Friday, January 30, 2015

Another Poor Soul, Lost in the Forest

Missing Gray Tabby Cat (S. Santiam Highway/Tombstone Highway)

Missing my gray tabby cat who got lost in the woods next to the highway. She does not have a collar on, but does have a microchip. She is a smaller cat and has large green eyes with white fur surrounding them. She is timid and her meow is very faint and airy. She responds to Bella.

Bella is missing, according to the above craigslist ad, not that far from where I searched for that lost dog, out in the Cascades last fall. Only now it is winter, and a cat stands little chance of survival, with predators out there, and not even any water near, unless it rains. This is dense forest with a highway running through it.  The location is not entirely clear nor is the reason a cat would be lost from a car in such a place, far from anywhere. That is such a sad thought it makes me want to ball.

So if you are driving highway 20, towards Bend, or from Bend, please keep an eye out, and leave some water out at the least.  I don't know if she's been found or not.  I was looking at craigslist ads late last night and saw Bella's horror story and then had nightmares about it.  Her lost ad was posted three days ago.

UPDATE:  I talked to the woman.  She'd had a wreck up there and the carrier broke open and the cat got out a broken window, she thinks.  She was in the process of moving to Corvallis and lost control when she hit gravel.  She thinks it was about five miles east of Tombstone Pass, but wasn't sure.  She wasn't sure if it was past the junction of highway 20 with 126 (west of it) or not but was headed out there again today, to look for Bella and will get the nearest milepost.  Hopefully the cat isn't in the wrecked car somewhere or was, because cats usually hunker down in such extreme trauma, or they will run for it and if so, she could have run a mile before hunkering down.

She'd hit a highway barrier with steep embankment on the other side, she said.  I google mapped with street view from miles before Tombstone Pass on highway 20 to just after and found only one area with highway barrier, as I imagine she meant, although I could be wrong.  She could have meant a mile marker or snow pole.   It's on the south side of the highway just past Tombstone Pass and there is a steep embankment all right below it.  But if she hit that barrier when going west, meant she crossed over into the wrong lane.  I never asked which side she hit on.  I also found a road that goes below that steep embankment, accessed from a few miles farther west on the highway.  FS 15.  If I go up to look and I'm not sure I will, but I am thinking about it, that's how I'll look below the embankment.  Why wouldn't I go?  Because unless the cat was violently ejected from the car, she'd more likely hide inside the car somewhere and may still be in that car, or she may have exited the car if it was towed, at wherever it was left when towed.  A cat unless blindly panicked will not leave its only source of security and that would be her car, in the face of trauma.  So unless Bella was panicked or ejected, she was in that car, somewhere.  If she was ejected, she is possibly injured.  If she ran in total panic, she could be miles from there, but most likely, if she gets her head, she'll come back to that spot.

On a happier note, I ran into someone who lives in a trailer park where I got over 100 cats fixed over a few years.  When Poppa closed its spay neuter mission, I gave her one of my traps, so she could continue, using vouchers the city provides to fix cats in bad areas of town.   Few know of this program and its only for areas that are very heavy in unfixed cats, like this trailer park has been.

No one wants to see it end up like it once was, before me and my traps arrived on scene.  I still have Comet, whom I took from that park as a kitten, back in 2005.  She proudly told me she'd just taken two more in for spay surgery, and had two more waiting.   Thrills my heart to hear such things, to know my donated trap is getting use.  She's recruited the help of a Hispanic teen who lives there and loves cats, which is awesome because she's enlisted and is teaching someone younger than herself, which means perpetuation.

You know how the young are.  They take something they learn, and add their creative thought to solutions and modernize ours, as we did, when we learned what we learned when young.  I love it!  I was in a glow afterwards in fact to hear that.

I shall present some cat photos!

Bluebell, who loves that perch in particular


Mopsy on the right and Vino on the left, chase the laser dot.
Shaulin on her Feet!
Slinko's lovely butt shadow


Guess who?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


The cat rescue world is full of drama.  I'd never experienced drama like I did once I began helping cats.  I was embarrassed by it and thought it must be that cat women were more prone to drama, for some reason, maybe because many come from difficult backgrounds, as do I.

