Fun Facts Friday: Dr. Seuss and historical women books; feral cat success story; fun in the mud; kayak adventures; singing for the Pope

Books

This book cover image released by Random House shows "What Pet Should I Get," by Dr. Seuss. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo/Random House
This book cover image released by Random House shows “What Pet Should I Get,” by Dr. Seuss. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo/Random House

“What Pet Should I Get?”, a recently discovered Dr. Seuss work, is on sale starting July 28.

Apparently. Dr. Seuss’ wife discovered a carton with manuscripts in the attic. AND, this book is just the beginning!

How cool is that???

historical novels

Novels About Real-Life Women Are Saving Forgotten History

Some fascinating women in history are explored through these interesting historical fiction novels.

Cats

people for happier cats

People for Happier Cats – Compassionate Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Pilot for Feral Cats

This is an amazing initiative by Tinykittens.com with a feral colony of cats. The first experiment, that of trapping a pregnant feral so that she could give birth in in a warm and safe place resulted in her four kittens being totally socialized and adopted out to loving families while the mother cat was returned to the colony where she would be the happiest.

forest kittens

Nature/Education

fun in the mud

Fun in the mud: Children benefit from exposure to nature

How many of us remember making mud pies? Hiking in the woods? Splashing in a stream? Observing birds and butterflies? Every kid needs to experience the outdoors and this program offers some amazing options.

Kayaking

kayaking through the caves

Kayaking Through the Apostle Island Sea Caves

Check out this video of a kayak trip through the Sea Caves of Apostle Island – heavenly!

veterans kayaking

War veterans say kayaking helps them cope with combat trauma

As an avid kayaker familiar with its therapeutic benefits, I can see how this would be a tremendous benefit to our vets.

Music

As you all seemed to enjoy the video I posted of Sarah Hart singing “Praying from a Broken Heart” so I thought I’d share this:
October 26, 2013 – Sarah Hart singing in St. Peter’s Square for Pope Francis and a crowd of 150,000; Sarah meeting the Pope at the end of the video

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Taking a moment to just … be …

Last Sunday was a stressful day. It was one of many.

Sometimes life travels too fast. The plate becomes full to overflowing. Carrying a load of worry and frustration can become oppressive.

Time to off load my burden … time to take out the kayak. Continue reading “Taking a moment to just … be …”

Latest Catholic Free Press Column – Lessons learned from crazy cat people

This is my latest monthly column for The Catholic Free Press.
I have now admitted in print that I am a crazy cat lady! 🙂

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am a crazy cat lady. There, I said it.

While I have two cats of my own, that’s only the beginning. I also follow live kitten cams online and chat regularly with the many viewers. My main reason for visiting Facebook is to follow the lives of foster kittens after they have been adopted. Continue reading “Latest Catholic Free Press Column – Lessons learned from crazy cat people”

Fun Facts Friday: Nature from an app, powerful women, movie gotta-see, circus cats and more!

Ever wanted to bring the outdoors in, especially to your office?

USA, New York City, Central Park, Scenic waterfall
USA, New York City, Central Park, Scenic waterfall

Listening To Nature Sounds At Work Can Boost Your Mood And Productivity: Listening to the sound of crashing waves or a babbling brook isn’t just useful for helping you fall asleep — it may also help you to focus at work. Continue reading “Fun Facts Friday: Nature from an app, powerful women, movie gotta-see, circus cats and more!”

Fun Facts Friday: Nature from an app, powerful women, movie gotta-see, circus cats & more!

Ever wanted to bring the outdoors in, especially to your office?

USA, New York City, Central Park, Scenic waterfall
USA, New York City, Central Park, Scenic waterfall

Listening To Nature Sounds At Work Can Boost Your Mood And Productivity: Listening to the sound of crashing waves or a babbling brook isn’t just useful for helping you fall asleep — it may also help you to focus at work.

You can download an app for that!

