Powered by Squarespace


The feral feline is a wise and beautiful con job.

Yeah. I know. You all are tsk-tsking, "All cats are con jobs."

Guess what? I agree.

We be straight in our thinking now? So, let's continue with my, and hubby's, personal journey towards feral cat training.


>The feral cat chooses you. You do not choose the feral cat.

>You must have a front door. Back doors are a desirable extra.

>Sweeping decks, especially raised ones, are irresistible.

>You must have multiple outside amenities.

>Steps are very attractive. If you lack steps, please build some.

>Lawns are nice. Crushed rock is tolerated if it leads to finer things.

>Pot plants, Malibu Lights and patio furniture attract them like catnip.

>They like to climb. So cars are good, but a high SUV or truck is preferred. Please comply.

>Lurking is a primary activity. Available hiding/birthing places make your location prime A-1 residential.

Yes, indeedy, it all seems very innocent when it begins. You spot a kitty walking on your lawn. It's just a neighbor's pet, you think. Cute little thing. And when kitty eyeballs you and speeds off, you figure that's the last of it.

Before long, though, you notice signs of decline withering your lovely landscaping and toppling ornamentals. You also find smelly stuff in your pots along with feathery body parts. Ultimately, the honorarium is carefully placed at your doorway. Yes, it is a fresh kill that is designed to encourage your awe and loving gratitude.

You shriek. You whip your head round and round like a Dervish. And from the corner of one eye you spot that cat. It's sitting, out of reach, smugly under your most expensive foliage. He/she is making contact, and you are now expected to display your appreciation.

Well, you don't, do you? Instead, you shoo-shoo and kitty complies, for now. Good riddance. You clean up and vow that you'll get some moth balls to sprinkle around as deterrent. And you do. And you choke and retch on the smell.

You're damned near poisoned in your sleep, but you have to give it time to work.

It doesn't. And kitty now boldly returns and finds comfort on your shaded glider chair. Before you can open your door, kitty is joined by another kitty and they begin to snuggle. Aw, so sweet. You don't have the heart to shoo them.

Before long, kitty1 and kitty2 become parents. Kittens appear and more cats begin arriving to visit the new generation.

In awe, the new visitors discover your dense bamboo forest and decide to relocate the whole famdamnly to your residence.

What do you do? A cold front is coming in and the babies need help. The relatives give you their best "Go to Hell stare," and you feel like you somehow need to apologize for your lack of hospitality.


You rush out to buy your first bags of cat and kitten food and you secure boxes and newspapers so shelters can be constructed.

Thank God you saved all those plastic margarine tubs. They are perfect for the food and water

Upon your return from the supermarket, your neighbor grabs a twenty pound bag of food and queries: "Having trouble with the cats, are you? Those moth balls never work. Looks like you need a stiff drink."

"How can I let them starve and freeze? They are innocents... And the babies...," you sniffle, with desperation in your voice.

"Aw, that's okay," your neighbor says with a hearty chuckle. There's a bunch of us helping out. It's called the feral factor, and you've just completed your training."




THE BIZARRE ZONE: CONSUMPTION is the THIRD, and final category, of a blog series dealing with WEIGHT CONTROL VS. SCIENCE VS. EATING.  It examines the three categories of CONSUMPTION.

Now, CONSUMPTION is an old name for a very serious medical condition: Tuberculosis.  This is a real illness and I would never make light of the suffering that people have to endure.

Our CONSUMPTION is vastly different.  The levels are:

    LEVEL #1 - PASSIVE CONSUMPTION:  This describes the almost unconscious eating of food.  We taste our cooking to make sure all the ingredients are there, and to protect our family in case the food suddenly goes bad during the cooking process.  We PASS through a BUFFET LINE and check out the choices.  We NIBBLE at SNACKS offered at parties.  Ingesting food at this level is sort of GENTEEL.  "JUST A TAD," we tell ourselves.  You are now ready to move along to LEVEL #2.

