Category: Cats

U.S. Botanic Garden — and the Corpse Flower

On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, I went on a hike to the U.S. Botanic Garden with the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group. Because it was a dreary, rainy evening, it ended up just being two of us walking… hike leader Toby and me. It actually turned out to be a perfect evening for a hike, because the garden’s corpse flower was in bloom!

Corpse flower in bloom. U.S. Botanic Garden, Aug. 29, 2017
The thing was huge; the flower alone was about a little more than eight feet tall! I didn’t find it to be as smelly as people say. The air in the room was warm and humid, and if anything, I thought it smelled like a stinky old locker room or some gym socks. We got there the day after peak bloom. The flower’s size was still rather impressive, even though it had started to lean a bit.

We started our hike under the Friendship Arch in D.C.’s Chinatown.

From there, we made our way to the nearby National Law Enforcement Museum, which is currently under construction. The museum’s garden features this adorable statue of lion cubs at play. The cubs were under the watchful eye of their mom, who was guarding them from the other side of the path.

Lion cubs at play. National Law Enforcement Museum, Washington, D.C., Aug. 29, 2017

Site of the City Spring. John Marshall Memorial Park, Washington, D.C., Aug. 29, 2017
Our next stop was at the John Marshall Memorial Park, where we saw the tribute to the City Spring that you see to the left.

Below are some additional photos taken at the U.S. Botanic Garden for you to enjoy. It’s a beautiful garden, well worth a visit, regardless of whether you’re a long-time DMV native or you’re just passing through.

Chenille Plant
Datura metel
Venus flytrap

Cats are my home

Cats are the heart of my home.

This is my boy Beckham in one of his favorite activities... sitting in a box.
This is my boy Beckham in one of his favorite activities… sitting in a box.

I haven’t posted in my blog for a really long time, so I’m kind of rusty! But I recently signed up for a WordPress course called Photo 101, and this is my first course assignment. The theme is “Home.” Please bear with me as I get back up to speed.

The Amazing Acro-Cats

Me and two of the Amazing Acro-Cats (Photo by Barry Jawer)
Me and two of the Amazing Acro-Cats (Photo by Barry Jawer)

Barry and I saw the Amazing Acro-Cats at the Port Tobacco Players Theatre in La Plata, Md., on Sunday, May 5, 2013. I had a really good time, and I thought you might like to see some of the photos.

The Amazing Acro-Cats are a traveling troupe of kitty performers who hail from Chicago. The shows in La Plata helped to benefit the Humane Society of Charles County. The society brought some adoptable cats to the theater.

Poultry performer Gregory Peck on tambourine (Photo by Barry Jawer)
Poultry performer Gregory Peck on tambourine (Photo by Barry Jawer)

The multi-talented cats demonstrated spectacular feats of feline agility and style, with assistance from their “chief human,” Samantha Martin. The show culminated with a performance from The Rock Cats, an all-kitty band. Joining the cats onstage were bowling champ, Garfield the Groundhog, and noted percussionist, Gregory Peck the chicken.

If you’re a cat lover — and I mean, who isn’t — you owe it to yourself to see the Amazing Acro-Cats when they visit your town!

Tuna, on cowbell. (Photo by Barry Jawer)
Tuna, on cowbell. (Photo by Barry Jawer)
Nue, the keyboardist. According to Acro-Cats, Nue's likeness "graces various packages of Tidy Cats brand litter and Purina Cat Chow." (Photo by Barry Jawer)
Nue, the keyboardist. According to Acro-Cats, Nue’s likeness “graces various packages of Tidy Cats brand litter and Purina Cat Chow.” (Photo by Barry Jawer)
On to the next town... (Photo by Andrea Kenner)
On to the next town… (Photo by Andrea Kenner)

Love Saves the Day: A Review

Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper (Jacket Design: Victoria Allen, Jacket Images: Shutterstock)
Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper (Jacket Design: Victoria Allen, Jacket Images: Shutterstock)
It’s winter in the mid-Atlantic. It’s dark it’s cold it’s bleak. What a delight then to read a book that’s so full of life, of color, of warmth and music and, oh yes, of cats

I started reading Gwen Cooper’s new novel, Love Saves the Day, on the Washington, D.C., Metro. I had to stop reading several times to blink back tears. Cooper’s story is funny, sad, touching, and infuriating, but always readable and entertaining. I couldn’t put it down.

Be forewarned, though: There will be tears, especially toward the story’s end. But your sadness for the characters will turn to joy as you learn that — in the end — love truly does save the day!

It’s the story of Prudence, a sweet brown tabby; Sarah, the human who rescues Prudence from the mean streets of New York City; and Laura, Sarah’s estranged daughter. The story is narrated, in turn, by each of the three main characters. Little by little, a picture emerges of the heartaches and hardships Sarah, Laura, and Prudence each experienced as they made their way through a world that was never easy for any of them. But we also feel intense joy as the characters learn their own truths about life, love, and forgiveness.

Cooper does a wonderful job of painting a cat’s-eye view of the world. As I read the book, I found myself appreciating my own cats more as I thought about how they might be seeing the day-to-day goings-on in our household.

I need to mention music again, because music was woven throughout the story so much it almost seemed like another character. After I finished reading the book, I looked up many of the songs Cooper mentioned. Some were familiar to me; others weren’t. Taken together, they make up a sound track that underscores and adds color to the story. Hollywood, are you listening? This story comes with its own built-in sound track!

And now, for your listening pleasure here are YouTube videos I found for songs, albums, and artists mentioned in Love Saves the Day.

(The book mentioned the album, Mind Bomb, by The The.)

(Babatunde Olatunji — Baba Jinde)

(From Roxy Music’s album, Country Life.)

Open house at the Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary

On June 16, 2012, my husband Barry Jawer and I visited the Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary in St. Pauls, N.C. We had heard so much about this “forever home” for blind cats, and we wanted to experience it for ourselves. Also, I had recently completed my master’s program at American University in Washington, D.C., and Barry and I both felt that a road trip was in order!

Chex Mix, previously a local stray, surveyed the goings-on at the Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary in St. Pauls, N.C., on Saturday, June 16, 2012. Sadly, Chex Mix passed away on July 4, 2012. (Photo by Andrea Kenner)
We visited during one of BCR’s monthly open house sessions. The staff couldn’t have been nicer or more welcoming. They put us to work right away, brushing and playing with some of the blind cats who live at the sanctuary. The cats were so sweet! They ran right up to us and asked for skritches and head bonks. Many of the blind cats knew their surroundings so well, it was hard to tell they were blind.

According to BCR’s website, “Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary was started in 2005 to answer the need for a safe place for blind cats that were deemed unadoptable by regular shelters and were going to be killed just because they are blind.”

BCR founder Alana Miller said that she got the idea to start the sanctuary after she had adopted a couple of blind cats. “I was voluntering for a local shelter and that is how I got my first blind cat, then another blind cat came in, and then a third one, and then a fourth one… when I reached number four, I said it is time to do this officially,” Miller said.

BCR participates in a number of online voting competitions, such as the one sponsored by the Animal Rescue Site, and Miller said that she quickly learned that BCR was going to be very popular online. Miller said, “I realized as it was happening. I was shocked at how fast we have grown!” As of July 2012, BCR’s Facebook page had received more than 44,000 “Likes.”

When asked how people could help, Miller said, “Our needs are same as any other shelter… money and people. We would love to have some regular volunters that come to help every day, and you can never have too much money. We would love to find a way to get all of our Facebook people to see us.”

BCR is currently working on a cookbook that contains recipes contributed by its many online followers. The cookbook will be available for purchase online. BCR also has an Amazon Wish List that lets followers find and donate items the shelter needs.

The slide show below contains some photos Barry and I took when we visited BCR in June. I’m also planning to attend the open house on Aug. 11 with several of my Crazy Cat Lady friends. So stay tuned for more photos!

Music credit for the slide show: Creative Commons License The Joy Jacket by Pitx is licensed under a Attribution Noncommercial (3.0).

Catster, Cathugger, Dogster: Creating virtual worlds for pet “pawrents”

Photo of my cat Emma in a red party gown. Based on the photo by Swing Candy, “20s Evening Gown” August 5, 2007, via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.
  • Artichoke dip with roasted red peppers
  • Cantaloupe pops with crispy prosciutto
  • Brie and crab soup
  • Chicken wings
  • Crab rangoon
  • Prime rib
  • Dog bones
  • Watermelon and mint margarita
  • Chocolate cake
  • Candy buffet

Wait a minute! dog bones?

That’s right! Because when you’re a cool cat or a pawsome pup, you can eat and drink all you want and never get fat. You can dance all night and never get tired. You never have to clean up a mess the morning after. There’s a party just about every night, and you don’t have to look very far to find one. Just become a member at Catster, at its sister site Dogster, or at the newcomer site, Cathugger. All you really need to get started is to create an account and upload a couple of photos of your beloved feline or canine furriend. Each member has a separate page; many of the pages are lovingly decorated with photos, backgrounds, and music.

The sites let their members — mostly women, although a few men may slip in surreptitiously — build a fantasy world where anything can happen. Members stage weddings, dance parties, trips to Paris, Carribbean cruises, carnivals and shoe shopping trips. Food fights have been known to break out at even the poshest wedding.

My cat Emma posing with two brusselballs that Catster members mailed to each other in the "real" world.
There are lots of games too: trivia games, puzzles, word-association games, and holiday-themed games. Several years ago, Catster members invented a game called Brusselball, in which members kick a virtual brussels sprout to each other across a virtual playing field.

Members share the fun times, it’s true, but they also support each other through the sad times. When a beloved pet (or person) dies, someone is always there to lend a helping paw. Even after a cat or dog passes away in the real world (it’s called “crossing the rainbow bridge”), they can still participate as “angels” in the virutal world. “Wingmakers” create custom photos that angel pets can post on their online profiles.

Members on these sites can give each other virtual gifts, such as “cuppycakes,” “shrimpies,” and tennis balls. Catster and Dogster users purchase the gifts by using a virtual currency known as Zealies; Cathugger offers a point system that lets members earn points by giving virtual gifts to others. Members can participate for free, but paid members generally have more options