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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

When food is marked organic, do you believe it?

We have a lot of organic food at work where I do demos.  We’re receiving more all the time, which I’m happy to see.  I do a lot of organic, gluten free, etc demos.  Most people are happy to have those foods to choose from, but sometimes I get people who want to argue with me over what’s written on the label.

Last week, I had a demo for organic salsa and two different customers asked me if I really believed it was organic.  Then they scoffed when I told them of course I did.  We get a few things on a list we can say about our products, but we refer the customers to the labels because everyone who comes in is looking for different information about what they want to consume.  Usually this has to do with food allergies, or sometimes different diets or health needs.

 Some people don’t believe it, even if they read the information on the label.  Case in point is these two different guys.  The last one proceeded to tell me that we would have nothing in this country to eat if the fields weren’t sprayed with pesticides.  He said he was a farmer and he knew about this first hand.  Well, I was raised on a farm and while it’s true the cotton crops were spayed every year, as far as I know we had an organic garden full of vegetables to eat.  Our grandmother would use all sorts of old fashioned remedies to keep pests at bay, such as placing old shoes in the cucumbers and sprinkling coffee grounds around the base of plants.  She always had tons of unconventional ideas.

My neighbor also has an organic garden and hasn’t and never will spray anything on the food she grows in there.  She’d rather take care of the pests in a more natural way.  It seems to work because she has enough veggies in there to feed all the neighbors and her friends and they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides.  I know food can be grown without using chemicals.

Of course, I don’t argue with people about this.  You could never change the mind of someone that is bent on believing whatever it is they believe.  I would never argue with a customer anyway because that’s not my job.  My job is to keep the customer happy so they shop in our store.  I won’t agree with them though when I know they’re wrong.

So how many of you believe the labels you read on the food you buy?  Do you think we have organic, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free food available to us today?

All photos are from my neighbor's garden.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

How many trees are chopped down for all that paperwork?


I ask myself this question a lot as it seems, once you are eligible for Medicare, there’s no end of the paper you’ll be receiving.  It astounds me how much stuff they send out every week.  I need a separate file cabinet just for Medicare.  It’s just crazy, if you ask me.  And not only that, sometimes you receive the same information more than once.  Of course the government is involved here and I always tell myself we know they don’t know what’s going on in any given department on any given day.

Years ago, I had two old men working for me part time and they would always tell me about their Medicare woes.  I would laugh and wonder if it was as bad as all that, but they were right.  For those of you not yet old enough for this, you can expect to be overwhelmed by paper you don’t know what to do with.  And to find anything that makes any sense, in most of it, is like looking for a needle in a haystack. 

But it is insurance and I haven’t had that in years, so I guess this is a small price to pay.  But I still don’t think we need all this paperwork.  Years from now, I wonder if we’ll be able to find a forest.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Do you think time travel is possible?

Image from Wikipedia

The last couple of weeks I’ve been engrossed in the TV series Outlander, adapted from the book series of the same name.  I don’t know if any of you have read the books, or have seen this TV series, but I’ve watched sixteen episodes in a short length of time.  (This encompasses the first book in the series of eight very thick books.)

My hubby added Starz to the TV lineup as part of my birthday gift back in June and somehow I’ve been so busy that I didn’t get to start the series until lately.  Of course I set them to record right away.  The books are fabulous.  I read them several years ago and couldn’t put the books down, even taking them to the kitchen with me so I could read while I was cooking dinner at night.

The TV series won’t disappoint you either.  It’s way better than I expected it to be.  As we all know, usually there’s so much to be desired after reading the book first.  But Diana Gabaldan, author of the series, is a producer for this TV adaptation, so I imagine it has to meet her high standards.

Anyway, to boil it down to a few lines, this is a time travel, historical romance.  A woman, Claire, finds herself on holiday with her husband in Scotland after World War II.  They were both busy in the war so this is a second honeymoon because they’ve been away from each other for five years. 

They’re visiting the countryside and going to places that his ancestors lived when she touches the center stone in a stone circle and is transported back to 1743.  (Note she’s alone when this happens, as she goes back to the stone to gather an unusual flower she spotted there the day before.)

Of course she finds herself in a different world from there on, one that’s action packed with war, brawls, sicknesses we have cures for today, etc.  And a woman had a different place in society back in those times.  This causes a bit of a problem for Claire at times, but she eventually builds up a reputation as a healer among the people because of all the experience she has from being a war nurse.  Most of the people are suspicious of her for knowing all she knows and also from the fact she’s English and Scotland is at war with the English.  She’s mistaken for a spy, a witch and other things.  It’s a good thing Claire’s rescued by Jamie, a young Highlander, who will later become the love of her life.

