Blog post #39 – September 17, 2017 Paper

Blog post #39 – September 17, 2017

Paper

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Paper seems like a silly topic to talk about, but it’s kind of been a theme in my life the last few weeks. In this world of trying to go paperless, it seems impossible for an “old school” girl like me.

At work, I’m trying to find ways to have my students use their Chromebooks more by using Google Classroom or other online tools to complete assignments. This hasn’t happened yet, though, because I feel the need for the students to have a copy of the story and handout so they can write on the document. It’s only the end of the second week of school and I’m already down to two reams of paper (I started with three). I’ll certainly have to figure out some ways to curb my copying needs.

I do have plenty of notebook paper for those students who run out. The students always seem to start the school year with plenty of notebook paper, and run out by the middle of the second quarter. That’s also the time that a pack of paper that was once 99-cents, becomes at least a $3 purchase. So, I stock up in case anyone needs some paper.

I keep getting an email from my bank asking me to go to paperless billing. Well, they obviously don’t realize this, but I’m already doing paperless billing. All but my electric bill is paid online (…don’t ask…I can’t seem to figure out how to pay my electric bill online…). And, my financial statements are all online. So, I’ve figured out some ways to reduce my paper consumption.

The paper practice that I hope never goes away is packing boxes with the large brown paper. I ordered a new litter box a few weeks ago, and I forgot about the joy of the packing paper. Abby and Otis have had hours of entertainment and relaxation with the brown paper. Abby purposely gets her toy mice in the paper, then simultaneously attacks the paper and the mice. I’ve recorded her playing with the paper because she cracks me up every time! Otis has been playing with the paper, too! Otis?! Yes…Otis has loved making a paper fort or secretively playing with one of Abby’s mice. Reggie and Striker seem to be a little indifferent about the paper, but have enjoyed the large cardboard box for games of hide and seek. By the way, I don’t have the heart to throw away the brown paper or the box…they’re both here to stay until they get ruined, or another “toy” becomes the favorite.

Enjoy the cuddle!

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Abby playing with the brown packing paper.
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Abby is in the middle of some serious play time with the brown packing paper.
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Abby taking a cat nap in the brown packing paper.
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Reggie is surprised at how much Abby and Otis love the brown packing paper.
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Otis moved the paper to make half of a fort in the brown packing paper.
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Striker was watching Abby have a blast playing with the brown packing paper.
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Blog post #38 – September 10, 2017 Saving Animals

Good morning, Cuddlers!

I wanted to take a moment this week to give a “shout out” to all of those wonderful people who have been on the front lines of helping to save the animals from the Houston area after the Hurricane Harvey. And, now, I’m assuming we’ll see more stories of animals being rescued from Florida. So many animal shelters have stepped up to take care of animals in need.

It’s been on my mind ever since the images started coming in from Harvey – a lot of people in rescue boats with cages full of their cats, dogs, birds, guinea pigs, etc. Of course, I have been worried about people getting to safety, but it was especially touching to see people with their pets. I keep thinking about how happy I am that there are people with the resources and ability to help save so many of the animals. It’s quite touching to see people come together to help others in this great time of need.

I know a lot of people have friends and family that are now in Hurricane Irma’s path. Sending prayers and love to all of those in the Houston area who are working on recovering after the devastation, and to those in Florida who are bracing for Irma’s landfall.

I’ve talked to my cats about what’s happening in other parts of the country and asked them to send happy kitty thoughts to all animals in harm’s way. I’m also sending prayers out to the humans who are in harm’s way.

Enjoy the cuddle!

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Blog post #37 – September 3, 2017 Hard-Working Pets

Blog post #37 – September 3, 2017

Hard-Working Pets

Good morning, Cuddlers!

As we celebrate Labor Day, and for some, look forward to the cool days of autumn, it got me thinking about some of the tough jobs our pets have in caring for their humans. I thought I would try to do a top 10 list for this week’s cuddle.

