The Unseen Cat

I am completely unseen, she thinks.

I am Cat, finest predator the world has ever seen.

Pound for pound I am the strongest mammal in the world.

I can run thirty miles an hour, I have ears good enough that scientists have copied their shape when making new antennae, my bite is dangerous enough you should see a doctor if I sink fang very deeply into you, and I can see  in the darkest of night conditions.

Ancient civilizations worshiped me, and even after they stopped seeing me as a Goddess, they still saw me as a member of the family.

I am not really domesticated, still mostly wild, and I choose who I will love and who I will not.

Here I am, stalking the backyard Savannah, seeking prey.

Mom calls me Baby Bobcat.

I am Cat, and I am unseen.




(The cat in the picture is a semi-feral tabby named Saia.  She really does think she’s a baby bobcat.  Picture taken by Lenore Plassman, who can be found writing over at the Creative Fancy site.)


via Daily Prompt: Unseen

I’m hopeful in spite of everything…

This year some bad things have happened, quite a few of them, really.  We’ve lost beloved performers, we’ve heard some truly odious lies told by politicians, and the national media has done its usual job to try and twist our perceptions outside the realm of reality.

Some good things have happened as well.  For me, I have had some personal successes, and kept chipping away at a couple personal challenges that have galled me for years.  We as internet users continue to reap the benefits of parallel communication so we can get an idea of what’s really going on, no matter what the media might say.  I have improved my art and this blog and I’ve published two books and two short stories this year.  I’ve also dipped my toes back into traditional media and had one of my drawings published in a magazine, so that’s a great thing to remember for me.

It’s been a mixed bag but there’s hope.  Some friends of mine have revealed to me that they are terrified of what’s going to happen because Hillary didn’t win – to me there’s a glimmer of hope because she didn’t. I didn’t like her opponent that much, but when you get past the media lies he’s not quite the ogre everyone seems to think he is.  So I have a little room for hope in politics.  At least our current Anointed One won’t have the chance to catapult the US into World War 3 and make energy so expensive no one can afford it.

I take my hope in small doses.  For another example, right now I make $2.79 above minimum wage.  Come the new year, I’ll be making $0.79 above the minimum wage, and I’ll have to deal with higher prices and such as businesses find ways to pay their employees up to that rate.  I work at the lowest paid call center in the city.  But, there’s hope!  Because I moved to a place that’s cheaper to live in, has lower utility bills, and has the most awesome landlord I’ve ever even heard of.  I feel bad for all the families who will have to tighten their belts even more, but at least I, personally, will have hope, even as I watch my dollar grow weaker.

My books are starting to make a little money, so there’s a glimmer of hope there too.  I’ll keep on writing, and drawing, taking pictures and doing what I do, and who knows?  Maybe my audience will find me.  Hope springs eternal.  The important thing is, if you want to have hope, never give up, no matter what you do.  If you stop, you can always start again.

As Winston Churchill said,

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”



via Daily Prompt: Hopeful

Discovering new foods

At this point, I haven’t had much chance to travel.  But I’m still a person who’s curious about the rest of the world, so much so that I love roaming around on Wikimapia, and using Google Street view to see places I’ve never been!  How to feed this desire to experience new things?

I travel to different international stores!

Not only do they have really interesting packaging in other languages, but I get a taste of different cultures, I see different ways of doing things.  The sounds, sights and smells are different.  I love that!

I’ll travel to Asia, by going to the international supermarket in the rich part of town – their prices are amazing, the staff is friendly, their meat and fish are well prepared, and I love exploring all the odd snack foods.  What exactly does that fruit taste like?  Let’s try!  Why does dried squid make a good snack?  What exactly is that cut of meat used for?  Is refrigerated udon better than the dry stuff?  How do you open a bottle of ramune, anyway?  And what in the world is that huge purple flower bud that’s a foot long, and how do you cook it?  So many questions, so many delicious answers.

Then there’s the utensils!  Why are there five or six different types of mortar and pestle?  What is that knife used for, specifically?  How about that pot?  The wonders don’t stop.

Other times I’ll head south, to the Carniceria, and get my favorite marinated meats, either to have them grilled (right there outside the store) or to take them home to bake.   I’ll get some taijin powder to put on my apples, maybe a chunk of candied sweet potato, or maybe I’ll get some pumpkin empenadas.  I’ll certainly pick up some thin, lovely, handmade tortillas and some real Coke with real sugar in a glass bottle.

By the time I get home, I feel like I’ve traveled!

via Daily Prompt: Discover

Finding a Place called Home

From early teenhood, I yearned for the desert.

I wanted heat, dryness, cacti all around, sweeping vistas, sand dunes nearby.

Though I loved beaches, forests and water, I wanted something decidedly other – and made half baked plans to move someday during late night talks with my father.

I lived the first thirty years of my life in a coastal environment.  Webs grew between my toes.  I watched the state bird, the slug, crawl by.  The state flower seemed to be mold.  The green was pretty – all that green – that grew everywhere, including on the rubber work of too-long parked trucks, window sills, and under beds.  I couldn’t smell the rain though it was everywhere.

Tragedy hit.  The American economic downturn forced people out of their jobs, skyrocketed the prices of gas, and outsourcing was rampant.  I lost my first house, a 110 year old place that I’d thought would be home.

We went on the road, my partner and I, packing everything we owned into a Hyundai Elantra.  We lived rough in Nevada for a month and a half.  Finally, the decision was made to head south, for frost was forming on our pillow and it was bitterly cold in the Blackrock Desert.

We moved south.  Driving into Arizona, I felt an odd sense of welcome as I glimpsed my first redrock.  I began to feel at home.

We camped in a backyard, I got another job, eventually an apartment.  It was beautiful.  It was nearly home.  Hard work happened.  Lots of it.

