Thursday, October 28, 2004


Onyx is my almost Halloween kitty. He is a tuxedo cat; black with white feet, neck and belly. He is so amazingly lovable.

Onyx is from another of Mama cat's litters. We gave a litter to a young couple, one that was between Silver and Sapphire, and Onyx and his litter mates. His early life was quite interesting, to say the least. When he was still outside, as a tiny guy, my neighbor came to the house with him and a brother. She said she was keeping the brother, who is a Siamese mix, and I should take the tuxedo kitty to the animal shelter.

I kept him in the house for a day or two, but then took him to the shelter. I was asked whether or not he had bitten me, and I said only kitten bites. I found out within a day or so, that the shelter would only try to find a home for him the first day, then put him to sleep. I called them and said I wanted him back and was told that he was in quarantine for ten days because he bit me.

I waited for the ten days, then showed up on their doorstep before opening time, so that I would be able to get him back. That was a real hassle. They told me I needed ID, proof that I was the one that took him there. After all that was solved, I went back to the cage area, and there he was with a big sign on his cage - BITER. How did they expect anyone to adopt him?

When he saw me, he started pacing back and forth, crying and crying. This, after only having known me for a day or so, almost two weeks earlier. The shelter attendant even remarked about his reaction to me. He had lost weight, and really was a pound kitty. He weighed one pound, according to the vet where we took him for a checkup. It cost me quite a bit of money to buy back the kitten that I had taken there in the first place. I held him all the way home and he was such a happy kitten.

Onyx has had some health problems, basically urinary tract blockages, and has spent some time in the hospital. When he was there for four days, he wouldn't speak to us when we would go visit. The vet had told us to visit him every day, and also asked us to try to get him to eat. When I got him home, he spent very much time on my lap, and still does. He is still a fairly young cat.

He is an expensive kitty, and is responsible for a big cat food bill. He needs special food, so we feed all of the cats that food, to facilitate matters. This is to prevent further urinary problems.

I do love him, though. His fur is so silky. He is too slippery to hang on to when you are trying to pick him up. He is very huggable. He is my almost Halloween kitty.


Blogger was playing Halloween tricks with my last post. I tried to post last night, then this morning, to no avail. My post was a ghost. I tried this afternoon, and was successful, but there were three Halloween posts instead of one. They had the dates and times that I had submitted them. Very interesting!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004



Halloween was always great fun when I was young. I lived in town and could safely go to houses on all of the streets. For some reason, I do not remember ever having bad weather on the night of Trick or Treating, but I am sure that there were times when it was cold and rainy, maybe even snowy.

Walking along with my siblings and friends was wonderful, scuffing through the autumn leaves, listening to the crunch. Some nights it was balmy, other nights there was a crispness in the air. I still remember the sounds and the smells of fall, the laughter of all the other kids in town, as the sidewalks were always overflowing with kids of all ages. We would have bags full of treats to take home. In those days, it was even safe to accept apples, baked goods, homemade candy.

In the sixties, when my own children were very young, I lived in the same town for a few years, across the street from the house where I had lived throughout my childhood. My parents and youngest siblings still lived in the house at the time, and my brothers and sister went trick or treating with us. The autumn air was still the same; the streets and houses had hardly changed at all. It seemed that even the same leaves were on the sidewalks for my children to scuff through. I walked with them to trick or treat, then accompanied them to a Halloween party at the same school that I had attended.

I don’t remember what I wore as a costume in my own youth, but I very clearly remember the costumes that I made for my children. My oldest was dressed as George Washington. I used a pair of black pants that he had, and caught them up below the knees with a ribbon. He wore these over white stockings. He wore a white shirt, and a black coat that I made. I completed his outfit with a crocheted doily ruffled up at the neck, lace attached to the sleeves, and a white colonial wig drawn back with a black ribbon.

The girls were easy. I was always making dresses for them, so I designed long dresses, made with very pretty fabrics. I continued with the colonial motif, making a dressy gown for my second child. She was dressed in a beautiful brown taffeta that was almost iridescent, with lace trim. My third youngest had a gown with a grey top and a flowered skirt. Both of these gowns had long sleeves. All three children looked great. My fourth child was too young at the time to be involved in the tricks and treats and the party and parade at the school at night.

