Maltese March Madness

It’s been a strange year weather-wise at the Rancho. Lots of rain and colder than normal temperatures have encouraged Max and I to stay indoors far more than usual.

Little by little we can sense the arrival of Spring. Our Japanese winter camellias are finishing their blooms while the Australian tea tree has burst into blossoms.

Japanese camellias, large and petite (r).

Scads of hungry hummingbirds have taken over the feeders and there are constant, grand battles being fought by these fierce and hateful little creatures.

“If you hum a few bars, I can fake it.”

The lawn is thick and lush; the same can be said of me. The magnolia trees are just sitting there with a bazillion shiny leaves anxious to drop and litter the homestead while at Max’s favorite park the first cherry blossoms have made their appearance.

All over Southern California there are epic “super blooms” of the golden poppy, our State flower. One particular site attracted over 100,000 visitors last weekend causing an enormous traffic jam in the small Lake Elsinore community.

Things now growing in the garden. Clockwise: komatsuna, tea tree, some purple thing, a poppy.

You might say things are fecund. You might but I wouldn’t.

Great word, fecund. On the one hand, it sounds vaguely salacious but when I patted her on the butt, made pervy eyebrows and told the AJF that “things around here are looking rather fecund,” she thought that I was insulting her housekeeping.

I guess that people who learn English as a second language don’t trust native speakers when we slip an unfamiliar word into our discussions. On the other hand, this is the woman who announced loudly and in public that an acquaintance had died from a “brain hemorrhoid.”

Max taught me a new word – “sapiosexual.” I’ve since learned that this word is used frequently by the younger generations in online forums.

According to that bastion of knowledge, the Urban Dictionary, the word means “one who finds the content’s of someone else’s mind to be their most attractive attribute, above and before their physical characteristics.”

Max explained that since we so cruelly neutered him, he would forever be a sapiosexual dog and added that the fine little shih-tzu down the block had a beautiful mind.

I suggested that my leg must be a regular Einstein inasmuch as he tries to hump it with regularity.

“As a sapiosexual, I admire your mind. As a dog, I love your leg.”

Speaking of neutered, I’ve recently been assigned a raft of home projects by the AJF who thinks that I may be goofing off simply because she found me sitting with Max in my sweatpants watching basketball and quaffing a carbonated adult beverage at 2 in the afternoon.

(And how Max got in my sweatpants, I’ll never know.………..apologies to Groucho Marx.)

Bada bing, bada boom, tsss

Young daughter agrees with her Mother that a man at leisure is a man who needs to be assigned a task and is on a campaign to convince the AJF to volunteer me for all sorts of jobs at the Casa de Progeny.

I get little respect from the females around this place and the only fellow male – the dog – ignores the Bro Code and offers scarce respect, too.

I was going to dress up Max on St. Patrick’s Day. As a person of Irish descent (the AJF says I descended from the apes and I find no inconsistencies between our positions) I felt obligated to turn the little Furnugget into a leprechaun or at least but a green hat on him but, alas, the ennui of the gray, gloomy winter sucked out all my motivation.

Not Max. This photo was shamelessly stolen from

We did, however, go to Total Wines and More and purchase a fifth (that’s 750ml in socialist units) of Irish whisky. Come to Daddy!

Sure, I could have bought a Bushmills, a Jameson, a Paddy, Greenspot, Redbreast. or (if I was feeling flush) an aged Proper’s but…no. For giggles, the brand I chose was Hell Cat Maggie from the famed Cooley Distillery in Louth, Ireland.

Like kerosene but with more of a bite.

Hell Cat Maggie is named after an American criminal and early member of the Dead Rabbits, a nativist gang in New York during the mid-1800s.

She was a well-known personality in Manhattan and a noted fighter, “her teeth reportedly filed into points and her fingers adorned with long claw-like brass fingernails.”

Hell Cat Maggie drawing by FWCATA on Deviant Art.

As Wikipedia says, “Although there is little information on her life, she is one of the earliest female criminals of the “Gangs of New York.”

Well, how much more of an endorsement does one need? Suffice to say that the whisky was…interesting. As one web reviewer put it:

“Perfect medicine for a cold. Like a honey-lemon Ricola. Smooth with hints of rubbing alcohol. Finishes with a slight bitterness, fades quickly.

Conclusion: This whiskey is aptly named as it has all the aspects of a traditional Irish Whiskey but rougher around the edges. For the price it’s perhaps OK.”

Despite the effusive praise, I liked Hell Cat Maggie, mostly because it was so darn cheap. I wish I had video’d Max’s reaction when I held a snifter of HCM under his sensitive Maltese nose. I think he would have preferred a whiff of benzene.

I guess the whiff of Hell Cat Maggie was too much for the Malt.

So, anywhoo, that’s all Max and I have to report. We haven’t posted much because we haven’t done much of late. But Easter is coming soon and I suspect there will be dog costumes, rabbit shaped treats, egg eating Maltese and other shenanigans.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot to be said for uneventful times.

Slightly hungover.

