catnipoflife

Observe life at its best, listen to life’s songs, embrace life’s bounties, breathe the breath of life and savor life to its fullest!

The Owl

What recollections do you have of the owl? As a child, mine are two fold. First the nursery rhyme, The Wise Old Owl, which handed down through tradition merits the art of measuring our words. Basically it is told in an attempt to teach a child the virtue of being quiet! Second is the nonsense poem The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear. Within the poem’s verses is mention of four animals – an owl, a cat, a pig, and a turkey, each with an important role toward a happy love story ending.

With the month of February being the month of love and Valentine’s Day only a week away, let’s venture forth with this second one foremost in mind.

Of the four animals from the poem, why place emphasis on the owl? Perhaps because it is the least recognized throughout the year. Oink! Oink! Oink! celebrates National Pig Day (March 1),  It’s Party Time…for the CAT! focuses full attention on our feline friend for National Cat Day (October 29) while Gobble Gobble Gobble sets our sights on a holiday feast at Thanksgiving in November! Question is…When is Owl Day?

OwlGrid

Who-o-o-o-o is who?

Before setting our sights on a day of celebration for the owl, perhaps a bit of owl knowledge will establish reason and purpose behind why such a celebration might be in order. How much do you know about the owl? It is a bird, it has big eyes, it sits in trees (often screeching, thus the Screech Owl), it is a night predator (thus, the Night Owl which describes many a human), it is shrouded in witches’ tales. Um-m-m-m? Is that all there is to the owl? Not hardly…

THE OWL

owl-in-tree

A funny little bird
Big eyes, crooked beak
Avid hunter by night
By day hide ‘n’ seek

owl-in-flight1

Mystique in silent flight
Quick and eloquent
Supple velvety down
Soft and elegant

owl-catch

Victory in battle
A gourmet mainstay
Bye bye pesky rodents
Owl’s favorite prey

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With a turn of the head
Almost all way ’round
Super-powered senses
Hardly miss a sound

owlets

Mysterious hissing
Creepy hooty hoot
Masters of spookiness
Yet oh so darn cute

Though it’s illegal to keep owls as pets in the United States, they’re intelligent and sociable. (Most of the time, anyway—owls can attack humans when feeling threatened.) In Japan, there are even owl cafés, where you can hang out with owls while drinking tea.

What are your thoughts on a designated Owl Day? Would you like to celebrate and what date do you think it should be?

please-share-your-thoughts

 

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Daily Dose of Laughter

Laughter-Sparkles-Sunlight

What is life without laughter? That is one category personally I have no clue other than it would be total boredom! With a husband that is a joke waiting to be told, a smile waiting to happen, and who considers a day wasted if not at sometime during that day making someone else laugh, there is always sunshine even on a rainy day. Sure we have our ups and downs, bad communication and misunderstandings, but who doesn’t? That is LIFE! It’s all in how you handle the moments with even the bad ones somehow allowing a smile to emerge along with flowing teardrops.

I never know at any moment in time what might he might say to knock me off my feet or send me bending double with laughter. Here are two that are totally hilarious. One a couple of years back and another recently.

My middle name is Anita. I have never really liked that name, never use it, never write it, especially since marriage. Out of the blue Jim calls me from across the room, “Anita! Anita!” I turn with a scowl look on my face responding, “Anita? Don’t call me Anita!” His immediate reply, “But, baby, I needa ya!” Get the pun?

For this one, keep in mind we just celebrated our Pearl Anniversary on July 10.

We are having some work done on our sprinkler system since the grass in the backyard is dying from all the heat and lack of sufficient water. The man putting in the irrigation system is named Jackie. Jim approaches Jackie and calls him over to the back porch, “Jackie, do you know why I love my wife so much?” Of course, Jackie responds with all sorts of commonalities and a few funnies of his own but remains somewhat perplexed because he knows Jim is going to come up with a doozie. And a doozie he did indeed. “She is beautiful, works like a hired hand, makes damn good biscuits and she doesn’t snore!”

What can I say? I love this man!

Laughter3

When it comes to laughter, there is hardly anything funnier than children and animals so let’s not stop here. Watch the video to end your day or perhaps begin a new day with a smile on your face and a laugh in your heart!

 The cats are the best! What do you think? Which is your favorite?

Make someone’s day…smile, then LAUGH!

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What’s In A Name

It is most fitting to follow the reblog of yesterday with Bob’s posting of today. The cubs names are most unusual but of course, I am not from Zimbabwe nor do I speak Swahili! Thanks to Bob for not only sharing the cubs new names but a bit of information as to their origins.

Finally the voting is over and our three new lion cubs have names. All three are female so it will be interesting to see Zawadi’s reaction to all the girls around him. So without further ado here are the visitor’s choices.

