Caturday: Holiday edition 2016

Some of my friends celebrated the solstice, while others are celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas. We want to wish all of you the best and happiest of holidays. Lastech will be working the holidays, but we’ll have a bit of celebration on his days off. I have some Cornish game hens to bbq.

It has been cold (for CA, mind you) and we’ve been getting quite a bit of rain. You won’t hear us complaining about the rain. We haven’t gotten out as much as we like, but that’s because we were both fighting the flu. I caught it back in November and Lastech caught it this month. Mine took forever to go away and then decided to start a secondary infection in my ears and sinuses. I’m hoping that it’s finally going away now. Once my ears open up again, we can go play on Mt. Diablo.

And now, here are the furry ones.

Tito (left) and Titanescu staring into the light. Actually, they were both taking advantage of a bit of a sunbeam. It’s been to cold to have the door open often.
Titanescu looking like he just smelled something bad
Miss Jenny sleeping and ignoring the world
Tito: My god! It’s full of stars
Miss Pepi hoping I drop some food for her to hoover.

I was looking for a vid when I came across this one. I follow Angry Ram and I’m glad to see this update. Angry Ram lives on a mountain in New Zealand and they’ve had some awful earthquakes. And no, it’s not sad. 🙂

Until next time, have a wonderful and safe holiday season

Rudha-an and Lastech


Increase your website traffic with Attracta.com

Share

Caturday: Chills, thrills, and rain

Yes! It’s raining! We’re now well above average for the month. That doesn’t mean the drought is over and we may still be very short of our needed rainfall for the season. Still, it’s giving the hills a good boost and they’re greening up already. We missed last Caturday due to performing our bi-yearly move-out-move-back-in thing. It’s a royal pain in the posterior, but at least the weather was nice and no rain.

Rain on glass
Rain on glass

Anyhow, the move thing was relatively uneventful, though Murphy’s Law did manage to kick in though as poor Lastech went to go to work and the car wouldn’t start. Lucky for us, we have AAA membership and they came and changed out the battery and made sure the starter and alternator were working correctly.

In the midst of everything, we took a trip up Mt. Diablo. I’m still sorting those pictures, but Lastech used some different settings on his phone with Halloween in mind. Here are the pointy eared people and the floppy eared one mixed in with some creepy pics. Happy Halloween everyone!

oct-halloween-002

Tito
Tito

oct-halloween-001

Miss Jenny
Miss Jenny

oct-halloween-003

Titanescu
Titanescu

oct-halloween-004

Miss Pepita
Miss Pepita

20161019_225755_lls

We do hope that everyone has a wonderful and safe Halloween this year.


Increase your website traffic with Attracta.com

Share

Caturday: An Anniversary

Yes, it’s an anniversary. Last Labor Day weekend, Miss Pepita was found in a dumpster. We went back to the pier and picked her up that night. You can read her story here. Since then, she has made friends with Tito and Miss Jenny. Titanescu regards her as his personal punching bag and has her properly cowed. She and Tito play together. Miss Jenny merely sniffs noses with her. She also does it when Pepi is at the end of her leash so that she can dart away if she wants. We have since discovered that her biggest enemy is a plastic bag. Oddly enough, when I handle the bags indoors, she’s fine. If it’s outside, it’s a giant NOPE for her. She was laying at my feet earlier and heard a plastic grocery bag blow by outside. OMG! You would have thought it was a home invasion robbery. She never saw it. She just heard it and went all wonky and barky. Titanescu merely looked at her in disgust. Titanescu may not be celebrating this anniversary, but the rest of us are 🙂

Pepi's dumpster
Pepi’s dumpster

And here is our little dumpster doggie

Pepi, one year later
Pepi, one year later

Now it’s time for the pointy-eared people to shine

The great and magnificently crabby Titanescu watching over his kingdom
The great and magnificently crabby Titanescu watching over his kingdom
The gallant and good-natured Tito
The gallant and good-natured Tito
The lovely blue-eyed Miss Jenny
The lovely blue-eyed Miss Jenny

Just for something different, here’s an angry froggy


Increase your website traffic with Attracta.com

Share

OMG! It’s been a whole year already

Yes, a whole year! On this day in 2015 We moved about 30 miles from San Francisco to Concord, CA and took up residence in our little trailer. What an interesting year it has been.

Our new home
Our new home

The pointy eared people not only adapted well, they have thrived. Of course, I suspect that they take great joy in carefully shredding our once lovely interior. Oh well, it’s what kitties do. They’re little furry little Klingons.

Titanescu watching the birdies
Titanescu watching the birdies
Miss Jenny followed this pose by turning to look out the window and snarling at the neighbor. She's weird that way.
Miss Jenny followed this pose by turning to look out the window and snarling at the neighbor. She’s weird that way.
Tito paused in his couch shredding long enough to pose for me
Tito paused in his couch shredding long enough to pose for me

Then, on Labor day weekend, someone found a dog in a dumpster just before the arrival of the trash truck. The dog came home with Lastech and has been here ever since.