Her husband in the twentieth century, Frank, has a relative who is “black hearted” and has horrible things in mind for Claire when she meets him fact-to-face upon her arrival.  Later she finds out what awful things this English officer is capable of as their paths cross from time-to-time.

If you haven’t read the books, or seen this series, it’s highly recommended.  I now want to read the books again.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What do you think about refusing to stand for the National Anthem?

 Photo from Wikipedia
This has been in the news lately because of Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, but this has gone on before.  Is anyone else out there disgusted by this?  I have no respect for this man!  I really don’t care what your excuse is for acting this way.  These athletes in the news lately make millions of dollars a year to play ball, or other sports.  Why are they so disrespectful?  Where else do they think they can live and make that kind of money?  This sort of thing makes me furious!  If they don’t like the way things are here in America, then move.  They would be fired so fast it would make their head swim, if I had anything to say about it.  I think wages for athletes are ridiculous anyway.

I would think these unhappy people can find another way to say they don’t approve of the police, or whatever else it is they’re protesting.  We have to remember sports figures are role models for some kids and this attitude sends the wrong message to young people who have impressionable minds.

There are people living in poverty all across this great country and I bet they still stand for the National Anthem because they may be poor but they still have decency and respect.

 Photo from Wikipedia
These athletes need to be fired right now, or at least suspended until they can act like Americans.  Until something serious is done, we’ll see a lot more of this in the future.  And no, I don’t think this has anything to do with exercising free speech and the first amendment.  You can still have your say, but don’t be disrespectful of the country that has provided you and your family with a nice living and one many of us will never have.

That’s my two cents.  What do you have to say?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Home again

Hubby picked up Tootie’s ashes on Monday when I was working.  It’s nice to have her home again.  I put her in the curio cabinet with the boys and Comet who are probably showing her around the afterlife where she’s settling in for a while. 

The people who did the cremation presented us with a beautiful package.  I almost broke down crying when I saw it on the counter after work.  Somehow this struck me as perfect for a furry friend.

This is so pretty. Notice the animal print tissue paper.  Forever Friends did a terrific job.
That's Tootie's urn in front.

I promise my next post won’t be so morbid and about more cat news.  There’s something I want to rant about and I’m hoping many of you will see why.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A furry friend says good bye

It’s been a difficult few days around my house.  I finally have sense enough to sit down and write a post.  My house has been filled with grief and so much sadness that I didn’t even want to get on the internet.

 Tootie is five in this picture
Last Wednesday, the seventh of September, we had to put down one of our cats.  It was time.  And though we hate to see that time come, it always does.  Animals have a shorter lifespan than us even if we wished it was different.

Our oldest cat, Tootie, has been on a downhill slide for a couple of years now.  She was pretty ill on Wednesday morning when we got up.  She had diarrhea and was meowing a lot and moving her mouth around as if she had something caught in there.  She threw up multiple times during the night.

 Tootie at age four.  Cats's always love boxes.
Hubby took off work and I had the day off anyway so we took her to the vet once they opened.  We knew she had dementia and would get lost in the house.  She also had limited hearing, which I think contributed to her being so vocal about everything.  On top of that was arthritis, so we were giving her joint medication for that.  It looked so painful for her to get up and down even with her medicine, although the situation was a bit better.  I knew she wasn’t very comfortable because she would move about the house to different spots trying to find one that suited her best.  She drank lots of water, but the vet said that was typical for an older cat on a previous visit.

 Tootie at age two
Little did we know once we left the house with her that morning that it would be the last time.  The other two cats knew something was up because they came to hang around her and watch her that morning.  Raven has been her best friend because they are both very social cats.  Koki is more of a loner and prefers to hang out by herself upstairs most of the time.  But that morning, she was downstairs too checking it all out.

 Here she is posing in the cabin we had in 2005
Once at the vet we discovered Tootie had a broken tooth.  We decided against having surgery for that because he said her kidneys were beginning to fail and she’d lost about three pounds since her last vet visit.  He told us the end was near, which means it could be weeks, or a month or two, but we had to think about her quality of life at that point.  She’d had sixteen-and-a-half years with us and had lived the best life we could give her.

 Looking majestic under the Christmas tree
Out of all the cats we’ve had, Tootie is the only one who adopted us.  When she was a kitten she came to our door in California and wanted to be let in.  She did a cute little cat dance with her fluffy tail curled in the air and repeated this performance four days in a row.  On the fourth day, I opened the door and let her in.  She walked into the house as if she’d always lived there and commenced to play with Comet, our youngest female cat at the time.  These cats played for three hours straight until they both collapsed on the floor exhausted. 

