Posted in family, humor

Lemon cucumbers, squirrels and water guns

Looks like my sister arrived at her remote destination in Wyoming . . .

Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 7:58 PM, Mary to me:

Hey, wanted to let you know that I have internet access from this place, but  not cell coverage.  I’ll check it a couple of times a day and when I’m out and about, check my cell phone just in case you need me!

Wed, Jul 25, 2012, at 10:53 AM, me to Mary:

You may have internet access but it is waaaaaaaaaaaay slow getting out of there. I just got this. I tried your cell phone this morning . . . where is the dust pan? Laundry detergent? I’m about to go buy them.

Lemon cucumbers. Good for target practice. Look pretty in a basket. That’s about it. Image from

Everything here is fine. Tahlia follows me everywhere and sleeps with me. I brush her daily and she says to tell you she doesn’t miss you. Don either. Carmine is like Max. He talks to me and flops over until I pet him. Then he gets up, moves and waits until I go to him and pet him some more. Then he moves and waits for me to go to him again. I’ve seen every square inch of your house. The Zack is a bit more stand-offish but is being really good about his medicine. By the way, they both say they don’t miss you and that you shouldn’t bother to come home. They like all the extra treats I give them and Zackie especially likes the fresh ahi I buy him every day!

The garden is doing well. I am using the cucumbers as targets for the water gun. I have cut down the lavender and the crepe myrtle. (Did I tell you I hate crepe myrtle, too? Why does everyone in the Sacramento Valley plant crepe myrtle??) I’m making friends with the squirrels. They let me know their feeders are empty by banging the wooden lids at 5 am. So cute. Not. I am going to use the back fence they run along as an arcade. You know, “run, run, run, duck!” I am filling the water gun now and will be ready at 5 tomorrow morning.

Precious little buggers! They are an institution in Sacramento. Lots of trees equal lots of cute squirrels. Image from animalcontrolsacramento

I am not laying by the pool. I am not reading. I am not sleeping. I am not watching TV. I am not having fun. And, I am not seeing my friends. There is too much work to be done. I can’t find anything. I don’t miss my husband think I will go home.*

Please have fun. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be here watering, feeding cats, taking out trash, looking for cotton balls, breaking fingernails, calling you names, singing camp songs to the walls, deleting programs from your computer, drinking all your wine, draining the pool (since I don’t have time to use it), driving your car to a mall and leaving it with the doors open and a sign on it that says “strip me, please” (by, the way, what’s the worst section of town these days?), and selling all your stuff on eBay for $.99.

Your sister

Bring it! Image from

PS. Send chocolate

*The last person who house sat for my sister for two weeks called her about three days in and said she missed her husband too much and was going home. Personally, I think the unreasonable work load and the cucumbers drove her away.

Posted in family, life, musings, people, places, wellness

I’ll fly away . . . it’s better than ironing pillow cases

Californians and their cars. *shakes head* But that’s another post.

Guy West Bridge on the American River Parkway at California State College, Sacramento. It was modeled after the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Image from

I took a wonderful walk along the American River Parkway this morning, which, oddly enough, runs along . . . you guessed it, the American River! It’s also known as the Jedidiah Smith Memorial Trail and is apparently one of the best paths for serious bicyclists. It covers more than 32 miles along one of Sacramento’s two famous rivers, the other being . . . the Sacramento. Gee, isn’t this easy? But, this really isn’t a history lesson, although with the discovery of gold near here in the mid-1800s and the pursuant gold rush, it could easily become one.

Nope, this is just a thought bubble about the little differences between my sister and I that came to mind this morning during my walk. It’s been about 40 years since we left home and at least 35 since we shared living space for more than a couple of weeks. We learned the same ways of doing things as kids but I’m always surprised to discover how we’ve changed as we’ve grown older and led our separate lives. The little things. Silly things.

I use a sponge at the kitchen sink. She uses a cloth. She rolls her toilet paper from under, mine rolls over the top. She dusts with one of those fluffy things. I use one of those magnetic cloths. I have a box of Kleenex in every room and a waste basket in nearly every room. She has tissues only in the bathroom and you need GPS to find figure out where to dispose of a used one.

She feeds her cats Science Diet (dry) and metes it out like it’s gold to keep them in shape. I put out a mix of dry food (some healthy, some not so) and leave it out and full 24/7. Her cats were skinny as youngsters and are fat oldsters. Mine were chubby young ones and are skinnier as they get older. (Her cats are disciplined, like she is. Mine are, well, like me!)

