Holidays, La Posada, Kitties, and a Doggie

Yes friends, we’re still alive. We might just survive the season. The smoke was better for a while, then the stuff from So. California moved in. It has been a busy month with La Posada, holidays, and busy work hours. Here’s a bit of holiday cheer. Lastech took this pic at night.

We took advantage of a lull in Lastech’s training schedule to enjoy the La Posada celebration at the Martinez Adobe which is located at the John Muir National Historical Site.

The adobe was built by Don Francisco Martinez in 1849. Later, John Muir’s daugter, Wanda lived there.

La Posada is a 400 year old Christmas tradition and has an interesting history which you can read about here.
They had a procession and music. Traditionally, it takes place over 9 days, but this one just had the one day. There were piñatas, snacks, and music. It was delightful

This is a traditional nine-pointed star.

Here is a slide show with the rest of the pics.

No we haven’t forgotten the critters. While we don’t really celebrate the season, we still get into the groove a wee bit. We got a hammock style car seat cover and seatbelt for Pepi to ride in the back seat where she can look out at the world. The hammock style prevents her from falling into the gap between the front seats and the back. She seems to like it.

I’m ready to go! What’s keeping you?
Are we there yet?

Titanescu has been posing for us lately. The others have been napping.

Here’s Titanescu enjoying a sunbeam.
Here he is showing off a bit of fang
Here’s Miss Jenny looking out from her favorite spot.
Tito looks beautiful in his sunbeam.


Kitties, dog, sea lions, flowers and birds

Yes, we have kitties and the dog along with sea lions and more. There’s a bonus arachnid tossed in, but I’ll merely link to it so that my friends who are phobic won’t be triggered by it.

I intended to post sooner, but the world wouldn’t stop for me to get off. I’m still here. 🙂 Despite a couple of trips to the dentist’s office, our last month wasn’t awful. We had a couple of small adventures, the weather is changing, and the sea lions have been posing for Lastech.

First off though we must take care of the stars of this show. The pointy eared people and the floppy eared one need their chance to shine.

Here is Tito perfecting the art of the ‘dead bug’ position
This is our lovely Miss Jenny looking a tad smug
And here it the pissy tyrant Titanescu, looking (don’t tell him) adorable.
This is the goofy Miss Pepi giving us the profile pose.

Yes, as you can see, we managed to get photos of the critters this time. Speaking of critters, Lastech has been getting some nice pics of the sea lions at work. Working graveyard shift can make that a tad tough at times. Still, he got a couple of great ones.

Here’s a closeup of a young male (I think). He wasn’t as close as it looks though.
On some of the docks, they have placed the strips as a deterrent. Those strips don’t go quite all the way to the end.
The strips left room for one sea lion. The docks visible in the background are all set aside for the sea lions. The deterrence is so that people can get to and from their boats safely.
“Wait! Where are you going? I was going to make Espresso..!”

Sunrise was beautiful and the drive home was rainy. The rain has been helping with the fires up North, so it’s a good thing.

Cosmos at sunrise
Bay Bridge and a palm

After the rain, we went off to Martinez to get some fresh air, cloud watch, and bird watch.

Panorama by Lastech
Yes, the sky was that blue
Great egret hunting for dinner
Snowy egret enjoying the sun. You can see the head of a turtle doing to the same at the bottom left side.

Before Halloween, we drove down to the Danville Library for a nature talk. It was all about the nocturnal creatures on Mount Diablo. Trivia bit: The Gray Fox is the only American canid that can climb trees. They have claws like a cat. Anyhow, while there, I got to meet a lovely tarantula named Scarlett O’Hairy. If you click on her name, you can see the pic.

That’s it for this week. Hopefully I won’t take so long until the next post.

Can we stop the world? I want off

Ok, maybe the world isn’t that bad. Still, I like the idea. We’re getting ready to move from dry summer into our rainy season, but the world got to have one last hurrah, if you can call it that. We had some nasty awful fires just north of us. While we were in no danger, one of our close friends came within a cat’s whisker of losing her home. Some of her friends weren’t that lucky and they lost everything. While we were safe enough from the actual fires, we were not able to avoid the smoke. It blanketed the area so thickly I couldn’t see more than a quarter mile. I thought it was bad a month ago. This was many times worse.

