Monday, March 26, 2012

Manly Monday

(Google Search)

A Snowflake in My Hand


By Samantha Mooney

Samantha Mooney penned a book based on her time working at New York City’s Animal Medical Center. This book focuses on several cats under their care at that time. Samantha takes us into the clinic and behind the scenes. Each cat has its own story, with lessons to teach the people around them.

Samantha shares stories of some of the patients under the clinic’s care. There is Oliver, a cat who has a seagull as a friend. Chico is a cat who somehow manages to get stuck on top of the clinic elevator.

A very poignant story involves Denton, a 9 year old cat. He and his owner, Mrs. Berkley had been diagnosed the same month as having cancer. After surgery, the cancer persisted, necessitating chemotherapy. The treatment proves unsuccessful, and Denton passes away. Within weeks, Mrs. Berkley also does. The bond between the two was deep.

Samantha is struggling with the loss of her own father. It takes a tiny black fur ball of a cat to break through Samantha’s grief. With the example and open heart of Fledermaus, this little cat, Samantha begins to open herself up to love once again. It is not easy, but animals have a way of touching our souls when humans cannot.

This is a definite must-read book for all cat lovers. It is written with sincere and honest compassion. The lessons here are of life, love, relationships and ultimately death. The author celebrates life while respecting death.

Recuperating at Home

I'm home and recuperating. (Quite a bit of pain, but that is to be expected.)
Surgery was what we expected. We got answers, and understand why it was not originally successful. Mayo Clinic is an amazing place, and exactly where I needed to be. I will be going back several times for re-checks and re-castings. It is going to be a long road, but one that I have to take! I am thankful to Mayo Clinic, my doctor & his staff (more on them in the future), my wonderful, supportive husband Bill, and Andrea. I thank all of you for your support, too.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


               Happy Spring!

"Curious as a Cat" Questions (Week 315)

1) You're opening up a cafe. What songs do you have playing for your customers? List a few songs from your playlist.

I would opt for classic 60s-70s music, to reflect the environment I would be trying to create. However, I would control volume and keep it meaningful. I would include: Carole King, Judy Collins, James Taylor, Carly King, Neil Young, Janis Joplin, Buffy Saint Marie, CSN, CCR...yeah, I'm a bit of a hippie...shh...
2) What is biggest regret in the past week?

That I didn't have Mayo do my original ankle surgery!!
3) If you were offered the perfect job in a place you absolutely did NOT want to live, would you take it?

No. Life is too short. Happiness cannot be bought, nor can emotional security.
4) Show and Tell. What comes to mind first when you see this picture?
Public Domain Photo

 Or, tell a story if it reminds you of one.
This photo reminds me of my wonderful friend, Andrea. She knows more about birds & caring for them. She has feeders & birdhouses everywhere! In fact, I thought this was one of hers! She has taught me much about birds. Our mutual love of critters brought us together, but our friendship keeps growing. This house is like her: open, inviting, and real.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Phoenix Fauna, Part 2

I wanted to share the remainder 
of my pictures of the Phoenix area. 
They are so different
than what I am used to!

This Saguaro Cactus seems to be sentinel,
keeping watch over the desert.

A nice hearty cactus!

A little watering hole that filled from 
the weekend storms.

Another cactus nest!
I think a Desert Thrasher lives there.
There are many in the area.

I love this  tree, and wish I knew 
it's many stories.

Nature offers so many things of beauty.
Thank you for allowing me to share. 

"Manly Monday"

It is Manly Monday over at 
Andrea's blog: From the Sol.
She presents this as an opportunity
to express our idea of what we 
perceive masculinity to be.

This week, 
I offer an American hero...

Ronald Reagan


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Phoenix Fauna

      It is Springtime in the desert. 
      I wanted to share some of the 
      interesting plants that I
      encountered around Mayo Clinic.
This is a group of three different cactus 
types, complimentary to each other.
The flowers contrasting the harshness 
of the plant is striking.
The colour of this cactus is unique.
The Joshua Trees are my favourites.
A bird's nest in a cactus 
was an amazing find!
This was a beautiful sight! 
The desert has its own special beauty.
I feel blessed to have realized it, 
by seeing it up close & personal.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Six Word Saturday

Travel, tests, tests, terrified
...very tired.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Follow Friday with Feeling Beachie

Each week, Hilary lists four statements with a blank for you to fill in on your own blogs. If you want to join the fun and come up with four fill in’s of your own, please email them to her at If she uses them, she will add you as co-host to the hop! This week’s co-host is Susi from Boca Frau.  She came up with the last two statements.  
Hilary can really use co-hosts, so please send some statements her way.
This week’s statements & my answers: 
1. I get my best ideas in the middle of the night. 
2. When I am overwhelmed I withdraw. 
3. When I have a cold, I like to sleep it off. 
4. Watching a cat move, can be very inspiring or very amusing.
Now please hop over to Hilary's blog & Susi's blog! They are awesome!

