Monday, April 30, 2012


Zippie was my last guinea pig; she was an end of school present.  My mom always took my sister and me shopping after the last day of school and allowed us to choose a present.  I’m sure there must have been some sort of price constraint, but I can’t remember what it was.  I don’t remember either of us ever asking for anything too extravagant, until the end of fourth grade for me and second grade for my sister.

We somehow wheedled, whined, and cajoled our way into stopping by the pet department, “just to look”.  I’m still not sure how we even convinced my mom to let us near the pet department; I’m guessing we’d hatched the plan earlier and decided to work together for a change.  My sister was the World-Class Whining Champion when she was a kid, and I was just plain pig-headed.  So we ended up in the pet department; looking turned into petting, which tuned into holding, which lead to tearful pleas of “I just love this one so much!  Can’t we keep her?”  We ultimately left the store with a hamster for my sister and a guinea pig for me, along with the proper cages, food, dishes, treats, toys, etc.  I would like to state that I was not responsible for Zippie’s name.  That was all my mom’s doing.  She had tried to name me, and then my sister, Zippie.  Mercifully, my dad intervened and saved us both from that fate.  I think naming Zippie was possibly a bargaining chip in going home with a hamster and a guinea pig when we were supposed to just be looking.  On a side note, this turned out to be the last end of the school year shopping trip. 

We’d had various rodents before; hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs, so we were no strangers to caring for them.  There was one major difference that no one had factored in, however.  The only cat in the house during the lives of the previous rodents was my mom’s anciently old cat Butterscotch.  Butterscotch was old, about 16 at that point, and his idea of a good time was a long nap without either of us trying to bother him.  I’m pretty sure we could have plunked the rodents down in his food dish and he wouldn’t have bothered them.  The year before, thanks to another collaboration between my sister and me, we had persuaded our parents to get us kittens.  The kittens were now about a year old.  Their idea of a good time did not include a quiet nap.

Those of you who’ve ever had guinea pigs know that their cages (at least the cages from 20 years ago) aren’t the most secure things.  Guinea pigs are not ambitious; they don’t hatch escape plots.  Their cages are more or less a wire and plastic pen designed to keep them in a safe area with access to food and water.  They definitely don’t keep cats out.

Fortunately we realized this before any real harm, other than the psychological variety, came to Zippie.  My dad rigged up some extra wiring designed to keep the cats out of the guinea pig cage.  They were still able to get their paws in the very top of it, but they couldn’t reach far enough in to make contact with Zippie.  This didn’t stop them from trying, and it didn’t stop them from spending hours staring into the cage obviously fantasizing about a meal of fresh guinea pig.

Needless to say, this made taking Zippie out of her cage to play with her extremely hard to do.  We had to herd the cats out of my room and slam the door before we could take Zippie out for anything, and they would still sit in the hallway and reach their paws under my door.  Even at 10 years old I realized this was not good for Zippie, and that we were probably on borrowed time before one of the cats did more than scare her half to death.

I’d never made a decision about a pet before, other than what to name them.   I wasn’t sure about doing the right thing for a pet; my parents made all of those decisions.  I realized more and more every day that life for Zippie wasn’t good at our house.  We had a friend who loved Zippie and had no cats.  I began to wonder if Zippie might be happier with our friend.

I tearfully, and with full 10 year old drama, informed my parents of my thoughts on Zippie’s life.  My mom called the friend I’d talked about and they readily agreed to take Zippie.  My parents explained that once I gave her up I couldn’t take her back and that I couldn’t go and choose another pet.  I had to decide if I wanted to be selfish and keep her, or if I wanted to give her up, and allow her to have a better life.  I chose to give her to the friend, where she lived quite happily. 

I’m not sure if my parents would have intervened if I hadn’t come to them with the idea of finding a better home for Zippie.  I suspect that they knew I was coming to that idea, and thought it would be best for me to reach that conclusion on my own.  I think the opportunity for a great lesson on responsible pet ownership unexpectedly presented itself, and they gave me the chance to learn. 

I do feel like I learned a valuable lesson; I still have the tendency to want to take home every animal I find, but I’ve learned to at least try to weigh the consequences; how they’ll get along with the current pets, etc.  I don’t think anyone expected my end of school present to turn into a life lesson, but it did, in the form of a guinea pig named Zippie.   

Saturday, April 28, 2012

You, Yes You

Please bear with me; I will get to the point of how this post is, in fact, a Y post.  It’s just going to take me some time to make the connection.  I think that’s alright since Y is the next to the last letter in the alphabet.

We live in such a fast-paced world that sometimes it seems like it’s really hard to get to know someone new, especially if, like me, you don’t always excel in casual conversation with people you barely know.  It’s always hard for me at first on new jobs or in new places to get to know people.  The thought of trying to talk to strangers filled me with terror when I started my first “real” job after I finished school.  Then I got my lucky break; my now-friend Traci invited me to lunch.  She said she realized that even though I’d been there for months she barely knew me. 

We went to lunch and discovered we had a lot in common and shared quite a few interests.  We soon developed a friendship that extended beyond work.  That was almost eight years ago.  We have both since moved on to other jobs, in fact it has been almost five years since we’ve worked together.  We now live in different states, and our lives have taken different paths, but we’re still friends, we still keep in touch.  All because eight years ago Traci decided to get to know someone new.

I learned a lot from that.  I now firmly believe that the best way to get to know someone new is to have a meal with them.  (I think this may be the reason why most dates involve dinner.)  Maybe people are more comfortable over a meal; after all we all have to eat to live.  Sharing a meal seems to be a way to get people to open up, to find out what they like or they don’t like, how they treat the server if you go to a restaurant.   I really do think it’s the best get to know you tool available.

Obviously all of us here in Blogger Land can’t just schedule a lunch together, so I thought I’d come up with five questions about you that I hope you’ll answer in the comments.  Why five, you may ask; because I like the number five.  Six of you were kind enough to answer yesterday’s question about what  makes a post x-rated for you, so I’m hoping at least a few people will play along.  I will answer them too.  Also, feel free to leave an extra question in the comments for others to answer, if you’d like.

1. What is your favorite dessert? 
     Crème Brule

2.  What is your favorite color?
      It’s a tie between blue and green.  They work well together, so I don’t usually have to choose.

