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.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Be safe in your celebrations and keep your black cats safe.  

My little boy will be two years old tomorrow.  Of course, that’s an estimate.  He was found abandoned in a box in a field before he was turned into PAWS.  For all I know his birthday is today, on Halloween, or perhaps on November 2. 

It’s hard to imagine that anyone would abandon such an angel when we have animal agencies that rescue pets and find homes for them.  I’ll never understand this kind of human behavior as long as I live. 

 Here's my angel, Raven
Anyway, the time has flown and it’s hard to believe I’ve had him this long already.  He’s such a joy and has such a beautiful, tender heart.  I’ll never regret adopting him and giving him a loving, forever home.  Stay tuned for birthday pictures.  (And yes, humor me because the cats are my kids.)

Happy Halloween all!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lost words from our past

I received this email from a friend and it’s too good not to share with you, so I’m posting it here to see how many of you can remember any of this stuff.  I wish I knew who the author was so I could give them credit.

Things do change all the time, as you’ll see after reading this.  I wonder how many words and expressions we use today that will be gone in the future.

Lost Words from our childhood 

Words gone as fast as the buggy whip! Sad really! The other day a not so elderly (65) lady said something to her son about driving a Jalopy and he
looked at her quizzically and said what the heck is a Jalopy? OMG (new
phrase!) he never heard of the word jalopy!!  So they went to the computer and pulled up a picture from the movie "The Grapes of Wrath." Now that was a Jalopy!

She knew she was old but not that old...

I hope you are Hunky dory after you read this and chuckle...

by Richard Lederer

About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included "Don't touch that dial," "Carbon copy," "You sound like a broken record" and "Hung out to dry." A bevy of readers have asked me to shine light on more faded words and expressions, and I am happy to oblige:

Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie. We'd put on our best bib and tucker and straighten up and fly right. Hubba-hubba! We'd cut a rug in some juke joint and then go necking and petting and smooching and spooning and billing and cooing and pitching woo in hot rods and jalopies in some passion pit or lovers lane. Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumping Jehoshaphat! Holy moley! We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley, and even a regular guy couldn't accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!

Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when's the last time anything was swell? Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A.; of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal pushers. Oh, my aching back. Kilroy was here, but he isn't anymore.

Like Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle and Kurt Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim, we have become unstuck in time. We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we can say, I'll be a monkey's uncle! or This is a fine kettle of fish! we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards. Poof, poof, poof go the words of our youth, the words we've left behind. We blink, and they're gone, evanesced from the landscape and wordscape of our perception, like Mickey Mouse wristwatches, hula hoops, skate keys, candy cigarettes, little wax bottles of colored sugar water and an organ grinders monkey.

Where have all those phrases gone? Long time passing. Where have all those phrases gone? Long time ago: Pshaw. The milkman did it. Think about the starving Armenians. Bigger than a bread box. Banned in Boston. The very idea! It's your nickel. Don't forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Turn-of-the-century. Iron curtain. Domino theory. Fail safe.  Civil defense. Fiddlesticks! You look like the wreck of the Hesperus.  Cooties. Going like sixty. I'll see you in the funny papers. Don't take any wooden nickels. Heavens to Murgatroyd! And awa-a-ay we go!  Oh, my stars and garters! It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter had liver pills. This can be disturbing stuff, this winking out of the words of our youth, these words that lodge in our heart's deep core. But just as one never steps into the same river twice, one cannot step into the same language twice. Even as one enters, words are swept downstream into the past, forever making a different river.

We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeful times. For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It's one of the greatest advantages of aging. We can have archaic and eat it, too.

See ya later, alligator!

And lastly, a very happy birthday to my dear friend of fifty years, Charlie McBride.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

The good and the bad of working part time after retirement

I’ve done this for two months now--almost.  It’s nice to have the extra money for bills and other things and that’s definitely an upside.  But I have to say that even a part time job at my age is tough at times.  It leaves me worn out most of the time.  Would you believe it takes me about ten minutes to get out of my car once I get into the garage after driving home?  After standing up for six hours, my legs don’t want to move and are content to stay put for a while.  It’s those nights that I wish dinner would fix itself.  LOL

Of course, this standing for work isn’t helped by the fact that I’m up and down cleaning this house and working in the yard on my day off.  I declared war on all the spiders on Sunday and spent three hours in my courtyard getting all the webs up and spraying out there.  Now if I can just get up enough energy to do that patio in the back, which is twice the area of the courtyard.

The other downside to working is being called to fill in at the last minute.  “How fast can you change clothes and drive over here?”  Oh my!  I’m not used to that at all.  I don’t mind picking up an extra shift, but more notice than that would be nice.

