Monday, May 30, 2011


            SSG JAMES M. RAY


Memorial Day 2011


In Appreciation to All Veterans... 

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion. 

It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble. 


It is the
 VETERAN not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial. 

It is the VETERAN not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the VETERAN who salutes the Flag.

It is the VETERAN who serves
under the flag. 

Dear Lord, grant them the
peace they so deserve. 

(Author Unknown)                                                                                   

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Rest of the Story...Maggie P. & Purrl

Maggie P.

I want to tell the rest of Maggie's story, because I think it is important, because she is important. Maggie comes from a Maine Coon Cattery, who shows both the straight-footed and polydactyls. 

A little background on the Maine is the oldest "true" American cat breed, and polydactyly is integral to its history. It is believed the gene developed through its usage as rodent control in early shipping to New England. The extra digits were quite useful in catching mice. The feet were like snow-shoes in the harsh winters. The shaggy coats are heavy, as well.

Polydactyls are also called "Hemingway Cats". Along with his love for the sea, Hemingway had a great love for Maine Coons, polydactyls in particular. His museum and estate in Florida is still home to many descendants from his original lineage, though all are altered now.

So what does this have to do with Maggie? I had recently lost my beautiful white polydactyl cat, Purrl. Purrl was about ten weeks old when I rescued her. She was found wandering alone on a street. The people who found her thought she was "club-footed", they said. I went and rescued her, and immediately realized that she was actually polydactyl.

I named her Purrl because she was unique, special because of her "flaws", like a pearl. We became inseparable. It was shortly after her 17th birthday that she developed congestive heart failure. I was devastated. I couldn't imagine not having my Purrl. There was a void.

In my sorrow, I was web surfing polydactyl cats. Suddenly,there was Maggie. 

Maggie was a one year old show cat, with a different name at that time. She was finishing her points as a Champion in the CFA Household Cat arena. As a polydactyl Maine Coon, she could not be shown in the traditional show ring. Being polydactyl and now a finished champion, she was up for placement in a "forever home". Catteries cannot keep all of their cats, especially altered ones.

Well, that was it. I showed Bill and he said, "Call them. Make arrangements. She is yours." The rest is history. We went to her last show, where she was already declared the 2008 Champion. In her final show, she proceeded to tell the judge that in no uncertain terms, she had enough. Her parents were here and she was ready to go Home.

This is why I am telling this story: There are many ways of rescuing an animal. Shelters are full. The streets and neighbourhoods are full. But few think of a little known fact: Often, once a show animal is "finished" it is usually in need of a forever home. Many show animals have never even been loved. It is all about a look or a breed. It is often cage to ring to car to the next show...without even having the chance to just be loved, just "because".

It was definitely meant to be. Maggie needed a home and I needed Maggie. We are a pair. I have no doubt that Purrl sent Maggie to me. In fact, when I renamed her Maggie (Magnolia; she's from Kentucky), I gave her the middle name Pearl. She has the traditional polydactyl initial P, and she is named in honour of Purrl.

Animal rescue is extremely important to me, and most of mine (but certainly not all) have been cat rescue. Every one of them deserves a forever home. A real home where it is loved for no reason other than it is who it is, just as it is, no matter what.

Maggie has that now, just as Purrl did. 


Friday, May 27, 2011

Follow Friday: Four Fill-In Fun

Welcome to the 13th weekly Follow Friday Four Fill-in Fun Blog Hop!   This time, from Hillary's  new home.

If you want to join the fun and come up with four fill in’s of your own, please email them to Hillary at feelingbeachie(at) gmail (dot) com. If Hillary uses them, she will add you as co-host to the hop!

Her  co-host this week is Bernie from One Mixed Bag  she submitted the last two statements!
Hillary would LOVE it if you could please help her spread the word about this hop…. So, visit her and please tweet, FaceBook share, and add the linky to your post…

This week’s statements:
  1. I despise the expression_______
  2. I put _____ on my burgers
  3. If I could have any view out my kitchen window it would be ___________
  4. If money were no object I would _____________________
 My Answers

 1. "You Know?"
 2. ketchup on the bottom bun, mustard on the top bun, with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and sweet onion on top of the burger.
 3. Lake Superior...*sigh*
 4. Live in a cottage in the U.P. of Michigan, on Lake Superior, with critters & books...oh, yeah, and my husband.

Is Blogger Fixed?

Suddenly my dear Followers are back! Yea! Thanks Blogger!

Now let's keep things going...uh, oh...not yet...they're gone again...


Blogger Issues

Blogger is having issues...again, still.

My Followers/Friend Connect space is blank, though my followers show up on my Dashboard.  It seems that I am not alone in my frustration. I cannot see anyone Friends Connect/Followers!

I am hoping this is resolved soon. If anyone has any suggestions, reports or updates, please let me know.

Thanks for your support and patience.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cat Thursday!

You have met Grizelda & Chloe. You must meet Queen Maggie. She is a polydactyl Maine Coon. Her "official" name is Sweet Magnolia Pearl, as she is from Kentucky. Traditionally, polydactyl cats are supposed to have a letter P in their name, to note that they are polydactyl. 

Maggie P. was the 2008 Midwest CFA Household Cat Champion (thus she thinks she is the Queen). She is my pride & joy. Grizelda & Chloe are her minions. Having been here since they were newborns, she thinks they are hers. Well...they are.


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go,
and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy
and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money
for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement
when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops
and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety
of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and
grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and
beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes
that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear
in the street
And set a good example
for the children.
We must have friends to dinner
and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked
and surprised
When suddenly I am old,
and start to wear purple.

~Jenny Joseph~

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

by Beth Hoffman

CeeCee Honeycutt is most certainly worth saving. She is wise beyond her twelve years, because she has had to be. Her mother is lost in the past, while her detached father travels for work. CeeCee’s only friend is her elderly neighbor Mrs. Odell, who truly cares for CeeCee.

Inevitably a tragedy occurs, upsetting CeeCee’s already precarious world. It is decided for her that she must go live with Great Aunt Tootie, whom is unknown to CeeCee. It is understandably difficult for CeeCee to leave the only life she has known, however isolated. Aunt Tootie’s world is one of perfumed prosperity, proper manners and possibilities.

Suddenly CeeCee is immersed in a busy world full of strong women. Aunt Tootie is an active pillar of the community. Oletta is her wise housekeeper. CeeCee also comes to know the very unique and exotic neighbor Thelma, and the wildly busy-body neighbor Violene. Through each very different woman, CeeCee learns valuable lessons about the various kinds of love, but also about acceptance. Finally, CeeCee finds a place where she not only belongs, but one where she is safe.

This wise and wonderful book is full of strong Southern women. It is a testament to how they nurture each other, generation to generation. It is a gift to all women, honouring the beauty of friendship and all that is female.

I am thankful to have met CeeCee and her world of wonderful women. I am even more thankful for Beth Hoffman.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reading Lips: A Memoir of Kisses

Product Details
by Claudia Sternbach

Each human, each life, each story, each book…each kiss is unique and different. To be able to recall your life based upon kisses is a wondrous thing!

This astonishing anthology of essays ranges from childhood memories to adult recollections. However no matter the age, a kiss is never just a kiss. We are reminded of this in each essay. The lasting importance of a kiss is celebrated and appreciated, as it should be.

Sometimes it is a kiss we needed. Sometimes it is a kiss that we never receive, that matters most to us. A kiss can be a beginning, or a final farewell. A kiss can comfort us, be a stabilizing force, or it may be something that simply keeps us going.

Ms. Sternbach offers a beautifully written and creative memoir. This one is definitely meant to be shared…just like a kiss.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Thought

As I have gotten older I have come to many realizations. Age is where wisdom comes in, I believe. We should have something for all of the years of trial and error. Through it all I can honestly say that I have tried my best to be my best, for myself and my loved ones. I know I am not alone in this. When I read this little poem, I knew I had to share it.

I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can
do something. And what I can do,
that I ought to do.
And what I ought to do,
I shall do.

              ~Edward Everett Hale~

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A New Name for Worthless: A Hero is Born

Product Details
by Rocky Shepheard

This is a beautifully written and illustrated book for children of all ages. It is an important book to not only be read, but to be shared.

Based on a real dog, Worthless is an older dog who has spent many seasons chained to a doghouse. It is bad enough that the doghouse is inadequate shelter in winter, but there is no shade in summer either.

Worthless has found himself chained outside simply because as a puppy he did not prove himself as a watchdog. With no human friends, he finally is befriended by a couple of forest animals.

One stormy night they help Worthless escape from his chain. While on the run and struggling to survive, Worthless finds himself in a desperate situation.  It is now that he is able to finally prove his worth. The grateful human he saves gives him a new home, and a new name!

This story will make you cry, first out of sadness and finally with joy. Both written and illustrated by vegan Rocky Shepheard, it is done in cooperation with Dogs Deserve Better. DDB is a national organization dedicated to freeing dogs from chains and placing them into loving home, where they belong.

I love animals, all animals. Not one is worthless. I have had the honour of sharing my life with animals of all kinds, including several rescued dogs. Each one had a place in our home and will always have a special place in our heart.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cat Thursday

I'm all about books and since it is Cat Thursday, I want to share a picture of Chloe & Grizelda. They came to me at 2 days of age.
They are 6 months old now.

Chloe & Grizelda

Once Upon a Time, There Was You

Once Upon a Time, There Was You: A Novelby Elizabeth Berg

This is the story of a contemporary family. Divorced many years, John and Irene are both active in their teen-aged daughter’s life. They lead separate lives, each having a career. For the most part, life is good.

Sadie is now 18, and also wanting her own life. She is restless and eager to break away from her parents. This fuels her increasing emotional dependence for her boyfriend, who her parents who not know about. Often it takes a crisis to remind us what and who is really important. As life unfolds for Sadie a tragedy brings her parents back together in support and love for her.

Having written many books, Elizabeth Berg is a master storyteller. Her characters are genuine and believable, living lives we can all relate to. She never disappoints.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ghellow Road

Product Detailsby T.H. Waters

Kids love gelatin in many shaky forms, colours and even shapes. But for some, childhood itself is like walking down a road of gelatin: shaky, with nothing to hold onto. Yet the resilience and capacity of perseverance of youth are amazing. Ms. Waters reminds us of this as we walk down Ghellow Road with her.

T. H. Waters recalls childhood in a very heartrending, moving story. Her ability to recollect images from childhood is acute. The sounds, sights, and smells of Ghellow Road are clear and vivid. It brought to mind scenes and images from my own childhood.

Children should be able to count on the security and safety offered by parents. Our narrator, Theresa, does not have that. As she grows, she is forced to learn to count on others and ultimately herself. She must learn to trust her own judgment regarding life.

Childhood shapes us, but it does not have to define us. We never get over it, but we do get through it. Theresa not only survives… she triumphs. T.H. Waters’ book broke my heart, but then gently pieced it back together. It is a painfully beautiful story of what love does to us and what it makes us.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Doctor's Journey

Product Details

by Frederic A. Mendelsohn

In his very readable memoir, Dr. Frederic Mendelsohn shares a collection of stories from his experiences as a practicing Neurosurgeon. He educates on a variety of illnesses and disorders, as he entertains with a keen sense and understanding of human nature.

Dr. Mendelsohn shows us through his stories the ability of the body and mind to heal itself. He shares with us how the human spirit can triumph over desperate situations given the proper help and attention.

It is interesting that Dr. Mendelsohn first began as a music student. He attributes this to his creative thinking as a physician, particularly a neurosurgeon. He retains his love of the arts as a professional artist, in addition to his current practice and medical teaching position.

This is a very interesting and educational book. It is ultimately a tribute to the human spirit and the wonderful physicians who treat and nurture it. Thank you, Dr. Mendelsohn.

The Long Journey Home: A Memoir

By Margaret Robison

Everyone has a story. Margaret Robison's story took many years to tell. Her sons (Augusten Burroughs and John Elder Robison) told only bits and pieces of her story in telling their own stories. Margaret used poetry to share glimpses of her thoughts and feelings, but poetry is just that: glimpses. Here in her memoir, Margaret Robison is able to tell her own very emotional story.

Margaret's Southern Gothic childhood, and life in the 1950s, was a different world than the world today. However, even then it was a facade. It was not the life that it appeared to be, setting the stage for many of Margaret's later struggles. The difficult societal changes following the 1950s were challenging enough. Add to that Margaret's turmoil in dealing with issues of alcoholism and mental illness, not only as a woman but as a wife and mother.

Margaret is open about her battles and her feelings. Her memoir is difficult to read in its honesty and its poignancy. Yet it is beautifully told and ultimately inspirational.

Indeed, it was a long journey for Margaret, but I believe she is finally "Home".

Monday, May 16, 2011

Animals & Love

From the book, Wesley the Owl,
by Stacey O'Brien

"We repress, deny, subjugate, disassociate, and use all kinds of conscious and unconscious machinations to separate ourselves from our feelings, but animals have no recourse, so their emotions are raw and strong. 

The evidence that all species of animals with a brain have emotions is overwhelming. Lack of stimulation affects brain growth. The more intelligent an animal is, the more he has complex emotions."

Thank you, Stacey. This says it all.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Buddy's Tail

Buddy's Tail by K. Anne Russell by K. Anne Russell

This is a very imaginative story about a dog’s adventures in life and in the afterlife.

Buddy’s life is filled with people who let him down, yet he remains true to himself and is a good dog. His real friends are a Border Collie named MacKenzie and a Chihuahua named Javier. They are always there for Buddy, even when his owners forget to provide food and essentials for him.

After a lifetime of moving and numerous owners, Buddy dies. He is brought back to life however, but there are stipulations he must eventually fulfill. In agreement, Buddy is given a new life!

When Buddy finally does enter Haven, he is given the responsibility of guiding other dogs into the afterlife of Haven. True to his word, he fulfills his agreement happily and well. He is also pleased to be reunited with his old friend, MacKenzie.

Meaning well, with what he feels is good reason, Buddy goes beyond his authority and finds himself in trouble. In bringing a bomb dog back from Afghanistan, Buddy helps a Marine as well. This is against the rules. MacKenzie must come to his aid once again, this time to help prove that Buddy is actually a hero for the things he did.

This is an entertaining and creative chapter novel, with important lessons. In addition to the book, Buddy has a website where parents, teachers, and children can find fun instructional items.

Birds Can Fly and So Can I

(A Giraffe Soars from Dream to Reality)

by Noa Nimrodi

A giraffe is bird watching while taking a walk. That night she dreams she can fly. In her dreams she shares her gift of flight with her animal friends. They all support her, cheering her on. When she wakes, she finds that her friends support her in reality as well as in her dreams.

The messages of this delightful children’s book are layered. Dreams can be realized, sometimes by sharing them with others. Support from loved ones is very important. We need to give support as well as receive it, and that in doing so we can achieve great things.

The illustrations are fun and colourful. The book is easy to follow and understand. At the end of the book is an interactive page where a child can record their hopes and dreams.

This book could easily become a child’s favourite!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Buddha!

It is Buddha's 2555th birthday!

Many lessons have been learned through the teachings of Buddha, as with all great teachers. He imparted great wisdom.

Buddha taught kindness, humility, responsibility, meditation, and much about life. For these reasons he is honoured by many.

"Neither fire nor wind, birth or death, can erase our good deeds." ~Buddha~

Happy Birthday, Buddha!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

For Mothers

This is for the women who love unconditionally, making sure the needs of others are met, often forsaking their own. This is for her because her pride is not in herself, but in those she loves.

This is for mothers whose hearts are whole and those whose hearts are broken, because both are made of love.

Whether your babies are flesh and blood or fur and fuzz, this is for you. You deserve this, because Love is its own reward.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Shh...I'm reading!

I don't post everyday. I really don't feel that I should "have to"; I don't want to "have to". Sometimes things are best left unsaid. Sometimes things should go without saying. Sometimes it's already been said. I'm a believer of "Less is More". I want to keep my blog personal and meaningful. It matters to me, and I hope it matters to others. I want it to always reflect me, my thoughts and feelings.

Even when I am silent, I am busy. I have been very hard at work on my own book of poetry. My book is almost ready to go to the publisher. I'm very excited about this! It has literally taken a lifetime of blood, sweat, and tears to get to this point. John Lennon said, "Life is what happens when you are making other plans." This rings true in each of us. Life is busy, it is supposed to be.

Still, be assured that I am always reading. I look forward to sharing the wonderful books I read. I have several reviews that will be posted in the upcoming days.

So please...Shh...I'm reading.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Be Kind to Animals Week!

It is "Be Kind to Animals Week". I think this is very important to share with you and with all of the animals. 

Maybe this week we could be especially doting on our pets. Perhaps we could give them a special treat, or take them somewhere they like to go. Maybe we could spend more time with them, just petting them and talking to them. 

Some things we need to remember too, are the commitments we made when we adopted our animal friend. We need to make sure they are current with their vaccinations. In addition to that, they need regular check-ups and proper diets. We need to make sure their housing and bedding is clean and safe, as well. 

This week is not only for pets though. We need to be kind to all animals. We can feed the birds and put out bird baths for them. There are many organizations we can take part in or join. We can read and learn more about animals in our surrounding environment, in which we live.

Many wise words have been spoken regarding animals and their place in the world. One of my favourite quotes is by one of the wisest men of recent times. Taking into consideration all that is going on in the world, I think this is especially relevant. Mahatma Gandhi said:

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."