Coon Mama Jama Take 2


What would you do if you found two orphaned raccoon kits?

I came home from work at the end of the day and, after walking Lucy, stumbled across a very large raccoon tail and it wasn’t moving. As I contemplated what to do with the deceased raccoon, I discovered raccoon babies nearby. Poor little angels!

I grabbed heavy gloves, a big towel, and a cat carrier. The terrified babies are now safe and sound and quarantined until I can get them to the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge  which is where I brought the week old raccoon kit that was discovered on top of my car last May–almost exactly a year ago, how strange! (see original post Coon Mama Jama)

Since raccoons are nocturnal, the mom and babies must have come out last night and, for some unknown reason, the mom passed away. (I left a message for Animal Control. Don’t they usually test deceased raccoons for rabies?)That means the babies have been outside all day…and it’s been on-and-off raining all day. Oh no! That’s why their fur looks wet and messy. They must be really hungry. Looking up what to feed them now.

The raccoon kits are going to have to wait because first in line tomorrow for Mama Care is my youngest. She’s getting all four wisdom teeth out tomorrow! 

To be continued…


RIP Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat in The Telegraph
Grumpy Cat in The Cut







Grumpy Cat, whose real name was Tardar Sauce, passed away and, guess what hon? Her obituary is everywhere! That’s pretty unusual, but then so is a cat who became an internet sensation! She encountered complications from a recent urinary tract infection and passed away on Tuesday.

I had a grumpy cat, too. Kimba had a perpetually sour look on her face, but we attributed it to shyness and to being a Himalayan. Kimba was rarely seen leading one friend to suspect she didn’t exist (shout out to Jeri!). She did, but preferred to stay in corners and shadows. Kimba really only liked two of the six people in her home–me and my youngest daughter. My previous Himalayan Katie, like Grumpy Cat, died young, whereas Kimba lived to be thirteen.

Our newest kitten, Midnight, prefers to be outside, but still wants acknowledgment, food, water, and a clean towel on which to nap. He’s a sweet little angel (unless you’re a bird or chipmunk) and wants nothing to do with the Lucy, our sometimes-a-sweet-angel-sometimes-a-maniac dog.

In memory of Kimba, Katie, and Grumpy Cat, and to all of the kitties who make us laugh–

–may you alway have full bellies, sunny spots, window views, warm blankets, attentive vets, and loving families!

Kimba left puddles of fur.
Kimba looked surly.






Kimba loved a window view.
Kimba cuddling with her favorite person.

Info on Grumpy Cat from

Grumpy Cat became an internet sensation after her photo was posted on Reddit on September 22, 2012. It was suggested that the original photo was photoshopped, so we posted a few videos on YouTube. The videos went viral and her popularity has continued to increase!

We aren’t exactly sure about Grumpy Cats breed; but she looks nothing like her mother or father. She looks similar to a Ragdoll or Showshoe; but there have never been any of that breed around the house. Her mom is a calico domestic short hair cat and her father has grey and white stripes. (Though I suppose there could be a different father, promiscuous cats you know…)

Tardar Sauce visites the vet regularly and she has a clean bill of health. Her petite size and famous face is likely due to feline dwarfism and her rear end wobbles a bit when she walks due to this; otherwise she is a perfect little kitty! She is not a munchkin cat and was not bred purposefully from other munchkin cats.

Grumpy Cat…plays, hides, and acts as cats act. (She LOVES to hide behind the curtains!) She isn’t in front of a camera all of the time…we only take photos sets once every week or so and on the few occasions where we have met with the media or licensed partners we ensure the sessions are short and that she isn’t handled by many people. Tardar Sauce is a member of the family before anything else!

One more quote from GC’s family”

“Besides being our baby and a cherished member of the family, Grumpy Cat has helped millions of people smile all around the world.”


Shaving Cream Marbleized Ceramic Bowls

When my daughter and I shopped for her new apartment in LA, we searched for cute, little, multi-use bowls and couldn’t find any. Hon, you know what a ceramicist says when she can’t find what she’s looking for? You guessed it…”I can make that!” Combine that with wanting to try a new glazing technique and voilà-shaving cream marbleized ceramic bowls!

