Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Graceful Queen

Ho Ho Ho and a bottle of rum spiked egg nog, merry christmas!

Lilly decided she wanted to srike a pose up in a tree like her brother did. She can be master of all she surveys too!!!! "Just gotta find the right branch..."

"Holy crap!!!! That branch was dead! Aaaaah!!" At the last minute, using her inborn ninja capabilities, Lilly grabbed a hold before falling... GASP.

"Maybe I should just let go.. it's only a four foot drop." Oh. Okay, yeah, that's not so bad.

"Wait! Maybe I can pull myself up. Hey, bro, lend a hand will ya? don't just stand there laughing."

Uh oh. That just got her swinging. Pheonix gets closer for the show.


Let's go for that royal pose another time, shall we? Lilly makes a dang pretty picture, but she can be clumsy. When I knock stuff over I call it pulling a Lilly, and in fact, as I was sitting here typing this she jumped onto the shelf above my head and knocked a cup of pens over, which rained about me and barely missed my head! But you know, she catches mice and birds so she can't be all thumbs and left feet. I think it's more that she doesn't care if she knocks stuff over. I mean, who put it in her way in the first place? Dang humans. Taking pictures when we should be helping!!!!!!

After that she was over the whole, "let's go for a jaunt in the snow" thing. But, it being Christmas and all, she at least got to come home to a tuna feast.

I didn't tell her I was having salmon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hermit Ranch in the White Mountains

The majestic felines of Hermit Ranch enjoy all that life has to offer. They sit in the sun, watching the birds play, and plan their next meal.
"I'm ready for my close- up now."

They stalk said meal in the branches of pine trees, stretching their muscles, testing their mighty limits. This stunning male can hold still for minutes. If you don't count the tiny twitch at the tip of his handsome tail.

Feng Shui Lilly: since all meals are provided for the cats, if they don't feel like hunting they can spend time contemplating the universe's place in their lives (because they sure as heck wouldn't sit around pondering their place in the universe). Or maybe she's just telling the servant that she is NOT ready for her close up at this time so back up or "I KEEL U".

And sometimes, while surveying their kingdom, they strike a mighty pose and declare their superiority to the world. Hermit Ranch: home to the greatest species on the planet.

Guest Edited by Pheonix the Supercat

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I still love it. I take pictures of it. Lots of pictures of just white, so that when I put them on my computer I wonder if maybe I was shooting with a white lense cap on. Pheonix is tolerating it with no more than his usual complaining. (He has a large sense of self entitlement. I'm pretty sure if it was up to him it would only snow in the dog's yard. Still, he also has a giant ego so he knows he's way tougher than a little snow.)

However, the snow melts and clumps fall off of branches, making scary noises. "What was that? Don't worry, I'll get it. Rawr!"

"ZOMG what was that???"

"Oh. I knew it was my shadow. I was just testing. Gotta keep my reflexes sharp you know. Okay, my feets are cold now."

See, I KNEW those snow boots would come in handy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


No, not "finally, the big fat slacker put something on her blog". Finally it SNOWED!!!! They canceled the Thanksgiving snow (yes, "they" are that powerful. Why else would gas be ONE DOLLAR AND FIFTY CENTS a gallon when it was over four dollars just a few months ago? Because "they" want to mess with our heads. I'm just kidding) Of course, it's supposed to be sunny for the next couple weeks... COLD but sunny. The snow will at least stay in the shady places, but still, I want more!

So does Nikki. Every single time I looked at her she was burying her muzzle in the stuff. Lil' knucklehead.

Pheonix and Lilly have gotten extremely bulked up, and don't seem to be fazed by the cold blanket of white. That's just his usual level of complaining. Are those the CUTEST LIL' PAW PRINTS EVER????!!!???? Leo, on the other hand, seems to have chosen to just stay inside 'till spring.