But no.

My brother, when we talk, describes the extreme man drama in the contractor world.  It's worse than any soap opera you could imagine.   It's captivating too.  I get drawn in and always want to know the latest.

There's sports team dramas.  Like the current Deflategate.  Big Tough Man drama, at its finest!  Sometimes I think high profile drama is choreographed.  For profit.   

Work place drama may be the most destructive of all types.  I'm told office politics can kill you and is a million times worse than going through middle school.

So....I came to terms with drama in the cat help field.  It's part of human nature.

I was told end of December that a cat had been found abandoned in Salem and that she had a microchip that was registered to me and to Heartland Humane in Corvallis.  The cat had already been adopted out again, by the Tigard rescue group.  End of story, I thought.

For kicks, I requested the chip number and then looked up the cat in my records.  I gave the Tigard rescue the information I had on the woman I'd gotten the cat fixed for, back in 2012, in case she wanted to try to call her.

Hmmm, seemed strange for this cat to end up in Salem.   She is a torti point Siamese named Priscilla I got fixed for an Albany woman, that same year Heartland was imbedding microchips at no charge, when a cat was fixed.  She got the chip and I returned her to her owner, over on 10th street not far from the hospital here in Albany.

Priscilla in April 2012
I would ask folks if they wanted the free microchip, most did, and hand them the paperwork upon return, so they could re-register the chip to their own ID, but none of the people whose cats were chipped that year ever did do that.  Costs money, is why.

Priscilla was not the first cat I helped this particular woman get fixed.  Back in December of 2010 I took these two teens, a girl and a boy, to be fixed up in Wilsonville.  They were not chipped.

They'd be over four years old now.

Suddenly, in my mail, I find something from 24PetWatch.  They're the company that owns the microchips imbedded by Heartland.   The paper states "Congratulations!  Your cat, Surri, has been micro chipped and her information registered."  It goes on to give details, but provides no name in the box of shelter or vet clinic where it was done.  

What?  Surri was a kitten I took from the massive colony out in N. Albany and had been micro-chipped years ago. I got about 79 cats fixed for that old couple and took out as many kittens as they would relinquish.  That included a sweet torbi tux I named Surri.   And a shyer Lynx Point boy I named Grumbly Rumby. 

 Both were micro-chipped at Heartland when they were fixed and prior to their adoption.  Surri and Rumby were adopted together, by a very kind Albany couple.  I'd helped out her parents once upon a time, in N. Albany, when they needed cats in their barn caught and fixed.  Seemed so right to adopt this pair to them. 

Upon receipt of that odd paper from 24PetWatch, I called both PetWatch and Surri's adopters up, to try to figure out what was going on.

Grumbly Rumby with Miss D

24PetWatch had no clue, and I mean, they really had no clue.  However, Surri's adopter said Houdini and Jasmine (they got new names) were just fine and dandy.  They had not recalled the pair were chipped.  They've had them three years now.

The date listed as the date Surri had been micro-chipped, on this paper from PetWatch, rang a bell.  It was the same date Priscilla, the abandoned cat, also micro-chipped to me, had been re-adopted out by the Tigard group.

  PetWatch wanted me to call them back to talk to a supervisor so they could try to figure out why I would suddenly get something stating Surri had just been chipped, and on a date that was the re adoption date of an entirely different cat also chipped to me, but never adopted out by me. 

 I thought "Nah, not my job."  It isn't my job.  That was so strange it was something I'd think someone might do if they'd just snorted some crushed oxy.  Or smoked some dope. 

As luck would have it, the drama did not end there.

Last night I get a facebook message from a Lebanon woman.  The message gave me a link to some guy I didn't know.  Then said "These are the people who abandoned those cats by B (her in-laws).  Be nice if you would turn them in."

I had no clue what she was talking about and told her so.  I figured she had messaged the wrong person.

