Thursday, December 30, 2010



(“Dammit, Kris, I’m an actor, not a writer!”)

(written in 1995)

My first meeting with Kris Smith was on a beautiful, clear, crisp spring day in May, 1968. I was serving as Grand Marshall of the Wenatchee Apple Blossom Festival. My wife, Carolyn, and I were riding in an open convertible. The streets were lined with people.

Suddenly I noticed the shining face of a teenager running alongside our slow-moving car waving a sign which proclaimed, “We Love DeForest Kelley.” We managed to make some hurried dialogue with her as our driver kept pace with the other parade vehicles.

Sometime later I received a letter from Kris, along with an essay describing her experience meeting us on that festive occasion. I was so impressed with her writing ability that I sent the essay to a national motion picture magazine—and they wanted to publish it. I wrote to inform her of this, and to express our hope that it might lead to something interesting for her future.

At a later date we learned that Kris has always had a great love for animals (a devotion we share) and we were delighted to find that she has put her talent to use to benefit animal welfare in various national publications. Today, while pursuing her goal to become a screenwriter in Hollywood, she continues her dedication to animals at Shambala, Tippi Hedren’s wildlife preserve near Acton, California, the facility which provided her gorgeous “serval son,” Deaken, a much-needed place to stay during the lengthy transition from Washington State to California.

Carolyn and I have been privileged to meet Deaken, both at
Shambala and at home in North Hollywood. Deaken must have known that “Mom-Cat”Kris approves of us, for he immediately greeted us with enthusiastic head rubs and licks, which Kris says she had never seen him do before to anyone but herself.

I refer to Kris as “the best Mom-Cat I know” for she has a touch of magic with animals,wild and domestic. She is deeply concerned about their welfare in the wild and in captivity, and about our own environment and welfare on this planet.

As you will see within these pages, Kris possesses a real talent for expressing her feelings regarding matters that tug at so many concerned hearts.

But make no mistake about it: Kris has a “wild” sense of humor, as well. She is known among some of us as “Krazy Kris.” She’s crazy, all right—crazy like a fox.

Hodgepodge PIx... Wild (and Not-so-Wild) Animals I Have Known...

 Deaken @ 3-4 Weeks of Age... awwwwwwww!!!
(before his ears stood up and his color changed!)

 Darwin (aka Doc),  a dear friend of mine...

 Deaken and a Best Buddy, Rowdy Catboy

 Deaken Close-Up
(Oh, how I long to kiss that sweet, sweet face again!)
(Someday I shall... when I cross Rainbow Bridge!)

 Popcorn (Poppy), photo by Mrs. DeForest Kelley
 Archie, age 13

Ashley, age 13

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh, My Aching...EVERYTHING!!!

(FYI: What looks like dried mud on Laverne's coat is her "winter underwear." I didn't groom her before taking these photos. It's a lighter-color undercoat.)

I had five (count 'em...FIVE) yards of crushed rock delivered to my back yard yesterday. It's for the goat pen.

I spent an hour and a half yesterday pushing it into the pen via wheebarrow (a distance of about 35-40 feet one way); then I spent two hours this morning doing the same. The chore also included "mucking out" the parts of the pen where I had strewn straw to keep their hooves clean and dry until I could get the additional six inches of crushed rock in... so there were about 10-12 wheelbarrows filled with that sodden mess in addition to 40 or 50 barrows of crushed rock during my two solo adventures as a Goat Protector and Defender. 

Not long after I took off my "goat clothes" for the day, the four grandnieces (ages, 12, 10, 8 and 6) came over, so I asked (tongue in cheek) if they would like to help me shovel crushed rock into the wheelbarrow "for the goats" (whom they love and whom we had just walked). Much to my surprise, not one, not two, not three, but all four said "YES!"  Oh, my...

I was bushed, BUT I figured they'd last (if I was lucky) 20 minutes and I knew I'd be glad for whatever help they could give, so I gave them all buckets or shovels and had them fill the wheelbarrow (twenty shovels per barrel). I figured I could handle another 20 minutes of work without croaking...

