Never say never again.

Last year I dove into the world of animal rescue.  Head first to be exact!  After coming home and finding a flyer posted next to the elevators at my condo complex, stating all stray cats would be trapped and taken to the shelter.  The shelter here in Miami is a high kill shelter.  They recently stopped taking in cats, and any strays brought to them are killed. See what I did there? I didn’t say euthanize.  That’s because if you take the word by its meaning, they you will see that you really cannot euthanize a perfectly healthy animal. No, our shelter kills, and it kills a lot.  Sure, their numbers have gone down, but only because they now ship dogs and cats to other shelters and sometimes work with rescues.

Anyway, when I saw this I knew I couldn’t just leave those cats to that fate.  I’ve been covertly feeding them for a couple of years and really knew nothing about where to take them for help.  I took to Facebook, and began my journey.  I hooked up with some good and caring people.  These people had been in rescue for years and knew the ins and outs.  I was able to make some connections and found out there was a program in my area that would help me in getting these cats spayed and neutered.

I was able to find a home for one cat that was feline leukemia positive, as well as four others.  At one point I had ten cats in my apartment.  Yes, ten!  I have six of my own, so the additional four was quite frankly a nightmare.  Of the four, two were about five to six months old, one was shy but the other was quite feral.  At one point I was keeping them in my spare bathroom and the feral one got out.  She gave me a hell of a scratch before she got into the carrier.  The other two were about four months old.

With some help, a home was found for the two older kittens, and I kept the smaller two until a home could be found for them.  This was eight months in the making.  I have had these two girls with me and while I will tell you it has been incredibly stressful at times, I absolutely adored these girls. My journey with them ended last night.  Today they are on their way to a new life.  I can’t even express the sadness I felt knowing that I had to let them go.  It was as though part of my soul was being torn from me, and I think it was.  They took a little piece of me with them, and in turn they left a big piece of themselves with me. Their impact on me will last until I take my final breaths on this earth.  I never wanted to foster, because I knew how hard it would be to let them go.  But they taught me that as hard as it is, when your part is done, you let them go.  You let them go because it was your job to prepare them, to show them how to trust and what it means to be loved.

As sat there in my car with my foster girls, Isis and Astra, and who I eventually came to call Smudge and Mochie, I said to myself, “I can never do this again.  I can’t allow myself to feel like this again.” I could very easily have been a foster failure, but my space dictates that I cannot bring any more cats into my home permanently.  Permanently being the key word here.  You see, as I was saying good-bye to my friend who is taking the girls on to their next stop in their new life, she asked me if I could foster a little kitten.  A tiny baby not even six weeks old yet, until the end of April or mid-May.  I smiled and didn’t even hesitate.   I hope to welcome my new charge this week.


Smudge and Mochie

Smudge and Mochie

Smudge Mochie

NEW Morningstar pizza – Baja Black Bean Review

I am always wary of microwave pizza.  That “crisper” rarely works well, at least for me, and many times I wind up turning it from a potentially tasty treat, to something I can make a shoe out of. But, I decided to give this a try.


I wasn’t sure about black beans and corn on a pizza, but it was either this one or the one with the garbanzo beans (Mediterranean Chickpea).  I love garbanzo beans, but on a pizza seemed more odd than the black bean combo.

So, here goes.  On the tray, for 3:45 minutes in the office microwave.


Looks like this when it’s out.


And now for the best part.  Tasting it!


It’s actually quite delicious!  A little spicy, so it’s got a bit of a kick to it. And guess what? It’s crispy!!!  I really really loved this.  Now I want to try the other one.   The price comparable to other single serving pizza’s on the market.

Here is some of the nutrition information.



I highly recommend this.  It’s vegetarian, tastes good and the price won’t kill you so you can buy a couple and have them for lunch at work, or dinner at home.

I’ll give this a resounding 4 tuna cans!

small tuna cansmall tuna cansmall tuna cansmall tuna can


Where do I go?

Honestly, I don’t know where to go.  Don’t know what to do, don’t know what I really WANT to do.  I have an idea of what I’d love to do with my life, but I have to be realistic and admit, there’s not much money in what I want to do, and I need to support myself.  Right now, it’s all just a dream.  A dream I hope so fulfill someday.  For now, I find myself still on that treadmill.  Running in the same place, and getting nowhere really.