3.  Do you prefer the mountains or the ocean?
     The ocean!  I need the sun, salt, and sand.

4.  Who is your favorite poet?
      Emily Dickinson

5.  Do you, or did you ever, have braces?
     Yes, braces for four years and headgear for two.  

Friday, April 27, 2012

X-Rated Posts

I have to say that I was not looking forward to X, not at all.  It is probably the letter I have worried about the most during the challenge.  My usual fall back plan of googling “words that begin with” didn’t yield great results.  I just can’t see myself writing a post on Xanax or xylophones, or even x-rays (though I’m sure I’ve had more than my fair share). Then inspiration struck when I was visiting this blog, and read the Q post.  Yes, I realize it’s a bit of stretch to get an idea for X from a Q post, but here’s what happened.

I was tossing around the idea of X-rated posts as my topic, not in a dirty way (minds out of the gutter please), but in a “what makes you uncomfortable” kind of way.  I’m sure we’ve all seen a lot of different blogs, in a lot of different styles this month.  Some of the posts have encouraged further perusal of the blog, some have had me looking for the “follow” button as fast as I can, some have really made my day.  Then there are The Others; the ones that have had me clicking the X in the top right corner like a madwoman, the ones that have me feel like I need a shower, the ones that have made me feel like I overheard a conversation I really wasn’t meant to hear, and the ones that have just annoyed me in general. 

Don’t get me wrong; I really, really look forward to clicking on different blogs every day.  The vast majority have at least been a look at something from a slightly different perspective, or a new fun fact; something positive.  So I decided to try and figure out what it was that made me decide I would NOT be coming back to certain blogs, and here’s what I came up with:

Too much personal information – yes, we’re all sharing a lot about ourselves with a lot of people, but for me there are limits.  Hearing about your struggle with infertility is one thing, detailed posts about the state of your cervical mucus is quite another.  I also do not feel the need to know if you post naked or not.  I don’t consider myself a prude, that’s just not in the need to know category.  Bodily functions are also another topic that will send me clicking away from a blog in a hurry.

Language – yes, there are times when only a four letter word will do, and I’m no stranger to them, but when the post has more words I wouldn’t be comfortable using in front of my mom or my boss, I’m not inclined to keep reading.

Tone – this is a much more subtle one, but if a blog’s main intent seems to be to educate the illiterate masses (i.e. those of us who aren’t the author of said blog), or to preach a religious doctrine, or to promote a political ideal I tend not to come back.

Now for the fun part and the part that was really inspired by the blog I mentioned earlier, what are the things that you consider “x-rated”, that make you uncomfortable, or very unlikely to return to a blog?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Waste Not Want Not

I’ve thought about this as my W post for a while now.  One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to stop being so wasteful.  I’m not sure how well I’m doing; it depends on when you ask me, some days are definitely better than others.  I do think I am making some overall improvement, though I still have a long way to go.

I thought about my dad’s grandparents a lot in deciding how to go about this post.  They died when I was 12, so I don’t remember as much about them as I’d like to.  I do remember that they saved everything, and I do mean everything.  They saved bags, cardboard, butter tubs, glass jars, the smallest scraps of food.  I always thought this was odd as a child; in our household most packaging was immediately discarded and leftover food was only saved if there was enough for a full meal.  I was told that this was due to their living during the Depression, and it was subsequently explained that they didn’t mean the kind featured in the Prozac commercials, it meant a time when no one really had anything.   A time when you had to make use of literally everything you had, a time when wasting something today meant doing without something tomorrow.  A time that was apparently so hard decades later they still lived that way.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to realize the wisdom in their approach.  Neither of them ever worked a very high paying job, yet they were comfortable.  They had what they needed and weren’t stressed about keeping up with others, or how a bill would be paid.  They didn’t live extravagantly, but they definitely lived comfortably.  They didn’t have to feel guilty about the amount of food they threw away every week or wonder where their paycheck went.  They didn’t spend money they didn’t have on things they didn’t need.  They took very good care of their things, so they didn’t have to constantly replace things.  They made use of everything they had, and they seemed to always have what they needed.

I’ve started trying to put some of their habits into practice; I’ve started planning meals for the week that use similar ingredients so I’m not throwing away as many half-used tubs of sour cream or bunches of spices.  I’ve started checking the expiration dates on packaged foods before I open them and using the ones that will expire sooner first.  We’ve also started freezing leftover food more often and defrosting it when we need a quick lunch or dinner.  We are making more of an effort to repair things if we’re able, instead of replacing them.  Simply put, we are trying not to waste what we have.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Volunteer Firefighters

Think about the last time the local fire department came to your home or business, or the last time they directed you around a wreck on the interstate.  There’s a pretty big chance that at least some of those people weren’t being paid for the work they were doing; they were volunteer firefighters.   

The reasons for becoming a volunteer firefighter are as varied as the men and women who choose to volunteer, but include following in a parent’s footsteps, a desire to help and improve the community, a need for something exciting, or a desire for positive role models.  Regardless of the reasons for volunteering, volunteer firefighters provide valuable services for their communities including responding to medical calls (approximately half of all volunteer firefighters have an EMT certification), traffic control, and rescue work, which includes everything from people stuck in elevators to vehicle extrication, as well as preparing landing zones for emergency helicopters. 

Volunteer firefighters are highly dedicated, usually spending a minimum of about 35 hours per month on training, meetings, and responding to calls.  Many have been volunteering for ten or more years, and plan to continue volunteering for many more years.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Unusual Gifts

My Mother-In-Law gave me a brick for my birthday this year.   I was also given quite a bit of dog and cat food for my birthday. 

Now let me explain why these very unusual gifts were a good thing and made me happy.  I asked for donations to the local no-kill shelter for my birthday instead of gifts for me.   This was the first year, ever, that we’ve done any kind of event for my birthday, but thirty seemed to merit doing something.  I wanted something low-key, and I wanted to do something “grown-up”, so we went with a small cookout and asked for donations in lieu of gifts. 

I wasn’t sure how friends and family would respond to this.  Would they think I was serious?  Would they participate?  I was overwhelmed by their generosity in giving to a cause that means so much to me.  They donated over 40 pounds of pet food/treats, a food dish, and nearly $200.00.  The brick was part of a donation made in my honor to the building fund; it included choosing something to engrave on the brick, which will be incorporated into the building.

So my birthday gifts this year were very unusual, but they meant so much to me.  And how many people can start off with “my Mother-In-Law gave me a brick for my birthday this year”?    