I looooove having seasons. It's just so exciting and beautiful, and variety is, well, you know how the saying goes. Oh, and by the way? Not a big fat slacker. More like a relaxed, slimmed down vacationer. Hee hee. I have lost almost thirty pounds since I moved out here!! Where's my chit? I want a chit. You know, a little reward chit that says 25 lbs on it. Like sober people get. Yeah, so I can say, "lookit my chit. I rule!" Or maybe it could say, "184 to 159". Except then people would KNOW how much I used to weigh. Oh wait. Heh. Well it's the 159 that matters now. At 5'7" I'm QUITE content. In fact, I was still losing weight so I almost had to go buy some ice cream. I don't care what "normal" is, I like having a little meat on my bones. And really, that's the only thing that matters about my weight: MY happiness with my body (health, shmealth).

Oh. And snow. Could I get some more snow up in here????? 'Cause I'm trying to get me a white christmas, yo. A warm, happy, fluffy snow christmas where I can drink all the eggnog I want. ;)

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Remember back in April or May when we had a late late snow and we ran out to bleed the lines? Drain the water ways and what not? (Bleed the lines just is a cool sounding expression and I had to use it. Actually now it sounds kinda gross. Anyway.) Weeeelllll we had an early freeze- this was the first week of November.

Sucks, but fascinating too.

I threw in my foot for a little size reference here... not that helpful if you don't know that I have giant feet. Size ten and proud of it, baby! Hmm. I seem to be wearing flip flops, which could be latent California in the blood stream. On the other hand, I used to talk schmack about the crazy peeps wearing shorts and sandals in the winter- and there's a lot of 'em in Cali, but I was never one. So now that I live where it actually snows in the winter I choose to pick up this habit? /Shrug. Who knows?

Actually, I bought some fantastic snow boots and they keep my feet nice and toasty. Not that it has snowed yet.... grrr. It was supposed to around Thanksgiving but it so rudely did not. I'll just keep hoping... and restrict my flip flops to indoor use. At least till April. Or May.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some Cool Night Sky

AAAAAAH the sky is falling!!!!! Hmmm. So there were two planets and a moon (don't ask which planets I don't remember) out the other night, and it was dang beautiful. I HAD to get some pictures but I couldn't find the thingy that connects my camera to my tripod. I tried to hold reeeeal still but...

Eek, now we're going sideways!!

Ok that obviously wasn't working, so I went over to the woodpile and set my camera on it, but I couldn't really see out the viewfinder too well so now instead of the sky falling it looks like I'M falling and snapping a shot on the way down.

At this point I heard a very loud scraping growling noise off in the darkness. Close. I'd turned off all the house lights so I could get better pictures, and I couldn't see more than 30 feet. There wasn't enough moon for light, but along the driveway are some solar powered lights. They fade away as the night wears on, and were barely a dim yellow at this point. Suddenly I didn't care so much about the awesome view.

I made myself not run, but I walked backwards very quickly to the house. Like I'd turn my back!! I slammed the door closed (and locked, you never know about them coyotes- and zombies of course) and turned the porch light on. I was scared to look but scared not to, you know? I sort of expected there to be a monster staring back at me when the light came on. I went to the windows to see if I could take pictures from inside, but no good. Plus I didn't really want to get close to the windows.

Now, you'd think that would be the end of it, right? I wouldn't go back outside just cuz of a couple planets? Right? Would I? You got me. I totally went back out into the boogey man infested night... with the porchlight ON. Which ruined all my shots so I never got a good one anyway. At least I also didn't get eaten.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm not Superwoman... part 2

It was 30 degrees out. I could see a hard glitter of frost on the ground. The rock in my hand was like a block of ice and my fingers were going numb, naked in the cold night. The growling continued unabated. The adrenaline was leaving my body a shaky mess and terror was gnawing it's way into my belly; worse, it would begin to leak out my pores and drift towards the thing growling in the dark. A signal.

Clarity returned and I knew I had to get back inside. A rock? I needed a gun for this type of heroism. Or would that be lunacy? Could the others in the pack be creeping in around me? I knew that even if I did get a second surge of adrenaline I was certainly no match for a wild predator, let alone seven or eight of them. I suddenly felt very squishy. My flesh would rip easily in the jaws of a coyote. The stand off had to end, and I was really hoping for only one conclusion. Me, safe and warm inside with my kitties and a fresh brew.

