Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve at the Elephant Sanctuary

I've always felt New Year's Eve was a forced holiday. I can't ever remember having a very good time at a NYE party, even when I was dating someone! Unless a neighbor invites me over for a drink and to watch a good dvd, I'll happily stay home and watch the Twilight Zone marathon.

So, if there are any other boring people out there like myself who will be staying home tonight I wanted to alert you to a fun virtual NYE party going on at the Elephant Sanctuary. They started it last year with posting new videos of the girls and a live streaming video with sounds of the girls in their barn at night. Listening to all that trumpeting is not to be missed! I believe they will have new videos posted every hour. Festivities start at 4:00 pm (CST). Check them out at

To get you in the mood, I'm posting the Elephant Sanctuary's latest ele-update. It's a hoot!


During a late night feed last week Carol lost her favorite earflap hat. It was pouring down rain, so she headed back to the barn with the plan to retrieve her hat the next morning. But the next morning the hat was nowhere to be found. All of the staff at the Quarantine barn were on the lookout for this favorite hat, but it was soon accepted that some form of wildlife had found it and carried it off to their den; what a warm bed that would make! But today while Julia was out feeding the elephants, she found Carol’s hat and called immediately to report her find. Carol rushed out with the camera in order to share the news with all of you. Lottie had not only found the hat, but had tasted it, chewed on it, dragged it through the mud, played tug of war with Minnie with it, and finally tossed it on top of her back where it lodged itself in the fresh mud caking Lottie’s back.

It was kind of cute, like a colorful mouse-size throw blanket. When Carol approached to take pictures and retrieve the hat, Lottie was amused and Minnie was by her side, likewise interested in what Carol was so focused on. Lottie approached Carol chattering, and after many photos were taken, was happy to stand still as Carol reached up to the top of Lottie’s back with a long stick to retrieve the hat. Well, it was really no longer a hat; actually at this point it resembled more of a turtle neck sweater, minus the sweater part because of the large openings at either end. It was no longer any use as a hat so Carol tossed the hat to Jessie the dog who grabbed it and raced off as if he had just scored the best toy ever, with Miai and Java on his heels!


Update: check out the video link below. It is SO adorable! It shows other four-legged folks that call the Elephant Santuary home.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas goes to the cats

A good Christmas was had by Possumlady. I went over to my sister's house where we had her traditional Christmas dinner of Prime Rib with yorkshire pudding, my creamed onions, grilled asparagus and a wonderful salad with dried cranberries and macadamian nuts.

Before I left for my sisters, I sprinkled catnip both inside and on the front porch for the outside kitties. I returned home around 10:00 pm feeling both stuffed and exhausted. My sister lives about an hours drive away which is not too bad but I do have to drive the dreaded beltway. I don't mind it too much during the day but it seems much more dangerous at night.

A Christmas moon.

Anywho, I should have gone right to bed but I couldn't resist giving the cats their presents from my sister. It was an entire box of cat toys!! I have never seen so many. I just set the open box on the floor with the tissue paper still in it and stepped back to see what would happen.

This is right after the initial mayhem. Oliver is sitting on the overturned gift box. Notice the shreds of tissue paper.

"Say your prayers mousie"

"Let me just nibble on your tail a wee bit"

"I know I should be playing with this little stuffed stocking, but it is awfully late."

(Yawn) "I think it makes a very nice pillowwwzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

From Santa Claws (aka Sweet Pea)....

And his trusted sidekick, Woody the black-nosed reincat.

Okay, a little background here. I was at Petsmart and found these little cat hats and HAD to buy them. I must have seemed a little unbalanced as I stood in line to pay, laughing to myself while looking at the hats. Someone asked "Are those for cats?!!" I said "YES, I can't imagine EVER getting one of my cats to wear these but I have to try!!"