I also about froze to death last week when I had to work outside the dairy coolers all day.  That was my fault though for not taking a sweater to work.  Luckily, someone had left a sweater in the back, so I borrowed that for my last two hours.  It was excessively big, but I didn’t care.  I would have taken a blanket or anything at that point.  My teeth were beginning to chatter and I was cold from head to toe.  I usually sweat in the store.  I never know what the job is for the day until I arrive for work, but it’s busy and the time goes by fast.

On the upside, it’s fun talking to all the people you see during the day, the co-workers are all great people and will pitch in to help me if I need it, and the boss is fantastic.  So you can’t beat that.  I learn something new everyday I’m there.

On another note, I took my car to the shop today for a new starter so will be using my neighbor’s vehicle to go back and forth to work until I get my car back on Thursday.  It’s been acting up so I don’t want to take any chances with being stranded.  Winter is coming and, along with that, the shorter days.  It’ll be dark when I get off work soon and I hate that but it’s beyond my control so best not to stress over it.  That’s all I would need is to be stranded in the parking lot after dark with a car that won’t start.

Taking all this into account I’m wondering how I’m going to work on my NaNo project in November.  I have so much on my plate this year.  A little voice in my head is telling me I can do it, but so far I haven’t listened and signed up for it.  This would be my fourth NaNo (National Novel Writing Month), but right now 50,000 words is looking overwhelming, especially since I can’t seem to get my mind wrapped around a story theme yet.  More on this later.  I promised myself I’d try to get to bed earlier and here it is almost midnight again.  Sigh… I guess that’s not happening for me.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dodging curveballs can be a full time job

I know each of us has run into this situation at times, enough going on in life to make your head swim. 

If any of you keep up with my blog, you’ll know there’s always some crisis when hubby is out of town.  The last time it was the water heater.  I really thought this time it would be the washer because it’s been giving us shots across the bough for over a year now.  But I was wrong, at least for now (knock on wood).  This time it’s my car, which is refusing to start a lot of the time.  Now this issue has been going on awhile too, but you must understand we’re like most people and never fix anything until it’s on its last legs and there’s no other choice.  The car decides to misbehave a while, then it behaves itself again, and there’s no issue for months.

This is the car in question

Yesterday I had some errands to run and had to make about nine stops.  It decided not to start at a few places, but eventually did because I was patient.

I don’t know how many others out there have been married as long as I have, but I wonder if your husbands also think you can’t manage the situation without their expertise as if you have no mind for such matters and couldn’t decide what to do about it yourself.  At these times, I feel as if he thinks I don’t have a clue about life predicaments.  Somehow, it’s hard for some men (all men?) to believe you weren’t born yesterday.  Last night it was impossible to carry on a conversation with my husband who thinks I’m a six-year-old in these situations.  He was sure it was the battery and wanted me to have that checked before I left for work today.  I had already decided I’d do that, although I had a sneaky suspicion it was the starter and not the battery, but best to rule the battery out first anyway. 

Because of this whole mess, I only got four hours of sleep last night and had to stand on my feet all day to sell and demo products.  I’m wiped out tonight.  I set the alarm for before daybreak and was up, showered and dressed, so I could I make my phone calls, get in for the car check and get to work.  I couldn’t fall asleep for the life of me.

I ended up calling the garage before it was even open and was lucky the guy answered, but he has his calls transferred to his cell for work.  He told me to bring it in and he would be there shortly.  Now my car’s battery is under the backseat so that had to be taken out to get to it. Who ever heard of such a thing?  They determined it was my starter, which I wasn’t surprised about because the car is sixteen-years-old.

In the meantime, last night, I spoke with my neighbor who will lend me a car to use until mine is repaired.  So I had that base covered.  I felt good about that.  She offered, even though our conversation started out about other things.

This morning I called and added roadside service to our car insurance policy in case either of us needs it.  I felt I was ready to face the day, tired or not.  I also have my ducks lined up for what is coming later in the car saga.

I took the car from the shop to work and it started fine for the drive home.  It may well go on like that, but it’s probably wise to have it repaired.  My hubby went about calling around to get the best price for that starter job today.  Most likely, I’ll be taking it in on my next day off.

I took my chances and the car didn’t leave me stranded in the parking lot at work.  I suspect I’ll continue to press my luck until I have a day off during the week so I can take my car in and leave it at the shop.  I also have to coordinate this with my neighbor’s schedule.  Meanwhile, I have a positive attitude about it because what else can anyone do really?  It does no good to add more stress to your life by worrying over whether the car will start or not.  Things will be the way they’re going to be.  Of course it’s hard for hubby who doesn’t understand my attitude or philosophy much of the time.

