Charmaine, a tortoiseshell glamorpuss, is one beautiful cat! She's one of many cats at Wayside Waifs looking for a home
Luna is an 11-year-old tortoiseshell sweetheart. Her bio says "This senior tortie cat came into Wayside when her owner was leaving for basic training and couldn't take her along. Luna is hoping her next family is out there waiting to give her the happy ending she deserves!"
I’ve been taking photographs once a week at Wayside Waifs, a Kansas City, Missouri, animal shelter, for a month now. I’m amazed at the huge variety of beautiful cats available for adoption in many colors, patterns and fur length. (See more of my photos below.)
I don’t even see them all, because, fortunately, many cats and kittens are quickly adopted. But many more homeless cats and kittens (as well as dogs and puppies) come in the door as strays or surrendered pets just as quickly. That’s why we need lots of families for these fuzzy balls of love. Wayside Waifs cares for about 400 cats and dogs and some small mammals every day.
Selena's beauty is undeniable from any angle.
Here’s from a July 22, 2010, email from Wayside Waifs: “As Kansas City’s largest no-kill animal shelter, Wayside Waifs is committed to doing everything in our power to help animals in need. Within the last week, Wayside Waifs has opened its doors to nearly 200 animals in need. We’ve taken in homeless animals from overcrowded shelters in Missouri, Kansas and as far away as Montana. We did not hesitate to answer a plea for help again yesterday, when a shelter in the Kansas City community was left in the dark following a powerful thunderstorm.
Each of the rescued animals is now receiving loving care and a well-deserved second chance at Wayside Waifs. Some have already found their forever homes, the rest are in good hands until the right family comes along.”
Nearly all tortioiseshell cats are female. Find out why and more about these lovely cats by clicking on About Tortoiseshell cats.
To learn more about Wayside Waifs, see some of the animals available for adoption and to donate, click on Wayside Waifs.
To see my first post on Wayside Waifs, which was featured on the WordPress home page for a day or two , click on Wayside Waifs. Be sure to check it out. Lots more beautiful cats and kittens! Most have been adopted, although as of this writing, Ike still needed a home. More cat photographs below.
Orion. Yes, he's got more than star power, he's requires the name of an awesome constellation to capture his magnificence.
Josie is always ready for her close-up, because she's nonstop gorgeous.
Joan shows off her sleek, fabulous looks. She's long, dark and beautiful.
Pedro has tuxedo markings, but don't let the formal attire fool you. He's a cat with a fun-loving personality and he really knows how to play!
On the left is Riff Raff, who's really an aristocrat with lovely manners and a charming and loving personality.
I confess, I don't know Jersey from Shore, but these two almost identical cats (one serves as a pillow for his littermate) are both sweet, beautiful kittens.
Ms. Pufferfish (sitting patiently on the left) and her kittens were not quite ready for adoption, but you can see that they will be in great demand.
Here's a preview of some of Ms. Pufferfish's kittens.
Frozen blueberries and banana slices blended with milk make a great smoothie.
I’m hooked on smoothies. This passion started when it finally dawned on me that I should slice and freeze bananas that were over ripe or soon would be. Later (really I only waited about a day) I blended the frozen banana slices with chocolate milk. Velvety, sweet and icy cold. I highly recommend it. The calories are worth it, but I usually skip lunch on a smoothie day, anyway.
Recently, I harvested a pint or more of strawberries from my garden every day for two weeks. I froze some. Hmmm. Bananas? Strawberries? I threw them together in the blender with some milk (and sometimes vanilla yogurt), pulsed them for a while, added a little sweetener, and the result was so delicious I was sorry I hadn’t thought of this earlier in my life. It’s not as if smoothies are a new idea. Sometimes it takes me a while to catch on.
I drank these strawberry-banana concoctions so quickly that I never photographed a single one of them before the strawberry season was over. When my husband bought some blueberries, I was ready with my blender and my camera. And what do you know! Frozen blueberries and bananas make a great smoothie, too! I held myself back from drinking this blueberry-banana smoothie (photo above) long enough to snap a photo. Next — Peaches!
