A Place Out in the Woods

little house by Akuokuo Vallis

I was spying on the handsome new alley cat — while listening to a redbird — singing. Sounded like the blues to me — only because that song left me feeling  sad.

That’s when I noticed another redbird limping —  underneath the peonies — the pink ones.  All the petals have already fallen off the white ones — from the rain last night.

That handsome new alley cat was still at the neighbor’s house — crouching low — on those crumbling, old steps — watching a huge black bird — maybe it was a crow — eating french fries out of the dumpster.  The dumpster that gets filled and hauled away on Tuesdays — since last November.

I  knocked and knocked and knocked — on the window — when I saw that alley cat — his name should be Houghton — such a haughty, snobby boy — getting closer and closer to the peonies — the pink ones.  He stopped and looked at me — in the way that only cats can.

I should know better by now — should’ve  just turned away.

One look into those crystal cat eyes — and I was lost, for sure — nowhere to be found. Next thing I knew — that alley cat — named Houghton — had that redbird in his mouth — and he was still staring at me — underneath the peonies.


Eye Get It


I know, I know–I already know–I should’ve listened to my mother. I did not even need those reading glasses. But the way they were displayed at the grocery store–on that giant, plush, stuffed giraffe–it was like kryptonite.  I could not resist them.  Plus, giraffe is my  power animal!

I was slow about it though. It’s not like I started wearing the glasses at the checkout stand. I started wearing them casually– at home.  I was reading one of my favorite books, Fragrant–The Secret Life of Scentby Mandy Aftel.  Does that say  4 or 5 drops of ylang ylang?   I had absolutely no choice–I was forced to put the glasses on.  Yes, 4 drops– phew!  Thanks new glasses!

But–just like my mother predicted– I started to rely on the glasses.  It happened super fast too. Oh, I’m fine.  My eyes are fine.  I’m just using the glasses temporarily–for accuracy,  just to double check–only when needed.

Now–my glasses dependency is making me buy crazy things.  Last week, I  bought one of those eyeglass chains–like the kind librarians wear– to keep their glasses ready for action. Woohoo, this librarian look  is the best–it’s totally me.   I also bought some Hush Puppies.  




Oh, if only I’d bought that  giant-plush-stuffed giraffe instead of those adorable glasses.  Maybe now  I’d be a cacao farmer or even a ceramicist.  Didn’t you know–giraffes are wish fulfilling, prophetic, supernatural, non-mythical creatures!  It’s because they stay away from fluoride and are very mindful of their thoughts.  They are totally in tune with their third eye.




But–I am not worried–because if there are cats who can do Nia— there’s hope.



And–I can always do these  eye exercises.


Hello Kitty, You’re So Pretty



If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only have one food–an unlimited supply of it—what would it be?




I’d choose  a sweet potato.  I love sweet potatoes–especially roasted sweet potatoes. I’d also have a few add on condiments–like a generous slathering of cultured butter, a sprinkling of pink Himalayan salt, a drizzling of  local raw honey  and a dash of cinnamon on top.  But–actually–I could eat a roasted sweet potato plain.



The one food I really cannot stand is eggplant.  So, if you’re on a neighboring deserted island and your food choice is eggplant– sorry- I won’t be swimming over for lunch anytime soon. Even if you have a stash of chocolate!


I could not, would not, on a boat.
I will not, will not, with a goat.
I will not eat them in the rain.
I will not eat them on a train.
Not in the dark! Not in a tree!
Not in a car! You let me be!
I do not like them in a box.
I do not like them with a fox.
I will not eat them in a house.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them Anywhere.




My new favorite way to use roasted sweet potato is in a  Sweet Potato and Almond Cake.




The recipe is based on Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond Cake.  Instead of using oranges–substitute a large, 1 lb. sweet potato (roasted or baked) and add 1 Tbsp. orange juice plus 1/2 tsp. (each) cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and  1/4 tsp. black pepper and coriander.  It’s so easy even a cat could make it. My goodness–I should have said rat instead of cat.  My twin sister’s cat, Paloma,  was indeed quite the baker!




In fact, not too long ago, Paloma, was the reigning Queen of Cat Baking. Too bad her one and only rival, Niko, could only bake birthday cakes.  Of course, Paloma could do it all! She was also an accomplished water colorist.  Self-Portraits were her specialty.




Paloma, however, is no more– but my twin sister still has her diary. Apparently, Paloma’s dream was to create a Cooking  A-cat-emy (for the advancement of feline culinary skills).  She wanted to personally groom each student (she called them kittens) to ensure they measured up to her royal Hello Kitty standards.  (Hardee Har Har-that was an inside joke–on page 324 of Paloma’s  diary–she reveals that she hated that floozy Hello Kitty).



Oh, Poor Paloma.  She never got to meet big boy Boris  or  little Stix.  These two handsome fellas were going to be on her dream team at the A-cat-emy.  It’s probably for the best–Boris has a reputation around town and Stix is a thief!   Plus, Alibaba, Paloma’s one true love has a jealous streak (and crazy looking fangs)!   But he is very sweet.  And he still visits!