Fill pan with shaving cream and then spread shaving cream evenly.
Drizzle different colors of underglaze. Swirl colors together. I wondered about using underglaze versus glaze, but the underglaze adheres to the clay body better, whereas in the kiln the glaze may run.
Roll bisqued pieces in shaving cream/underglaze mixture. Carefully rinse off shaving cream and let pieces dry fully before firing.
Fresh out of the kiln!

I’m definitely going to try this glazing technique again. Now I have to throw some more bowls…

Charming River Town, Frenchtown

In my recent post, Book Launch Buddies, I mentioned visiting Frenchtown, NJ and, hon, I have to tell you about this charming river town. It’s the kind of town I love and where Hubby gets hives–meaning he’s allergic to my ability to window shop in every adorable store!

After joining my writer friends at The Book Garden, I was walking through town when I spotted a familiar store, Lord Ivy.  So, that’s where it moved! The store, which had been in Summit for many years, was one of my favorite places to find lovely gifts, fun accessories and pretty tops. If I had time when I got off of work, I’d stop in to see what was new. (shout out to owner, Inge!)

I hope to visit again with my daughters or girlfriends. Hubby can come, too, as long as he finds something else to do while we take in the town.

The Borough of Frenchtown, comprising just over 1 square mile, was settled over 200 years ago. Variously known as the village of “Sunbeam”, “Sherrod’s Ferry” and other names through Revolutionary War days, it finally came to be known locally as “Frenchtown” in reference to a French-speaking Swiss immigrant who settled here in the late 1700’s. M. Mallet-Prevost left French military service before being called to the guillontine during the French Revolution. He bought a large tract of land from a local Irish landowner and settled down to a somewhat quieter life in west Hunterdon County.

Frenchtown, N.J. is a quaint little town at the western end of New Jersey’s State Highway 12, which cuts across beautiful, rural Hunterdon County on the Delaware River. The well-known River Bridge at Frenchtown crosses the Delaware to Uhlerstown and Tinicum in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The first train came to Frenchtown February 4, 1853. Frenchtown was served by the railroad for just about one hundred years. The former train station is now a cafe. The old railroad right of way is now a hiking/biking path.

Photo Sources: Love Frenchtown, Huffington Post

Brunch Ready Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

What to bring to a Mother’s Day brunch? Quiche came to mind, but I haven’t made one in awhile, so I’m hoping it’s as easy as it was the first time I tried this recipe!

Happy cooking, hon!

BASIC PIE CRUST (single crust)

1 1/3 cups flour

½ tsp. salt

½ cup vegetable shortening

¼ cup ice water

Insert steel blade in food processor.  Sift together flour and salt and place in processor container.  Add shortening and process until mixture resembles cornmeal (about 5 seconds).  Slowly pour water through feed tube and process until dough forms a ball (about 5 to 10 seconds).  Chill dough for easier handling.  Roll into a circle 1/8 inch thick and place in pie dish.  (Hint:  drape dough over rolling pin, center over dish and lower carefully.)  Flute edges.


10 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp. flour

1 (10 oz.) pkg frozen broccoli or leftover, steamed broccoli

3 eggs, beaten

¼ to ½ cup half & half or a little milk

Dash of pepper and dash or two of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, toss cheese and flour together.  Cook broccoli if it’s frozen; drain well.  Add broccoli to cheese.  Add eggs to broccoli cheese mixture.  Add half & half (or milk).  Add pepper and nutmeg; stir.  Mix well.  Pour into piecrust.  Sprinkle nutmeg on top.  Bake 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown.  (Hint:  cover lightly with tin foil for about the last 15 minutes if the quiche hasn’t set in the middle and the crust edges are browning.)  Serves 6 to 8.

Spies and Intrigue, Red Joan, Movie Review

You know when a story sits with you? I saw the movie Red Joan, starring Judi Dench and Sophie Cookson, and can’t stop thinking about the central dilemma, which revolves around allies and enemies, intelligence and ignorance, and war and peace. “Red Joan is based on a novel of the same name written by Jennie Rooney, which was itself inspired by the life of Melita Norwood.”

