Coming Soon!

Jiang Li, Warrior Woman of Yueh is the companion novella to My Adventures As Brother Rat. Jiang Li is now available; for a signed copy, please contact me via my website Contact Me button. Price is $7.00 plus s/h of $2.20 for envelope and postage, or $4.90 for Priority Mail (6 copies will fit in a Priority Mail envelope).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rainy Day and the Green Lush

Palo Verde Tree

Rainy Day and her Sister of Choice, Kay, have once again hit the road. We left the Tri Cities Friday morning, and drove all day (not so bad when there are two drivers to share the load. We arrived in Scottsdale the next day, and are staying in a delightful motel, The 3 Palms. The reason for the trip is to spend a couple of weeks with Kay’s son, Mark, who has just gotten home from some serious surgery. Rainy Day is delighted to state he is doing well and looking good! He goes in to see the doctor today to possibly have all of his stitches removed.  Rainy Day volunteered to go to Office Depot and buy a staple puller; he grimaced and declined her offer. I wonder why!

Prickly Pear with Pears

On the way to Scottsdale, we noticed the long winter, and cold spring has made for some lush green countryside. Utah, normally brown by now, at least where we traveled, was a lush green. The grasses were green, the shrubs were green – very beautiful!

Desert Duster

When we crossed into Arizona, all the Saguaro cacti were budding out, a few were in bloom. The Joshua Trees were lush and fuzzy (can you picture green Tribles on fuzzy sticks;-), some were blooming – long stalks coming from the top with flowers at the end. Looked a bit like Yucca only fewer flowers at the end. The Yucca and Prickly Pear were also in full bud and some bloomed. Made me think of Daddy’s short story, And The Desert Shall Blossom. Alfred Hitchcock bought it, and it is available on DVD, Season Four.

Singing Cardinal

Although some of the days will be a tad over 100, most will be high 90s or low 100s. However, it’s a dry heat, or so they keep telling me. Actually, it’s rather pleasant at the moment but this is the monsoon season (if the dust don’t get ya, the monsoons will) so we get rain, which a dry heat does not make.

Rainy Day did get to go to one of her most favorite places in the whole wide world – the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. She calls it the Cactus Garden because most of the plants are cactus – and ALL desert plants have thorns! Even if it isn’t a cactus, it’ll reach out to stab you if it gets a chance. Honest. Trust me.

Saguaro with Fruit and Two Birds

Rainy Day has tried, several times to log onto her Charter Web Mail, and can’t get on, and when she calls, she gets a busy signal. However after much perseverance, and a few blue to purple words, Rainy Day finally got through and talked to the nicest young man, Fred. He was very patient and helpful, especially after Rainy Day threatened suicide, and informed her the old password she had been using for years was no longer valid. It seems Charter had 'enhanced' their system and made oh-so-much better. So, after she finally got onto her web mail, she tried to log onto her blog once again. She had to go through the rigamarole of getting a new password there, too, but since she could get the email from Google, she did it, and finally can update her blog.

Saguaro Skeleton
Rainy Day is not too sure that she really likes computers. When they work, they work very, very well. When they don't work, they are blue word awful!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

hello. my name is tashiko akuma pestini

this is me taking a break from typing this blog

I’m the queen of the house. my staff consists of lenora, who feeds me – when she remembers – and who makes, and breaks promises. like when the last dog left, and she promised, there would be no more dogs, and now there is this annoying little dog named paco belle who sleeps in my bed with my person. lenora calls her a pit bullet, I call her pest.

anyhow, lenora, who sometimes remembers to feed me – and the pest – has been working on writing a novel. I, of course, have no idea what a novel is, but suspicion it’s something she holds in her hands while in bed, and gets irritated at me if I get between her and whatever it is she keeps looking at. she keeps saying she needs to get her blog updated, and finally, just to get some peace and quiet, and not listen to her whine and whimper, I have decided to write an entry or two for her.

maybe she’ll purr for me now.

better yet, maybe she’ll see I’m really very important, and get rid of the barking pest.

oh, dear. lenora is coming back from her writer’s meeting. I need to get this posted. do you think she’ll be surprised when she reads it. do you think she’ll get rid of the dog. do you think she will realize I am truly a queen and start treating me like one. do you think she’ll remember to feed me. please tell her what a good job i did. and tell her to get rid of the dog -- and to feed me.

this is me in my favorite place. don't i have gorgeous blue eyes.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meet Suzy

This is Suzy. She was made by my maternal Grandma and given to me when I was four years old. She's pretty special to me, in case you can't tell. She's also pretty darned old. Fortunately, she doesn't suffer the same old age ailments I do, but she has her own!