Of course in writing this I started thinking about some of the other unusual (but great) gifts I have received and here are some that came to mind:

Squeaky dog toys – these were from a co-worker for last year’s Secret Santa.  My dog LOVES squeaky toys, and I LOVE my dog, so they were great.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking and a Dutch Oven – these may not seem that unusual, but they were from my husband on our first anniversary.   This usually leads to gasps of horror, but I really wanted them, and now whenever I use them I think of our first anniversary.

A self defense key chain spiky thing – How’s that for a technical name?  My dad gave me this (with orders to carry it around) just before I started driving, along with lessons in how to use it.  Unusual, yes, but it was just my dad’s way of trying to keep me safe.  That’s a pretty amazing gift if you think about it.

I’d love to hear about your unusual gifts in the comments. 

Monday, April 23, 2012


Tara is the second youngest and last adopted of the quirky quartet of cats.  She’ll be three in June.  Tara was sort of an accidental adoption.  The local no-kill shelter sent out a plea via Facebook for temporary (about a week) fosters for the cats while the cat area was under construction, and we agreed to foster two cats.  I picked them up and set them up in a large room away from our cats.

We spent time with the foster cats every day and played with them and petted them.  Tara was extremely shy and nervous at first.  I didn’t actually get to touch her until she’d been at our house for almost 24 hours, but once she had time to get used to us she became quite the little lap kitty.  She would sit in my lap for hours while I was on the computer.  We agonized over the decision, but decided to keep Tara, since she seemed less adoptable due to being less personable and outgoing.

Tara adjusted quickly to life with her three brother cats and has really started to come into her own personality.  She loves to chase the laser light and run around with Frankie.  Tara and Frankie very quickly became the best of friends.  Her favorite perch is on the back of the couch.  She spends hours there looking out of the window and surveying the neighborhood.  She also makes the cutest little chatter noises whenever she sees a bird or squirrel that gets her attention.

Tara is still vey shy and extremely nervous about loud noises or sudden movements.  She rarely comes out of hiding when we have company, though she has warmed up to a few people.  She’s slowly learning that she is safe and has definitely begun to play more and act like a happy cat during the past year.  She also loves to cuddle up right next to us when we’re sleeping. 

We may have failed as foster parents with Tara, but she is definitely a welcome and loved addition to our family.  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sausage Gravy

This is actually my grandmother's recipe for sausage gravy and biscuits.  It is so good!  She has made it, without exact measurements, for as long as I can remember.  She's no longer able to cook due to mobility issues, but I made it with her several times before, and these are the measurements I came up with.  It's one of my favorite breakfasts and is the one any friends who come to stay always request.  I've never been able to master homemade biscuits, so I just use the Grand's biscuits.

1 pound ground sausage
4 – 6 Tbsp flour
4 cups milk
Dash of nutmeg
¼ tsp pepper
Brown sausage with nutmeg over medium heat.  When sausage is fully cooked add milk and 4 Tbsp flour, whisk thoroughly.  Add pepper and simmer over medium heat until gravy reaches desired thickness.  Add additional flour (up to 2 more Tbsp) if necessary to thicken gravy.  Serve warm over biscuits.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rain, Roof Woes, and Ready for the Weekend

It has been raining off and on here since Tuesday afternoon; even when the rain stops it has still been gray and cloudy. This is not my kind of weather. It feels like the clouds and gray skies are literally sucking the life and will out of me. I love the sunshine. Sunny days give me energy and make me feel alive. I feel sort of like the solar butterfly light in our front yard; I must have sunshine in order to function.

The other downside to all of the rain we’ve had is that we’ve found out our roof isn’t entirely fixed. The main leak appears to be fixed; that area has been dry this week, but one of the smaller leaks still isn’t fixed. I called the roofing company and they’ll be coming back out to look at it as soon as it stops raining, possibly tomorrow, depending on the weather. The chance of rain seems to go up every time I check tomorrow’s forecast, though, so I’m not so sure they’ll be able to come look at it tomorrow. On a positive note, they returned my phone call quickly, and are trying to come look at as soon as possible; they can’t stop the rain any more than I can. That would be one totally awesome superpower though!

On another (and even more) positive note, it’s the weekend! Everyone definitely seems ready for the workweek to end. I think it’s the rain making the weekly drudgery even worse for everyone. There just seems to be a general sense of relief this morning as everyone is ready for the weekend to get started. Here’s hoping the chance of rain will decrease, and that everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quality vs. Quantity

The cookbook club I’m in met and ate a delicious meal earlier this week. We also discussed the cookbook we’re currently using, Heart of the Artichoke: and Other Kitchen Journeys by David Tanis. The authors approach is fairly simple; he stresses the use of ingredients that are in season and doesn’t rely on many gadgets. The recipes are usually fairly simple, with a few quality ingredients. It has been a little bit of an adjustment for some of us to get used to cooking with just a few ingredients, but all of the dishes have been excellent. We came to the conclusion that it’s because even though some of them are very simple, using only a few ingredients, the ingredients are high quality. Of course this made me think about other aspects of life where focusing on quality, rather than quantity yields a good result, so here are just a few of the things that came to mind:

Friends: I’m not one of those people with 972 Facebook friends, or a cell phone full of numbers for people I barely know. (I’m not saying it’s a bad thing if you are, it’s just not for me.) I have a relatively small circle of friends, but they are close friends. They’re the kind of friends I could call at 2:00 in the morning if I needed them, and they could do the same with me. I like to think it’s because we’ve spent quality time together; we know each other, and have come to care deeply for one another.

Shoes: This is one I’m still adjusting to, but it turns out my dad was right all of those years when he told me my massive collection of cute, but cheap, sandals, high heals, and other not to so great shoes wasn’t going to be good for my feet. But I had almost any shoe in almost any color! I also now have plantar fasciitis. I have learned, the hard way, that’s it’s a much better idea to have a few pairs of quality shoes rather than a plethora of not so good shoes.

Cookware/Knives: After years of constantly buying really cheap knives, in various sizes and shapes and never spending much money on bake ware or pots and pans, I have finally come to realize that it’s definitely worth investing in the best quality kitchen products you’re able to. The result (food!) is much better,you don’t cut yourself trying to hack into something with a flimsy knife, and you buy things once, not over and over again.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Putting On Pounds

Meet Marta, our temporary foster cat from the local no-kill shelter. As you can tell from the picture, Marta is very thin right now. She recently started losing weight, and has been to the vet a few times, but they’re not sure what’s causing the weight loss. Her blood work came back with good results and her appetite is decent, though she could definitely stand to eat more. She has also been de-wormed, though there was no sign of worms, as a precautionary measure. She doesn’t have fleas. Yet she continues to lose weight.