Then she went on, that I had adopted a cat to them, so she figured I'd turn them in, because the cat was micro-chipped to me.

News to me.  I still couldn't figure it out.  Then it dawned on me.  That had to be Priscilla, the cat the Tigard rescue claimed was found abandoned in Salem.  Apparently no, not in Salem, but rather she was abandoned months ago, along with some other cats, in Lebanon, by the Albany woman, allegedly, who had moved up there with a shack up boyfriend.  

The Lebanon woman had eventually loaded up the remaining three abandoned cats and taken them up to someone connected with the Tigard rescue and I applaud her actions, to help those cats.  She knew the woman and her in laws lived near the woman. That was a few months ago.

Apparently she had been recently on the receiving end of mean gossip, claiming I should have reported the cats abandoned because I adopted at least one cat to the people.  It was just a little too much last night.  The melodrama and its target---me.

What she was really saying, seemed to me, since it has been months since the cats were abandoned, is how bad at screening for adoption I am, that I would adopt a cat to someone like that.   It was jab at me, an attempt to throw guilt at me.  She knew it would hurt me.

Newsflash:  I didn't adopt a cat to her.  Newsflash:  you knew her and could have turned her in when she moved and left behind her cats.

I don't take that well, late at night, after a particularly rough day.

That damn woman discarded that poor cat like a bent dirty meth needle.  Newsflash:  the cat didn't reproduce more unwanted cats to be left behind because I got her fixed for that woman years before she even moved to Lebanon.  Newsflash:  the cat isn't on the street anymore suffering because you cared enough to get them off the street and to a rescue.  She's the villain, not you and not me.  And it all worked out, so let's all be happy!

We're all guilty of drama production now and then.  If I tried to claim innocence, I'd be lying.

This drama doesn't matter at all, in the end.  It's people pushing and shoving each other around, for various reasons, many of which relate to ineptitudes in social conduct and relations or sometimes just displaced aggression.  We cat owners all know about displaced aggression.

 I have very few skills in face to face communications with people but its even harder for me with messaging/e-mail encounters.  

We are all so different.  We take words differently, and depend for accuracy of translation, on body language and speech inflections.  We don't have these translation aids anymore when we mostly communicate through machines.   

I'm not saying there are not really mean people out there who deliberately twist the truth around to hurt others.  Plenty of those mean girls (and boys) in the world.

Drama, it's human nature. And maybe part of being alive. And it's not just girls.  Man drama is astounding.  I've heard tales of public agency drama (between county law enforcement and city police or between fire and police departments) that is epic.  And who hasn't heard stories of high drama in the military but especially between branches.  Even the cats here divide into cliques and create drama from nothing daily.

I didn't know where this post would go when I began to write.  I felt a need to write about drama and that it happens daily and its part of being human, for the most part, outside of a few people who thrive on creating it.  I felt the saga of the cat exemplified how we humans stumble along at many things, but any failings along the way in communications, record keeping, letters sent, or in accusations sent out of exhaustion or meanness, none of these matter really.

 The humans stumbled and fumbled and delivered nonetheless!  We kicked it through the goal posts for the cat!

In the end, all the words don't matter.  The outcome does.  

Priscilla is in a fine new home.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Hug

Sam is an emotional cat and sometimes insecure.  He has many friends here despite his faults and insecurities about himself.  Juno is a happy, loving and smart cat who knows no enemies.

Today, they are curled together, Sam with his paws wrapped around Juno, one of his best friends.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Drifting On

On I drift, morning coffee, chores, that take three hours if I hurry, breakfast on the break from morning chores.   I feed the birds too, first thing.  Miss D still does the wake up job here.  No need to set my battery alarm clock anymore.

If I don't get up, I can't push snooze, because Miss D breaks out "the claw" if it takes her more than walking across my face twice, tapping my cheek a few times, than whopping it at least once.   I don't want "the claw" to come out.  So I get up after the first warning whop.

Miss D took over running my life a long time ago.

I'm at peace with it.

After the chores are done, and the shower and the laundry put away, it's almost lunch.  I decide which project needs done and arrange things for that, for the afternoon.

