Category Archives: My own little world

….stuck in the kitchen

I live in my own little world

If the weather is good in the morning, I pot or plant in the ground at least one plant. The big ones first. This morning I got quite a few planted in the ground. Here they are.





Trichocereus sp.

Mammillaria magnimamma

Mammillaria hahniana

Mammillaria pilcayensis

Oreocereus species

Notocactus leninghausii

Echinocereus reichenbachii v. albispinus

When I came in from the gardens, planning on working in the office, I found an unknown creature at the end of the hallway giving me the evil eye.

Zoey the Cool Cat

There was no way to get to the office, so I was stuck in the kitchen, but at least that’s where the margaritas were.

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


Super volunteer is sad & depressed

I live in my own little world

Sad & depressed I am.

Super volunteer Russel Ray just isn’t wanted anywhere. Seems I give a good name to bad volunteers, so I’m not wanted.

Apparently when I started volunteering at Friends of Cats, they thought, “Yeah, another volunteer. Whatever.” Then they discovered that I’m not like other volunteers. I actually like to do things, especially if no one else likes to do them.

Unfortunately, non-profits have paid staff, people who are paid to do things, so when a super volunteer comes along, paid staff get anxious about, perhaps, losing their jobs.

I’ve done the city animal shelter, Second Chance Dog Rescue, San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society, and now Friends of Cats. If they have paid staff, they just don’t want regular, consistent, good volunteers.

I was doing whatever the various staff asked me to do. First and foremost was laundry, which I kind of enjoyed doing. While washers and dryers were running, I would socialize with the cats. Sometimes I would get asked to help feed, empty trash, pick up and clean empty food dishes, scoop poop, whatever. Always willing to help wherever I could. Someone apparently took issue with my help. I think it’s the only three people who had never asked me to help them with something.

So…. On to my next volunteer adventure.

I have been accepted at San Diego Oasis. I will be helping K-6 students who have been identified as lagging behind their peers in reading. Reading Tutor training is October 16 & 17, and I think actually tutoring the students begins in late October or early November.

I also will be implementing a chess club at one of the Oasis locations, possibly both of them. And I have been approved for teaching a class on “Taking & Making Great Pictures.” Chess and photography won’t start until February 2019, though.

Meanwhile, here’s my last two picture from Friends of Cats:

Black cats

Black cats

Remember that if you have a black cat that spends time outdoors, bring the little one in for Halloween night and the several nights leading up to Halloween. There are cruel, mean, nasty people in the world who like to abuse black cats at this time of year.

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

Sending thoughts and prayers….

I live in my own little world

I almost feel bad today.

I went to Walmart at 6:00 this morning to get some cat litter for Zoey the Cool Cat. When I checked out, the machine asked me if I wanted to donate to disaster relief. For the first time in my life, I said no.

The only disaster that everyone is collecting for is Hurricane Florence and the floods.

Well, Twitler has shown me that I need to look out for myself because he’s trying to destroy people like me, as well as other people typically called “minorities, people of color, women, etc.”

Since red states like North Carolina already get way more money from the government than they contribute, money which comes from blue states like California, where I live, I just decided to keep my money, especially since my tax burden under the Twitler tax giveaway to the rich is going to increase significantly for 2018.

Good luck over there on the East Coast. Sending thoughts and prayers…..

(Yeah, I’m cynical under Dictator Twitler and his regime.)

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


By now all the cats should be hairless

I live in my own little world

I have two main tasks each day I volunteer at Friends of Cats, Inc.

One is to wash and dry cat beds, towels, blankets, etc. There are four washers and four dryers, all running pretty much 8 hours a day. Each time I put items in a dryer, I clean the lint screen. All the lint screens look like this:

Dryer lint screen

Every. Single. One.

By now all the cats should be hairless.

I’m guessing someone comes in overnight and glues all the hair back on the cats….

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


I live in my own little world

Back in 1966 when I was under the tutelage of my wise old grandmother, I had a little cactus garden. Nothing but cactus. Little plants with spines and thorns. Lots of owees did I get. They were painful, but nothing that a teenager couldn’t handle. If I could handle grandmother whippings with an oleander switch, heck, I could handle just about anything.

Fast forward 50 years and the closest I get to those little plants with those spines and thorns is about four inches away but protected by the lens of my camera.

Last Friday I went to the Super Succulents Celebration hosted by Waterwise Botanicals in Bonsall, about 40 miles north of where I live.

Since waterwise plants include cactus, there were a lot of cactus on the grounds of this huge plant nursery comprising over twenty not-flat acres. Speaking from experience, don’t try to walk all those acres at one time.

Having been there before, I knew to take my Canon 760D camera and all three of my lenses, a Tamron 18-300m, a Tamron 90mm macro, and a Tamron 150-600mm. There were so many plants in bloom that all I used was my macro lens.