WHITE NOISE
WHITE NOISE

* * * * * * * * * * *
Who makes history, and why?
And who are the top ten most powerful women in the world, and why?
Check out Forbes most powerful women list

* * * * * * * * * * *

Speaking of powerful women, anyone know who this is?

arabella mansfield

Hint: Think Alan Dershowitz in a dress …

* * * * * * * * * * *

And yeah, I want to see this movie:

* * * * * * * * * * *

on the kayaking front …

lewis and clark

Lewis and Clark go Urban Kayaking

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You think cats can’t be trained to perform? Check this out:

circus cat
The Amazing Acro-Cats: the touring circus that proves cats can be trained

* * * * * * * * * * *

But no all cats are so cooperative (and I don’t blame the first one at all!)

Puyallup’s Siegfried and Roy?
Cats can turn wild when these groomers go to work

That’s it for this week.
Do you have a fun fact link to share?
Write me and I’ll share it with next week’s Fun Facts Friday!

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Fun Facts Friday: from Kayaking to Babs to Jackson Galaxy and beyond!

 Fun Facts Friday is back! Lots of great stuff this week:

kayaking in the front yardOn the kayaking front …

There’s been a drought on west of epic proportions when it finally did rain, check out how this man celebrated!
Kayaking in his front yard!
Continue reading “Fun Facts Friday: from Kayaking to Babs to Jackson Galaxy and beyond!”

A gift from my sister: It’s never too late to live your passion

My older sister is a wonderful painter so I commissioned her to paint the Be As One bridge. Isn’t it beautiful?

http://christinehoylehoude.fineartstudioonline.com/
http://christinehoylehoude.fineartstudioonline.com/

My sister has ties to this bridge just as I do. She wrote the following on her website:

“The Wellesley College Bridge is iconic to me as is Wellesley College.  My family and I have a rich history there.  It all started with my mother who attended Wellesley College many years ago.  My husband and I were married there followed by my son Jeff and Amanda, who were married right out on the lawn near to this bridge.  There are photographs of us on the bridge with Azaleas and Dogwood blooming on our wedding day.  My sister captured this image on a beautiful Spring day while she was out in her kayak.”

Christine is like me, acting on her passion after raising a family and helping to run a successful business. In her retirement she is making up for lost time, just like I am with my reading and writing. On her website she writes,

“So now I am becoming the artist I always wanted to be and feel so inspired by it every day!  It is NEVER too late to start and make that change to be who you really are.”

I couldn’t agree more!

Visit Chris’ website at http://christinehoylehoude.fineartstudioonline.com to see the rest of her paintings and to order your print.

 What is your passion? How are you living it? Are you like Christine and me, living your passion after your kids have grown? Share your stories.

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Favorite toys, family memories, blessings remembered … what did you get for Christmas?

I loved Christmas as a kid.

Like all kids I’d be up half the night, listening to the activity down in the living room where my dad would be putting together a bicycle or building some other contraption. He’d sometimes ring the jingle bells that hung on our front door because he knew my sister, brother and I were listening; we swore Santa was on our roof with his sleigh full of toys! My older sister would peak down the stairs to spy.

It was such a long wait until 6am when we would run downstairs to open our gifts.

I have fond memories of toys from Christmas past. Among my favorites:

doll and dollhouseSuzy Smart, a talking schoolgirl doll

A magnetic dollhouse – the magnets were on wands and I used to love whipping the family members through the house!

bike and clothesMy first 26 inch bicycle

Barbie clothes, especially the ones my cousin Janie made for me. The white levis were the coolest!

All the cute nature-related stocking stuffers – they were the best!

christmas morningHere’s what we looked like on Christmas morning – my dad could never resist taking a picture and as you can see, we were just thrilled:

When we were a little older, we were required to wait until our grandparents came over before gifts could be opened. Sometimes they wouldn’t arrive until two in the afternoon; that’s a long wait for a kid! I managed to take satisfaction in the fact we still had gifts to open while the rest of the kids in the neighborhood had long ago opened theirs.

Christmas becomes quieter as we grow older  …

although sharing it with small children keeps the magic alive. My husband bought and put together a huge Brio train set for our then one year old son; he ended up playing with the box!

brio trains

But now at 27, he keeps that box of wooden tracks and trains under his old bed at our home to keep for future generations.

Christmas these days is tinged with a bit of melancholy,

remembering parents and other beloved family members who have passed on. This year’s holiday was especially poignant with the thought of my older sister Christine and her husband Tom soon moving down south for their retirement.

