It’s Zaturday – Mighty Hunters!

cat huntingIt’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog.

Zorro here. Ziggy and I love to hunt. It’s what kitties do. But being indoor kitties, we don’t get to do it very often. We have to content ourselves with watching the lizards on the other side of the windows and sliding glass doors.

We have a toy one that we like to bat around. It slides across the floor really nice, so it’s a lot of fun. But it doesn’t move unless we slap at it, so it’s not nearly as much fun as the ones we see outside.

Sometimes we have some excitement, though, when we’re in North Carolina. Every so often, a little field mouse will get into the house. When that happens, Ziggy and I go nuts! Although we’re pretty fast, the mice are usually faster, and they can get into little tiny spaces that we can’t. Once in a while, though, we’ll catch one. A lot of cats kill mice and eat them, but Ziggy and I aren’t interested in that. Mommy feeds us too good. But mice make really great toys, because they move on their own! The only way they would be better is if someone rolled them in catnip.

One time a snake got in. I was the one who found it. He was a pretty good opponent. He kept striking at me, but I didn’t let him get away. I had him trapped in the corner. When Mommy checked to see what I was doing, she got all freaked out. She was afraid the snake bit me. But I’m too fast for that.

Mommy grabbed me and locked me in another room until she and Aunt Kim caught the snake. Aunt Kim got out her snake book and found that it was an Eastern rat snake, which isn’t poisonous, so they took it outside and let it go in the woods.

When Mommy came in, she scolded me and said I should never play with snakes. I always try hard to obey, but I can’t make any promises if one gets inside again. If it moves, it’s way too tempting.

Review – All That I Dread, Linda J. White

Recently I was looking for a romantic suspense book featuring K-9 search and rescue and found All That I Dread, by Linda K. White. I wasn’t familiar with Linda’s writing before, but I’m definitely a fan now. All That I Dread had everything I look for in a story—relatable characters, an intriguing plot with twists and turns, and lots of emotion. I could tell the author really did her research. From search and rescue information to police and FBI procedures, it was clear the author knew her stuff.

Early in the story, K-9 handlers Nate and Jessica are participating in a search and rescue training exercise when they find a young woman’s body in the woods. Turns out, there have been others found in varying locations over the years, and FBI agent Scott is determined to find the connection between them. He is driven to the point of obsession, due to a long-ago tragedy in his own life. All three of these characters were so real. Nate and Jessica were both dealing with PTSD issues and in need of healing—Nate from his experiences in the military, and Jessica’s from another traumatic event.

The story has a great faith thread, too, portraying how people can find healing and forgiveness, done in a way that is completely natural and not preachy.

All That I Dread is a must-read. I give it five stars.

Jessica Chamberlain and her German shepherd, Luke, volunteer with the Battlefield Search and Rescue group in Virginia. Called out to help an FBI team investigating a series of abductions, Jess discovers she’s not finished with the past she thought she’d escaped.

Available for purchase at Amazon in Kindle, audiobook and paperback.

 

It’s Zaturday – Oh, Boy, a Box!

Oh boy, a box

It’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog.

Ziggy here. Every so often, boxes show up on our doorstep. It happens in both North Carolina and Florida. Zorro and I always get excited, because sometimes there’s stuff in there for us. Like cat food. Lots of cat food. Bunches and bunches of cans. Litter too, which is almost as exciting as food, because nothing is better than a clean, fresh litter box.

But empty boxes are pretty exciting, too. As soon as Mommy or Daddy take all the stuff out of one, Zorro and I get in. This one had toys in the bottom of it, but that didn’t matter to me. It was still a box. It didn’t matter to Zorro, either, because as soon as I got out, he got in.

Cardboard boxes are the best, but we’ll take plastic ones, too. In fact, laundry baskets are like boxes. This one has soft, clean clothes in it, so it was much more comfortable than the box with the trucks.

I think all kitties love boxes. Zorro told me that Midnight used to love boxes, too. I never knew Midnight. He was an older kitty who was Zorro’s buddy before Mommy and Daddy adopted me. Here’s a picture of him in one of his favorite places—a box! Mommy named this picture, “How to fit 17 pounds of feline blubber into a 7×10 box.”

Zorro and I don’t fill out boxes the way Midnight used to. But I think we look just as cute!