Pepita the dumpster doggie
Pepita the dumpster doggie

As the year progressed, we watched the hills turn from brown to green and back again.

The summer browns
The summer browns
The winter greens
The winter greens

We’ve managed to discover lizards, all manners of ducks, geese, hawks, strange flowers and plants.

Sunbathing lizard
Sunbathing lizard
Odd plant at the arboretum
Odd plant at the arboretum

We even came across a big rattler on one of our hikes.

Anniv 010

To top it off, we’ve managed to look out from on top of the world, or at least our teeny little corner of it.

View from the top of Mount Diablo
View from the top of Mount Diablo

While we had to deal with a few emergencies, like ER visits for Lastech and Pepi, life has been good. Our lives are much better here than in San Francisco. All in all, it has been a very good year.


Increase your website traffic with Attracta.com

Share

Caturday: Catgirl edition

It’s been two years already! Catgirl (Miyuki) and Carolyn got married two years ago. We were late with our anniversary wishes last year as we were in the middle of moving, but we didn’t miss it this year. Our favorite catgirl has a wonderful little blog called Neko Neko’s Movie Litterbox where she writes wonderful reviews on horror films from all over the world. We love her blog.

May Catgirl

As for us, our one year anniversary of the move will be coming up. The last year has been interesting, with the last 4 months being the wrong kind of interesting. Lastech, Pepi, and my mom in the ER/Hospital and other pain-in-the-tuchus events. It was all capped off by someone backing into our car in the parking garage. Lucky for us, they were insured. We got our car back yesterday.

The pointy eared people are doing well, at any rate.

Tito: Does this couch make my butt look big?
Tito: Does this couch make my butt look big?
Titanescu giving Pepi the stinkeye
Titanescu giving Pepi the stinkeye
Miss Jenny: Why yes, I've shredded the couch. That's what it's there for.
Miss Jenny: Why yes, I’ve shredded the couch. That’s what it’s there for.
Pepita perfecting her "noms?" look.
Pepita perfecting her “noms?” look.

NoooooOOOOOooooOOOOOOoooooo!


Increase your website traffic with Attracta.com

Share

Caturday: Ode to The Pootie Queen

I’ve heard that online friendships just aren’t real and all kinds of other malarkey. Lastech was an online friend and we’ve been married for twelve years as of today. Our anniversary aside, I lost a friend on March 5th. I found Tricia at a political website. As everyone knows, politics can be vicious. She had a love of cats and she posted what came to be called “The Pootie Diaries”. “Pootie” was the name of someone’s kitty. The name stuck and Tricia became known as The Pootie Queen. Her posts were a safe haven from the political fights. The fights had to be left outside. Inside was a mass of Cheezburger posts and pictures of pets posted in the comments. The posts weren’t limited to cats and included any and all animals. That safe haven provided people with a place to share the joys of their pets and to also share their grief on losing them. When we lost The Boober to lymphoma she did a memorial post for him. She did the same when we lost Kitsy. Her funeral is today, so we are dedicating our Caturday post to The Pootie Queen. I’m sure she was greeted by a throng of critters at the Rainbow Bridge. Orange flowers were her favorites. Rest in peace my friend.

She loved orange flowers. For Tricia Wyse Lefevre September 8th, 1970 - March 5th ,2016
Tricia Wyse Lefevre September 8th, 1970 – March 5th ,2016

As for our anniversary, we celebrated that on Lastech’s day off (Wednesday) We relaxed and grilled some good food and had a glass of champagne. It was good.

Titanescu basking in a sunbeam
Titanescu basking in a sunbeam
Miss Jenny: help!
Miss Jenny: help!
Poor Tito looking nervous
Poor Tito looking nervous
Pepi hoping to hoover something good from the grill.
Pepi hoping to hoover something good from the grill.


Increase your website traffic with Attracta.com

Share

Caturday: Endurance’s 1st orbital mission

This week the crew of the Endurance spent 36 hours under “flight conditions”: restricted space (trailer slide in) and environmental controls at minimum (running on battery power and partial water tank). The catonauts handled stress fairly well, thanks in large part to Feliway.

All three sought to spend time under covers since their favored “fort”, under the couch was greatly reduced by the trailer slide being pulled in. Traffic noise was also much greater and put them on edge a bit. Pepita required more exercise than usual to take the “edge” off, but the entire crew did very well otherwise. As usual for Tito, he would defer to Titanescu and Jenny, letting them eat first and claim humans’ laps before he would.

