Friday, September 25, 2009


While on the way to meet friends for a recent hike, I began contemplating the recent spate of celebrity deaths. Mary Traverse, Henry Gibson, Patrick Swayze, Ted Kennedy, Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. Had they eerily died in groups of three, or was I trying to make a superstitious connection… hmmm?

Commencing the hike I mentioned a CSI episode I watched the other night. A two year old repeat staring Ally Sheedy. “I’ve missed Ally”, I told my friends, wondering where she’s been. Then I explained that the episode was intriguing. The Ally Sheedy character believed that reptilians lurked beneath the surface. The character had committed several murders to rid the planet of these creatures. “Ah” said one of my friends with a nod. Come to find out, this friend of mine had spent many a dark night perusing the underground conspiracy sites, and knew about reptilians. She talked at great length about a group of conspirators firmly committed in their beliefs. I listened in fascination. They claim these reptilians emerge above ground through hidden holes. They have an agenda. They rein control over certain politicians… there’s even an interview published online with one! They are carnivorous and telepathic and may account for many of the missing person cases.

Then I noticed fresh deer tracks in the trail. An adolescent from the size of the hoof and it appeared to have done a little dance. I matched my feet in the direction of its prints and did a small side step circle, mimicking the direction the deer went. As I did my little two-step, I wondered what would possess a deer to do a dance? Then I saw what appeared to be a large cat paw. Poor deer.

When we finally reached the crest in the trail, I decided to take photos of the graffiti in the abandoned buildings. While clicking away, I reflected on the many reasons why people get attracted to conspiracies. It is certainly understandable how cases can be built upon the unusual circumstances surrounding events from 9/11, JFK’s assassination, Apollo moon landing, Roswell, Philadelphia Experiment… but what about the weird? Chemtrails, Illuminati, Reptilians… insidious plots to harm us. Besides the entertainment we get theorizing their evil agendas, it’s been suggested we are subconsciously drawn to them because they distract us from our fears from contemplating our own mortality... hmmmm.

Oh yeah… Ally Sheedy… she seems to have just slipped off the face of the earth. .... S.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Peaceful Co-existence

I quietly crept up to a flock of turkeys the other day. I originally started taking the photos from the road and wished I could be hiding in the grass right there with them. Noticing an opening in the gate, I slowly walked up the hill snapping away. At about twenty feet away a few turkeys were getting nervous so I stopped in my tracks and took several more photos. A group of males completely oblivious to my presence were fanning their tails, and then I noticed the two deer peacefully enjoying the canopy of the same oak tree.... S.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cole's Story

Hmmm, it all began about four years ago when I was just a little puss-in-boots. My ragged, feral mom had given birth to nine of us, but since I couldn’t count, it could have been more. We lived in a field near a hotel in Coalinga. I was a cute runt, not as aggressive as my sibs in getting milk, but mom taught us early on, how to swat flies out of mid-air, wrestle toads and dumpster dive. Being the smartest and cutest of the litter, I noticed right away the oohs and ahhs I would get when people saw me running from bush to bush. They would throw me tidbits of muffins, chips or bacon and I would venture out and strut my stuff. One day a couple of ladies came to stay for the night, and they left their room door open so I could come in. I wandered around sniffing and rubbing and was enjoying exploring the digs when one of them reached down to pet me! No way, José, if mom taught me anything it was don’t let them get too close. I split fast! Well, next morning I see them loading up their car to drive off and I began thinking about my next meal. A little time elapsed and the same ladies came back. Instead of calling out ‘Kitty’ ‘Kitty’ ‘Kitty’ like everyone usually does, they were calling out ‘Coal’ ‘Coal’. Somehow, because I was so smart, I figured they meant me, so I came out of my hiding spot. They had a cardboard box and were shaking a container of kibble. I was suspicious, but non-the-less very hungry so I followed the little trail of food all the way to the box where a heaping pile was waiting. I jumped in, was purring like I’ve never purred before, when the lid folded shut. Excuse me! I shot around the inside of the box flipping it in all directions. I noticed that I could squeeze through the slits on the lid, but these ladies out-smarted me. I heard duct tape being pulled off a roll and sealing me in. Talk about one pissed kitty! They cut a few quarter-sized holes in the sides, and I settled down just long enough to finish the kibble in the box. Now with a full belly, I plotted my escape. I started chewing one of those holes until I was able to poke my head through, and one of the ladies thought it was just so cute and adorable…. little did they know how persistent I was. Once I got the hole big enough, I Houdinied myself out of the opening, and flew around the car digging in my claws looking for a way out. They were screaming, which got me screaming and they pulled the car over. One of them grabbed me by the scruff of the neck where mom used to, and into the box I was thrown, the openings were sealed shut, and I finally gave in and slept for the next few hours. When I saw daylight again, it was from a cozy crate where I stayed for a few weeks. I met Louie, an orange tabby, and Keena, a noisy bird. I got my first bath and actually enjoyed it. To this day I’m still very cute and cleaver. I’ve learned to sneak into people’s homes and garages and steal their laundry and toys. It’s the Tao of thieving; I really don’t want the stuff when I get it back home. I blame it on my early childhood of deprivation… anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!.... C.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