I’ve stopped actively looking for another job. It’s been over three years of searching and still nothing.  So yes, at this point I’m just quitting.  There’s just so much rejection one can take until you just admit to yourself you aren’t going to find anything.  And as I finally decide to just stop looking, it is now that my company will likely lose it’s largest client, thus now would be the perfect time for me to actually look for a job.

Depression is something I am dealing with still.  I do have good days, but the bad days still creep up on me.  I have to force myself to write. I HAVE to.  I used to be able to write every day. I wrote and loved it, and I do believe I was quite good at it.  Now, the though of sitting down and writing something makes me cringe.  I know a lot of that has to do with just not  being happy with my work life.  I can’t help but let it affect me in my writing.

I had a dream last night.  I started my volunteer job.  I went to the hospital, but couldn’t find my way to the department I was to work in.  I literally walked that entire hospital, until it turned into night, and couldn’t not find the department.  I finally found it at the end of the day, and cried and told the woman I had gotten lost.  She smiled and laughed a little and said something but I didn’t understand what she said.  I guessed she just told me to come back in the morning.

Very symbolic, that in my dream I still wander.

Bookshelf 3 of 6

Another section of the bookshelf.  This is the middle section of the bookshelf on the left of the television.   Lots of books here and some DVD’s.  The small little pinkish box on the bottom left is a cardboard jewelry box.  I haven’t looked in there in a while.  It’s always nice to go through an old box full of interesting little things.  You managed to find things you often forgot you had and loved.


Bookshelf 3 of 6

Bookshelf project, 2 of 6.

Bookshelf 2 of 6

This is another section of my bookshelf.  It’s amazing to me that I never really noticed before just how much of “me” is in these little sections of my bookshelf.

From left to right, here we go:

The wood object you see there is an incense holder.  I found that, if I remember correctly, at a flea market over 15 years ago!  Wow, that’s a long time now that I think back. I hadn’t realized I’ve had it that long.  I particularly love this because when you open the top, you have the actual holder for the incense to stand and burn down.  The ashes fall down into this sort of basin.  You can see that there is a line going across.  That’s actually a small compartment, where the incense is kept.

The two statuettes:   The first, St. Therese, referred to as “The Little Flower”.  I bought her several years ago, when I was still living with my aunt.  I thought she was pretty, and now and then I go to the church named for here near where I work.  The second statuettte, is my Our Lady of Charity, the patron saint of Cuba, La Cardidad de el Cobre.  The national shrine for her is here in Miami.  My mother was a devotee to her, and to the day she died her faith never wavered.

At the front, a small round container with little plastic bands, for Sofie’s hair.  Next to it a ceramic box, a wonderful old woman gave me back in the late 90’s when I was living in some apartment building after I’d moved from my aunts home.  Inside there are some incense cones, and a hand from a statue of a goddess in Japanese Geisha clothing.  Her name eludes me, but the superstition goes, if you take her hand and wish for something, she will grant you your wish, in return for her hand.  And as you see, she’s never gotten her hand back, so my wish has never been granted.  Perhaps it’s time to ask for something else.

Behind the statuettes, is a box I bought at Pier One may many years ago.  It’s I believe Indian, and I keep old jewelry I never really wear anymore in there.  Next to that are very old photos I was given a little over 20 years ago.  They are photos from Cuba.  Many of family, that I admittedly don’t even know by name.  The photos are propped up against an old mirror I never got around to hanging.

Sometimes a picture can say a lot. Bookshelf project 1 of 6.

A picture can often say a lot about not just the subject, but the person behind the camera. Especially if it’s a photograph that reflects that person. I have a two bookshelves, that once were part of an entertainment center. Several moves over the years broke off the already flimsy middle section of the entertainment center, and since I can always use more storage space, I have kept the two bookshelf/sides.

Currently they hold a plethora of “stuff” I have collected through the years. As I sat watching some television yesterday afternoon, I looked at all of my stuff and realized that my bookshelves reflect me in a very visual way. I decided it would be interesting to take a picture of each section and show you all.

This is 1 of 6:

Bookshelf 1 of 6

So as you can see, my reading material is eclectic, as you will see with the next photo posts I make.

Vampires: Yes, they have always fascinated me.  Although I hate to admit this, but lately, I’m over it.  Maybe it’s just the total saturation of vampires both in movies, books and television.  I also don’t really go for the way they are portrayed these days.  Some sparkly, some sex obsessed, and some just dumb.

The Strange: I’m always up for reading about oddities!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Loved the show!  I really was very disappointed when it was cancelled.  I thought there was still one more good season there.

