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2016: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Beautiful

In January 2016 I found loving homes for two of the darling little girl kittens I had fostered, and one, I selfishly kept as my own. His name is Pinky. He has grown into a magnificent hulk of a cat.

Since 2016 was an El Nino year, there were many warnings from local weather forecasters that flooding would occur. Since I live near the levee of the Pajaro River, I learned how to be prepared. My car was packed and ready. My biggest concern was how could I get six cats into my car and drive away in enough time after being given the instructions to leave the area. As it turned out, even though there was a little flooding in the county, nothing terrible serious happened.

In March, Kats took me on a vacation to Sacramento. We rode the train to get there and spent the nights in a paddle wheel boat docked in the Sacramento River. We spent a day in Old Town, and another, enjoying the Railroad History Museum. Since three generations of my Grandpas were railroad men, I've got it in my blood. It was a thrilling vacation.

April brought the public to view my catio in the first annual catio tour for Santa Cruz County. Kats worked on it a bit more to make sure the folding winter protection doors worked well. And we cleaned up the back yard (YAY!) and planted a garden.

In June I was enthusiastic about taking free Spanish classes at my local library. I immersed myself for about a month, but then had a serious medical problem arise which kept me from attending. I'd been having cortisone injections in my spine and sacroiliac joint for years. But, this last year even after having the medically legal limit, I was still in pain and having trouble walking well. So I agreed to have something called Radio Frequency Ablation to the S.I. joint. It was a big mistake and I ended up in excruciating pain that lasted for the rest of the year until I had surgery in December. Three titanium rods were placed in my iliac bone and pushed through into my sacrum in order to hold the two bones together. I am still recovering from that procedure right now.

July 22nd, as I was driving home, I looked across the Monterey Bay and saw a familiar large mushroom cloud of brown smoke. I knew immediately it was the start of a very big forest fire, down my Big Sur about 45 miles south. This fire continued to burn until the end of October before fire crews could finally quell it. Well over 130 square miles of national forest destroyed. It breaks my heart. Not only were trees and other plant life destroyed, but so many wild animals are gone too. Deer, bobcats, mountain lions, and bears, not to mention the smaller critter, raccoons, possums, etc. The fire was started by humans who were camping illegally.

Warning: this part is sad cat news. I cannot remember now what month it occurred. I have a mental block. My precious black cat with the incredible yellow eyes, Ninja-Boo, sneaked out behind me at night when I went out of the catio door to pick some catnip. I thought all the cats were inside of the house and I had not noticed him still in the catio.

As soon as I realized he was out, I tried to catch him, but he seemed to want me to play chase and catch with him. I was up until 3 or 4 in the morning following him through the neighborhood. I finally dragged myself home exhausted. I could only hope that Ninja-Boo would find his way home. Kats was not with me that night otherwise I know he would have kept going.

The next day, Kats and I put up signs, and advertised, then searched the neighborhood for three days when a woman called to tell me she had seen a dead black cat on a nearby street corner. When I got there, it was gone. The local shelter had picked him up. I went there and saw him. He did not appear to have any serious injuries. It must have been quick. I hope. I said my goodbyes and went back to the car in tears. Good thing that Kats was driving. I would not have been able to. I still miss that clever, mischievous fellow. Picture is of Ninja and Timmy "kissing".

I'm proud to say that I was requested by San Francisco musician, Amy Obenski, to do some art for her new album, An Emptiness to Fill. Additionally, several of my drawings were selected for a coloring book she published. I also took up a new art hobby of painting cats on rocks, which I continue to enjoy creating. I have even sold a few to friends.

In September, I survived my fifth year of living with Leukemia thanks to a relatively new chemo drug that keeps it controlled.

In October, my son flew me to Austin, Texas to attend my grand-niece's engagement party. It was wonderful to see her and her friends having such a good time, and to know that she has found her true love. Her mother, a tattoo artist, extraordinaire, was able to cover an old spider web tattoo I had gotten 30 years ago which looked ready to be retired. She covered it with a beautiful rose. Dare I call it a moon rose?

In 2017 I am looking forward to more of the good, bad, ugly and beautiful and.......

I just want to celebrate another day of living!
I just want to celebrate, another day of life.

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