Smoky sunrise. There are no clouds. Just smoke
This is Alcatraz as seen from Pier 39. Yes, that’s smoke

I said a lot of bad words. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I had a tooth that decided it definitely wanted off the ride and turned into an abscessed debacle. I managed to go to a dentist only to find out that she can’t pull a tooth (?!?) The office was less than stellar even without that bit of news. After more bad words, I managed to find my old dentist and I’ll go see him on the 8th. I won’t go back to the other office.

I guess to make a long story short, the world got ugly and I cursed up a blue streak. But wait, there’s more. In the middle of all this, we had to do our bi-annual move-out-move-back-in mess and the check-engine light came on in the car. Blargh!

I’m not even going to ask if anything else can go wrong, as there are plenty more things that could.

Now for the critters.

Tito being sweet and doing the dead-bug
Miss Jenny about a split second before going off her nut with a serious case of the zoomies.
Titanescu looking vaguely menacing. He does that look well.

My friend got a new puppy. It’s a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland mix. It’s going to be huge. Pepi could smell Max on me.

Yes, I got the side-eye look from Pepi. She has since forgiven me.

We’ll try to return sooner next time. My apologies for being AWOL for so long.

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Caturday: in praise of a bada$$

The World’s Lights dimmed recently when a friend of the blog passed, leaving a deep hole in many hearts. We never got to meet Renfield, but oh we love him. Renfield the unexpected mouser, connoisseur of flying edibles known as “sky raisins” whose love for his humans is fully known only by them, bright and intense as only celestial objects are, and so intensely personal as absolute trust is.

Renfield: It’s MY MOUSE! Very badass
Even a badass needs a nap
He was a badass, but he was daddy’s boy too.

Rudha-an here: Renfield’s family have had 5 sphynx kitties with severe heart issues. 4 of them were diagnosed with HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy). Renfield was preceded in death by his father, Capt. Darling. Both will be sorely missed. Of the three that are left, Two are in CHF (congestive heart failure) and living on borrowed time. Given how wonderful their humans are, I can guarantee that their time is as full of joy as possible. Now I return you to Lastech:

Over time, months certainly, a couple of years maybe, we here at JBoD got to love our own badass. Titan demonstrated early on he is not violent, but competent. Yes, the slaps and bites and hisses came fast but never furious. That would have been unnecessary. The only times he ever purred, maybe three altogether, sounded like broken English, a barely known and understood language. Once they got familiar with him, Miss Jenny and Tito began to try and socialize. Tito early on tried to play-wrestle the old Marshal by wrapping a paw around him and biting his neck. Tito was on the floor with a loud thump next, having been thrown off by Titan. Because Titan doesn’t play. And after that, he just walked away from a stunned Tito.

The point was made. Titanescu doesn’t run. He might, for food, if in fact he could still run. As it is, it’s a fast-ish shuffle on bad hips. Pepi looks away when he passes. Miss Jenny folds back her ears when he hisses at her for not providing enough body heat quick enough. But… He’s never mean, always stopped short of causing pain once he got compliance. With competence.

Titan looking rather badass

I don’t know why he is still alive but there he is, eating and sleeping and drinking the dog’s water, because he can. He has his own dish of water, but likes to show her who’s boss. The other cats (and us) look at him with awe, frankly. Titanescu is what most of us aspire to be. He gets his, doesn’t go out of his way for anything or anyone, and makes his point with clarity, sometimes emphasis but never cruelty. And without compromise. He doesn’t know how.

Renfield’s passing made us appreciate the badasses of catdom all the more.

Here is a vid made of nice memories of Renfield and Capt. Darling

Bleeping ‘canes, effing distracted drivers, and cats

A distracted driver, two hurricanes and more storms to possibly follow. Holy cow! I’ve spent the last couple of weeks keeping track of my friends and/or their families that were in the path of these things. Now there are more storms to worry about. Ugh! As for us, we appear to be past the worst of our heatwaves, thank goodness. Along with that, our air quality has improved as well.

