Endure 4 Kindness 2013

Hello Everyone!  I hope everyone has had a nice weekend and plan to have a fun and safe Halloween on Thursday.  And while children everywhere will be complacent in sugar-induced comas, I will be participating in this year’s Endure 4 Kindness challenge!

MC1Random Acts is an awesome non-profit organization that happens to be the brain child of this amazingly fantastic guy (right).

Don’t recognize him yet?

How about now?

misha-collins-castiel

That’s right.  None other than Supernatural‘s sometimes-quirky-sometimes-scary Castiel, Misha Collins.

According to the organization’s history page, in December of 2009, Misha asked his Twitter followers (aka minions) for ideas for non-profits to obtain stimulus money from the U.S. government. And it eventually morphed into Random Acts.  The whole idea revolves around kindness and I really think we need more of that in the world today. The Random Acts site even says “we have an organization poised to conquer the world, one random act of kindness at a time.”

000210s8As they say, “No good deed goes unpunished,” and the guys on the Supernatural set were not about to let Misha get away unscathed.  Jared Padalecki, who plays Sam, filled Misha’s car with change! A bit of a backhanded donation, so to speak.  To the right is the photo Misha posted on Twitter when it happened. The note reads: “Please accept this donation on my behalf and make sure it finds it’s way to: “RANDOM ACTS”. It should be around $660 CAD [Canadian]. P.S I would appreciate a tax receipt.”

Now, Endure 4 Kindness is in it’s second year.  This year’s event is held over the weekend of November 2 -3. What it is, is an endurance competition where the participant gets to pick their own endurance activity.  I believe Misha’s activity this year is to swim as far as he can.  And being a proud minion, I had to join in and I love the fact that there is an endurance competition I am capable of joining!

IMG_3288_2As I just had gallbladder surgery, I will not be participating in a physical event.  My challenge of choice is to crochet. And I will be crocheting as many “snuggles” as I can – working a minimum of 8 hours.  “Snuggles” are blankets for animals.  The one pictured on the left is one that I made one of my cats a few years ago. Anyway, my cats love them and they make great carrier liners and they are small enough I can leave them with my pet when I have to drop them off at the vet.

Once I have finished my endurance event, I will be donating all the “snuggles” I made to the Humane Society of Pinellas.  Whether they choose to use them in the cages or give them away with adoptions, I think they will be a huge hit.

If you would like – and are capable – to contribute to my effort, please click here to go to my fundraising page. Even a fiver would be greatly appreciated by Random Acts, as well as myself – you can even donate anonymously.

I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season! I don’t know about you but they seem to arrive faster and faster every year!

Kissy, kissy, snog, snog

Advertisements

Moses: Offering A Little Comfort

What do you give a comfort dog who has been busy giving furry therapy to those in need?  How about a little cuddle he can call his own!

Some of the thankful recipients of Moses’ therapy from Moore, OK gave him his own comfort dog – a stuffed dog that looks remarkably like Moses!

Moses courtesy of his Facebook Page

Moses
courtesy of his Facebook Page

Moses is a two-year old golden retriever who lives in Cario, Nebraska.  He traveled all the way to Moore, OK and joined some of his friends from K-9 Parish Comfort Dogs.  From there the dogs visited hospitals, churches and shelters, spreading puppy love and happiness.

Be sure to check out his Facebook page for more cute pictures and heartwarming stories.

Two Amazing Animal Rescues

The first is a Russian truck driver saves a kitten from a very busy road.  If you watch the left hand side of the screen in the middle, you can see a small dark spot – that is almost run over by a white car.  Then you can see the truck stop and the driver hops out and scoops up the kitten!

The second is also in Russia.  Surveillance cameras caught it all on tape.  A women enters an elevator with her pug.  However, the pug becomes disoriented and inexplicably exits the elevator moments after getting on.  The owner attempts to pull the dog back in but the doors close, leaving the pug on one side and the owner on the the other – still holding the leash!

You can imagine what happens next.  If it wasn’t for the quick action of a bystander this poor pug may not still be with us.

“Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.”    

Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher

Way to go guys!!  Thank you so much for you compassion!!

Vacation Endnotes – Part 2

Knowing our plans for the Saturday, my mom called ahead of time and arranged to have a parking place held for us at the National Zoo.  So I made sure I packed everything but the essentials Friday night.  We set out on time and arrived at the zoo on schedule.  My mom really didn’t want to drive in DC, but I am sure she was bolstered after having to drive in NYC only six days previous.  Hehehe, I still get such a kick out of that!!