I found out later that hubby went looking for her in the neighborhood on his way to work.  She was later showing up at the house that day and he was worried about her.

 Posing on the dining room chair
The rest is really history.  She fit in good with the family becoming cat number four, at the time, and giving us two girls and two boys.  The rest of our cats were rescues.  I could go on and on with cat stories as I’ve had cats all my life and probably will have until the day I die. 

But this post is about Tootie and how wonderful she was, although we had some trying times over the last couple of years once she began to lose her mind and get bad arthritis in her legs.

This is one of my favorites.  Cats love to get on anything you put on the floor, or anywhere else.

Tootie was most photogenic cat we’ve ever cat and never has taken a bad picture.  She would also put up with me, like Raven, and let me put birthday hats on her.  She never knew a stranger either and would make friends with anyone who came to visit.  Raven is much the same way and misses her so much, as we all do.  He’s been looking for her in the house, although I know he knows she was ill when he last saw her on Wednesday.

 Tootie always seemed to know when I got the camera out.
I can’t tell you how sad and quiet it was around the house that day.  We cried most of the day and couldn’t eat.  I was so glad we didn’t have to go into work.  We threw ourselves into cleaning and cleaned the whole house from top to bottom to keep our minds busy and off things.  My house is so clean now I hardly recognize it.  But it’s so quiet because Tootie talked all the time and the other cats rarely do.

 She thinks she's hiding in this pot but still posing for the picture.
The next day it was back to work and although neither of us felt like it, it was probably what we needed to get out of the funk we were in.  We’re having her cremated so she’ll join the other urns in the house when we pick her up in a week.  Meanwhile, I hope she’s young again, free of all her woes and reunited with the other cats in the Summerland, (as I like to call the afterlife).  To me the Summerland is a wonderful place with flowers, butterflies, constant spring/summer weather, beautiful blue skies, lots of green grass and trees filled with happy birds, among other things.

 Give a cat a sack or a box and they're happy
I hope you’ve enjoyed all the pictures I picked out from Tootie’s life.  We were blessed she picked us for her human parents.  Rest in peace sweet girl until we meet again.

This was her tenth birthday

March 30, 2000 – September 7, 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

More Backyard Visitors

The critters know we always have water available for them.  They come by from time-to-time and visit the water pans we have all over the yard.  I always enjoy watching them if I’m home to snap pictures.

A chipmunk (Antelope Squirrel)

A Desert Toad baby.  This one was only about two inches long.

A Bird of Prey.  It was starting to get dark when he happened by.

A thirsty Roadrunner
There is always at least one lizard on the patio all the time

And of course we had another visit from the snake earlier in the day

I like to put food out too but right now the desert has an abundance of seeds available and making the critters eat out there does alleviate some of the mess in the yard, as well as a lot more bugs.  This winter we’ll put out more food when it’s hard to find on the weathered branches in the cold.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Whoops! Do I have that many wrinkles?

Yesterday I was working and serving street tacos, which were a big hit.  Of course my tray was always empty and I had the microwave running non-stop all day.  They were hot when they came out and had to sit a minute before I could serve them.  People can be very impatient when it comes to food – even free samples.

Most of the customers were nice yesterday and that doesn’t happen all the time.  I tried to stay focused and not become frazzled as I filled my trays as fast as I could.  I knew my coworkers were in the same spot because as I walked around on my break they didn’t have trays out either.  It’s not so fast when you have to cook things first.

Later in the afternoon a man was waiting patiently at my station with his two little boys.  Another lady stood nearby, not wanting to miss a bite when I put the tray out.  I told the gentleman that they were still warm.  I also told the little boys they were too and I picked up a sample in a napkin for each of them and handed it to them, telling them to blow on it a bit before they took a bite.  They beamed and thanked me.  The father thanked me too.

 Grandma Clip art
Then the lady came over and told me, “You’re such a wonderful grandma.”  What?  Me, a grandma?  Did I look that old to her?  Then she told me how most of my coworkers weren’t that nice, especially to the children.  Oh my.  I know the little ones can get irritating and sometimes we do have to ask parents if we can serve them.  I thanked the lady for her friendly comment because I know she meant it in a nice way.  But I also made sure she knew I had no kids or grandkids.  Perhaps that’s why I’m nicer having never put up with all the shenanigans children can put you through.

After I got home I did look at myself closely in the mirror though to see if, indeed, I have more wrinkles than I think I do.  That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me.  Now I guess I’m at that stage where that will become the norm and there will be no more asking me for ID.

Life marches on and we can’t stop that ticking clock.