We enjoyed a lovely last get-together at their home sharing mementos and memories.

The gathering was intimate: just Christine and Tom, our own family of four and older brother Tommy. Christine set the table with the silver, delicate white tablecloth, cloth napkins and embroidered place mats belonging to our maternal grandmother. Dinners in their Tudor dining room, complete with leaded windows, and a curved entrance with a wrought-iron gate, were formal; this dinner was warm as we each shared something we were grateful for before eating.

Upon opening presents we each received a precious remembrance of past loved ones.

Christine and Tom had recently cleaned out their attic and decided to distribute family mementos. I received my mother’s diploma from Wellesley College along with a special poem and remembrance from her retirement in 1984 from the Botany Department at the college.

Tommy received plans, drawings and photos of miniature ships that our paternal grandfather, known as Pom Pom, had built. We all marveled at the incredible precision and accuracy of the drawings and models; I knew that talent had passed down from grandfather to father to son and felt proud. Here’s a sample drawing from our “Pom Pom” of his 1912 car:

pom pom's car

The day ended quietly and once home,
I indulged in my favorite Christmas present this year,

daktarisent by my brother-in-law and his wife who live an hour outside of Los Angeles. They gave me a DVD of the complete first season of Daktari, a children’s TV show that I loved as a kid (from Wikipedia: The show follows the work of Dr. Tracy, his daughter Paula and his staff, who frequently protected animals from poachers and local officials. Tracy’s pets, a cross-eyed lion named Clarence and a chimpanzee named Judy, were also popular characters.).

It was particularly special that it came from Tim for he loves old TV shows and collects autographs and memorabilia. We had visited them over the summer and Tim and I had talked about favorite TV shows. It touched my heart that he remembered and I literally squealed when I tore off the paper and saw his gift.

So for a little while I became 10 years again, pretending I was Daktari’s daughter, living in Africa taking care of and communing with the animals (especially the big cats!).

Christmas Day was magical again.

But most importantly, thoughts of the baby Jesus and His birth into my life and so many others was never far from my mind. I was pleased to light all four of my advent candles for dinner with our son just before Christmas:

advent wreath with votives

A lovely tabletop tree highlights the manger scene:

manger

Magical, yes. And blessed. Merry Christmas!

How was your Christmas? What were your favorite toys from Santa?

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True unity that brings all things together

Unity in the Heart of God

“Love unites all, whether created or uncreated …”

This is the beginning of a short meditation by noted spiritual writer (and my favorite), Henri Nouwen.

You can read the rest here.

This short passage utterly sums up the purpose of this blog, and my life.

How about you? What sums up your life?

Click to Tweet & Share: True unity, as Henri Nouwen sees it. Sums up my life. How about yours? What sums up your life? http://wp.me/p2D9hg-iB

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The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy

This is what happened to us … and yet I feel blessed.

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We knew this tree would fall. In the last post I showed how one half of the tree fell during a microburst. The tree that fell yesterday was leaning east and the wind came from the east. Inevitable.

It so happens our neighbor cuts up trees for firewood and he came right over and dug in. God is good.

I do feel blessed when I see the unending tweets of all that has happened in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Twitter was my lifeline yesterday after the power went out, keeping me connected with the rest of the world.

Because my son lives in Brooklyn, I was paying special attention and was horrified when I read of the fire at Breezy Point on the Rockaway penisula that wiped out 80-100 homes, homes that had already been flooded! Seeing the photos of streams of water flowing into subway tunnels and streets reminded me of the suffering that New Yorkers will be enduring over the next few weeks.

New Jersey took the direct hit and Atlantic City was totally flooded. Details, I’m sure, will be forthcoming on the extensive damage in that state.

Last night I was glued to my emergency radio listening to the Connecticut governor who was beside himself over the catastrophic flooding taking place on the southern side of the state.

I couldn’t pray with words. All I could do was depend upon the Spirit to supply the prayers for me as I thought of the suffering going on because of Hurricane Sandy.

It is good that God will supply us with all we need, including the prayers to pray for others.

How did you make out?

Click to Tweet & Share: The aftermath of Sandy – why I feel blessed http://wp.me/p2D9hg-ii

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