Cubs Names

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The Cubs Venture Out

I always marvel at the photography of Bob Mielke. He often visits the Portland Oregon Zoo where he knows most of the animals by name. If they could speak, I am sure each one would greet him daily, “Hello, Bob. Glad you are here today!”

I love these video updates on our three new lion cubs at the Portland, Oregon Zoo. They have names now that I’ll share at a later post but I wanted to post the latest video for you to enjoy.

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Unusual Best Friends

Just a quick little touch of catnip!

Not sure how many of these may have been ‘doctored’ but they bring out their intended emotions! ENJOY!

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Animals that are masters of disguise (camouflage) – Part 1

“Arlen Shahverdyan. Author’s Blog” has outdone himself this time. What a challenge! Within each photograph is an animal that is a master of disguise. See if you can find them all. Some are harder to spot than others, especially the Snow Leopard and possibly the spider. Arlen ensures us the photographs are real and natural, not photoshopped!

NOTE: Remember Arlen is Armenian but he includes the English translation on his blog!

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Life is Full of Surprises…

…with a little craziness tossed into the mix!

Which is your favorite?

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Beautiful Animals and Birds

Of course catnipoflife is not just about cats. It is about life and the joys found within all its beauty: the sights, the sounds, and yes, even the smells. We go about our daily routines sometimes not even noticing the little things that keep life in balance. A new bud on an old flower, a breath of fresh air, the wisp of the wind, a raindrop that quenches the thirst of the tiniest insect.


There is so much surrounding us that is truly amazing. Take the time to simply look around…

Beautiful animals and birds from Murvakonda Shailaja
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Unusual Friendships

Friendship

Friendship is the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring all right out just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful friendly hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and, with a breath of comfort, blow the rest away.” ~Dianh Mulock Craik (1826-1887)

friendship

affection, affinity, alliance, amity, attachment, benevolence, closeness, concord, familiarity, fondness, friendliness, good-fellowship, goodwill, harmony, intimacy, love, rapport, regard

To me, there is a very strong word reflected in the quote that does not appear in the list of synonyms for friendship:

comfort

abundance, alleviation, amenity, assuagement, bed of roses, cheer, cheerfulness, complacency, contentment, convenience, coziness, creature comforts, enjoyment, exhilaration, facility, gratification, happiness, luxury, opulence, peacefulness, pleasure, plenty, poise, quiet, relaxation, relief, repose, rest, restfulness, satisfaction, snugness, succor, sufficiency, warmth, well-being

Do you see any synonym of comfort that does not lie within the boundaries of friendship? Where would we be without friends? The need to reach out to someone is ever present whether in times of happiness or despair. These are definitely the times and places where hugs are universal!

Within friendship, there indeed abides comfort!”

If these pictures are true representations (never can tell with the capabilities of technology today), why is it humans have such difficulty coexisting?

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A Pet’s Prayer

Sandy

Inspiration can reveal itself so unexpectedly! It comes in many shapes, sizes, packages, in the form of simple or complex messages, and sometimes totally surprises us with random thoughts and complete spontaneity. Yesterday I was touched by Rosemary Adkins Extraordinary Dreams of an Ireland Traveler. Within her posting was a bonus story, actually a prayer, about her dog, Sandy, who is very ill.

Throughout the formative years of our children, Jim and I have encountered, helped, saved, fostered, and laid to rest many pets. Some have been more memorable that others each leaving behind his/her own tales of antics that brought on the tears, either from sheer aggrevation or pure happiness. They ranged from pet snakes to gerbils to the adoring puppy to the dog who dug into our yard to the fiesty and last, but not least, the cuddly kitten.

This would be similar to our gerbil cages.

Let’s begin with the gerbils. Cute with all the accessories that go along with keeping gerbils active and happy, cage with bedding and nest fluff, exercise wheel and chewing toys (household items worked best). Of course, there were two since the two youngest daughters (Nicole and Wendy) expressed the most desire for the gerbil as their pet(s). Oh, dear, one would not do so we ‘adopted’ two, that is two of everything for the gerbils ended up being one male and one female. (Don’t really recall if that was intentional or totally by accident. LOL!) The kids would watch them as they performed their stunts and the laugther and giggles could be heard throughout the house. All was well and each girl took responsibility for caring for her gerbil, until. . .

One afternoon while Wendy was visiting a friend, Niki felt like her gerbil was sad being all alone in its cage. Oh, I know what you are thinking and you are on the right path alright! Yep, she opened the tiny door to Minnie’s cage, carefully reached inside and gently lifted the little socialite onto her hand. Then, cautiously opened the tiny door to Micky’s cage releasing Minnie quickly as she closed and relatched the cage door. Well, rightly to say that was not the end of the story but only the beginning for the loving couple! I will add that all in all it was not a bad experience for with the birth of the baby gerbils came excitement that could never be replicated! May they rest in peace:>)

OOPS! A little of track. . .