     LEVEL #2 - CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION: Welcome, GRADUATES!  You are now qualified to experience the WANTON EATING OF EVERYTHING IN SIGHT.  The most common manifestations generally occur when diets fail and we exhibit an almost feral demeanor.  We hunt down the prime cuts and divine dainties.  We gather and stash and boldly insist that our extravagant, gluttonous leftovers be packaged properly for the grueling trip home. 

BUFFETS & PARTIES are the prime locations, since we have previously gained experience in the checking-out and nibbling stages, and remember the times we have been too weak to drive home due to the lack of food.  Of course, it's the lack of food that makes us weak!  Those BEVERAGES just don't fill us up.  Yeah!  Right!

HINT:  Resist dragging in any mention of a dog or a cat.  Just grab your booty-bag and exit with dignity.

      LEVEL #3 - SECONDARY CONSUMPTION:  This is the most sacred level we can attain.  It is akin to SAINTHOOD and MARTYRDOM.  There is no greater SACRIFICE than the LEFTOVERS BANQUET.  All those mystery containers in your refrigerator can be cleared out in one fell swoop as long as you hold fast to the theory that:  "If you liked it before -- you'll LOVE it the second time around.”  Just remember that the reason you saved it was because you felt it was a SIN to throw it away.  Besides, if you are really clever, you can dazzle your family into thinking you have cooked a completely NEW DISH.  A SAUCE, a GRAVY, some CREAM-OF-SOMETHING SOUP.  HOLY CUISINART!  A MASTERPIECE IS BORN!

Your education is now complete.  Although no diplomas or degrees can be awarded, I can, at least, admit my own weakness in the battle to tame the powerful calorie.

I hope you have enjoyed our fictional sojourn into the BIZARRE ZONE.  Perhaps you have even dreamed-up your own unusual theories.

The following recipe isn't bizarre; but it is a delicious approach to deviled eggs. (The Pyramid of Dietary Forgiveness endorses this recipe.)

                                 FRANCESCA’S FAMOUS DEVILED EGGS

                           4 hard cooked                                EGGS

                           1 small container                           RICOTTA CHEESE

                           1 tsp.                                                   DRY MUSTARD

                           1 tbsp.                                                 MINCED ONION

                           1 tbsp.                                                 CAPERS

                           2 - 3 tbsp.                                           MAYONNAISE

                                                                                         SALT & PEPPER (to taste)


Shell EGGS.  Cut in half (lengthwise).  Remove and mash yolks or pass them through a strainer and combine them with an equal amount of RICOTTA CHEESE.  Add DRY MUSTARD, ONION, CAPERS, MAYONNAISE, SALT and PEPPER.  Mix well.  Pile high in EGG WHITE HALVES and dust with PAPRIKA.  ONION POWDER may be substituted for MINCED ONION.




You may recall, an earlier blog introduced the first of several theories concerning WEIGHT CONTROL VS. SCIENCE VS. EATING.  This blog offers the SECOND INSTALLMENT: 

                                                AIRBORNE CALORIES

As before, I must caution you that THEORY IS NOT FACT.  These THEORIES are only imagined, fantastical explanations for my own inability to wear a size two.                                                                     

DEFINITION:  An Airborne Calorie is one of many that RISES from HOT FOOD, is carried to UNSUSPECTING HUMANS, on the wispiest breath of air, and is ABSORBED INTO THE BODY in the guise of DELICIOUS AROMA.  Once happily ensconced in said body, it busily migrates to HIPS, ABDOMENS, and DERRIERES.  (Animals and small children are exempt.  They are too low to the ground.


                (#1)  DON'T COOK!  Graze, instead, on the refrigerator ready-to-eats or raid the pantry of its room-temperature thrills.  You'll probably eat less and stop sooner.