I met Marta last summer when the shelter asked for temporary cat fosters during some construction. Marta is a small cat, but definitely wasn’t boney at that point, and had a voracious appetite. She actually tried to eat the other foster cat’s share of the wet food as well as her own. She was also lively and playful. We took Marta back to the shelter after the construction, but I’ve continued to stop in the cat room and visit her any time I’m there for anything.

I went to the shelter Monday afternoon to drop some things off and saw Marta. She was being housed in a separate area to be sure she has access to plenty of food she wouldn’t have to share with the other cats, but hasn’t made much improvement. In fact, she has lost three more ounces during the past week. They asked if I might be interested in fostering Marta again for a week or two at least, to see if she might be able to put some weight back on in a home environment away from the stress and noise of the shelter. My husband agreed to temporarily fostering her, so I went back and picked her up yesterday afternoon. All of our fur kids are a bit on the rotund side, so our house seems like a good place for a cat to put on a few pounds. I also seem to the designated person in our family to try to coax pets who aren’t eating into eating something, so I’m hoping I can get her to eat more.

I set Marta up in what we call “the big room”; it’s an addition that’s the biggest room in the house, and has a sliding glass door so she can look outside. It’s also the easiest room to keep our quirky quartet of cats out of. We are currently keeping Marta separated from them, in part to protect them in case it turns out to be something contagious that is causing Marta to lose weight, and also to ensure that she gets plenty of food and a chance to rest and relax. The quirky quartet isn’t always big on leaving you in peace.

Marta is doing fairly well. She seems to have perked up a bit, and is responding well to attention. She is eating, though definitely not as much as I’d like her to. She really liked the Fancy Feast Appetizers last year when we fostered her, so I bought her several of those and gave her one last night. She ate very little of it though. I’m not sure if it was that particular flavor, or possibly the texture. I gave her a can of Friskies later last night that was a pate style and she finished that up. I sat next to her while she ate and petted her when she took breaks from eating. She seems to really thrive on the one on one attention. I’m also leaving dry kitten chow out for her, though she doesn’t seem to be eating any of that. I’d feel better if she would eat some of the dry food, since it’s supposed to help them gain weight.

This morning I used a food chopper to reduce some the kitten chow to crumbs. People use it to chop vegetables to hide in their kids’ food, so why not? I mixed some of the crumbs in with another can of the pate style food. Marta ate about a quarter of that this morning. I’m hoping that she’ll continue to snack on it for the rest of the morning. She actually left the food because there was a bird on the porch outside the sliding glass door that she was watching. I’d like to think that’s a positive sign, that she’s alert enough and feels well enough to go across the room to watch a bird she heard chirping.

I will mix more kitten chow crumbs in with another can of pate food today and also offer her a different flavor of the appetizers. I’m also going to continue sitting next to her while she eats since right now she seems more likely to eat with attention. I really want to put some weight on her soon! It’s just so sad to see her as skin and bones. Please feel free to leave any suggestions you may have for putting weight on a cat in the comments.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Owning A Home

I recently read a post on another blog about home buying; that couple is looking to buy their first home, and so I started thinking about our journey to home ownership. My husband and I bought our first (and with the way our moves go, hopefully, last) home about a year and a half ago. Homeownership has definitely been interesting, and overall more good than bad.

It took us almost a year of looking to find the right home. Housing is somewhat expensive where we live, and there are quite a few 55 and older communities here, so that limited our choices. We had a wonderful realtor, who is actually a close friend. Her help definitely made the process easier than it might have been. I know realtors sometimes get a bad rap, but for us, working with a good realtor definitely helped us find the right home.

We began by looking at listings within our price range, and asking people to let us know if they saw or heard of anything. Some of our adventures were downright scary, some were funny, and some were just tiring.

We knew we didn’t want anything out in the country. I grew up in a subdivision in the city limits, with trash pickup, city water and sewer, and close neighbors. I didn’t want to find myself in what I term “the wilderness”. I also knew I wanted city water; my dad has worked in water my whole life. Most children grow up with a fear of things that go bump in the night; I grew up with a fear of all the diseases you can get from contaminated water. My husband has never lived in the city limits, and wasn’t very keen on the idea of paying city taxes for the privilege. He was also very concerned about distance from fire hydrants and the nearest fire department. Our schedules only line up about five days a month, so a fixer upper was pretty much out. After all, how much work can you do on a house by yourself while your spouse is trying to sleep? Yes, I know we had a vey odd list of things that were important to us.

So began our search. We looked at a house I dubbed the Silence of the Lambs House. All I could think about in the basement was “it rubs the lotion into its skin”. We looked at a house my husband dubbed The Firetrap. We looked at a house I was convinced would come tumbling off of its precarious perch on the side of a mountain. We looked at a house my husband was convinced was next door to a crack house. We also looked at several houses that just didn’t seem quite right to either of us.

We finally found what we thought was the perfect house; city water, close to the fire department, and even a fenced in yard. We began the process of getting ready to close on it. Then came the home inspection. The home inspection was more like a laundry list of things that can possibly be wrong with a house. There were moisture problems, problems with the roof, problems with the floors, problems with the pipes, and problems with the duct work. It was actually so bad that our realtor told us we’d have to use another realtor if we went ahead with buying it; she wasn’t going to be responsible for helping us get into a house with that many problems. We listened to her and didn’t buy that house. That was a very disappointing time; we had already started packing, but life goes on, and so did our search for a house.

We finally found the right house several months later. It’s just outside of the city limits, which means city water, but no city taxes. It’s close to a fire hydrant, and the fire department, and close to the interstate (read easier access to South Carolina). The home inspection didn’t turn up any major surprises, and the closing took place right on schedule.

Our house is small, but it’s just the two of us, and the fur kids of course, but they don’t ask for their own rooms. We have extremely nice neighbors. The location is very convenient for us as well.

There have been some adjustments and surprises. The roof started to leak about a month after we moved in, and getting it fixed has been an ongoing fiasco, though we seem to have finally stumbled across a roofing company that has been able to fix it once and for all. We’re pretty sure the air conditioning unit only has a year or two left, so we’re starting to save up for replacing it. We have learned that home warranties are pretty much a waste of money. We now understand why some of the things we did growing up were so upsetting to our parents. It’s true when they tell you you’ll understand when you buy your own house.

There are more things we’d like to do with the house; some very minor, some much more involved. We’d also like to fence in the backyard. Sometimes it’s a little disappointing that we’ve been here for a year and a half and haven’t done more, but then I remind myself that we’re here (hopefully) for the next 40 or 50 years. We’ll do the things we want eventually. In the meantime, the best part is knowing that one day it will be paid off, and it will be entirely ours. Sure the 28.5 years left sound like a really long time, but I think about how fast these 30 years have gone by, and I realize it will be here before we know it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Not. Giving. Up.

Throughout the challenge I have noticed that my blog has been moving up the sign-up list; I started off somewhere around number 1176 (I’m not entirely positive of the exact number) and when I checked the list this afternoon I was at number 1072. So in 16 days I have moved up roughly 100 places. I assume this is due to other bloggers removing themselves from the challenge, or being removed due to non-participation.

When I first signed up I half-way expected that I would find myself removed at some point. I’ve never lasted with any structured writing program for more than a week or so. I mean to, I have good intentions, but somehow I just don’t. I signed up for the challenge in part due to getting nervous about my 30th birthday, and in part to see if I could do it.

Today’s post has been one of the hardest ones for me. I just started drawing a blank on the letter N. I was frantically googling “words that begin with n” last night in an effort to find inspiration for today’s post. On top of that, I knew that today would be really busy at work, and I have committed to a few things this week that will be keeping me pretty busy for a few hours after work today. I started to panic about my N post.

Needless to say, the thought of just skipping N crossed my mind. I began to reason that I was justifiably busy, and that I could jump right back in tomorrow with O. Maybe no one would even notice. Then I realized that M was the half-way point. I’ve already made it half-way, and it has been FUN! N has been the first letter to cause me resort to midnight googling. So I decided that I wouldn’t make it half-way only to lose to N. I decided that I would NOT be giving up.

I realized that deciding I was NOT. Giving. Up. was all well and good, but I still needed an N post. Then I realized I had it. (So I was a little slow on the up-take last night; I will plead that it was after midnight and had been a very busy weekend.) Not. Giving. Up.

So there we have it, some things are just worth not giving up on. Sure, they take time, effort, and energy, but that’s just a part of life. And things get better, they really do. I have ideas for quite a few of the letters coming up, and I will come up with something for the ones I don’t have ideas for yet. I will not give up to a single letter of the alphabet. I am Not. Giving. Up. As Winston Churchill once said, “Never, never, never, never give up.”

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Milo is the second oldest and second adopted of the quirky quartet of cats. He is the middle child. He will turn four next month. He’s also the first fur kid my husband and I adopted together. We adopted Milo on November 1, 2008, just a little over a month after we were married.

My cat Edison and my husband’s cat Tinkerbelle had defected to my parents and sister respectively, leaving Howard as the only cat. Howard is not an only cat kind of guy, so we made the decision to adopt a feline companion for him. I perused petfinder looking for a cat who seemed suitably deranged to be Howard’s buddy.

Milo seemed to fit the bill; he looked absolutely insane in his picture, and his foster mom described him as “interesting, playful, energetic, and entertaining”. There was also a comment of “bring out the toy mice and watch what happens”. (We later learned he frantically chews the tails off because of a string fetish.) He sounded like the cat for us! I also learned that he had been dropped off at a vet’s office after his mother was hit by a car when he was about six weeks old, and I am a sucker for animals with sad stories.

We submitted our application and picked Milo up on Saturday afternoon. A volunteer with the rescue even stayed a little late to give us time to make the hour drive to the Pet Smart he was at. We met Milo and he was everything and more they said online, so we headed home with him.

He screamed (the blood-curdling scream that only a furious cat can manage) during the entire drive home. I don’t think he even paused to breathe. That hasn’t changed; putting Milo in the carrier still results in horrific screaming.

Milo and Howard bonded quickly and have remained good buddies. I guess the orange guys have to stick together.

Milo is definitely an interesting guy. If he were human I believe he’d be diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or possibly some sort of disorder involving paranoia. He’s very frightened by anyone or anything new, and doesn’t handle disruptions to his routine well. He’s also very focused. If we take something away from him and put it in a closet he will sit in front of the closet for hours trying to open it.

Milo also has quite a few fetishes, the most extreme of which is anything ribbon or string. He has eaten more shoelaces than I care to think about; we now have to keep shoes with laces in one particular closet that he can’t open. He has also eaten all of the drawstrings out of our pajamas. And he loves Christmas! All of the packages with ribbons are Milo’s dream come true!

I am Milo’s person. With any other cat, I might be inclined to say that they are my cat, but with Milo it’s a case of me being his person. I am the person he sleeps next to, and the person whose lap he will always sit on. I’m also the only person allowed to pet his head. It’s a Milo thing. I have no idea why he chose me, though I do feel honored. And I love being Milo’s mom. He’s everything we hoped for and definitely helps complete our little family.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lessons Learned

I turned thirty earlier this month, and while I had a minor freak out about the idea of no longer being in my twenties, I have decided it isn’t so bad after all. I didn’t suddenly wake up feeling or looking any older. This birthday has made me think about things I’ve learned in my thirty years, so here they are, in no particular order:

  • People will never fail to shock and surprise you; sometimes in a positive way, sometimes in a negative way. People will not always be what you expect.

  • Some things are better left to the professionals; especially things that involve hair, electricity, or hot wax.

  • If you want to find out who your true friends are, move. They’re the ones who actually show up and help you move that hideously heavy piece of furniture, again and again.

  • If something sounds entirely too good to be true it probably is.

  • GPS devices aren’t always right. In fact, sometimes they are devious little liars. If everything, including the signs on the interstate, is telling you something different, ignore the GPS.

  • Moving is never a smooth process; trucks break down, people who’ve promised to help back out, droughts end, doors detach, hardware stores close for no apparent reason. Just mentally prepare yourself for a really rough few days, and know that all moves eventually end.

  • If you’re waiting for a delivery that’s taking too long, get in the shower. This is a surefire way to make them come.

  • If someone’s love, friendship, or approval is conditional you do not need it. In fact, you are probably better off without it.

  • Don’t spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need.

  • Listen when older couples who've been together for decades talk about their marriage and what makes it last. They clearly know what they're talking about; think about it, they might have over half a century's worth of experience.

  • Read ALL of the instructions before beginning any project, whether it's making a dessert or putting a fan together.

  • We all need to be part of something bigger and greater than ourselves. Find something you love and believe in, and volunteer in some way for that cause or belief. Regardless of how much or how little time you're able to spend, it will make you a happier person.

  • There’s a huge difference between baking soda and baking powder; there’s also a huge difference between flour and self-rising flour. It matters, very much, which one you use.

  • Great friends can sometimes come from unexpected places.


Kindness is defined (on Wikipedia) as the “act or state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition and concern for others.” Synonyms include compassionate, gracious, and sympathetic.

Sadly, we don’t always see very many examples of kindness in our daily lives. For some people the jobs they must do every day are a constant reminder of just how unkind the world can be. People can be cruel, or more often, just thoughtless.

Fortunately, there are still people out there who practice kindness, every day, in large and small ways. I stumbled across this blog, 366 Random Acts of Kindness, by accident one night a few weeks ago when I was procrastinating doing housework. It’s an amazing, yet simple, concept. The author has vowed to do one random act of kindness every day this year, for a total of 366 random acts of kindness. The acts thus far have included doing the dishes so his wife doesn’t have to, writing a condolence letter to the parents of a solider killed in action, giving blood, buying lunch for a shift at the local fire department, and carrying groceries for people. I love reading his blog. I look forward to it every day to see what he will come up with next.

There are three things that have really grabbed my attention about this blog; first, it seems like he’s just “an average guy”, he lives with his wife and daughter in an apartment, and works a full time job, so he’s busy with normal obligations just like most of us are. Second, he doesn’t seem to have vast amounts of disposable income to throw at causes; sure some of the things he has done cost money, but many are free. It just goes to show us that even with limited financial resources we can still do something to help others. The third has been the snowball effect; in reading the comments on the blog it seems like other people have been inspired to perform the same or similar acts in their day to day lives. Who knows how many other people have been inspired by those acts to do the same?

This has really made me think about some of the kindnesses that have been done for me in my life, and of the kindnesses that I can do for other people in return. Kind acts don’t have to be anything extraordinary; sometimes something as simple as holding a door for someone who has their hands full can push their day from bad to good. Sometimes taking the time to do something like taking a meal to someone who is ill can make the difference between them feeling alone or feeling supported. So now I want to make more of an effort to find ways to be kinder to people. I doubt I will come up with anything as grand as 366 random acts, but we can all do something, right? Hopefully I will have updates to share along the way, since most us can benefit from a little more kindness, grace, sympathy, and compassion in our lives.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Joshilyn Jackson

In perusing the blogs on the A to Z list I have noticed that many people are sharing various movies, books, and music they enjoy. I think that’s a wonderful idea, as it’s always nice to find another band, author, or movie to enjoy. So that’s the topic of my post today.

Joshilyn Jackson is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read all five of her novels (you can check them out on her website), and was very happy to read that she’s hard at work on the next one; unfortunately it won’t be published until 2014, on the bright side that is something to look forward to.

She writes the South very well; she has the right feel and flavor without relying on stereotypes. Her characters are funny and interesting, and the humor in her books is quirky and highly entertaining.

I think my favorite novel is her latest, A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty. I loved it because it was engaging and beautifully written. I loved it just as much because it was better than the previous four. It’s wonderful to find an author who continues to write really, really, really good books; books that leave you looking forward to the next one, even if it is two years away.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Independent Bookstores

I love to read; I have always been a reader, and I have always loved books. I haven’t made the switch to an e-reader yet. I love BOOKS. I love the way they smell and feel. I love the weight of them in my hands, and the sound of the pages turning. I love the texture of the paper. I love books. I suppose it’s only natural that my love of books leads to a love of bookstores. I love most bookstores, but I have recently come to truly love independent bookstores.

Independent bookstores support the local community, your community. When you shop your local indie bookstore (you can use this link to find one near you) you are helping to employ people in your community. They also host great events, oftentimes featuring local authors. It’s so nice to meet someone who lives and writes near you.

Indie bookstores also offer some wonderful and unique book clubs. I’m in a cook book club through the local indie store; we meet once a month, and I find myself looking forward to it all month. Not only are the book clubs themselves enjoyable, but you get the opportunity to meet and befriend people who live and work near you. That’s as good as finding a wonderful new book.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Howard is the oldest, and first adopted of the quirky quartet of cats; he’s the second oldest fur kid. He will turn six in July. I adopted Howard from the local animal shelter when he was about seven months old. I thought my cat at the time (who has since decided that life is much better being my parents’ cat) needed a feline companion. My intention was to get a cat around two or three years old. Then I saw Howard.

He literally bounced to the front of his cage with this “Hi, nice to meet you! Let’s play!” expression on his face, and I fell hard and fast. During our time in the meet and greet room he climbed my leg and chewed on my jewelry. He was such a funny, playful little guy. The shelter (rightfully) required Howard to be neutered before I could leave with him, and due to scheduling issues with the clinic there, I had to wait about four days before I could take him home. During that time Howard developed a severe upper respiratory infection. The shelter offered to let me choose another cat, but I couldn’t do that. I had promised Howard a home, and he was going to come home with me. On my veterinarian’s advice I took my other cat to my parents’ house so that he wouldn’t be exposed (I think this is when the seeds of his plan to defect were sown), and brought Howard home.

Howard’s condition rapidly deteriorated; he wouldn’t eat or drink, he didn’t play, he just slept. There was no sign of the playful little kitten I had met at the shelter. Within less than 24 hours we were back at the clinic. They kept him for another four days during which time he was quarantined, given fluids, force fed, and put on various medications. They allowed me to bring him a t-shirt from home, on the condition that I understood I wouldn’t be getting it back, and they also allowed me to come visit him for about 15 minutes every day.

I was finally able to bring, and keep, Howard home, where he quickly returned to the energetic, playful kitten I first met.

Howard’s first year with me was an interesting one; he swallowed an earring and had to have emergency surgery to remove it, he ripped out two of the staples from that surgery, resulting in another emergency trip to the vet, and he got into literally everything. I would come home from work to find dry pasta scattered around the house or Howard with a blue mouth from finding and eating my pixie stick stash. Life was always interesting.