This repair isn’t cheap, so I’m hoping the washer holds on a bit longer.

Does anyone else have experiences like this to share?  Can you make adequate decisions in a crisis?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Simple Things

From the CD they played that night

Today, as I’m writing this on the thirteenth, I’m feeling so happy for no reason at all.  I’m off work and taking it easy.  Maybe that’s reason enough for my good mood.

This afternoon hubby and I had some errands to run.  He had a new Bluetooth radio installed in his truck so he wanted to try it out.  He put in the CD by the Bar G Wranglers.  Boy did listening to those songs bring back some memories of a few summers ago when my sister and brother-in-law came to visit me a year after I moved to my new home in the desert.

 The Bar G Wranglers in concert - 2005
One of the smartest things I’ve ever done in my life was to get tickets to a Bar G Wranglers concert while they were here.  They love western music and the night included a chuck wagon barbecue dinner.  The food wasn’t that great and the weather wasn’t either.  We had to drive for forty-five minutes to the concert in the rain.  Lightning struck the parking lot while we were all in line to serve our plates for dinner, which was served buffet style on the patio.  My sister hates lightning and that scared her shitless. 

 The Bar G Wranglers in concert - 2005

The Bar G Wranglers in concert - 2005
I might mention here that my brother-in-law is the barbecue king.  No one in the world makes barbecue as he does.  He has the patience to stay awake all night to tend the pit while the rest of us sleep.  He’s mastered the art of barbecue, which I hope continues to be a great love of his so I get to taste some more of his cooking before he decides he’s too old to do that any longer.  I don’t know many people who would stay up all night to tend a barbecue pit.  Do you?

My sister and brother-in-law before the concert

Thank goodness the music outweighed it all and made the evening so worth it!  We were close enough to the band to reach out and touch them if we wanted to.  That made the night extra special, as if they were singing to us individually.  I don’t think my brother-in-law ever experienced anything exactly like that before and he was speechless.  It was so much fun to watch him enjoy the concert that was taking place right in front of us.  I’ll never forget the look on his face that night.  It made the ticket expense worth every dollar to me and reinforced the thought that something simple like that was one of life’s best pleasures.

I hope he still looks upon that experience today as I do.  When I listen to the Bar G Wranglers songs today, he immediately pops into my mind with flashbacks to the night of that concert.

To listen to one of their songs, click here.

How many of you have experiences like this in your life?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I’m really a human in this body

My sweet boy - Raven

My sweet boy, Raven, thinks he’s a person a lot of the time.  He likes to “help” me every chance he gets and is my shadow much of the day.  He hugs me around the neck when I pick him up and we rub noses.

 Raven in the dryer
Of course, he’s into mischief at least once a day.  Not much is safe around here.

 Raven using my laptop for a pillow
When I trim my nails, he wants his done so he’ll sit patiently while I clip them and then he wants them filed with my emery board.  I wish I had a picture of this.  It makes me laugh so hard.  I wonder when he’ll start wanting nail polish too.

When I use my back scratcher, he has to have his back scratched too.  He comes to the shower and paws on the door.  I imagine one of these days he’ll want in there with me.

 Raven says, "When are you going to feed me?"

Now that it’s a bit cooler, I’ll have to start taking him for rides around the block when I have time. He always wants to go.  Maybe I should take him to Petco the next time I go in there.

 Raven says, "Let's go!"
I love this little darling to pieces and he knows it.  I just wish he’d stop biting my feet and legs, but I know he’s just telling me to hurry up.  This usually happens when he wants to eat.

 Raven demands, "When are you coming to bed?"
I hope you have a little creature like this in your life.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Big Mama Pronounced Dead

Big Mama leaning over

Big Mama getting worse

As sad as this is to say, Big Mama decided to give up this year and throw in the towel.  I’ve suspected she was ailing all summer when the new growth was limited.  Nevertheless, I watered her faithfully, talked to her, and told her to get with it, etc.  All of my peppiness was to no avail.  She fell over in her pot a week ago.

Poor Big Mama - RIP

Now maybe these Sego palms have a life span like most living things.  After all, she isn’t a redwood tree, so how long do these palms live.  This one is about sixty years old.  I guess she was tired.  Or maybe dreading another awful winter here.  Poor thing.  I can’t blame her for that, even if I did wrap her up in extra warm bedding every year.  I never look forward to winter myself.  I’d rather go around naked, I guess, instead of bundled up in all those clothes that never warm me up anyway.