I enlisted Suzy to model some of my Christmas Gifts -

The lovely table runner made by my travel partner, Kay;

The tee shirt that says Be Careful or you'll end up in my Novel, from my oldest, uh my Firstest Sister of Choice, Val and her husband, Bob;

A green knit scarf with a special wool from France with colored specks in it - very soft! - made by my friend, Weld (it's from Weld and his wife Elma - along with some goat's milk soap and a Pecan Log from the Sweet Shoppe in Bandon);

A set of mother of pearl earrings and matching necklace, a beaded blue jewelry/coin purse and lovely lavender silk scarf from my SOC n BOC;

nice bath stuff from my Ol' Same;

the opera, La Fille du Regiment, from my ex-Boss, Karen;

My nook, from me to me;

A gift certificate to Barnes & Noble from my good friends Jan and Lori;

And, you will notice, one of two remotes (being 'held' in Suzy's right hand) for my new Wii from Luke, Sonja, and Aaron.

Alas, i don't have a photo of the Goat my SOC, Kay, donated in my name (darn, I wish I did!)

An embarrassment of riches, plus several small things that have already disappeared - or at least changed form - like homemade cookies (now worn with pride on my sit-down-upon;-), nuts, etc.

My Gratefuls:
All my friends and family, near and far, known and not yet met!

Quote for this Post:
"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." -- Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Boxing Day!

Juniper Trees in California Desert
 For years, I thought 26 December was Boxing Day. I also thought it was so-named because that was when folks traditionally boxed their gifts and delivered them to friends. So I looked it up yesterday and .... I'm maybe partly correct. Check out Boxing Day.
Yellow Bellied Marmot, Palouse Falls, Washington
   Christmas at this house was low-key, quiet, and great fun. The amount of gifts under the tree for moi was insane - and marvelous! I will share with you later what all I received, and maybe even some pictures. The highlight was the Wii my son, daughter, and grandson bought me. We played a few games, then set it up so I can stream movies from Netflix! I have discovered some of the movies they have can only be seen via streaming. It was great fun to watch an old fave - Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday, with Lee Marvin, Oliver Green, Strother Martin, and Robert Culp. I laughed as hard this time as the first 6 times I've watched it.
Moon Over Stelling Ave, Pt. Charlotte, Florida
   We had a total lunar eclipse the other night, and, of course, my skies were full of clouds. A friend said she saw some of the eclipse as the clouds parted for a bit, but I didn't stay up to see. This is a shot I took while living in Florida. (Now, why did I leave Florida? You know, Florida with all the warmth?
   Our snow is gone, and the temps are warming up to nearly 50, but it's damp out there, and the damp makes it colder.

   I hope all of you had a marvelous Christmas and spent it exactly as you wanted. I certainly did!

My Gratefuls:
* My family of genes and my family of choice
* The goat donated to a worthy cause in my name
* My Wii
* The Gift Card to my favorite book store
* My nook

What I'm Reading:
* Finished Over the Edge of the World - by Laurence Bergreen, and am now about a third of the way through his Marco Polo. If you like adventure stories, give Over the Edge of the World a try. I wrote Mr. Bergreen the other day and told him how much I enjoyed his writing and received a response!
* Read a few more poems of Darwish last night. Heavy stuff, but very interesting. Of course, how much is his writing, and how much is the translator's, I'll never know. Either way, the writing is beautiful.
* Still reading The Flag of Childhood, the book of poems edited by Naomi Shihab Nye.

What I'm Writing:
* Back to Jibutu. My writing group has given me excellent feedback and sent me off on an unexpected journey in the writing world.

Quote for this Post:
"What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well." Antoine de Saint-Exupery

My first thought on hunting for a desert quote was warmth - and then I remembered, I live in a desert, and it be darned cold!