When we were at the school, there was costume judging in the gym as all of the town’s children marched to music in a huge circle. My oldest daughter has just reminded me that she chickened out of the parade and costume judging. I don’t remember that part.

My son won a prize for his George Washington costume. This particular costume won a prize every time one of my children wore it. My youngest son used it as a Mozart costume. I can’t even remember how many times we used it and it was always a winner. It seems to me that the gowns won prizes at some point, but that particular part of the memories may be lost. Perhaps they were classroom prizes.

My daughter in Florida asked me what happened to the costumes when we discussed what I would write, but that is another memory that is lost to me.

Sunday, October 24, 2004



Wow! I spent a lot of the day watching movies yesterday. I went to see "Shall We Dance?", starring Richard Gere. Great way to spend a rainy afternoon. I loved the movie - dance is a particular favorite. I thought Gere was great, and J Lo is also a wonderful dancer. There were a few surprises for me as far as the dancing goes - Stanley Tucci was amazing, and a former buddy from a favorite TV show, Third Watch, Bobby Cannavale, also did an admirable job on the dance floor. The setting, Chicago, was of particular interest to me because I always go sightseeing there when I am taking the train from Buffalo to California. I have a five or six hour layover on the trip west.

Last night I watched two good movies on TV. "The Rising Place" was about an unwed mother in the South during World War II. Then, the blockbuster "Henry V", with a young Kenneth Branagh, kept my interest for over two hours. I am able to totally immerse myself in Shakespeare. I love the flow of the words. I do not live in Buffalo any longer, therefore I can not go to Shakespeare in the Park. This has become a summer institution, initiated while I was living there. The kids and I could walk there, as Delaware Park was a block away, and we went to the performances of each play more than once.

I do not usually watch so many movies in one day, but I still managed to work on projects and get some housework done.

Thursday, October 21, 2004



More cat stories: Silver is Sapphire's litter mate, and weighs the same - around 18 pounds. When the Mama cat had that litter, I saw her carrying the kittens from a boat at a guy's trailer to a new hiding place, under a trailer near me. Silver was the first kitten I saw. Even though he was only a few days old, he seemed to be a hefty little white cuddly thing. Sapphire was the next one to be carried. He was also white and squirming so much that she dropped him several times.

Eventually, Mama brought them under my porch steps, after taking them to several locations. There was also a tabby, but she forgot to bring that one to my house and I didn't know it existed. My neighbor brought it to me the morning after the mama moved them here. She had heard it crying in the night and went to investigate in the morning, finding it by reaching through a hole in a shed. We brought all three babies in the house, as a raccoon was hanging around the steps, and discovered that the kitten we named Sapphire was the runt and couldn't eat - I had to bottle feed him. The tabby only survived for a week; he had pneumonia.

Many people wanted these babies when they saw them. We took them in a carrier to antique shows so that we could take care of them all of the time. Silver was so funny. I would put both tiny kittens on a newspaper on a table, after Sapphire could eat out of a dish, and the two would eat opposite each other. Silver would inevitably fall asleep with his face in the food, sucking loudly. We started calling him "Doofus".

He is still the same cat that we met when he was a kitten. Just the color has changed. Both kittens went through the period of getting their Siamese points, except that Sapphire resembled a Siamese more than Silver did. Both cats became grey adults, but Silver is more silver. He has some tabby markings, on his forehead, and tail. His blue eyes are crossed, and he has a hard time seeing things that you hold out to him.

Much of the time, he reminds us of a cougar - his face, and his walk. He is aggressive toward the others, but is a sweetheart with us - a big baby, always wanting attention. He is very photogenic, but is still a doofus, a booby. He falls off the bed or couch - rolls right off. He is the biggest talker of all the cats and won't stop talking until you answer him and give him lots of cuddles.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Niagara Falls


I wrote the Taughannock Falls story for my creative writing class - supposedly one of my earliest memories.

I failed to mention that a friend and co-worker of mine at City Hall, in Buffalo, New York, committed suicide by going over Niagara Falls Easter weekend, 1978. I have always had a very hard time dealing with that, and with the guilt I have felt in knowing that most likely a conversation I had with him the last day of work before he took his own life caused him to make that decision. It has been a difficult thing to live with.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Taughannock Falls


Taughannock Falls, in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, is 215 feet tall, set in a 400 foot gorge. Its waters empty into Cayuga Lake. The waterfall is 33 feet higher than Niagara Falls, highest free-falling waterfall in the North Eastern United States, and one of the highest of any kind east of the Rocky Mountains. Taughannock Falls State Park is around fifteen miles from my childhood home.