Guess what, hon? Now I want to read the book! 

Excerpts of the movie’s review on Roger

A based-on-a-true-story spy thriller, Trevor Nunn’s conventional yet sneakily absorbing “Red Joan” toggles between two separate eras. Nunn’s period piece frames its story by introducing us to the 80-something Joan Stanley (Judi Dench) first. She lives a quiet life in a British suburb and tends to the cookie-cutter demands of her uneventful days in the early 2000s. Except, this simple old woman (whose story is based on the real-life case of Southeast London’s Melita Norwood) doesn’t seem to be all that ordinary—soon enough, the British Secret Service pulls her out of her quiet retirement and arrests her on the grounds of treason. But did she really commit those crimes and give away Britain’s secrets to the Russians as a KGB spy in the 1930s?

As the old Joan settles into an interrogation session in a drab room (and repeatedly denies every accusation), the film’s lengthy flashbacks chart Joan’s opinionated past in thoughtful increments. Nunn swiftly takes us back in time to 1938, when Joan (Sophie Cookson) was a green but genius physics student at Cambridge, grabbing onto new inspirations and expanding her political horizon while growing into her sexuality.

Allured by friends’ Sonia and Leo’s world of ideas around societal justice—and equally swept away by the noisemaker Leo—Joan joins in their meetings and rallies against Hitler. The advancing timeline gently pushes Leo out of the picture and introduces a new partner-in-crime/love-interest for Joan, the gentlemanly professor Max Davis. Working out of a government laboratory and eventually becoming lovers during a perilous cross-Atlantic trip, the duo shares a joint view of the world but differs in their respective implementations. 

We halfway understand the basis of Joan’s unlawful actions when she finally admits them to both her son and the stone-faced interrogators. Turns out, Joan didn’t just pass on her country’s nuclear secrets in the innocent name of devotion—in reality, she took up an ideological agenda entirely of her own after seeing the catastrophic atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She had thought it was only with access to equal information could the superpowers be on balance with each other, and stopped from such disastrous actions in the future. While this reasoning doesn’t seem to hold much historical accuracy, it makes sense within the context of a film that leaves a lasting impression mostly with its flashback scenes and emanates a memorable essence.  Tomris Laffly for Roger

Have you seen Red Joan? What did you think?

Play It Loud, Instruments of Rock & Roll, Part 2

After a period of playing live with multiple guitars strapped on simultaneously, Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick began collaborating with Hamer Guitars in 1981 to combine all of his needs into one outlandish instrument. This guitar, Nielson’s first of its kind, was built by laminating together the bodies of five Hamer Specials.

Prince was king when I was in college, and he was electrifying in concerts. I’m standing with “Love Symbol,” the electric guitar made for him in 1993 when, after becoming embroiled in a contract dispute with his label, he changed his name to a symbol and called himself the-artist-formerly-known-as-Prince. “Prince used variations and copies of this instrument in live performances, including at the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show.”








“This guitar was Prince’s primary instrument throughout his career. Despite his reputation for playing extravagant master-built guitars, Prince allegedly bought this instrument from a Minneapolis-area gas station for about thirty dollars in the early 1970’s because the guitar’s leopard-patterned pick guard matched his strap and stage outfit. When Prince was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, he performed a masterful version of The Beatles’ ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ on this guitar.”


This left-handed ‘violin’ bass was built for Paul McCartney “on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebration concert in 2012. The instrument’s Union Jack design pays tribute to not only the queen but also the legacy. of the 1960’s British Invasion, a transatlantic movement in which British musicians influenced by American pop brought their own music to the Unites States. McCartney used this bass to perform the concert’s closing number, The Beatles’ ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” joined onstage by the celebration’s other performers.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Play It Loud, Instruments of Rock & Roll” is on display until October 1, 2019

Related Post: Play It Loud, Instruments of Rock & Roll, Part 1