Yesterday I recovered The Aerie.

The Aerie is the cat hang out atop the exclusion room.  The exclusion room is my box, where I alone rule.  The cats are not allowed.  Well, not technically.  Sometimes, Miss D slips in and I just can't kick get her out, you know.  She is the boss.  But that is rare because I am careful. This is my place. But the roof of the exclusion room is The Aerie and theirs, not mine.

The Aerie needed some work.  I'd patiently waited for some sort of covering to go on sale or show up at Habitat or in the remnants bin at Home Depot.

Juno with Sam atop the Aerie
I got a nice piece of vinyl floor remnant finally, along with another length of floor protective runner, for the sides.   Nothing was quite large enough for a one piece redo, but that was all right.  I make shifted some top brackets to hold the sides in place.  I did not want to pay out for vinyl floor tack down metal strips, as suddenly those things are very expensive, even for a ten foot piece.

The top of the exclusion room is very solid.  I had to be up on it for over an hour, to finish the job.  It's under two feet from the ceiling so it's a bit tight and I have to lay out flat on it, for space constrictions but also to distribute my weight to be sure of no collapse onto my own computer below.
Sam, with some of his faithful flunkies last night.  He was worked up over the changes and acting out and summoned his gang.  

Everyone needs a gang of faithful flunkies to call on.

While atop the room, I looked out the window and saw a woman outside my neighbors house.  At first I thought it was the neighbor and was jealous thinking how much weight she'd lost.  I was inadequate!

Then I realized it was not her, but what was a stranger doing coming out from between two neighbor's houses?  Then she went back behind one of the houses.  I began a frantic scramble off the Aerie.  I'm old and not so small but nimble I can be if need be.

 Burglar alert and defense of neighbor mode had set in.  Just as I was almost down, through the window, I saw the dog.

A husky, running.

The woman was nowhere in sight and I forgot her.  At the same moment I heard a commotion in my garage and barking.  I rushed into my open garage to find the dog there, barking and lunging at my cats, although they were confined to the runs and garage room cage, so he could not get them.  I chased the dog out but did not see where he went from there.  The woman was right there by my house now.

I asked if that dog was hers.  She said it was.  I asked why it was not on a leash.  She said it escaped her yard.  She wasn't holding a leash however and I had not heard her call to the dog or anything.

 The dog seemed young and exuberant and huskies are full of energy that's for sure, and escape artists.  I owned a husky shepherd mix for a lot of years in my younger life.   Her name was Denali and I got her as a pup for company in Alaska.  I took her to obedience school when she was six months old and what she and I learned there, lasted her entire life.  I loved Denali.
Denali as a pup in front of my Alaska shack

I got The Aerie recovered and it's fabulous if you ask me.  This triggered, first, anger and outrage, from the cats.  They did not approve of the changes.   Then later they did, but first before they admitted to it, I had to be punished severely for crimes against cats.  Shunned too.

So I shunned them in response and headed over to a friends house in Corvallis for supper and she had Portlandia DVD's and we watched those and laughed our heads off and I petted their cats and we chatted.  Her husband was having a man cave man night out in their shop with his friends.

When I headed home finally, loaded with four books she found for me at thrift shops, the fog was dense as Chinese air pollution.   I slowed to 30 mph and hoped no idiots were out there speeding in it, who might slam into my rear end at high speed, being unable to see my tail lights until they were 20 feet behind me.  But no problems at all.

We both like to read, so that's one thing we do when we get together, talk what books we've read or go to thrift stores and look for books in their book sections.  We like best the  St. Vincent De Paul thrift store in Albany for their nicely organized book section.
The Play Room with Cat Wheel and The Pirate's Lair

The Pirate's Lair is a conglom of old things put together into a cat's dream house.  They love it.  Part of it was once an old table.

