Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thursday's Secret Garden

Secret Gardens

This is another one of my favorite detours. The house is called Coryell Carriage House and was built in 1912. I just learned it's history and name when it went up for sale recently. During the winter it's a dark and rather spooky house that surprises you as you come around a corner. I've been here several times to take pictures this week and I'm never happy with them. This was taken with the camera poking thru the wrought iron gate. There are 3 different security signs on that gate and I'm just waiting for the small town police patrol to come by and ask me what I'm doing. My excuse will be that it all started with Claude's Blogging In Paris post about The Secret Garden.

From the sidewalk the gates make it more forbidding and well.....secret. Notice the security signs? It's a spanish style garden with different cactus, olive trees and some big round rose beds. The garden never has a stray leaf or weed and yet all the times I've driven by I have NEVER seen a human or a car or a dog or cat. I've often wondered if the neighborhood kids dare to "trick or treat" here and more importantly what the "treat" would be.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Wicked Witch Is Dead

I'm Melting...I'm Melting

So it's still hot in Whine Country (thanks Goldenlucyd for the name). I'm melting at 91 degrees and it looks like no end in sight. There was a fog sighting close to the city but not enough to cool us off. It does give me the chance to post this picture of one of my favorite characters. She scared the heck out of me as a child but I grew to love her and all things witchy. I like all the new children's movies but The Wizard Of Oz is still one of my favorites. I spent a lifetime wanting those Ruby Red Slippers but my mom insisted I could have nothing but black or navy shoes.

The good thing about living thru a heat wave in the Bay Area is Whole Foods Market was quick to feature 3 kinds of Gazpacho soup in their Deli. You could have the standard tomato gazpacho or a green gazpacho or HEIRLOOM TOMATO gazpacho (which looks suspiciously like beets - yuk). How "trendy" is that? I bought all three so I don't have to turn on a stove for a couple of days.

And I'm beginning to hate the weather sites who tell you it's 91 but it feels like 95. I don't need that suggestion cuz my mind and body go right to 95.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Gates Of Hell


It's supposed to be 101 degrees today. Makes me think of The Gates Of Hell. This casting is in the Rodin Sculpture Garden at Stanford. It's an amazing work and you'll notice some new detail every time you come back. I made the mistake of meeting a date there once...can you guess the relationship never worked? Bad ju-ju. But I digress.......I know 101 degrees isn't a big deal for some parts of the country but for the San Francisco Bay Area we wimp out in these temps. Central air conditioning is not a standard here. There are thousands without electricity since last night so not even fans for them. Whine...whine...whine from the wimp...wimp...wimp.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Kitty Diaries - Last Day

No More Tuna Treats For Les Girls!

The last two days I kitty-sit I always get a little sad that I have to say goodbye to Les Girls. Les Folks tell me I can come to see them anytime but it's just not the same. As you can see by the comments they're a little worried that they have to wean them away from the daily tuna treat. Just as Alan G. commented earlier, I'm like the grandmother who spoils the kids and can waltz right out the door after.

My next door neighbors will ask me to babysit their dogs as a last resort. They suspect things go on while they're gone that they don't approve of. Their dogs are not allowed on their furniture or bed and are crated at night. They usually have a dog sitter stay at the house when they travel. Last year when they got a new very large puppy they had a hole in the dog sitting schedule and were forced to ask me to help.

I got 5 pages of instructions (in small type) and a list of commands the pup knew. Looking at the list I thought her vocabulary was better than mine.

My first assignment was to pick her up from doggy day care and make sure I transported her back home with her seat belt on. I couldn't figure the damn seat belt thingie out so when she jumped in the passenger seat and acted like she was belted in we took off... big dog - little car and she sat looking out the passenger window nicely all the way home.

I hated the idea that I had to crate her at home every night so would bring her to my house till very late. The first night as I was watching TV in my bedroom she came up to me and put her paws on either side of my lap and tried to crawl in my lap. Pretty soon it was obvious she was trying to push her way past me to get on the bed. I figured "what the heck" it's just one night... so I let her up. She curled up in the middle of the bed and went to sleep with one paw touching me. The next night I brought her over and she made a flying leap straight to the center of the bed. I started praying that this pup was smart enough (cuz she knew so many words) to know the difference between being allowed on my bed and abiding by the rules when she was at home.