Tito also checked regularly on Pepita on his rounds. As for Jenny, unless she went straight for a spot under a tented cover between our knees, she would pace slowly back and forth between the pillows and the wall, purring and rubbing against us. Titan mostly slept through it all…

As time goes on, it seems clearer that they are happier here in the more confined space of the trailer than at the old apartment. And much of that I think has to do with the environment, which is quieter and allows them to enjoy more air moving through, and even more direct sunlight, through the screen door or skylight. They raise their head up to sniff at the breeze and go right back to their nap, apparently very contentedly.

The addition of Pepita to the crew may even have helped in some way. Jenny, in particular, is seen more than she was at the old apartment, where she tended to hide in a cupboard. While she still has some spots where she could hide if she wanted to, she chooses instead to come visit and spent more time with us on the bed.

Rudha-an here: The little move was harder on Pepita than it was on the cats. She was confined to her crate a lot more than usual. We’ve been trying to make up for that. Oh, and a miracle update. Titanescu still likes to go smack poor Pepi for no reason other than she exists. However, Pepi and Tito touched noses yesterday. They’re coming along nicely. Pepita is a tad too exuberant, so I have to keep her on a leash indoors, so that I can control where she goes. She could injure a cat without intending to do so.

Tito was glad to have the trailer back to normal
Tito was glad to have the trailer back to normal
Miss Jenny still hides under the blankets a bit.
Miss Jenny still hides under the blankets a bit.
Titanescu sleeping with dad. Note Miss Jenny watching from under the blanket
Titanescu sleeping with dad. Note Miss Jenny watching from under the blanket
Pepita is a happy puppy
Pepita is a happy puppy

Yesterday, they trimmed all the mulberry trees. Today we found this.

Mr or Mrs Crow singing the song of their people
Mr or Mrs Crow singing the song of their people

Now for a bit of Halloween fun

This is just funny. It’s also a brilliant way to get pets adopted. 🙂


Increase your website traffic with Attracta.com

Share

Breaking orbit: the Lander’s maiden run

Research paid off. It paid off by making the quest for a new vehicle much simpler and affordable. Once we decided on the attributes we needed, the features and niceties would just be icing on the cake so to speak. I’ve never been a fan of SUVs but there is one thing they helped improve, at least in my opinion, and that is useable inside space.

Our Mercury had a lot of room out front and in the trunk. But leg room in the back seat was airline tight. Vehicles such as the Honda Element and the Scion Xb, which came after the SUV craze of the 90’s, are limos by comparison to the Merc: you can easily cross your legs without touching the back of either front seat. As compact as these cars are on the outside, they are rangy where it matters.

Other than usable space, other parameters we used were:
– Reliability
– Economy
– Functionality (with an eye towards the comfort and safety of the Catonauts)
But I won’t bore you with what brands and models we put on our short list… A few days ago, Rudha-an put together a list of local dealers to visit based on the size and variety of used inventory.

At the end of a long day, we almost passed on the last dealer. As it happens, that is where we found our “Lander One”, a Mazda CX-7. Appropriately, I thought, the brand’s name is derived from a deity’s: Ahura Mazda, god of wisdom, intelligence and harmony in ancient Western Asian civilizations.
Just as Mercury, god of communication, business and travelers, inspired the other car brand.

Mazda 004

From there, differences are notable and interesting: while both vehicles weigh nearly the same, close to 4000 pounds, the Mazda’s engine is half that of the Mercury. a 2.3 liter four cylinder motor, versus a 4.6 liter V8. The Mazda moves its mass with help from a turbocharger and a six speed automatic transmission. With the rear seats folded down, its cargo capacity exceeds the Mercury’s. In terms of economy, the Mercury had better gas mileage on the freeway as long as it was flat. But the Mazda’s more frugal in town and combined driving. It also fit well within our budget limit of $10.000 or less.

Mazda 001

As for insurance, full coverage cost us hundreds less than what we were quoted for a Hyundai Sonata sedan of the same year.
We expect several years of service out of it.

Mazda 002

It also has a moon-roof, which comes in handy when my head gets too big…

We took the Lander on its maiden trip up Mount Diablo, a very scenic drive requiring some concentration due to tight turns on narrow roads, shared with the occasional pick up truck and bicyclist. It performed flawlessly, being easier to handle on its shorter wheelbase and tighter turning radius, as well as its excellent brakes and suspension. Mission Control approves, and we expect the Catonauts to do the same.

Mazda 005

What a view
What a view

And we found it in one day..!


Increase your website traffic with Attracta.com

Share

Requiem for a car: Mercury dropping

Our Mercury Grand Marquis is finally being retired after six years of service and exploration. A mechanical vessel of a bygone era, a sturdy vehicle short on electronics but safe and comfortable. It’s been argued it was too big a vehicle for the dense, hostile environments of the San Francisco Bay Area, but smaller cars don’t fare any better.

