Photo Friday

I brushed Nigel into submission and then a nap.


Ah, to live the life of an indoor cat.  *contented sigh*  I waited until Nigel was completely relaxed on our bed before I started to brush him.  At first, I began our “brushing-bonding” session while he was crouched on this blue blanket.  I avoided brushing his tummy as I knew he would find this annoying and perhaps express his indignation by leaving.  Instead, I used the slicker brush to gently stroke the length of his hairy back and eventually, voila!  He became so relaxed and content that he rolled over on his side and turned on his purr-engine.


All Warm and Fuzzy Inside

Nigel's glamour shot. I love his green eyes.

What is one thing that your pet does that warms your heart?  Yes, I expect you to answer me in a comment.  🙂

Even now, as I sit in my brown microfiber recliner typing this, Miss Emmy, or “Emca“, as I like to say, keeps me company on the arm rest with her front paws curled under her chest.  Sometimes, she demands attention by walking over my stomach while I’m typing and will even go so far as to knead my belly.  I’ve tried to get her to knead my back because it’d feel like I was getting a back massage, but I guess she feels my belly is more “cushion-y”.  She always seems to want attention while I’m typing.  That’s ok.  It makes me feel a little bit like Ernest Hemingway, except I have 2 cats vying for my affection as opposed to Hemingway’s dozens of feline friends.

I think it’s no secret that I love my “Nigel kitty“.  I also call him my “baby kitty“, even though he’s far from being a baby, in age and in size.  One might say he’s a “fat kitty“, but he’s still my kitty, nonetheless.

Nigel daring to bare his belly.

This morning while I lay in my cozy bed wearing my ocean blue eye mask I could feel the addition of a third party- a kitty.  Was it Emmy or Nigel?  Emmy would have meowed almost immediately upon jumping up onto the bed.  She’s extremely vocal when it comes to informing me she wants her breakfast.  I can determine, though, which cat is present just by petting the hair.  Even though Nigel and Emmy look so much alike and are both short hair cats, the feel of one’s hair compared to the other is different.  I refrain from petting and wait for a few seconds.  If it’s Nigel, he will use his forehead to “headbutt” me.  He uses his forehead to ram me in the face.  It doesn’t hurt.   I’ll position my face so that he headbutts me on the cheek or my forehead.  It’s his way of saying, “Good morning mama.  I love you, but I’m not going to stop bugging you until you get up and give me my crunchies.”  He doesn’t know, though, that he’s not bothering me.  I love the headbutts.

Nigel posing pretty

I’ve been getting up at 7:15 in the morning, before Paul leaves for work, just so I can feed the kitties, because even though Nigel isn’t a bother, Emmy is a different story.  Her Highness will not stop talking until her breakfast has been served.  After which, I am relieved of my duties until the next morning and I return to my post- the bed.

Nigel finishes his breakfast and sits on the floor, eyes closed, using his sand paper-y rose petal of a tongue to lick his paw and sweep it over his face to clean himself.  I know it’s just a matter of time before he retires to our bed again.  So, while I’m snuggled underneath Grandma Sevek’s homemade red quilt, Nigel comes to join me for his after-breakfast-catnap.  I’m a side sleeper and Nigel’s favorite place to curl up is right in the crook of my bent legs.

Emmy's closeup

The navy blue drapes are drawn shut, blocking the entry of all light.  While the rain pitter-patters on the roof up above and the wind outside forces the trees to dance, I lay snuggled underneath Grandma’s quilt with Nigel cozied up beside me and all is peaceful and quiet.

My Nigel kitty and me

It’s the small things that count.

My maiden name is Chalmers.

Now that summer is on its way out the door, (good riddance summer), I feel I’m in a better position to try to have a more positive outlook.  You’ve probably heard of “seasonal depression”.  Most people who live with seasonal depression experience it in the cold months, particularly winter because the days are shorter and the hours of sunlight have vastly diminished.  For me, though, I experience seasonal depression in the summertime.

Now that summertime has finally been kicked to the curb, I’m definitely feeling more upbeat.  I’d like to live in the moments.  I’d like to remember the emotions I feel when I experience something positive.  Yes, I’d like to stop and smell the roses more.  That means I have to slow down.  I’m obsessed with time.  I was always a stickler for punctuality, but I think I’ve taken this obsession to a whole new level since I got married.  Maybe that’s because my husband is the complete opposite.  🙂  He’s the king of procrastination and I’m the queen of punctuality.  He underestimates the amount of time it will take to do something and I overestimate the amount of time because you never know what “unforeseen occurrence” will befall you.  I’m the type of person that might give myself a time limit to stop and smell the roses.