Here we go with the Top 10 reasons our pets sometimes have tough jobs:

  1. Many dogs are in charge of taking their humans for walks. It’s not always easy to get the human attached to the leash for a good 15 – 20 minute walk.
  2. Cats and dogs are busy protecting us from bugs, spiders, squirrels, wildlife, and the occasional invisible critter.
  3. Cats and dogs have to clean themselves with their tongues.
  4. Sometimes, it’s hard work getting their humans to give treats. “Okay, I’ll give you my paw and sit just one more time…but, that’s it…it’s treat time.”
  5. Dogs and cats (like my Abby) are usually in charge of waking up their humans in the morning five minutes before their alarm goes off. It’s hard to get a human out of bed.
  6. Making their human put down any electronic devices so the fur baby can give and get attention is not an easy task.
  7. Many dogs have to bury their bones in the yard, which takes a lot of time, especially when their human keeps telling them “no.”
  8. Cats and dogs must look cute while sleeping…whether it’s on the couch, cuddled up with their human, in a unique spot, or on the bed, our fur babies must melt the hearts of their humans. (…and try to influence the human to take nap or go to bed, too.)
  9. Dogs and cats have the job of entertaining their human on a daily basis. Making their human smile or laugh is always on the agenda.
  10. Loving unconditionally!

Maybe #10 isn’t such a tough job for our pets, but when our busy lifestyles take over, our fur babies may not be able to give us as much attention. Hopefully, this weekend we will have a few extra minutes to play, cuddle, or nap with our furry friends.

Enjoy the cuddle!

 

Blog post #36 – August 27, 2017 Hunde, Katzen und Kühe (or… Dogs, Cats and Cows)!

Blog post #36 – August 27, 2017

Hunde, Katzen und Kühe (or… Dogs, Cats and Cows)!

Good morning, Cuddlers!

I was recently in Switzerland and reminded again at how much the Swiss love and take good care of their animals.

Two years ago I was in Switzerland for the first time. I was struck at how the dogs are allowed everywhere. It seemed that every time we were on the train, there were at least five dogs in tow with their humans. The dogs were always super sweet and appeared to be used to the crowds of people at the various train stations.

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An adorable dog at the top of Mt. Pilatus near the city of Lucerne.
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A cute dog near the top of Reichenbach Falls (Meiringen, Switzerland). He got to ride the funicular and got in a decent hike to the top.

By the way, did you know that the original blood line of the St. Bernard dog is housed in the St. Bernard Foundation in Martigny, Switzerland? On my last trip I was lucky enough to see the beautiful dogs, including a few puppies, and they were so adorable. These St. Bernards are treated as royalty and live in a wonderful facility.

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St. Bernards at the Musee et Chiens du Saint-Bernard.
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A St. Bernard at the Musee et Chiens du Saint-Bernard.

Every time I saw a cat all I could think about was, “Wow…these cats look very healthy.” I can’t confirm this, but I imagine they get quite a bit of the wonderful milk or cream from the Alpine cows. In the adorable city of Thun, there is a great store that is all about cats (and officially “owned” by a cat). The human owner told me that the cats in Thun are well cared for and that the Swiss people really care about animals. I told her about a cat that greeted me on the steps to the ancient castle. He meowed in German and managed to lead me to the top of the stairs all the while stopping to gently remind me to pet his belly. When I left the castle I saw that same adorable Swiss kitty – he accepted a few more pets from me, but he was busy attacking the lizard a few feet in front of him.

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My new Swiss cat friend on the way to the ancient castle in Thun.
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Can you hear the meows in German as this Swiss cat led me to the top of the stairs?

And, how can I not include a post about the animals of Switzerland without mentioning the cows. They all have their cow bells on, which creates this beautiful tune of continuous bells ringing in the Alpine air. They are free to graze wherever their strong legs take them, and they seem to be so relaxed and happy. How can I tell? Well, have you ever tasted real Alpine Swiss cheese?! Several towns and villages have festivals for when the farmers lead their cows up and down the Alps. I would love to see one of those festivals as they honor their beloved cows.

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An Alpine Swiss Cow enjoying the grass near Magislap. Those “huts” in the background are where they make/keep the Alpine Cheese.
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A selfie with an Alpine Swiss Cow.

From the people with chickens, goats, and other animals in their yard to the cats, cows, and dogs that seem to have all the freedom they want, it was so wonderful to see these happy animals.

Enjoy the cuddle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Post #36 July 30, 2017 Bird Watching

July 30, 2017 – Bird Watching

Good morning, cuddlers!