Cat Day

The "Original" Maine Coon

It's Time

I am sorry that I have been MIA. It is Heck Week; no Spring Break for me.
I'm in Phoenix, at Mayo Clinic. I have to do all of the pre-op stuff today. Surgery is next week. Being a surgical revision, this is not easy. Hopefully, Bill will get here the day before surgery; he's still on the road.
Thank you to Andrea, who is watching over my Girls for me. Grizelda, however, is like Sasquatch...there are rumoured sightings of her. She is not trustful of people or dogs. Chloe is like a dog. Maggie just wants attention.
I will try to blog as I am able. Please know that I am reading and thinking of you all, even if I am not able to comment. Thanks for your support; I appreciate it and each of you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

She Kept Coming Back

Oddibe came first. He watched me from across the road, as he sat beneath the row of cedar trees. Our eyes met; we bonded. It didn't matter that I already had two indoor cats and two dogs. I became Oddibe's human.

He was already an old tomcat, and obviously not neutered. I called him "Oddibe", because he "ought to be" somewhere else. He would come to my window at night, sitting on the porch rail, and tap on my window screen. He knew I would then get up and go outside to feed him. Our midnight rendezvous began right after we bought our rural lakefront house, though the neighbor's had never seen him before.

Soon Oddibe brought his girlfriend with him. She was a petite little thing, and very young. Quite feral, she trusted only Oddibe. However, for food she came to my house with Oddibe. She was "Echo", because she kept coming back.

By Spring, Oddibe and Echo had a little grey kitten. She would blend into the shadows of the cedar trees, so she was "Shade". Echo would bring her shrews and tried to teach her to hunt. By now she trusted me, so she taught Shade to come eat from the bowls, too. 

Oddibe would go off on his tomcat business, but would still come to my window. He also watched over his family. Elusive, existing in the shadows for the most part, they lived this way for a couple of years. Survival was their mindset; I was a safe haven.

There came a time when Oddibe was missing. The girls came alone for a couple of weeks.  When Oddibe finally appeared on my porch, he was emaciated and weak. I quickly got him into a crate, which was never a possibility before. I knew it was serious, when I took him to the vet that Saturday night. 

Oddibe had cancer. At his advanced age, "probably close to 20 years", surgery was not a realistic option. He would not survive even the anesthesia. I cried all of the way home, and throughout the funeral we held for him. I missed him, and so did Eco and Shade. They would sit under the cedar trees and seemed to be waiting. They looked somehow lost and lonely, their little faces questioning me.

For years, they came together, alone, and sometimes with kittens. We rescued many, finding homes, keeping some, but some would just disappear. After a couple of years, Shade disappeared, too.

Echo would stay away when in heat or when she had kittens hidden. We were never able to trap her. Her sense of survival and dedication to her family was acute. Tomcats came and went, none like Oddibe. Some were haggard, mean, very wild and feral. 

When Echo was about 12, she went missing for about a week. I knew she did not have kittens and became very worried. Then one morning quite early, there she was. She was very happy to see me and I her! As I gave her food and water, I noticed her rear left leg hung at an odd angle. It seemed to be very loose and I knew something was very wrong.

I scooped her into a crate, which I had never been able to do before. This time she actually went along with the idea. We went right to the vet, where Echo was overwhelmed by the entire experience. An exam and x-rays showed that there was nothing but bone chips between Echo's hip and foot. Her foot was intact, and her hip was fractured; the entire leg was shattered by a hollow point bullet. 

 Hollow Point bullet* (source: Wikipedia)
*Note mushrooming effect of explosion & impact

Hollow point bullets are used by law enforcement and military. Their purpose is to kill in a drastic, surefire manner. A hollow point bullet increases its size once it enters its target, and it remains there. It expands inside and does not pass through, creating extensive damage. This usually results in blood loss and/or shock, and thus death. Echo was a six pound cat.