Novel Giant Pancake

I recently learned about a fun blog titled “Investigating Food Used in Novels,” by Sally Jo Pitts. Last week, she featured my book, Lethal Legacy, where the heroine Andi Wheaton makes hero Bryce Caldwell a giant pancake. She tells him, “It’s super easy. You mix up the ingredients, then bake it in a cast-iron skillet. Slather melted butter over it when it’s finished, sprinkle with sugar and voilà, breakfast.”

Sally Jo recreated the giant pancake using a Kodiac Cakes dark chocolate flapjack and waffle mix. In her words, “…the results were yummy.” You can check out her post here.

Giant pancakes for breakfast used to be a regular occurrence at our house, but in recent years we’ve gotten away from making them. Seeing the picture of Sally Jo’s gave me a serious craving for a giant pancake again. Except now, I eat grain free, almost keto. So I had to make some substitutes. Here is the original recipe:

2 eggs

½ cup of flour

½ cup of milk

¼ tsp nutmeg

4 Tbsp butter cut in small pieces

2 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in cast iron skillet. Beat eggs, then beat in flour, milk and nutmeg. Pour mixture into skillet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. When top is slightly browned, sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. (serves 2 or 3)

When I made mine, I substituted ¼ cup of almond flour and ¼ cup of coconut flour for the regular flour. At home, I would have used almond milk instead of regular milk, but since I’m at my sister’s house in North Carolina I used her regular milk. Instead of the sugar, I drizzled raw honey over the top. Here’s how it turned out:

fast easy breakfast

The texture was grainier than the way I used to make them, because of the different flour, but the taste was similar. It gave me a tasty and reasonably healthy alternative to my usual green smoothie. Looks like giant pancakes will be making a comeback at my house.

Someone wants her family secrets buried

He’s her only chance to survive

Andrea Wheaton thought her parents’ tragic deaths were accidental—until she’s attacked during a burglary at their home. Now she’s also being targeted. Her ex-sweetheart Sheriff Deputy Bryce Caldwell insists on protecting her, though she refuses to trust him again. But with a killer closing in, can she and Bryce uncover her family’s secrets before it’s too late for them both?

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

 

It’s Zaturday – A Black Cat’s Take on Friday the 13th!

It’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s Facebook page!

Zorro here. Mommy says yesterday was Friday the 13th. I don’t know exactly what that means, because for us, there are just two kinds of days—days in Florida and days in North Carolina. Well, three. There are also the days that we spend in the car getting to Florida or North Carolina.

But apparently Friday the 13th is supposed to be an unlucky day. Mommy says that’s not true, because she and Daddy got married on Friday the 13th and it didn’t bring them any bad luck. Some people believe black cats are bad luck, too. But Ziggy and I think that’s crazy.

Black cat
Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay

Like how they say it’s bad luck if a black cat crosses your path. The only time that’s true in our house is when Ziggy runs in front of Mommy and trips her. Then it’s bad luck for both of them—Mommy almost falls and Ziggy gets accidentally kicked across the room. That happened not too long ago. Now Mommy is wearing a big black boot and walking funny. But I’m smarter than Ziggy. I’ve figured out how to stay out of the way of the humans’ feet.

But people say nice things about black cats, too. Like that dreaming about one is lucky. (I help Mommy dream about me by sleeping on her pillow.) And that a black cat on your porch brings prosperity. (We can’t help Mommy and Daddy there. They don’t let us outside.) And how about this one: In olde England, it was believed that a sty in the eye would be cured if rubbed with a black cat’s tail. (Ziggy wouldn’t like that. He doesn’t want people messing with his tail.)

 

Image by lemondedis2 from Pixabay

But Ziggy and I think all those superstitions are silly, whether good or bad. Black cats are just like any other cats. We like to play, eat, get scratched under the chin, curl up in a sunny spot and spend lots of time sleeping.

So what should you do if a black cat crosses your path at night?

Pick him up and love him!

Happy Friday the 13th!

I’m not superstitious. I walk under ladders, have two black cats and got married on June 13th. And yes, it was a Friday.

In our house, Friday the 13th is a day to celebrate. And when that Friday the 13th falls during the month of June, it’s doubly special. The last time that happened was 2014. It won’t happen again until 2025. Some people told us we were crazy planning a wedding for Friday the 13th. But everything went off without a hitch. Well, almost.

At the time, my husband-to-be was in the Florida National Guard. Right before we were going to order his ring, riots broke out in the Liberty City part of Miami, and his unit was activated. By the time he was able to come back home, we were running out of time. We got the ring ordered, but it didn’t arrive until the Monday after our wedding. So we ended up borrowing one. In all of our wedding pictures, my husband is wearing my ex-boyfriend’s ring!

