Category Archives: Cats

Another “late bloomer” success story – which gives me hope, again

Not long ago I stumbled upon a popular series of books by Lilian Jackson Braun, “The Cat Who …” did just about everything under the sun. I don’t normally like series books but I’ve changed my tune, falling in love with these feline-fueled mysteries.

And today I learned that author Lilian Jackson Braun was a late blooming success!

Lilian Jackson  Braun wrote the first book in the series, “The Cat Who Read Backwards” in 1966, followed by two more novels, in 1967 and 1968. When the first book hit the shelves, Ms. Braun was 53! And then … she didn’t publish another book for 18 years.

She spent many years as a lifestyle writer and editor at The Detroit Free Press, retiring in 1978 . In 1986, she resumed the series, going on to publish dozens more best sellers. Her final book was published in 2007, she died last year at 97 – world renowned and beloved success.

Stories like this give me hope; at 47 I often feel like life had flown by and I’ve done nothing with it. But there’s a lot to be said for success later in life. Maybe I haven’t written a book or made a living writing … but stories like this remind me that there’s still time!

I’m blogging at

If you’ve been wondering where I am lately, here’s some big news: I’m recently taken over the Heavenly Creatures blog at, where I’m blogging about animals, life and spirituality! It’s a fun new writing opportunity, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to write about something I love and (hopefully) make a little money at the same time. Check out the new blog at!

Do-it-yourself photo shoot, Funny Farm style

Think I could use this as a head shot?

Every publication that I write for wants a photo of me to run with my bio. Unfortunately, I take terrible photos. I’ve tried to get darling husband to take a candid picture, but he likes to kneel down and shoot up at his subjects. Which, as you know, makes the object appear larger. Great if you’re a white tail buck. Not great if you’re an overweight, middle aged woman.

I planned to have get a professional shot done, but I used the money I’d set aside for the photo to get highlights in my hair so I’d look pretty for my photo.  I’m not a great financial planner. So sue me.

So today I made another attempt to take a photo of myself using the timer option on my handy dandy camera. I hoped to get one of the animals in there as well. I did my hair, put on make up with care (foundation, blush, lipstick, the whole nine yards). I found a pretty scarf to hide my ugly neck. And I tried to create a semi-acceptable background.

Well, this picture kind of sums up how it went.

Photo shoot, Funny Farm style

I hauled a stool around to set the camera on; I tried to hang a sheet for a neutral background. I ended up with sweat running down my face, my hair frizzing, the cat pulling the sheet down as I put it up. I hauled the kit and kaboodle outside and used the sports mode to take 100 frames in a few seconds, hoping to get one decent frame out of … well, about 400. I cropped this one to show my sister my new highlights; you can’t see Bailey licking my feet.

Pretty highlights that I got instead of paying for a professional photo. By the time I save up enough for the photo, my gray roots will have grown back in.

I was able to salvage a couple of fair snapshots – certainly not professional by any stretch of the imagination. But hopefully one is usable enough for the blogs that needs a picture of me. Personally, I’d like to use the one with Bandit’s big yawn. It’s the best representation of life here at the Funny Farm. But what do you think?

Sheet managed to stay up, Murphy trying to escape. This might be the only photo I can actually use.

CBS Sunday Morning’s Faith Salie, “Not A Pet Person” (video)

This morning CBS Sunday Morning did a show of reruns of pieces they’ve done on pets, from Dean Koontz’s book “A Bit Little Life” to Alexandra Horowitz’s “Inside A Dog” to Bill Geist at a fish show to Austin, TX and their bats.

Tucked in there was a commentary from Faith Salie about not being a pet person. I’ve only seen her commentaries a few times, and every time I think, “Good grief, she may be the most annoying person on the planet.” Well, with today’s commentary, she solidified that honor.

So she’s not a pet person. Good for her. But she’s such a … well, you know … about it that it’s probably a good thing. I mean, would you trust your dog to a woman this bitter?

(PS: just to clarify, Faith, your pets don’t give you the plague. Fleas spread the plague. And you can get bit by a flea even if you don’t own a pet.)

Christianity, compassion and man’s best friend at

I did guest blog post this week at Patheos. com for their book club, and I’d love for you to check it out! The book up for discussion is “The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity’s Compassion for Animals.” I wrote about my favorite animal, dogs.

You can check the post here, and read more about the book on the book club page.

Update from the Funny Farm – Scout’s progress, my new job, and other mildly interesting things

Scout after a round of water dog, chasing soap bubbles, and playing catch.

In going through some old posts, I realized that I never updated you on Scout’s progress or our decision about treatment.

Part of that may be the fact that I really don’t want to think about it. Yes, I’m in denial. It’s a lovely place to live. You should join me here sometime.

After much discussion, we opted to not pursue chemo. It’s a quality of life decision. Just going to the vet is often traumatic for Scout, and a weekly visit to the hospital, where he’d be on an IV every third week and possibly with sedatives, just isn’t the way we want him to spend his last days. I was more confident after the oncologist said that he may not even survive the six months of chemo treatments. If in fact the cancer is in his intestinal tract, his prognisis is very dim. Continue reading

Funny Farm Wine List: Trumpeter, an Argentinian Malbec

Trumpeter Malbac. It's what all the cool cats are drinking at the Funny Farm.

As you have probably guessed, when it comes to the finer things in life, I’m a bit of a hick. I am, after all, the woman who thinks wearing scrubs to work constitues business casual.

So you might find it funny that I occasionally drop into my local family-owned liquor store (in Country Club Plaza, Fairport Road) and pick out a new wine to try. Over the years, I’ve found a few wines I like and have bought regularly, but in the spirit of getting old, I’m getting more adventurous. (Maybe my year of adventure should have involved a new wine a month. I could stick to that schedule, I think.) I go into the store and tell the sales person to suggest a wine under $15 or $20. (During the holidays, I had quite an adventure sampling spirits and am now hooked on Gran Marnier. Maybe I’m not quite so unsophisticated after all.)

Some wines I’ve liked and tried again – Mark West Pinot Noir, for example, or a lovely Primativo I can’t find again. Some, not so much; I didn’t even get through the whole bottle of a red wine called Lab from Portugal. It was a little bitter for me, with a slightly bug-spray aftertaste. (Don’t you like my professional wine terms?)

So on tonight’s Funny Farm wine adventure list: Trumpeter, a Malbec from Rutini Wines in Argentina.

Julie, the salesperson who helped me tonight, asked me how I felt about Malbecs. Never heard of them, I said. So she suggested Punto Final, another Malbec from Argentina that she really likes. I also got the Trumpeter because she said she’d heard it was good and it was on sale. I figure if you’re going to try something new, jump in with both feet. Or at least one glass for each hand. We’ll try the Trumpeter tonight, and the Punto Final tomorrow.

So far, so good. It’s a lovely shade of purpley-red, not too sweet, not too bitter, and nice and smooth. It goes  lovely with popcorn fresh from the air popper (topped with butter), especially the kernels that Bandit has slobbered all over.

Trumpeter – goes lovely with popcorn and dog spit.