Anyway, back on target!  We enter the zoo at what is called the Panda Plaza.  I am psyched and ticked all at the same time.  Those who know me are aware that I don’t like two things (that are of relevance here :)) – crowds and children.  And what do you get at a zoo on a Saturday?  Yup, in spades.  But I try to not be a misery and after a preemptive potty break, we set out down Olmstead Walk.  And it wasn’t too long before my brain kindly pointed out that I have let my body get way too out of shape.  After all, there are actual hills here.  Anything over 100 feet above sea level is considered a hill around my neck of the woods.

Click to enlarge

Anyway, we get to the cheetah exhibits and guess what?  No babies!  The babies can be viewed on exhibit between 10 AM – 11 AM and 1 PM – 2 PM.  Oh, well.  I guess we can swing by on the way out, as it wasn’t too terribly far from our parking place.  So we continue on our way.  We curve around and enter the Asia Trail.  The first exhibit we encounter is home to the Sloth Bears.  Now here is something that chaps my ass.  The viewing windows were etched with leaves and only left small clear viewing holes.  Now what moron came up with this idea?  The etching served no purpose.  It offered no extra privacy to the bears and only inhibited patrons – which I am sure has increased their heathen need to tap on the glass.

I was shooting through a mesh fence and trying to blur it out. That is why there is some color distortion and faint lines.

But just past the bears was our first glimpse of babies!  We had found the fishing cats.  And the babies were having a blast.  They were pouncing on each other and rolling around while mama stood by and groomed herself.  We continue on and while at the otter exhibit something happened.  I, in my infinite wisdom, had decided to bring my whole camera case with me.  It was secured around my waist.  However, after taking my photos of the otters, and mom had already started to walk away, I went to move away and nothing happened.  A wave of panic rolls over me as I realize that one of the zippers on my case now contains part of the otter chain link.  Mom comes to untangle me, but I get caught again later as the zipper had been bent just enough to make it easy for the fences to slip in.  However, this also made them easy for me to detangle.

We finish the Asia Trail and sit down for a strategy meeting.  Mom pulls out the map and we assess that our exhaustion is far disproportionate to our distance traveled.  I think I said, “That’s it?  Dear God, we didn’t even make

One of our lunch companions.

it that far?”  Since we are rounding around to our starting position, we decide to have another potty break, ditch the camera case in the car and have a spot of lunch where we were joined by some feathery friends, including this little guy.  I also “accidentally” dropped two french fries and enjoyed yelling at some miniature heathens to stop chasing the birds.

After lunch, we decide to cut to the bone and go for our goal.  Since we both love the big cats, we opt to head straight there – clear across the zoo from our location and if we had the strength or energy after that we can look at other exhibits.  So by the time we get close I have been puffing like a steam engine for the last 20 minutes and my body lost part of its ability to produce sweat somewhere near the invertebrates.

We get to see four adult female lions, one adult and one teenage male lion, and the tip of an ear of a tiger.  However, on the way back to see if the cheetah cubs were out, we saw an amazing thing.  The zoo has Orangutan crossings.  There are tall towers that have ropes attached.  Then the orangutans can use the ropes to walk to different areas of the zoo.  We happened to see this huge male crossing.  It was wonderful to watch!!

Once we get back to the Panda Plaza, we knew the cheetahs were right around the corner.  Or so we thought.  We get part way there and we are both like, “Good Lord, I didn’t remember it being this far!”  When we finally find the exhibit the babies were in – they were playing in the plants and it was difficult to get a good look at them.  These cubs looked to be about six months old while the fishing cat cubs were around four months.

Anyway, the visit was a success!  We got to see both sets of babies and we probably improved our lung capacity by a good 10 percent.  We pour ourselves into the car and head for the airport.  By this time, my poor mom was doing her Popeye impression, as one of her contacts was giving her problems.  We sit around the airport for a while with nothing much to do when a monsoon struck.  We sat and watched the rain pelt every possible surface.  Once the rain had slowed I told my mom to head home.  I was concerned about her driving with the contact bothering her so much.  And before you ask, she couldn’t just take it out.  She has one for close up and one for distance.

I must admit I was a little nervous going through security this time.  You see, I had picked up Beau a homemade catnip toy from my mom’s vet office.  And I figured ground catnip probably looks a lot like good ol’ Mary Jane.  To my surprise I had no trouble.  Probably because I declared it – meaning I pulled it out of my bag for visual inspection.  I then make my way airside and am struck dumb by a huge display of duty-free alcohol.  And it hit me.  You are allowed to take a small lighter on board.  And what does almost every passenger have in their suitcase?  Socks (or undies).  Can anyone say Molotov?  Yet they won’t let you take tweezers on board.  Go figure.  Way to go Homeland, you are doing a bang up job from what I can see.