By now my toes were numb and I was shivering from the cold as well as the energy drain and the fear.I renewed my yelling at the coyote, but it was real words this time- mostly curses. And I started walking slowly, sideways, back towards the house. Somehow there was a stick in one hand that I didn't remember grabbing. It was very light weight, practically useless as a weapon, but I didn't let go of it or my rock. I kept my eyes strained at the darkest shadows to catch any sign of movement, but the growling was fading as I neared sanctuary.

I never ran, but I made it. The warmth was almost painful, and it was hard to unclench my fingers from the rock. My shaking was violent now, the delayed reaction like all the fear of the last ten minutes (or was it an hour?) injected in one concentrated instant. I said "holy crap" about fifty times. When the shaking slowed I called up a friend I knew would be awake at that hour. I had to tell somebody, I needed the calming words of a pal. As I told the story to him, the words took the last of my trembling, and my bones slowly warmed.

I know it was stupid. I'm not superwoman, and I can't take on a pack of coyotes in hand to hand combat. I knew that out on the frosted hill, and I still know it. Next time I'll take a gun. That's right, I said next time. It's one thing to be stupid, but it's another entirely to be a coward. When a loved one's life is on the line, you lift that car off your baby even if it breaks your back. And you don't regret it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm not Superwoman...

What does it mean when you wake up, stumble toward the coffee maker, and find a dirty rock and a branch on your kitchen counter? It means you blame the coyotes for your cats disappearance.

It was late, a little after midnight. I was enjoying a cold can of Miller Light- okay you're right, way too strong a word there. I was drinking a can of Miller and dreaming of a bottle of Gordon Biersch. I was at my computer(of course) when I heard them. Howling and yipping, a whole pack of them, making those yelping screams they do when they've caught something. Maybe something warm and furry, or maybe just a trail. I hear them often, all over the hills that are their territory. I always look, but I've never seen them as a pack, only the occasional loner. And let me say for the record that Arizona coyotes look like wolves. They make the coyotes back home look like little foxes.

This time they weren't off in the distant forest. They weren't in the surrounding area at all. They were in my driveway. You know the standard tale used to illustrate a person's powers when adrenaline flows freely: mother lifts car off baby. Well, when I heard them that close, there was certainly no thinking involved. I'm sure there should have been, though, because the adrenaline the blasted through my system was was accompanied by pure liquid rage. Goodbye rational thought, hello to the woman whose cat just disappeared, the cat she saved from death by injection, the cat who slept tucked under the covers with her.

I barreled outside, roaring and waving my arms above my head like a crazy person. In the half moon light I saw them, dark shapes fleeing in every direction, some to my left, some to my right, some towards the neighbors and some for the hills. I chased them for about 300 feet, (total complete random guess there) and stopped when there was only one left. One that wasn't running.

I still had my beer in hand- I didn't remember running out with it. It didn't feel like a particularly good weapon, so I stooped down and traded it for a rock. As I felt for a big one I realized that crouching down made me look smaller. I kept my eyes locked on the shadow where the last coyote was. The moon light hid it, but I could hear it's growling loud and clear. I yelled at it, unintelligible wordless rage... but I was feeling fear creep in around the edges. I knew that wasn't good- as much as adrenaline could save me, fear could kill me. So I threw the rock and grabbed several more. The coyote backed down the driveway and out of range, but it kept growling and wouldn't go further. It was a stand off.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Maggie May