Sometime back, I booked a transatlantic cruise for our anniversary. The last ship we were on, the top deck was deck 13. It was where they had putt-putt golf, basketball courts, the rock climbing wall and several other activities. In checking out the floor plan of the ship we’ll be going on this time, it goes from deck 12 to deck 14. There is no deck 13.

superstition
Image by b0red from Pixabay

The fear of the number 13 is a real thing—it’s called triskaidekaphobia. A lot of skyscrapers have no 13th floor, because even if the owner of the building doesn’t have the phobia, they choose to avoid problems with superstitious tenants. In China, in addition to floor 13, they’ll sometimes also skip floors 4 and 14, because of the similarity between the pronunciation of the words “four” and “death” in Chinese.

At least in America, the superstitious only have one number to avoid. Two if you count 666. But that would be a topic for a whole different post.

It’s Zaturday – Kitty Melodies!

Photo by T. Duff from FreeImages

It’s Zaturday, the day we (Ziggy and Zorro) take over Mommy’s blog!

Ziggy here. Zorro and I have this cool thing at our home in Florida.  Mommy calls it a piano, and it makes really neat sounds. Mommy and Daddy both know how to play it. Zorro and I do, too, but it doesn’t sound the same as when Mommy and Daddy play. We still think it sounds good, though.

Sometimes Mommy closes the lid on our piano. When that happens, Zorro and I can’t get it to make any sounds. But it’s a comfy place to stretch out. It’s also a perfect spot to watch things outside, because there are two sliding glass doors on the other side of the room.

Photo by Eric W. from FreeImages

We have fun watching the birds. Cats usually like to chase birds, but not these kind. These are huge! There are squirrels out there, too. They run around and climb the trees. If Mommy would let us out, Zorro and I would chase them, but we’d stay away from those birds.

Okay, I got sidetracked. (Zorro says I’m easily distracted.) I was talking about playing the piano thing. Mommy told us about a famous cat who has a song named after him. Domenico Scarlotti claimed that his cat Pulcinella helped him compose his Fugue in G Minor. So it’s known as The Cat Fugue. Scarlotti didn’t call it that, but other people have. Zorro and I think it’s a great name.

We’re hoping that Mommy and Daddy write a song and name it after us. Actually, Mommy just plays, but Daddy makes up music. (He calls it composing.) When he writes a song about his favorite cats, he can’t call it The Cat Fugue, because that’s already taken. But how about Ziggy’s Song? Hmmm, has a nice ring, doesn’t it?

musical notes
Photo by Robert Proksa from FreeImages

 

Leap Day – Fun Facts

Leap Day
Image by Mike Dibos from Pixabay

I’ve never met anyone born on Leap Day, but a friend of mine and his twin brother came really close. My friend John was born on February 28, 1956. A few hours later and he would have been celebrating his 16th birthday today instead of having celebrated his 64th yesterday. In actuality, the odds of being born on Leap Day are 1 in 1,461.

Leap Day happens almost every four years. Did you notice I said “almost”? Years that end in “00” but aren’t divisible by 400 don’t have a Leap Day. Most of us will never see it in our lifetime. The last time this happened was the year 1900. We won’t skip Leap Day again until the year 2100.

So why the weird finagling with the calendar?  We know the earth orbits the sun approximately every 365¼ days. It’s this “approximately” that messes us up. The real number is 365.242189. So if we skip Leap Day three times every 400 years, we hit it right on.

A few other fun facts about Leap Day:

1.  People born on Leap Day are called “leaplings” or “leapers.” In Hong Kong, the legal birthday of a leapling is March 1. In New Zealand, it’s February 28.

2.  There’s a club for people born on February 29—The Honor Society of Leap Year Babies. The club has more than 10,000 members worldwide.

3.  One in five engaged couples in Greece will avoid marrying during a leap year because they believe it’s bad luck.

Proposal
Image by Steve Howard from Pixabay

4.  In Finland, it’s supposed to be good luck for a woman to propose on Leap Day. If her boyfriend refuses her proposal, he is required to pay her a fine—enough fabric to make a skirt.

5.  In Ireland, the man who refuses a Leap Day proposal must buy her a silk gown.

6.  And there’s a movie about it. In the 2010 romantic comedy Leap Year, a woman travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day, which tradition says he has to accept.