Howard has calmed down quite a bit over the years. He still loves to play with his toys, and loves all of his siblings, and pretty much anyone else he comes into contact with. Howard is the most easy going and personable cat I have ever known. I have never, ever heard him hiss or growl. We’re not sure if he even knows how. He has greeted every new fur kid like they’re his long lost best friend. He’s happy to see everyone who comes to our house, and he’s not afraid of anything. When friends or family bring their pets to our home Howard is just happy to meet one more friend. He doesn’t even protest going in his carrier or going to the vet.

If there are any life lessons to be learned from my big orange guy it’s to always give someone new a chance, and go through life happy. Of course, it’s impossible to be Howard’s mom and not smile some every day.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


To say that gardening has never been my forte is a massive piece of understatement; I’ve hated it for most of my life, and have gone to great lengths to avoid it. I’ve never even cared much for house plants; they’ve never survived much longer than a week or two under my care. As a kid when it was my turn to water my mom’s yearly attempt at a garden I usually just stood outside with the hose running for a few minutes before going back to whatever I had happily been doing inside. I realize now this may be part of the reason why her gardens never survived for very long. As an adult I usually managed to rent places where the yard work and maintenance were the responsibility of the landlord. It didn’t matter that it cost a little more, I thought it was well worth the money. In my defense, I’ve always suffered from terrible seasonal allergies, am pasty, pale white, so burn in practically no time, and have always had a serious aversion to dirt and bugs. It just didn’t seem like gardening would combine well with me. I love to cook and bake, so I’m not a total loss domestically. But as they say, “the only constant is change”.

My husband (who hates the heat, which in his world is anything warmer than about seventy-five degrees, and by extension hates yard work, since it requires him to be out in the heat) and I bought our first home on September 30, 2010. Fortunately, at that time of year, there isn’t much yard work or gardening to be done here. Even better for us, the sellers had done a lot with the yard in an effort to get the place sold, so other than upkeep on what was already here, there wasn’t much that had to be done. We also had the sense to realize that people such as ourselves are happier with very small yards. Our plan was just to maintain what was already here. Well, we were hit with a wide range of problems, all of which I’m told are fairly common, in that first year. We barely kept the grass cut. I made a few half-hearted attempts at weeding, though I’m pretty sure I did more harm than good; we seem to have an abundance of weeds and appear to be missing some plants and flowers from last year. My “tug and see what happens; if it comes out easily, it’s probably a plant so put it back, if it’s stubborn, yank it out” method probably wasn’t the best for identifying plants versus weeds.

The yard began to look kind of sad. As spring approached (so quickly this year) we decided that we’d have to do something about the yard. This year we would do better than barely keeping the grass cut. All of our neighbors have nicely maintained, pretty yards. We saw the possibility for ours.

Fortunately, my husband’s grandmother is an avid gardener. Their yard is beautiful; she enjoys gardening, and is a wealth of knowledge. She came over and walked the yard with us; we determined what was beyond saving and needed to be pulled up, which areas needed more plants, and what needed attention most. She taught us how to trim and dead head, and pointed out which things were weeds and which were not. We also determined what to do with the very odd rock circle in the front yard. I’m not sure what the original idea was, but it’s a roughly three foot circle of rocks that have been cemented together. There was nothing planted in it when we moved in, and it looks sort of odd to have a rock circle with just grass in your front yard.

The rock circle is now the beginning of my herb garden. Grand Mommy suggested it because she said it gets the right amount of sun for an herb garden, and since I enjoy cooking so much an herb garden might interest me more. I think she was too polite to say, but thought that it might have a better chance of survival if I equated it with cooking rather than gardening. So began my herb garden.

We used a technique she calls lasagna gardening; you layer newspapers over the grass in the area you want to plant and then pour bagged soil on top of that, and then plant in that. It’s supposed to be an easier way to get started for those of us who aren’t enthusiasts. We have planted oregano, sage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and garlic chives (something I’d never even heard of before). As you can see in the picture, they’re all still alive. They’re coming up on four weeks, which is a new record for me. We will be adding more this year, but I am told we will need to wait until a little later this month, as it still gets pretty cold at night right now.

I have also done some weeding and trimming, and a little more planting; irises, a money plant, and grape hyacinth. I have actually enjoyed it, much more than I thought I would. Gardening doesn’t bring me the same pleasure that baking a cake for loved ones or concocting a wonderful new dish does, but I have to say there is something deeply satisfying about it. Maybe it’s because the yard belongs to us, or maybe I’m a little more open to new things now. I’m really not sure. I just know that there is something deeply satisfying on an almost elemental level about digging in the dirt, in my own yard with the sun warming me, and planting herbs that I will later use in my kitchen.

Friday, April 6, 2012


As I’ve mentioned in my profile, I am the mother of five fabulous fur kids. Frankie is the baby of our family, though he’s the fourth one adopted. He’s two, almost two and a half, years old, and we’ve had him since he was about seven weeks old. We adopted Frankie as a result of a Facebook post; someone posted that someone was looking for a home for a kitten they’d found. I got in touch with the person, and we ended up adopting Frankie.

Frankie is definitely our most adventuresome and curious cat. He is interested in literally everything! He loves to chase the laser light, play with his siblings, climb on top of things (including the shower doors) and explore everything. He is especially fascinated by the shower drain and the washing machine. I don’t think he knows that most cats don’t like water.

Frankie is one of the most interesting cats I’ve ever known. He’s also extremely friendly toward people. We think this is at least partially due to the fact that he was bottle fed before we adopted him. He’s just very friendly, and doesn’t mind being carried around, or held and rocked like a baby.

In case you’re wondering, it’s the camera case that Frankie is attacking in the picture. I do have pictures (usually taken just after he wakes up) of him just sitting still, but I don’t feel like they capture the real Frankie. The real Frankie is a cat who attacks camera cases. He’s also a cat who will play until he’s panting and curl up next to you to go to sleep, and then leap up and on to the next adventure.

Life with Frankie is definitely an adventure; we never know what he’s going to do next, or what is going to grab his attention, and that’s just part of what we love about him.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


As I’ve mentioned in my profile, I am the mother of five fabulous fur kids. Emma is the first and oldest of the fur kids. She’s a white Boxer mix, though we have no idea what the “mix” is. I like to say it’s perfection.

Emma is nine years old; she just had her ninth birthday on February 15 of this year. She had a pretty rough start in life. I got Emma from kind of a friend of a friend; they let their (not spayed) Boxer run loose, and were absolutely shocked when she ended up pregnant. Who’d have thought, huh? Anyway, to say that they didn’t provide good prenatal care is definitely an understatement. The mother stopped nursing the puppies at about five weeks, and they were just given puppy food. Amazingly, the entire litter survived. In further piling up irresponsible actions, the owners ran a “Free to a Good Home” ad in the paper for the puppies.

