Monday, July 19, 2010
Stress at home (with one of my cats, Sweet Pea being ill), stress at work (many organizational changes in the wings since the Boss left and not knowing what my job will entail in the coming months), and the incredibly oppressive heat and humidity of this summer (they talk about a cool front that will lower the temps to 90!), has made one very stressed out and melancholic possum.
Rest assured I will keep in contact by checking out your blogs and by Facebook. It's just that there is absolutely nothing of interest going on in my life and trying to think of a funny and/or interesting post is just one more stress I don't need right now.
Thanks for reading...
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
This video was taken in March. It shows Shirley and Tarra being very silly. This is a wonderful video since at 64 years old, Shirley is the oldest elephant at the Elephant Sanctuary and the matriarch of the herd and while she is pretty mellow and sweet, silly just isn't in her repertoire. Shirley has had such a tragic life in the circus. You will notice that one of her back legs is misshapen from when a bull elephant attacked her at a circus event and broke her leg, but she was never taken for treatment. You can see part of one of her ears missing from a fire when she was on a boat that had caught on fire while being brought to a circus. More recently, she has lost two of her dear ele friends in the last three years and the Sanctuary has been finding her many times off in the woods alone.
Tarra on the other hand is the gadfly of the herd. Wanting to makes friends with everyone and always wandering around with her dog, Bella. It has been amazing watching her spend more and more time with Shirley. Caregivers at the Sanctuary insist that they can tell that Tarra senses that Shirley needs extra care and some silliness now and then. Watching Shirley respond in kind is truly heartwarming. Keep an eye out at around 1.53 in the video as Shirley strategically positions her bad leg to give Tarra a little kick! Oh, also make sure your sound is on.
Enjoy and have a restful and thoughtful Memorial Day weekend.
(Dang, the right side of the video is cut off. If anyone knows how to fix, let me know--thanks).
Friday, May 21, 2010
Now, I am counting down the days to when my boss leaves. His last day in the office is the middle of June. While I'm not in fear of losing my job, the exact outline of what I'll be doing is still up on the air. There just hasn't been any time to discuss it. I have things written out about what I currently do and what I'd like to continue to do, along with a title change. I just need to get on the incoming Executive Director's calendar.
What keeps me going is my long term goal of working for my local animal shelter. While I can't think of looking for work there now, once my house is paid for I'll be able to take a job there at a lot less pay.
The shelter had a little reception and tour for the major donors last night. Now, I do donate, but am nowhere near a major donor. My neighbor is though and invited me along. I can't tell you how much I feel at home every time I walk through their doors. The Executive Director was once the chief veterinarian at a well known animal hospital in DC. He then became the Medical Director of the shelter's medical center. Now he is the Executive Director and a nicer man you will not meet.
I used to volunteer at the shelter until my own population of cats grew to the point (13) where I felt I was shortchanging them attention on evenings when I would go to the shelter. So, my plan is that in about five years, my herd (now at 8) should have thinned out even more and I can start volunteering again. Then, after I work my way into their hearts, and after my house is paid up, I hopefully can transition to employment there.
Would you like to see a few sights from last night? Sure you would...
This is Riley. Police were called to a domestic situation a little over two months ago. When they arrived they found three rottweiller puppies that had clearly been abused. All three puppies had collars that were so tight they were imbedded into their skin and had to be surgically removed. Riley also had a rubber band tightly wound around her front leg that had obviously been there for weeks. It had completely stopped the blood flow to the leg and unfortunately, they had to amputate it.
We then took a tour of the kennel area (or as they like to call them, doggy condos). Many of the dogs look like these two. They take in a high percentage of dogs from high kill shelters in West Virginia and they all seem to be hound mixes.
This white shepherd came all the way from Kuwait. Did you know that the country of Kuwait has only ONE animal shelter? Well, that one burned down and while they found homes for all of the cats and some of the dogs, there were still 20 dogs that were left out in the hot sun in cages. The Rescue League took them all.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Okay you cat-lovers in the DC area--have I got a cat for you! The Washington Animal Rescue League (the shelter that I support), posted this video of a cat they just got in. She is seven years old, declawed and weighs (ahem) 25 pounds!! Her name, appropriately, is Aretha. She was given up by her owners because she "wanted to be petted too much." Oh, the horrors.
I have fallen in love with her and if I didn't have eight of my own, including another big boned gal Chunky Lisa, I'd snatch Aretha up faster than you could say tuna! She obviously needs to go on a diet, but other than that she is very healthy and a sweeter girl you will not meet.
Check out the video and make sure your sound is on...
