Sunday, November 30, 2008

Look What I Won!

A box arrived yesterday from Moki's mom filled with all sorts of cat goodies. I won a raffle that was held to help with Moki's medical expenses. I must tell you that Possumlady NEVER wins ANYTHING, so this was such a delight and a total surprise. And, the very best news is that Moki is feeling much better. He is eating and drinking again and even walking around a bit. His temperature is still not up to the normal levels but it is not dropping dangerously low either.
I'd like to show you everything I received but the cat magnets are already on my fridge. The cute cat plate was used last night to serve some leftover turkey treats to the gang. The pottery bowl is absolutely beautiful! Did someone in the CB make that too? I just love that some of the things are home made.

Here's Chloe checking out the box after flipping around the cute little catnip mouse. The book "The World is your Litter Box" is now sitting on my bedside table waiting to be read.

Chloe again, reaching for the homemade catnip fishy. Sweet Pea (you can see his ears) is waiting for a chance to pounce on it.

Here is Figaro testing the huge catnip filled pillow and catnip fishy on the beautiful homemade cat blanket/bed.

I'm just glad that I was able to help Moki's family in a small way. My cats are VERY happy I did too!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

To Give Thanks and to ask for Prayers

Even with all the griping and fear about the current economy, I still have so much to be thankful for. Mainly that all my kitties are all for the most part healthy and happy. I say for the most part because there is always one or two with some kind of allergy or respiratory or stomach or teeth issue. Nothing life threatening, just annoyances. And, I can afford the vet bills when it is necessary to bring one of them in.

The blogsphere is another thing that I'm thankful for. To all you who I've gotten to know through your comments on my blog and from your own blog, thank you so much for your friendship, advice and good wishes.

The cat blogsphere is also amazing. There are so many out there taking in strays and fostering shelter cats spending enormous amounts of their own money. When someone is dealing with mounting vet bills, someone else will hold an auction or raffle to help out. If you read the comments on my past post on pinching pennies you noticed that I won a raffle that was held to help Moki and his family with medical bills. As thrilled as I was to have won the raffle, it has been tempered by the fact that Moki is not getting any better. Moki was taken in over a year ago as a foster kitten. He developed a severe neurological disorder that the vets think was a virus that was spread from his mother. Even with his severe disorder, Moki seems like such a happy and contented kitty. He recently developed a severe urinary tract infection, along with his temperature becoming dangerously low. Moki's family was hoping his temperature problems were a symptom of his UTI but the UTI is now clearing up yet his temp remains low. The real fear now is that the virus that has been dormant is now surfacing and affecting the part of his brain that regulates body temperature.

Here is a photo of Moki all bundled up trying to get his temperature up. You can read more about him at his blog So, I'm asking for your good thoughts and prayers for little Moki and his family this Thanksgiving.

With that, on this Thanksgiving Day, I'd like to leave you with some words from Rev. David O. Rankin, a Unitarian Universalist minister:

I declare a Sabbath Day--to walk in the wilderness of enlarged perceptions; I declare a release from work--to nourish the stamina to pursue ideals; I declare a special hour--to help cherish life's joys and combat life's sorrows; I declare a reign of holiness--to deepen our grounding in the sustaining mystery.

I declare a time for simply being and letting go, for rediscovering great, forgotten truths, for basking in the arts of the ages, and for learning how to live again.

Have a blessed and restful Thanksgiving. From all of us at Possumlady Place (just a fraction of which is represented in the above photo)! Oh, and I DO make my bed! This photo was taken very early one cold morning as I just got out of bed--really, it was ;-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pinching Pennies

Oh I had thought I had gotten over the time in my life when I had to watch every penny. Yes, I have made some very silly financial mistakes in my early years of living on my own--all a part of growing up. I also had the defeatist attitude that I would never make much money so there was no reason to worry about it.

When I started thinking about buying a home my attitude changed. I started reading books on finances and started contributing to my retirement account at work. I stopped getting a permanent and salon hair color. Just little things like bringing soda from home as opposed to buying cans at a vending machine started to add up. It was fun to see my savings account get larger.

Then I bought my home (no small feat for a single gal), having to almost completely deplete my savings account to do so. I was once again thrust into the poor house. That first year was nothing short of miserable. I existed off of baked potatoes for lunch and homemade cheese quesadillas for dinner. No new clothes (including underwear!) for the entire year. I remember if I got really depressed I would go to the local drugstore and treat myself to a new nail polish color! I NEVER went out for lunch or dinner. Any money I could scrape together would go for such exotic items as trash cans, garden hoses, rakes and snow shovels.

But, I kept plugging away. It’s been ten years since I bought my home and every year things would get a little more financially comfortable. Until last year. I have a set amount of money that is automatically put into my savings account with every paycheck. Starting last year I noticed I had to dip into it every now and then just to make it to the next pay period. By early this year, almost every month the entire amount automatically saved has had to be transferred to my checking account to keep me going. Now granted, I’m still putting a sizeable amount extra into my monthly mortgage so I can have my home paid off in seven years. That is something I will not compromise on. I NEED that security of a mortgage-free home by my mid to late 50s as opposed to my early 70s!

I also won’t compromise on my cats’ food. I was reading a blog and someone commented that she had switched her cats to store brand food to save money and they will just have to get used to it. Not me. That’s like me saying I’ll have MacDonalds dollar hamburger and fries every night to save money.

You know what else I won’t compromise on?? Toilet paper! I remember when I first moved to Washington, DC. I lived on Capitol Hill a block away from work at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. I lived in an old rowhouse with a roommate and I had the responsibility of keeping the bathroom clean and supplied with soap and toilet paper. The Dirksen Senate Office building is an old building with wide, dimly lit marble staircases where the housekeeping staff would keep their rolling carts of supplies on the landings. Well, I guess I sort of….stole toilet paper from the carts. Talk about tissue-paper thin! It was awful and scratchy to boot. I’ve been a Charmin girl ever since!

Can I cut back? Sure. Again, I just figured that at closing in on 50 years old, I should not have to be worried about every little penny. One luxury I afford myself is that instead of bringing my lunch every day, I buy a 5.00 sandwich down the block from my office. Always the same, chicken salad on toast. So, this weekend I bought some crackers, cheese and some good Tabouleh and have brought that to work. I’ll eat that every other day and continue to be able to get my chicken salad sandwich a couple times a week. I still don’t go out to dinner or movies.

So this past weekend I’m at Petsmart and privately lamenting the HUGE increases in the cost of cat food when I see these cute little cat toy mousies. Oh aren’t they adorable! The cats would LOVE them. I look at the price--$6.49. Must……resist……toy……mousies!! I hang them back up and feeling quite proud of myself round the corner to the check out line when I see another sign…all cat beds on sale. Well, I’m not too enthused by them. But wait! Is that a tassled PINK quilted cat bed I see buried underneath a big pile. It IS..It IS a tassled PINK quilted cat bed and on SALE for only $14.00!! Oh, this would look SOOO cute on my bed, wouldn’t it? Oh and look, it has a zipper that you can take out the padding and wash the cover. My eyes were glazed over at that point and with a big smile on my face, dropped the bed in my cart. Was it worth it?

I think......

the cats.....


What about you? Are you feeling the pinch? Are there things that you just won't compromise on? Enquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


First morning below freezing. I'm in Possumlady Heaven!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I keep all my bird and squirrel food in my car. Living in a teeny tiny house with no storage space can be challenging at times. So, with my feeders all near my car I thought it made sense to just keep everything in the back of my car so when I get home from work I can refill the feeders and spread out the peanuts without ever having to go in the house first.

One squirrel noticed this and started hanging around my car. I have to admit he startled me at first, turning around to find a squirrel about a foot away cautiously moving forward. So, I started throwing peanuts to him. Then, I decided to see if he would take an unshelled peanut from my hand. After a little hesitation he did. He then started following me to the front porch looking for more handouts. Then, one morning as I was getting ready for work I saw him hanging on my porch window screen looking in waiting for me.

Thus started my friendship with Buddy.

I almost didn't post this because of my dirty threadbare wicker! I had decided earlier this summer to replace it but with the economy as it is and just finding out on Thursday that our usual pay raises (that in no way made up for the cost of inflation) were going to be cut in half!! Well, new wicker furniture is out for now. I guess I will just repaint. Anyway, enjoy Buddy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"He's really just a bag of bones"

(See update on Ned at end of post)

Article reprinted here from the St. Petersburg Times
November 11, 2008
By Rebecca Catalanello

He weighs a ton less than he should weigh.

His cheeks are gaunt. His shoulder blades, sternum, hips and spine protrude from his leathery 9-foot-6 frame.

But 21-year-old Ned, a captive-born Asian elephant from Tampa, wobbled slowly out of a trailer Sunday into a new phase of his life.

No more circuses. No more trainers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Saturday whisked him away from Balm owner Lance Ramos, convinced the trainer had violated the federal Animal Welfare Act as Ned's owner.
More than 700 miles away at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, founder and director Carol Buckley made plans to nurse 7,500-pound Ned back to health.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the healthiest, Buckley said, Ned's body mass is a 2.
"He's really just a bag of bones," she said.

Attempts to reach Ramos for comment were unsuccessful.
This is not the first time Ramos, also known as Lancelot Kollman, has had run-ins with the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
In 2000, the federal agency charged him with violating the Animal Welfare Act after an 18-year-old female elephant broke free from a chain and killed Ramos' sister, Teresa Ramos-Caballero. The elephant died soon after of unknown reasons.

Over the course of Ramos' career, which included training animals for the Oscarian Brothers Circus, he was also cited by the USDA for failing to provide veterinary care to injured animals, causing trauma and harm to a jaguar and tolerating unsanitary conditions.

USDA spokeswoman Jessica Milteer said Ramos is appealing a court ruling in a case brought by the USDA concerning his treatment of two bigs cats. RaeLeann Smith, a circus and government affairs specialist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, lauded the USDA for confiscating Ned. But she also wrote a letter urging the agency to pursue criminal charges. Ramos has been fined thousands of dollars before. But, Smith said, he continues to offend. "We've long been concerned with his abysmal care of animals," Smith said. Milteer said the agency is only authorized to impose civil penalties. But Smith pointed to a section of federal law that appears to allow criminal penalties of up to a year in prison, or a fine of not more than $2,500, or both. "These animal abusers get a slap on the wrist and they're allowed to continue," Smith said. "They shouldn't stop there."
Back at the elephant refuge in Tennessee, Buckley said Ned seems to be making slow progress.
He is easily frightened and seems nervous to wander more than 200 feet from the barn, she said. At first, he seemed unfamiliar with fruits and vegetables. By Monday, he was eating pumpkins, broccoli, corn — "everything imaginable," she said. A healthy elephant diet includes grass, grain, and vegetation, sanctuary spokeswoman Kate Elliot said. Buckley said she suspects Ned had little more than hay for his diet — the least nutritious food commonly available to elephants.

Born Oct. 10, 1987, at Busch Gardens, Ned was the offspring of two elephants captured in Southeast Asia. At age 2, he was sold to a circus trainer and performed in the Big Apple Circus. When elephants were cut from the circus lineup, Ned wound up in Ramos' care. He recently performed in the Royal Hanneford traveling circus, Elliot said.

But Buckley said all of that is behind Ned now. If things go as planned, he will grow stronger and eventually be placed in a permanent home. "He has the potential," Buckley said, "to live to be 70."


Welcome to the Sanctuary Ned! I've read in the diary of your life these past few days at the Sanctuary that they have yet to hear a sound from you. Poor thing. Elephants normally make all kinds of grunts, rumbles and squeaks. I and hundreds of others are sending positive and healing thoughts your way. You have paid a high price for your freedom.
UPDATE: November 14
From the Elephant Sanctuary's Ned Diary
Ned had a great day. He ambled in and out of his barn all day, carrying groceries with him. Tonight he greeted his caregiver with a series of rumbles. Each time produce and grain were put in front of him, he rumbled; when the browse and bamboo were placed in his stall, he rumbled; when three varieties of hay where tossed his way, he rumbled; and when a watermelon rolled across the floor, stopping just inches from his trunk, he froze, glanced up and let out a gloriously long rumble. He is definitely coming around!

Ned went exploring first thing this morning, up the hill and into the woods—he is a very curious guy. After a short time, he came back down the hill to the hay and produce spread around his yard. He found a watermelon, stepped on in and began eating. Eleanor, one of the Sanctuary rescued dogs, had spied Ned's produce and wanted to help herself to a piece of potato. Ned stood calmly munching away on the watermelon while keeping one eye on the approaching dog. When Eleanor got closer than Ned felt appropriate, he spun and ran at her. What a sight; lanky-legged Ned racing at stubby-legged Eleanor the Bassett hound, running as quickly as her short little legs could. Eleanor dashed out of the yard, stopping just outside the corral. Ned ambled back to his groceries as Eleanor tried another approach. When Eleanor walked under the corral a second time, Ned raised his head and barked a vocalization at her. it was awesome; he was not intimidated by the dog, he was simply setting boundaries. Eleanor froze at the sound, retreated outside of the corral again and plopped down on her belly looking for another approach to the prize potatoes.

Ned seemed to think this was a good game. He watched Eleanor and each time she tried to enter his yard, he would yell at her or run towards her. Her retreats seems less fearful and more frustrated that she could not fool this elephant. The two may prove to be good friends, we will just have to wait and see.

Wow, doesn't he look like he could just walk right through those bars?!

This photo just makes my heart hurt.