Spiritual Rez performed at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kansas, July 21, 2009.
I could hardly hear my daughter on the phone over the music.
She was at a concert, listening to friends in a touring reggae band. Finally I made out what she was repeating. “Can the band spend the night at your house?”
I swallowed hard. “Uh, uh. Sure.” Where would we put them? We’d just had some rooms remodeled in the basement, and everything was messier and junkier than usual. The band members were friends of my daughter and her boyfriend from their alma mater, the Berklee College of Music. Had I been thinking ahead, I would have known they’d be sleeping in our basement. Another touring band — friends of theirs — crashed in our basement earlier in the summer. (Do people still use the word crash for camping out in someone’s house at the last minute?)
Spiritual Rez and friends.
I made my daughter promise they’d be quiet. My husband and I are old fogies, and we need our beauty rest. I never heard a thing, and in the morning I wondered whether they’d even come. I looked out the front window and saw a van and equipment trailer parked out front. Later, I found out that they’d played music on the driveway, and I’d slept through that.
I got out the boxes of cereal, bowls and made coffee, and one by one they appeared. They introduced themselves and settled in, happy, they said, to be in an actual home rather than a hotel or a motel, some of which weren’t the homiest of places.
Ian “Meat” Miller, who is the band’s manager, its drummer and one of the two van’s two drivers, fired up his laptop to look for the next places to stay as they continued on the road. He uses priceline.com, which sometimes produced great places at reasonable rates. (This isn’t a paid product placement, ha, ha.) The band has a lot of expenses. It’s not cheap fueling a van pulling a trailer and feeding and housing six people across the country. The bandmembers describe themselves as “a reggae horn funk dance party energetically touring the country.”
Spiritual Rez at the Bottleneck, Lawrence, Kansas, on July 21, 2009.
They were such a cheerful, fun crew, that my husband and I invited them to return after their show that night in Kearney, Nebraska, about a five-hour drive north. They’d stay the night in Kearney and return to Kansas City before their next stop in Lawrence, Kansas.
When they returned on Sunday, they greeted me with “Hi, Mom.” I did want to adopt them all. They were full of stories about their evening in Kearney, where they played in a bar. A fight broke out. As bystanders but too close for comfort, they dodged punches. The police came. Kind of like the old west.
As they talked, I thought about what it would be like to always be on the road, performing in new places all of the time. They seemed to love it. They were different personalities, but somehow made it work. They read a lot and talked about some of the books they were reading. One said he was reading “Dante’s Inferno,” which he said was written as a poem. I confess I never read it myself. Coincidentally, a question about Dante was the Final Jeopardy question that afternoon. Would I have gotten the answer without Spiritual Rez’ guidance?
Miller and Toft Willingham, the lead singer, recognized Mt. Cook in one of my New Zealand photographs, which both had seen on a tour of New Zealand visiting Willingham’s brother James who was working at Peter Jackson’s WETA Digital on James Cameron’s “Avatar”. They made the trip on their annual winter break, when they stop touring for a short while.
More Spiritual Rez.
The band was happy that Lawrence was barely an hour away. They set out on a Monday on a rare day off, which they spent exploring the city and the University of Kansas campus, they said. Their concert was on Tuesday night (July 21) at the Bottleneck. Willingham told the crowd that Kansas was the 32nd state they’d performed in.
They really were an energetic reggae horn funk dance party. It was a beautiful night. Even my old creaky bones were moving.
After Lawrence, they set out for Colorado. Miller said he loved watching the Rocky Mountains rise out of the plains. At this writing, they’re in New York state. They post their activities and schedule on MySpace and facebook, for those who want to find out when they’ll be in your neighborhood.