35 replies

  1. I’m impressed by the flowers. We have all that — I just asked Julien to steer the mower around my one California poppy — but not in such abundance. It almost makes me miss California. But not quite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am continually astounded by how well everything grows in California. Coming from Hawaii people often comment that gardening there must be a breeze and it’s true that you can plant a broom handle and it will sprout. But the catch is that 100 bazillion hungry bugs and pests will destroy even the most diligently tended garden in the islands. Unless one is growing indigenous or previously long-established plants, Hawaii is a tough place for cultivation. California, on the other hand, is a paradise for plants provided there is adequate H2O. We’re looking forward to a great season and have already planned our crops which – surprise!! – feature 99% Japanese vegetables. I wonder how that happens?


      • Seeds, I need seeds. Sometimes I can find bok choy here, sometimes, for some reason, but that’s Chinese anyway, right? I brought tatsoi and mizuna seeds from California. Julien almost refused to plant them until I explained that they were something like mache. Oh, salad, okay. Then I think he weeded them out. You must have a 99 Ranch Market near you. I loved the one down the hill from us but even better was Tokyo Fish. We have great fish here, but San Jose tofu, fish sauce, nope, difficult or impossible to find. The next time I’m in Paris I’ll have to brave the wilds of the Tolbiac Chinatown or maybe the Japanese markets in the second. They tend to be short on produce, but surely they have seeds.

        Liked by 1 person

        • For years our source of seeds for Asian veggies has been Kitazawa Seed Company in Oakland. (510) 595-1188 They have a wonderful variety of seeds and they are very nice folks to deal with. They mail although I don’t know how tough that would be with respect to France agriculture/customs matters. Keep in mind an email list sent to Maxwell at can easily be filled and sent directly to your home address from nous. Just sayin’. Anyway I bet you are the only non-Japanese woman in France who knows what mizuna is. Now go ask the shopkeepers for some yomogi or komatsuna.


          • Kitazawa. That’s where the seeds at Tokyo Fish came from. Sniff. Funny, I don’t miss the house itself, just Spanish Kitchen and Tokyo Fish, down on dodgy San Pablo Avenue. Well, and 99 Ranch Market and Monterey Market. It was all about the food, I guess. That’s a nice offer, to send me a care package. Thanks. I ordered a few things from Baker Heirloom Seeds, which didn’t arrive, so it’s tempting. I think it might be better to have the seeds sent to a friend who will be flying over here in a couple of weeks, the better to avoid whoever snagged the previous batch. Maybe I’ll try the yomogi.


            • Flower story time since you like camellias. After World War 2, camellias were not popular in Japan. When the camellia flower is finished, the bloom droops and then the entire blossom falls face down to the ground. This is similar to what happens at a military execution when a prisoner is beheaded. Hence, camellias became associated with bad luck and were avoided. Over time that stigma disappeared and today the flower is again beloved except by the aged who remember. Trivia for your next garden club meeting.


              • Eew. I guess they don’t do beheadings any more. That’s good. I read that Gavin Newsom has completely halted executions in California, good news, though I haven’t heard of any flower associations either way. So you want me to be the crazy lady at the garden club, assuming there is one out here? Stories like that, told in broken French, would certainly do it. Thanks! I think.


  2. Hello MaxBuddy and I are so glad to hear from you. I sorry your winter has been so uneventful, the photo’s are just beautiful and you are so lucky 🍀 to live in a climate where it is so beautiful.The beginning of March we had to put buddy’s little kitty sister down, she was 17yrs.  So he has been feeling sad 😢 lately and he has the start of kidney disease. So he gets extra special treatment.Hang in their, things will be looking up soon.Buddy the Maltese & Master, Audrey

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Audrey and Buddy the Maltese! It’s great to hear from you; it’s been far too long and I’ve wondered how you’ve been. It looks like you took down your blog or maybe I have lost the links but please re-direct me so we can keep in better touch. So sorry to hear of Kitty’s passing. It’s true, as you say, that our animals bond with each other and not just with us so I can understand that Buddy is saddened by the loss of his family member. Extra scritches and treats to that fine Maltese! I guess it’s still mighty cold in your area so stay safe and warm and I hope you have a wonderful Spring!