The Mercury in better times
The Mercury in better times

While the Mercury was parked on the street, the driver side front marker light was hit. This was fixed. It happened again within 6 months. This time, we let it be and I patched up the damage with aluminum tape. One night, a hostile life-form (an angry homeless dude) ambled down the street kicking cars. The result: dented rear passenger side door. But the worst came after Saint Patrick’s day…

This lovely shot is brought to you by idiots that don't know how to parallel park.  This is round two for this part of the car.
This lovely shot is brought to you by idiots that don’t know how to parallel park. This is round two for this part of the car.
Right above the door handle is where the angry homeless guy kicked it. We got lucky. The other cars lost side mirrors to go with the dents.
Right above the door handle is where the angry homeless guy kicked it. We got lucky. The other cars lost side mirrors to go with the dents.

All holidays are just an occasion to get good and drunk, evidently. Aside from erratic drivers running red lights, swerving and speeding, even parking carries its own risks. About four blocks from our apartment, one street has a particularly odd parking configuration: perpendicular to the curb one side, parallel on the other. The Mercury was hit there on the past, which left a crease on the driver side front wheel well. But can lightning strike twice in the same place, really?

Since the crease was vertical, it was probably a small pickup that hit it.
Since the crease was vertical, it was probably a small pickup that hit it.

Well, I should have known better after what happened to the marker light. The drinking does not start on Saint Patrick’s day. It starts before, spikes during and slowly returns to usual levels of consumption after.

I found an impact on the front of the car that was bad enough to push the body  panels, right front fender and hood, out of alignment. I would need a pry bar to open the hood and then, I’d probably be unable to get it shut again.

The final hit. You can see that the corner of the hood is lifted off kilter.
The final hit. You can see that the corner of the hood is lifted off kilter.

This was three months before our move out of San Francisco, just as the Endurance program planning was ramping up. The check engine light was coming on intermittently because of a bad valve, the brake light was on permanently, probably because the rotors were not turned at the shop. Not dangerous but annoying.

Bear in mind, we had not yet really begun the search for the Endurance, nor the search for a place to dock it. We had a lot of ground to cover and a damaged vehicle to do it in. Would it last?

Of course, it did. It took us to the Central Valley looking for trailers, to the East Bay looking at RV parks and shuttled our belongings to and from storage once we found the Endurance. It continued commuting to work, It did everything. In better times, it took us from Pinnacles National Monument to Yosemite, from ocean beach to mountain ridge. Now it’s time for it to return to the Universe one last time, its metal and plastic separating to be reformed and perhaps see the road again. I hope so.

Farewell you good old car. Farewell
Farewell you good old car. Farewell

The Mercury carried the Catonauts to the Endurance, their new home. Without it… Well who knows?


Increase your website traffic with Attracta.com

Share

Caturday: Love rules the day

Rudha an: The post below was written by Lastech and I’m adding my bit up here. Yesterday was nothing short of amazing to me. Love certainly ruled the day. I spent the day watching my Facebook and Twitter feed and sniffling with happiness. Finally! It’s now just marriage. It’s not “same sex marriage” or “gay marriage”. It’s just marriage for all. Hooray! This is Pride weekend here and it has taken on a whole new meaning.

Castro flag

In addition, thanks to the confusion of our move, we neglected a very important celebration. On May 14th of last year, our friend Catgirl married the love of her life, Carolyn. We want to wish them all the happiness they can handle. Catgirl writes great reviews of horror films from around the world for her delightful blog, Nekoneko’s Movie Litterbox.

Lastech: As it turns out, living in a trailer with cats is like traveling through space with Klingons. They play, they fight while singing the songs of heir people and romp all over us , not so much at high speed for lack of room, but take flying leaps. By the way, this is how they demand to be fed. No tact.

The fabric covering the furniture seems pretty sturdy considering how often and how violently they claw at it. The window blinds are not so resilient. No matter, eventually they’ll have destroyed all of that and we’ll have to replace it.

They do enjoy watching the world outside the windows or the screen door, especially when there’s a ray of sunshine to lay upon. They are excited by the wind stirring through the leaves outside and lust for bloody murder as robins fly by on their way to the bird feeder. Speaking of birds, these flying piglets go through birdseed like there’s no tomorrow.

And if the catonauts had their way, there would be no tomorrow, just half digested feathers in the litter box… The best Tito could do yesterday was to pull a Renfield and gobble up a fly before we had time to get up and yell “gross!”
He did groom himself after that….

Tito staking out a spot by the window
Tito staking out a spot by the window
Miss Jenny making love to Rudha an's sandals
Miss Jenny making love to Rudha an’s sandals
Titanescu being lazy in the bunk
Titanescu being lazy in the bunk
Bird watching. They love it when the weather is cool enough to keep the door open.
Bird watching. They love it when the weather is cool enough to keep the door open.

Now for a little music showing how we feel this week. 🙂

Share