Monday, April 29, 2013

The Only Buddha in Town


By Alanna Maure & Matt Benacquista

This is the spiritual journey of Alanna Maure. The Buddha is the voice deep within, your personal spiritual guide.

Spanning a wide array of life scenarios and topics, Alanna takes you through reasoning and sorting to make sense of it all. She uses equal parts of common sense and wit. 

Humour can go a long way in getting through situations with a good attitude. It can bring people together instead of pushing them apart in times of stress.

Ultimately, Alanna reminds us we are all human, and share this thing called “Life”.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Meet Stella!


We are very happy to introduce you to Stella, our newest family member.  Stella is a three year old purebred Bi-Black Shetland Sheepdog. We adopted her through a Sheltie Rescue organization. We are so happy to finally have her Home with us.

We have had several Shelties through the years, and admit we have a special fondness for them. Three years ago we lost Wiley and then Maisie, who were sisters. We lost them within a couple of months of each other. They were sixteen years old.

Polly, our elderly coydog, was left to be an only dog for two years. We wanted her to be able to  have our undivided attention. After losing her last Spring, at over 17 years of age, we were devastated. I had been a dog owner for 43 years, and greatly missed that bond. Bill loves dogs, as well. Our family was missing an important part.

We did not feel it was time to adopt, as too much was going on and our hearts were too broken. We knew that when the time was right, the right dog would be there. We talked about different scenarios from puppies to rescue.

I have been following Sheltie Rescue for a couple of years, and suddenly there was Stella. As soon as I saw her photo, I  felt a connection. I read her story, and knew she was our dog. Stella was being treated for heartworm.  (*The shaved area on her back, now growing back, is where the heartworm treatment was given.) I told Bill, and showed him her photo. He felt the same way as I did. We applied for her adoption, and were immediately approved. She is recovering well, so we waited for her medical release.

Our first Sheltie was a rescue. Hope was very elderly when we adopted her. She had heartworm, as well as many other serious health problems. We successfully had her treated, and she lived out her final years with us. We understand the importance of heartworm preventative and the seriousness of treatment.

Stella officially came Home to join our family this weekend. She truly completes our family. She is now getting used to our home, family, her new "cat sisters", and a routine. She is sweet, gentle, and a perfect "love". We are blessed. 

So, meet Stella! She is the newest member of our family and McGuffy's Reader. You will seeing a lot of her here, along with Maggie P., Grizelda & Chloe Jo, of course. 

Stella

Friday, April 26, 2013

Why Cats Purr

Here are some interesting facts on 
the science behind a cat's purr.
Enjoy!


Linked to: Burnt Food Dude

When She Was Gone



By Gwendolen Gross

Linsey Hart is seventeen. She has a life ahead of her when she disappears the day before she is supposed to leave for college. After her disappearance, her family and neighbours recall the events that they observed before she went missing.

Her boyfriend is grief stricken as he gets himself ready to leave for college. Linsey’s mother, already considered unusual, goes from house to house, seeking her daughter. One elderly bachelor neighbor was the last to see her alive, while another neighbor woman is trying to conceal an affair. An eleven year old boy in the neighbourhood makes it his mission to solve the mystery of Linsey’s disappearance.

Secrets, resentments, opinions and judgments all come to light as the residents of the neighbourhood struggle with the tragedy of the missing girl. The stress of the situation could push them together or ultimately tear them all apart.

The dynamics of the residents in this neighbourhood are interesting. Each character has their own set of issues. The way they deal with their own lives, and interact within the neighbourhood adds to the layers of the mystery.

This is another well written and complex novel by author Gwendolen Gross.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April Showers

It has been raining
cats & more cats.
Flooding has been 
widespread.

Most cats do not like 
getting wet ...ever.

It is best to be prepared!

Plan and stay safe.
You can never be too careful!

Stay safe & dry...& remember,
we need the rain 
to grow the flowers!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Southern Chapter of the Big Girl Panties Club


By Lynda Stephenson

We first meet Frankielee Baxter in the book Dancing with Elvis. Then she is a 1950s teenager dealing with all off the typical teenage trials.  To make it more difficult, she has a foster sister who is her polar opposite. Of course, things are never what they seem. She learns of the harsh reality of racism, involving the family housekeeper. She and her sometimes boyfriend solve a mystery along the way, too.

Now, Frankielee is in college. She has blossomed from an awkward teen into a young woman, though she doesn’t yet feel comfortable or confident in her own skin. The college heart-throb takes a liking to Frankielee, though she isn’t quite sure of him or his intentions.

Away from home for the first time, Frankielee realizes that the ways of the world are different than what she is used to. Caught up in sororities and fraternities is new to Frankielee and her friends. Each girl in her dorm is very different than the other. Each girl is trying to find her own way. They decide that the best way is together, and formThe Southern Chapter of the Big Girl Panties Club”. In this way, they will always have each other.

She quickly learns that times are changing. She is again confronted with racism, as she befriends the first and only black student at the college including her in their club. Frankielee makes some realizations about others, as well as herself.

Frankielee takes us back to a time when the world at large was changing. As she finds herself, we are reminded of some important historical events. I found both books to be entertaining, endearing, and important in their morals and values.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Beavers


It is man’s interference with nature and animal’s will to survive that brought the American Beaver to my own neighborhood several years ago. 
          
One fall, the channel to the lake had been dredged. Sediment was unwisely dumped on the bank near the neighborhood boat launch. Using this dumped sediment, the beavers built their lodge into the bank of the channel. Not being a part of the human land-development plan, people wanted the beavers removed. This involved the setting of traps. The traps would break the back of the beaver as they swam into it. The beaver, only able to remain submerged for 15 minutes at the most, would drown. Though this was considered (by humans) to be “humane”, intervention from local residents (lead by us) halted the trapping. As soon as spring weather thawed the water of the channel, the beavers moved into the marsh and adjacent lake. Having no reason to trust, they obviously did not want to live that close to humans.

American Beavers are among the largest of the rodent family. They can be up to 4 feet in length, and weigh up to 90 pounds. Beavers, now considered a “nuisance”, were nearly obliterated by early fur trading in this country. Through protection they have steadily increased in number and are again found throughout most of the United States.

To each beaver lodge there is one family: a set of parents and one litter. A male and female beaver mate for life.  A litter most commonly consists of 1-8 kits. The kits are born after a four month gestation, usually in May or June, each weighing about one pound. The kits will stay with the parents for about two years. By this time they have learned all of the essentials to survive. The parents will drive them away to make room for a new litter of kits.

During the summer months beavers stay busy building their dams and lodges. Trees harvested by beavers are usually those not used in the lumber trade. They are most often native trees such as poplar, aspen, willow and birch. By fall, the beaver family will have a cache of food and a secure lodge to protect them during the harsh winter months. The lodge is above ground with tunnels underneath, leading to open water. They are able to swim out into the water, while still underneath the frozen surface of the lake. They can take wood or bark from their cache back to their lodge this way, sustaining them throughout the winter.
          
The summer following the beaver’s departure from my neighborhood, I saw a beaver lodge in a remote area of the marsh. The area had looked so desolate until the beaver brought it back to life. They built a small dam and opened up the surrounding waterways. Both frogs and turtles were again seen sharing the water. Mink were occasionally spotted in the surrounding marshland. Suddenly, various fish were plentiful again.

In addition to the usual Blue Heron and geese, I began to see many species of birds that I hadn’t seen before. Swans, egret, kingfisher, green heron, meadow lark, wood ducks, merganser, and blue-winged teal all were attracted to the area. I was amazed at the now lush marshland surrounding the beaver lodge. With their activity came a resurgence of native wildlife.

The wildlife had overcome hardships, and found a way to survive together. I felt privileged to be able to see them and experience the wonders of their world. It was so peaceful compared to the surrounding destruction of human land-development. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

The People


They danced with the Spirit in the temple of earth.
Their dance was the prayer of nature’s rebirth.
Communing with creatures, sharing one space,
brother and sister each had their place.
Then they were forced to leave their lands,
and left with open, empty hands
begging for what the Spirit gave,
clinging to earth they fought to save.


~McGuffy Ann Morris~


In honour of Earth Day 
& those who honour Earth

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Marsh

The marsh off the country back road
along the Illinois/Wisconsin border.
 Spring has opened it up, and
it is coming back to life.
I think the beavers are back, too!
With the area flooded with over 9"of rain, 
they have plenty of room!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Brave Kitten


Seize the day! And have fun doing it!


Linking to: Burnt Food Dude

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Garden

I enjoy a walk through the garden at Mayo 
Clinic, Phoenix, Arizona. It is a serene, quiet,
beautiful place to walk, sit, relax and reflect.
The circular walkway takes you through 
the garden, with benches at different points
along the way. The natural desert scenery
attracts various wildlife, as well as people. 



Prickly Pear cactus.


Barrel Cactus  


A Cactus Wren nest, Arizona's state bird. 
  

A Whiptail Lizard

A waterfall that attracts small wildlife.


Transformation of the Shaman
She is an inspiration for me,
and I am sure countless others.
This garden is a place of peace;
Mayo Clinic is a place of hope.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Wild Week

The past week has been a really non-stop busy, crazy week. There was good and not-so-good things. I will try to bring things up to date, in hopes of getting back on track.