Pink ribbon bear:  I bought this many years ago, through Avon.  It was during a Breast Cancer awarreness campaign, and it caught my eye.  Proceeds of the purchase of the bear went to research.  My mother died of this horrible disease, and whenever I can monetarily, I try to support.

Nefertiti:  Another fascination for me. Not just her, but all things ancient, be they Egyptian, Roman or Greek. But, mainly it’s the ancient Egyptians that have always for some reason attracted me.

CD’s:  Not that they attract me but I have a lot of files saved on these.  I recently purchased a new laptop and have been in the process of downloading some saved files.  I’ve also lost many things over the years and have been searching through these files to see if perhaps I have them saved here.

Incense:  No explanation here.  I simply love the smell of incense burning. I am however particular with the scents I burn. I like the earthy scents.

The dark fidurine:  That is a figurine of Professor Severus Snape that a very good friend of mine sent me.  I love it!

That tiny bottle:  My boss got that a couple of years ago.  I have no idea where he acquired that odd little bottle with the leprechaun, but he was going to throw it away and I thought it was cute, so I kept it.

Too many reminders of how short life is.

I was sitting at my computer this morning, going through my Facebook News Feed as I do every morning before I set to work.  I came across a page I follow.  I follow a lot of pet pages.  Many of these pets are former abused, neglected and/or have medical issues.  The people have these pages for their pets to celebrate these pets, and bring awareness to the cause of special needs pets.  One pet was Rosie, from Everything Rosie.  Rosie died last night, she succumbed to pneumonia.  Rosie was a puppy-mill survivor.  Her mom gave her an amazing life and her last years were nothing but happy, I’m sure of it.  This little dog was loved beyond belief.

Last month it was Wallace the Pit bull, then this week it was Rufus the Cancer pit bull.  Then I read on another page another pet is sick and not doing well, and a friend’s cat died suddenly this week also.

I’m just very sad now.  All I want is to be home with my furries.  I pray they all know how much I love them.

Opinions wanted about my article!

Some of you may have read I am writing a short article, in the hopes of submitting it to some cat magazines and having it published.  It’s finished, but still a work in progress.  I now I’ve got a bit more work to do here, and adding a little more personal experience with these different types of litter may be included, but I’d love some opinions from you all.  Even if you don’t have a cat, or any pets, your opinion would be appreciated.

Here it is…so far:

Litter me this, litter me that, what kind of litter is best for your cat?

I know what you’re thinking, another article about litter, OY!  But hey, litter is important, and we who serve the furry gods know just how important.  More so perhaps than making sure crazy uncle Fred doesn’t sit next to the boss’ wife at your wedding.

Most people I know who have cats buy the litter they like in the beginning, and while most cats cooperate, many don’t.  I’ve known many a cat servant who has gone through several different types of litter before they find one their cat likes.

As with ANYTHING, there are pro’s and con’s to each type of litter you buy and use.

Clay Litter:

To begin with, most of us start off with the clay litter.  This type of litter is fairly inexpensive, at first glance.  However, it comes with, I believe, the most issues.  The main one being when it gets wet, it stays wet for quite a while.  As we know, cats, most cats that is, hate getting their feet wet, so this will be an issue.  Each time your cat uses the litter, you would have to change out the old and add new.  Here is where your initial inexpensive litter becomes pricey.

Clay clumping litter:

A better option is buying clumping litter.  Here you can find clay-based and plant based options.  Clumping litter will form into a solid piece as soon as it becomes wet allowing you to just scoop the clump out of the box.  However, this type of litter can be very dusty, so you will have kitty tracks all over, not to mention this may present an issue with those who suffer from allergies, be they human or feline.   Also, if your cat is allergic to corn or wheat this litter will be an issue for you and it’s best you avoid it.  My own experience with clay based litter was I found it was too dusty for me, and I didn’t like knowing my cats were ingesting the product.  They get the dust on their fur and feet and the pieces get stuck in their paws and they swallow it.

Corn and Wheat clumping litter:

I have found that corn litter, while is advertised as a natural odor eliminator, didn’t quite work that way for me.  As for the wheat, it did control the odor slightly more, however the clumps eventually would get stuck to the box.  You may as well invest in a jack-hammer to help you clean the boxes, because it’s near impossible remove the clumps that stick to the boxes!  I wonder if the ancient Egyptians used wheat litter to build their pyramids because this stuff isn’t going anywhere!  I won’t tell you how many boxes I threw away before finally changing litters.

