Patient Zero – Friday Fictioneers

Greetings, Friday Fictioneers! Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting the group and for choosing my photo this week. Thanks so much! The challenge is to write a 100-word story based on the photo. All are welcome to join in. Here are instructions.

One would think that you if offered a photo, that you might have a story in mind. Not so! I look forward to reading what everyone came up with.

A little background on the photo: (If you don’t want to read this, skip to the story!) I took this in La Jolla near San Diego, a rather upscale beach neighborhood in a trendy shopping area. I found this site in an alley as I was walking through a few of them. Many of them were very quaint. This rundown stairway seemed out of the ordinary, so I snapped a photo. I didn’t go up the stairs…


(100 words)

Patient Zero

“It’s not condemned. It’s a ruin,” said Tony, putting on his mask. “A regular tourist trap.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better? If you’re stupid enough to come here, no one’s gonna miss you,” said Chuck.

“Someone’s being dramatic,” said Tony. He touched his finger to the faulty rail. It wouldn’t help him on the cracked stairway, choking on overgrown ivy and debris.

“If you come back out, I’ll join you,” whispered Chuck.

Inside Tony witnessed cats roaming on mutant paws, flashing green eyes, encircling him. They slashed him with their claws until their mouths filled with blood.


Click here for more stories from the Fictioneers.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Eye Spy

This week’s photo challenge is Eye Spy.  I wanted to share pictures of a special cat.

Meet Orangey.

We had a smaller orange kitty who disappeared one day (pictured below on left). Oh, a sad day. An animal must have got him. Time passed, this bigger orange cat starting hanging around who was very skittish and shy.

First, there was a lot of door drama. Here’s Orangey with his head in the door, initially not accepted and greeted with quite the stare down.


Look at him now. When cats expose their tummies it’s their way of giving you a hug!


He’s found his forever home with us.

I can’t resist including my son’s selfie with Orangey. His eyes are smiling. He’s such an appreciative cat and a real joy.


For more Eye Spy photos, visit the Weekly Photo Challenge site.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio

This week’s photo challenge is Trio. We all know three is the magic number.

Things are simply more magical in threes.

A Trio of Cats


A Trio of Mushrooms


A Trio of Trees

Autumn Trees

And now we are complete. Now we are three.

For more Trios, please visit the Weekly Challenge Photo site.

Just because. . .floss, bitty cars, and sleep positions

I am excited about flossing my teeth. Just because only now I understand the fuss now about scraping your teeth, about getting in between your teeth, coming up one side and tugging on it there, and then, flipping to the other side, and tugging it some more. I am amused by this, and yes, you should be worried about me.

My kitty enjoys the floss as much as me. It’s the invisible toy, and useful too, if it gets caught up in her teeth. It’s a dual-purpose toy. Note: No animal or human was harmed in this photo..


Now,she's mad with delight. Easy, tiger.
Now possessed…mad with delight!

Now, when I think of floss, I am reminded of the opening of “Dexter” when he is flossing his teeth. I am binge watching a show that began eight years ago. But it’s still good…so good, I drew a picture about it, watching the show on the iPad; it’s like my own private television and it’s pure joy.

See my feet there at the end? Of course, it sits a little higher. Close enough, right?
See my feet there at the end? Of course, it sits a little higher. Close enough, right?

As a family, we have been writing together. We take turns to pick a topic, write a bit and then draw a picture. Isn’t that swell?

Daddy's drawing of mommy in a bathing suit. I don't know what the topic was.
Daddy’s drawing of mommy in a bathing suit.  I am looking buff. I’m not sure how he came to draw this exactly. Something to do with devices.


Here I am again floating above the...trees?
But there’s no mistaking this inspiration.

It’s this:

It’s the Integral Trees, of course. (Image Source:

Oh, to float above the trees. Just think of it.

No, it cannot be. We must drive around in these things.