 Interesting to see how they grow - full of fibers
So here’s another plant we lost since we’ve been here now, bringing the total of special plants to about five.  This isn’t southern California.  Anything will grow there.  So really, what do I expect when living in the desert?

 Here's another shot of the fibrous inside

 And a side view -  I wonder if the Indians used this mateial for thread.
Looking on the bright side of things, now I won’t have to get the dolly out to move her around on the patio.  She must weigh three hundred pounds in that huge pot with all that dirt.  I’m wondering how I can keep a piece of her for a future artwork project.  My wheels are still turning on that one.  Maybe I’ll find some way she can live on in my studio.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Flights of silence

WOW!  A spectacular sight!

From Albuquerque New Mexico, the 44th annual Balloon Fiesta started October 3.  This nine-day even draws thousands to watch the 1000-plus balloons that ascend into the sky at dawn.  This event started in a mall parking lot and now calls a 72-acre balloon park home.  A wide array of flying competitions are included today, such as cross country races, splash and dash flights across the Rio Grande and lighted balloon evenings.

 This shot shows you how big these balloons are
This is a photographer’s dream and an amazing sight to see so many colorful balloons in the air at one time.  If you’re interested in ballooning, click on this link to read more about this festival.

 The balloons start out flat on the ground

 This is my photo taken from behind glass, so it's not real clear.  This is how they blow the hot air in to start with - a torch and big fans

Here is another shot once the balloon is lifted off the ground.
And another of the flame.
My own experience in a hot air balloon was awesome once I got over the fright of being way up in the air standing in a tiny container called a gondola.  This brown woven basket ended at about my waist, exposing my entire upper half to the open air.  Beside me in the basket were three large gas cylinders to power the balloon and above my head was a massive colorful balloon of hot air holding us up there and the flame that would ignite to keep us afloat.  The only sound was that flame.  The silence was incredible.  I was in awe of the fact that there are bands of air currents n the sky.  The direction the balloon goes is driven by the amount of gas it receives, thus raises it or lowering it to catch different air currents.  Fascinating.

 Balloons in the air.  I love all the colors!
My host and pilot did his best to make me feel comfortable and at ease.  He told me about getting his ballooning license.  Then he laid a handkerchief over the basket.  I knew it would be blown away within seconds, probably landing in some tree or the on the ground below.  To my surprise, it never fluttered or moved because we were moving with the wind.  That realization was mind blowing for me, as I always thought the wind blew the balloon along, but it’s more scientific than that.

Once I got over my fright, I was able to enjoy taking pictures with my 110 camera.  This was way before digital, so all my photos are in a box and I hope they’re still good since they’ve been stored for years.

 This is really a feast for the eyes.
I borrowed all the photos I posted here from the actual Albuquerque Balloon Festival.  I do have four of my own framed and hanging in my bathroom.  Those pictures are marked separately.

If you ever do this, beware it’s an early morning event as the air is better for lift off.  I did this in February and it was quite chilly before sunrise.  Do take advantage of walking around to see the science behind lifting these gigantic silent flyers into the air.  First, the crew spreads out the fabric, and then they use big blowers to push enough air into the balloons to raise them.  At this point, they light the heater and the balloon raises enough to stand up and tower way over a human’s head.  Someone has to tether the ropes until lift off.  Once the basket is loaded, it’s up, up and away, bringing back visions of the Wizard of Oz. 

 Here's another of my photos taken behind glass again, so sorry for the glare and haziness.
I enjoyed the vastness of the landscape below me as we towered over the treetops and cars looks like ants below.  The Pacific Ocean spread out to my left.  My bird’s eye view was spectacular, tranquil, and peaceful. 

 Another of my photos taken from behind glass
A chase vehicle followed us to bring us back to the take off site.

Landing can be a bit of a bumpy ride, but ballooning should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Who doesn’t like Koala’s?

This little baby named Imogen is adorable.

I just read this article a couple of weeks ago, but this happened back in June in Symbio Wildlife Park in Sydney Australia.  A younger koala lost its mother soon after birth so it was decided that this little joey, Imogen, would be hand-raised and the younger koala placed into the pouch of Imogen’s mother.

A young couple working at the reserve took Imogen home; bottle fed her and took her everywhere with them, even snuggling with her at night to make her feel like she was in her mother’s pouch. 

It sounds like koalas are similar to kittens, terrorizing their humans all night and then sleeping most of the day.  To read the entire story, go here.  Be sure to scroll through the slide show for some adorable pics.