This morning when I awoke I had to gasp at the amount of leaves the rain and wind brought down last night! The back yard was aglow with yellow. My mind started thinking about the best strategy to tackle the chore of removal. While drinking my coffee and blankly staring into the yard, I thought about how sad things were. It didn’t feel like Christmas. I see very little smiles while I’m out running errands. The economy is bad. There’s no electric charge in the air. Life in general is gloomy for most folks. Then it occurred to me, that I too could be pulled into that abyss of bleak if I allow it. And if by magic, the yard danced alive with vibrant color. This is Christmas Eve. .....S.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


They come out every year in December. The Snowmen. It’s Martha Stewart… meet South Park. Every year I try to quietly put them back into their box, and every time they announce, they’re baaaack. She’s had them for 35 years. What more can I say? ..... S.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Kitty Booty

Cole is a kleptomaniac. Alarmed by the birds he was bringing home, we put a bell on his collar. Solving a serious problem, inadvertently created an amusing one. We noticed it early on, when we started finding little baby socks inside the gate. Socks were his choice of theft; they could be balled up, inside out or sometimes knotted together… but definitely dirty. He was stealing laundry! Soon, we had adult gym and dress socks piling up at the back door. Last summer he stepped up his game; a suede gardening glove showed up, then its mate the next morning. In one month’s time, we had over 20 gloves. The early ones were leather, then later on, cloth. We surmised that the unhappy gardener was spending too much money replacing missing gloves so they started buying cheaper ones. One morning a red striped polo shirt was snagged inside the cat door as he tried dragging it through. Lately he's brought home baseball caps, bandanas, slippers, small toys and several children’s shoes; just one shoe each time, mind you, not the pair. We imagine the conversations going on inside these homes, the poor kids being scolded by their parents “well, they just don’t get up and walk away!” ...... S.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shades of Green

I was on my own for dinner last night. Staring into the fridge, I let my taste buds creatively select a paring of flavors for my salad. I imagined biting into a forkful of cucumber with little lime wedgies, pepperoncini slivers with crisp romaine hearts, sprigs of broccoli and avocado chunks mingled with scallion dices in every mouthful. After everything was on the kitchen counter, I thought “hey, I’m eating green tonight!”… I tossed it all with Gerard’s champagne dressing.... S.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Flight 6285 11/25/08

‘In the event there’s a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will be deployed. Pull the mask firmly towards you to release the flow of oxygen’…. That’s what ran through my head as I put on my mask. Two hours earlier we had left Denver for our final destination to Detroit. The small bombardier CRJ700 jet engines were so loud in the back rows that the flight attendants gave us earplugs. Suddenly the roar of the left engine stopped and I glanced out the window. Hmmm, the engine was still. The plane was bobbing strangely, and noticeably descending. The cabin felt eerily strange. We still had an hour of flight left. I leaned across Maggie’s lap and asked the passenger on the other side of the aisle if she could look out her window and tell me if that engine was running. Maggie scolded me and said I was frightening the passengers. I said again with quick nods “we’re losing altitude” and the jet started to drop some more. The Pilot’s voice came over “flight attendants, prepare the cabin for emergency landing” and I stared down at the miles of crop fields that we were preparing to land in. Suddenly, a loud clap as hatches swung open, masks dropped, and audible gasps from all the passengers. The plane was banking sharply to the left, then to the right. The woman that I had just asked about the state of the right engine, went into major panic mode. She was hysterically saying she didn’t know what to do with her mask. Her husband was in a quiet state of shock. I looked over to the flight attendant strapped into her own seat, wildly chewing her gum. Her eyes told me everything. Maggie reached over to the mother’s knee and sternly said, “Mam, you have to stay calm for your kids.” The two boys sat together and their masks were tangled above their heads. Instantly Maggie stood up, ignoring her own mask, crossed the aisle, untangled the mess, helped them put them on, turned to their mother behind them, helped her with her mask and her daughter’s. I kept asking Maggie to come back and put her mask back on. Finally, she sat down, strapped her seat buckle and we peacefully looked at each other acknowledging our goodbyes and held hands. I accepted our fate but thought the timing really sucked. The two flight attendants in the front of the cabin also held hands and one was gently crying. After we had dropped 20,000 feet, the pilot came on again and said the oxygen masks were no longer necessary...we would be in Cedar Rapids in about five minutes. I turned my head and smiled at Maggie...“that’s an airport” ......S.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Off White

We have an old weathered cow skull, with three bullet holes to the head, hanging on our fence. The other day, the sun was striking some great shadows, and I thought my cockatoo sitting on the horn, would create an interesting contrast. Try as hard as I could to get him to look at the camera… he was much more interested in what lay on the other side of the fence.... S.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Ball

We camped in Yosemite Valley last weekend. The family at the site next to us had a couple of young kids. They spent their afternoon laughing, and kicking around a very large ball. During the quiet dinner, I noticed how surreal and out-of-place the lonely ball looked in the setting sun. That night, a noisy bear trashed their campsite. It raked their folding chairs and pulled down their lantern. Several yards away, beneath the pines, lay the now flattened, punctured ball..... S.