Sharla, Jim & Chief 1984

Since this reflection began with Rosemary and her dog, Sandy, it cannot conclude without reference to Chief, the black labrador and Prince, the dalmation. Chief was the one mentioned earlier that dug under the fence into the yard. It did not matter how many times we let him out the back gate or how many times we filled in the holes under the fence, we would wake up the next morning with his having returned via a new entrance into the backyard. It was early one morning as Jim let Chief out the back gate AGAIN that he was approached by one of our neighbors who proceeded to make a comment insinuating the dog liked our yard better than his own. Needless to say, by the end of the conversation, we had acquired the dog! To this day, I do believe Chief was abused and that is why he kept coming into our yard.

As for Prince, he strayed onto the front porch one day so skinny his ribs resembled a bony rack and what little skin that was there oozed profusely from sores. So pitiful were those eyes that just bored right through you pleading for love! Our son, Scott, actually knew the owner of the dog (I really think the dog followed him home with a little help.) After contacting Prince’s owner, we found out he was unable to take care of the dog mainly because of the expense to get him to a vet. So, he became Prince Shults! [I searched for a picture of Prince but there was none to be found in the family albums. Probably still in one of the envelops that never made it to any of the album pages.]

Well, Chief Shults and Prince Shults were buddies from day one! Both loved to run and play (inside and outside the house mind you)! Understand that Chief was the water hound and Prince, the instigator. The yard was fenced in but Prince being slender and quite agile quickly learned he could leap off the deck. Chief being the much heavier of the two struggled but eventually made it not wanting Prince to have all the fun alone. That is how the escapade began but it definitely did not end with just a simple romp around the neighborhood. It resulted in several nights of missed sleep because the dogs could not be found.

The kids were frantic. Jim and I were worried. The weather turned nasty. Then, we played the waiting game. We contacted everyone in the neighborhood, called the rescue center, the Pound, animal control, etc., etc., etc. You know the routine. No luck. For days we waited, hoped and prayed they were alright. Then came the phone call. . .

Actually, it was Jim who made the call once again to the animal control center. Here is the gist of the conversation.

Control Center Operator: “Bay County Animal Control. May I help you?”

Jim: “This is Jim Shults and I live in the cove. We have two dogs that have been missing for several days.”

Control Center Operator: “Hold on, Mr. Shults. Hey, Glenda, do you still have that boat owner on the line calling about the two dogs? I think I have their owner on this line.”

Bottom line, the dogs had crossed town to the bay. Prince was leading Chief to water! When the weather turned nasty, they seeked refuge aboard a doctor’s boat (You can use you imagination about the boat!). As soon as the weather cleared, the owner went down to the dock to check on his boat. Here is the last part of the telephone conversation.

Glenda: “Yes, I still have Dr. McCormick on the line. I told him we may have the owner of the dogs on another line. He says a dalmation is on the boat and a black lab is in the water. He wants to get on his boat but the guarddog won’t let him come anywhere near the boat or the water!”

Control Center Operator: “Mr. Shults will one of your dogs guard a boat while the other swims? If so, they are at Dr. McCormick’s.”

We knew the doctor so when we arrived at his house the atmosphere was frantic but cordial. The minute those two dogs saw Jim they bolted toward him, both wet, scared, hungry and totally exhausted. They slept for two days.

Oh, my, I did get a bit long-winded, didn’t I?

When you start writing stories about your children and/or pets, it is sometime hard to just stop. Must though or the message behind this story might be lost. Since catnipoflife is inspired by the feline she will end with a prayer, but it is a prayer to all the loving, adorable pets who grace our homes and lives.

Be sure to stop by and visit Rosemary. Leave a prayer for Sandy.

A Pet’s Prayer

Thank you, Lord, each day
For the victuals I am fed
Petting and brushing
And my soft, billowy bed

Thank you for the extra treats
Persistently when I’m good
Especially the catnip
Dusted along the faux wood

Thank you for safe keeping
As I scamper and play
Climbing trees, chasing bugs
During the night and day

Thank you for my parents
So loving and kind
Who clean up my messes
And don’t even mind

After all the thanks
I must surely add
I’m truly feline
For this I am glad

If I should die
And it seem unfair
Please let them know
I’m in Heaven’s care

To them you see
I am their child
They need to know
For me you smiled

But before I close
My prayer, you see
Is for more than one
Not simply me

© 2012
catnipoflife

“If we treated everyone we meet with the same affection we bestow upon our favorite cat, they, too, would purr.”
—Martin Buxbaum (Author, photographer, artist and humorist, 1912–1991)

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