Blueberry will be off for a dental soon, as she began the occasional tongue stick out a month ago.  Tongue out in a cat is often a sign of tooth issues.  There's been no drainage.  The appointment is made.   Raindrop is going along too.  No surprise with her as she is one of the Albany business cats whom have all had tooth issues.  Cougie and Rogue, of that tribe, had to have all theirs pulled.  Misty, also one of them, just had seven pulled.

Fantasia has re-allocated my thrift store stair climber for herself, as a perch.
There's nothing I can do.
Now for the Arachnid Incident!   A couple days ago, my project was to clean out old outside cat houses and then set them back out.  Well, this arachnid was on the side of one carrier bed after I dumped out old straw.  I took a couple of photos then came inside to look up spiders for ID.  When I went back out, she had vanished.  

The quest to ID this spider, whose body, minus legs, was an inch long, led me down interesting paths and to new online friends on spider sites.  I learned so much in just two days, so far, about arachnids.  This is either a Giant House Spider or a Hobo.  But, never fear, Hobo's, I am assured, are not aggressive as is rumored.  Their bites however, if a person is sensitive, can lead to tissue death.  I've known two people bitten by Hobos, although they claimed Brown Recluse, but I don't think we have those around here.   One of those people lost a part of her thumb to necrotic tissue near the bite.  Allegedly also Hobo's don't grow as large as Giants.  However, someone was bitten by a massive Hobo up in the Gorge once, a Hobo worthy of being called a Giant Hobo.  Hobo's and Giant House spiders have similar markings and both are funnel web builders.  I wondered what those tornado or hurricane eye like webs were about I have been seeing.  Giant House spiders will kill and eat Hobo spiders so you do not want to lose your Giant House spiders.
I was driving to Portland with cats a few months ago, was on the freeway in the Salem area when something large with legs runs across my lap.  I FREAKED out!  It was a GIANT spider, like two inches across, I'm not lying.

Then my mind flashed on accidents caused by bugs in cars freaking people out, usually bees, and I forced myself to breath deep and forget the spider, until I could pull over at an exit.  Then I leapt out of the car and found the spider hiding under my seat, between folds in a folded newspaper.  I pulled out the folded paper and threw it in the bushes in one motion.  I looked around then, hoping no one had seen this display of cowardice and panic.  Brushed myself off and resumed my journey north.

This has now happened to me twice in the last year so one of my projects this week will be a thorough cleaning of my car.  Even though my new spidee friends may object, my car is not going to become a Giant House Spider over winter cozy.  No way!

Saturday, January 17, 2015


The weather is strangely warm.  Right now, at 11:30 p.m., it's 58 degrees out, shirt sleeve weather.  And the rain, oh my, today, it was torrential, along with some thunder and wind.

I began singing to myself....."Rain, rain, go away....Come again some other day."

Then due to my cabin fever, I looked up the origins of that verse only to find its been used since at least the 17th century in various forms.

James Howell wrote it this way, in the 17th century in his book of proverbs..."Raine raine goe to Spain: faire weather come againe"

Bored then, I searched "Oregon rain songs" and came up with a tale, from some decades ago, that jarred my memory.  An Oregon woman had been imprisoned in Turkey.   Bill Coleman heard about it and, with his band, wrote a song, that quickly became a national hit and the song helped create publicity for her plight and she was freed in a prisoner exchange.  Otherwise, she had been sentenced to life in a Turkish prison, which is probably something like life in hell.

Later I read Turkish prisons are more like small cities, where inmates often live in community with one another, and women prisoners can even have their children with them, much like at some Mexican prisons.  Families on the outside must provide for the prisoners should they want anything more than bare basics for survival.  All proceeds from the hit song went to the Oregon woman, helping her even complete her degree while still in prison.  Bill Coleman's website describes how his band made sure nobody made one cent off that song except her.

 I recall the incident now and remember about the song, but I did not recall the  song itself.  So I found it on youtube and here it is.

Tomorrow might be a little less, um, torrential, I hear.

The cat yard is flooded and the cats are demanding I entertain them and stop the rain.