Have a wonder-filled day;-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Season's Greetings!

                               , please pass the hors d'oeuvres!

I hope you have a most Merry of Holidays, and that your most hoped-for gift awaits your unwrapping.

Warning! Solicitation Alert! And if you're still looking for a certain little something for a certain person, I have copies of Jiang Li, Warrior Woman of Yueh for sale. $7.00 plus s/h. End Alert!

If you plan on travel and visits, please have a save journey. I plan on staying home, reading, writing, and eating too much;-)

A bit of music for your enjoyment. The Peacherine Rag. A two minute video.

Update:  My goodest friend, Nonie, sent me this card. It is the cutest Christmas Card I've seen in a long time. Enjoy.

My Gratefuls:
* Wrinkles don't hurt
* I have enough food in the 'fridge until after Christmas
* Laughter comes easy
* The USPS is still around
* We had a cloud cover so I didn't feel it necessary to get up at 0:Dark:00 to watch the lunar eclipse.

What I'm Reading:
List is same as prior post

Quote for this Post:
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth."  ~Bahá'u'lláh

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Achmed Santa wishes you...

     A Happy Holiday Season!

Bought the skeleton for Halloween, and decided he could wear a Santa Cap, and be Achmed Santa. He sits on my front porch greeting any and all who come to the house.

For those of you not familiar with Jeff Dunham's Achmed, The Dead Terrorist, please get a cuppa and enjoy at:

Woke this morning to about 3 inches of the white stuff on the ground, and more coming down. It appears to have stopped for the moment. However, I won't bore you with more snow pictures. At least not right now.

Since my last post I've read several books (see below), received word a good friend died - Rebecca Neason was not only a good friend, but one of my favorite authors. Even though we were not in constant communication, I admit I miss her, terribly. I've lost too many friends this year, and have news more are not expected to see Christmas of 2011. So, I make the best of the ones I have left, and hope I can cheer them as much as they cheer me. Death happens. Grief hurts. Life goes on, albeit at a lonelier pace.

Luke, my grandson not only enlisted in the Army National Guard, he now has an official ship date for Basic - 19 Apr 11. He is going to try to slide that date to February! They sure do things differently than when I enlisted. Back then, we'd enlist, and be on an early flight to Basic the next day. Now they have lots of time to think about it - but no opportunity to back out;-)

I am, at long last, ready for Christmas - packages wrapped, mailed, etc. And hope all of you are likewise ready and can now enjoy the season. Unless, of course, you enjoy the last minute panic ;-)

My Gratefuls:
* Warm critters to snuggle with at night!
* That I was born in a time and place that education for girls was not only available, but the law.
* That I had the opportunity to work hard, and now can enjoy my retirement.
* That some wonderful goat herder in Arabia figured out how to make coffee
* That some enterprising monk figured out how to smuggle unroasted coffee beans out of Arabia ;-)

What I'm Reading:
* An Echo in the Bone --by Diana Gabaldon. Per usual, a real page burner. And, of course, she ended it in a manner that leaves the reader KNOWING #8 is coming. I just hope I live long enough for her to finish, and me to read, all of the books in the series!
* The Story of My Life - by Farah Ahmedi, Tamim Ansary. I enjoyed this read tremendously. A bit hard in parts to read about what this young woman went through to get to the States (from Afghanistan) so she, too, could get an education. Wonder what the war over there is like from an Afghani perspective? Read this book!
*Time Master Trilogy -by Louise Cooper. I read this trilogy when it first came out in the mid 80s (I think) and enjoyed it immensely. And, I enjoyed it as much the second time through. A great story of Chaos v. Order.

* Over the Edge of the World - still. I admit, the nook is too much fun at the moment;-)
 * Bright-Sided -by Barbara Ehrenreich. A look at the downside of Positive Thinking. I'm having a hard time putting this one down, too. And, yes, there IS a downside to Positive Thinking.
* The Flag of Childhood - ed. by Naomi Shihab Nye. This is a collection of poetry from the Middle East, some of which are translated by her father, Azziz. I am truly enjoying the poems; however, I think the formatting was lost when it translated to nook. I suggest you buy the hard copy - it should be much easier to read. (There are no page breaks, one poem leads right into the next poem)
* The Butterfly's Burden -Darwish -- it will be a while before this one is finished. Beautiful poetry, to be savored, not devoured.

