The Latest Feline Family Member

We have a new cat.

I knew it was only a matter of time before the neighborhood feline gossip vine got news that we were down to “only” three cats. With the loss of my beloved Diablo in October, our cat family was down to Tabitha, Chelsea and Smokey.  Within a few weeks’ of Diablo’s passing, Tabitha had moved back inside for good and Smokey just tagged along. That seemingly ended the Reign of the Outdoor Cats. When the weather was nice (which this year as meant a lot more days than usual) Tabitha and Smokey would venture outside during the day and snooze around the yard. But they were coming in every night. I wasn’t leaving food and water out at night – it would only be eaten by roving gangs of raccoons.

Yet there he was – a grey and white young tom with folded ears! He first showed up two weeks ago. At first, I thought he was a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) cat. Within a few days I saw that those weren’t cropped ears, they were folded. He is a friendly head-bumper; I can pick him up now and he just purrs his little heart out!

No one has claimed him, he has no collar and there is no question that he has all his “equipment.” So – his vet appointment is set for next Tuesday. The scientific, I-studied-genetics part of me would love to see if his folded ear mutation translated into any litters he might create, but the logical part of me is holding firm. No way do I want to be responsible for more kittens in this world when so many are homeless. Besides, Tabitha would kill me.

Here he is!

Ghost Writers in the Sky

I’m a ghost-writer!

I’ve been writing articles for Stone Temple Consulting for the past month now.  Imagine – doing something I love (writing) and getting paid for it! Amazing. Of course I can’t link to those articles from this website, nor can I tell you what articles they are. Such are the rules of ghost-writing. It’s still interesting to be a part of it. Companies that don’t have content writers on staff can hire firms like Stone Temple to look around the web and see what blogs might want to feature an article about their company, and then have the article written for them. In one example, I wrote a travel-related article for a company that rents recreational vehicles nationwide, and the article was posted on a large city’s promotional website.

It’s a win for everyone – the RV company gets promotion, the destination gets talked about and I get to exercise my writing muscles AND get paid!

I’ve also been writing a host of interior decorating and design articles for other websites. Even though my name is no where to be found, it’s still a thrill when I find something I wrote right out there in cyberspace! 🙂

A Very Interesting Way to Spend Your First Anniversary

Okay! So when your wedding is done flash-mob style at a local winery, how do you celebrate your first anniversary? Bungee jump off the Golden Gate Bridge? Zip-line through the redwoods? Hit Mavericks?

No, you have surgery.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, my husband of 10 months noticed a lump on his neck. When antibiotics didn’t clear it up, he had it biopsied. It came back positive for cancer. It took a PET scan, and MRI and a consultation with a specialist before the source of the cancer was located – the base of the tongue. Surgery was the recommended option because it was relatively small, and the follow-up treatment would be less invasive.

So on January 16, 2012, Jim had surgery, They removed part of the tongue and a tonsil that was in the way. The surgery was longer than expected but it went well. It’s now Friday, January 20th. I am looking forward to bringing him home tomorrow.

Our doctor tells us that 10 years ago, 80% or more of the mouth cancers he saw were in hard-core smokers and drinkers. Jim never smoked and although we drink wine, we are not considered “hard-core” drinkers. No, this is something else. Now our doctor says around 80% of his mouth cancer patients are men between the ages of 51/52 and 65 who never smoked. What they have is squamous cell cancer of the mouth from HPV – the Human papillomavirus.

I wasn’t going to post about this and then I thought it over. I don’t know how many people are reading this blog, but I’d like to think that my readers will grow in number. If Jim and I can reach just ONE and get them to have that bothersome lump on their neck looked at, it will have been worth it to post this.

Jim has some recovery ahead of him. We don’t know exactly what that entails – it could be radiation or chemo or both. I don’t plan on having a day-by-day post of our journey, but I will send out an update every so often.

Finally – our doctor firmly believes that the only way to get any control of HPV is “with the girls”. Getting young girls vaccinated against HPV will protect them from cervical cancer and from potentially transferring HPV to their (male) partners. Because from what they know now, that’s how this occurs. Jim probably got the virus in his 20s or 30s and it’s been dormant for over 30 years. Maybe one day they’ll learn why it “comes alive.”

I hate that this post is sounding like a medical book, but this has been my life for the past month. Again – I felt like I had to share this. If you are the parent to a young girl, seriously look into and consider the vaccines against HPV that are available.

Jim and I are looking forward to spending our SECOND anniversary at some secluded little romantic hide-a-way in Napa, Sonoma or somewhere along the Pacific Coast. About as far away from a Kaiser facility as one can get.


Thought-provoking comments from Ben Stein

I was going to post something else here first, but then I got around to reading some older emails. This was sent to me by a friend. Apparently, the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year, prompting CBS presenter Ben Stein to present this piece, which I am reposting in its entirety.


The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.  And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.  I don’t feel threatened.  I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.
It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me.  I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.  In fact, I kind of like it.  It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year.  It doesn’t bother me at all that  there is a manger    scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu.  If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.  I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.  I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country.  I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it  being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it  another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God?  I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too.  But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different:  This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could  God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Hurricane Katrina)..   Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.  She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.  And being the gentleman He  is, I believe He has calmly backed out.  How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’
In light of recent events… Terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.  I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.  Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school.  The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.  And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their  little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide).  We said an expert should know what he’s talking about.  And we said okay.
Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.  I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell.  Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.  Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.  Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing  yet?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you  for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit.
If not, then just discard  it…. No one will know you did.  But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
My Best Regards,  Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

Welcome to my website!

Welcome to the Vintage Word!

Today is Tues-, no wait – it’s WEDNESDAY December 28th. I’ve been at this all day and now it’s 5 minutes past midnight. I am excited to finally go live with my own personal website. Writing a blog on blogspot was fun, but I always wanted to have my very own site and so now – here it is!

As I said in my About Me page, this website is my way of sharing all of the thoughts, ideas and stories that are rattling around in my head. You’ll find articles on cats, interior design, observations on what it’s like to live in one of the most desirable places in the country and much more. Plus you’ll meet a whole array of characters who have up to now existed only in my imagination.

It is my profound wish that reading something here stimulates your own thinking, or at least puts a smile on your face.