                (#2)  HIRE SOMEONE TO COOK FOR YOU!  Stay out of the kitchen and let him or her deal with the problem.   When you dine on the cook’s creation, allow the meal to reach at least room temperature.  When you are done, let cook do the clean up.

                (#3)  If you can’t hire a cook, PROTECT YOURSELF DURING MEAL PREPARATION BY WEARING A SURGICAL MASK!   This not only prevents breathing in the dreaded AIRBORNE CALORIE, it makes it impossible to sneak a taste.  When the food is ready to eat, feed your family.  Then wash the just the pots (with mask still in place) while your own plate seeks room temperature.

                (#4)  AVOID, WHENEVER POSSIBLE, AREAS WHERE DELICIOUS AROMAS CONGREGATE.  Restaurants, bakeries, cookouts, etc. don’t have to be your downfall.   A SAFE DISTANCE from the kitchen, OPEN AIR, and CROWDS will offer some protection and you'll have a good time with only moderate risk.

LONG TERM PROGNOSIS:  Experimentation with suggested options will be initially entertaining.  New things always hold our attention.  After a short time, however, old habits will triumph.   Don’t be discouraged -- at least you tried -- and new discoveries may be on the horizon.  Your best bet is OPTION (#2); but that is pretty far-fetched even for me.

Now that I've scared the bejeebers out of you, let’s all repeat:  "IT'S ONLY A THEORY!"  Take a deep breath -- relax -- and consider this recipe. (Be sure to read the exemption clause at the end of this recipe.)

                               CREAM OF MUSHROOM & WILD RICE SOUP

                                             1 medium             ONION (or 2 LEEKS) - diced

                                             1/2 lb.                   MUSHROOMS - sliced

                                             1/2 cup                 BUTTER

                                             1/2 cup                 FLOUR

                                             8 cups                   HOT CHICKEN BROTH

                                             3 cups                   COOKED WILD RICE (You may add

                                                                            1 more cup of Rice if you prefer.)

                                             1 cup                     HALF & HALF

                                             4 tblsps.               DRY SHERRY

                                             SALT & PEPPER (to taste)

Sauté ONION/LEEKS and MUSHROOMS in BUTTER for three minutes or until soft.  Sprinkle in FLOUR, stirring until FLOUR is cooked but not browned.  Slowly add CHICKEN BROTH.  Flour mixture should break-up.  Gentle whisking works well.  Add WILD RICE, SALT and PEPPER to taste.   Heat thoroughly.  Stir in HALF & HALF and SHERRY.  Heat gently.  DO NOT BOIL.

EXEMPTION: The Wild Rice confuses any Airborne Calories present in the preparation of this recipe. Indeed, even the comforting heat of the soup is spared any guilt because butter and cream are a natural product of nature and, therefore, must bind with the vegetables (onions/leeks & mushrooms) to complete the Pyramid of Dietary Forgiveness.


THE BIZARRE ZONE: Weight Control

This blog probes the area of PHYSICS that pertains to WEIGHT CONTROL!! 


ANSWER: Because...the CALORIE remains DORMANT only when it remains COMPLETELY FROZEN.  When we see the ICE CREAM begin to MELT, that signals the AWAKENING of the MONSTER.  Further WARMING by our mouths and stomachs STRENGTHENS the MONSTER. That's how we gain one pound for every four ounces of ICE CREAM consumed.

RECOMMENDED TREATMENT: Before eating ICE CREAM, turn your air conditioner to 60 degrees. Sit directly in front of the air conditioning vent and let your body cool down.  When you start to shiver, DO NOT GRAB A BLANKET! Have a friend or family member quickly remove the ICE CREAM CARTON from the freezer, grab a strong spoon, and place in your shivering hands. Eat ICE CREAM directly from the carton. When you have had enough, (which should be real soon) summon said friend/family member to pry carton from your stiff fingers and return it to the freezer for future enjoyment. Your assistant must dash back to help carry you to a warmer part of the house and re-set the air conditioner to normal. If your recovery goes well, you'll probably gain less weight than old-fashioned methods.