A Fiat 500 Sport. It feels as bitty as it looks. Image Source:
A Fiat 500 Sport. It feels as bitty as it looks. (Image Source:

All I could even find was a small picture. I’ve always wondered what it feels to drive such a small vehicle. I got my wish last weekend. We did not want our car to blow up, so we rented a car, the cheapest possible. This was it, ladies and gentlemen. It was a boxy, little rocket. It was zippy and great fun, albeit not much leg room. Four of us in there.

When we returned to our four-door sedan, it felt like a luxury liner where I might sleep comfortably. Never had I thought such a thing before.

I tried to sleep in the boxy Fiat because I got no sleep the night before. This was just because my husband provided stats on sleep positions right before we settled in. He tells me this: 79% of people sleep on their side, 10% on their backs, and even less sleep on their tummies. That probably doesn’t add up. You get the idea.

So, the best possible sleep position not the one that everyone is mostly doing – on the side. No, we all do it wrong. The best sleep position is to sleep on your back; this is said to be better for your back and creates less sag.

Who can do this? I can only sleep on my back if I’m really exhausted or drugged. Every time I felt relaxed, I realized I was sleeping wrong and tried to sleep on my back. It was a long night. The real question is, how can you ever know what position you sleep in, if you’re asleep? Unless, of course, you record yourself sleeping. Would you watch yourself sleep to find out? I mean, even if you can’t control the position you sleep in? Don’t think too hard about it.

Let me just ask you what position you think you sleep in? Do you like little cars? They get great gas mileage. Do you floss every night? Well, you should. Just because.

“A Festivus for the Rest of Us”

It’s a Festivus for the rest of us!

In honor of my giftee, my kitties and I have decorated a Festivus pole. We thought my giftee would appreciate this.

They decorated it with all their favorite toys. I told them not to get too fancy.
Festivus Pole
Just one photo before my nap.
“You’re in big trouble now. “
“I didn’t do it.”
“Look at all my hard work in shambles!”
“Don’t look at me. It was glowy eyes over there.”
“You can’t even look me in the eye, Shasta. Admit it.”
Exhausted from all his hard work and all that meowing he does. You would not believe the mouth on this little kitty.
Exhausted from all his hard work and all that meowing he does. You would not believe the mouth on this little kitty.

In spite of some initial hostility, I think the kitties pulled it off quite well. A big thanks to Shasta, Spud, and Lucky for all their help.

Forgive me for all the cat pictures. Lucky, seen sleeping above, is our newest addition. We went for cat food, and came out with a kitten…well, the next day, after many tears were shed. You know what they say, three’s a charm. They do say that, right?

Somehow, Lucky has made our life so rich and full. We feel lucky to have Lucky. In spite of the fact that Lucky is currently the frenemy, I know they will be buddies soon and get along famously.

Do you know your Festivus Pole facts?

Why did Frank Costanza choose an unadorned aluminum pole as his Festivus icon?
a) He found tinsel distracting
b) He marvelled at the strength to weight ratio of aluminum
c) A pole requires no decorations
d) All of the above 
See answer below.

For those Seinfeld fans, here’s a bit from the Festivus episode, “The Strike.”

Answer: d) All of the above

Take the whole quiz here.


Happy Festivus!

A Festivus* Time: Santa Came to Town

*Festivus (i.e., this post may have Festivus hints)

‘Twas two weeks before Christmas, when all through the house I was a reading a book because books relax me.

Our tree still not up, nor stockings hung, but we still had hope that Santa Claus soon will be here.

Our kittens were nestled all snug in their beds, while we were still eating dinner.

Santa Brigade 023

When outside the house, came sirens, blue and red, and wailing

So loud, the kitties wake, and we run outside.

When, what to our wondering eyes did appear,

Five cop cars, two fire trucks, all dressed in bling lights.

Santa Brigade 036

Santa Brigade 035

Santa Brigade 038

Behind them, a sleigh, a little old driver, and eight tiny reindeer.

“It’s Santa Claus,” exclaimed my children.

