Cats and Dogs and Chili Oh My!

I reside in a city that has a small-town vibe because of its historic charm, its quaint downtown by the sea complete with a tavern dating back to 1934, the Marine Room Tavern, and its ongoing community events. And what better way for a small town-ish community to kick off summertime than to have a Pet Parade & Chili Cook-Off?

The event, hosted by the Laguna Real Estate Charitable Assistance Fund has been supporting Laguna Beach’s animal nonprofit organizations for over 20 years. From sea lions to felines, Laguna Beach loves its animals, and what better organization for a cat lady to be involved with than The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats? I’ve been a volunteer for 10 years and have worked the Blue Bell booth at several Pet Parade events. This year was extra special because of the event’s return after a 4-year hiatus thanks to the pandemic and skyrocketing costs of the longstanding venue where the event was held.

A new venue was found and on Saturday, June 24th, the parking lot of the Neighborhood Congregational Church was filled with people and their pets, colorful booths holding space for animal nonprofit organizations including Catmosphere Laguna Foundation, The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, One Mutt at a Time and Friends of Normie, various real estate firms, and the Laguna Beach fire and police departments.

One Mutt at a Time

I was honored to meet the police department’s support dog K9 Cooper, a loveable Lab who joined the police force to offer support and comfort to survivors of crime and people dealing with trauma. Not only do Lagunans love their animals, they understand the animal-human bond and the positive impacts that these precious beings have on us humans.

Dogs, puppies, cats and kittens were entered into the parade in various “cat-agories”. One of Blue Bell’s feline residents, Honey, won the award for “Most Gorgeous Senior Pet” and friend of Blue Bell, Rolo, won first place in “Best Costume” and “Happiest Rescue”. It was great spending time with Rolo and his mom Elizabeth who adopted Rolo at CatCon.

Blue Bell Resident Honey

Friend of Blue Bell Rolo the Adventure Cat

You don’t get much more of a small-town feel than being in a place where everybody knows somebody, the aroma of chili permeates the air, and people gush over pets in costumes.

And back at the cottage, Samantha has been her usual sweet and sassy self.

She expressed her dismay about not being able to go to the Pet Parade & Chili Cook-Off.

Yet she found solace on a sun hat.

Samantha was thrilled to see herself in Laguna Beach Magazine’s June/July issue, which featured my book Two Cats, a Mermaid and the Disappearing Moon!

And she adores my new home-office chair.

Thank you for stopping by!

Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Cats and Kiddos

I’ve spent my life mothering cats, not children; however, I’ve always easily connected with kids. In my previous home the neighborhood kids often stopped by for a visit if I was in the front yard gardening or hanging with my cats. Maybe it’s my child-like exuberance, or the fact I had cats they could play with. For instance, one morning as I was getting ready to dash off to my paralegal job I heard the doorbell ring. I opened the front door to see a toddler holding a blanket and a couple five-year-olds who wanted to know if my cat Topper could come out to play. Topper was the neighborhood mascot and everyone adored him. He could often be found lounging by the community pool soaking up attention of sunbathers and swimmers.


I recently did a reading of Two Cats, a Mermaid and the Disappearing Moon at the Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club to a group of preschoolers. It had been a while since I interacted with kids—I nervously wondered how I’d be received.

I got settled in and after the initial chatter of them telling me about their cats and how they also look at the full moon, I had them hooked by Chapter 3. The room was silent except for the sound of me reading. I looked up as I showed the illustration of Topper and Lexington meeting the barn owl in the canyon, and the kiddos were wide-eyed and fully engaged.  My nervousness turned to joy.

This week I participated on a Career & College Day panel at Lowell Elementary School to speak about my unique career path to becoming an author and about my children’s book. Upon arrival I was ushered into a small auditorium by counselors, Eva and Maria who organized the event. I sat in a chair next to my fellow panelist, a flight attendant. As I looked across the room, I saw Leilani, the teacher who invited me to speak, waving a copy of my book, which she got so that she could read it to her students. Then in an organized fashion, in came the second and third graders who sat in neat rows on the floor before the stage. I was introduced by the principal and up to the stage I went before about 150 kiddos. I scanned the audience as I grinned and thanked them for having me. Several girls sported cat-ear headbands. The cat-ladies-in-training in the audience made me feel at home (along with the impeccable hospitality of the staff). But could I hold their attention?

Curious as kittens, the kiddos enthusiastically asked questions throughout my presentation. Many kids expressed their affection for felines, and a handful wanted to be writers. Some asked questions about my book, my cats, and several demanded that I write another book about the cat I have in my life now.

I’m still basking the afterglow of this remarkable experience. My heart is so full.
A big THANK YOU to Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club and Lowell Elementary!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

A Book is Born

My long-time dream of making a book has come true. When I was a kid, I used to make books for my parents. I’d write stories, illustrate them then staple the pages together. And now I have a book that’s “real”, published by FriesenPress, a project that’s been in the making since 2008. That’s a long gestation period, but worth the wait.

It all started one night while gazing at the full moon on my deck while holding Lexington. Clouds moved in and covered the moon, which caused the question I asked of Lexington, “What happened to the moon? It disappeared!”

Find out what happened to the moon through the adventures of Topper and Lexington in Two Cats, a Mermaid and the Disappearing Moon. For those of you who’ve been following my blog since 2014, you know these characters and their mother, Miss Bella. I’ve kept these beloveds alive in this story, capturing their personalities as they explore the canyons and coves of Laguna Beach trying to find the brilliant full moon that’s oddly, disappeared from the night sky.

Topper and Lexington

Miss Bella

Although the story targets kiddos, let’s face it we’re all 6-year-olds at heart. Your kids and grandkids will love it, but go pour a cup of tea or glass of wine and escape into a magical world that actually exists. Mother Nature is pretty amazing. Check out my new page, “My Children’s Book” for the details!

And what does Samantha Jo think…?

As she helps me open the boxes of books, I can hear her whisper, “Mama…this is really cool, but when are you going to make a book about me?”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments