Saturday, February 28, 2015

Underneath Where?


Lilybits, not large, but in charge!
Under simply means “beneath and covered by” or “below the surface of.” Some of my favorite places in the house are underneath things—especially during the winter. I like to lie on my pink blankie that Mom knitted for me, underneath the foyer table. Well, technically it’s the shelf under the table. That's where heat vent blows some of the warmest air on me!

Under the table without my blankie.

During Christmas season, one of my special spots to spend time is under the Christmas tree, but on top of the soft Christmas tree skirt. It’s especially good for skidding under when I want Mom to chase me. She’s lazy enough to not always feel like crawling on the floor to grab me.


Don't I make a pretty Christmas present?
After dinner I like to hide under Mom’s dresser right on top of a different heat vent. It helps to have variety. One of my other favorite underneath spots is under Mom and Dad’s bed. I like to sneak under there late at night and then pounce on my humans when they least expect while they’re sleeping. (I like to do this when I feel especially Tigger-ish. You know, like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh stories.) This way I can make sure they’re still breathing. After all, someone has to feed me!


Being silly under the piano.

Of course, there are times when I like to sleep on top of the furniture or on top of Mom or Dad to make sure they remember who is in charge. But underneath spots are cozy places . . . as long as I can escape any time I want. Not that I'm claustrophobic or anything. It's just that I must be allowed to roam like the predatory cat that I am . . . yeah, that's the reason! 





Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Trouble


Lilybits, not large, but in charge! 
S is for sorry. I am very sorry for not taking time last week to write about how silly or sassy we cats can be, or for that matter, soft. Did you know that cats have something like 155,000 hairs per square inch of their fur? No wonder we’re so soft!

T, on the other hand, is for trouble. Cats do have their troubles. Like when it’s gray most of the winter in Michigan and I can’t find a sunny spot to curl up and rest. It’s like my sunny spot up and disappears for several months each year. Mom says I should be thankful there have been more sunny days than usual this winter, even though it’s been cold.

I also have tummy trouble, which may have something to do with inflammation in my digestive system. Therefore, I receive a medicine “treat” once a day, thinly disguised inside a pill pocket. And I am willing to eat it—this is how desperate I am for the rare treats, which I receive these days due to a doctor’s evil command. Mom also says that I am partially responsible for being what Dad refers to as a “greedy guts” and wolfing my food down too quickly sometimes, so that, let’s just say, it makes a quick reappearance.


Mom thinks I should address the times I actually cause trouble, but I find it difficult to recall any instances. That situation with the lamp up at the cabin a couple of years ago she mentioned? Honestly, when it crashed to the floor from the nightstand and I looked up at her innocently and licked my front paw, I had no idea how it happened. In fact, I was trying to convey, “Can you believe that just happened? Who did this? Not me!”

Mom says that guy I was referring to as “Not me” really doesn’t exist. I’m going to have to come up with better excuses in the future for staying out of trouble. Below, I hope you will enjoy this video on how cats need to take care of their humans. Notice how smoothly I changed the subject? Hopefully I’m not in any trouble now!








Sunday, February 8, 2015

Four Things Cats Find RIDICULOUS



1) The first thing I (representing all cats) find ridiculous is not for those of more delicate sensibilities. It is something I consider a mystery. Why don’t humans have litter in their litter box rooms? I mean their litter boxes aren’t even boxes! They are round or oval things filled halfway with cold water—not that I’ve investigated that closely. Eww! I must admit the lever on the side, which conveniently cleans away anything in the box, is convenient. Still wondering why my humans haven’t put one on my litter box. However, Mom says it doesn’t work that way. Hmm . . .



2) The second thing I find ridiculous are dogs dressed in costumes. I mean would or could these dogs below hurt you? The one in the football player costume doesn’t look like he could tackle a very big bone or squeaky toy, let alone another football player!


And this pirate puppy, why he just looks sad.


3) Next, I have a complaint on behalf of the feline species: Why do you dress us up in weird costumes? I mean dogs are eager to please and are sometimes actually willing to relinquish their pride, because of their insecurities. But we cats would like a shred left of our dignity. Just a shred! Well, we would truthfully like more than that.

