It’s My Birthday–and a few other things to celebrate

Today, January 21, is my birthday. I did a little research and found it’s also the birthday of Placido Domingo, Hakeem Olajuwon, Jill Eikenberry, Geena Davis, Benny Hill, Charlotte Ross and Telly Savalas. Not to forget Ethan Allen, the American Revolution fighter who helped found Vermont, Stonewall Jackson, Confederate general, Rasputin, mystical adviser in the court of Czar Nicholas II of Russia and Christian Dior, French fashion designer. Plus numerous other people I’m less familiar with.

AdobeStock_241373127 smallIt’s also Squirrel Appreciation Day. Now, I don’t mind squirrels, and my cats love watching them. I certainly don’t want to run over any. But actually appreciating them? I looked it up and while there was a bit of information about the species, there was nothing telling me the why375px-Rocket_J._Squirrel of the celebration, unless it’s a general appreciation of wildlife. I get that. Or appreciation of Rocket J. (aka Rocky) Squirrel.

AdobeStock_399788441 smallMore importantly, perhaps, than squirrels, it’s National Hug Day. No need to justify the raison d’être for that one. These days, what with the pandemic and all, many of us are falling short of our usual hug quota. But consider reaching out and giving a “virtual hug” to someone who could use a little pick-me-up. How that virtual hug manifests itself is up to you.

Granola bar with nuts, fruit and berries on white.AdobeStock_70508848 [Converted]It’s also National Granola Bar Day. In lieu of birthday cake, we can all have a granola bar together. But let’s not overindulge, as this year, January 21 is Women’s Healthy Weight Day (Thursday of the third full week in January).

Plenty to celebrate today, but the biggest reason of all for me is, gosh darn it, it’s my birthday!

Birthday cupcakes


Image Credits: Cupcakes ©Ivonne Wierink – stock.adobe.com; Women chatting ©ayelet_keshet – stock.adobe.com; Squirrel Appreciation Day ©Flavijus Piliponis –stock.adobe.com; National Hug Day ©bulgn – stock.adobe.com; Granola Bars ©nadianb – stock.adobe.com; January 21 ©Елена Николаева – stock.adobe.com; Rocky Squirrel courtesty of CreativeCommons.org.

Protecting My Cats From Themselves

AdobeStock_141244605 [Converted] smallMy precious cat Mimi has wanderlust. She’s an indoor cat who longs to run outside, but I won’t let her. It’s way too dangerous for her out there. I know that, but she doesn’t share my concern and dashes out the door at any given opportunity.

How do you explain to a cat with the natural desire to explore that you’re keeping her inside for her own good? That it’s your love for her that prevents you from letting her run free?

Mimi is a lover and a snuggler. I want to protect her.

AdobeStock_179040340 [Converted]Walter, on the other hand, would have to be pushed out the door before he’d go outside. He much prefers the dangers of the great indoors, such as the washing machine and dryer. It’s gotten to a point where I need to lock him in another room when I do the wash because he will leap into the washer and resist all efforts on my part to get him out.

That’s a much easier problem to deal with.

Walter, too, is a lover and a snuggler, and the three of us frequently end up curled together on the sofa while I watch TV and they sleep.

Protecting those we love is a natural instinct, even if our methods of doing so may seem a bit out of place to others. But as long as I’m their mama, Walter and Mimi will just have to put up with being protected. Can’t help myself.


Image Credits: Cat with Heart and Cat on Top of Washing Machine © geosap–stock.adobe.com

Welcome, 2021

Last week my dad told me about one of his earliest memories–certainly the first New Year’s Day he remembers. He was about three or four, and when he woke up on January 1st, he ran to the window, fully expecting all the snow to be gone. It wasn’t, of course, and early on, he learned a valuable lesson: not much changes between December 31st and January 1st.