Who will stop the rain?  Dan Fogarty didn't.  Bill Coleman's band did, for at least one Oregon girl far from home.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Local History and 2nd Time to Thompsons Mill

"The Donation Land Claim: The passage of the law was largely due to the efforts of Samuel R. Thurston, the Oregon territorial delegate to Congress. The act, which became law on September 27, 1850, granted 320 acres (1.3 km2) of designated areas free of charge to every unmarried white male citizen eighteen or older–and 640 acres (2.6 km2) to every married couple–arriving in the Oregon Territory before December 1, 1850. In the case of a married couple, the husband and wife each owned half of the total grant in their own name. The law was one of the first that allowed married women in the United States to hold property under their own name. Half-blood Native Americans were also eligible for the grant. A provision in the law granted half the amount to those who arrived after the 1850 deadline but before 1854. Claimants were required to live on the land and cultivate it for four years to own it outright."

7, 437 people became land owners in the Oregon Territory through the Donation Land Claim Act defined above.

The passage of this act preceded the Homestead Act, meant to populate the great plains region.  The Homestead Act is colorfully depicted in old movies, when wagons and horseback riders, even people on foot, lined up to race across the plains to grab their pieces of land, to claim and occupy, for free! Nowadays people would call out those folks as leechers and free loaders. But not then. There was space then and not so many people.

My friend and I went out to Thompsons Mill two days ago. I'd been there before, but she didn't know it was there. So we went. Thompsons Mill is now an Oregon State historic site and preserves the old flour mill built by early valley settler William Finley, way back in 1856. He'd come to the valley with his wife, who was only 13 when they married, and coincidentally the age at which she gave birth to one of their four daughters. You can fill in the details. Not so much has changed.
A photo of the mill silos I took the first visit

Finley and his family settled near what is now Crawfordsville and tried to survive. He was considered a cripple, having broken both legs that then did not heal normally. He finally built, by borrowing and going into debt, a small mill on property near where he lived, using stones for buhrs milled from a Brownsville quarry. There were under 200 census registered males at that time living in the area now known as Linn County. People needed to eat and to eat grain, it needed milled, crushed so our stomachs could digest it.

The mill was popular, as were others that popped up in the valley. But Finley owed everyone after building his, and was in serious debt, so when the gold rush hit California, he packed and left for the gold mines. He made a mint in the gold mines and would sent dust home to his family and finally came home himself, well off.

He then built the Boston Mill, now known as Thompsons mill. He bought the land for $50 from someone named Elder, who had come to the valley to grab land after the Donation Land Act passed. Elder traveled with his wife and together they could claim, free, 640 acres, under the Act's provisions for a married couple. However, she died en route. It is said he carried her body with him, so he could still get the 640 acres, then buried her, on what would have been her share, then married again. He sold some of that land to William Finley.

Finley bought the water rights for $75 and built the mill and even laid out a town there, called Boston. Boston, Oregon. However, as luck would have it, the railroads came down the valley laying rail. Finley wanted the railroad to go through Boston, but the flooding problem there, made that unfeasible. Instead, the railroad laid rail through Shedd's Station, which became Shedd, and Boston residents relocated to Shedd.

Later on, when steel fabrication improved, the mostly wooden mill was judged unfit for producing human grade food and went to production of animal feed, and later, just electricity, from the three turbines in the mill's guts that power the entire plant. The Boston millrace was deflected off the Calapoia River, to produce a drop of 16 feet, enough to turn three huge turbines that powered everything inside through shafts and belts. The turbines did not spin on bearings, but rather on iron wood, a very dense wood that is also rare and expensive. It also self lubricates.
A millstone, from France
See those grooves in the stone, from the center out?  Those are created by hand, and furrow the milled grain out to the edges of the two stones.  The tool used to create the furrows looks like a very short handled hoe, of sorts and has a metal blade and the men who made those furrows rested the tool hand over their other arm to work, meticulously, so as not to harm the stone and often getting metal flecks, from the tool, embedded in their hands and wrists.  This is where the old saying came from "Show us your metal."  When someone wanted to be hired to furrow the millstones, the mill operator could discover how experienced they were by how much metal was embedded in the hopeful hires' wrists and hands.