A cat dressed like Hello Kitty? Isn’t that a bit repetitive and just a bit much?




 This is supposed to be a Christmas cat costume. Looks more like a court jester! The joke is definitely on this cat!




And have you ever seen anything as miserable as a cat in a bumblebee costume? Ouch! That stings! (Pun intended.)



 4) And the fourth thing cats find ridiculous is being laughed at. Admit it, right now, you’re laughing at all of these pictures, aren’t you? Cats are sensitive, elegant creatures of a higher class. Just try to remember this in the future, all right? After all, have I ever looked sadder than in this picture below?



 























Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Queue of Four Q Words –Five if You Include Queue


Here I am, not large, but
in charge!
Have you ever heard the sound of quiet? I have, or at least I pretend to when Mom calls me. “What? I don’t hear anything,” I say to myself, while looking ahead and keeping my face without expression. As a cat, I am an expert at silently waiting and then at just the right moment, jumping up on laps to surprise humans, except for one thing: that blasted bell Dad left on my new collar. He likes to hear me coming. Why? Because he doesn’t like my sneaking up on him, since I walk with stealth . . . very quietly. Duh! That’s what a cat is supposed to do!

Quagmire is another great q word.  I looked it up and found that it can mean a few different things. For one, a quagmire may refer to a bog or it could refer to a situation that’s difficult from which to free oneself. I suppose that alludes to the bog. Last, but not least, quagmire means soft and flabby. Let me use it in a sentence. When I sit on Mom’s lap, it is a quagmire. Uh oh! She just said I better cut that out, or I’ll really be in a quagmire! Silly Mama, she can’t take the laptop away if I’m sitting on it.

I like to do things quickly. I eat so fast, sometimes it comes back up almost right away. I guess you didn’t need to know that. Sorry. I also love crazy cat time, either late at night or when Mom and Dad both come home. I run back and forth, around the family room, then around the living room, into the dining room for good measure, and just when they think they can catch up with me, I am on top of the refrigerator. Ha ha!


Don Quixote, The Man of La Mancha 
Last but not least, how about Quixotic? (Skip pronouncing the x, folks.) Humans often consider felines rather chivalrous or noble and impractical, as when I saved mine from the bats. Well, okay, I didn’t exactly save Mom and Dad, but I helped. I like to make them think they’re indebted to me. Fanciful is another synonym for Quixotic. I guess you could say a cat with her own column on a blog is rather fanciful.

Now that you have learned this queue of q words you may go back to your normally scheduled activities or watch the video below of Simon’s Cat in his crazy time. No, really, I insist you watch it. Who doesn’t have time for a good chuckle?







Friday, January 23, 2015

PURR-FECT ( A Perfectly Good Word!)


Lilybits, not large, but
in charge!
Attention all human companions/adopted parents of members of the feline species:

Dictionary.com says that perfect has to do with fitting the "ideal of a type," "exactly fitting a need" or "without flaw," amidst other definitions. But I propose a new derivative of this word: PURR-FECT. Yes, this goes beyond the human idea of perfection to higher feline standards.

When you feed your cat and she gives you a thankful purr, she is purr-fectly happy. This is what you should strive for with every meal or kibble dispensing. If your cat turns up her nose at the food, then it’s not purr-fect and therefore, less than acceptable.

Scratch behind your kitty’s ears or under her chin for a long, deep purring session. If she gives you a love bite or gentle swat, she is done with this extra affection and attention . . . or at least I am! And then the session is less than purr-fect.

Having a purr-fect place to sleep is important. I won’t always purr when I find it, unless it is someplace inconvenient to you, such as on top of your tummy or next to your legs on the bed, which makes it more difficult for you to move. Also, become more aware of our heads butting your hands at four a.m. This tells you it’s the purr-fect time for kitties to have a petting or play time session.