Maggie disappeared one month ago. She hated the outdoors unless I was there, and still would meow continuously until we went back inside. She slept under my covers every night. I know she loved me and would never leave, so I am having a hard time pretending that she went off to find her way in the world. However, denial is my favorite coping mechanism, so I just don't think about it. Still, I had to explain why I went aggro on a pack of coyotes, so now you know.
I love you, Maggie. Maybe now you and your sister are playing together again.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Lilly is one beautiful lady. People have often asked me if she's purebred. Then, eyes widening when she rolls in the dirt at their feet in greeting, they might ask me if I groom her daily. Truth is, she's a "mutt" from the pound, and the only grooming she gets is whatever she gives her own self. Her brother, handsome boy that he is, looks just like her, facial structure, natural eyeliner, roman nose. Yet he's a pink toed tabby. Well, she has pink toes too, but I was thinking of Maggie, of the black foot tribe, who is also a tabby, but looks nothing like P or L.
Then, admiring Lilly and thinking these random things, I turned down a well worn path: Why do a black cat mom and a white cat dad not have grey kittens? I mean, I understand that Pheonix (yes, I know I spell it "wrong") and Lilly had different dads and the same mom, which, really, is weird enough as is, but it explains their different coloring and same bone structure. But it still doesn't explain the whole "grey" thing. I guess it's kind of a funny irony, that life isn't black and white, but instead many shades of grey- and yet, cats, independent creatures that they are, are black... and white... and orange mottled black with diversity.
However, beautiful and diverse as Lilly and her fellow felines may be, I bet her morning breath is way worse than mine.

I hope I didn't over share with that last picture there, but really, you're lucky I couldn't find the one with the actual squirrel brains leaking out. I'll shush now. I hope I didn't ruin anyone's dinner. I promise, fluffy bunnies tomorrow. Or at least no dead things. Well, maybe a skull.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Moment

A lot can happen in a month, and I'm working on amassing all the info and pics that pertain to my last month. Today is not the day, though; today is a Blog of Silence, in memory of the lives lost on 9/11.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Diamondback Rattler pt 2

Ok I was just kidding again. Found this little snake when I was out for my evening stroll- dusk is my new favorite time to head out into the forest, with the full moon coming up the dark isn't a problem. Anyway, she didn't move until I stepped really close to look at her. Then Maggie saw her and was after her. I hadn't identified it yet and I was like oh crap what if it's poisonous??

Maggie chased her, and though she was a darn fast snake, she stopped "running" and changed her defensive tactics. She curled into a writhing swirling ball, keeping her head tucked in the middle and flailing the tip of her tail as a decoy head. The fact that she wasn't in a more aggressive stance made me pretty sure she was harmless, but I grabbed Maggie away just in case. Plus, I didn't want her to hurt the snake- I wanted to see it closer.

This is what I put her in, for the brief ten minutes of captivity she suffered so I could take some pics. This is just so you can see how small she was- maybe 13 or 14 inches. I never touched her, though. I took my shirt off and threw it over her and then gathered her up. Don't worry, I had a sweatshirt around my waist so no forest animals were subjected to indecent exposure.

Aren't her scales gorgeous? They're like gems.

After I let her go back to nature (exactly where I found her) I went on with my stroll- and not 5 minutes later a HUGE owl swooped across my path, ten feet away from my face. At first I thought it was a crow, because we have a family of some very large crows living here, but then I saw the round head and flat face, and it was bigger than the biggest crow (Wow my brain is not doing well with words today. I took an allergy pill and now I'm all sleepy. At least my nose doesn't itch anymore). It never made a sound or even flapped it's wings. Just glided by. THEN I saw a lightning show better than fireworks. Nature was on a roll last night.

I just realized that I captured an unidentified snake- the same day that I screamed bloody murder because there was a caterpillar by my front door. Mom had to come rescue me by taking it somewhere else. EEEEEEK it wiggled all fast and scary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The snake was really active, too, but that's just not my phobia. Huh. Was Potterman's though. He was a wee bit alarmed when I walked in all proud of my catch. Flying, heights, spiders, small spaces... What's your phobia?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I love abandoned buildings and racists suck

This is an abandoned restaurant/ bar. It fascinates me because I've always wondered what the planet would be like after people. Now, I don't really want humans to to be wiped off the earth, but I would like it if we could all get along. So here's my dilemma: I just met the most racist person I have ever encountered in my life.