Quote for this Post:
"If you can survive Basic Training, you can survive anything--war, pestilence, childbirth...." -- SFC Annie B. Hawkins, USWAC

Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy December!

 I thought I'd share these two photos of Mt. Hood. I took them a couple years ago from Jump Off Joe - the high point of the Horse Heaven Hills behind my house. It was bitter cold, being February, so while my guest was outside fiddling with his camera and tripod, I stayed in the car where there was some residual heat (engine off) and no wind! I put my camera on the dash and snapped these two photos of the sun set. They aren't very good photos, truth to tell, but I think they are interesting. Look how the lower clouds fold up and over the mountain.
 Mt. Hood resides just outside of Portland OR, which is 200 miles away from where I took the picture. My guess is that Mt. Hood is about 150 miles from my camera.

The pictures may not be all that great, but the colors and folding clouds make them unique.
I call this one Moon Goddess. It is the cable bridge in Pasco with a full moon sitting on top. Yes, I played a wee bit with the colors.

I am very happy to state the temps are warming and our snow and ice are melting back to a more social state of being. Yesterday, I braved the roads (main ones are bare and wet) and did some shopping. I bought my Winter Gift from me to me. I always buy me a Winter Gift--that way I am assured of getting at least one present I really, really wanted. My present this year is a nook. Fortunately, I have a friend who works at Barnes & Noble, and she helped me choose the right one for my reading--turns out to be the least expensive of the three they offer!

Because she's a friend, and I gave her my purse, she let me hold a nook (boxed) that wasn't chained to the counter. When I walked four feet away from her and stretched out on the floor, holding the nook as I hold my books when I read in bed, not only did she laugh, but so did at least three other customers. I happily announced to one and all that was the selling point! I brought it home, fired it up, and downloaded a novel of over 1100 pages. Believe me, holding the nook was much, much easier than holding the paper novel! And I am very pleased with the ease of reading. I figure at the rate which I tend to buy books, it will pay for itself within a year. Perhaps sooner;-) How nice it will be to have so many books in one small nook rather than trying to figure out where to stack them. My library shelves are already bowing due to so many books stacked horizontally on them.

After buying the nook, I went to the sewing machine store. I have never been overly fond of my sewing machine, and now that it is 10 years old, and i grumble every time I use it, I think a new one is in order. The nice thing is, the sewing machine store will take the one I dislike as trade in. So, guess where I'm going later today, maybe????

My Gratefuls:
* Warmer temperatures
* Meeting another quilter at the Janome store
* Barnes & Noble for many things, especially their nook
* The Army National Guard for their program to help qualified young men and women get their High School Diploma
* Diana Gabaldon for her wonderful stories!

What I'm Reading:
* An Echo in the Bone --by Diana Gabaldon (nookbook). This is the 7th in her Outlander Series. She is one of my most favorite writers, and this series is wonderful. When I read one of her books, I feel like I'm having a a reunion with good friends I haven't seen for a while. Unfortunately, it takes her about 3 years to write one of these novels (she works on more than one at a time), and it doesn't take me anywhere near that long to read one - even at over 1100 pages! I'm not sure what genre to classify this series - it really crosses several genres and from what I've seen and read, she appeals to both male and female readers. Wonderfully researched and delightfully written. Please visit her website at: for information on her books as well as herself.

* The Butterfly's Burden --by Mahmoud Darwish. I'll be reading this book for a while. The poems are to be savored, not gulped. They are like fine wine to be enjoyed, not soda to slake one's thirst.

* Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe --by Laurence Bergreen. This is a fascinating book, alas, it now must compete with Echo, above. However, I'm sure I'll end up finishing them both relatively soon. Bergreen has at least one more eBook that will make it's way to my nook soon. I like his writing style, and do prefer, for the most part, nonfiction over fiction.

Quote for this Post:
"For where all love is, the speaking is unnecessary"--Diana Gabaldon (Outlander)