One of the amazing, fabulous, so-cool-I-can’t-believe-it aspects of our new apartment is a real, actual, honest to goodness wood burning fireplace.

No pellets. No gas. No “oh it’s just for show we don’t use it.”

A real fireplace! With fire! From a log!

Yowza! [ insert cavewoman grunt here ]

Fire, good. Warm. Unh-huh.

However, since there are several units in my building, and who knows what sort of yahoolios I have for neighbors, today I called my insurance agent and double checked that I’m super duper double covered for such things as fire. And you know…burning.

Turns out that I am covered, and that’s good. I was raised with a healthy respect for fire. When my mom was just a little girl, her brother was using a burn barrel (or maybe burning leaves, I can’t remember) and he accidentally set several large farm fields on fire. My mom can vividly recall the huge flames and ever since she’s kept a healthy distance from any sort of fire.

So of course, my dad used to load up our 1970’s burnt orange free standing fireplace with lots of sappy New Mexico piƱon logs. Then he’s say “what?” when mom mentioned that maybe that was a little too much fire for such a small fireplace.

I mean, as a kid I learned how to make a darn good campfire and over the years I’ve always really enjoyed cooking over fire (both bbq and camping), however, in my adult life, I have never lived anywhere that had a fireplace. Most apartments don’t offer this feature because the property owners don’t want to assume the risk.

Last night, I pondered while looking at this particular fire:

The first fire in our new place!!

For as much progress as we have seen in the world including technology, medicine, engineering, etc…meaning, of all the amazing tools that we, as humans, have at our fingertips, it’s still the tool of the caveman that can wipe the whole thing out.

One flickering flame. One spark from a burning fire is a lifechanger.

And so today, when my insurance agent asked me the all important question “what is the distance to the nearest Fire Station” and I answered “less than a mile,” at I first felt worry over having to even discuss the probability of tragedy. Then I felt thankful that the fire station is so close. Then I felt doubly thankful for all the people who work at that fire station and are willing, as a normal part of their job, to come and save me, and The Good Man and, yes, even The Feline, from a possible terrible situation.

Being a human is full of risks. Even if I choose not to use my fireplace, I can’t control all the others in my building. So yeah, I’m going to use that fireplace and I’m going to stand in front of it and warm my rear end. I’m also going to be very careful and very respectful.

And very grateful.

Regarding the fire, the Feline says, “where you been all my life?”.

Yes, that’s a box of Duraflame. Real logs are on the way.

Except where noted, photos Copyright 2012, by Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the far right column of this page. Photos taken with an iPhone4s and the Camera+ app.

Photo at the link to the freestanding orange fireplace is from That is not a photo of my family’s home.

Project Status Update


Problem summary:

Approximately two years ago, Feline was poked and prodded by a certified veterinarian and determined to fall under the classification of Fat Cat.

Fat Cat was placed on a diet consisting of smaller portions of food and feed consisting of diet kibble. Fat Cat has lost almost four pounds.

Follow-on problem summary:

Fat Cat has reached the end of her sense of humor about the diet. Has begun full assault daily at 4:30am with objective to obtain Early Breakfast.

Boy Human is the key target of this attack.

Since Boy Human is the kind of person who can’t go back to sleep easily after being awakened, this 4:30am assault strategy is resulting in severe sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation = a very cranky Boy Human

Proposed solution:

In order to alleviate crankiness issues, Girl Human sought corrective action. Research conducted via Google and determination made that a timer food dish might provide relief.

A simple one meal device with timer was procured and received from the Amazon supplier entity.

Field Trials:

On Saturday, December 3, the timer food dish was fully locked and loaded around 11:30pm before Boy Human retired for the night.

As expected, at 4:30am the timer dish lid properly deployed and food was made available. Fat Cat easily discovered this bounty and dined appropriately. Upon full consumption of morning kibble, Fat Cat then retired to the heater box for sleep.

Around 7:00am Fat Cat roused then entered the bedroom of Boy & Girl Human.

Operating under the “That was a gift from the Kibble Gods and since the Boy Human didn’t dispense it, it didn’t count” mode, Fat Cat initiated usual morning aggressive tactics upon the Boy Human including loud rowring, “pimp paw” to the forehead, knocking all possessions off bedside table and biting errant limbs hanging over side of the mattress.

Girl Human commented “This wasn’t covered in the Amazon reviews.”

Boy Human was forced to rise from said mattress and then delivered Second Breakfast to Fat Cat.

Upon consumption of second breakfast, Fat Cat brought her rolly polly arse back to the bedroom of Boy & Girl Human and tucked in under the covers for the day.

Rating of outcome:

Moderate success.

7:00am is a more decent hour than 4:30am so Boy Human was, in fact, less cranky.

However, Fat Cat ate twice, meaning kibble ration was exceeded for the day.

Full reporting must be delivered to veterinarian upon next review.

Next Steps:

Food dish armed with a small excess of kibble rationing was locked by Girl Human on or about 10:00pm on Sunday, December 4.

At 4:30am Monday morning, lid properly deployed and food was consumed.

Soon after, a sated Fat Cat re-entered bedroom of Boy & Human and climbed into the bed and fell asleep.

Boy Human slept until 7:30am when Monday morning alarm went off.

Boy Human awoke feeling more rested than he has in months.


Field trials of timer food dish continue. Team is cautiously optimistic.

New For the Holidays


New! Safety wrapped! Convenient! Eliminates breakage when shipping your Christmas Kitteh!

Packaged rawr!

Photo Copyright 2011, Karen Fayeth and taken with my iPhone 4s and using the Camera+ app. Subject to the Creative Commons license in the far right column of this page.

Born Under a Bad Sky

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This was what the sky looked like yesterday evening as I left work for the day at my company’s Sacramento office.

Was it just the high winds as they blew across the Sacramento valley that caused this look? Is it simply the jet stream of late fall?

Either way, as I got into the Jeep, I was humming a little Creedence Clearwater Revival.

“There’s a bad moon on the rise….”

(click for full size)

Photo by Karen Fayeth and Copyright 2011.

This morning I drove home to the Bay Area where creepy dappled clouds are replaced by solid gray dripping clouds.

Welcome to a cold, rainy weekend.


Think the cat will let me squeeze onto a corner of the heater vent?

Photo taken with my iPhone4s and the Camera+ app. Photo subject to the Creative Commons license found in the far right column of this page.

The Earth Has Turned


I suppose it’s time for me, a summer lovin’ sunshine dancin’ kind of a gal, to admit that it is, in fact, winter. Or at least very late Fall.

The weather has turned. It’s getting a bit colder.

And so I present the surest sign of winter. In the same way they yank a startled Punxsutawney Phil from his burrow, here is my own animal based divination tool:

A cat with her butt on the heater vent.

Not just any heater vent, the best vent in the house. It’s a cut out in the bathroom cabinets and the ten pound animal steals all the heat. While taking a shower on a rather cold damp morning, I might wish to enjoy the heat from that vent. That would be a no.

As soon as the heat kicks on, there she’ll be.

It starts out with a simple “oh hey, that’s not bad.” Just the back end getting toasty. It’s simple. Demure.

Once the tail region has achieved critical warmness, then a self-satisfied flop ensues.

I don’t even know what to say at this point. I’m almost offended. (and if I think about the physics of the thing….the warm air is headed straight up Broadway, right? Can that even be comfortable?)


Grace. Class. Dignity. None of those words can be used to describe my feline.

All photos Copyright 2011, Karen Fayeth and subject to the Creative Commons license found in the far right column of this page. Photos taken with my brand spankin’ new iPhone 4s and the Camera+ app.