One of my earliest memories is of being there with my mother and father. It is not a memory that I cherish. It is a dark memory that lurks in the inner spaces of my consciousness. I wonder whether or not all very small children have retained memories of very scary places where they went with their parents.

My father took me to the edge of the gorge, at the lookout point, where there is a stone wall. I vividly remember that he threw a tree branch into the gorge to see how long it took to hit the bottom. His throwing that branch over the edge was the basis of many nightmares over the ensuing years.

Dad loved waterfalls and was always visiting them in our area and all over New York State. He took us with him. The area where I lived had many falls in gorges that emptied into Cayuga and Seneca Lakes.

I took my own children to the same types of places, including Taughannock. We went to many gorges and waterfalls up and down the East Coast, some of them a number of times. Niagara Falls, the gorge and several falls at Letchworth, Watkins Glen, Ausable Chasm, several waterfalls in the Finger Lakes Area, Yellowstone, Yosemite, The Grand Canyon; all were seen by my children when they were very young.

I left the two youngest in the car while the older two stepped out right in front of the car with us to look over the railing at the Grand Canyon, because I didn’t want the smallest ones near the railing. I was always nervous having children at Niagara Falls, also. The kids have never really told me that they have had a lifelong fear caused by being exposed to waterfalls and gorges, although the girls are just as nervous with their children as I was with mine. I would get a weak-in-the-knees feeling if they were close to the railings, and had more nightmares. Why did we go there?

My aunt and uncle, parents of my closest cousin, lived on a farm near Cayuga Lake. Almost immediately behind their barn was a 125 foot waterfall, Sheldrake Falls, in a 150 foot gorge, according to figures I grew up with. You could barely step around the corncrib without falling over the edge, even though my cousin and I did just that. We also played in the corncrib, and when it was empty, we played house in there. We hiked what we called the Indian Path, high on the sides of the upper creek banks, all of the time, any time of the year. We always loved being there.

When we weren’t in the upper creek, we hiked in the gorge. There was a very long path down the side of the gorge, around a bend and at one end of a field. It was a wonderful walk through the gorge to the bottom of the waterfall, along the shale banks of the creek, occasionally through the water via stepping stones, to the great swimming hole at the bottom of the falls. Bumping into an occasional snake was a bit unsettling, but I survived. One summer, when there was not so much water going over the falls, she and I decided to climb to the top. The rock was like ledges in the face of the falls, so it was possible to do so, and I did alright until I was half way to the top. Then a snake appeared, startled me, and I slipped on my backside all the way to the bottom over the mossy rocks. I don’t like snakes, and I didn’t try to climb back up.

This waterfall is one that I visited with my children many times, and my cousin’s brother still owns the farm. I have had nightmares about the place most of my life. It is strange that people continue to do things that upset them. I would go there now, if given the opportunity, because it is a place of great beauty, as is Taughannock, a few miles south of Sheldrake Falls. I would go, and I would have nightmares.

My Mother


The train seemed to inch its way across the country, from California to New York State – three days and three nights, then another day because it was eight hours late reaching my destination. I had no cell phone, therefore I could not call my sister to check on my mother, until I reached Toledo. I rushed into the station to let Dottie know that she should do other things that day, until I reached the station where I would leave the train and attempt to catch a bus to a city near her home. The bus was an hour late, also, so things were not going well at all. I did not have a chance to see my mother that day.

During the night, Mom was taken to the hospital in the ambulance, as she had fallen again and couldn’t get off the kitchen floor. She had a Lifeline bracelet, and could push the button to summon help. Dottie did not wake me, as she knew I was tired. When I woke up, I found a note from her stating that she was at the hospital, and would return to get me.

I saw my mother for the first time when the ambulance returned her to her home, that day. They had kept her over night, but sent her home because they couldn’t do anything for her. It was the first I had seen her in almost a year.

I had originally planned on going to New York State in July, but my mother was getting worse, and I decided that I needed to be there. I couldn’t go in May, because I had a flu-type illness, and I wanted to be sure that I had recovered. At the end of April, Mom had fallen, spent the night on the floor, and suffered a fractured pelvis. She spent three weeks in the hospital, and was not in very good condition at all.

