The Do’s and Donts of Cat Communication….

Who is ready for a lighter topic today on the blog? I thought we’d go through some techniques for effective communication with your cat. Yeah I know, cats are notorious for ignoring anything you ask them to do, especially our oldest who’s currently plopped square in the middle of the walk-way through the kitchen. So now if you want to get to the sink, you literally have to step over her, being careful not to touch her at all or she’ll swat at you with her claws of death.

So let’s get into it: 

1. The Slow Blink: This form of communication lets your cat know that you love them and it helps to calm them down, in most cases. With a little practice, the Slow Blink can be a useful tool. So, when doing the Slow Blink: 

Do: void your face of all expression-making it neutral. Then, look into your cat’s eyes and blink your eyes for a count of 3 or the time it takes for you to mentally say, “I love you.” On the word, “you”, open your eyes. You may have to repeat this a few times until your cat, and they most likely will, blinks back at you.

Do NOT: look at your cat and blink your eyes in rapid succession. If you do this, your cat will think they are at a Rave and start jonesing for PCP laced cat nip.

2. Meeting A New Cat Friend: Introducing yourself to a new cat can be a bit tricky.

Do: approach the cat slowly and hold out your hand, palm side down for the cat to sniff. Cats learn the most about the world around them through scent and need to sniff new things.

Do NOT: aggressively march up to a new cat and immediately start roughly petting them. If you do this you are more than likely going to get bit or scratched. The cat will also pass along how you treated them to the rest of their cat friends, along with a description of your house and whenever their cat friends walk passed your house, they’ll lift their little feline legs or squat in your begonias and let loose. If you don’t have begonias, don’t worry, they’ll bring their own.

and finally:

3. Punishing Your Cat Like You Would a Tiny Human: We’ve all been there. Especially if you live in a multi-cat household and one is a bully. Our latest “incident” occurred when our oldest tried to hug the youngest one. With her teeth.  While keeping the youngest one in a half-nelson. Now, if these were tiny humans, you’d yell and tell them to stop and maybe take away a privilege. We also have a habit of reprimanding our fur-babies in the same way. This is not as effective on fur-babies so:

Do: Try to redirect your cat’s attention from the bad bully behavior. Grab their favorite toy or a laser pointer and use them to distract your cat away from the bully behavior. Use a calm voice.

Do NOT: smack your hands together and yell loudly. This will just scare the cat and make them afraid of you. Now of course I’ve actually done this when our cats have been in danger and it has worked, but doing this repeatedly over time can break your cat’s spirit. Cats are pretty sensitive to noise. That’s why your cat scatters when you vacuum or crinkle a plastic bag. Besides after a while, your cat will get sick of all the noise and enact the ultimate revenge. On a random night when you are fast asleep, your cat – – having earlier purchased a trumpet on Ebay – – will creep into your bedroom, stand on your head, and play a raucous version of the PEANUTS theme song.

Interacting with cats can be confusing. Using these tips can help you and your cat sustain a better relationship.

Cheers!

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*When your cat says they want to be an owl, let them be an owl: Image courtesy of Pinterest

 

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A Heartfelt Rebuttal From A Childless Aunt: Dear Brit Tashjian…….

This blog post is in response to the article posted by Brit Tashjian from yourtango.com. You may read the article here.

Dear Brit:

As a woman who is childless by choice I’d like to say thank you for perpetuating the stereotype that I am indeed selfish. Bravo to you for helping to pressure young women who don’t want to be mothers to make the choice anyway, and then realize down the road that their God-given instincts were correct after-all and mothering is not for them. At least they won’t be labeled as “selfish.”

I guess if I really do think about it, in a way I am selfish. I do sleep in and sometimes sleep all day. On those days my anxiety and depression-that runs in my family-has gotten the better of me and I need to give my body a chance to recharge. 

See, my husband and I made the conscious choice to remain childless after much soul-searching and prayer. There was a number of factors that played into our decision really; such as our age, collective energy levels, and multiple physical/mental concerns that would very possibly short change the care of our child. 

It wasn’t a choice, really. It was the responsible, right thing to do. 