I met Emma for the first time when she was about eight hours old, and I fell in love with her. I still can’t say exactly what it was, but there was definitely something that made me instantly love her, something that went far, far beyond the fact that I was holding a cute, snuggly little puppy. I knew from the moment I picked Emma up that she was Emma, and that she had to be my dog. I knew this from the very depth of my being.

The trouble came in convincing my parents, since I was still in school and still living with them at the time. They were afraid that once the cute puppy stage wore off I would no longer want Emma, and they’ be stuck with a large dog they hadn’t bargained for when I graduated and moved out. I launched my “I must have Emma” campaign by borrowing her for sleepovers. The people who owned her were more than happy to get a break from her for a night or two, and this gave me the chance to let her work her magic on my parents. Obviously she did. They finally agreed to let me keep her, under the condition that I was to be totally responsible for her, and that she move out with me whenever I left home.

The rest is history. Emma has been through so much with me, and I can’t imagine not having her there for all of it. My job at the time when I got Emma was taking photographs for a real estate agent, usually of vacant houses, so I was able to take Emma with me the vast majority of the time. She’s a great car-rider, and still loves to go for a ride at any opportunity. She has been with me through moving into a teeny, tiny studio apartment, to meeting my husband (who had to pass the Emma test), moving to a different state, and buying our first home.

The best way I know to describe Emma is as spring-loaded happiness. Even at nine years old she is still extremely energetic, and loves to run and play. She loves her squeaky toys, and is great with our quirky quartet of cats. She’s always happy and smiling, and always greets me like I’m the best thing in the universe when I come home. Regardless of what kind of day I’ve had coming home to my little spring-loaded happiness girl always makes it better.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


For many people (at least for me) the word “donation” often brings to mind the word “cash” or at least “money”. While charitable organizations can definitely use financial assistance, you don’t have to break the bank in order to help out. You can donate everything from things around the house you no longer need or use to blood. Here’s a short list of things that you can donate without spending any money:

Time – Sure it’s probably our most valuable commodity, but it doesn’t cost us anything. Take the time; even it’s just half an hour, to volunteer for an organization or cause you believe in.

Clothing – We all have clothing that we no longer wear; it’s too big (we should all be so lucky!), too small, or we just don’t love it. Why not donate it so someone else can benefit from it? Consider taking it to a thrift store that benefits a cause you care about, or taking it to your nearest homeless shelter or women’s shelter. If you have gently used formal dresses look for local programs that provide prom dresses for girls who need them.

Blood – Okay, so this one might seem a little gross, or scary, at first glance; however, blood donations are constantly needed. It only takes about an hour, isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds, and they even give you a snack. According to the American Red Cross, one blood donation can save up to three lives. How many other things can you do that have much of an impact? For more information, or to find a blood drive near you, visit .

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


One of the unexpected perks of participating in the A to Z Challenge is that people are now commenting on my posts. I had no idea how pleasant it would be to see actual proof that real, live human beings are reading my posts! And that they care enough to take the time to comment. WOW!

I’ve never been much of a commenter myself. I’ve meant to, but somehow just haven’t. Not anymore. Now that I know how great a positive comment makes you feel I intend to comment and let people know when I enjoy reading their posts. I guess the old adage that “the best things in life are free” is definitely true when it comes to comments on blog posts.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Blueberry Almond Pancakes

These delicious blueberry pancakes start from the Bisquick pancake recipe, so are very easy to make.
Prepare Bsiquick pancake recipe as directed, adding the following ingredients:
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 cup blueberries
1 tsp almond extract
Mix well. Prepare pancakes as directed on Bisquick box.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Animal Rescue

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month! So I think it’s very appropriate that my first post in the April 2012 A to Z Blog Challenge is Animal Rescue.

According to the ASPCA, approximately 5 to 7 million cats and dogs end up in animal shelters in the United States every year. Roughly 70 percent of those cats, and 60 percent of those dogs, for a total of 3 to 4 million cats and dogs, are euthanized. That means that on any given day, somewhere between 8,000 and just under 11,000 animals are euthanized in shelters; not only are most of these animals perfectly healthy , adoptable companion animals, many of them are euthanized after a very brief waiting period, having been give little to no chance to be adopted. Furthermore, the method used to euthanize them varies from shelter to shelter as well as by state. Many places still use the heart stick method or gas chamber.

The good news is that we can all do our part, however small, to reduce these numbers.

We can all start by spaying and neutering our own pets. Preventing overpopulation is vital; it helps prevent animals from ending up in a shelter in the first place. Many litters of puppies and kittens are taken to shelters because their owners are simply unable or unwilling to care for additional animals. Spayed and neutered pets don’t produce more litters, so that reduces the number of pets entering shelters. There are many low cost, and even no cost, spay and neuter programs in place. You can contact your local shelter or veterinarian for information on programs locally.

Don’t shop, adopt! When you’re ready to bring a new furry family member into your home, why not go to your local animal shelter or rescue group to find them? You will literally save a life! You will also open up that spot for yet another animal to have a chance at being adopted. Shelters and rescue groups constantly have pets in need of loving homes. Why not begin your search there? Even if you’re looking for a purebred pet, there are many breed specific rescues. Also, according to the ASPCA, roughly ten percent of pets that end up in shelters are purebreds. Talk to anyone who has adopted their fur kids from a shelter or rescue, we’ll tell you it’s the best thing we ever did.

Volunteer and contribute what you can to your local animal shelter or rescue group. Obviously, no one can do everything, but we can all do something. Consider making a one time donation to your favorite animal rescue group, possibly out of your tax refund. If you’re able, consider setting up an automatic monthly donation of an amount you’re comfortable with. Every little bit helps. If you have the time, drop by and help walk and socialize the shelter dogs, or play with the cats and clean their litter boxes. It isn’t glamorous, but it has to be done. On a smaller scale, you can pick up some extra food or litter when it’s on sale and take it to your local animal shelter. Animal shelters are constantly in need of fresh linens. Why not take your old towels and blankets to your local shelter? Many animal shelters have their wish lists available on-line, take a look at what your local shelter needs and see what you might be able to be help with.

If everyone just does a little bit we can save literally millions of lives every year.