Her biggest problem was that she had barely any circulation in her left foot and leg. She had the artery replaced in her right leg years before that, but it was too late to do anything about the left leg. Gangrene would eventually set in and it would be the end.

I was able to spend two weeks with Mom, helping my three sisters take care of her. It was difficult, as we are not nurses, and didn’t always know exactly what to do. It became a case of helping her with medications, meals, housekeeping, but most of all, companionship. There were times when she mostly slept, because of the pain medication. At other times, she was very alert and wanted to visit, to look at her flowers that we had brought to her from her garden, and to sit looking out the sliding glass doors at plants a sister brought to her from the store where she works.

The day before she returned to the hospital because she could no longer stand the agony, she was showing me the tags from plants and bushes that she had saved in a shoe box for years, with dates and the names of the people that had given them to her. This was precipitated by a bouquet I made for her with one of her favorite lilies, and a blossom from “Garden Party”, a rose bush that I had given her years earlier.

The next night, she was in such pain that we could no longer do anything for her. My nephew talked her into going in the ambulance once again, and he rode with her. He is with a fire department and has worked on ambulances. My three sisters, a brother, and his wife, all went to the emergency room, and had to insist that they keep her this time, stating that we could not care for her. We knew it was time, time for the morphine drip. Her foot and leg were so bad, that it hurt all of us to look at it.

It was around 1:00 A.M. by then, so they finally checked her in and planned to put her in a room soon. Her general practitioner showed up, and couldn’t believe how much she had deteriorated. The vascular surgeon’s assistant seemed to be more involved with her care at that point. Around mid-day, they started the morphine drip and removed all medications, and nourishment. She still managed to be in and out of consciousness, and speak to some of us in whispers – alert almost to the end. I believe she knew that not all of her eight children had made it to see her yet.

Many children and grandchildren were in and out of her room, keeping vigil, as it were. She went into the hospital Wednesday night, and took her last breaths Sunday night. Everyone had gone to a small lounge to eat fast food, but I went back to the room to get a small can of pop, courtesy of the hospital. I met one sister in the hall. She was just returning from her home. She went into the room with me and I went up to the bed to give my mother another morphine push, then noticed that her breathing was completely different. I walked outside the door to get her nurse, then quickly went back to the bedside to spend my mother’s last few minutes on this earth talking to her, comforting her. My sister stood at the foot of the bed, then decided to go get the others from the lounge.

I was so happy that I was the one to be with my mother, kissing her goodbye. I was afraid that I would not be able to get there in time, and, after all, I am the first-born.

Monday, October 18, 2004

More Flowers


Annie's Annuals held a Fall Planting Party this past weekend, so I decided to go on Saturday. I was going to buy one plant, but ended up with almost a tray full of 4" pots, then went back later for more. There were refreshments, games, prizes, two guys playing steel drums, face painting for the kids, and a large, cheerful crowd of people oohing and aahing over unusual plants.

You use little red wagons to load up with your treasures, and I was stopped many times by men and women asking about the items I had in mine - "Oh, that's beautiful, - what is it?" "Where did you find it?" It is a great way to start conversations.

I am sure my hummingbird will love some of my selections. I chose at least three salvias - one almost electric blue. One is a beautiful blend of pink and mauve. A tall, single, bright red dahlia is a showstopper. I have it just outside my sliding glass doors on the porch so I can see it all the time.

It is night as I write this, and I can't even remember what I bought. I'll have to check in the daylight hours and write another note. I did get a white passion flower with purple center. The one I had already is a purple one. I also got a new, for me, digitalis - foxglove. It is strawberry colored. Mine that I have had for a couple of years (it has spread like crazy in the pot) is white.

Several other new items, in my little garden, are sure to give me lots of pleasure. I am running out of room, though.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The Grief Goes On


My internet buddy's daughter did not survive her injuries. I feel so sorry for him. I have kept track of the situation through the internet, on local TV and newspaper websites where she lived. She was a high school English teacher, a passenger in a vehicle, on her way to the school. The accident was caused by a woman in another car. I think about it a lot of the time, even though I never met her.