As for the effing distracted driver? People need to put down their phones and pay attention to the road. If you need to read a map, pull over. If you need to text someone, pull over. Distracted driving is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. My phone lives in my pocket when I’m driving. I don’t even have it hooked to the bluetooth as I don’t want to answer it. Whoever pings or calls can wait. My life and that of others is more important.

I don’t like driving, at least in the city, but out in the boonies, I’ve no problem. It’s leftovers from an accident back in 2006. Anyhow, I’ve been doing ok with it. I was on my way home the other day though when it happened. I was sitting at a signal waiting for green light when WHAM! She never hit the brakes. I calmly said a bad word, then we pulled over to exchange info. She was young (18-20) and headed home from school. I was patient. She was uninjured and I was fine. Our poor car goes into the shop on Monday for repairs. I think the damage is just to the back bumper and muffler/tailpipes. We’ll know more then. I will have to bite the bullet and get behind the wheel again.

As for the girl, I don’t know that she was on her phone. It’s merely a guess, but I had been stopped for a good 15 seconds before she hit me, so she had to have been distracted by something. Sadly, the car was registered to her parents and I’m guessing that, like us, they’re working class. That makes the loss of the car harder for them. Lord knows what it will do to their insurance rates. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in her shoes when she showed up at home with the car. Ouch.

It’s a ’99 Mercedes. Or it was. I think it’s totaled. Our car looked much better, in spite of the damage.

Now it’s time for the pointy-eared people and the floppy-eared one to shine.

Everybody look right! I mean left…your left.

Miss Jenny Blue Eyes
Titanescue and his resting stinkeye
Tito watching the neighbor

No Pepi! The the other way!

Contrary Pepi

Never mind! You’re all confused.

Jenny and Titanescu

Speaking of confused, I can hear a male Anna hummingbird doing his mating dive outside. The normal breeding season is Dec thru June. Go figure.

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Bleeping weather, fecking smoke, and Pepi

The smoke from the fires has blown in and is awful. Back to that in a minute. First, the weather

A very odd thing happened Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It was hotter in Concord, CA than in El Centro, CA. El Centro sits near the Mexican border in the Sonoran desert and is below sea level. These temps are normal there. Not so much here. San Francisco broke an all-time record with 106 degrees on Friday and we topped out at 109. Blech! We did the same on Saturday. In plain English, the weather is hotter than hell.

The fecking smoke was almost worse than the heat. It was blowing in from the fires up North. Then it blew in from the fires to the East. I couldn’t get two feet away from the inhaler, but I was ok. I used it when I needed it.

Lastech took this photo of the smoky sunrise

Continue reading “Bleeping weather, fecking smoke, and Pepi”

Caturday: Jenny the housekeeper

Rudha-an here. Before we get to the more lighthearted fare involving Miss Jenny and her housekeeping skills, I have something to say. This last week has been an eye opener and not in a good way. Oh, I knew things were bad, but I had hoped for better. It appears that America’s effing Nazis have been given a voice. We need to drown them out by shouting louder than they can. I don’t endorse violence, except in self defense. We cannot ignore them either.

Many people advocate just ignoring them and they’ll go away. They won’t go away. Bullies never go away until they’re forced into it. Stand up and shout. Shout for your neighbors and your friends. Do not be silent. I leave you with these two quotes.

Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. ~Haile Salassie~

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. ~Martin Luther King~

I now return you to Lastech and his story about Miss Jenny’s housekeeping.

Miss Jenny’s housekeeping skills may lean more towards Mrs. Doubtfire than Mary Poppins, but she deserves an A for charming mayhem. After I’d gotten home from work, I unwrapped and balled up the bandage off my foot and left it on my side of the bed before passing out.

Some hours later, still in the dark, I woke up to scratching and thumping. I reached out blindly and touched soft fur and a rather solid body, which triggered some heavy purring. Miss Jenny. Whaaa…? She was batting at something until she picked it up and dropped it on the bed, waiting. Since I’m so well trained by Tito, I half-consciously picked it up and tossed it across the bedroom. She leapt after it and brought it back a few times until I returned to sleep in short order.