We cats can’t really understand why humans refuse to convert to our schedule. Napping, playing, eating and then repeat are so much healthier for you than running around all day with a cup of coffee in your hand, trying to accomplish unimportant tasks, well, other than cleaning the litter box and feeding your cat. And then you take that one big long nap during all the nighttime hours. Think of what you’re missing!

Purr-fectly happy Minnesota cousins
snuggled together.
I was just having a purr-fectly lovely moment, sitting on Mom’s lap and sniffing her sandwich. The results were less than satisfactory, but we will purr to let you know what we want too. So there you have it—a short guide to keeping your cat purr-fectly happy. Keep trying and your cat will let you know just how purr-fect you are!





Sunday, January 18, 2015

ORDINARY Cats

Lilybits - not large, but
in charge!


WHO IS AN ORDINARY CAT?

Ordinary you say? Just an ORDINARY cat? Humph! You can’t judge a cat by it’s mixed lineage, although that is what my adoption papers said. And they had the nerve to call me a plain old domestic shorthair (DSH)! Why look at me, there is nothing plain about the beautiful markings on the light taupe fur of my underside or the dilute tabby stripes on my sides and back. Really! And I have it on good authority that Mom just melts when I look up at her with my huge, gorgeous green eyes.

It’s not every day you find elegance, beauty, intelligence and personality in one package. Yet we domestic shorthairs are referred to as the mutt of the cat world. It’s rumored that our ancestors were first domesticated in the mysterious royal halls of Egypt, where we were put on a pedestal. Somehow we made it to England and got aboard the Mayflower for adventure. Yes, we did have to earn our keep by decreasing the rodent population, but my ancestors felt the wind in their fur and smelled the fish in the open sea on the way to the New World. However, they could have done without the salty spray, which I’m sure was as annoying as a squirt bottle is to modern cats everywhere. (Hint, hint.)

Showing off some of my pretty markings.
According to Animal Planet, there are 80 million DSH cats in the United States alone and we make wonderful, beloved family pets with varieties of personality. As long as you spoil us and do as we ask, there shouldn’t be any problems. Below, you may watch Animal Planet’s video on the DSH cats and decide for yourself if we are simply ordinary cats! I rest my case.











Friday, January 16, 2015

LAUREL by SUSAN F. CRAFT - Book Release & Author Interview!


BOOKS 'N' BLURBS

About Laurel:

Desperate to rescue their kidnapped daughter, Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos trek two hundred miles through South Carolina mountains and backcountry wilderness, fighting outlaws, hunger, sleeplessness, and despair. When the trail grows cold, the couple battles guilt and personal shame; Lilyan for letting Laurel out of her sight, and Nicholas for failing to keep his family safe.

They track Laurel to the port of Charleston as post-Revolutionary War passions reach fever pitch.  There, Lilyan, a former patriot spy, is charged for the murder of a British officer. She is thrown into the Exchange Building dungeon and chained alongside prostitutes, thieves, and murderers. Separated from her husband, she digs deep inside to re-ignite the courage and faith that helped her survive the war.  Determined to free his wife at any cost, Nicholas finds himself forced back into a life of violence he thought he’d left behind.

Following a rumor that Laurel may be aboard a freighter bound for Baltimore, Lilyan and Nicholas secure passage on a departing schooner, but two days into the voyage, a storm blows their ship aground on Diamond Shoals. As the ship founders, both are swept overboard.

Will their love for each other and their faith sustain them as they await word of their missing child? Or is Laurel lost to them forever?

About the Author:

Susan F. Craft writes inspirational historical romantic suspense. Her Revolutionary War novel, The Chamomile, won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick. Susan recently retired after a 45-year career as a communications director, editor, and proofreader.  To assist authors to “get it right about horses in their works,” Susan worked with the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation to compile A Writer's Guide to Horses (also known as An Equestrian Writer’s Guide) that can be found at www.lrgaf.org. Forty-five years ago, she married her high school sweetheart, and they have two adult children, one granddaughter, and a granddog. An admitted history nerd, she enjoys researching for her novels, painting, singing, listening to music, and sitting on her porch watching the rabbits and geese eat her day lilies.  She has two post-Revolutionary War novels being released in 2015 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas—Laurel, was released January 15, and its sequel Cassia in September. She is represented by Linda S. Glaz, Hartline Literary Agency.