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I was cat sitting up the street a few weeks ago and last weekend my neighbor dropped off a beautiful woven basket from their travels in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico as a thank you gift.
I jokingly said that I hope the cats would leave it alone. I walked into the kitchen later that evening to see this
I just can't imagine this is comfortable. But I've long given up trying to figure out my cats.
A funny aside: I had to drop off some papers to my boss's house last night. His wife let me in and I was greeted by their dog T (a recently rescued 3-year old springer spaniel). T bounded up to me and then quickly spun and ran back to the kitchen/family room where my boss was. I gave my boss the documents that needed signing and we were all just chit chatting away in the kitchen. I saw T standing near his bed with his head down and called him to come over. He looked up with this big roast chicken looking toy in his mouth and stood there wagging his tail furiously. I said "what have you got there T?" My boss's wife cried out "he's got our chicken!" Apparently they had grilled a whole small chicken and it was resting on the kitchen counter and T decided to go for it. I was laughing so hard while my boss was yelling at poor T to "drop it". My boss got the chicken away not looking too bad except for a decent sized bite taken out of it. They were both SO embarrassed saying that he has NEVER done anything like that before. Of course T knew he was in trouble so he quickly came over and sat down right on my feet and was leaning against me looking all innocent. I can honestly say that I've never had to wrestle a cooked chicken away from one of my cats!
Monday, March 29, 2010
Yet, all it takes is one cat getting into something to throw the whole household into a frenzy. Such was the case last night. The day started well. I had done some more spring clean up of the yard and had finished laundry and a kitchen clean up. I got all the cats in the house by 9:00 (the wind and rain really helped with that) and was hoping for an early night. In fact, I was in bed by 11:00 (quite early for me) and had fallen asleep for about 15 minutes before all hell broke loose.
First I heard things falling over (hmmm, a cat must have gotten into the tv room closet), then I heard what sounded like a bunch of ping pong balls dropping and bouncing (okay, what the HECK is that), then I heard a cat screaming and a whooshing sound with what sounded like something substantial being knocked over. By this time, if there were any cats on the bed with me, they had all jumped off to investigate. As I threw the covers off I yelled out "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OUT THERE!!" Complete silence. I'm now standing by the side of my bed wondering if I should check it out now or just wait until morning to see what the damage is. Since I've had a few recent mouse experiences I decide to check it out in case that is what all the fuss is about. I stomp into the tv room, look around and take a moment to try and figure out what happened.
What I can make out is that Chunky Lisa opened the closet door and while trying to jump up on the boxes, pulled them down instead. One of the boxes had my miniature Christmas ornaments, that included a bunch of tiny red glass balls that were now scattered all over the floor (ahh, the ping pong ball sound), with other cats now joining in batting the balls around. Chunky Lisa was up straddling the back of a chair with the look of a crazed animal. Somehow she had gotten her head through the handles of a large red plastic bag from Target that now was draped across her back like Superman's cape. (Okay, that accounts for the scream and whooshing sound.) She must have been frantically running around trying to get rid of her "cape" and in doing so knocked over the table lamp.
Stifling a laugh I quietly yet quickly walked over to Lisa who looked like she was about to bolt, removed her cape, picked up the glass ornaments, closed the closet door and went back to bed.
And people wonder why I have such dark circles under my eyes...
Without any visual proof, I vehemently deny the allegations about me in the above story (although the red plastic cape WAS pretty cool)!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Wow, it looks like I have figured out how to post a video again! Huzzah!
Earth Hour is this Saturday. Please check out this video and join me in turning off your lights this Saturday, March 27 at 8:30 pm. I did it last year and while it's not so much fun doing it when you live alone, it was fun watching my neighborhood go dark. A number of us went out on our front porches and we all started gabbing away and before you knew it the hour was up!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Here he is curled up on my pillow. I took this photo a couple of minutes ago. When he came in he went right to the food bowl, then jumped up on my bed and has been there ever since. (Can you see his left clipped ear? He obviously got caught up in a feral colony at some point and was trapped, neutered and released. How he made it to my house is anyone's guess.)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I particularly like the mini orchid sprigs with the Spanish dancers!
Since I had my camera out I thought I'd show you my little cat and elephant tchotzkes I keep at my office.
Including a close up of a button my niece Meagan found for me. I LOVE IT (tee hee).