Bill was due home last Monday. His truck broke down, needing major repairs. Unable to finish his delivery and then come home, he was struck at a semi-truck dealer/repair shop, two hours from home.


I was packing to get ready to fly out to Arizona to see my doctor at Mayo Clinic. The Internet went out. I tried to get re-connected, to no avail. A repairman was to come out the next day. I went to pick Bill up from the repair center. By now it was Monday evening. He could not leave his load, until the other "swap" driver picked it up, taking responsibility for it. 

We got home about midnight, Tuesday morning. I was able to re-connect to the Internet, as it suddenly prompted me to do. By the time I succeeded, it was time for me to shower, dress, and leave for the airport. I had to be there at 4 AM. I left Milwaukee in a rainstorm. I arrived in Denver in a snowstorm. They had to de-ice the airplane wings three times before we could leave Denver.


Phoenix was warm and sunny. Wednesday I was able to take a little walk through the Mayo garden, and appreciate the blooming cactus. Being such a "North Woods" girl, it is a treat to experience such unique beauty. I visited my favourite statue, "Transformation of the of Shaman". She is a beautiful bronze statue along the garden trail. This is the statue I had painted on my cast last year, after my ankle revision surgery.


The rest of the day was spent in Radiology and with physicians. The revision surgery was successful. I will have to have future surgeries on that ankle and the other ankle, too. For now I am happy that this part is over; Mayo Clinic was able to repair the first unsuccessful surgery.

Thursday morning, I left Phoenix at 7 AM. It was a very long day, with another layover in Denver. I got back into Milwaukee in the evening. Bill picked me up at the airport. He had spent his time doing chores and projects around the house and spoiling the Girls: Maggie, Grizelda & Chloe Jo.

The Internet was out again when I got home. I spent Friday waiting for the repairman. He finally made it to the house about 6 hours late. He then spent three hours fixing the wires to our neighborhood, and exchanged our modem.

Saturday was spent running errands and catching up. Bill also shocked me by trading in our old Dodge Durango. He bought me a brand new car. I now have a red 2013 Ford Focus! I love it! It was truly a surprise. Bill really is a wonderful guy, I cannot stress that enough. I am blessed.


We have talked about adopting a dog. The past couple of years, we lost our three dogs very close together. They were 16 & 17 years old. Maisie & Wiley were Shelties; Polly was a Border Collie/Coydog. This past Sunday we were approved by a Sheltie Rescue organization. We will be adopting a Sheltie as soon as she is available. We have one that we are very drawn to, who really has had a struggle. She deserves a good life, and we want to provide it. I will share her story at a later date.


Bill's truck was towed back to "The Yard", to be repaired at the company headquarters. In the meantime, he took a bus down to Florida to "rescue" another truck. He will either drive it back to "The Yard" or use it until his truck is repaired.

I hope that things will get back to some semblance of normal. I am not entirely sure what "normal" is, so I just hope it settles down. I hope Bill is safe on his "rescue mission". I hope things ease back into a routine here at home. I hope we get to bring home our Sheltie soon!

I'm back. Thank you all for your good wishes, patience and understanding. I appreciate it.

The No-Regrets Bucket List


~Wise Woman Collection~

By Marion Elizabeth Witte

Many people have a “Bucket List”, things they want to do or places they want to go, before they die. This book addresses the idea of having a “No Regrets” list of how to live.

Author Marion Witte discusses this philosophy in this book from her “Wise Woman Collection”. Some of the things she encourages the reader to consider are who they want to be in this life, and how we can achieve this.

Being genuine to oneself can lead to a genuine lifestyle with purpose. Marion Witte offers ways to prevent regrets, and thus create a life of meaning. The book also makes suggestions, and gives ideas in creating one’s own “No Regrets Bucket List”.

This book is inspirational and wonderful in its common sense simplicity. Marion Witte is a positive force in women’s writing.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Honey, I'm Home!

 
I'm Home!
What a wild week!
 
 
Linking to:
 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Four-Legged Miracles


Heartwarming Tales of Lost Dogs’ Journeys Home

By Brad Steiger & Sherry Hansen Steiger

This is a collection of true canine stories. The dogs in this very poignant book have all been lost, but unbelievably found their way home. Finding the homes and families that they knew they belonged with drove them onward.

The canine instincts and intuition of these amazing dogs helped them against seemingly insurmountable odds. These stories also highlight the intelligence and courage of the “family dog”.

Fighting natural disasters, predators, injuries, unknown conditions of both weather and terrain, these dogs not only survived but persevered until attaining their goal of reunion with their family.

Following a tornado, Mason the terrier crawled home on two broken legs. Buca sat for over two months on a Utah hill, overlooking an Interstate, waiting for his family car to return for him. A Beagle named Eddie walked over 450 miles to reunite and help his disable little boy. These are just some of the examples of canine love and loyalty.