So, this fall and on in to the winter months, I’d like to feel less uptight.  Fall is my favorite season and it will be gone before I know it.  I have to make as many memories this fall as I possibly can.  I’m off to a good start.  My husband and I went to the Gratz Fair a week ago.  I love small hometown fairs.  It’s a special ride to Gratz because it’s very scenic and the road ambles through rolling hills.  It’s a great ride to see fall foliage, too.  A small fair might not seem like a big deal to you, but it’s a big deal to me.  The lazy car rides through countryside are reminiscent of home.  I used to hate when my dad would meander through a lot of tractors and take his sweet ol’ time.  “How many tractors can you look at dad?”  But it made him happy and time stopped a while for him.  I can see the appeal of stopping time now that I’m getting older.  I enjoyed moseying on the fairgrounds.  I even stopped to look at the tractors.  🙂

Upon entering the fairgrounds was “The Spice King”.  Inside a white pavilion, a gentleman had hundreds of small zip-loc bags filled with spices for sale.  The rich aroma of all the different spices reminded me of a line from the 1995 movie adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, starring Kate Winslet.  When the geography-obsessed Dashwood sister, Margaret, asks Colonel Brandon what it was like to serve in the West Indies, he replies temptingly, “The air was full of spices.”

I bought two bags of curry powder, ground corriander, garam masala, ground allspice, and ground cloves.  The air in my kitchen is still “full of spices”.

My friend said it looks like he's wearing boots.

The truth is there’s enough reality to last a lifetime, but the Gratz Fair only comes once a year.  Why not enjoy it?  Why not enjoy the little things that make me happy?

I believe I was talking to this guy here. I think he liked me. 🙂

He became quite my buddy of a barnyard friend.

Here’s to taking more photographs and acknowledging the happy moments, and giving myself permission to feel them, more this fall!

My new bunny friend "Carmel". He was the sweetest.

Paul and Carmel's ladyfriend Jasmine.

And a picture of a pig for good measure.

Bunny Business

…continued from “From Nature to Nurture

We decided to adopt “Pumpkin”, a black and white male lop-eared bunny.  Before we could take Pumpkin home and begin a new phase of our married lives, he had to be neutered.  That meant waiting another two weeks before we could actually bring him home.  I had already waited this long to have a pet in our apartment.  I figured I could wait two more weeks.  Besides, that gave me time to double-check and make sure all was in order for Pumpkin’s arrival.  Also, I could research even more, although I had read so much information that I felt I had exhausted all available resources on caring for pet rabbits.

the "Pumpkinater"

Within a week of bringing Pumpkin home, we took him to a local vet that practices exotic pet medicine, as rabbits are considered to be exotic pets.  We had to treat him for ear mites by giving him ear drops in the morning and at night for one week.  Administering refrigerated liquid into the ears of a squirmy rabbit with powerful legs is definitely a two man job.

Rabbits love to eat while going to the bathroom. Leaving hay in their litterbox actually encourages them to use the box.

Pumpkin had been completely and perfectly litter box trained prior to his arrival.  The advantage of this was that we could let him explore the apartment.  At night, he spent his time in the bunny room, with a baby gate blocking his exit.  In the morning, I’d let him out to roam.  I soon learned that confining him to his room during our absence was a must.  The day I learned this important lesson, we had given him free roam of the apartment while we went out for a few hours that morning.  When we returned, I couldn’t find Pumpkin anywhere!  Frantically searching, I feared something bad had happened.  Finally, I found him.  I had left my bottom dresser drawer open and he must have hopped up into it and back out on the other side so that he was actually inside the dresser.  Fortunately, he was rescued unscathed.

Pumpkin found out that laying on top of the vent was a good place to rest. He also liked hiding inside the propped up pizza box. I love how you can see his feet in this photo.

For me, there was one major drawback to having Pumpkin as a pet.  It was an issue that even with all my extensive research, I had foolishly overlooked.  First, before doing any research, I should have sat down and written a list of things that I wanted in a pet.  The first bullet point would have been “cuddle ability”.  I had a lot of love to give to a pet.  One way that I wanted to demonstrate this love was by holding and snuggling my pet.  Pumpkin, however, did not like to be picked up.  And I didn’t want to force the issue, because a rabbit’s kick is so powerful, that in trying to escape it could break it’s spine.  Therefore, I could not hold him.  To someone else, this could be considered a minor issue.  For me, however, it was a deal-breaker.

To be continued…

From Nature to Nurture

…continued from “Country Girl

I was living alone for the first time in my life.  At home, on the farm, we had a large house.  I had to climb two full flights of steps just to reach my bedroom.  Also, I lived at home with six other people- my parents, two of my sisters, and my two brothers.  There was always someone going in and out of the house throughout the entire day.

