again, by the time you reach your nineties, you have to think about a body filled with aches and pains, not to mentions eye and hearing impairments among other things.  Few people reach old age unscathed by life in some way.  Would living this long really be a good thing?

 Merlin - the cat with the loudest purr in the world
The other article that comes to mind over the last few days is about a cat with the loudest purr.  Merlin was declared louder than a vacuum cleaner with purring to 67.8 decibels.  Strangely enough, this cat also lives in the UK, like he sisters in the previous story.

He’s a handsome fellow and brings to mind my Raven who also purrs loudly, but nothing to match Merlin I’m sure.  However, even with my poor hearing, I can hear my Raven purring all the time and that always makes me smile and count my blessings that he ended up in my house.

To read about Merlin click here.

To listen to a video of his purring click here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Oh no! We lost a great musician!

September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015

I read today that BB King died in his sleep yesterday in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I don’t know if any of you like the blues in the way of music but I do and have listened to this man for many years.  He will be missed because he was one of the greats.

Here are some facts about BB King you may not know.

1.)  He was born Riley B King in Berclair, Mississippi.

2.)  He was raised by his grandmother.

3.)  He bought his first guitar at age twelve for fifteen dollars.

4.)  He served in the army during WWII.

5.)  He worked as a farmer in his younger years, picking cotton and driving tractors.  A tractor accident after returning from the war made him give up farming.

6.)  He launched his musical career in the 1940s in Memphis, Tennessee

BB King - wikipedia

7.)  He hosted a ten-minute radio show on which he was known as the Beale Street Blues Boy, later shortening this to the Blues Boy and then to BB King.

8.)  Some of his hits were “The Thrill is Gone,” “3 O’clock Blues,” “You Know I Love You,” “Woke up this Morning,” “Every Day I have the Blues,” “Sweet Little Angel.”

9.)  His landmark album “Live at the Regal,” recorded in 1965, was later declared worthy of preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.

10.)  By the 1960s, he was appearing on the Ed Sullivan show and The Tonight Show.

11.)  He played on a Gibson ES-355 guitar he named Lucille and said in an AP 2006 interview, “When I’m singing I don’t want you to just hear the melody.  I want you to relive the story because most of the songs have pretty good storytelling.”

12.)  During his life he won fifteen Grammy Awards, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the R and B Music Hall of Fame.

13.)  In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number three in a list of 100 greatest guitarist of all time.

 BB King restaurant sign in Memphis, Tennessee - wikipedia
14.)  In the 1990s, he launched a chain of blues clubs bearing his name across the US, featuring live bands and a full menu of southern-inspired comfort food.  There are still restaurants in Memphis, Nashville and Orlando should you be in such places and enjoy this cuisine.

15.)  There’s a Delta Blues Museum in Indianola, Mississippi to preserve BB King’s legacy and values.

16.)  King was a licensed pilot and few himself to many of his gigs until age seventy.

17.)  He was known for appearing in 250-300 concerts a year up into his 70s, only then cutting his workload down to 100 concerts a year due to declining health.

18.)  During his life, BB King inspired many musicians, including Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix.

19.)  He preferred to appear onstage wearing a suit or tuxedo, patent leather shoes and diamond rings.

20.)  He stayed away from drugs and alcohol but loved to gamble and frequented Las Vegas when he could.  How many musicians don't use drugs and alcohol?

21.)  He was married and divorced twice, fathering fifteen children.

He was 89, so at least he had a nice long life and lived it his way.  I have to admire people who can do what they love their entire life and make a good living at it.

Do you like blues music?  Have you ever seen BB King in concert?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


This is the new house they built two lots down from us.  Notice the dark sky.

We’ve had a rainy couple of weeks, which is unusual for the desert.  I’m not complaining because it will be hot and dry for months and that situation isn’t far away.  I did read that the weather would be milder and wetter than normal this year.  If that’s true, maybe we’ll luck out and skip many of the triple digits that plague this area in July, August and part of September.

Now thunderstorms are amazing with forked lightning in the desert behind our house followed by loud cracks of thunder.  Rain beats on the windowpanes so hard that sometimes I wonder if they’ll snap and cave in.  My ears, which aren’t the best, can even hear the wind as it whistles around the house.

 The desert behind my house
I find this circumstance to be great writing weather.  But it can also be crazy dreams weather.  What else can explain the wacky dreams I have during thunderstorms?

During the first week of May, we had such a storm.  I had a terrible time getting to sleep but that is nothing new.  In my dream, there was a giant white cloud so dense that it blocked out everything.  It swirled around picking up speed, going faster and faster until it slammed into the window, completely blocking out everything.  When the cloud finally cleared after hitting my window several times in forceful torrents, I looked out to find the ground covered in massive snow banks.