That’s not to say things won’t change in the new year. They will, and I think most of us are hoping for a better year. I had high hopes for 2020. It wasn’t as bad a year for me as it was for some, but I agree with those who say:

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I’m hoping 2021 doesn’t require the same resigned sense of humor and that things will be better. I’m hopeful the new vaccines will do the trick and that COVID-19 won’t be the threat to us it is now. I’m hopeful that jobs are gained back. I’m hopeful for a little more political integrity.

Not much may change in one day, but we have reason to be hopeful. For all of you, I pray your year may be filled with unexpected blessings, big and small.


Image credits: Snowman ©Lilya – stock.adobe.com, Stink/Stank/Stunk © Ak7studio-stock.adobe.com

Changing Habits and New Year’s Resolutions and Such

I’ve vowed to start eating healthier, and that includes cutting back on my Diet Coke intake. A friend suggested I try flavored waters, and I was delighted to find cherry limeade flavored water at the local Neighborhood Market. Problem was, once I switched addictions from Diet Coke to cherry limeade flavored water, I discovered the my new favorite contained aspartame. So I’m back at square one, with a refrigerator full of both soft drinks. Okay, I’ve cut down on the Diet Coke and at work I drink lots of water. But at home I’m not sure I’m much better off.

Changing habits is never easy. I hear that sitting is the new smoking and I just don’t know how to keep from sitting as much as I do at home. I’m trying to cut down on screen time as well, but I’m having a hard time coming up with alternatives. Yes, I can read, and I do that, but one of my alternatives to watching TV is to write and that puts me plunk in front of my computer screen. Yes, I could get out and walk, and I do that, but that doesn’t take up as much of my time as I’d like. So I end up watching a lot of TV, reading and writing, all of which have me sitting.

I’m fortunate in one sense that my current job has me on my feet a lot, moving around quite a bit, so I keep myself “active” in that way. It’s not the same as aerobic exercise but it’s certainly better than sitting at a desk all day. I do sit for a couple of hours a day, but the rest is up on my feet.

I say it again: changing habits is never easy. At least, changing some habits isn’t easy.

I’m lucky that I’m relatively healthy. Sure, I could lose ten pounds (and there we go with that changing habits thing again), but a recent physical and the resulting blood work showed some positive results, better than I expected.

But I need to change some habits, so this year, for the first time in decades, I’m making some New Year’s resolutions. I’m going to exercise more, drink more plain water and eat healthier. I have a plan for each and I’ve already started to implement these plans (why wait?).

My cats have agreed to hold me accountable. Okay, I’ve developed some other accountability systems, hopefully better equipped to help me than my cats.

So here I go…


Image Credit: ©Tierney – stock.adobe.com

Merry Christmas and Happy Blogging Anniversary To Me

Hope Santa Paws was good to you and yours! Merry Christmas everyone!

It was six years ago today that I first started this blog. I had no idea what I was doing, and thankfully they didn’t have these blasted blocks for me to deal with. I also was in a dark place and needed an outlet for my pain. In the past I’ve reposted that first post on this anniversary day, but since I’ve come so far since then I’m going to forego that tradition.

Blogging is a funny thing, and my blog has gone through several transformations (none of them deliberate) to become what it is today. Four years ago, I was posting two or three times a week. I had a bi-weekly feature, Classic for a Reason, where I featured movies from the golden age of Hollywood. That feature became its own blog and I’m still posting there today (classicforareason.com).  Check it out if you’re a fan of classic, I mean really classic, films.

Today I have much less time to dedicate to blogging, but it gives me a great deal of pleasure to see that many of my old posts are still viewed. Of course that doesn’t compare with the pleasure of getting to know my many blogging buddies.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Image credit: ©Anton – stock.adobe.com

Santa and the Pandammit

Just for fun, here’s a short short story I wrote for my writing group. We each wrote a one-page, double-spaced story (making it really short) for our final meeting of the year. Merry Christmas!

They couldn’t visit Santa Claus because of the pandammit. Mommy said lots of people were getting sick and Santa had to stay well for Christmas. Keri understood. Sort of. Wasn’t Santa magic? How else did he visit everyone in one night? Couldn’t he make himself better if he got sick?