Wellllll... to make a long story very short...  they loved the task. Adored the task. Did not want to quit. They didn't get tired. So, once again, I pushed crushed gravel for yet another hour and 15 minutes...  maybe more...until my pusher was bushed and I had to call a halt.

Tonight I feel like I've been hit by a Mack Truck and then run over by a military tank.  I need a chair to help me get up from the couch...

But the good news is that Laverne and Shirley are high and dry tonight. HALLELUJAH!!!

The girls and I didn't get it ALL done to a depth of 6" but, between yesterday and today, we got 80% of it put down to that depth.  (The girls and I did about 20% of it today.) Tomorrow (IF I'm ambulatory; I recover pretty quickly for an old broad), I'll probably  put in the balance.

The entire floor of the outdoor portion of the pen has some new gravel in it; the last 15-20% only has a sprinkling of rock, though... perhaps a half inch...just enough to salve my conscience and make me feel like Wonder Woman Mom-goat.  I wanted us to get that far before I called it quits so the goats wouldn't have ANY wet or sodden areas beneath their hooves since I had taken out all of the straw prior to putting down the rock.

It's supposed to get real cold tonight. It may snow. Knowing the goats have crushed gravel down and an indoor area to bed down on clean, dry, warm straw makes me feel a lot better...well, except for my body, that is.  IT wants to know what the hell I was thinking, to go from a deskbound writer to an earth mover with so little advance notice... What can I say?  From the moment the rock got delivered, it began calling my name and giving me the guilts: "Hey, Mom-Goat... what are you doing leaving us lying here in your driveway when your precious goats are less-than-perfect conditions? If they had a phone, they would call the Humane Society on you..."   (And the Humane Society would laugh their arses off when they responded and found two very happy goats HARDLY in any immediate danger of ANYTHING other than being spoiled half to death.) (Guilt doesn't have to make SENSE, you know.  All it has to do is suggest a minor, puny anomaly, and all hell breaks loose trying to convince me I am a lousy Mom-goat!!!)

I expect to lose ten pounds this week. If I don't, it won't be for lack of enough exercise... that's for sure!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

WOO HOO! One of the BEST Reviews Yet of LET NO DAY DAWN....

"Literary Value

"I see other reviews here [at Amazon] that talk about the poet's obvious love for and experience with animals, and these come through profoundly in her writing. But I want to comment on the book's literary value. If you have high standards for poetry, you'll be delighted with what you find here. This isn't just cheap verse - it's quality stuff, with original imagery and compelling insights that make you look at animals in a fresh new way. I'm a former English teacher and expected this book to be a disappointment - another amateur's attempt at poetry writing. But I was more than pleasantly surprised. This book has taken up permanent residence on my 'favorite'" bookshelf."

Jessi Hoffman

Thank you, Jessi!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


On this joyous sacred morning, before the grandnieces and their parents and grandparents call me over for the opening of presents and the partaking of a very special breakfast, I want to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year...

May God richly bless you today and in all the days to come...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Here are a Few of the Best Ones -- Let Me Know if You Want More!


Click on the images to see larger...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pictures to ... FA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA... LOW

It's official: I have lost my mind. You'll have rock-solid proof in a day or two, but trust me on this, okay?

Here's how I know I'm losing my grip on sanity...

I went to the Dollar Store yesterday to get some jingle bells for Laverne's and Shirley's collars so that when we walk for the next week or so, they'll sound Christmas-y. I thought it would be a nice touch. You see, the neighbors love the goats and like to know when they're nearby so they can come out and see or pet them, so I thought jingle bells this time of year would do the trick. (Some have "Christmas presents" for the goats -- apples, grapes, yummies like that...)


When I got inside the Dollar Store, I noticed a special sale: two faux felt antlers (for humans) for $1 with tiny, tiny bells on them. Thought I to myself (redundant, I know), "I wonder if the girls would consider putting up with an extra set of 'horns' for a few days... so I can pass them off as 'reindeer'?"


So I bought them, thinking, "No way... but it can't hurt to try.... and they're just a buck."

