Olivia on the bed

New member of the family

With the moving on of our beloved Zoey the Cool Cat, a hole was left in our hearts. That hole never will be completely filled, but we partially filled it yesterday when Olivia joined our family.

Olivia under the bed

Olivia was abandoned in a box at the front door of the El Cajon Animal Shelter the night of June 2-3.

El Cajon Animal Shelter

From the looks of her tummy, I believe she just had kittens. I guess the previous owners didn’t understand spaying. They probably sold the kittens and then dumped this little one.

Interestingly, they apparently left a note with Olivia telling her name and how old she was. As of June 11, 2019, she was 1 year 6 months 3 weeks old, so I have pegged her birthday as November 21, 2017.

We got home with her at 11:33 a.m. She proceeded to explore the house for about 20 minutes before finding the one bed that she could crawl under, and there she stayed for about four hours.

Olivia under the bed

I coaxed her out with some wet food, and ever since she’s been running from room to room; exploring all the window sills; grooming; and watching the rabbits (second picture below), ground squirrels, and birds.

Olivia on a window sill

Olivia on a window sill watching a rabbit

She has lots of spring in her back legs, being able to leap a tall building with a single bound, and I do believe she is the fastest cat in the world. It’s about 40 yards from the front door through the living room through the dining room down the hallway and into, her choice, one of the two bedrooms or the office. She does that 40-yard dash in 3.1415926 seconds.

Olivia is a Domestic Short Hair, and judging from her cute little black nose and goatee, and her spikey-looking fur (it’s actually quite soft), I believe she is into goth metal music. That’s not The Beatles….

Olivia's black nose and goatee

She has discovered the catio, is eating/peeing/pooping, and generally just a lot of fun to watch, hold, and love.

Olivia eating

Her black and white seems to go well with the colors of the bedspread quilt.

Olivia on the bed

Jackson Galaxy (“My Cat From Hell”) says that a grooming cat is a happy and healthy cat. Let’s go with that.

Olivia grooming

We have two months to get acquainted. After that, we cannot return her to the animal shelter and get our adoption fee back. I hope she decides to stay.

Olivia

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Picture of the Moment—Post-dashcam days

Picture of the Moment

I went by this car on fire before the police, fire trucks, and ambulances got there. There’s no additional information online so I presume everyone involved is okay. In pre-dashcam days I would have stopped to take a picture. I always felt guilty about stopping to take pictures of accidents and such. I like post-dashcam days better.

Vehicle on fire

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Nature’s Geometry: Flora—Who is Russel Ray?

Since January 28, 2019, I have been doing the final editing and design layout on a 350-page book titled Spiny Succulents: Euphorbias, cacti, and other sculptural succulents, and (mostly) spiny xerophytic plants. I finished it yesterday. It will be on sale in late October or early November, and is the fourth book by the author, Jeff Moore, on cacti and succulents. As with his first three books, there are lots of beautiful pictures, over 1,340 of them.

Seeing how easy it is to publish a book in today’s world—one can even get an ISBN for as low as $4.95—encouraged me to do what I have always wanted to do: write a book. I actually have two books in mind, Nature’s Geometry: Flora and Nature’s Geometry: Fauna. They basically will be picture books, with a little writing thrown in for good measure, and will allow me to combine a lifelong love of photography, nature, writing, and mathematics. My first task, then, was to ask myself, “Who is Russel and why does he get to write these two books?” In other words, “About the Author.” I sat down last night while watching the movie “Silent Hill” and wrote about Russel (that’s me!), a long diatribe that obviously will be edited for brevity for the final book. Following is what I came up with, still in first person:My Heartleaf Ivy

I was born in 1955 in Kingsville, Texas. After my dad died in 1961, mom moved us to northern Utah where her family was from. It was in Brigham City, Utah, where I became fascinated by nature. Our neighbor next door was Mrs. Larson, my first grade teacher. She had beautiful plants in her yard, and one day she gave me a “heartleaf ivy,” Philodendron cordatum. That started my fascination with plants.

