Thursday, March 31, 2016

The A-Z Challenge


Tomorrow, April 1st, is the first day of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge. This is my first year as a participant. April is also National Poetry Month. Each day in April, I will post a poem for the letter of the alphabet of that day, according to the challenge. Sundays will be a free day for the challenge, with no A-Z posting.

This month, I look forward to sharing poems that have meant something to me. My deep connection to poetry began in eighth grade. Mrs. Turner, my English teacher, assigned a poetry project for one term. We were to collect at least twenty-five poems. We could write some of them, but not all. I compiled fifty poems into an elaborate binder; ten poems were my own. 

It was then that I fell in love with Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks. I also became acquainted with Robert Frost and others. I realized that I already loved the poetry of Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, and other children’s poets. I had always loved poetry and words. These poets wrote their feelings and thoughts, but I realized that they also said what I felt.

As a kid from a difficult childhood, this was very empowering for me. I learned I could write my own words, feelings, and observations. Perhaps I could somehow be the voice for others, too. I could connect to others in a meaningful way.

Words are powerful tools, conveying the full spectrum of feelings, experiences, and observations. They carry us through life, connecting us to the world. I hope that you will enjoy the poems that I share with you. I hope they will speak to you in some way. Perhaps you will be inspired to read a poetry book or to even write a poem. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Morning Has Broken


Morning Has Broken
(Cat Stevens)

Christ has risen as He promised.
~Luke 24:6~

Wishing everyone a blessed Easter!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Haiku #328


Time goes full circle,
a renewal born of faith. 
Life, its own reward.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Pets


  
Every year hundreds of baby bunnies, chicks and ducklings are bought as  Easter gifts. While much thought is put into the “surprise” factor, little is put into the long term care and commitment. Consequently, the animals will suffer abuse or neglect. Many will be released into the wild, ultimately facing death.

It has been reported by the U.S. Humane Society that “within the initial weeks following Easter, 30% of these novelty Easter pets will die. Another 60-70% will be released or left at a shelter.” Most of those released or left at shelters are already ill or suffering.

Every Spring, shelters are inundated with bunnies, chicks, and ducklings that are dumped once the fun of the holiday is over. Little or no thought was put into their growth or care. They were purchased solely for human enjoyment, into homes not equipped for their needs.

Before purchasing any pet, do your research. Ask the right authority, go to the proper source. Read, go online, learn about the animal’s needs, proper care, and expected lifespan. See what is involved to keep the animal healthy. Know what the possible pitfalls are with the particular pet you are considering, such as the fact that chicks and ducklings are known to carry salmonella.

Following are some facts and links provided by the Humane Society of the United States. Please read, consider, and take this to heart. These are real live beings with beating hearts.

RABBITS: Average lifespan: 7-10 years
Facts:
Rabbits may not do well in a household with young children. They often do not like being lifted or held.
Rabbits like to dig and need to chew.
If you get multiple rabbits they should be spayed and neutered as soon as possible.
Multiple rabbits will often fight.
Weekly expenses can be in excess of $25.00 for food alone, per rabbit.
Research Sources:
www.rabbit.org

DUCKS: Average lifespan: 8-15 years
Facts:
Ducks are very social animals, and do better kept in groups (a “paddling” or “brace” of ducks).
Ducks need a lot of space and a shelter to keep them safe.
Ducklings will need to be kept in an indoor pen/cage for the several weeks.
Research Sources:
http://keeping-ducks.net

CHICKENS: Average lifespan: 5-8 years
Facts:
Chickens naturally scratch, peck, and dig. If housing is inadequate, they will cause damage. 
Many towns and cities have regulations concerning chickens, regarding them “livestock”.
Health and zoning boards should be consulted.
Chickens are noisy, but roosters are especially noisy!
Research Sources:
http://www.backyardchickens.com


I have posted this in the past; it is very important. 
Please read and share this information with others. 
Little lives depend on it...and you.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Early Bird




This photo was taken early one morning by Bill 
while he waited (not alone) in a truck "yard" .

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What’s New?

Let’s go have coffee with Ms RoryBore, of Ink Interrupted. She always has good coffee and conversation. The Coffee Chat topic this week is: What’s new with You?”