The book is filled with heartwarming stories. I highly recommend this book to animal lovers, especially those who have ever loved and been loved by a dog.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cat Science



Bill, Maggie P., Grizelda & Chloe Jo 
would like to share this video with you.
Some may have seen it, but 
it is certainly worth seeing again.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Please Be Patient...


I will be in Arizona this week. It is my one-year exam at Mayo Clinic, for my ankle revision. It is a major trip and a difficult one. I will be gone all week. I have no idea how it will go, so blogging and commenting may be off this week. Please be patient with me. I will be reading as I can, and commenting when possible. 

Bill will be at home taking care of the cats and house. Hopefully he will be able to do some of his Spring projects and relax, too. He has the Girls all to himself, and they have Dad home alone! (Oh, my...)

As always, I appreciate your kindness, concern, and support. Thank you.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Subsist


The Sandhill Crane’s meadow is being torn up. I wondered what the Crane would think when they came back to the meadow to find that it is no longer theirs. Land developers have taken it over, as they did when they filled in the marsh and cut down the old woodpecker’s tree.

Every year I watch the wild birds on their seasonal migration. I watch how they find their own place, first in the skies and in the trees. Some stay throughout the cold weather; others find their way back to the same trees and the same fields, year after year.

I anticipate their return, especially the Sandhill Crane. I know they are back when I hear them honking their arrival as they fill the skies. Within days I see their tall necks rising over the scrub-brush. Marching up and down through the fields and meadows, their long legs bent in awkward angles as they search for food. Now I feel sadness, wondering where they will go.

A pair Sandhill Crane came, standing at the water’s edge across from the meadow. They seemed somehow lost, unsure of their surroundings. They stood there looking at what used to be their meadow. I have to believe they will find another meadow in which to feed, and raise their young. They adapt because they have no choice. They must survive.

Together, we watched the meadow that was once the place of the Sandhill Crane being plowed under for greed rather than good. Yet there was poetic justice. At the edge of the meadow a venue of Vultures stood sentinel. Flying above the man-made chaos several more circled around and around in a persistent vigil. They seemed to know that nature itself was again being sacrificed.

Going to my own home, I noticed the nighthawk fly above me as the sun faded into shadows. I listened to the sad sounds of the dove in the cedar tree. I now understand why the dove is mourning.

~McGuffy Ann Morris 
                                             

Saturday, April 6, 2013

"Annual" 6WS

Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, AZ


Getting ready for 
Mayo Clinic trip.

Linking to: 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Cats Prayer


Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray this cushy life to keep.
I pray for toys that look like mice,
And sofa cushions, soft and nice.

I pray for gourmet kitty snacks,
And someone nice to scratch my back,
For windowsills all warm and bright,
For shadows to explore at night.

I pray I'll always stay real cool
And keep the secret feline rule
To never tell a human that
The world is really ruled by cats!

~Author Unknown~


Linked to: Burnt Food Dude

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Signs


The prompt that Brenda has given us this week is: "signs". This original 1971 song immediately came to my mind, and I think it is still applicable today. I really cannot improve upon this. So, I give you The Five Man Electrical Band, and "Signs". 




Linked to: 
Prompt: "Signs"

Cat Poets

It's National Poetry Month!

Poetry is for everyone.

It can enhance your life in many ways.

Poetry is a great way to express yourself,

& get your point across in a creative way. 
Happy Poetry Month!



There Was an Old Woman


A Novel of Suspense

By Hallie Ephron

As Sandra Ferrante is taken to the hospital she gives a message to her very elderly neighbor, Mina. The message is, “Don’t let him in until I’m gone.” Mina writes it down, knowing she risks forgetting it. She calls Ginger, the daughter who is always there to help poor Sandra.

However, it is Evie’s turn to go back to the old neighbourhood and help their mother. Shocked at the appalling condition of the house and confused by the over-eager neighbor puts Evie on guard.

Then while cleaning up the house Evie finds envelopes of money, amidst the alcohol bottles and trash. Yet in the middle of the deplorable condition also sits a brand new flat-screen TV. Things continue to get increasingly strange for Sandra, Evie, and even Mina.

Mina’s nephew is pressuring her to move to a residential community, away from her home on the waterfront. Evie thinks Mina should consider the idea. As they develop a relationship, they have to rely on each other as things turn very sinister for both.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Maggie & Minions

~Maggie & Minions~
Spring 2011

I need to add a few words to this picture...
Maggie was three years old when we rescued
this two day old litter of orphaned kittens.
She took to them immediately, becoming a
"nanny" to the litter, and ultimately
the "Big Sister" to Grizelda & Chloe Jo, 
shown here with her.

Linked to:
Blog Paws