Anyway, I find a seat at the gate and begin my journey of waiting.  It would not have been too bad had it not been for this one heathen.  No, heathen is too mild a word, hell spawn is more appropriate.  He was running amok and one time he ran past me, he leaned in and made a move to hit me.  I moved slightly and that was that.  Or so I thought.  Then later the little bastard hit home.  He hit me!  I couldn’t believe it.  His mother said something to him in their language but that was all.  I knew I should have clothes-lined him when I had the chance.

To make matters worse, our pilot and co-pilot were already on board but we were delayed because our “crew” had not arrived.  At this point, I was like “Fuck the crew.  All we need is the pilot.”  But we wait.  And we wait.  Finally a group of cabin crew sauntered over to the desk and volunteered themselves for the flight, as apparently our crew was redirected to Richmond.  Finally we board and I am crammed in a row with three people, although I am on the aisle now.  Then this nice lady leans over and says there were some empty rows behind us and she hated to think of me crammed in that row.  Thank you lady!!!

To make an (already) long story short, I get home, take the Shuttle – this time with three stops – and collapse at my door about 10 PM.  My roomies had waited up to greet me and Mac1949 kept my dinner warm (so nice of him).  Beau, I am happy to say, was glad to see me and did not feel the need to show his displeasure at my absence with feline aloofness.  However, after a few days of tripping over him I began to wonder how much a proctologist would charge me to remove my cat.  Alas, I have resigned myself to the fact that for many years to come I will never be able to go to the bathroom with the door shut.  Beau has become obsessed with having visual confirmation of my whereabouts at all times.  Even if I answer his “knock” (he rattles the door handle) it is insufficient and only serves to make him try the handle with more vigor.  But I love the little bugger and wouldn’t change a thing.

Until next time, kissy, kissy, snog, snog

PS – Beau loved his catnip toy!

Vacation Endnotes – Part 1

Well, my vacation is over and I am finally recovered, so why not write up a finale (in two parts) to this segment?

I spent the week doing homework and waiting for my mom to get home from work.  On Tuesday, we were able to have dinner with some of her previous colleagues, which was fun.  It was great to see them again.  I get such a kick out of their company and I am so glad they were able to accept my mom’s invitation on my behalf.

Now, at my home, we don’t have TV.  I mean, we have a TV but all we get is a blue screen.  This is the way it has been for years now.  People seem aghast when they learn we don’t even have basic cable.  Nope, not even the three local channels.  But I like it this way.  It is too easy to get wrapped up in it and waste away before it.  I no longer schedule my week around being home in time to watch “my shows”.  I do miss some things like the History Channel.  But that is beside the point.  So when mom and I would get home, all full and happy, from dinner at first I was slightly annoyed that my mom turned on the TV.  No biggie, I just tuned it out.  However, something kept snagging my attention.  It was a TV show called The Big Bang Theory.

It is no surprise that I had not seen, or even heard, of this show until this particular week.  With its band of quirky, misfit characters and offbeat humor it intrigued me.  So the next night when we got home, I worked on my computer until I heard it announced to be coming up next, at which point I shut my computer down and paid attention.  I immediately liked it.  By the end of the week, I was not bothering to turn my computer on at all and sat on the couch – AKA the “dog’s spot” – to await this bizarre spectacle.  My mom does not know this yet but she created a monster.  Upon returning home I went out and bought all five seasons at my local used DVD joint.  Ever since I got them, Mac1949 and I have watched at least two almost every night.  We are currently amidst season three and I think we will both be disappointed when we complete what is available to us.

On a side note, Mac1949 thought that I should sing the “Soft Kitty” song to Beau.  After he mentioned it several times I thought “What the heck” and paid attention the next time they sang it in an episode.  Now I sing it to Beau when he cuddles with me at night and sure enough, he loves it.  I probably could be singing about anything but since it has the word “kitty” in it, and he knows that word, it probably helps.  Anyway, he will usually start purring louder.  Very cute and it is a great bonding thing for us.  Here is an artful photo of Beau that I took last year.