Some time later, scratch-scratch-scratch… “Baby no, what are you doing?” Purr-purr… I covered my head with a pillow and went back to sleep. I vaguely remember her stepping and farting around my head, crop dusting as I petted her… Amazing what you get used to, really.

Miss Jenny looking satisfied with her housekeeping

Living with the furry ones, I’m well aware of the need to watch where I step, and that includes checking my slippers before putting them on, a good idea that morning, since cat logic dictates that’s where writing implements belong… I should mention that the balled up bandage vaguely resembled a potato and Jenny loves potatoes.

Miss Jenny very carefully placed the pens in my slippers. The alignment was almost perfect.

And now for the rest of the fur butts

Titanescu with his sleepy stinkeye
Tito looking like he’s about to start chirping
Pepi: Whaaaaaaaaaat! I was sleeping!

Midnight Movie Madness: “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”

“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” – (2017, France, 2hrs 17mins – PG13)

Luc Besson takes us on a trip through Space and Time with personal meaning. Those unfamiliar with the “Valerian & Laureline” series of comic books, and other materials referenced in this film, might hopefully find it to be good escapist fare. Good offerings in the Space Opera genre are too rare and having grown up reading them I am just as fond of “Valerian & Laureline” as the director, Luc Besson.

A disclaimer: although I read the comics the film is based on,  I read them between 35 to 45 years ago, and my review is based largely on personal recollection.

Continue reading “Midnight Movie Madness: “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets””

Caturday: Arty cats and Costco he11

Costco was hell yesterday with all the back-to-school shoppers. I can handle the crowds. That doesn’t bother me as much. I can handle moms with 6 kids in tow. That’s fine too. However, when the mom with six kids runs into the mom with 5 and they stop to visit while blocking access to more than half of the meat display, I have a problem. There were people trying to reach around them to get what they wanted while the chatty ones completely ignored them. We decided to do the rest of our shopping and go back to that section later. 30 minutes later they were still chatting. I saw people saying “excuse me” while trying to get stuff, but it fell on deaf ears. If I had to make a bet, these people leave their shopping cart in the middle of parking spaces rather than put them in the return stalls. I love Costco, but not the shoppers so much.

Speaking of shopping carts, my other beef is with the people who refuse to push their carts by the handles put there for that purpose. Instead, they walk alongside the cart and pulling it with them. They hog the aisle and they’ve run over Lastech and I more than once. This is a Costco constant.

I think really prefer being a hermit

Anyhow, now to the pointy-eared people and the floppy-eared one. They look artsy smartsy this time because I didn’t have a good pic of Pepi, so I got creative. Then I decided to have fun with the others.

Tito in the window
Miss Jenny has stars in her eyes
The lovely Miss Pepi

That’s it for today. I would love to say it’s a nice day as the weather is good. However, my news feed says otherwise. I really despise Nazi assholes.

Summer: Lazy days and lazy critters

Yes, it’s still hot out and the heat has made us all lazy. I’ll be glad when the season changes and we can turn off the air conditioner and open the door and windows. In the meantime, we live with it. Pepi is snoring. Lastech is snoring. The pointy eared people are lazy and sleeping, but not snoring. I’m not snoring either, but then I’m required to be awake in order to cater to the beasties. I mean, it’s not like they’re spoiled or anything.

On Wednesday, we’ll be celebrating our 8th year smoke free. On August 2nd, 2009 we smoked our last cigarette and never looked back. It wasn’t our first go at quitting, but it was our final one. We don’t miss it.

We didn’t read the whole book, but we read enough. 🙂

Anyhow, back to the lazy critters…

Here’s Titanescu looking anything but lazy. That’s because he just woke up and wanted noms
Miss Jenny being lazy
Tito being lazy and a Pepi photobomb
Yes, even Pepi has been lazy.

While at work, Lastech found a busy bird hunting for a meal

Black crowned night heron
Black crowned night heron hunting for fishy noms

That’s it for today. I’m feeling lazy