So, ladies, if you’ve gotten tired of your special someone to propose, today’s your day. For everyone else, however you choose to celebrate this holiday that comes around only once every four years, have fun!

It’s Zaturday – A Furry Computer Hacker!

Zorro here. It’s Zaturday! Well, it’s actually Zurzday. Ziggy and I are having to do our Zaturday post two days early. Mommy says we got preempted. I don’t know that word, but supposedly this Zaturday is a special day. Mommy says it’s Leap Day. What makes it special is that it only comes once every four years. That means the last Leap Day happened before I was even born. And Ziggy was so little, he wouldn’t remember it.

WeruvaHmm, if it’s a really special day, maybe Mommy and Daddy will do something extra nice for us (nicer than the normal stuff). Like maybe they’ll give us some extra food and pour tuna juice over it.

Or put some more catnip in our toy.

Right now, Mommy is working on her computer. She does that a lot. I don’t mind, though, because she usually lets me sleep in her lap or curl up on a chair next to her. Sometimes Ziggy jumps up on the table and runs across the computer while Mommy is typing. That puts funny things on her screen and she yells at him.

I wish she would let me play on the keyboard, but she always closes the lid when she gets up. She does that because of Midnight, an old kitty we had when Mommy first adopted me. Mommy left her computer open when she and Daddy went out for dinner. (They fed us before they left. Mommy’s good that way. In fact, she always feeds Ziggy and me before she eats.)

Black catOkay, back to the computer story. When it got later and Mommy and Daddy still weren’t home, Midnight decided to play on Mommy’s computer. I told him not to, but he did it anyway. I guess he figured he didn’t have to listen to me because he was a lot more mature.

I stayed as far away as I could, because I didn’t want to get blamed. When Mommy and Daddy got home, Midnight was still on the table, lying next to the computer. Mommy ran over, shooed him off the table and checked what she’d been working on. I could tell by her reaction that Midnight had messed it up. I don’t understand everything he did, but Mommy did a Facebook post talking about it. Here’s what she said:

While I was enjoying dinner, Midnight was making changes to my current manuscript. He added several lines of gibberish, deleted some of the stuff I had written, moved chunks of text around, then did a “save as” (F12), naming the file “kkk.” (Probably stands for “kitty-kitty-kitty.”) Fortunately, I had track changes turned on, so I was able to reject everything the cat had done.

Mommy hasn’t left her computer open since. So Ziggy and I have to find other ways to get into trouble. Ziggy is better at that than I am.

It’s Zaturday – Night Moves!

Ziggy here. Earlier this week, Mommy wanted to know if cats are nocturnal, so she asked The Google. I’m not sure what a Google is. It must be a really smart person who knows everything, because Mommy is always asking him questions. He even knows about kitties. Mommy learned that my mega-kitty cousins are nocturnal. Although housecats like us aren’t truly nocturnal, we are more active at night than in the daytime. I could have told Mommy that, and she wouldn’t have had to disturb Mr. Google.

It makes sense that cats would be nocturnal, because we can see pretty good in the dark. Although we can’t see in total darkness (it’s not like we have our own built-in night vision goggles), we need only one-sixth the amount of light that Mommy and Daddy need to be able to see.

Ziggy and I spend a lot of the day napping. That’s because we’re recharging our batteries. Right at Mommy and Daddy’s bedtime is when they get to full charge. It happens when Mommy goes into the bathroom to brush her teeth. First, Zorro jumps into the bathtub and chases his tail. You can hear him all over the house. Mommy says it sounds like a herd of elephants in there. When I jump in, he pounces on me. Then we both go flying out of there and chase each other around the house for a while.

We like to wrestle on the bed, too. When we do that, Mommy shoos us out of the room. Another fun thing to do is play in the blinds in front of the sliding glass doors. There are sliding glass doors in the living room and the bedrooms, so there are plenty of blinds to choose from. And they make the coolest sound. But Mommy doesn’t think so when she’s trying to go to sleep, and she yells at us. I guess people aren’t nocturnal, because Mommy gets grumpy at bedtime.

Eventually Zorro gets tired out and goes to bed. He likes to get under the covers and curl up against Mommy’s tummy. Then there’s nobody for me to play with. It’s really boring then. Everything’s dark and quiet, so I figure I might as well go curl up somewhere. But eventually everybody gets up and it’s fun again.

Now it’s morning, Zorro and I have enjoyed our yummy breakfast, and it’s time for our first nap. We’ll take five or six more. Then tonight we’ll be fully charged and ready to play!