Anyway, back to the vaca.  My last week was pleasant.  We didn’t do any running around to speak of, so it was just calm.  I was flying out on Saturday evening and we knew our only chance to get to go to the National Zoo was to do so Saturday morning.  We knew this was going to be very wearing but I was excited because the zoo had babies!!  Not one set, but two – cheetah cubs and fishing cat cubs!!!  I love animals but I have a special fondness for wild cats as I had a rare opportunity to help hand raise a Texas Cougar/Florida Panther mix in 1995 – 1996.

Part two coming soon.  I cover the zoo and the trip home.  Until then . . .

Kissy, kissy, snog, snog

Good Golly, What a (3 Day) Weekend!!

Wow!  I will try not to run on too long but it has been an amazing weekend!!  Saturday morning we headed south for the Virginia Scottish Games.  This is held on a huge field area where you can tell they train horses.  But there were tents for animal groups, clans, merchandise and of course food!!  Some traditional, some not so traditional.  There was also areas set aside for Highland games and dancing.  It had rained just enough to make it muggy, where sweat just rolled down you – yuck!!

After the festival, we left Virginia for New York.  Our route takes us Virginia – Maryland – Pennsylvania – New Jersey – New York.  We have our Google Maps printed out and our Sat Nav, we should be good to go.  And we were.  We had no problems getting to Nanuet, New York where we had found a pet friendly motel.  We get in at about 5 or 5:30 and order in food, since we are not allowed to leave Sammy in the room by himself.  We eat, watch Hop on HBO and hit the sack a little before 10, knowing we were heading out again early.

Now here is where it starts to get interesting.  We had planned on hitting Sleepy Hollow on our way up to the Catskills to see the ceramic cats they have displayed.  However, the Sat Nav from hell decided to rear its ugly head.  Instead of having us take 87 across the Tappan Zee, it sent us on 9W up and around and way out of our way!  So instead of getting to Sleepy Hollow in about 20 minutes, as expected, we found ourselves already close to the Catskills!!  So we decide to swap our plans around and see the cats first.

“FLY FISHING CAT” by Amy Radley

“XLC IRONCAT” by Stephen Flach

The cats were amazing!! I wish I could post all the photos I took.  The “litter” had 43, we saw 40 and one was M.I.A.  But it was great to see the whole street lined with ceramic cats every so many feet.  I really hope to see them in future years!!

Ok, cats were seen, now we start the journey back south again and finally hit Sleep Hollow, which we missed on the way up.  OMG!!!  What a stunningly beautiful area.  I would love to be able to live here.  Sadly, tourist wise, we didn’t have the best of luck.  We didn’t make it into town until about 3 PM, and everything closes at 4:30!

So we hit the gift shop at the Philipsburg Manor, got some information on the cemetery, and headed in that direction.  Sleepy Hollow has the graves of Washington Irving, William and John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and Walter Chrysler.

After we finished, it was time to head back for home.  We reprogram the Sat Nav so it would include toll roads (the reason it screwed us on the way to Sleepy Hollow!!).  Next thing I know . . . I WAS IN NYC!!!!  Yeah, baby!!  For about 20 minutes anyway.  It was hysterical, I was like a little kid, excited trying to crane my head to look at everything.  My mom, on the other hand, said in a resigned voice, “I hate you, Sat Nav.”

But we made it – there and back – all in one piece.  It was a blast!  We didn’t get back to the house in Virginia until 10 PM.  We pretty much collapsed into bed.  Monday morning came around and we were both still pooped, so we decided to stay close to the house and rest.  We had breakfast and then stopped at a few of the Manassas Battlefield sites.  We even got a nap!!  God, I miss nap time.

Before dinner we go back into Manassas, so I can pick up something at Best Buy and hit my favorite store up here – World Market.  I love this store and I have to stop by every time I get up here.  On our way home from dinner, we pass the Manassas campus of NVCC and what do we see?  Deer – lots of deer!  And Canada geese – lots of them too!  So we pull over and try to get some pictures.  However, I have bad luck.  Being dusk, it was getting difficult to get a good photo.  Also, for some reason, I could not stabilize the camera – so just about every photo came out blurry.

It was stunning though.  Even a couple young deer were playing together.  Then dad comes along to help keep an eye on the kids.  And everywhere we looked there were more deer!  We must have seen close to 2 dozen by the time we made it home.  How lovely to see them in the wild – and healthy – unlike the one we saw at the beginning of my trip.  It is nice to see they have found some salvation near the historic battlefields.

In closing, I would like to apologize if this post has been a bit incoherent, but I am tired and am having difficulty concentrating.  So, until next time – kissy, kissy, snog, snog!!!