A run-in with a skunk

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Frequently while we are out delivering our newspapers, we see, hear and smell all kinds of wildlife. Last week, we posted about seeing a mule deer doe and her baby, we even posted a great picture of the two of them. Most of the time though, we are not so lucky to capture pictures of the creatures we see, which is the case of the skunk Al stumbled upon last night.

As mentioned above, we included smell and boy do we smell a lot of skunks while we are out. Everyone once and awhile we will see them from our cars but never face to face. That all changed last night! Al was delivering papers in a very large apartment complex and as she walked around a corner, there was a skunk standing in the middle of the sidewalk. EEEEKKKK! We startled each other! Al took a step back and the skunk slowly turned around and showed her its lovely raised tail and tush. Al stood still and silently pleaded with the skunk to not spray her. Luckily her prayers were answered and the skunk crept into the bushes and Al continued on with her delivery.

This interaction led to some research about skunks that we thought we would share with you:

  • Skunks can be found from the southern parts of Canada, throughout most of the United States and into the northern parts of Mexico.
  • They have great sense of smell and hearing but poor eyesight. They can only see about 10 feet in front of them.
  • They can spray a target 10 feet away (Al was definitely in the spray zone).
  • Skunks are omnivorous.

Hopefully one day we will be able to capture a photo of a skunk without being sprayed!

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Zodiac Gift Guide: Very Virgo

Zodiac Gift Guide: Very Virgo

posted in: Gift Ideas, Home and Garden, Zodiac Signs | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

People born between August 23 and September 22 are Virgos. Virgos are a practical bunch and they are very detail oriented.

Organized Intellectuals

Kindle Oasis

Most Virgos are bookworms and the newest Kindle would be an excellent choice for the voracious reader. If your Virgo already has a Kindle, maybe a subscription to Kindle Unlimited would be a nice present.

Journal with Embossed Bee

Many Virgos love to journal; they want to document their inner lives for future reference and reflection. Maybe even write the next great American novel!

Erin Condren 18 Month Life Planner

A planner is a perfect gift for the Virgo in your life. It is both practical and detail oriented. If your Virgo already has a planner, you could check out our Etsy Sticker Boutique for an awesome selection of planner stickers.

Clean Body, Clean Mind

Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch

A Fitbit is the perfect gift for your active Virgo, the data collected by the Fitbit will give them data that they can then analyze and refer back to.

Mailiya Wireless Sport Bluetooth Headphones 

A great set of headphones that are sweatproof and noise cancelling would be an excellent choice for your fit Virgo.

Gourmet Food Basket

Is your Virgo a foodie? A gourmet food basket could be the perfect gift to win your way to their heart through their stomach. You could also take your food basket on a fun birthday picnic.

Ozeri Pronto Digital Food Scale

A food scale is practical for the Virgo chef who likes to be as accurate as possible while cooking the perfect meal.

Practical, Precise, Perfection

Craftsman 230-Piece Mechanics Tool Set

If your Virgo is a handyman or woman, a tool set may be a practical gift to help them get their projects done around the house.

Black+Decker MAX Lithium Pivot Vacuum

A light, handheld vacuum is a great gift for the Virgo to keep their home or office clean.

PAKULA® Women’s Short Sleeve Keyhole Back Lace Shift Dress 

A classic sun dress appeals to the Virgo woman. Keep it simple because she finds gaudiness appalling.

Virgo the Veterinarian

Virgo is the ruler of animals and veterinarians, according Rex E. Bills’ The Rulership Book.

Blue Buffalo Blue Bones Mini Size Dental Chews 

If you’re still not sure what to get the Virgo in your life but you know they love their dog, then maybe the way to make them happy is by giving them a gift for their favorite doggy.

FELINE GREENIES Dental Cat Treats 

Maybe your Virgo isn’t a dog person but has a lovable feline, then some fantastic treats for their cat might be the most practical gift.

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Cat Poetry from our Poetry Collection “Two by Two”:  Poem 31. Domestic

Cat Poetry from our Poetry Collection “Two by Two”: Poem 31. Domestic

posted in: Our Work, Poetry | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s post is an excerpt from our collection of poetry, Two by Two: Into the White. It is available for purchase for just 99 cents on Amazon!

31. domestic

rounded mountain back
dip of concave shoulder blades

swish, swish, flick
periscope tail never wags

soft paws, rough tongue
white chin, green eyes

eighteen claws, twenty-three whiskers
lick, lick, lick, never done

stripes and spots standing on end
watching, listening

crouched down low to the brown
brown carpet of earth

among the tall grass
of dining chair legs

The Inspiration

cat, feline, domestic shorthair

The inspiration for this poem was Billy, the Most AMAZING Cat!. We’ve been family for nearly eight years now and I have spent a lot of time just observing his movements. That might sound creepy to some extroverts, but to introverts, observing is our number one hobby. The introduction to the “nature” section of Two by Two reads as follows:

dogs and deserts and domestic shorthairs
dancing on the mother earth

daring to do, to live, to be
while we admire and provide rationale

I think that really captures why we love animals so much. This poem is a vignette of Bill as he goes about his business. He doesn’t worry about how others perceive him. He doesn’t second guess himself. He just is.

A great lesson for us humans.

2x2 End of Post Feature

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Billy, the Most AMAZING Cat!

Billy, the Most AMAZING Cat!

posted in: At Home, Woof Trekking | 4 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Even though I am a twenty-something, every once and awhile I like to pretend I am a kid again. One day, while channel surfing in the morning, I came across a PBS educational cartoon called Peg + Cat and was intrigued solely because it had cat in the name. I flipped it on and about ten seconds in Peg exclaimed, “the most AMAZING cat!!!” I, in turn, looked at my cat and exclaimed “the most AMAZING cat!!!” and snatched him up.