There is still smoke here, and it is very hard to breathe. There is another fire, in the mountains this time, and the smoke is in the Bay Area. The sky has a very strange color and feel. Yesterday, the atmosphere gave me a feeling of foreboding for a good share of the day. Last night, the sun was an amazing "shocking pink", as in Schiaparelli, unlike any sun I remember seeing for a long time. I am glad that I was able to witness the sight.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I've Arrived


...maybe. Today was my second writing class, and toward the end of the class, a bit after I had read two entries aloud that I had prepared for today, my instructor invited me (only me) to join a writing group in El Sobrante that she has belonged to for 35 years. She likes my work, and thinks it would be good for me to be a member of the group.

We'll see how it works out. It is an evening class, and I am to the point where I never go out in the evening. If I go to a movie, it is in the daytime.

Anyway, it is nice to get my brain working. Makes me feel like it has been on vacation for years.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004



Many years ago, my father accompanied me to school to help me choose my courses for my high school years. It was an evening when I was in eighth grade, and I was excited about the school years in my future. I was a very good student, and loved school.

My Art teacher tried to convince my father that I should major in Art, as I had always been one of his “favorite” students. I still remember today a sculpture of a fawn at rest that I had worked on from memory – not even a photo. When my teacher fired the fawn, he did not return it to me. He wanted to keep it. I was always a bit sad about that.

I was even less happy when my father basically refused to allow me to major in Art. He said that I would never be able to make a living in that field. It was decided that I should major in Math, Science, and French, with a minor in Business. I suppose that was OK, in a way, as I did very well in those subjects. They were challenging and kept my interest.

It was arranged by the Principal and Guidance Counselor at my school, near the completion of the high school years, that I go to college in Albany, New York, at what was then a State Teachers’ College, now part of the SUNY system. They wanted me to be a math teacher, and the college had accepted me, thanks to these two men, who were neighbors and close friends. Somehow, I lost interest in doing this after I started working for a living. I was just realizing, also, that my parents were definitely unable to afford to send me to school. I was the oldest of many children, and it just wasn’t going to happen. I was notified by the college that they had a dorm room saved for me, but I was beginning to think about going away to New York City to get a job.

I did go to New York, and got a fantastic job. It was interesting, exciting, and started me on my way to becoming completely interested in people from other countries, cultures. I was introduced to the wonderful world of retail, in the import offices of a very upscale company.

I worked for a while, then married the man I met when I first went to New York, an accountant from back home, in the area near where I grew up. After we had already had our first child, I received notification that I could use the last year of a scholarship for college. Apparently the person who was using the scholarship dropped out, and I was an alternate. It was too late – not possible at the time.

I just realized one day, very recently, that I did not go to school for a reason other than finances. I had no interest in being a math teacher. It has taken me forty-seven years to come up with this mind-boggling revelation. I must be slow.

I have spent much time thinking about Art and Art History in the past year or two because I have a wonderful granddaughter, Allison, who is majoring in Art History (and languages) at Duke University in North Carolina. She is in her third year, and at this time is in Madrid for the semester, continuing with her Art History studies. I am so envious, but I am so happy for her. She is doing what she wants to do, and she is a fantastic student – achieving so much through her years in elementary and high school.

In the sixties, I started painting, using mostly acrylics, but also working in oils a bit. I did this while I was being a mom, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have also traveled to museums in many cities in this country and France. Collecting art books has been a favorite thing to do for many years, and now I can visit world famous museums on the internet.

At the time that I realized I never wanted to be a math teacher, I started thinking about the subjects I had taken in high school. Yes, math was OK, and I was the only female student in a class of males – girls didn’t take that stuff then, at least not in my school. Achieving a score of 100 on the Trigonometry Regents was indeed exciting, but my homeroom teacher was unable to get me into the General Motors Institute, as they "didn’t have facilities for girls".

I can’t think of any way that I have used those math courses since leaving high school, except perhaps in the most minor way. The same applies to the science courses. French is good, because I still remember it, can read it, and can understand people when they speak it. I have used art throughout my life, not only for personal enjoyment, but in a profession that I chose when I became self-employed as an antique dealer. You need art when you study antiques, and I spent many years learning to do what I do. I have also sold art in the past, along with collecting it. Architecture fits right in with the art. I have always studied great architecture, in books and in my travels. The same applies to photography. I have had a camera since I was a kid, and in the 70’s, I belonged to the Buffalo Science Museum Camera Club. I learned a lot then, and won some ribbons.