Keri helped Mommy and Daddy decorate the Christmas tree. Daddy said he had a big surprise for her. “Keri, since we can’t go to Santa, I thought we could bring Santa to you. Here’s a Santa ornament. You can tell Santa what you want for Christmas this way.”

Mommy smiled really big. “Go on, honey. Tell Santa what you want.”

Keri looked silently at the ornament. The real Santa sat at the mall. “Should I hang it up, Daddy?”

“Of course, kitten. How about there?” He pointed to one of the branches closer to the bottom. “You don’t have to talk to Santa right now. He’ll be right here when you’re ready.”

Keri nodded and picked up another ornament. Mommy sighed, but Keri couldn’t help it. She wanted the real Santa Claus.

Later that night, a long time after she fell asleep, something woke her up. She didn’t know what it could be, but she did know she felt hungry. Mommy had baked some cookies right after they decorated the tree, and Keri knew where to find them.

She tiptoed through the living room on her way to the kitchen, looking over at the tree as she passed by. Wait. Something twinkled. Like a star. Keri walked over to the tree to see what it could be. The Santa ornament! But wait again. Santa looked different. Did he just wink at her?

“You didn’t believe I could really be Santa, Keri.” The ornament talked to her! “But I am. Tell me what you want for Christmas.”

Keri smiled. Daddy had brought Santa to her.

Image credit: ©ezstudiophoto – stock.adobe.com

Oh my. It’s Snowing…

Oh my. It’s snowing, and they’re predicting a total of more than six inches. In my home state of Minnesota, this would be nothing. In my adopted state it’s a problem. Given the limited number of plows in my county (and none in the city), it makes driving dangerous. I don’t want to go to work tomorrow, but I’m out of days off. So I’ll be driving slowly, like a little old lady.

It’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow so the snow will melt, at least enough to make driving okay by the time I leave work. At least, that’s what I’m counting on.

It is pretty though, so I might as well enjoy the beauty today, when I don’t have to drive.

I would prefer a white Christmas. Since Christmas lands on a Friday, we’d have a weekend for the roads to clear. Maybe we’ll get that, too.

Oh my. It’s snowing.

(oh my…when I posted this, I got a notification that this is post number 500. That’s a lot of writing, most of which I did a few years ago. Thanks to all my loyal followers and those of you who drop in from time to time as well. It means a lot to me.)

Happy Creative Holidays

We’re all being forced to be a little more creative these days. As the pandemic rages on, most of us must find new ways to be close to friends and even family for the holidays. I urge you to follow the recommendations of the CDC as well as find new traditions that will remind us in years to come how we survived the frustrations of 2020.

Creative holidays in the past, for many of us at least, meant making our own Christmas decorations. Now it means finding ways to be close to each other without threatening the health and lives of those around us. For some businesses it means finding ways to stay afloat while restrictions limit the normal flow of things.

I recently wrote a short story about a family who replaces the mall Santa with a Santa ornament and urges their five-year-old daughter to whisper her Christmas wishes to the ornament. (Perhaps later I’ll share that story here; for now it’s being saved for my writing group.)

Happy Creative Holidays, everyone.

Image credit: ©Maridav – stock.adobe.com

Walking Alone

Earlier today I was driving home from a quick run to the grocery store when I spotted a neighbor of mine walking on the sidewalk, headed in the same direction. There was no place to pull over and traffic was heavy, so I didn’t have a way to ask her if she wanted a ride home.

I know she doesn’t have a car and I’ve seen her walking the other direction from our apartments from time to time, so I assumed on those occasions she likely made the mile-long trek to the store that’s located down that other road. I also know that store is much smaller and while it has all the basics, if there’s a specialty item you want, you have to go somewhere else.

It bothered me that I wasn’t able to stop and offer her a ride.  She’s always been nice to me, and there was another three miles left to our respective homes, three miles with some steep hills along the way.

I should note that there’s no transit system in our area, so taking a bus was not an option for her.

