I live in a zoo.  I guess ranch is more accurate, but it feels like a zoo.  Like a crazy zoo.  Like I’m the zoo keeper of a family of orangutans.  I can’t get control.  And it gets worse every year.  Allow me to explain.  We have a dog… who sneezed right as I snapped this picture.











two cats… we inherited from my mom.


a hamster… that was an 9 year old little girl’s birthday present.












thousands of cows… which constantly need to be fed.  Literally, they eat before we do.












Two 4-H pigs named Jerry and Henry.


and now this.


5 kittens and a mamma cat… that are incredibly difficult to take pictures of.


See, my over-achieving daughter decided she wanted to foster kittens from the Nevada Humane Society.  She went to her first introduction get-together and while she was there, I was busily preparing for the 6:30 newscast. I got a call at about 6:22.  Here’s how the conversation went.  “Mom, they have 6 cats I can bring home tonight.”  “What?  I’m reading scripts and putting on mascara and trying to talk to you.  You said they have hats for you?” “No cats.” “Well ok, fine, I’m sure we can find people to hand out these hats to.  Bring them home.  No problem.”  “Um, ok mom, I’m doing it.  I’m bring home the cats.”  “Ya ya, sure, ok sweetie, love you, my mascara is going all over my face because I’m holding the phone with my cheek.  Love you see you tonight.”

DAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMIIIIIIIIIIITTTTT!  Not one hat did she bring home!  But instead 6 CATS!  So our zoo now has 5 two week old kittens and their mamma.  We are fostering them until they weigh 2 pounds.  Ok, these babies weigh 12 OUNCES!  We will have them for weeks!  This is a perfect lesson for me to stop multi-tasking.  Next thing I know, Eva will be calling me asking for the “keys” and I’ll say “no problem” thinking she wants “peas” for dinner!







4-H Lambs

 I’ve been hearing for the past 9 years how when “Our kids are old enough, Wendy, they are going to be involved in 4-H!” And my San Francisco self would reply, “Great.  What the hell is 4-H?”










Well, I found out this past weekend. We all climbed into Darrin’s truck with two dog kennels loaded in the back. We pulled onto Timothy Lane. Ok side note, moving onto Timothy Lane is now on my bucket list. This street is located in the rural section of Reno called Windy Hill. It’s lined with white horse fences you think of when someone says “Kentucky.” All the homes are on acres of land and off to the left, behind The Skagen Horse Training Center, sits a beautifully manicured ranch that talks. Literally, with the windows down, you can hear the land talking. That’s because dozens of sheep are grazing the pastures.  Baaaaa’ing at passers by.  And two of them were coming home with us on this day.

Eva and Domi are in the Leg of Lamb, Side of Beef, Slab of Bacon club (again, my San Francisco self is saying they do know there are yacht clubs in this world right???).  Today they are picking out the lambs they will raise for 20130130-075621.jpg3 months. 


They entered a small corral with about 17 lambs jetting back and forth trying desperately to avoid them. They had to pick their favorite.  So how  exactly do you pick a lamb?  4-H leaders have taught them to judge a sheep four ways.  Their backs should be straight.  You want the biggest distance between the last rib and the hip bones because that’s where the loin is.  Their backsides (I wanted to say asses but I was afraid you would all think we were now talking about donkeys) need to form a triangle.  And their legs should be straight.  Apparently bowleggedness runs rampant in lambs! 





Domi picked number 13.   Eva selected  number 17. 











Darrin then got the fun job of carrying them to the awaiting dog crates and hauling them home.  Hey!  I would have helped but I was the photographer at this rodeo!!




4-H is all about teaching kids where their food comes from… among so many other things.  They will show the lambs at the Nevada State Junior Livestock Show and sell to the highest bidder. I’m already worried about that day in May!







But for now, it’s all about having 2 lambs that will completely depend on Eva and Domi for everything. As we shut the barn door on them that night, Domi whispered in my ear, “Mom, I FINALLY have responsibility!!!”   Well HELL!!   Is that what it takes for kids now a days to realize they have responsibilities?? 2 4-H lambs??? Good luck with that everyone! 














I came home tonight to two glaring headlights flying across the field in front of our house. This usually isn’t a good thing. It means Darrin is on the quad. And that means a cow is sick or a bull got loose or a beaver dammed up the creek and flooded our road. Either way, I’m coming home to a grumpy husband and a late dinner. But tonight was different.






Tonight there were two flashing headlamps about 20 yards behind the quad. Aaaahhhhh!!!! Sledding season at the Damontes!










The field that surrounds our house has been laser leveled so there’s 50 sections that are perfectly level.  Each section is divided by burms called checks.  In the sumertime these checks keep the water flowing within that section.  But in the wintertime that watering system means sweet jumps on a sled! Even when there’s just a dusting of snow the kids beg to go quad sledding. Finally, Reno got dumped on enough the new non chloric silicon base kitchen lubricant was brought out (I assume you’ve all watched Christmas Vacation as many times as we have this past week!!)  They had a BLAST! It still meant a late dinner but every family member was happy. Well, all but one. Donner was running along side the sled and Darrin forgot to put her snow boots on. Ha! Just kidding! She doesn’t have snow boots!! So when she came inside she was a covered mess of snow dingleberries. And there is only one way to get those off.
















So I dragged her to the shower and melted them off with hot water. Needless to say, everyone will be sleeping soundly at the Damonte household tonight… Including me. While they all played in the snow, I enjoyed a quiet glass of wine to myself.


 (personal note:   I would like to personally thank all of you for your amazing messages and prayers following my mom’s story.  And most importantly, I would like to thank those of you who took action and made an appointment for a mammogram or linked my mom’s story onto your Facebook pages and emails.  My mom and I truly believe the more people who see it, the more lives will be saved.  If you haven’t seen it, here’s my mom’s story.)






“keep your mouth shut. Keep your Mouth shut. KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUUUUUUT” That was my mental affirmation as I entered Petsmart with my daughter, Eva, petsmart shoppingand her 9th birthday entourage. We were at the pet store for her to pick out a new pet. Apparently, a Barbie doll wasn’t going to cut it at age 9. The plan was for Eva and her friends to pick out the perfect pet and I didn’t get a say. Well, if I was a dog, my ears would have perked up as we entered the fish isle. This was my department. Fish don’t pee on the carpet. They don’t get their food all over the floor. And they don’t scratch the door just because I’m too slow at letting them in. FISH ARE THE PERFECT PETS! As I was about to point out a beautiful, flowy blue20121030-070753.jpg one, I saw Eva jet past me toward the reptile section. And her eyes stopped at the turtles. They became wide with enthusiasm. As if, “Mom, I have found my pet!!!” were about to come flying off her lips. My mind went instantly back to a conversation I had with a friend who said, “no matter what you do, don’t let her get a turtle. They live for 40 years!” So in 40 years, Eva will have gone off to college, traveled the world, married the love of her life and given birth to children all her own… and I will still be taking care of the damn turtle she got for her 9th birthday. NO…THANK…YOU!!! So when she headed to the hamster world, I was more than relieved. She considered a few of the normal $4.99 ones but ended up with a Fancy Russian hamster at $12.99. I figured the extra expense of a “fancy” hamster outweighed the future costs of a turtle that just might out live me. So off we went with a hamster, hamseter hamlet, alpine shavings and hamster food. Since the introduction of Baby Bella, we now live in a house where the number of pets equal the number of humans. So why do I feel so outnumbered???










Never, EVER, will I be alone again as long as this cat is alive.






Which is weird because I ALREADY HAVE A SHADOW!