Welcome, Susan, and congratulations on the release of your novel, Laurel, from Heritage Beacon Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. 

Did you have to travel much concerning your books? If so, what’s the most interesting place you traveled?

Since I want my history to be right in my novels, I do extensive research and travel to the locations of my novels to absorb, to breathe in, everything I can: sights, sounds, smells.  Thank goodness my husband drives us, because I have no sense of direction and can get lost in my driveway.

The most fun trip was one we took to the North Carolina Outer Banks to research for my upcoming books, Laurel and its sequel, Cassia. In Laurel, which takes place in 1783, my characters are shipwrecked on an Outer Banks island.  Cassia, which takes place in 1799, has pirates.  Between the two books, I knew I needed to learn more about the ships that sailed at that time, some of the nautical terms, and seafaring jargon. In Beaufort, NC, I stumbled upon a Maritime Museum where I spent hours in the library that still uses a card catalogue system (at my age, I felt right at home). I learned about the wild ponies that have roamed Ocracoke Island for hundreds of years and I became fascinated by the pirate lore of the area. A local restaurant owner pointed out an area for us to visit that still looks the same today as it did in the late 1700s. 


You say you’d rather research than write.

It’s true. Researching for my novels brings me the same excitement Alan Quartermain must have felt hunting for King Solomon’s Mines. I’ve been known to spend an entire day in a library scribbling notes from someone’s diary, spending a wallet of quarters making copies of maps and old newspapers, and trekking from one book or document to the next with a perseverance Lewis and Clark would have applauded.

I enjoy the chase when one clue leads me to the next, to the next…
On my website, http://www.susanfcraft.com, I have over twenty years of research on a wide range of topics. I knew I’d never be able to write enough novels to use all my “historical treasures,” so I decided to share and put them on my website.

Will you share one of your “historical treasures” that we can find in Laurel?

What people in the past did in their daily lives always interests me. One thing that caught my attention was the bathing habits.

American colonists, like their European ancestors, feared that bathing would destroy their natural oils and leave them open to the ravages of diseases, so getting clean meant sponging off. More affluent people had chinaware washbasins. If they desired a full bath, their servants would heat buckets of water in the kitchen and haul them to the bedroom.  There were no towels to dry with, so they used large pieces of cloth or blankets. Full baths were considered a luxury not done more than a couple of times a year.

In Laurel, Lilyan Xanthakos watches her husband bathe using lemon soap their hostess makes. It brings back a sweet memory before their daughter was kidnapped:
     
The last time she saw him bathe, he had been sitting in the bathtub in front of the fire in their cabin with Laurel balanced on his chest. Laurel slapped her hands against the water and splashed it into his eyes. His comical faces sent their little girl into a fit of giggles.
     How she longed for those special family times. And to look upon her husband again with a desire free from the burden of grief and loss and guilt.


Do you have a life Bible verse?
…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Tell me about some of your personality traits.

I could be the poster child for persistence (some might call it hard-headedness). I’ve been writing for 35 years, honing my craft at more writing conferences and reading more books about writing than I can remember. I simply refused to give up until I found someone interested in representing and publishing my novels. For all those years I worked fulltime, took care of my family, and made time for writing—sometimes into the early morning hours. I’m sentimental and cry at Hallmark commercials. I love the Lord with all my heart and strive daily to please Him, though I fail miserably at times.

Where can people get a copy of each of your books?
You can purchase The Chamomile and Laurel in hard copy at all the major bookstores, some regional southern independent bookstores, Amazon, and Kindle. Laurel is also available directly
from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Thank you for joining us today, Susan!

You're invited: Susan is hosting a FaceBook launch party this Saturday the 17th from 2-4 EST. So, come on by and help her celebrate! Leave a comment for a chance to win some pretty great prizes. The event is on her FaceBook author page, Susan F. Craft. Click on the link above to find it!

Please leave a comment to congratulate Susan!