I was troubled enough that I headed back out, knowing the next leg of her journey would be through a residential area and I could easily pull over onto a side street and flag her down as she walked by.

I did just that, and to my surprise she turned down my offer of a ride. Whether it was pride, a desire to get some exercise, fear of COVID or something else, I don’t know. I didn’t push it, however. She had offered me some help when I was moving in a few months ago, and when I declined her offer she smiled and said, “I know better than to ask again. If someone tells me no, I believe them.”

So why did this still bother me? I’d done what I could and it wasn’t as if it was a terribly hot or windy day. In fact, it was quite a pleasant day for a walk, and while I wouldn’t relish a six-mile (or more) round trip walk, perhaps she did.

I didn’t see her the rest of the day. I hope she got home safely.


Photo credit:  © creaturart–stock.adobe.com

A Picture to Remember You By

Today I received notification of a memorial service for a woman, Rose, who’d been an active part of our congregation. I didn’t know her well and likely won’t attend the service, but the option is open to attend via Zoom, which I may do. For those of us who do use the Zoom option, the program was provided.

I opened the file and to my surprise I recognized the picture on the front as one I’d taken when Rose completed a course sponsored by my church. She was recognized during the service for her hard work and I took the picture for our Facebook page.

I was touched to realize that the final image many will have of Rose will be that photo. Looking at it with the objectivity of time, I recognized that it was a good picture of her, natural and relaxed.

Someone once called me the “church documentarian,” a title that surprised me as I primarily took pictures for the Facebook page and no formal catalog was kept. I don’t know how my priest remembered this photo and what she had to do to dig it up. It can’t be easy going back on Facebook.

It reminded me that the simplest things we do can bring blessings to others we don’t even recognize. Perhaps there weren’t many pictures of Rose available or perhaps her family was scattered across the country and no one could provide a photo in a timely manner.  I don’t know, but now friends and family will have this picture of her to remember her by.

I haven’t taken a photo for my church Facebook page in months for obvious reasons, but now I’m eager to get back to it. If you do any sort of volunteer work, formal or informal, know that what you do is appreciated.

Rest in peace, Rose.

Why Are Cats? Sneak Peak at a new podcast with Cat Behaviorist, Mirian Hasani

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Insights From The Edge

Ever wonder why cats do what they do? Every day? Yes, then you’re my people and you may enjoy this podcast with cat behaviorist and cat psychologist Mirian Hasani. Here’s a sneak peek where she tells us about Basil the blind cat who was rescued out of a very dark and dangerous shelter. Basil had been abandoned, blind, dumped on the street. The owner of a no-kill rescue took her to save her from certain euthanasia. A whole year passed and she couldn’t get near Basil for fear of being attacked. Finally, she found Mirian and reached out to her for help. What follows is the story of how this lonely little kitty finally opened up to love.

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Imagine That

When I was little, I believed in the magic of Mr. Bubble. Those of you old enough will remember the TV commercials for this kid’s bubble bath in which Mr. Bubble rose up in the tub and talked to the delighted children. I would sit in my bath until every last bubble was gone, waiting for Mr. Bubble to appear.

I don’t remember believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy (although one of my favorite books was all about the Tooth Fairy), but I believed in the magic powers of this powdered soap. You could say that one way or the other, a kid’s imagination is going to end up disappointing her.

But that’s not to say that same imagination won’t delight a child. While I never exactly had an imaginary friend, I confided all of my secrets to my rag doll, Jennifer. When she finally fell apart after years of loving, I was devastated. I don’t think I ever believed she was real in a real person sense, just in that real doll sense. I knew she could keep a secret, so she must have understood them, right?

In these troubling times–and I speak not only of world and national troubles, but of the day-to-day struggles so many of you are dealing with–imagination seems the best escape. As adults we temper the imaginary with the real, and that’s not so bad. But we have to be able to believe in better times and to conjure up images of what those days will look like.

Call it a coping mechanism or call it a dreamer’s dream, imagination may save you and keep you sane.

At least, it helps me. And now I’m heading in for a bubble bath…