I loved my father dearly, and still think about him all of the time, fifteen years after his death. He was one of a kind, and hundreds of people loved and respected him – he had his own business and was well known. His choice for my high school years was based on popular thinking of the time. I do not have any ill feelings toward him for not allowing me to do what I wanted to do.

I should tell my granddaughter that she is a girl right after my own heart, doing what I always wanted to do. I don’t believe that I have told her that.



It has been difficult to concentrate today. I was awake a lot of the night, thinking about my internet buddy. His daughter was horribly injured in an accident on the way to work yesterday, and I have spent over 24 hours wondering how things are going. They live in separate states on the East Coast.

It is still very hot here, and the air is full of smoke from the fires north of us. Those who have health problems were warned to remain indoors today.

It has been too hot to work very hard, but I have managed to continue on my project of sorting books. I am almost finished, then I have to figure out the hardest part - moving them out of my living room.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004



More on the smoke - The Rumsey Fire, burning in Napa and Yolo Counties, is a 23,000 acre fire at this time, and has been sending smoke and ash south to all of us in the Bay Area today.

People with health problems have been advised to stay indoors tomorrow, with no relief in sight until later in the week. The temperature in San Pablo has been in the high 80's today.



Something is burning somewhere. I can smell the smoke. I was out and about running errands for a couple of hours, and there is a haze in the hills. San Pablo Bay, just a tiny bit north of me was not visible.

It has been very hot and dry here. I believe they said on the news that it is the dryest it has been in twenty-five years. The East Bay is the location of the devastating Oakland Hills fire a few years ago.

Perhaps I'll find out something on the news tonight.

Monday, October 11, 2004

It's a Jungle in Here


I just spent hours trying to hack through all the undergrowth (overgrowth, too) of loose papers in here. I am terrible at keeping up with the recycling, and things get out-of-hand. It sure feels better to see some bare spaces, but it is very tiring. I can't sit down to do this job. I feel the need to stand while sorting things, and I also go put things away that don't get thrown out.

I'm on a roll. Hope I can keep it up until recycling pickup. Yesterday was spent sorting books that I deleted from Amazon, and stacking the boxes in an orderly manner. I also managed to throw away some things that were in the living room. I have to concentrate on how best to sell the books and free-up my floor space.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Jelly Belly


The seniors went on a very interesting trip yesterday, to the Jelly Belly Candy Company factory in Fairfield. I have never been to such a "pretty" factory. You walk in the main doors to almost overwhelming color and brilliance. The lobby and store area are all done in primary colors, and there are huge "paintings" done in every imaginable color of jelly bean.

Of course, there are taste testing areas, of all the gourmet Jelly Belly flavors, plus gummy candy favorites, and another area consisting of chocolates of every kind. The store had much interesting merchandise, hard to resist.

The tour itself was most interesting, conducted on second floor corridors suspended over the main factory floor, with large windows, and TV monitors for showing the finer points of manufacture. Who would think that it could be such an exacting art, acquiring the perfect Jelly Bellies, to be packed and shipped internationally?

There is a very large dining area at the factory, again, beautifully decorated - bright and cheery. The seniors chose to go elsewhere for lunch, a buffet, after the usual shopping part of the trip. Many of the ladies depend on these trips for their weekly outing for supplies and groceries, as the bus delivers them right to the door of the stores and they can use their walkers and canes. I believe outings such as this help to keep them young in spirit, and they do manage to get around once inside the buildings. There is much camaraderie, on the bus, at lunch, and doing all of the interesting things together. Hooray for seniors!

My Hummingbird


A bit ago I stepped out onto the porch, and my hummingbird was flitting about from flower to flower, getting refreshment. I had just been in that area deadheading - must be he was waiting for me to leave. I thought I heard him, but wasn't sure. Sometimes he just visits the flowers while I am standing right there. I had a chance to get a better idea of the flowers he visits. Most of the time I catch him near the end of his visits, therefore I don't know every flower he likes.

I wasn't totally sure of the Toadflax (Linaria purpurea), but he definitely likes that. He spent time in the lavender, which has all new blossoms and is growing like crazy right now. "Rose Queen" salvia is a favorite, plus a weird plant that I can't remember - a new plant at the nursery this year. Of course, he also drank from the other flowers I have mentioned in an earlier entry.