  3. Max–it has been awhile. Glad you are keeping your dad in line…..somewhat. I know the lines get blurry (especially after he met Hell Cat Maggie), but you can only do so much.
    I have an Australian Tea Tree in my backyard–I love the bark…of the tree, not Max. 🙂 Looking forward to the Easter pictures of you and your dad in bunny ears.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I apologize for the Seinfeld-esque post (“a show about nothing”) but things really have been quiet. I’m not complaining. When things get exciting around here it almost always means more work for me. I know this is the calm before the storm as Tolerant Daughter’s roof has a leak, she wants outdoor low voltage lighting, her sliding glass doors need new wheels and on and on. Just call me “Free Labor.” Oh well, as long as they provide beer and good dinners I’m willing to do some work.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. And didn’t the shop stock that gem of Irish whiskeys, Powers Three Swallows, not to be desecrated by using it to make Dublin Dynamite…equal quantities of Irish whiskey and cider. You can use Hell Cat Maggie for that.
    If you are threatened by DIY jobs…described accurately by a friend as Do not Involve Yourself….then may I offer the services of The Men?
    They have recently installed a curtain rail….simple, you might think.
    My mistake, of course, I asked them to make sure that I could get the rail down and I have ended up with something that would serve to lower a drawbridge…
    One experience of that and Casa Progeny might change its mind.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Except for your predilection for Algerian Infuriator Red Wine, your palate for alcoholic beverages is superior to mine so it came as no surprise that you would cast aspersions on Hell Cat Maggie. Admittedly, as Irish whiskeys go, it’s simply vile. However it fulfills a purpose on my spirits shelf; namely, to serve to those who “get a little rammy” after a few drinks, as my sainted Irish grandmother would say. It’s also useful for de-icing car windows should I take a ski trip later this season. DIY – Do Not Involve Yourself – yes, that is the best interpretation I’ve heard and I’ll gladly adopt it, as soon as I finish my current, seemingly endless list of assigned tasks.It sounds as though your crew did a superb and manly job of installing an adjustable curtain rail. Remember the male credo: if it’s worth doing, it’s worth over-doing!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. OMD, I nearly peed laughing so hard at your Urban Dictionary definition and other ‘Tom-foolery.’ Yes, the AJF and offspring may be on to something (getting you occupied with a project) but I sure hope it involves more posts. I’m still laughing about the HCM review. There is something positive to be said about a cheap buzz. Cheers 🥃

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suspect that if you actually tried HCM you would have a less than positive review as in you would throw it with great force directly into the fireplace where there would be a huge flash and the image of Satan would appear. Or maybe I’m just overstating how pitiful that beverage really is. But, hey, it’s booze so there’s that. I am reminded one of my 7 year old grandspawn saying that Trader Joe’s at Xmas smelled like “Fireball” and being told by her mother that’s “cinnamon” while her Daddy rolled in the aisle. I guess it runs in the family.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Happy March Max! 🙂 Looks like Spring has sprung and sprang in your neck of the woods! Such beauty! 🙂 And you look handsome even when hung over or 4 paws to the ceiling! 😉 😛 Thank you for teaching me a few new words! Cooper and I look forward to hearing about your Easter Shenanigans! I know you will have a Hoppy Easter! 😀
    HUGS!!! from me!!!
    LICKS and SNIFFS from Coop!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy Spring you lucky dog, Max! We don’t have as many blooms here in the DMV as you do and the cherry blossoms only last until the last tourist drops them as they take their selfies. Still there’s reason for optimism, especially after reading of the effects of Hell Cat Mary’s bottles. Keep calm and chore on, my friend, at least until the weather allows you to sit under beautiful trees in a lawn chair with Mary (and hopefully AJF).

    Liked by 1 person

    • The AJF suggested we visit Washington and view the cherry blossoms. She’s never been to DC and had it in her mind that the blooms there would be like Japan. I’m familiar with the Washington cherry blossoms but thought it might be fun for her to see the nation’s capitol. Alas, the flight connections from the Rancho are miserable, Max screamed in protest at the prospect of an incarceration in dog jail and the better hotels wanted our first born son as a lodging fee. I could have lived with the hotels’ offer but the other two impediments were show stoppers.Happy Spring back at ya!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, it’s about dang time. First, I’m glad you’re thick and lush, like a drugstore mascara. If only the drug stores sold Hell-Cat Maggie instead of crappy Yellow Tail “wine,” I could be Irish-drunk maintenant. Oh, Walgreen’s… I also find fault with you for not festooning the furry sapiosexual in green, but I have hopes that you will indeed make good on future holidays, including Cinco de Mayo, which I feel sure that California does not overlook. As far as “fecund,” I liked using the term during the 12 years of marriage that I was trying to make more people, but as it happened, I could not, so now I curse those who are fecund and fertile. 😦 No, of course, I’m thrilled for them. Also, fecund seems awfully close to fetid, which feta is, and your cherry blossoms are not.


    • It’s true – you have to be very careful with adjectives these days. “Good morning, my dear, you’re looking especially thicc, lush and fecund today!” That would pretty much guarantee a visit to Human Resources. I think we also need to tread carefully with “ripe” and “succulent” although they are actually positive words at least when applied to tomatoes. Actually, I think all those words are on the descriptive text on the back of that Yellow Tail bottle.Yellow Tail


      • All good points. This reminds me that my father just told me that his neighbor’s special needs tween has been stealing his succulents out of the backyard. I’ll leave it at that.


  9. I am so envious of the fact that you get to feed hummingbirds in your garden! We have beautiful native birds and I love watching them from my kitchen window but we don’t have anything as stunning as hummingbirds. I’ve only ever seen one once, in Jamaica on my honeymoon. It was so close to my face and I just thought I was the luckiest girl ever. Love the garden pics too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They pretty but they have vile personalities. Hateful little creatures, actually. So territorial they’d rather starve than share a feeder. On the other hand, so brave they fear nothing and will happily land on ones hand if there’s an offer of sweet juice. None of them in Hawaii so we were happy to see them again when we returned to the continent.

      Liked by 1 person

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