My cat’s name is Billy and to me, he is definitely the most AMAZING cat. He is a mackerel tabby, weighs about 14 pounds, and is going to turn 8 years old next month. Here he is!
billy the cat 2

Earlier this month we talked about Nana the Brave! and how we spotted her in the window at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona’s Shop at the mall. Well the same thing happened when I adopted Billy.

We were at a different mall and we walked by a sidewalk adoption setup by the Pima Animal Care Center. I spotted a wire kennel full of kittens. I scampered over and ducked my head down to inspect them. I had no intention of taking one home, but that all changed when I spotted this cute tabby boy with green eyes. My heart melted.

billy the cat 3

From that day forward, we have been inseparable. He follows me around the house like a shadow and has no problem demanding attention by standing in front of the computer screen.

I guess everyone thinks that their cat is the most AMAZING cat to them. I truly believe that mine is. Sometimes we forget to stop and appreciate our furry friends. Peg + Cat helped me to remember exactly how amazing Billy is.

billy the cat 1

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Nana the Brave!

Nana the Brave!

posted in: At Home, Woof Trekking | 4 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Most people have heard the song “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?”, originally sung by Pattie Page in 1953.

I heard it first in elementary school. It’s one of those songs they play in cartoons that every kid knows, but no kid really knows where it came from. Another example is “I’m a Believer.” That song is strongly associated in my mind with Shrek (rather than the Monkees) because that’s where I heard it first. But I digress…

Our local mall has a satellite location of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, and it has a window that shows available dogs. We had passed the shop many times, but never seen a dog that we had a soul connection with. After all, we already had a dog: Izzy, a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.

But four years ago today, we went to the mall, saw a doggie in the window and came home with a new best friend.

nana 1

This is the photo we sent to our father, after we had already signed the adoption papers. He was totally chill with it. Perhaps because the previous day, our (maternal) grandparents had passed away hours apart in hospice care. They had been slowly declining over the past four years, and now it was all over.

A Transition Period

We went to the mall that day to distract us from the gaping hole in our lives left by two family members dying on the same day. Being caregivers had been exhausting, although it was easier between the four of us.

There is so much stress with hospital visits and near brushes with death that happen as the elderly continue to age. Now they were gone, and there was ostensibly no more stress. There was only sadness, relief, and then guilt for feeling relieved.

We went into the Humane Society only to “look” at the dog, say hello, and then go home. But that wasn’t how it went at all.

We went in, said hello and then the workers asked us if we would like to take her out on a walk. Of course, we couldn’t say no and ten minutes later we end up walking out with Nana. It is one of the most spontaneous things we have have ever done.

nana 3

Can I have the etymology please?

We get some raised eyebrows when we tell people her name. “Oh, is she a grandma?” is the most common question. The answer is no, she is not.

Nana was the name of one our grandpa’s nurses. He was from Ghana and was very warm, quiet, and kind; the same characteristics that our dog possesses. We decided this was the perfect name for her. Later we read on Wikipedia that in Ghana, Nana “is used as the title of a monarch to signify their status.”

Nana in Japanese is one way to say the number 7. (The other word is shichi.) So in other words, Nana is a lucky dog!

Nanna is also the name of the lead singer from Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men (Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir – same pronunciation but a different spelling). In Nordic languages, Nanna means daring or brave. We think our Nana is very brave.

We believe that our grandparents guided us to Nana and in return Nana has watched over us since they passed. She has brought a different perspective to our house and is an amazing dog who changed our lives forever. We love you Nana!

nana 4

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Tucson Festival of Books 2016: First Look

Tucson Festival of Books 2016: First Look

posted in: Entertainment, Nonfiction, Our Work, Photography | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Last Saturday at this time, I was packing up to take another trip to the University of Arizona. 2016 was my fifth year attending the Tucson Festival of Books.

Check out my posts from TFOB 2015 here and here.

This week, I will be blogging about the panels I attended this year and sharing photographs from the sessions. Today, I am giving you a first look.

Here is Sunny the Saguaro, the Saguaro National Park mascot, giving a high-five outside the National Parks Tent.

tucson festival of books, arizona, national parks

We spotted local meterologist, Erin Christiansen, at the KGUN 9 tent.

tucson festival of books, weather, kgun, erin christiansen

The next few images are from the Science Stage. Here is the Speckled Rattlesnake from the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

tucson festival of books, speckled rattlesnake, snake, arizona sonora desert museum

View my previous Desert Museum post about Big Horn Sheep here.

A Great Horned Owl named Lute from the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

tucson festival of books, Great Horned Owl, arizona sonora desert museum

A North American Porcupine named Rue from the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

tucson festival of books, porcupine, arizona sonora desert museum, north american porcupine

A Mexican Military Macaw from the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

tucson festival of books, parrot, mexican military macaw, arizona sonora desert museum

Panelists from “Understanding our Nearest Neighbors in the Solar System” at the Science Stage.

tucson festival of books, arizona,  space, lunar and planetary lab, kuiper belt

A rock sample of Azurite and Malachite at the University of Arizona Mineral Museum located on the lower level of the Flandrau Science Center.

tucson festival of books, flandrau, geology, rocks, azurite, malachite, bisbee, arizona

Diana Gabaldon at the panel: “Diana Gabaldon and Outlander.”

tucson festival of books, outlander, diana gabaldon, starz

I hope these photos of TFOB 2016 whetted your appetite for more posts! I’ll be back soon.

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