What a delightful way to spend a few minutes. For my East Coast family and friends - my hummingbird is bigger than yours. He is an Anna's, and will be a visitor for the entire winter, if I provide food.

Thursday, October 07, 2004



He's a cat, but he thinks he is a dog. He follows me all over the house and constantly begs for attention.

Sapphire was the runt of the litter and had to be bottle fed when I rescued him from under my porch steps. He now weighs almost twenty pounds.

A Siamese-mix, he is an absolutely beautiful cat, very regal in appearance. Sapphire talks like a Siamese and is perpetually curious. Ever so clever, he tries to reach things on the kitchen counter; he gets in cupboards; tries to open doors; begs constantly for people food.

I named him Sapphire as a tiny kitten because of his gorgeous sapphire-blue eyes, and I thought the name sounded royal. He has always known his name and comes when called - this in a household of seven cats. He is the only cat that I can depend on to come when I want him to do something, or not do something - whatever the case. The others all know their names, but do not always come running when they are called.

He has a litter-mate, Silver, who has a completely different personality, although they are almost twins in appearance.

My First Day of "Class"


I actually enjoyed it. It is the first time in a long time that I have done anything like that, sitting in a group brainstorming, then quickly writing thoughts to be shared with everyone. I think I will look forward to each week of class.

It is an intimate group - four men, five women, plus a woman from the college, and the instructor. The makeup is varied - a Vietnamese woman who is a doctor, a Mexican man, Mexican woman (the senior center coordinator), a man who appears to be a good writer. Maybe more will show up next week, but this size is manageable.

Hopefully, I'll start to get some ideas for writing.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Raccoon Babies


One evening I heard the sounds of something scratching its way up the lattice fence at the back of my "garden". I turned on the porch light and stepped out the sliding screen door, just in time to see two raccoon babies trying to climb over the fence. They were having a hard time, and when they went over the top, they were hanging from the back side looking at me with their sweet baby faces. A camera right then would have been good.

They had nowhere to go on the other side of the fence, as it is blocked, so they had to come back over on my side, then eventually scramble off into the night. They love digging in my flower pots.

I'm Going to School


Big joke! Actually, when I was at the senior center for lunch today, the Mexican lady who runs the place talked me into signing up for a free English class, creative writing I guess. It will be taught at the center every Thursday until December, by a teacher from Contra Costa College. She kept saying, come on, it will be fun. She also told me that if it works out, she'll try to get us signed up for something else.

I said Spanish would be good, as I understand some, and can read things, but would like to be a lot more proficient. It would definitely come in handy around here, as I am surrounded by Spanish speaking peoples wherever I go (and where I live). I can understand my friend Barbara when she speaks to Jose, who is from Peru.

Wow, I get nervous when I think about signing up for something that I have to do EVERY week. Oh, well. We'll see how I like it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

My Brain is Mush


That's what happens when you get up early every day to do a three day antique show, especially when business is not great.

It is good, however, to visit with dealer friends and regular customers. Some of my customers for that particular show did not come, but some did, so it was pleasant.

Marin Civic Center is a wonderfully interesting Frank Lloyd Wright building, and the exhibit hall is across a duck and geese covered "lake" from the main building. There is also an auditorium for music events.

Sunday morning, before opening up at the show for the day, we went to the Marin Farmers' Market, one of my favorite things to do on a show morning. It is a particularly fine market, even just for wandering. The flowers are always great, with interesting and unusual plants. Baked goods are in order, and any fresh, organic produce that will stand a day in the van.

Bell peppers of every imaginable color - spilling out over a table on a vibrant cover; tiny potatoes in several colors; varied squash and gourds; the bounties of California in fruits and vegetables artfully displayed in every booth... Cheeses; jams and jellies; figs; meats; herbs, and several booths full of many types of bread and other baked goods...

A new booth at the market is run by a couple who make various flavors of creme brulee. The lavender is to die for. I didn't feel like leaving a deposit on a ramekin (all sizes and shapes) because I only go there every three months, so I settled for a mouth watering piece of key lime pie. The husband is from Nottingham originally, and his wife is from South Africa. She got tired of the corporate world, so started making creme brulee. A delightful couple...