Category Archives: amused essays

Amusing thoughts about life, living with cats and dog, and just general humor

Winter Weather Woes

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything. Like since the middle of November when I was heavily occupied with NaNoWriMo, which I crushed. Then the holidays came along and time skittered away from me like a leaf blowing in these high velocity winds that course through this wind tunnel of a valley between two mountain ranges.

Normally, I roll with whatever the weather might be. Rain, sunshine, snow, wind. It’s a constantly changing thing in this environment. In Reno, Nevada, that would be the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a spectacular spot with gorgeous Lake Tahoe nestled in the middle of them.

Lake Tahoe from the shoreline on the Nevada side.

After several years of drought, the lake’s level had dropped quite a bit and water conservation became the big issue in both California and Nevada.

Well, January 2017 set out to change all that. In the first one-third of the month, more rain and snow fell on the Sierras, and in both states, than we had seen in many years. In fact, January 2017 is on record for the most moisture in the past 108 years. The area has seen more rainy days than sunny ones since the end of December.  This much wet often gives me reason to rejoice because I like rain.

However, when it begins to flood and I need to get my Himalayan-mix cat to the veterinarian for a tooth cleaning and to check for something hurting him, it turns into a problem. Twice this month, I’ve scheduled Milo’s appointment, only to cancel it because I couldn’t get out to get him to the vet that’s only a few miles up the road.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Here’s the problem. Where I live is off a low-lying road near the base of the Virginia City (Yes, the Bonanza one) foothills where water runs downhill and into shallow ditches. With the heavy flow of water coming down the canyons and running through the inadequate channels, the road flooded. Then when it got colder and snowed, an ice layer formed under the snow and it became difficult to drive.

1st snow at the beginning of January, 2017. Doesn’t look that bad, does it? Until you try to drive.

Now, add to the problem a small pickup truck with only rear-wheel drive and nothing of significance to weigh it down in the bed. Honey, all it takes a thin bar of ice and the truck is stuck. A sheet of ice means I am not going anywhere. Again, not that much of an issue since I don’t often have to venture out. Except I have this darn appointment that requires the cat deposited at the office between seven-thirty and eight in the morning.

Now, I have a third appointment for Monday morning.

dragon 2017
My frozen dragon sentinel in the front yard.

Sure enough, the forecast is for at least six inches of snow on the valley floor. Sigh. Gut feeling is I may have to cancel another one. Maybe next month…

Still in all, I prefer this weather to the ice storms and deep snow that so many of you are dealing with this January of 2017. Wouldn’t even want to be in the towns surrounding Tahoe these past few weeks. Too much snow for this desert-raised girl.

In other news, I am currently working on the edits for a YA urban fantasy trilogy and it is coming along.  I have two other novels to edit and have started work on the next Funeral Singer novel. One of the edits is in the O’Ceagan Saga universe, so hope to have that one this year also.

Download at Instafreebie

If you haven’t checked it out, I have a free short story at called The Wizard’s Gift.  All you have to do to download it is add your email to my mailing list at Instafreebie. I don’t send out spam or frequent emails, so it’s relatively painless. And you might win a free $25 Amazon gift card in my quarterly drawing.

In good-reading terms, my fellow Reno writer, Heather Petty, has a new Lock and Mori book out, Mind Games.  It’s an alt-universe young Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty adventure with a twist. The first book was a fun read, so I’m looking forward to this new one.

The fabulous YA urban fantasy author Annette Marie also has a new book out in her Red Winter Trilogy.  If you haven’t read her books, why not? She is a wonderful storyteller. One of my favorite writers. If you have Kindle Unlimited,, you can read her books for free.  And start with Chase the Dark in her Steel & Stone series. That was the one that hooked me.

You might notice that the link’s at Amazon take you to Amazon Smile, which is currently set up to donate to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Amazon Smile gives a portion of the money you spend at Amazon to the charity you chose. St. Jude’s happens to be mine, but you can select your own.

Happy 2017

Living With Hobbits

I was under the impression that I shared my house with my housemate, her dog and four cats.  But it has occurred to me recently that I actually have three hobbits rather than cats in my house.  Let me explain.

Milo – part Himalayan, part Hobbit

Timmy, Houligan and Milo look like cats and to some extent, they act like cats.  But when it comes to food, these three old felines are more like hobbits.  By that, I mean they expect certain conventions to happen every day on a schedule.

First there is breakfast.  Milo, in particular, likes his to be served by eight in the morning. He is frequently disappointed, but he tries to make it clear that it is expected.  He has a gravely, cello-toned voice that resembles a string being plucked on that instrument.  He does not hesitate to stand on top of me and inform me that breakfast time is imminent.  So, upon my awakening, I am summoned to the kitchen to prepare their repast.  All felines attend, except my real cat, Jellicle, who actually prefers her meals to be served in her chamber, which is my bedroom.  On rare occasion, she will deign to join the others in the dining area.  Within a few minutes, there is usually not a single morsel of food left in the dishes.  Practical Timmy, (think Samwise) the cleaner, ensures they are all properly cleaned up.