Pine pellets:

Pellet litter is made mainly from either pine/wood, recycled paper and recently I used a product made from walnut shells.  Of the three, I have found the pine to be the most effective for odor control.  I live in a not too large loft.  With 6 cats and a dog, believe me, I appreciate the odor control!  A trick many of us know is adding some baking soda, preferably the kind without aluminum, as this can also be ingested by your cat and cause health issues.  The biggest issue however with the pine is it could pose a health concern if your cat is asthmatic.  I recently have begun to suspect one of my cats suffers from what I hope is just a mild case of asthma.  There is a naturally occurring substance in both pine and cedar, plicatic acid in cedar and abietic acid found in pine, that can damage the respiratory tract and cause problems with asthmatic cats.  For this reason, I am looking at some alternatives.  This is an ongoing process, as these days funds are low and it isn’t easy finding something as cost effective as a forty pound of pine pellets for $8.00.

I was able to try out one product, a walnut based product, that seemed like a good alternative, but as with these previous litters, it has it’s pro’s and cons.

Walnut based pellets

I asked the feed store I purchase my pine pellets from if they could order me a bag of some walnut based pellets.   The pellets were slightly smaller than the pine pellets, mainly because this is made for “cat litter” purposes, and the pine litter I buy is used as “horse bedding.”  That’s why it’s so inexpensive, it’s the labeling.  Anyway, the first thing I noticed was how dark this litter is.  It’s like a really dark charcoal gray.  I immediately didn’t like that.  If you are like me, and regularly monitor the color of the litter, this dark color makes it impossible to see any change of color in urine.  By that I mean, finding blood. I recently  had one of my boys develop a case of cystitis.  I noticed Vlad using the box a little too frequently, and as I waited for him to come out of his box at one point, I noticed a drop of blood hit the litter.  Now, Vlad is black, and I saw the drop of blood as well as some pinkish color in the litter because of the yellowish coloring of the pine litter.  Had I been using the walnut based litter, I never would have seen this.  That concerns me.  Also, just for daily scooping it’s hard.  I mean, it’s REALLY hard to see the poop!  The odor control was so-so too.  I wasn’t a fan, even though two of my cats didn’t seem to mind it.  Actually the one that I do suspect as being asthmatic, Oksana, hasn’t set one foot in the litter.  She prefers the pine in the other boxes.


This is something I have never used.  When searching for a litter I stuck with the one that had been next on my list, which happened to be the pine pellets.  I also don’t like the idea of silica being something my cats can ingest.  I have however read that the odor control with this kind of litter leaves much to be desired.

Most litters I have highlighted come either unscented or scented.  In my opinion, I think the “scented” is more for the human, and not so much for the cat.  Cats don’t want to smell their own urine or feces any more than we do.  Finding something that can minimize the odor is the key. For me, pine has worked the best.  I do not have to dig for brown gold on a daily basis, because as long as it’s covered, the pine covers the smell.  Of course, unless my cat Czarina gets into the box.  I don’t mind telling you, her stuff is toxic.  She was a stray for about 3 years before I found her and brought her indoors, although I do suspect she at one time may have belonged to someone since she was already spayed and showed no sign of having been part of any TNR program.  She’s never really though learned how to bury her poop, and sometimes one of my other cats finds it so particularly offensive that they bury it for her.  But when they don’t, I have to dispose of it immediately, because it WILL fill the entire apartment with the smell.

Lastly, there is a product I have used that I would gladly use more if it were not so economically unfeasible for me. Dr. Elsey’s is a brand that has several products for different situations.  There is a special “Cat Attract”, “Kitten Attract” “Senior” and “Respiratory relief”, litters.  I have used the Cat Attract with the last stray I rescued.  Tatiana was nine months old when I brought her inside, and had no clue what a litter box was.  For several days she either went inside the carrier she was hiding inside, or on the floor.  After having to clean the carrier several times and lining the floor with pee pads, I decided to buy the “Cat Attract” litter.  It worked within the first hour of placing it in her area.  This is an excellent brand of litter.  It is pricey however.  Not so terrible if you have one or two cats, but I myself have six, so it’s very difficult for me at the moment.  If things change for me financially however, I do plan to move to this litter.  Let’s hope the cats decide to as well!

Getting older isn’t so bad.