This is looking through a hole in the door- of course I imagined a bony hand grabbing my neck as I leaned in and tried to get a shot. I couldn't see much to my right except for a chair... a chair guarding the door? Holding a phantom bouncer? The real reason (suuuure) I couldn't go inside is because of the hantavirus. Also called the Hunta virus. It's found in rodent droppings and saliva, and you can get it just from inhaling air where rodent droppings lay- aka, abandoned buildings. Too bad this slipped my mind earlier in the day when I walked through an abandoned auto shop. Anyway, it's something like 99% fatal- out of all reported cases in the U.S., only two people have ever survived, both teens. In fact, the little girl who my Mom does the Big Sister program with- her mother died of it.

So, when I meet people as racist as the one I did, I think it's why I am drawn to places like this. This guy, well, I'm sorry to go into details, but I need to explain why I wanted to bash his face in. I was saying that there are some gorgeous people of Japanese heritage, and Mexican, too. Heck, any one can be gorgeous on the outside, you all know I'm more of the inner beauty type, but there's nothing wrong with seeing a person's physical beauty. And he said, "yeah, if you like f#%&*@ donkeys and monkeys". I stared at him in horror and disgust. "I'm not racist," he says, "I just don't think species should mix".

I probably couldn't have kicked his ass, but my blood was boiling. I had to settle for ignoring him the rest of the evening, but I haven't been able to get it out of my mind. To me, he is what is wrong with this world. Live together or die alone, right? And the worst thing is, if I am intolerant of him, how can I hold his racism against him? Aren't I supposed to be all Gandhi and Martin Luther King about it? Set an example or something? And if I can't forgive and love and not want to kill people like that, I certainly can't see him changing, either. So, maybe, these abandoned buildings embody that feeling of lost hope for me. I know that being positive is the best bet, but sometimes, when I meet people like that, it feels foolish. How do we, all humans together, get a fresh start?

Somehow I have to accept people like that dude, and people like that have to do some accepting as well. Or these decrepit buildings really are our future.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Confessions of an Addict

There's my work space. Hey, it's a trailer, kay? And no, I'm not referring to the two computers (both hooked up the internet and both usually on). Although I guess it could be a habbit. A good one, I swear. Look closer.

Hey there's Leo! He ALWAYS steals my spot! He doesn't let me get up for two seconds before he yoinks it. That's Stephen King's The Stand- the extended version YAY 1200 pages of entertainment!!! It was my third time reading it. I guess that, too, could be considered one of my addictions- reading. I definitely have withdrawls if I go too long with out.

But let's look a little closer. Can you guess what's in my purse? Potterman couldn't, but he didn't get a peek. Also, it's not exactly your standard purse content.

It's NOT 20 packets of Taco Bell Fire Sauce. There were only 19.

I live 35 miles from Taco Bell!! Oooooh, I just got to go the other day, too. I went with my gf Flower, and it turns out she loves Taco Bell, too!!! We were so excited. (Can you believe it, I have a real live friend not related to me- not to diss my best friends who are family- or online AND I left home??)

Anyway, this isn't just a little taste of the fast food world, it's entertainment! Here are some quotes from my stash:

Ahhh... we meet again. (I'm happy, too.)
I collect straws.
This space for rent. Inquire within.
Help! I can't tell where I am. It's dark and I hear laughing.
Scratch & Sniff: Gotcha!
The feeling is mutual. (Oh yeah it is)
Marry me. (YES!!)

It's addiction, but it's also a love- love relationship.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Operation Tumbleweed pt. 2

I was out getting my zen on pulling tumbleweeds- BAD TREE HUGGER!!!!! - and usually I like to make a big pile, or bag full, so I can see my progress. It's more gratifying that way. Mom and Potterman were "down in the valley". See, I'm like totally local now. Back home people talked about "over the hill" not as an age reference lol but referring to San Jose- I know this is duh for pretty much every one who will read this, but just in case- well, here, going to the big city is "going to the valley". Like when someone speeds through town, "oh, they're from the VALLEY" (roll eyes).
When I'm getting my zen on, my brain does NOT get quiet and peaceful. It goes into maximum overdrive. I get all kinds of ideas, and if someone were to walk up without my knowing, they might witness me laughing to myself. Yup, out loud, at some amusing thought I just had. Well, this was one of those ideas. And as soon as I thought it, I got all panicked. What if they got home before I was done????? That would spoil the effect to say the least! So, sweating like crazy (tmi?) I did some record breaking weed harvesting, and a bit of giggling to myself as well. Close to the line of crazy? Maybe, but I never cross it, I swear. Hmmmm.... unless I'm giggling when running through a dead forest in a lightning storm... nevermind that.