The band was formed in 2003 at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where the band is based, although the core members come from Hawaii, Rhode Island, Chicago and Florida. Others have joined the group on and off. The band members we saw: Toft Willingham – Vocals; Van Gordon Martin – Lead Guitar; Jesse Shaternick – Bass; Ian “Meat” Miller – Drums; Bryan House – Trombone; Nick Romer – Trumpet.
You can buy and hear more music on their website Spiritual Rez and MySpace.com/SpiritualRez. You can also find their music on archive.org, which is a great site. Below is a slide show I made of their performance at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, including their jam session with the Rubblebucket Orchestra. The music ran out out before the photographs. Oops! It’s my first time adding music. I don’t have the audio editing talent in the family. That belongs to my awesome daughter. So listen and prepare to get up and dance! Check out the dozens of videos of Spiritual Rez videos on You Tube.
"Abraham Lincoln" visits Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, Kansas, to celebrate Independence Day. Lincoln visited Kansas in 1859, before he was elected president. Tom Leahy, a 4th grade teacher in Conway Springs, Kansas, portrayed Lincoln. See his comment below.
A few decades ago, when I was a Girl Scout I spent a week during a couple of summers as a tour guide at a living history museum called Old Cowtown in Wichita, Kansas. There were only a few buildings in those days, and it was hot and dusty, but I loved it!
This past weekend, I returned with my family to experience it as a tourist. Old Cowtown Museum has grown and become even more of an Old West experience. Now, instead of Girl Scouts, there are professional costumed re-enactors and guides. The buildings are almost all authentic from the late 1800s and show what a midwestern cattle town was like. The buildings are also now air-conditioned….so you can re-live the past more comfortably.
Special events are planned throughout the year. This past weekend, the museum celebrated Independence Day 1870s style. “Abraham Lincoln” visited. Of course, he’s an anachronism, but he did visit Kansas once before he was elected president. Brass bands played, there was an old-style baseball game — Lincoln played third base, gun fights between cowboys and ranchers, dance hall girls, pie-eating contests, watermelon spitting, a bucket brigade and wagon rides. My nephews are champion pie-eaters. We drank sarsaparilla (root beer) in the saloon.
We visited a homestead and saw a half-day-old calf in the barn. The mother wasn’t too happy with our interest in her baby. I never knew a moo could sound so threatening. Every time I tried to focus my camera on the calf, the mother tried to head butt me. Fortunately, the rail was in the way.
In the grand finale, a couple of cow pokes placed two anvils together and blasted the top one with dynamite in the anvil shoot, which was one old-time way to celebrate before fireworks were available. People do love to blow up things to celebrate!
There were so many activities, we didn’t get a chance to visit all of the buildings, including the Munger House, which was the home of Darius Munger, Wichita’s founder. I was the tour guide for the Munger House as a Girl Scout, so now I have to return to Cowtown just to re-live my old guiding days. New since my tour days is the home of the Marshall Murdock, who vigorously promoted the town through his newspaper. There are dozens of buildings, including two churches, a school house, many stores and professional buildings, a train depot, saloon and homes.
To see more of the experience, see my YouTube slide show below, which shows a lot of the action. You can also click on Old Cowtown Museum. Check out the map of the town on the Cowtown website.
My bet was on "Mine That Bird," winner of the 135th Kentucky Derby on May 2. It was the second biggest upset in Derby history.
I’d never heard of “Mine That Bird” until my husband pulled his name out of a hat at a Kentucky Derby party today. “Mine That Bird” was a 50-1 shot. (I’d never heard of any of the other horses, either…)
“There goes the ten dollars we threw in the pot” was my thought when I looked at the odds. It was fun, though, to watch all of the hoopla, the big hats, the race horses being led, the jockey parade, then one by one the jockeys popping onto the horses and then sauntering to the gates. The mint juleps we were drinking added to the glow.
Suddenly, the horses burst out of the gate. My horse wasn’t a front runner, I couldn’t pick him out of the pack (herd?) on the track, I assumed he was the last one, and I had no idea Number Eight was the horse that was racing ahead until he crossed the finish line.