Now the next anniversary. Today marks the second anniversary of my sweet and gentle Butterball's death. I find it truly amazing how much I STILL miss him. Possumlady Place is again filled with laughter and little and not so little cat feet, purrs, trills and just general cat craziness. But, I still ache for Butterball, my gentle giant, my main man, my Gandhi of cats.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Well, I kept my eye out but never saw her until the night before I was going away to Orlando for a board meeting in mid-January. I had brought all the cats inside and was keeping them inside for the 2 days I was going to be away so I wasn't replenishing the food on the front porch. Around 10:00 pm I heard a commotion on the front porch and saw a brown and black cat fussing with a raccoon over about four measly pieces of kibble that were left in the bowl. I chased away the raccoon and the cat ran off too but immediately came back and was crying at the bottom of my porch stairs. I put out a can of food and I never saw a cat wolf down food so fast. I then put out another, then another, and then another! She wolfed down four cans of food!! I was afraid she was going to throw them right up again! I called my neighbor and said to keep an eye out for her and relunctantly had to leave for the airport early the next morning.
I started seeing her regularly in my back yard. She was hanging around my shed and I would see her crawl under it. We still had snow from our past storms and very cold weather so I could not try and trap her until the weather got better. Well, it never did. I was feeding and seeing her regularly until the first big storm hit on February 5th. After that I never saw her. I waded through snow every evening and put down dry kibble next to the shed. I always saw cat tracks, but it could have been any number of cats in the neighborhood.
Since going back to work on Tuesday, I decided the snow had gone down enough and paths had been forged so that if she was still around she could make it to where I usually fed her, next to my back porch. So I opened the window and called her and put out a can of wet food. I called and called but she never came. Wednesday morning the food was gone, but again, it could have been other cats, possums or raccoons. Wednesday night I went through the same routine. I called and called and lo and behold up popped a little ear tipped head! She was crying and hopping through the snow to get to where I had the food. Oh it was great to see her. She didn't wolf down the food so I know she was able to get to the kibble I was putting down for her. I talked about my day as she ate a few feet below me. In fact. I was just about to tell her what I was planning on eating for dinner when she turned and gave a big stretch and sauntered back to the shed. "Oh, okay", I said, "see you tomorrow." Isn't that just like a cat?
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
In trying to keep myself calm and centered, I'm thinking of all the little things in my life that make me smile. Oh sure, my animals keep me on my toes and make me smile and laugh every day. That is a given. But, as I was standing at the lunch counter today, I started looking at my scarf and I smiled. I LOVE my scarf! Is that silly? I got it at Kohls over a year ago and each and every time I put it on I smile. It goes with everything I have and the colors are so bright and cheerful, even the black has little shimmering threads. Everyone that has seen it comments on it and thinks it is handmade.
So what about you? Is there something in your home or office, or a piece of clothing that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face? Enquiring (possumlady) minds want to know!!
P.S. I'm sure you noticed my new header photo. Can you tell I was dealing with cabin fever and thinking of a time with no snow? I know the photo is too big but I don't know how to shrink it. I also inadvertently made the type of the entire blog larger because I wanted to make my header type larger. Obviously, I don't know what I'm doing. Any instructions would be greatly appreciated!!
Friday, February 12, 2010
Possumlady Place held up just fine.
No, they weren't napping--Chunky Lisa and Figaro showing their displeasure of mom's use of the "flashy box".
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I opened a can of wet food and slowly and carefully opened the door and quietly walked outside talking gently to him. I waved the food past the igloo opening so he could get a wiff and put it down and quietly backed into the house again. I watched as I could see him licking his chops. He then struggled a bit but got out of the igloo (that is up on a wicker chair). He does not look good. He looks very thin and has leaves stuck to him. He has a wound on his back leg and will not put any weight on one of his front legs. Yesterday was the first day that I dug out of my driveway to the cleared street, so it was obvious he was across the street the whole time yet had no way of getting to me until he had a clear path. Poor, poor thing.
With our offices closed again today and a major storm approaching by the end of today, I had one objective. To try and get to a supermarket and stock up again. Now I have two. I'm going to try and get Pyewacket into my cat carrier and bring him over to my neighbor's where she has a caged cat condo. At least there he will be safe and warm. We will bring him to the vet once the weather clears and go from there. Since he is pretty feral, if we find that he has a broken leg or other serious issues that would require daily pilling or other medication, I hate to say this, but I think the best thing would be to have him put down. He is clearly not happy and not able to fend for himself and with the weather as bad and cold as it has been, it could be the most humane thing to do. On the other hand, If he just has an infected puncture wound of some kind that will heal up we may just keep him inside until the weather gets better and the snow melts and he is able to walk again.
So keep your fingers and paws crossed for Pyewacket, or as I call him "my little hissy boy".