Usually, when I am asked that, I have to scrounge for answers. Either it is things that no one really wants to know, or it is…nothing. As Granny used to say, “Sometimes, no news is good news”. Granny was a wise old woman. Often, things are very routine, even predictable, not that there’s anything wrong with that. I am a person who truly values sameness. I firmly believe that sameness offers security.

Lately, however, things have been changing. We do think these things will be good ones. Well, that is the plan. These changes have all been carefully orchestrated. Yeah, I know, it is always a gamble. But, hope springs eternal, as it is meant to.


Speaking of that, Spring is new. We have been cleaning up the yard and uncovering flower beds, as the new plants sprout up and out of the ground. Picking up branches is almost a daily chore, too. The neighbor’s Birch trees are continuously shedding branches. Bill has also been pruning and trimming bushes, trees, and the old Rose of Sharon. He mulches all of the branches and twigs, and then uses the mulch in the gardens. He was blessed with a very green thumb. I only assist, because I was cursed with a very brown thumb. I am excellent with critters, plants, not so much.


Spring also brought a new job direction for Bill. He is still an over-the-road (long haul) trucker. However, now he drives a dedicated route, which he runs at night. He is gone for a night or two at a time, and home on weekends. He has new routes, new customers, even new equipment. This really is a major change for all of us, though. We all have new schedules, that allow us to get back to a more normal life. Thankfully, we will even be able to spend holidays together!

~Kenzie, in her new favourite spot~

Kenzie is our new family member. She is Stella’s dog-sister, though the cats are very agreeable, too. Our furkids are all very well socialized and loving. Much to her surprise, Kenzie is now getting lots of loving, too. This is all new for Kenzie. We suspect she had a very serious, sedentary, rigid life. She is getting used to a new, active lifestyle, filled with lively cats, a playful dog, busy people, and a new big yard to actually run around in. Kenzie is quite overweight, so her new diet and playtime will lead to a new, healthier self! 


I have a new challenge, too. I will be participating in the Blogging A-Z Challenge this year. I have not done this before though I always considered it. I feared that I would not be able to keep up. This April, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I will post a poem each day. The title (or subtitle) of the poem will contain the letter of that day, with Sundays an off-day. The poetry that I post will be a variety of poems: some classic, some contemporary, some well-known, some little-known. Many of these poems have been part of my literary inspiration, going all the way back to grade school. Other poems were written by me.

I am always writing and reading. My plan is to get back to a routine in blogging. I want to post more frequently, including poetry, stories, memes, and book reviews. Hopefully, the new schedule will lead to a new-and-improved writing routine. Again, hope springs eternal. I believe! 

So, what’s new with you?



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Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Big Reveal

Kenzie

Stella has wished for a dog-sister for quite some time. With her recent birthday, on March 8th, her wish came true. Stella got Kenzie! 

We stay in touch with the Sheltie rescue group that we adopted Stella from. When we saw and read about nine-year-old Kenzie, we felt she was the one. The timing is right for us, and we feel that we can help Kenzie, too. 

Whenever you introduce a new pet, among other things, there are personalities and feelings to consider. We are always careful with this situation, taking necessary precautions. However, we firmly believe that if you are calm and confident, animals will be, too. We wanted Stella to be a part of the adoption. She approved of Kenzie, as we knew she would. We just hoped when we got home, that the cats would agree. 

Chloe Jo led the welcoming committee, as always. She loves everyone, including (or especially) dogs. Maggie quickly agreed with Chloe Jo: the new dog is fine. George was not sure what to think, which is a normal nine-month-old kitten reaction. Within the hour, he began trying to initiate play, though. Grizelda took a bit longer to convince, but by bedtime, she accepted Kenzie, too. Kenzie just quietly took it all in.

The weekend has been all about coming together as a family. We all welcomed Kenzie with love and reassurance. I am sure it is difficult for Kenzie to find herself starting over at nine-years-old. Now having small children, the only home she ever knew no longer wanted her there. She is very insecure and quite overweight, though otherwise healthy. We can fix these things with patience, love, and a healthy diet. And we will do just that.

So, now you know why Stella was so excited about her secret. She looks forward to lots of dog playtime. She wants to teach Kenzie how to herd cats, too. 

Please help Stella and us welcome Kenzie!*

*Stella does not like to have her picture taken. She would rather get down & play!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Stella Has a Secret

Shhh...she will reveal it very soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Erin go Bragh!