When her folks returned they came over with her to thank me. They could see by the way she greeted me that we bonded. We started talking about dog sitting in general and her dad mentioned they worried other people could ruin her training but his biggest worry was feeding her people food (they know I cook for my pets - yep I do). I assured him I never did THAT with their darling girl.

So that's why I'm not asked to pet sit unless people are desperate.........

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Secret Garden

Secret Gardens

Claude at Blogging in Paris had a wonderful post about recently reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was one of my favorite books as a child and I realized as I read Claude's post that the book stayed with me all these years because I'm always drawn to garden gates that have the promise of something secret and mysterious behind them. I passed this gate daily when road work caused a detour to my job last summer. Every single time I passed by I had to slow down and look. I still take the long route a few times a month just to see it. The tiny window in the gate shows a glimpse of the flowers on the other side. It looks almost like a stained glass window.

I have been running around like a maniac this week taking pictures because I've been so inspired by Cheeky Attitude, Fickle and Whim and Blogging In Paris. This is just crazy!



The Magic of Tuna

The tuna trick has created a bond with me and Les Girls. Queenie rubbed against my leg tonight and actually was up on her back legs as I was putting her dinner down. Why didn't I think of this before?

I'm fresh out of pics of Les Girls but here's one of Charley our office cat cooling off today in the in basket. He will stand and stare at the basket and meow until we remove any papers so he can climb in and sleep. This is actually for Chelle P who also has a black and white Charley cat!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

From San Francisco....

It's the city I suspect the rest of the country loves to hate . It's where I was born and raised and am still close to. But just for today I wish everyone would take a look at what the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor are trying to do. They are trying to provide healthcare for the uninsured. Hopefully it's going to be a "single payer" system. There's tons to still work out - businesses are not happy about the extra money per hour they need to cough up for this venture but I'm glad they're trying something! This won't impact me and the elders I worry about...yet. We all have supplemental health insurance and my friends are on Medicare plus we don't live in the city. But as I watch my elderly friends struggle with doubling prescription costs and rising out of pocket charges I know we need to pay attention to this. Alan at Final Thoughts had a good discussion on Medicare changes and that was BEFORE the New York Times ran an article about additional cuts coming from the administration ....



Almost The Home Stretch But Not Quite

Not much to report. Tuna saved the week and all is well tho' Les Girls are a little wild at dinner time. Hope Les Folks had a great time kayaking today.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Kitty Diaries Day 4


Things are proceeding nicely. This is the first day I feel confident that I have the pill issue solved. Les Girls love their evening tuna treat and I worry Les Folks may have a new problem when they get home. But hey, I'm just the kitty sitter.......

It's hard to get a true picture of the lovely markings on Princess. You can see a little of it on her front paws but my photography doesn't do her justice.

Here's Queenie protecting HER bedroom after dinner. Tonight she swatted the back of my skirt as I was getting kibble out of the cupboard - didn't even wait for me to set it down by the bowl. There were two extra swats just for good measure right before I scooped her kibble. Clearly I'm not doing something right. If only she could talk....

And check out the French version of a kitty who never takes meds well.....Claude's darling Mounir at Blogging In Paris. The "cute" factor is going to get ya on this one. Why can't I take a photo like that?

Kitty Diaries Day 3


Les Girls
have now figured out that TUNA may be involved in the evening meal. Princess is fed in her room and I usually get her situated first. While bringing her bowl back into her room with the dollop of tuna in it I had Queenie on my heels trying to bust past me and steal the tuna. This has never happened before. I did get her back to the kitchen and she helps me by opening up the bottom cupboard door where her dry food is located. I broke open the capsule and smashed it with the tuna in her dish. I sit the kibble container on the floor next to her bowl while I scoop out the kibble and she swats that container every single time. I must not be moving fast enough. So Les Folks it was another success - she licked the bowl clean. And they both take naps right after, which is a new thing. I think that little bit of tuna is so satisfying it's like a piece of really good chocolate for us...ya think?