Well, it's good and it's bad. I watched Pyewacket struggle down my front porch steps and down my walkway to the street. With a bad front and back leg it was tortuous watching him struggling to get across the street. As luck would have it he made it back to my porch about 20 minutes later and jumped up into the little igloo. I then cautiously brought my cat carrier out and put the opening up against the opening of the igloo and tapped on the igloo and out popped Pyewacket into my carrier. My neighbor called our vet and he was at his clinic. I decided to bring him in then and there. The vet looked at him and said given his unknown medical history regarding shots and the look that he was in a major fight with most likely a raccoon, they put Pyewacket down. I feel bad but honestly I mostly feel relieved. He is no longer struggling to survive in pain and in the freezing cold. I honestly don't know how he made through this last storm with those injuries and with another coming later today, I think it would have been too much for him. So goodbye Pyewacket. At least you got a good meal and was able to quench your big thirst for water, along with being safe and warm for your last hours. Your life had meaning and I'm glad I was able to share some of it with you.
Photo of Pyewacket taken a year ago when he first started coming to my porch for food. The photo was taken through a storm door since he would not allow me to get close to him.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Manny, Mo, and Jack...no, no it's Chloe, Oliver and Figaro. I really need to bring my suitcase back down to the basement!
Friday, February 5, 2010
I've done as much as I could for the evening regarding a couple of semi-feral strays that come around. I know one stays under my shed out back. I've made sure that one little area will not get covered up and have put a lot of food under the shed. There is also a small insulated dog house on the side of my house under my eaves away from the wind. I also made a canopy from an old bedspread that is hanging over my wicker on the front porch to make sure the food and water doesn't get snowed under.
Now my biggest concern is the electricity going out. This is a very heavy wet snow and we have lots and lots of big trees around here so I'm crossing my fingers and saying prayers tonight. The news folks are also stressing that we need to shovel multiple times so that we are literally not killing ourselves trying to shovel two feet of heavy wet snow.
Taking a break after my first shoveling around 7:30 tonight to take a picture of little Possumlady Place. Hmmm, do I see something or someone in the window?Can you see little Figaro's black head on the lower right of the window? He was desperate to get out. Not on my watch mister!
Then there's Woody--"Snow, what snow? Could you close the door please, I'm feeling a draft".
Okay, it's 10:00 pm and I'm going out for my second shoveling and last one of the night. Wish me luck!!
11:00 pm update: WHEW! Well, I shoveled over a foot of snow. Luckily my neighbor across the street was also out and he helped me. I just can't imagine what it will be like tomorrow morning. The weather folks have said the heavy stuff is just beginning! The wind is picking up and I saw a flash of light. They did mention the possibility of Thunder snow. The canopy on the porch is not working because the wind is so strong it is blowing snow on all the food and water. I just threw a handful of dry kibble into the little igloo in case Pyewacket makes his way here. Good times....good times
I'm taking a naproxen and calling it a night.
Feb 6, 6:30 am update
To quote Christopher Walken as "the Continental" -- "Wow, wowee, wow, wow, wow! The good news is I still have electricity!!! The bad news is that it is STILL snowing like mad and the wind is blowing like crazy. I had my first really good belly laugh of the day as I opened the front door. Of course, the outside kitties made a bee line for the front porch. They all stopped dead in their tracks on the snowy porch floor and looked at me like "what the #%$@!! Then Chunky Lisa led them down the front steps. At the bottom she almost disappeared into the snow. She had a hard time trying to get going but she almost flew back up the front stairs and back into the house as did the other three. I promise to have my camera at the ready next time. Will keep you updated with photos throughout the day (what the heck else can I do, except for shoveling of course!!)
First casualty of the storm--no cable tv!! Boo Hoo. Oh well, with hearing transformers blowing out around me, I should be thankful I still have power. Hearing on the radio that over 200,000 are now without.
My polar bear flag looks quite appropriate, no?
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Tai Shan was born in 2005 at the National Zoo. They had a panda cam set up and I was a faithful follower of him for that first year. Chinese tradition dictates that 100 days have to pass before naming a panda cub. So when a caretaker at the zoo described the cub after he was born as being "about the size of a butterstick", the name Butterstick stuck as a local pet name for him.
The National Zoo had an internet poll where everyone could vote for their favorite name for the cub out of five that were approved by the Chinese government. (There was an actual write in vote for the name Butterstick, by the Chinese government did NOT approve.) Most of the names meant "magnificent warrior" or "dragon warrior", etc. Tai Shan meant "peaceful mountain" and I immediately voted for that name. I happened to be in Churchill, Manitoba watching polar bears at the time when the Zoo was going to announce the name. As soon as I got settled, I searched around town for a computer so I could find out and was thrilled they chose Tai Shan as his name.