Whether you are Irish,


or just wearin' o' the green today,


and celebratin' the Irish ways...


always remember...


Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Listen

                                                             source

It doesn’t matter if your intentions are good,
if your attitude makes you misunderstood.
If your anger causes people to fight,
it doesn’t matter who’s wrong or who’s right.
Maybe if our heart had an ear,
we would listen to others and really hear.



Shared with:

Hanging with Grizelda




Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Beam Him Up

I is in my tunnel.

 I is ready to be beamed up.

Whut is takin' so long?!

 Oh, ferget it...maybe later.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Revealing Game

It is time for the weekly Coffee Chat. I am actually late this week, as yesterday was Stella's birthday. Coffee Chats just are not her style. This week, Ms. Rory Bore has invited us to play the game "Have You Ever". Good grief. I will be honest, though perhaps not very exciting. Here goes...

Have you ever

1.   Got lost in an amusement park? No, I have not. However, I recall going to the Illinois State Fair as a young child. I was five, and my older brother was seven. He wandered away and got lost. My mother was livid, as he tended to do this sort of thing often.

2.   Shared a meal with your pet. Drive thru acceptable. 
Well, yes. But this is a very rare occurrence. It is usually Bill’s fault, though.

3.   Scuba dived in the ocean.
Well, no. I can guarantee, this will not happen, as I cannot swim. I sure wish I could, though!

4.  Saved someone who was in danger.
 Yes, I have, more than once.  


5.   Sang karaoke.  (before alcohol, 2 bonus points)
No, never. No one wants that, not even my cats.

6.   Seen a pyramid.  (1 point for each step climbed)
No, I have never visited a real one, though I would love to visit one. I would need to research it first, however. There is a golden pyramid (house) here, in Illinois. If that counts, then, Yes, I have seen a pyramid.

7.    Went camping in a tent. I have done this, quite often as a pre-teen and teen.


8.   Won a contest for a big prize.  (no, toys in Happy Meals don't count)
I won some poetry contests when the Internet was just starting out. In fact, one win was pretty big in status, though not in monetary winnings.

9.   Eaten a strange food.   Broccoli is not a strange food.
Yes. I have eaten okra and eggplant and hominy. It was strange for a kid from Chicago, back in the 1960s! Okay, I also ate armadillo (back then), though I cried when I was told that’s what it was. I thought it was a really dirty trick to have me eat a critter that I loved.

10.   Pulled a prank you were later sorry about.
Yes. I was a notorious prankster as a youth, though it was always harmless. There was one time that it could have hurt someone, and I was so very sorry. I learned a valuable lesson to be more careful though I still was a prankster.

11.  Went on an African Safari.
Well, no, not a real one, anyway. I really would rather see more American wildlife, anyway. I would love to go whale watching off the coast of Alaska or take a nature cruise down the Mississippi River. There is so much to see right here.

12.   Met a celebrity (TV, Movie, Music, Sports, Arts)
Though he is more than a celebrity, I
met President Ford when I was in ROTC. He came to a local high school. We helped with seating, crowd control. Also, many years ago, I had the honour of talking to the Native American Sioux activists 
Leonard Crow Dog and Mary Brave Bird on the telephone. Obviously, they are/were far more than celebrities, though they are well known people.


13.  Been on TV or the radio. In ROTC, we presented colours for the Chicago Bull’s games. I have managed to stay out of the limelight.


14.   Been in a fight.
 
Oh, good grief. As an adult, I have chosen a lifestyle unlike the one I was raised in.

15.   Fallen asleep while talking on the phone.
No, though I am not a fan of chatting for long periods of time on the phone.  I will admit, however, that as a youth I talked on the phone for very long periods of time.


Okay, your turn! Please join us. Ms. Rory Bore always has coffee on. *wink*



Joining in with:

After Party


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Special Birthday Girl

~Stella Belle~

Three years ago, we adopted Stella from Central Illinois Sheltie Rescue. The minute we saw her picture on their Facebook page we fell in love with her. Her story clinched it. At three years old, she was a very shy, sad, neglected little girl. Stella had just gone through treatment for heartworm, as well as many other serious changes in her short life. 