Night was the worst part of everyday until Paul and I married and he moved into the apartment with me.  I remember returning from eating dinner with Paul and his mother.  It would be dark outside, and I’d be rushing to turn the key and unlock the bottom door as fast as possible.  I slept in the spare bedroom.  It’s much smaller and therefore not as scary as our huge master bedroom.  Having said that, I’d still shove something up against the door to hinder the entrance of an intruder into my room.  It would also serve as an alert to me as I am an extremely light sleeper and will awaken by the faintest sound.  Yes, a pet would have been a most welcome roommate for me in those days of living alone.

Paul and I married on June 30, 2007.  After that, we were adjusting to married life.  I was morphing into a capable house wife.  Like my mother, I enjoy cooking, and I could finally put my skills to use creating home cooked meals for my new husband.  This was my way of showing Paul that I appreciated his hard work in providing for our family of two.

Paul and me

By January 2009, however, I realized that something was missing from my life.  There was a large void that I could no longer bear.   I knew that our apartment lease stated that no pets were permitted.  However, I also thought that our prompt payment of the monthly rent for two years could work in my favor.  I thought, “The worst thing he can do is say ‘no’”.  At this point, I didn’t think a dog would be the most practical pet for our living situation.  Our apartment sits in an alley, and we have no yard.  After weeks of thorough research on the internet and in books, Paul called our landlord and asked if we could get a rabbit.

What’d he say?”  I asked Paul with guarded anticipation.

He said ‘sure, that it was no problem’”.

I couldn’t believe it!  After almost two years of living in a home with not so much as a goldfish, I was getting a pet rabbit, and all it took was a phone call!  Like any responsible and anxious mother-to-be, I began making plans for the “nursery”, or in this case, the bunny room.  As I am an accomplished “list-maker”, a detailed and itemized list for bunny things was carefully thought out and neatly written, and I was glowing.  Paul and I made several shopping trips to pet supply stores to purchase only the best for our soon-to-arrive fur-baby.  By this time, the realization that we would be adopting a type of pet that I had never had in my care before was starting to make me a little nervous.  Would I be able to meet any and every unplanned situation with success?

I’m a huge advocate for adopting pets.  As such, my husband and I set the example by contacting BunnyPeople, a non-profit, all volunteer, rabbit organization in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  After all the research, prepping the bunny room, and bunny-proofing our apartment, the day had finally arrived for us to travel an hour to the bunny shelter and choose our first pet as a couple.  For my husband, though, this furry bundle of binkies was to be his first pet, ever.

*Note*- A binky is a jump and a twist at the same time when a bunny is being playful.

To be continued…


I used Sharpies to play around with shapes here and this is what was created. Most of the time I don't sit down with a specific subject in mind to draw.

For this drawing I looked at a magazine ad for nail polish and just really simplified it using fine point Sharpies.

The framed picture in this drawing was adapted from a print on my bedspread.

Click on the “About” page at the top of the page to see more drawings.



My head is like a cannon

Ready to explode

It is the cannon ball

And it’s ready to unload

There are so many thoughts

That are weighing on my mind

They’re like paperweights

And only until they’re lifted

One will find

What’s on my mind

My thoughts are like memos

Weighed down

Waiting for notice

But each one must wait


Oh, if one only knew how slow it is

My thoughts are like emails

They’re rifled through

I have peace of mind


A new one comes through


A dim light creeps along the floor

gradually becoming even dimmer.

Just feet away from its grasp, he lies

quiet in his slumber.

With each breath inhaled his chest gently rises.

With each breath exhaled it falls,

leaving one no surprises.

The only sound I hear is

him softly breathing.

All of this he doesn’t notice of course


a silent observer can see that he’s only sleeping.

Sleepless Night

Sleepless night

Oh has awakened me

Eyes opened

But I’m forever dreaming

Into the darkness

Eyes cannot see.

Oh sleepless night

You keep beckoning me

Your prisoner I am

But all I want is to be free.

Bound by your chains

I have no choice but to obey

But oh sleepless night!

In your chains forever you can’t make me stay.

Lonely Night

Darkness arrives early

Only street lights illuminating

The neighbor’s dog howls;

The only sign of life.

This small town sleeps

But a new day will awaken them

He’s stirring in bed

Relaxed as his body twitches.

Sleep has been robbed from me

By the sleepless night monster.

Greedily, he uses up my sleep for himself.

Greedy little monster.

Everyone is asleep.

I hope he’s happy

As it’ll be another lonely night for me.