Tai Shan's first snow in 2005
Here he is as a big boy looking like he is playing a bamboo flute in 2007.
So, farewell Butterstick. Even though you are going back to your homeland, you will always be a native DC'er. Live long and multiply.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I, like my cats, crave routine. My morning and evening rituals pretty much revolve around taking care of all my animal charges. When I wake up, my bed is usually filled with a few cats. But they are off the bed as soon as I am and into the living room, stretching, yawning, and scratching. After I get all the cats happy with more food, clean water, clean litterboxes, I settle down into the couch listening to my classical radio station and get online for a while to read the news of the day. When it's time to get ready for work, I move back to my bedroom and teeny tiny bathroom that is inside my bedroom.
Since he was adopted, Butterball always padded back into the bedroom with me and kept me company while I was showering, getting dressed, etc. I would always spend a little time on the bed with him either giving him loads of pats and belly scritches, or playing catch with a wadded piece of paper. Since Butterball's death in early 2008, I've gotten ready for work alone. No other cat has stepped up to the plate to keep me company. I was so lonely after a few months of this, I would go into the living room and carry a cat back with me trying to get it to stay in the bedroom. No such luck. That is, until now. For the past month or so, Chunky Lisa has been in the bedroom lying at the foot of my bed, either casually snoozing or watching me.
No, she doesn't play catch or scratch my back, but she sure does purr up a storm.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
That said, I was a little disappointed in this year's tribute. The music didn't seem to live up to past years. Still, again, much better than most. It doesn't seem like I'm able to add videos anymore. Lord knows why not. So I'm putting a link to them. Here is 2009's Tribute, along with 2008, and 2007. I hope you will take the time to watch them and let me know what you think. One more reason why I love TCM so much.
Oh, one thing. It looks like when the video comes on they put a little trailer on the bottom about the song. Make sure to click that closed or you won't see the names at the bottom of the screen.
Monday, January 4, 2010
On our last day in Tanzania, we stopped at a gift shop. I was so excited to find a small Tanzanian cookbook that had a recipe for Kuku paka. That excitement turned to frustration as the line to check out was long and not moving. I saw a few incidents of the "ugly American" syndrome where folks were trying to haggle with the shop owner into lowering the prices. They would make comments about what a rip off some of the items were. Looking at the folks who worked at the store you knew none of them were getting rich. In fact, by American standards, they all looked pretty destitute. I was so put off by the bickering that I put down the cookbook in a huff and left. I sat in our van waiting for everyone else to return. After a half hour, folks were starting to trickle back. A fellow traveler, Gale, quietly sat down next to me and handed me a package, saying this was her goodbye gift to me. Inside was the cookbook! I will be forever grateful to her for that small gift. I've lost count on the number of people who now have this recipe or who have passed it on to others.
After over ten years of cooking it, I think I've perfected the dish. Here is my version of the recipe:
Two packages of chicken breasts (you can use whatever kind of chicken you prefer, it should amount to around 3 pounds of meat). I also recommend using chicken with the skin on and with bones still attached. I swear it makes for a much more flavorful stew than using boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Two large onions, sliced.
Two cloves of garlic, minced.
A "thumb" of ginger, peeled and grated.
One tsp. of salt
Two tbls. of oil.
One can of diced tomatoes (the recipe calls for 4 small tomatoes, but with the pink and woody tomatoes of winter, I have no problem using canned tomatoes).
Four cups of coconut milk, which is basically two cans. (To lower the fat, I've tried using two cans of reduced fat coconut milk and the flavor was just not there. I then tried one can of reduced fat and one can of regular and it still is not as good as using two cans of regular.)
A bunch of chopped cilantro
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup of rice
Heat the oil in a large stew pot. Add the onions and saute on medium high heat until they are limp and just starting to brown. Add the garlic and ginger (I just peel the ginger and grate it directly into the pot). Stir until you start smelling the garlic and ginger. Then add the salt and the can of tomatoes (no need to drain). Put the chicken pieces on top of the onion/tomato mix, cover and lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes.
Now, turn off the heat, take out the chicken pieces to cool so they can be handled (about 20 minutes). Remove and discard the skin and bones and shred the chicken and return it to the stew. Turn back on the heat to medium, add the fresh cilantro, lemon juice and rice, stir to mix and cover and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.
I also will add a little cayenne pepper for some heat on occasion but it is not necessary. As with all stews, the flavors really blossom reheating it the next day.
I hope you will try it!
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Oh, if only this one was in better focus!! Trying out my zoom on Chunky Lisa.
Better focus but I prefer the first photo.
Well, that's about it for now. I promise to do better in the New Year!!