RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


Fabulous Felines – #137 – celebration of the life of P-22

Students from the Esperanza elementary school in Los Angeles honor the mountain lion P-22 on 4 February. Photograph: Scott Mitchell/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock


I streamed the touching tribute to LA’s most famous mountain lion as it was held live at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park (his home for over ten years) to a sellout crowd of 6,000 people. His fame brought attention to the plight of all cougars and other wildlife roaming the dangerous built environment in Southern California. Partly because of him the $90 million Wallis Annenberg wildlife crossing is already under construction over a 10-lane stretch of the 101 freeway in Agoura Hills. Ms. Annenberg spoke at the memorial.


Fabulous Felines – #136 – RIP P-80

Although P-22 was probably our most famous Southern California cougar, there are many others roaming the region. Unfortunately, the kill rate for these magnificent creatures is quite high, mostly by encountering vehicles on the road. P-80 was killed on on January 22, 2023, along Pacific Coast Highway, a treacherous stretch of road for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians of the human kind, let alone our four-legged population. This was about a month after the death of P-22.

“The cougar [P-80] had been tracked by National Park Service scientists as part of a long-term study. He was noted for his physical abnormalities: a kinked tail and only one descended testicle, according to the park service.

“Biologists said the traits were signs of low genetic diversity, or inbreeding, in the area, and the discovery “underscores the need for measures to better support this population,” wildlife biologist Jeff Sickich said in 2020.”

Read the full story at https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/29/us/california-mountain-lion-dead-p81-car/index.html


Fabulous Felines – #135 – Cat TV

Freddie has discovered Cat TV! He enjoys watching bird videos but he goes crazy over squirrels and mice. He sees squirrels on the trees outside the living room window. But I doubt he’s ever seen a real live mouse in his life.

I tried fish videos but he has no interest whatsoever. He likes the jerky, quick movements of birds, squirrels and mice. Fish move too slowly and smoothly for his taste.

I’ve created a monster as he now runs into the living room and sits in front of the TV first thing in the morning waiting for me to turn it on. He doesn’t even bother to go into the kitchen for breakfast like he used to. Maybe he’ll lose some weight by feeding his brain instead of his tummy! And now he is an “only” cat he sleeps a lot. But who can sleep with rodents running across the screen?

When I’m working in my office he likes to sit on my keyboard or curl up in my lap. But as I also have a TV in my office, instead of bothering me, now he sits on top of the printer for a good view of his videos. So it’s working out for both of us!


Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden – My Impressions

The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden was created by Kinzuchi Fujii between 1935 – 1940 for Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns. Fujii (1875 – 1957) designed and built Japanese landscapes across Southern California in the first half of the 20th century. The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden (located in Pasadena, California) is his only remaining garden. It is also the only intact example of a major Japanese-style garden created before World War II for a residence in Southern California.

This pond-style stroll garden features a fifteen-foot waterfall and a formal teahouse on approximately two acres of land. The garden is considered by many to be a masterwork and it demonstrates the adaptability of Japanese culture in modern America. Under the direction of Dr. Takeo Uesugi, landscape architect, professor emeritus at Cal Poly Pomona and a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden was faithfully restored from 2007 – 2013.

Photography copyright roslyn m wilkins


Fabulous Felines – #134 – LA’s famous P-22 Mountain Lion Euthanized

This is the link to a story about P-22 that explains everything better than I can. He was beloved by everyone (except the hit and run driver who finished him off) and I shed a tear to hear of his demise.

Mountain Lion P-22, The ‘Hollywood Cat,’ Is Euthanized | Culver City, CA Patch


Day trip to San Clemente

The first thing I think about when I hear the name San Clemente is “The Western White House.” But that was during Richard Nixon’s presidency which dates me–and by the way, his sprawling beachfront estate was on the market for $65 million last year. I don’t know if it sold. San Clemente is a city in Orange County, California with a population of 64,000, less than 75 miles (120 km) from my home in Culver City.

I met friends at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to hop on the Amtrak train for the journey to the San Clemente Pier. Our first order of business was to eat lunch–always the most important element of any adventure for me. Breakfast or dinner are also acceptable.

We sat at the end table on the corner overhanging the ocean–like being on a cruise ship!

View of the coastline looking south towards San Diego

I liked the contrast of the red umbrellas against the blue sky and ocean

This bird was getting impatient: “Where’s my take-out order?”

Are we in Fiji or Southern California?

Some nice cloud formations that day to make an interesting background for the palm trees

When I arrived home that evening I felt like I’d been on a week’s vacation. Always good to get out of town even if it’s for a few hours.


Quick catch up

Last year (2021) I earned three certificates in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and a certificate in editing.

This year I enrolled in an intense proofreading course that I need to finish up. I’ll have to dedicate a month to doing nothing else but that.