Here are four of my favorite cactus spine and thorn macro pictures:

Macro picture of cactus thorns

Macro picture of cactus thorns

Macro picture of cactus thorns

Macro picture of cactus thorns

If you look closely at the third picture, you can see a few translucent circles at the bottom of that spine. Those are raindrops. It had rained earlier that day, so I got lots of extraordinary macro pictures of raindrops on cactus and succulents. I will share them in my next post.

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

My Own Little World—Fruity & fresh

I live in my own little world

When Jim, Zoey the Cool Cat, and I moved into our new home last July, I wanted to create a place where Zoey the Cool Cat could safely go outside. At our previous home, she had a balcony high up in the air where there were no dangers to her. Out here in the boondocks we have coyotes, foxes, raptors, lots of aggressive ground squirrels, and even aggressive rabbits. I couldn’t teach Zoey the Cool Cat not to go between the balusters and take off chasing something that looked small from a distance but might be a little bigger than her when she got too close.Zoey the Cool Cat chilling on the lanai

So I took our front porch, which actually is at the rear if you say that the front faces the street, put up huge cat-claw-proof screens, and put a cat door in the single-hung window. She quickly learned that she can go outside and just chill.

We call the new front porch “Zoey the Cool Cat’s lanai.” From her lanai she has a cat’s eye view of all the birds, lizards, bees, squirrels, and rabbits in Wildlife Corner.Rabbit and squirrels

Yesterday, with the temperature at 86°F in the sun, Zoey the Cool Cat was chilling on her shaded lanai. I decided to chill with her, so I got the book I’m reading (“The Demon in the Freezer” by Richard Preston—a true book about the eradication of smallpox) and a new beer that I bought (Shock Top Ruby Fresh Grapefruit), and went out to chill with her.

I haven’t been much of a beer drinker since leaving Texas on April 15, 1993, so I’m always trying new and different beers whenever I decide to have one. O.M.G. Shock Top Ruby Fresh Grapefruit is the best thing since margaritas! I can highly recommend it.

I have really turned into a fruity beer person—Abita Purple Haze (raspberry wheat), Redd’s Raspberry Ale (could be my favorite except that every bottle I have ever had has been flat, and flat beers are just nasty so I have given up on Redd’s), Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat, and so many others. I’m ditching all the others and going with Shock Top Ruby Fresh Grapefruit, especially since I found a store just a mile away that carries it regularly.

Online images show it as Shock Top Ruby Fresh but my bottle actually says Shock Top Ruby Fresh Grapefruit. I probably would not have bought it if it just said “Ruby Fresh” because when it comes to these fruity beers, the name of the beer is what catches my attention, and “Ruby Fresh” would not have done that.

Anyway, if you want to try a new beer, one that is, uh, fresh, try Shock Top Ruby Fresh Grapefruit and let me know what you think.

Here’s the Shock Top car that shows up at all the car shows throughout San Diego County:

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

The story of the honey bees

I live in my own little world

I can definitively tell you that honey bees don’t like garlic. Around 7:00 a.m. on Monday, January 29, I spread some garlic powder around the north pond where the honey bees have been congregating to quench their thirsty little bodies. I specifically put the garlic powder out before the honey bees arrived because the smell will drive them away whereas getting the powder directly on them will kill them.

Honey beesYesterday the bee congregation at the north pond was about half what it was the day before while there was a noticeable bee congregation at the new Wildlife Corner pond. Today, I only saw three honey bees at the north pond. I caught their conversation:

PondJim (first honey bee): “Wow! Where is everyone, Andrew?”

Andrew (second honey bee): “I don’t know, Jim. I just got here myself.”

Jim: “What’s that awful smell?”

Andrew: “I think it’s garlic.”

Jim: “Oh, no! Is everyone dead, then?”

Andrew: “I don’t think so. I saw Matt just a couple of hours ago over in La Mesa.”

Brian (new arrival): “Jim! Andrew! Don’t go near the water. There’s garlic on the beaches!”

Pond in Wildlife CornerAndrew: “We know! But where is everyone?”

Brian: “We’re all in back. I came to see if anyone was out here. This guy, Russel, who lives here, built a huge pond for us with all sorts of beaches. He even bought a bird bath and put some rocks in it to make it shallower for us. He’s a great guy! He rescues us if we fall in the water and can’t get out. He’s the reason Mary, Margaret, Dirk, Ken, Mark, and Cary are still with us.”Sea lavender

Jim: “I’m pretty tired, though. I was all the way over in Rancho San Diego today. The jacarandas, lilies of the Nile, and sea lavender all are blooming. It’s paradise, but I sure am thirsty.”

Brian: “The new pond is just around back, about a minute’s flight. Follow me! You can make it!”

I am pleased to report that I did not have to rescue a single honey bee today. Maybe I have enough shallow areas and beaches so that they don’t fall in the water, or maybe the weaker honey bees already drowned in a pool somewhere, or maybe honey bees are capable of learning what to do and what not to do….

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