We knew Stella belonged with us. As soon as Stella was released from "Medical hold", we brought her home and made her part of our family. It was our mission to make sure she was happy and secure. Chloe Jo decided Stella was her "Dog", and they are still very close. Chloe Jo seeks Stella out for comfort and cuddling. Every night, when everyone is in bed, Chloe Jo cuddles up as close as she can to Stella. The other cats all love Stella, too.  Stella loves each of them, offering what they need. She loved the rescue kittens and has a special bond with George.

When Stella goes trucking with Dad she is the perfect traveling companion. In fact, the staff at the trucking company headquarters loved her. When Bill went into the office for business, the ladies there would come and get Stella. They would take her leash so she could go visit with them. Of course, they also gave her special treats. When Bill turned in his truck to leave for his new job, they asked, "What about Stella?" They all agreed that she would be missed. 

Stella can also go to fine hotels and be a perfect lady. When we went to Mayo Clinic, we took Stella. The hotel welcomed her as my service dog. She always knows just what to do and how to behave. While at Mayo Clinic, Stella made friends with doctors, nurses, and patients alike. One cancer patient saw Stella and sat right down on the floor by her. Stella gently crawled into her lap and cuddled up to her. Tears rolled down the woman's face, as her husband said she missed their dogs who were at home. When the woman felt better, Stella licked her cheek. As the woman rose, she thanked Stella. She said that Stella is a special dog.

Stella takes life and love seriously. She welcomes every experience and appreciates everyone she meets. She is very special. Stella is now going through the certification process to become a therapy dog. She can share her love with those who need a little bit more, as she once did. Stella is a natural.

Happy 6th birthday, Stella...and many, many more. You deserve all of the love and happiness that you give to others, and we are happy to make sure that you get it.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Life is Busy


Life never stops. We have been really busy with the stuff of Life. This explains why I have not been around much. Please know I do care and appreciate each of you. I don’t want to bore you, or dwell on negative things. I try to keep it real, but keep it positive, too. Please let me share some of the things that have been happening here in our lives.

In January, we went up to Mayo Clinic to get some answers and a health plan for me. Mayo Clinic has always been able to help me when doctors here at home could not. When all is said and done, I need to have both of my knees replaced again. But, I need to resolve my chronic anemia and some other health issues first. The surgeries will probably be next Spring.

Bill has been long haul trucking for several years, now. Because he would be gone for weeks at a time, we missed many holidays and special times together. The trucking industry is one of constant turnovers and changes. Bill also knew it was time for a change. He looked into several companies, but one actually found him. He will be driving a dedicated, regional route out of a Yard near our home. He will be home on weekends, and for most holidays, now. We hope to get back to a more normal life.

Chloe Jo’s last exam and blood work went pretty well. Her kidneys are functioning pretty well, and her breathing is stable. The vets and staff really love her and are about as happy as we are. She and Grizelda had their yearly shots and are happy that is over!

Grizelda is healthy and happy. She still plays Tent-Ball, and Tag with George. They also wrestle daily. Lately, she joins George and Chloe Jo in the window seat for some warm sunshine.

Maggie will be going in to the vet’s clinic this week. She is due for shots and another heart check-up. She has good days and days where she just sleeps. George has helped to perk her up, though. They even sometimes play together. She doesn’t quite get into Tent-Ball games, but she loves the new crinkly-tunnel. They take turns in it, surprising each other.

George is almost nine months old. He is still in fast-forward every waking moment. His hobbies are still Tent-Ball, balls in general, and flying. He loves speed and heights...and his sisters, his Dad, and his Mommy.  

Stella loved trucking with Dad. She enjoyed the trip up to Mayo Clinic with us, too. She loves it best when we are all home together, though. She has a birthday coming up soon. That will be another post.

 We have all enjoyed having Dad (Bill) home between jobs. He got some things done around the house, which I appreciate, too. We are now getting accustomed to his new schedule. We are still busy but in a good way!

Thanks for your patience and for sticking with us. I will be posting and sharing more, again, as well as visiting you all. 

So, tell me, how are you?


Shared with:
This week's topic: "How are you? Honesty required."

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Thank you, Dr. Seuss


from "The Lorax", Plant the Seed

Thank you, Dr. Seuss,
for encouraging us to be sensitive enough to care, 
and brave enough to be true to ourselves.

Theodor Seuss Geisel
March 2, 1904-September 24, 1991