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.)

Blog post #33 – June 25, 2017 Little Surprises

Good morning, Cuddlers!

This week my cats kept me laughing for all of their little, silly moments. Otis was playing with one of the toy mice that Abby usually plays with. Did he learn something from his little sister? Striker initiated a game of tag with Reggie and Abby, which hasn’t happened in a long time. One day this week, Reggie came back into the apartment on his own after playing in the hall. I thought for sure that was a joke…Reggie never comes back on his own. And, I kept catching all of the cats in sleeping positions or sleeping places they don’t normally sleep. I found myself repeating the phrase, “You guys are cracking me up!”

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Reggie, what are you doing to Otis! HAHA!
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Reggie and Striker love sleeping on the warm towels. How can I put the linens away now?
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Abby hasn’t slept on the purple chair in months. This is a usual spot for Otis – you can see by the white cat hair.
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Otis was sleeping up next to the window. He was snoring and looked so relaxed.

Sometime in the middle of the week – perhaps in light of the Summer Solstice – I was a little more aware of the little surprises in my own life. I guess the biggest surprise (which wasn’t little at all) was my mixed emotions on the last day of school. I have a new teaching job for the fall, and after 15 years at John Hope HS, I was leaving the building for the last time. I’m excited for the new adventure, but was caught in a mix of strange emotions from 15 years of memories.

Again, as the cats kept surprising me, I was taking note of the list of little surprises in my week. The strangest little surprise was a $25 check from a physical therapist’s office from an overpayment on my last PT appointment. Okay, maybe not such a little surprise, but this appointment was two years ago! In the six months that followed my 7 sessions of PT, I had to resolve a few things with the insurance company about a miscoded PT appointment (which was an error on their part). Well, that was FINALLY resolved which is why I received the $25 check. So, maybe that should fall under the category of “bizarre surprises.”

As I’m writing this I can’t help but notice Abby snoring and looking so peaceful. She is recovering from an ear infection and she seems to be 100% better. It’s nice to see her looking so peaceful and happy. This was another one of my little surprises, Abby feeling and acting better. I hope we all have a week of “little surprises!” All good surprises, of course.

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #23 – April 2, 2017 Jokes and Games

Good morning, Cuddlers!

So, I know April Fool’s was yesterday, but I can’t stop thinking about practical jokes from our human friends and fur babies.

On Friday I gave my students a spelling test of fake words. I saw it posted on Facebook; a teacher gave this test to his middle school students. My students kept saying they thought the words were fake, but I convinced them otherwise. When I revealed the answer to #11 to be April Fool’s, the students broke out into laughter and gave me props for a good April Fool’s joke. It was a nice way to end the week as we approach a week of upcoming standardized tests.

This made me think of the “jokes” our furry friends play on their humans. I’ve played with many dogs in my time and have had it happen to me when they’re about to give me their toy to throw, and they decide to hold onto it or run away with their toy instead. I remember watching this dog and his human on an early-morning run…the human was trying to leave the beach, but the dog was having none of it. The adorable dog would go next to his human and act like he would accept getting hooked up to the leash, and at the last second, would run off wanting his human to play another game of chase. It was so funny! If dogs could laugh, that cute dog was definitely in hysterics!

If you were part of a April Fool’s joke, hopefully it was as innocent as being asked to spell Rol-Aska-Tox or Tangeteen. Or, maybe your fur baby decided to play a joke on you. Either way, I hope you made it through the day with a lot of laughs, and are taking this morning to relax…and cuddle.

Enjoy the cuddle!