“That’s my horse, that’s my horse,” I yelled. No one else was all that excited, because they all had losing horses. (Losers!) They did agree it was certainly one of the most interesting Derbys they’d ever watched, and they watch the Derby every year. (I confess that I usually miss it, but I might be hooked now!) It was fascinating to watch the race from a shot overhead afterward. It showed “Mine That Bird” moving steadily and rapidly through the horse crowd along the rail until it broke through and took off. (See video below.)
According to the Associated Press story by Beth Harris, “Sent off at 50-1 odds, Mine That Bird pulled away in the stretch to score a 6 3/4 -length victory at Churchill Downs, the second-biggest upset in Derby history. His margin was the largest since Assault won by eight lengths in 1946.
The gelding ran 1 miles on a sloppy dirt track in 2:02.66 and paid $103.20 to win—second-largest payout in Derby history behind Donerail ($184.90) in 1913.”
Calvin Borel, the Louisiana jockey who rode Mine That Bird to victory, won the Derby in 2007, using the same strategyof racing his mount along the rail, which is why he’s called Calvin Bo-rail.
The last bet I made was on “Sunny’s Halo,” who won the Kentucky Derby in 1983, so I’ve been a lucky but very sporadic horse racing gambler. Both Derby wins had nothing to do with skill, but were totally luck. Now, let me check my Powerball ticket!
My newest addiction! My photographs are the tabby cat in the second row and the Texas waffle in the third row. After all of the "arty" photographs I've taken and submitted, I never dreamed that my two most popular photographs, featured on the RedBubble home page, would be my cat and a waffle I made for my breakfast.
Last month, I stumbled across a photographer’s blog that mentioned the RedBubble art and photography website, so I checked it out — then I signed up. Now, I can’t stay away from it. The amount of incredible excellent art and photography on cyberspace is mind-boggling — and from teenagers, even.
If only we’d had digital photography and computers when I was a kid. (We did have electric typewriters with correction tape. And boy did I need the tape! ) All of my hard-earned darkroom skills are now archaic. Using film, an enlarger and developing chemicals these days is like listening to your music on vinyl disks. You have to be hard-core to do it. I love the instant gratification as well as the ability to edit in so many ways in digital photography! We “edited” in the film darkroom, too, but it was limited. And I only did black and white. (I won’t even go into cameras. More on that later.)
Birds are an extremely popular photography subject. You need a twist to stand out from the flock. I took this photograph of a cardinal holding on for dear life as he's buffeted in an early spring snow storm on a pear tree branch outside my kitchen window. You can't see the detail here, but the blossoms are covered with snow and the branches encrusted with ice. The poor cardinal, as brave as he is, is probably too common.
I started with Flickr, but I love RedBubble’s Aussie cheekiness. Etsy is fun, too. (I discovered Kenna Foster on Etsy. She’s also on Flickr. She’s on my blogroll. Check her out!) I don’t know how many photography and art sites are online, but there must be tens of thousands of photographers and artists looking at and commenting on one another’s work, everyone from professionals to the people posting their first work. It’s inspiring, overwhelming and humbling at the same time.
My photograph of Paddington with his mis-matched eyes has been very popular with other cat owners and lovers. Paddington is tired of me pursuing him with a camera and is going to take out a restraining order against me.
On RedBubble or Etsy, there’s a chance that someone will see one of your great photographs or artworks and decide that they can’t live without it. On Etsy, the artists themselves produce and deliver the work.
If you order through RedBubble, RB produces and ships the art as a card, print, canvas, calendar or poster. I suspect that much of the art sold on RB is to the artists and photographers themselves. I bought my own photograph (below) of the View from the Sydney Tower on canvas. Those RedBubble people know what they’re doing!
Anyone who signs up for RedBubble (It’s free) can also get a free photography website, which is very cool. You can organize your photos into galleries. It was incredibly simple. You can join a huge number of specialty groups on RB, such as landscapes, sunsets and sunrises, wildlife, doors and windows, old theaters, rivers, pets, food, skies — in fact not even the sky is the limit. Each group has sub-sets, too. There are groups with minimal standards, and there are groups by invitation only, and everything in between.