My paternal grandmother adopted me in December 1965 and took me home to Kingsville. In September 1966, the principal of the grade school was going around to home rooms and asking for volunteers to learn photography. The school provided Nikon cameras, a darkroom, supplies for the darkroom, adult supervisors for the darkroom, and, most importantly, free entry to all school events, including football, baseball, basketball, and tennis (my four favorite sports). I was an easy sell, and that was my start in photography.

In September 1968, my first class in eighth grade was botany. My teacher, Mrs. Bajza, presented a slide show of many beautiful plants, all growing in her gardens. When I got home that afternoon, I asked my grandmother if I could have a small garden in her yard. I was Cooling condenserexpecting a loud and definitive, “NO!”. However, granddad and I had installed central heating and cooling earlier that year, and grandma gave me the 100-ft square section where the cooling condenser was located. If you’re familiar with cooling condensers, nothing had been growing around ours for about six months because of the hot air blowing from that condenser. I was depressed and went over to visit my best friend, Richard. He and his parents listened to me complain and invited me to go with them to the Rio Grande Valley the coming weekend to visit nurseries, which turned out to be specialized cactus and succulent nurseries. I was mesmerized. Richard’s parents allowed me to pick out plants that I liked and they bought them for me. I created a rock wall surrounding the cooling condenser to force the hot air up, allowing me to plant my cacti & succulents on the other side of the rock wall, protected from the hot condenser wind. Eventually the plants grew and bloomed, and that was the start of my fascination with cacti & succulents.

My math addiction came about because I had been good with numbers from a very early age. I was quite adept using a slide rule when I was in first grade.

Slide rule

In twelfth grade, I won a math competition in South Texas for my presentation, “Tips & Tricks To Help You With Math.” That allowed me to go to a statewide competition a few weeks later, where I came in second. First place was taken by a girl in twelfth grade in Dallas for her presentation, “Fibonacci Numbers & Nature.” Her presentation resulted in me combining my three loves of math, nature, and photography.

This book will explore nature’s geometry using math, specifically the golden ratio created by the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, but also the golden angle, the reverse golden angle, the golden rectangle, and the golden spiral, all derived from the Fibonacci number sequence.

Throughout these pages are pictures, most of them my pictures of plants in my collection, showing how the Fibonacci number sequence expressed itself in our cacti & succulents as the number of ribs on a gymnocalycium, the number of spines in a cactus areole, and, of course, the spirals prominently displayed in many species, most notably in the center of the sunflower (Helianthus) and the spiral aloe (Aloe polyphylla).

Sunflower

Aloe polyphylla - Spiral Aloe

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Meet Mary Agnes

My wise old grandmother

When I came to San Diego in April 1993, two of the first plants I wanted were Agapanthus africanus and Jacaranda mimosifolia. I never had seen them before. They were beautiful!

I was able to get Agapanthus immediately because it’s a perennial with a rhizomatous root.

Jacaranda is a tree growing up to almost 100 feet tall, so I knew it would be awhile before I got one. That “awhile” turned into 25 years and 3 months….

I got my Jacaranda in July 2018 but I have been keeping it as a bush. I laced it today so I could see its first flowers.

Jacaranda mimosifolia

Jacaranda mimosifolia

Both plants are purple, which was my wise old grandmother’s favorite color.

I have named my Jacaranda “Mary Agnes” in honor of my wise old grandmother, a master gardener before there were master gardeners.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Facts, research, science…. meh

Opinion

Texas A&M UniversityI worked for the Department of Chemistry, College of Science, and University Press at Texas A&M University from April 1, 1984, to May 15, 1987, and the Department of Chemistry, College of Science, and University Press at Stanford University from May 16, 1987 to September 30, 1987.

One of my tasks was to check facts, citations, sources, and references. I questioned everything and verified everything before any press release was released, before any newsletter was sent, and before any book was published.

Once I was satisfied about the integrity of a book, I assigned it an ISBN. In today’s world, ISBN’s can be bought for as low as $4.95. That helps self-publishers, but the whole definition of self-publisher means that no one has verified anything. That’s okay for something like a picture book, but it’s not okay for books relying on facts, research, and science.

Considering the prevalence of digital photos and photo editing software, as well as video editing software, and how those fake photos and videos spread on social media, it might not be good for picture books, either. I fear that the world is going to end as humans revert back to their evolutionary predecessors….

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post