Houligan on the back of my chair, a comfy place. Part American longhair, part Hobbit.
Houligan on the back of my chair, a comfy place. Part American longhair, part Hobbit.

Recently, Houligan has taken a penchant to running water. In his shrill, fingernails-on-the-chalkboard, howl, he demands that the water in the bathtub be turned to drip in order for him to get a drink.  As soon as he believes that I have stirred a little in the morning, he runs for the tub and begins his insistent request.  His Christmas present this year is a small fountain with running water.  I do hope this alleviates this issue.  But hobbits do like things fresh, don’t they?

12-21-2014 2-37-12 PM
cat hobbit – drawing by R. Averett

By mid-morning, Milo is now seeking second breakfast.  Just a little snack, please, to tide him over to elevensies.  And sometimes Houligan will join him in this request.  Both Milo and Houligan are very thin cats and I can attest it is NOT from a lack of food.  To be fair, Milo has only eight teeth left in his ten-year-old mouth and Houligan suffers from an over-active thyroid, which makes this almost fourteen year-old cat seem downright anorexic.  But he eats at every opportunity. So second breakfast it is.  Usually a little more of the moist cat food, although sometimes it might be a bit of canned tuna or a little bit of leftover chicken.  Unless I keep this a secret, Timmy will join in, coming into the room as if it is his right to be fed.

Timmy getting beauty sleep.
Timmy getting beauty sleep. Part Persian, part Hobbit He looks deceptively small in this hobbit bed, but he’s really about 16 lbs .

Poor Timmy, another ten year-old, is not possessed of a svelte figure.  He is a roly-poly hobbit with big, demanding eyes and a small voice.

Then it’s time for elevensies.  Yes, they demand this also.  Milo likes a bit of salmon or more chicken, if you please, but will also eat some egg, particularly if there is a bit of sausage in it.  Whatever you’re having will do just fine, thank you.  And this is quite literally.  Chorizo and eggs are very good and a ham omelet is divine.  Houli will have a little bit, but mostly he would like one of those little dry biscuit treats that I keep in pouches for the boys.  Usually Timmy sleeps through this because he is partly Persian and he needs his beauty sleep.

At last, there’s a break until mid-afternoon.  Usually, I eat something around this time, an omelet or salad or sandwich and that is a cue to the hobbits felines to gather for their portion once more.  This is not a simple request.  No, it is a command.  They will surely expire if they don’t have bites of what you’re eating.

Jellickle, the princess, an American longhair.  Not hobbit.
Jellickle, the princess, an American longhair. Not hobbit.

Somewhere around five-thirty, the company will gather in the dining area again and wish for their supper.  All except the princess, of course, who is patiently waiting on her bed in her chamber.  As one friend once said, cats work magic.  If they stare at the bowl long enough, food will appear.

If the weather is nice, then Milo might request patio dining on the porch and on his particular perch on the tree.  I might point out that there is always dry morsels of food available in a bowl for the on-going munching the felines sometimes prefer, but nothing is a substitute for the tablespoon of moist food that they enjoy at these meals.  Frequently, there is a shuffle after the initial few bites in order to sample each other’s bowls for quality control.   Houligan races Timmy to get to Jellicle’s bowl for any leftovers there.

Dinner for PK and me is usually around seven-thirty, which, of course,  is also to be shared with the company, which now includes the canine, Flynn..  A morsel of meat here, a bit of cheese there.  Make sure they are all getting their fair share, although Milo’s opinion of “fair share” seems to translate to a 3 to 1 ratio.  Houligan has a particular fondness for gravies and sauces, so those should be left for him.

For two of this lot, a small dessert is in order around ten.  It used to be whipped cream licked off my fingers, but recently Milo and Houligan have taken to simply lapping cream out of their dishes.  Not that they wouldn’t like to have a bite or two of the whipped stuff if I am indulging.  Who said cats are lactose intolerant?  When they’re part hobbit, that is obviously not the truth.  I have to say that this addiction of theirs is so bad that until they started drinking the cream, I was literally being held at claw-point to have whipped cream.

Now, lest you think that the crew is done for the day, there is still their nightly elevensies, the final petite meal of the day.  I tried to cut this one out and it brought out very vocal complaints from the head hobbit, Milo.  Even the small mewl of Timmy joined in on that.  So, one last meal, sometimes followed by crunchy treats for Timmy and Houligan, then at last, they are ready for bed.

At times, it seems like this crowd eats a lot, but in reality, they get about one can of moist food each when the day is done, but they do supplement with extra “hobbit” food throughout the day.

Apart from the eating habits, I do need to point out that my cat hobbits all have furry feet, are curious about everything, and don’t need a ring to rule anything.  Perhaps cats secretly inspired Tolkien’s hobbits.