I like to photograph oddball things, such as this van parked at Bondi Beach in Sydney. I think the driver is trying to contact the mother ship.
Featured photographs and art usually are exceptional, awe-inspiring, off-beat, fresh or eye-popping or else tug at your heart-strings (or else the person who selected it just took the next artwork that came along…..)
I know many of you out there are photographers. What is your favorite photography website? What are your favorite subjects. What do you do with all of your photographs? Do you print many? Why do you take photographs? I wanna know! If you want to see a RedBubble website, here’s mine. I’m still working on it. My favorite gallery is “Fun Stuff”. Catherine Sherman Photography.
A recent television report about the Bermuda Triangle gave me the shivers. (See video below.) I love the Bermuda Triangle spookiness because it validates my dislike of flying in small planes and sailing out of sight of the shore. Hey, you could lost out there!
Some people love to get goosebumps about the weird and the unexplained. Others get their thrills from explaining it all. No matter what camp you’re in, you have to agree that the ocean is an amazing and dangerous place. Even without supernatural explanations, there’s plenty to worry about — Rogue waves, tsunamis, hurricanes, wandering changes in magnetism, massive methane gas bubbles, gigantic squid, sharks and even pirates. They all give me the chills. It’s a good thing I live in Kansas where we only have blizzards, ice storms, tornadoes, a few poisonous snakes and spiders and the New Madrid Fault to worry about.
One evening over the Christmas holidays at a family gathering in 2004, for some reason out of the blue I began talking about rogue waves and tsunamis. We were in the middle of Kansas, so this was unlikely to affect any of us in the near future and I certainly didn’t have the tiles in my Scrabble tray to spell out tsunami. My brother across the Scrabble table raised an eyebrow. Crazy sister. The next morning when we turned on the television, we saw the report of the tsunami in Thailand…… Be sure to take the poll below.
Kookaburra Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree
Merry merry king of the bush is he
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
Gay your life must be
Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree
Eating all the gumdrops he can see
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
Leave some gums for me
Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree
Counting all the monkeys he can see
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
That’s no monkey, that’s ME!!!
At Girl Scout camp in Kansas, we roasted marshmallows and sang about the Kookaburra. I had no idea what a kookaburra was. And a gum tree? What was that? Was it spearmint, doublemint or Juicy Fruit?
Finally, I got to Australia and met this large laughing bird, which sits high in eucalyptus (gum) trees on the lookout for snakes, lizards and baby birds (ugh). It’s also called the “Laughing Jackass.” It gets to be about 17 inches long and will smash its food, whether a snake or a baby bird, against a rock to break its bones to make the prey easier to swallow. The kookaburra is an essential part of the Australian ecosystem, especially when it eats those very poisonous Aussie snakes. The bird at work, though, doesn’t paint a lovely lyrical picture for me.
The song was written by an Australian woman, but kookaburras don’t eat gum drops or any seeds, and there aren’t any monkeys in Australia, except in zoos. What kind of a song is that to teach to children!
You won’t see the kookaburra at the bird feeder with the cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets and the rosellas, but it might swoop into an Aussie backyard (or “garden”) for some barbecue.
In Sydney at the house of friends who lived in a wooded area, we awoke at daybreak every morning to a chorus of kookaburras, otherwise known as the bushman’s alarm clock.
Half asleep, I dreamed I was on the jungle ride at Disney World. The kookaburra’s laugh is the iconic jungle sound on a number of movie soundtracks, although the kookaburras live only in Australia, New Guinea and the Aru Islands. The kookaburra laugh, on high speed, was also used as Flipper’s “voice” on the television show about the dolphin “Flipper.”
Now, I can’t get that darned song out of my head! Or the kookaburra’s chorus, either. You can find many versions of the song on YouTube.com. Listen to it, if you don’t mind it taking over your brain.