She has every hair in place at all times. She irons her sheets. I fall down laughing when people iron pillow cases and my hair is still looking for a “place.” *Please send a map.*

These and other tiny little things only come into focus when we’re with each other or in each other’s space, like now. I’m house sitting for her while she and her husband are off to see friends in Wyoming for a couple of weeks. I’m responsible for keeping her cats and garden alive. The first is easy — her cats are so easy and I love them. They have their demands, of course, what cat doesn’t — meds for one, rules for another, drinks of water from the bathroom sink every night for the other.

It’s the garden that is hard. I have a whole new respect for the woman I so gleefully dubbed the Tomato Witch even as I devoured her heirloom tomatoes. Now, of course, I know why she has such beautiful produce. She spends at least two hours a day watering and tending her vegetables, fruit and flowers. Whew. I promised to keep it all alive except for the lavender (which makes me sneeze) and the cucumbers and bell peppers which hate me as much as I hate them!

Time spent with my sister is always special. Having lost a sister, we treasure our time together even more. Being alone in her house (my husband stayed home for work) — snuggling her cats, looking at her things, tending her garden, browsing her book titles, seeing her framed art work, looking at her photo albums, enjoying the secluded sitting areas she’s created in her yard, discovering hidden statues and treasures in her flower beds, laughing at her refrigerator magnets (yup, she has tons) and just taking the time to feel my sister like this is a special pleasure.

It tells me, too, that the little things don’t matter at all. Even if she irons her pillow cases and her jeans, she’s still the kid I tried to ditch when my mom made me take her out to play with me, the one I cried to when Tommy broke my heart, and the one who was such a nerd in 7th grade that she wore a white turtle neck under everything, everywhere — even to bed — for a whole year, because she thought her collar bones stuck out and were ugly. Man, I’m glad she can’t read this blog.

Just to leave you with a beautiful tune, here’s one of my favorite tracks from the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack, my walking music this morning. Loved the movie and love the music. I know the words are actually kind of sad but the harmony and music are lovely. Sorry that I don’t know how to download just the music. Still, enjoy the movie clips.

Posted in cats, life


Seems like just a day or two ago that I posted some pictures of my cats in all kinds of ridiculously comfortable positions, among them this one of Mooch.

And now I find myself having to post the picture below, also of Mooch, and say that we lost him today. It was a tough choice but he’d developed a brain tumor that was causing him to lose his balance and fall over.

As any animal owner knows, it’s the hardest decision you have to make. And you swear you’ll never bring another one into your home and your heart because it’s so very hard to have to put them down or see them die. But you always do.

They bring so much joy to your life when they are with you. Mooch was with us eight exasperating years. He was feral when we found him, lurking about our back deck, hoping for food. I’m a sucker for all cats and immediately started feeding him. My cats loved him and they’d all play together. But then, even in snow, he’d go back to the woods and wetlands behind our house to sleep at night.

He’d be back in the morning for more handouts and to lounge about the deck with our other cats. We finally captured him, had him neutered, chipped, and got his shots and he began to mellow a bit. He joined us on walks to the beach or through the wetlands with the other cats, and eventually began coming in the house to sleep now and then.

But being an adult feral when we got him, he was never going to be completely tamed. And, while he eventually deigned to sleep on our bed at night, in eight years we were never allowed to touch him, except for those once a year vet visits that meant trauma for him and an emergency room visit for me.

This time, the cost to him and to us became too much. Aside from the actual costs, I just couldn’t bear the idea of putting him through repeated vet visits because he got so completely traumatized each time. So, today I stood in the vet’s office crying and finally said, no, let’s put him down.

They sedated him and for the first time in our lives together, I got to really pet him, rub his head and belly and that special place on his back that he’d gotten too fat to reach himself. I was there for the end and glad for the chance even though it was painful. I didn’t want him to die without the opportunity pet him and let him know how much he meant to me.

I like to think we both won in the end. He had a safe and loving home for eight years and I finally got to touch him! I had seven years of knowing the sweetest, most frustrating cat I’ll likely ever own and I loved every minute of it.

Bye, sweet Mooch.

Posted in humor, life

Nothing special, just cats

My sister sent this to me today. Supposedly found posted near the bottom of her friend’s refrigerator door (at cat eye-level).

Dear Dogs and Cats:

The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn’t help because I fall faster than you can run.

Continue reading “Nothing special, just cats”