I brought the goats' "holiday costumes" home and carried them out to their shed. They don't mind the bells at all, so I'm home free on that idea.

Shirley doesn't mind the fake antlers -- she doesn't even seem to notice she has a "headset" on. (With the horn-filled cranium goats have, this makes sense.)

But Laverne  hasn't let me put the antlers on her yet.  She's happy with the bells on her collar but fake antlers... not so much.  She just won't stand still long enough for me to put them on her.

Shirley is a much more sedate goat. She probably considers me semi-sane and lets me get away with craziness like this.

Not so with the redhead; she has my number. She recognizes craziness when she sees it, because she's crazy, too.  We're kindred spirits, Laverne and I. I feel the same way about wearing fake antlers; it's fine if others want to wear them, but they're just not my style. Laverne and I prefer fools' caps...

I'm going to try again tomorrow and Christmas Day with Laverne. If I have success with both of them, I'll have Jackie take a photo of the the three of us together; I'll be the antler-less one... you know, the Mom-goat. If I only have success with Shirley, antler-wise, I'll document that, too.

So stay tuned.  At some point either this entry will get updated with a photo or two, or a subsequent blog entry will...

Because face it... you gotta see this!  It's... cute... or crazy... or whatever you choose to call it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Been a Busy Girl!

I hope your holiday season is shaping up to be warm and wonderful and in the presence of those you love most in all the world. That's my Christmas wish for each and every one of you.

I've been busy working on Elance projects but have a break at the moment, so thought I'd drop by to share a few thoughts... if I can find any to share!

This past weekend my sister Jackie hosted Childrens' Winterfest here in Tacoma, WA on the PLU campus. Every year for the past 20 years PLU (Pacific Lutheran University) has hosted up to 400 families who otherwise would have no Christmas because of extreme poverty. I volunteered for the event last year and this year.  I helped set up for it, tear it down afterward, and I was one of the story readers for it (there were three others).

We four story readers took turns reading because we were in a noisy auditorium where a lot of other things were going on -- kids meeting Santa, eating cookies, getting their faces painted, picking out books to take home, finding gifts to give to their parents, choosing stuffed animals, making cards for their loved ones, picking up socks and scarves and knitted hats, etc.-- and it didn't take long for our voices to wear out in surroundings like that.  We needed story readers because after the kids made the rounds in the auditorium, some of their parents (in other areas of the building) hadn't yet finished choosing presents for the kids we were entertaining, so we needed to find ways to keep the wee ones occupied while parents completed their shopping. 

Everything at the event was free.  It was a heartwarming day and the parents and kids were super appreciative that they would be able to have some semblance of a Christmas this year.

I've been walking goats whenever the weather permits. Casey, Jamie and I wrangled them this weekend so I could trim their hooves again.  I would lay the goats on their sides, Casey would hold them down, and Jamie would feed them grain so that holding them down would be possible.  I need to invest in a goat "cradle."  They're getting too big to manhandle this way, and since they both have horns, it's only a matter of time before someone will get hurt(by accident) if we continue to try to trim their hoofs this way.  A goat cradle (or whatever you call it) allows a handler to place them into it; as soon as they're in it, they relax. Their feet are sticking out at an angle where I can get at them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


What I want to see is the DEMS/Obama go back to the bargaining table and say, "I want everything you've mentioned in this deal AND I want you to end the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest... you know it's the right thing to do... and if you're a Christian as you profess to be, you know that 'whatever you do to the least of these' (the most unfortunate and beleaguered people in society) you are doing to Jesus."

It's a travesty that these right-wing GOP standard bearers can claim undefiled Christianity and then behave this way. It's a bad deal. It's a good deal IF the GOP will drop the insistence on tax breaks for the wealthy. They already have the freakin' Citizens United ruling that turned corporations into people with NO contribution limits (while people like me are held to $2400). Now they want moRe tax breaks so they can throw more money at defeating Obama/Biden in 2012. It's B.S.

I know what the Prez has tried to do... I honor that... but it's still a miscarriage of justice. I'm with Jim Wallis of Sojourners on this one.