After six and a half years we found another place – a little rowhouse, in a quiet neighborhood filled with pine trees and eucalyptus, still with a view of the Catalinas that I love so well.  There’s cactus and heat, there’s sunshine all year, I don’t miss the damp at all.  There’s monsoons in the summer and I finally know the smell of rain.

We found our home.




via Discover Challenge: Finding Your Place

Sacredness in daily life


We thank the ones who tilled the land
and farmers, with fields so grand
We thank the bees who pollinate
and the seeds that germinate
We thank the workers who picked the crop
and labored hard, from start to stop
We thank the trucker in his rig
and all the loaders with arms so big
We thank the stockers in the store
and cashiers and baggers even more
We thank the cook with pan and stove
who made this food with simple love!


via Daily Prompt: Sacred

Vincent: a Panoply of emotions

I listened to this song last night and it brought so much up inside me.  It’s an incredible set of lyrics, the guitar work is amazing, and the sound impeccable.  Everybody knows Don McLean for his song American Pie, but this is just as profound and carries an incredible message, for and about artists.  So I wanted to share it with my readers here – that is, anyone who will listen.


via Daily Prompt: Panoply



A most delightfully Pungent kitchen

There are things I can’t cook at home – certain Vietnamese soups, old fashioned oatmeal, and overcooked cabbage.  They leave the kitchen in a most pungent state.

This weekend my kitchen has been pungent in a good way.  It normally whiffs of sesame oil and garlic, but now it also smelled of turkey breast, roasted potatoes, and more than the legal limit of pumpkin spice.  Last night I made another batch of pumpkin bread.  I used my own spice mix and I must tell you it was heady indeed.  When I took it out of the oven, I stood for a moment, deeply inhaling.

That smell was a great one, almost rivaling rain when it hasn’t started falling yet, or a good Monsoon downpour when it fills the whole house with that damp, clean, almost resinous smell.

My nose and I are good friends and I love good aromas.  Some of them always tell me I’m home.

Bonus: pumpkin spice mix recipe

For any interested, here’s my spice mix:  nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger – all ground and mixed together in roughly equal amounts with maybe a bit more cinnamon.  I buy them in packets at the grocery store, you know those lovely dollar packets?  So I get my pumpkin spice at a discount price.  It’s great for adding to oatmeal or coffee.


via Daily Prompt: Pungent

Anticipation Grows Again

Anticipation is definitely something I’ve felt around this time of year.  And who has more anticipation than a young child?   When I was little, Christmas was one of my favorite days.  I’d count down to it, plan my present giving strategy, maybe practice my lines for the yearly pageant.  I’d lay awake nights watching the beautiful Christmas lights on the tree through a myopic fog that made them look glowing and mysterious, rather like this photo.

Growing older, I’ve tried to learn to uncouple anticipation from expectation, and thus, disappointment.  Oddly, I’ve found a small glow of anticipation for the holiday season again.  It’s only been made possible by studiously ignoring all the glitz in the stores, the over inflated artificial hype.  That’s easier since my TV turns on only occasionally and I haven’t watched even one movie in quite a few months.  Commercials are my bane and I avoid them, the only ones I hear are from the radio.

With the reduction of the pressure of commercialism, I find that there is still a soft little place in my heart that I can leave open to anticipation.  I think about finding something nice to do for one of my coworkers, who seems rather lost and unloved.  I quietly plan a cookie baking day, so I can invite my neighbor over, so she, my spouse and I can bake cookies and I can teach her to bake bread.  The plan is to distribute small packages of cookies to all my close neighbors.  I think, “maybe a few strings of lights to celebrate the Winter Solstice would be  nice.”

Slowly, gently, anticipation grows again.  The holidays start to be about people I care about and doing nice things for others, as well as enjoying good food and fun times.  I remember being that kid who used to look at the Christmas tree through a half open door.


via Daily Prompt: Anticipation

Flames of warmth and destruction

Fire and flames have been rather central to my life.

When I was young, I kept warm at a stove just like this – it provided all heat and ability to trash burner 1000.JPGcook.  My parents scavenged for wood at local building sites and behind supermarkets, burning scrap lumber and cut up old pallet boards.  I was used to fire, used to tending it.  I was as used to this as most are used to flipping on a light switch.  Later, when I owned my own home, 110 years old with faulty baseboards, I relearned how comforting flame is.  I love campfires.

I also learned respect for fire as my house burned down when I was six – it was fall, promising a hard winter in northern Idaho, the stove pipe was too close to the cedar shake siding, and we lost everything.

Fire is warmth and destruction, energy of creation and consuming anger.  As with all things, the internal flames of emotion are useful and warm when banked properly, the damper’s set just right, and you use good dry fuel.

Just like fire, the flames of emotion can be destructive or choke you out with smoke that makes it impossible to see when not tended properly, or allowed to get out of hand.

The mind, rational thought, is like that careful homeowner who sets the wood just right, keeps things managed, so you can warm your fingers and toes and boil a pot of tea.  Then emotion becomes something to inform and inspire you, not something that clouds the truth of how the world really is, or makes you sensitive to every little slight so you spend your life being consumed by the fire of rage.

via Daily Prompt: Flames

The Giant Prickly Pear Cactus Tree

Cacti grow large here in Arizona.  However, usually they don’t grow beyond a certain level – the size seen up in the featured image, in fact.  I normally don’t see them grow more than four or feet tall at most, usually less.

That was, until I saw this old girl.


There she is, roughly eight to ten feet tall, and so big and old that she’s actually developed bark on her trunk.  Now THAT’S a cactus.  Here’s another view from the same walk.


It’s a little hard to tell scale because of the angle, but she’s big.  Dare I say…


…a Giant?


via Daily Prompt: Giant