This summer I have noticed more birds and sounds of birds. I think it may have been the positive influence of one of my friends from the Bear River Writers’ Conference who is a nature expert. We had a conversation about being able to appreciate nature even in the midst of the concrete jungle of Chicago.

Whether I’m out for a walk, running errands, or running along the lakefront path, I’ve come to notice the birds and the beautiful sounds of their summertime chirping. I also notice, and stay away from, the Canadian Geese…that’s a story for another time.

If I happen to see a dog on the path stalking a bird or a squirrel it brings a big smile to my face. I know the dog isn’t going to kill the bird or squirrel, so that’s why it’s a cute interaction. It’s especially funny when the squirrel outsmarts the dog and runs around to the opposite side of the tree and the dog is left in utter confusion. I can just hear the dog saying, “Where did that pesky squirrel go?!”

For my cats, I have always felt bad that we don’t have trees right outside our window so they can do their own stalking. This year, though, we seem to have a number of birds flying by on a regular basis. There also must be a tree that has gotten bigger or has become a safe place for birds to land, because I feel like we’re hearing more birds when the windows are open. Or, could it be that I’m paying more attention to the calming sounds of nature? Hmmm….

Well, even though my cats are getting more real-life experience with birds these days, I occasionally will play bird videos for the cats on YouTube. It’s so funny to watch them get so enthralled with the computer screen! I love that they think the bird is in the apartment when the bird flies away on the computer screen. Sometimes I’ll play the squirrel and bird video and Abby gets a little upset with the squirrel. I’d hate to see what would happen if they met in real life! The best part is seeing them intent as they watch the birds fly in and out of the screenshot. Ten minutes of bird videos means they will all sleep through the night.

I hope everyone is able to enjoy the nature in your hometowns this week. Enjoy the cuddle!

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Abby watching bird videos on the computer screen.
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Striker watching bird videos on the computer screen.
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Reggie watching bird videos on the computer screen.

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Reggie watching bird videos on the computer screen, and trying to grab the poor bird.
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One more picture of Reggie watching the bird video.

Blog post #35 – July 23, 2017 It’s new to me!

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Do you ever have those moments when you’re looking at your belongings and get the urge to re-organize? All of a sudden the furniture needs to be rearranged, the books on the shelves need a different organization system, or the closet needs purging of all things stuffed inside of it.

This happens to me about once every 8 months or so. I’ll be sitting on the couch, cuddling with one of the cats (of course), and the view of my “stuff” becomes completely different than it did only a few minutes before. It may be that I’ll notice a DVD that is in my collection that needs to be eliminated, or a framed picture needs to be updated, that will set off an entire cleanse of the apartment. I have limited space and limited ways to rearrange my furniture, so the furniture always stays. Since the furniture has to stay the same, I change other things and I clean out things that don’t bring me joy anymore.

In this process, I also try to go through all of the cat toys. By toys I mostly mean the various boxes and Chipotle bags that the cats once played with that I’m ready to throw away. It never fails that the box I pick up and ask the cats if they’re done with it, is the exact box Reggie, Abby, and Striker have re-claimed. Or, the nearly torn-up Chipotle bag is Abby’s favorite new hiding spot (again). OR…the box that doesn’t look like a box is Reggie’s make-believe fort, and when I try to pick it up to put in the recycle pile, he swats at my hand.

You can probably guess what happens in my apartment. The cats win. If they seem happy, and are playing with something, who am I to take that away from them? I will eventually put my foot down with some things, but most of the time, the cats are the victors.

At least I managed to purge about 4 bags of old school papers and a box full of old magazines. The recycle bins were my friends this past week! My apartment feels new and refreshed and my cats have “new” toys, hideouts, and forts to play with.

Enjoy the cuddle!

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My plan was to put a few more binders on the shelf. Abby decided she would like the spot instead.
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I told Abby and Striker that if they didn’t stop chewing on the plant, I was going to get rid of it. This was Striker’s reaction.
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I’ve tried several times to put this comforter away. According to Striker and Abby, it belongs folded on the bed.
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I was going to buy new cushions for the cats. Reggie and Otis are fine with the old cushions. (Take note of how the cats have scratched up the couch.)