Later stone was no longer used to grind grain, as flecks of it ended up in the flour, and would grind down people's teeth. New vertical roller milling machines became the rage. The grain dropped between two rollers and this method proved much faster and also safer for those eating the products milled.
The newer method of milling grain without big millstones

I love the mill for the McQuiver like innovations, the levers and pulleys and mechanical innovations, all thought up and built without today's machining capabilities. These innovations are so clever and made the mill run efficiently. I love the counter weight elevator that still can take people up a floor with ease. I love the tensioners that they built to release belts running off shafts from the turbines, if operators wanted one machine run off that shaft to stop but not others. I love the gear cogs made from wood and easily slipped out to replace, since the mill was far from steel fabrication plants.

So I enjoyed another trip to the mill, despite having visited just last summer.

If you live in this area, I highly recommend a visit, especially if you enjoy innovation. Go down 99E to Shedd and make a left onto Boston Mill Road.  It's not far from the freeway on the north side of the road.

This link provides interesting history of Finley and the mill.

Speaking of innovation, industrialization is taking more mid valley jobs. The Halsy paper mill, that creates a variety of paper products, is laying off quite a few workers in the next months. They plan to install equipment upgrades that will replace the need for many workers.

The story of our time. The overlooked and unstated cause of much unemployment and decrease in family wage jobs. Machines do it for us now.

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Couple of Books

Winter drags on and on.  Rain today, splatting outside on the cement driveway.  The birds have not even come out yet.
Well, the Mourning Doves have come now, along with a few sparrows.

Miss D has turned into the monster I've made her into.  Demanding her treats, flicking me with her claw to wake me up, leaving me scarred with red marks of my disobedience.
The Ugly Side of Miss D

I finished one book and read another on Saturday.  The first was a mystery, with dialogue written so well, I began to see the words as a movie instead of as words.

I got the book for a dollar at the Habitat Store a couple weeks back.

The plot involved a young lawyer researching on a freebie case about the estate of a fellow Italian who died in a Montana WWII internment camp.  Yes, we did that also to Italians, but they were treated much better as a whole than Germans and Japanese internees.

She plods through the research, aided by her best friend, while dealing with difficult family issues that are made real and humorous.  The first part of the book is a little slow but the plot picks up the pace and although I noted some little issues in the plot, some left behind plot angles, the book was fabulous and the ending roared.

Killer Smile.  By Lisa Scottoline

The second book I read Saturday was given to me by a friend just after Christmas.   She had loved it.  It's very popular I hear.

I read through it quickly, as it is an easy read book, but it is very emotional.   I cried much of the way through it.  I don't typically like books written to play on emotion as this one definitely is.  This is the story about a man's life, as seen through his dogs' eyes.

Denny, the protagonist, buys the dog from a breeder, then gets married, has a kid, wife gets cancer, wife has evil parents who try to steal his kid from him after wife dies by framing him for sex abuse of a minor.  All the while Denny works as a mechanic but his real love is racing cars.  The dog, who narrates, also loves car racing and little wisdoms about car racing as applied to life are found throughout the book.  The book is an unapologetic not subtle at all comparison of life to car racing.

The book must make you a believer in reincarnation early on, in order to deliver the happy ending.  You have to buy in, even for the duration of the book, so you can be happy at the end.  I bought in.  I pretended.  Then I felt had afterwards, like about ten minutes after finishing the book when my emotions settled.  And a little dirty.  Like after having great sex with a one night stand.  That creeping guilt that ruins it.  Hey, bonk myself on the head, I don't believe in that shit.

It's an emotional ride.  Sometimes emotional books are nice to read and this one hits every button you could imagine and delivers a happy ending even though the dog dies in the end.   Imagine that!  Win, win, win!  I liked it.

But would I read it again?  Not unless I wanted to cry off and on for three hours.

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein.

I've had two cups of coffee this morning, one cup more than the usual.  I better get something done!  Something besides reading maybe.   Maybe I should go at least walk in the rain!