Don't you think Queenie looks like the cat in Shrek 2?

Princess is still playing with her frog.

For those of you bored with all the kitty updates, here's a funny post over at Alan G's Final Thoughts that I'm still laughing about. It's about your "dying" technique. Alan has been a blogger angel for helping Goldendaze Ginnie and me get our blogs up and running. Thanks again Alan!

After the kitty diaries are over I swear I'll straighten up and get serious.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Kitty Diaries Day 2


Okay, so she's smarter than me. We all knew that. Queenie was able to lick the tuna fish off the pill and push it to the side of her bowl. I grabbed the dish and re-smooshed tuna around the capsule. As I put the dish down I made sure to pet her at the same time she's eating to distract her from the pill but she does it again and this time is really irritated that I'm grabbing the dish away as she's trying to eat. I just know her folks are reading this and saying "told ya". We go through the same routine a third time and by now the pill is looking pretty beat up so I throw caution to the wind and break it into the bottom of the bowl to mash tuna into the powder. Success at last. She eats every morsel of the tuna as well as her normal food. I'm not exactly confident this same procedure will work tomorrow night - she's always one step (or paw) ahead of me. I may have to break down and use the nasty pilling tool her folks left out. The good thing about adding the tuna is she's actually sticking closer to me after dinner to see what else I may come up with in the way of a treat! Not quite so aloof.

Queenie after dinner watching my every move.

And little Princess...still playing

Kitty Diaries to be continued......

Starting to panic here. What will I blog about after my babysitting duties are over at the end of the week? This was your smart idea Mz Kitty Mom so start thinking of something for me!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Kitty Diaries - Day 1


Queenie's pilling was all of the above. Take note royal parents, age always triumphs over youth and beauty! But I can't take all the credit. I caught Warren Eckstein on his Pet Place radio show this afternoon and "how to pill a cat" was one of the segments. This is a great radio show for pet lovers. You can check out his web page at:

His suggestion is to get some smelly wet cat food and put it in tupperware with the pills in the fridge for a day. The pills pick up the odor of the food and disguise the pill odor. I ran right out to the store for a can of tuna fish. Took the top off and put the can in a plastic container with a few of her pills then put the container in the fridge. Took my Gwyn ( aka Cujo) for a walk. Came back late so I was sure both girls were good and hungry. I took a teeny tiny bitsy scoop of tuna and wrapped it around the pill to put on top of her crunchies.

Here's the miniscule teeny tiny tuna pill. I'm showing this cuz the "folks" think I'm always sneaking Les Girls extra food. And yes, I did give a slight teensy scoop of tuna to the Princess as well.

I stood over her and watched every bite. She gulped the tuna pill right down and kept eating. Didn't hold it in her cheek and spit it out!

Look at that girl EAT!

Where's the tuna pill?

I know the folks (should they check in) think this is beginner's luck. She is one smart cat and usually figures out what you're trying to do after the first move. So tomorrow will be the big test. BUT I'm feeling darn good right now.

After-dinner nap.

And the Princess just wants to play.

Kitty updates to follow...stay tuned!

Kitty Diaries

I'm babysitting Les Girls for a week. This is the regal and aloof Queenie (her name has been changed to protect the innocent). We have a nervous relationship. I want her to like me. She tolerates me.

Here's her sister Princess (name has been changed to protect the guilty). Princess likes me. She follows me around like a puppy and that's the crux of the problem. Queenie doesn't like it. I couldn't be worth much as a human protector if this little mutt trusts me - could I?

The issue for the week will be pilling Queenie and she's not easy to pill. I've never handled her before. She barely allows me to pet her. I sneak a couple in as she eats only because she's distracted. I'm not brave enough to try it when there's no food around.

Blogging the kitty diaries is a sneaky way for one of the parents of Les Girls to get me blogging. I thought about it but she jumped right on it and said it would be the easy way for her to check how things were going while they were on their vacation. I'm sure they're waiting for the first news about the success (or lack of) with the pilling issue so more to follow after dinner time this evening. Wish me luck!

And by the you can't remember the original Les Girls with Gene Kelly and Mitzi Gaynor can you?