Sweet Pea has this annoying habit to jump and sit in my favorite chair and WILL NOT BUDGE. Trying to get him to move involved lots of cajoling from me and cries and growls on his part. This particular time he just would. not. move. Hmmm, I thought, a perfect time to get the santa hat out. I put it on him as he continued to growl. I was laughing which did not improve his mood. I then ran to get the camera and fired off a number of shots before he jumped off the chair and pulled the hat off. So, the above photo is of one ANGRY Santa Claws.

Woody on the other hand, while not too pleased to have his ears covered, nonetheless, put up with it because his mom laughs and pays attention to him. Both good things as far as Woody is concerned.

A Very Merry Christmas to all, and may God bless us.....

Every One!!

Love, Possumlady and everyone here at the Possumlady Home for Wayward Animals.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Great Gift Book

One of the great things about my association's annual conference is that we have a huge exhibit hall with over 1200 exhibits. Anything the early childhood educator might need is there. For me, I always check out the latest children's books. I love simple children's books and the beautiful artwork usually goes along with it.

The last few years, I have to say, have been lean. Maybe there were some great books out there but I really didn't have the time to look through all the exhibits. I was, after all, working almost 12 hour shifts at our association's headquarters office.

This year after a particularly frustrating morning, a coworker said "let's just get out of here for a while." I didn't need anymore prodding then that. I felt like a kid cutting class! We quickly walked to the exhibit hall where my coworker was hoping to get a few things for her grandkids. I almost walked past an exhibit, but a stuffed fawn toy caught my attention. (At 48 years old, I'm still a sucker for stuffed animals.) It was the exhibit for the photographic husband and wife team of Carl Sams and Jean Stoick. They had just come out with a new book entitled "First Snow in the Woods" I fell in love with it.

Here let me show you:

It's a story about a young fawn experiencing his first winter. All the other animals in the woods know they need to prepare or leave. The fawn is worried and confused but his mother keeps telling him he will be all right.

How can you not love a book with a dedication page like this!?

The photography along with the beautiful prose make this a very enchanting book.

I thought of Mary when I saw this photo.

I was lucky to get my copy signed by Carl Sams. So if you have any budding young naturalists on your gift list, or old naturalist wanna be's, like me, I highly recommend this book.

Now onto something completely different.

Just because I can't seem to post without a cat photo. This past weekend we were spared the ice and sleet storm predicted. What we did get though was a weekend of cold rain and harsh winds. The cats did NOT want to be outside. I was busy cooking and cleaning and walked into my bedroom to find this

I sighed, gave them all pats while calling them a bunch of slugs, and went back to my cooking and cleaning.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nothing Special

I had a terrible day at work today. Yesterday was no picnic either. The time after our big annual conference and before the holidays is usually a time of quiet. A time to catch your breath and play catch up. But it is not that way this year. Our Board continues to push us along and my boss continues to say "yes, we can do that...and MORE" Everyone is stressed. My boss, who is usually a very easy-going guy, has snapped at me more times in the last week then I can remember. I've just about had it. Oh if I were only 10 years older, I would tell them to shove off. Our holiday party is Thursday afternoon and I honestly am stressed thinking about how much time the party will take away from all the other things I need to be doing. This is the first year since our office started collecting toys for charity for the holidays that I have nothing to offer. I just completely forgot about it and I have no time to run out to a Target. I'm suffering from a bad case of the blahs or some serious ennui.

So, I'll just post some photos that really don't belong in any story.

Here's Toby last week the day after our snowfall. All the cats stayed in that day but I could not get Toby to come inside. I think by the time I got home from work though, he was more then ready.

Crouching Woody---Hidden Sparrows. I'm embarrassed to point out the vertical streaks on the window where Woody sticks his nose all day.
I was trying to get a photo of the Red Bellied woodpecker but I think my neighbor brushing off his car thought I was taking a photo of him!

And, lastly, here is Greybeard helping me navigate all the blogs I try to read. He would literally keep his paw on me the entire time if I didn't push it off occasionally. For a cat paw it is surprisingly heavy when you are trying to type!

Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow. Good night!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


First photo taken around 8:30 am on December 5, second photo taken around 9:00 on December 6

There is nothing that can make me feel more like a happy little 5 year old then the first snow of the season. I think I shall always have to live in an area that gets at least a handful of snowfalls each winter. I have snow in my blood.

Even though I was wearing sensible office attire today, inside I felt like this little girl again. Okay, maybe without the HUGE banana.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Happy Anniversary Butterball and Apu!

It was 11 years ago today that I picked up Butterball and Apu from the shelter to start our new lives together. It was also 11 years ago this past September that my first and only cat, Bill, who was 13 years old, was diagnosed with an inoperable agressive oral tumor attached to his upper jaw. My job was to try and make him as comfortable as possible until I could tell that he no longer enjoyed food or being petted and the most loving thing would be to put him down. I did that in mid-November. Being single and coming home to an empty house each night after work was sheer torture. With the holidays fast approaching, everyone was telling me to wait until the first of the year to get another cat. I just couldn't wait and started taking trips to my local animal shelter. First to donate some money in Bill's name, then to start casually looking at the cats. I vowed at that time that I would never have just one animal. As I mentioned, when Bill died, it was too hard coming home with no one to greet me.

I found Butterball almost immediately. Even in the best of shelters, the noise and chaos can be overwhelming. To find a cat that is neither desperately trying to get out of his cage or terrified scrunched up at the back of the cage is a rarity. Butterball was just lounging taking everything in. I opened the cage to pet him and he immediately rolled over on his back for me to rub his belly. A cat has to feel incredibly secure in order to do that and I was smitten. I asked for him to be taken to the meet and greet room for cats and was shocked to see that he didn't have a tail! I asked was he born like that or did someone do that to him? The volunteers didn't know. Honestly, at first, the no tail thing kind of turned me off. But, three year old "Big Baby Butterscotch", his name at the time, won me over with his incredible combination of inquisitiveness and laid back attitude. I also kept saying to him, why you're just a big ol' Butterball and the name stuck. It didnt' take me long to figure out that Butterball was a Manx and he has all the characteristics of one--very dog-like, follows people around, protective of his home, and very calm. In Manx cats, their back legs are longer than their front legs so their back is rounded and sticks up. When they run they have almost a hopping gait like a rabbit which is a riot to watch.

Okay, I filled out the paperwork for Butterball. I needed to find another cat rather quickly as I wanted to bring them home together so there wouldn't be any turf wars. No other cat really appealed to me at the time. But, as many of you know, I am a sucker for the underdog. I had already made a decision that I would not get another black cat right away (Bill was black), and NEVER get another kitten (Bill was 6 weeks old when I got him). The kitten rule was for two reasons. One, I already raised a kitten and knew of their destructiveness and the fact that you basically could get nothing done with a kitten around. I also knew that kittens were adopted much, much more quickly than adult cats and I wanted to give another adult cat a home.

One Saturday afternoon I was at the shelter and this volunteer was there cuddling this little black kitten named Simon. He had a respiratory infection so was not very active. She kept saying how cute he was and didn't understand why everyone always passed him by. I asked her about him and she said at almost 3 months old, Simon had been passed from one family to another, about 4-5 times. He had already been at the shelter for almost a month which is pretty unheard of for a kitten. I sighed and said, can I hold him? Well, I never saw someone move as fast as that volunteer did to put Simon in my arms. He just looked at me and blew a little snot bubble from his nose, started purring, then fell fast asleep in my arms. I said, do you want to come home with Butterball and me? And, that was that. I filled out the paperwork and on December 2, 1996 I brought them home. Now, many of you know that The Simpsons is one of my all time favorite programs and friends kept saying that I had to name one of the cats Apu, since it was my favorite character and for some reason, I just loved to say "Apu". So, Simon became Apu.

After about a month, Butterball took up the role of loving uncle to Apu. Here he is making sure Apu's ears are nice and clean. Here's to hopefully many more years together.