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 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 #32 – June 18, 2017 Being Still

Good morning, Cuddlers!

I first wanted to wish all of the fathers, uncles, grandfathers, step-fathers, and fur-fathers a Happy Father’s Day! I hope today is a day where fathers are honored and have moments of relaxation.

This past week the idea of “being still” kept coming to mind. Reggie made me think of this early in the week. Sometimes Abby and Reggie will go on the stairs for a quick run up and down a flight. Occasionally, I’ll take Reggie on a “walk” up about five or six flights to give him more exercise and some quality time with me. He gets a small bite of a treat when he runs up each flight, so he’s come to love hanging out on the stairs.

Throughout the week I noticed all the cats in their moments of chillin’ and being quite comfortable with being still for a long period of time. I saw an adorable dog the other day stalking a squirrel. I watched this dog look like a statue for several minutes. He was all set on staring down that squirrel for as long as it took. (I wish I had a picture.)

Then, once again, I was reflecting on my time at the Bear River Writers’ Conference at Camp Michigania on Walloon Lake (check out last week’s blog). There are many reasons that I love Bear River, but one of the reasons that I think many of the participants love our time is our chance to be still. Being in nature, among fellow writers, and away from our busy lives allows us a few days to be still with our thoughts and our writing.

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Looking out onto Walloon Lake from the Education Center at Camp Michigania. (Bear River Writers’ Conference 2017)

It was a somewhat crazy week for me as the end-of-year “stress” piled up; graduation, finals, finishing grades, cleaning and packing up the classroom, and the like. I finally realized that I needed to find moments in my day to be still. Whether it’s sitting down to reminisce about Bear River, or watching Reggie sit on the stairs for five minutes, it was so helpful to me to do something as simple as being still for a few moments. I hope we are all able to find a moment or two to “be still” and appreciate the world around us, as well as, the world within us. Now, if I could only figure out what Reggie is thinking when he’s sitting still!

Enjoy the cuddle!

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Reggie hanging out on the stairs of my building.
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Otis sitting in my spot on the couch.
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Striker loves sitting on the window.
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Abby takes over the window when Striker jumps down.

Blog post #30 – May 28, 2017 Happy Memorial Day

Blog post #30 – May 28, 2017

Happy Memorial Day

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Allow me to say thank you and to take a minute to honor our nation’s military and our nation’s heroes. I’m especially honored to have my father, grandfather, and several aunts and uncles who served in the US military or served in war. I can’t thank my relatives enough for their service. I do think of them often, especially at times like Memorial Day.

While I don’t know any service dogs, I love seeing reports of the service dogs that served in Afghanistan or Iraq. Yes, I do get a little teary-eyed, but the stories of the soldier who are reunited with their service dogs are so touching. It’s so touching to see that the dogs are honored for their service. It also makes me want to learn a bit more about what they do while serving in the armed forces.

As a child, I also remember Memorial Day weekend as including a day when my mom was glued to the TV to watch the Indy 500. If we tried to ask her a question or tell her something that wasn’t even possible. We learned to not bother mom or join in on watching the race. As I got older, Memorial Day Weekend involved spending the weekend with my grandparents and still enjoying the Indy 500.

My cats may have moments of running around the apartment looking like the Indy cars racing around the track. As long as there are no big crashes, I’m okay with that. “Doggies and kitties…start your engines!”

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Striker relaxing and purring.

Next weekend I’ll be at a writing conference in Michigan. I’ll take next Sunday off from the blog and will return on June 11th. I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day Weekend.

Enjoy the cuddle!

Blog post #28 – May 14, 2017 Happy Mother’s Day

Good morning, Cuddlers!

Just in case the “cuddlers” are preparing for a busy day, I’ll make this one quick.

Happy Mother’s Day! I day to celebrate our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, step-moms, foster-moms, and of course, “fur moms.” It seemed that this week I stumbled across various news stories and TV shows that were focused on moms from the animal kingdom. At a Chicago zoo, the sea otter pups are now available for the public to see. Of course, the news showed the pups with their moms. I happened to catch (and watch) Jack Hanna’s show, Into the Wild, where cheetah, elephant, black bear, and rhinoceros moms and babies were highlighted. It was so cute to see the animal moms and their babies cuddling up close or playing near their mom.

Human moms and animal moms sure have big jobs in keeping their offspring safe until they’re ready to go out in the world. It sometimes seems that words can’t even describe the “job” of a mother. So, may all of the moms, of all kinds, have a beautiful day and feel the love.

Enjoy the cuddle!

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Abby sends Mother’s Day greetings to everyone.