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday, on the phone, and she mentioned to me how she was starting to feel old. I can relate. Really. Now, for the record, I’m only 45. I don’t think that’s “old.” Hell, I don’t even think 60 is old these days, but I certainly don’t feel as young as I used to. I remember the days when I used to play with board games and ride my bike around my neighborhood. I find myself not really interested in too much new music, and more and more prefer to listen to the “classic” stations. Yeah, classic as in songs from the 80’s and 90’s! Brother, if you had ever said to me that U2 would ever be considered a classic band, I’d have laughed in your face and told you to take your Geritol grandpa. See, I’m dating myself because I don’t even think they make Geritol anymore! Do they?

The reason for these thoughts began couple of days right before Thanksgiving Day this year. My niece was born on November 22, 1990. Christ, in 1990 I was 23 years old myself and living with a total loser, out of work and wondering how much worse my life could get. Fun times right there.

As my friend and I kept talking we remembered the times when we rode in the back of stations wagons with the windows down, and rode in the front seat of cars standing up with little thought of seat belts. My father actually ripped the seat belts out of one car we had because the noise that went off when the seat belts weren’t worn was driving him nuts. I mean, hey heaven forbid we actually buckled up! You see, back then we didn’t have the mass exodus of information coming from every possible outlet today. We weren’t worried about being thrown out of car windows in accidents or being impaled by lawn darts. Today, between cell-phones, tablets, laptops, radios and television, we’ve got news coming out of our pours. It’s virtually impossible to NOT be informed about something!

At the risk of sounding like a naive child, there are days when I wish I could be back in grade-school, not really knowing what the rest of the world is going through. Too much information comes with it’s risks. For someone like me who already has anxiety issues and tends to be slightly OCD, having all of this information at my fingertips can make a person just want to stock up on Diet Dr. Pepper and Ramen noodles and just shut the world out! However, that would irresponsible and frankly a bit ignorant. You just can’t live that way no matter how difficult the world around us and everything going on gets. Me? I have medication, and I AM NOT afraid to use it!

It’s not all bad though. With the passage of time, and growing older we begin to really find ourselves. We become something a little different than what we were in our youth. I find myself a little more mindful of others feelings, and realize it’s not just about me. This world isn’t just for me! This world is about WE and US. Being kinder to others and going out of your way to help and do something good. Not because you’re getting anything out of it other than a good feeling. I’ve become more active in social issues than I was as a young adult. The environment is more important to me than it was when I was 15 or 18 or even 25! I advocate for animal rights, and am a militant animal lover! I’m a vegetarian working hard on being a vegan. I’m more interested in politics and feel this ever growing need to inform others as I myself become informed. Self-awareness is pretty awesome, and I was nowhere near this aware of myself and the world around me 20 years ago.

I look around many times and think, I’m not where I thought I’d be when I would think of my future at 23. I thought I would be married with a couple of kids at this point. I’m not, and it’s taken me a long time to realize that maybe I never really wanted to have kids. I saw my cousins getting married and having kids and thought, that’s what I was supposed to do. It’s just never happened for me, and really, at 45 I am not about to start having children. As for the getting married part, I’m still open to that, but admittedly, I’m a hard pill to swallow. I have my issues and I’m very settled into the way my life is now. Still, I do think I’m in a better place than I was back in my younger days. There are times when I wonder how I got here, but I guess where we are at this point in our lives is where we are supposed to be in the grand scheme of things. In my case, the loser boyfriend has been long gone for many years, and while I do have a job, I am desperately looking for something better. I have a small dog sleeping next to me, and 5 cats sunning themselves next to the window. At this moment in time, I’m where I am supposed to be, ready for what life, God and my guiding spirits have in store. Yep, getting older is not so bad.

I live with animals!

Last night, as I was laying in bed, my iPhone in one hand playing Words with Friends, and my remote in the other as I raised the volume on Storage Wars, I realized, “I live with animals!” To my left, on the nightstand lay Czarina on a pillow. At my feet lay Kiska, and Maks. To my left side Sofie, who had just wiggled her way to comfort. Oksana was on the dresser watching as Vlad walked across the room and contemplated either jumping up onto the bed.

In that moment I became amused to no end. Think about it. Here you have these little lives. They’re all furry, have sharp nails and VERY sharp teeth. They eat in your kitchen and most of the time sleep on your bed, and they’re animals. Yes, to me my cats and dog are just as important as someone’s child is to them. These ARE my children, they have feelings and they all have their own distinct personalities. They are intelligent little beings, but yes they are animals and they are in my house! I think that’s just the coolest of things.