Late March or early April I started writing the novel I’ve been threatening to write for decades. My friends were all sick of hearing about my dozens of sci-fi and fantasy short stories that I needed to edit. One of those friends suggested that instead of remaining stuck with those stories and not able to move on, I should pick a completely different genre and write a novel.

So I did.

I started out intending to write a romance. Well, 85,000 words later it is a romance. But there’s a lot more to it. Even a juicy murder mystery. Then came the hard part: re-writing and editing. Gaaahhhh. I was about one third of the way through when the clamoring of my characters was too much to take. They were making so much noise I couldn’t concentrate. They all wanted to continue their stories. But the book is done, I kept telling them. No, we still have a lot to say, they answered.

What could I do? So now I’m about 19,000 words into Book Two–a lot harder than the first one, I must say. One evening I was minding my own business watching TV and swilling down a couple of glasses of wine when those pesky characters screamed at me: there’s a third book! What? The arc of the entire story stabbed me in the brain. It hurt! But I couldn’t ignore it. I now have a trilogy on my hands. And gradually–very gradually–my dear characters are filling in the story.

I watch quite a few interviews with authors on YouTube about how as a writer you are supposed to be sitting at your computer eight hours a day or writing at least 2,000 words a day–but that’s not me. I enjoy too many other activities. And I’m still passionate about photography which takes up a lot of time. I was also told that I should be spending my time getting my first novel ready for publication before dealing with book two and three. But that’s not how I work.

Apparently there are two kinds of writers: pantsers and plotters. I am definitely the former. I write by the seat of my pants. My characters inform my story. Every day is an adventure. Outlines, plots–what do they have to do with anything? So if I publish my first book and the characters change the story in book two or three, then what would I do? So I have to write all three novels. All my life, I’ve always had to do things MY WAY!!!! So this is going to be a long, long process.

I joined the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society back in March and attended an in-person meeting. Next I attended an in-person three-day conference in August. Fortunately it was held in Culver City so I was able to bus/walk to it. In October there was an online week-long conference. At the end my head was spinning–so much information. Having started out with absolutely no knowledge of the publishing industry, now I think–I hope–I have a pretty good idea of all that is involved. I always imagined myself sitting up in my high tower spewing out my novel and publishers would be crawling all over me to get first dibs. Ahem, not quite! I still dream of Amazon Studios (just around the corner from me, as it happens) picking up the rights to my trilogy for a three-year series. Nothing wrong with dreaming. But if that happens, it will only be because of a LOT of hard work on my part.

I still want to use my English teaching skills to help foreign speakers. In fact, the protagonist in my novel–my fictional self–has her own freelance business teaching ESL, and she loves it. I intend to make it happen.

Now I’m going out for a walk. Hopefully, I can upload a few photos from my 2022 adventures when I get back. Until then…


Fabulous Felines: the very sad day

One of the last photos I took of Frankie the evening I arrived home from a trip November 5, 2021.

It is with a very heavy heart I have to announce the passing of my dear little Frankie.

He fell out of bed in the wee hours of Friday morning, December 10. He couldn’t get up off the floor. He had been somewhat poorly but nothing serious. I had an appointment scheduled at the vet for Monday but I realized he wouldn’t make it.

When the vet showed me the report of his tests, everything was in red. She said his heart was strong but nothing else was working. She said this is pretty typical of an older cat. Older cat? He was only eight. She explained to me that he was fifteen years old if he was a day. She said the shelters are dealing with hundreds of cats coming in and they don’t have the time or resources to make a thorough analysis of their ages. They go by size and weight… and Frankie was a small cat so they guessed he was six months to a year old.

Wow! Looking back that explains a LOT of things that I won’t go into here. He plumped out from the skinny cat he was in the beginning but he never really grew from end to end.

I didn’t know when I first adopted him that he was taken to the shelter at death’s door. He was suffering from severe malnutrition. It took them a month to nurse him back to health and get him into adoptable shape. So his fate was probably already set.

And along came me! I went back to the shelter three times before making the final decision to adopt him… and I still wasn’t sure. I called him Ratface! The lady assured me I could bring him back if he didn’t work out within 30 days… as if…

I do not regret adopting him. He had a really good life from the minute he set foot in our house. Freddie welcomed him warmly.

He had the softest, silkiest fur of any cat I ever met.

As the years went by he was a devil and an angel… but always entertaining… and he will be greatly missed. Freddie is an only cat now and that’s how it will stay. I’ve had cats almost all my life. When Freddie has gone (hopefully not for a good many years as I know he certainly IS eight years old!)… no more pets for me. I’m done.

Have fun over the Rainbow Bridge Frankie, you little rascal!

Appreciating the shoe box, July 2021.