Santa Brigade 042

Santa Brigade 041

Collecting canned goods and unwrapped toys.

Santa Brigade 045

All for the little ones, Christmas joys.

Ho ho ho who wouldn’t go…we all did. It was fun!

This is a tradition in our town when the police and fire department get together to give Santa Claus a full escort through all the neighborhoods in the city. Santa takes pictures with kids and tosses candy canes. I was excited in spite of the fact that I didn’t get a candy cane this year. The city provides a calendar announcing when they will be arriving in your neighborhood, but I do not look because I like to be surprised. This is the seventh year in this neighborhood and, once again, I was surprised. I think, Wow, what are all those sirens!

Do you have traditions in your city or neighborhood? Please share. These things make life rich and memorable, don’t you think?

Fat Kitty City: A Special Place

I visited an enchanting place today. It’s called Fat Kitty City and it’s the only cat sanctuary in all of Northern California. My family and I took our kitty Spud to the sanctuary to get neutered.

Spud looked a little worried, but I know he’s in good hands. We met Spud at the local pet store where Fat Kitty City brings cats for adoption.

Little Spud; also known as Spuds, Spuddy, Spudley, Spudinsky, Spudman or just Tater. His secret name must be Butterscotch although he would never tell.

Their sanctuary is magical, nestled in the hills, down a windy narrow lane, about two miles from the main road. Cats roam freely here inside a spacious gated property. There are about 180 cats, with approximately 25 feral cats who wander outside the gate. The feral cats, of course, know it is their home and probably would not survive anywhere else.

Ed and Cindy, a husband and wife team, live in a house adjacent to the property. Together, along with many volunteers, they care for the cats and kittens and provide medical services, food, shelter, and a place for these cats to call home. While many of the cats seemed happy and adjusted, I’m sure they would love to have a forever home. Some are permanent residents due to their physical needs and conditions. Ed and Cindy know all their cats by name, with the exception of eight of the feral cats.

A success story that’s hard to ignore

Winner, miracle cat, won my heart.

Meet Winner. He pulled at my heartstrings. A woman phoned into the sanctuary one day to report about an abused, tortured cat. Someone had poured gasoline on him. When he arrived, his ear was hanging off and bloodied, and they thought he might lose his eye. He also had bloody cuts on his back. He was in such bad shape, the sanctuary could not yet release a photo of him on their website.

I met him three weeks after the sanctuary rescued him from his ordeal. I seriously bonded with him in a matter of minutes, petting his chin, followed by his purr and a throaty, cracking meow.  He was still recovering then, with a bloody ear and scabs on his back. With a lot of TLC and medical assistance, Winner pulled through. His progress was nothing short of a miracle. I find it amazing that Winner still trusts humans at all.

I considered adopting him, although I’m not sure how he would fare living with my two young boys. He seemed a little jittery around them. But, indeed, he is a Winner.

Kitties of all kinds

Ed likes to joke that they have all kinds, both the pretty and the ugly. Yes, some have nicked ears or are missing eyes or tails. Most cats here are older, but sometimes there are kittens.

Bosco, the elder, is 97 in human years.

The oldest cat living on the property is Bosco. He is over twenty years old, although they are not entirely certain. He eats just wet food now since he has no teeth.

Ginger narrowly escaped death.

Meet Ginger who was gloriously saved. She had only 15 minutes to live before she would have been put to death. The sanctuary came to her rescue when she was nine months old. I learned that the cats at shelters around here only have about two days to land a home. They give cats with special circumstances more time. Ginger is almost two years old.

When you arrive at the sanctuary, cats greet you slowly and warmly. You pet one, and then a few more. Within a few minutes, they surround you, following you around on the grounds. I understand that when they feed them at dusk, all the sleepy ones wake up, and more than one hundred cats are at your feet. That would be something to behold. I may have to return for that. You leave feeling as though you have made a few friends.

Please visit their website at for more information.