I had a choice to make. Echo had to be put to sleep or have her leg amputated. She had lived outside her entire life, free, doing whatever she wanted to do, wherever she wanted to do it. I saw her living the life of a wild thing, and happy to be that way.

If Echo's leg was removed, she would become our indoor cat. She hated other cats. We would have to make her a home in the secure basement, and under supervision. Could she be happy this way? Could we put her down, let her go because of someone else's cruelty, after loving her and being trusted by her for 12+ years?? 

There was no choice. She had the surgery, and came home to live out her last five golden years inside the warm house. Echo had her favourite pillow and blanket, on her sofa in the basement. She flew up and down the basement stairs. She had immaculate litter manners. She appreciated it all.

We promised her she would be safe and secure for the rest of her life. We never looked at her any differently, though we were amazed that she made the transition so easily. Love is blind when you see with your heart. She was the same little, petite, sweet, gentle Echo that she had always been.

When Echo passed over the Rainbow Bridge, she was well over 17 years old. She developed cancer, but went quickly and without pain. We were left with the pain of her loss. She had had a long, very full life. Echo's golden years were safe and secure; we kept our promise to her.

And she echoes in our hearts still.

Manly Man Monday

My Manly Man is Bill.
Everything about Bill is "manly".

Whether at work:

or at play:

Bill is my Man, for 30+ years,
and he is very manly!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Do not dwell in the past, 
do not dream of the future, 
concentrate the mind 
on the present moment. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pondering with Purpose

It's time to "Ponder with a Purpose", with Brenda Youngerman
So go on over to her blog, link up, and post about her current topic.                
               Scary Movies...

...are just not worth the time or energy...
or lost sleep.

TGIF with Feeling Beachie

It is Friday! T.G.I.F.
Time to hop over to Hilary's feeling beachie blog for some fill-in fun! 
Her co-host this week is Lisa from Third Time is a Charm.
This week’s statements & my answers are: 
1. Given the choice to do work for wages, again I would pick a job with animals (again).
2. When I watch people be hurtful to each other it always makes me want to tell them to think how they are making the other feel.
3. When I have people over I always make potato salad, because they ask me to, saying it always knocks ‘em dead! 
4. I always feel like I accomplished something when I helped an animal in need.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Sisters

By Nancy Jensen

This novel begins in 1920s Kentucky. It spans the lives of two very different sisters, who take very different paths through life. Each sister has a pair of daughters. As their story unfolds, it also tells the stories of their daughters.

Each woman in this multi-generational novel has their own set of circumstances, based both upon their environment and the choices they make. They each have definite strengths and weaknesses. Some of the women are strong in moral and character, yet some are strong willed and rigid.

There is a definite difference between strength and stubbornness. As a woman raised by women of these varied traits, I found this to be a particularly interesting portrait of a family of such women.

Nancy Jensen has exceptional insight into the emotions and personal burdens of the women. She understands the bonds that hold them together, but also cause them to strain at the bindings.

Each sister walks a different road, but within the same map of life. The roads intersect, intertwine, taking them to different places that the others could never understand.

In life, the things that happen to us become a part of us, but the things we choose we become a part of. Sometimes we have to forgive others to go on. Sometimes we need to be forgiven. Sometimes we have to forgive ourselves.

Happy Women's Day!

Since the beginning of time,
women have been an integral part of life.
Today we celebrate Women's Day...
because we are worth celebrating.

Cat & Author Thursday


 Homer & Gwen Cooper 
"Homer's Odyssey"
A special Cat-Human Memoir,
about a blind cat & his owner.
Visit them on their website
& Facebook. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This Beautiful Life

By Helen Schulman

This is a very contemporary novel about a family dealing with the world today. In this time of advanced technology, this story is quite realistic and possible.

In the life of a Manhattan family, the children have many privileges, including that of private school. Everything is going well, as planned, until suddenly an admirer of the teen aged son changes everything.

A young pre-teen girl sends a provocative video to a fifteen year old boy, creating scandal and wreaking havoc. The effects are deep and far-reaching.

Technology, combined with the outside influences of society will, and should, make every parent think long and hard about the situations presented in this novel.

Helen Schulman has written an important novel of morals, values, peer pressure, family and the consequences of youthful impulse. She delves into the impact of the teens, family and society at large. This is a sensitive portrayal of a serious, very real situation.