Rain in the desert

My first thought was, “What?  That was rain, not snow.”  I woke up then and wandered about the house looking outside.  It was just wet and a drizzle was coming down.  If there was wind, it had subsided.

I finally went back to bed after checking on the cats.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Opera Singer

In this case, I’m talking about a chipmunk trilling his song as he stood on a rock looking out over the backyard.  I could picture an audience of his piers waiting there to listen.

 The singing chipmunk

I was doing dishes and saw him from the window when his long bursts brought an opera singer to mind.  Drying my hands, I grabbed the camera to get a shot of him on his stage.  When was he going to take a breath?  How could a creature so small hold so much air?  His long-winded clattering went on for an hour.  This little guy had a set of lungs on him that would make Pavarotti envious.

 Singing chipmunk
The chipmunk didn’t let up belting out his rattling melody and was still there on the rock doing his thing long after I put the dishtowel away.

It doesn’t take much for scenarios to cross my mind.  I could picture this fellow dressed up in a tuxedo holding a small microphone.  Maybe it’s time like these that lead my husband to say, “You live in a fantasy world and need to come back to real life.”  I hear this all the time, so I didn’t mention my attendance at my private opera.  I just smiled and have to admit that crazy stories running through my mind bring a pleasantry to my mundane chores.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Daredevil’s Birthday


Over the weekend, right after the challenge, my little daredevil, Koki, had her tenth birthday.  It’s hard to believe I’ve had her that long.  Time is flying by too fast.  I can remember the day we found her all bloody behind my back tire.

I don’t know if any of you celebrate birthdays for your animals but I do because they’re my kids.  Usually on birthdays, they get their favorite food.  In Koki’s case, this is cheese, something she got used to when she had a broken jaw as a wee baby.

The vet sewed a baby button on her chin after he wired her jaw shut.
I thought this was amazing.  I'd never seen anything like it before.
And I make them a birthday hat if it’s a momentous birthday, which ten qualifies for.  Of course, Koki isn’t one to sit still for a picture of her in a hat so I made her a necklace instead.  She didn’t particularly like that either, but I did manage to get a somewhat suitable pic. 

Koki turns ten-years-old

Later I got to thinking I should have gotten out the wrapping paper and pretended to wrap a package because she loves to get into the curling ribbon and always lets me put it around her neck.  I know this is because she thinks she’s really getting away with something.

Cats are so much like people in that regard.  It’s a whole lot more fun to do something you aren’t supposed to than to do something you’re told to do.

Anyway, my daredevil feasted on cheese because it was her idea.  I have to pretend I don’t notice her eating or she’ll leave the room.  This is her way of staying in control of her situation, or so she thinks.

She has calmed down some but still does some daredevil feats if it crosses her mind.

Happy birthday baby girl.  I hope I’m writing a post for your fifteenth birthday.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

My Reflections on the A to Z blog challenge for 2015

We did it!!!

First, let me say I had a blast and can’t believe the challenge is over already.  This was my fourth year doing it and I love it for several reasons.

The challenge forces your mind to think of subjects to use for each letter.  Sometimes you have to get creative, as we all know some letters are difficult.

The challenge forces you to post daily (except Sundays), which is a good thing because it teaches discipline.

We meet many interesting people out there with lots to say.  Without the challenge, we wouldn’t know about the existence of half of these blogs (this is conservative) because the internet is a big place.

The challenge is fun, entertaining and educational.  What more could you ask for?

I know that many times life gets in the way of blogging, so do what I do and write and schedule your posts for the challenge ahead of time.  Once April rolls around you’re ready to go.  I find it fun and easy to read many blogs and leave comments if I abide by this practice.  If I tried to write a post daily and visit blogs, I’d never make it and would find myself stressed.  There’s enough stress in everyday life with unexpected things that come up.  The whole point of the challenge is to meet some interesting people and discover new blogs you want to visit year round.

If you like to write, my suggestion is to plan to do this next year.  If you don’t have a blog, you can start one.  They are free to set up using Blogspot or Word Press.  My advice is to write about what you know.  Put some thought into it and make it worthwhile for someone to read.  It should be at least a hundred words, but not too long.  (I have trouble with the length because I can never shut up)  If you don’t want to blog about your life or hobbies, you can use many themes for blogging.  You can also research subjects for your posts if you have more time.  Don’t forget to proofread before you post.

The other key is to post regularly, at least once a week.  Twice is better.  And always add pictures to your posts.  People love pictures.  Disable the CAPTCHA to make it easier for people to comment.  Once you’re up and running, visit other blogs you enjoy, read what they have to say and leave a comment.  Don’t forget to leave the link for your blog so they can check you out.

You can even post the link to your blog on your Facebook page.  I guarantee you’ll be having fun in no time.

Thank you to all the people who visited my blog during the challenge.  I appreciate you all for reading my posts and leaving a comment.  I look forward to the new relationships I’ve formed and to reading what you have to say during the coming year.