I finished before they made it home- actually now that I remember that day, they weren't in the valley. They came home at different times and Mom saw it and Potterman was like, what the heck are those squiggles and lines on the pavement?

LOL I crack myself up. And NO I do not have too much time on my hands!! would you say that to a farmer spraying pesticides? I'm a farmer, man, organic even, AND an artist. The first photo will totally be in National Geographic. Yeah, that's it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Leonidus the Ewok

This is my newest family member. (It was about 90 degrees that day and the bathtub was nice and cool- all my plants are outside on a field trip.) Leonidus is 2 years old. He weighs four pounds and will never get bigger, except maybe fatter, and his muzzle is inverted.

See this close up? That is the exact underside of his head- you can see both sides of his strange little mouth/ jaw line. His cheks stick out further than his itty bitty, always running nose. Poor guy, I think it's partly his inbread persian heritage and partly maybe allergies, so I ordered some runny eye/ nose medicine for cats from petmeds- for his sake I sure hope it works.

When he plays too hard he starts wheezing and snorting, much to the terror of Pheonix and Lilly. Thay do NOT know what to make of the strange creature running around in the garden. But you know what? Maggie and him are best friends!!!! They chase each other all over the place and it cracks me up. I felt really guilty about getting a new kitty after Sebastian died, but I also felt terrible for Maggie. L & P tolerate her to an extent, but I wanted her to have a friend again. I was worried, too- what if I got a new cat and they didn't get along?? You can imagine the sloppy grin on my face when I see them play together.

So that's Leo's story. He was a purebred reject who needed a home, whose only companion was a chihuahua that kept him hiding behind the couch, and he had probably never even seen the outdoors. I'm just glad he wasn't declawed. Now he is the happiest little snorty snuffler and, on monday when the medicine comes, hopefully he'll just be happy. I love outcasts. And I love my Leonidus.

P.S. Thanks for the bird identification, Dad! :) I knew I could count on you! I have a book and I tried, but the closest I got was MAYBE some kind of nuthatch. Or maybe a wren. Or maybe... well, like I said, good thing I got you lol.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pine Cone Bird Feeders

Okay lemme first defend myself by saying that I didn't have any string, just ribbon. No wait, that wasn't what I wanted to defend. Oh yeah. The whole do or don't feed the wild birds thing. Well, for a long time I bought into the whole anti side. "If you feed them they will forget how to forage for themselves" and, "then if you STOP feeding them they will DIE!!!!!!" But I started thinking that if birds have, say, a favorite berry bush that dies... well, they find another one. And I just can't believe that mother nature would be that dumb to make critters that can survive thousands of years (generation wise) that would die just from one food source drying up. And if that REALLY is the case... well, it's going to sound awful but.... more food for the next critter in the chain o' life. I really, really doubt that my feeding the birds can extinct a species. There. I said it.
So I did what I have always wanted to do, and made these feeders. I tucked peanut butter in all the nooks and crannies of these pinecones and then coated them with seeds. Then I hung 'em up and within a day there were these cute little black gray and white birds all chirping and fluttering right out side my window. In just a few days they had cleaned them 'cones better n' a dishwasher. (I wish I had a dishwasher) So I have been re-coating the cones maybe once a week- they stand empty for a few days SO THERE the birds still have to forage! LOL But man those lil birds make me smile with their acrobatics. And I swear I can tell they're getting fatter. They make me happy and I think it's mutual.

P.S. I am totally Martha Stewart for birds.