PROGNOSIS:  Barring PNEUMONIA and FROST BITE, treatment will be a complete success. Weight gain from ICE CREAM consumption will no longer be a factor, due to trauma endured. FURTHER TREATMENT NOT RECOMMENDED!

DISCLAIMER:  The explanations and procedures in the above text are complete fantasy and SHOULD NOT, in any way, be considered scientific fact. The writer (me) wishes to advise that this little detour into the BIZARRE ZONE is for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY! LAUGHING...GIGGLING...even an "OH BROTHER!" is most welcome and encouraged.

COMING ATTRACTIONS:  The BIZARRE ZONE will return in the coming weeks with other chilling topics. Be prepared to probe:                    

        AIRBORNE CALORIES                                                      




WHEW!  Got to quit watching those late-night horror movies and cut down on the ice cream.  Now let's awaken to the real world and think about something delicious, colorful, and down-right easy on the diet. 

The following recipe is a delightful appetizer that is pretty and COLD.  It is prepared on individual salad plates, covered with plastic wrap, and kept in the refrigerator until serving time.   If you will be entertaining a large group, you'll need plenty of space in the refrigerator and preparation time.

 FANTASY APPETIZER (Individual Portions) 


 1 slice*                  PROSCIUTTO HAM (Ultra Thin Cut)

 *                             GRAPES--in little clusters --

                                 choose RED/GREEN/BLACK/COMBO

 *                             FRESH CHERRIES - with stems

 *                             KIWI FRUIT - sliced

 *                             FRESH STRAWBERRIES

 *                             MOZZARELLA CHEESE-shredded

Begin by spiral wrapping slice(s) of PROSCIUTTO HAM around MELON WEDGE and place in center of salad plate.  Decoratively position FRUIT selections around MELON/HAM and scatter shredded MOZZARELLA CHEESE over top.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until serving.  This salad makes an especially attractive first course for a patio party.  Serve plain or with your favorite Poppy Seed Fruit Dressing.

*Quantities will depend on number of guests to be served.  Be creative!  You can add or change fruit selections to suit you or your guests' tastes.  Sometimes Prosciutto ham sizes vary greatly.  Use more slices if desired.



Every time I sit down at my computer and begin a new post for this website, I think to myself ‘I will not cry.’  Time and time again I fail myself and catch my tears with a sleeve or a beat-up tissue and snuffle and blow until I finish the piece.

Life is like that.  For me, at least, life’s ups and downs are almost always accompanied by tears. 

I’m loud and opinionated and picky.  I’m also an emotion junkie.  Emotion drives me.  I can’t leave it alone.  IT must race or grind away to a logical conclusion.  And IT must fit my logic or I’ll crank it up, re-title it and begin again.

This blog, if you will, follows a certain logic:  If I feel like telling a story, that’s what you get.  If I feel like writing a poem, well, you get that; or maybe you don’t get it.  IT is what IT is – no more – no less.

Yes, the clichés are at play right now.  “I’ve got to be me.”  “I want you to want me.”  (Oops, those are song lyrics, aren’t they?) 

Well here’s the real deal:  Without emotion, without feeling, writing might just as well be a strip of random letters on a blackboard; and playing with words is my way of releasing pent-up or remembered strong emotions.

Are you bored yet?  I won’t be much longer.

What the hell is she talking about and why is it important right now?

Answer:  A Statement of Purpose for this page’s existence is long overdue.  All of the above, hopefully, explains why I say what I say and how I say it. 

Many readers have expressed a positive connection to my words.  Others find it difficult to like my way with words.  Poetry is a sticking point.  So, I promise to do better with that poetry thingy, that I insist upon conjuring, in the months to come.

I am considering this entry as a vanity piece.  I hope that at least a few of you find parallels in your own lives.

That’s IT.