Oh, I forgot to tell you what I do for a living. I’m actually in child-care. That’s right, I step in when those who apparently made the “right” choice to become parents need a well deserved night out. Or a nap. I know I’m probably a poor substitute for the “real thing” since I don’t have children of my own and therefore probably lack the skills necessary to care for children that range in age from preschool to elementary. Sure when I started I may have put on a few diapers backwards, but I eventually got the hang of it. And in all my years of caring for children, I haven’t lost one yet, so I must be doing something right. 😉

Looking back over the article you wrote, there is that question of happiness and fulfillment that you don’t think one can have outside of children. Funny you should mention this because I find tremendous joy and fulfillment in seeing the faces of refreshed parents at the end of my shift. I also find joy in reading to my niece and nephews, playing Lego’s and talking in silly voices over mountains of crayons and reams of paper. 

And at the end of the day, I can rest my head on my pillow, in my childless house-only scattered with the toys of my cats-and know in my heart that I’m going down the right path with my life. 

Cheers! 

Lulabelle Reviews: Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Contender: Southern Biscuits and Gravy Potato Chips…..

It could have been an episode of Fear Factor. My husband and I were on our way to Michigan for vacation when we stopped into a Subway restaurant to get some dinner. If you live in the states, you are quite familiar with Subway–a sandwich shop that lets you customize your sandwich with a plethora of ingredient options. I normally order a sandwich and add avocado to it. Doesn’t matter what kind.

In addition to sandwiches your way, Subway also offers potato chips, specifically Lay’s. Now, Lay’s recently started a nationwide contest to invent the newest flavor of chip. The contest lasted a few months and just recently the 4 finalists were announced and available in stores. The best thing about getting these chips at Subway is that they come in a small size, so if you can’t stand the flavor you selected, your commitment is minimal.

This year the flavor finalists are: West Coast Truffle Fries, New York Reuben, Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro, and, the most disturbing flavor to me when I first saw it; Southern Biscuits and Gravy. Being the most disturbing flavor, the moment I saw it in Subway, I had to try it. In no other aspect of my life am I a dare-devil except when it comes to food. I grew up eating macaroni and cheese with BBQ sauce on top, and I tried deep-fried squid for the first time in college on a dare.

11873904_10155943352635300_1365867001_n yep, that really is me. Terrified of a bag of chips.

Opening the bag of chips and sniffing them, I was really impressed. They smelled EXACTLY like biscuits and gravy! A food which I LOVE. But I was still a bit reluctant to taste them as I just couldn’t wrap my head around a chip tasting like my favorite breakfast fare. But being the adventurous eater I am, I soldiered on. Besides, taking one for the team is sometimes a good thing, especially if it produces a good blog later. 😉

The taste was surprisingly spot on to how biscuits and gravy taste. Being made from potatos, there was a hashbrown-y vibe infused in each chip which was quite delightful. I’m really curious now if they’d be good paired with catsup. The flavor of black pepper was also present; reminiscent of the real thing.

So all in all, I’d give these chips a big thumbs up, but they should be enjoyed responsibly. That being said, here is a word of warning…..make sure to carefully select the food you eat after tasting these chips as the resulting after taste can be a bit unsettling. The only food I had after eating these chips was a regular chocolate Frosty from Wendy’s. I can’t quite describe the after taste, I just know it left me confused and unsettled. I recommend eating these chips with a sandwich, but not a sweet dessert. If you have to eat something sweet after consuming these chips, make sure to wash them down with water beforehand.

Happy Eating!! 🙂

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“Hey, Mikey! She likes it!!”

*FTC Disclaimer: Chips were purchased by me. All opinions are my own. (Along with the opinion that Lay’s needs to bring these back)

Dear Motel 6……

My husband and I were looking forward to our once a year vacation to Michigan for a family reunion. Your establishment in Grand Rapids, MI was to be our pit stop overnight. Our room was booked days in advance and was reportedly non-smoking, it even said so on the door. So it was with great shock that we discovered our room was not completely smoke free when, upon opening the door, we were hit with a wall of cigarette smoke-completely invisible, but the odor was pungent. Having arrived at 2 in the morning, we decided not to complain and suck it up (pun intended) for a night, even after noticing the cigarette burns on the bed sheets.  Which leads me to my next beef; the bed.

Now maybe this was partly our fault. After purchasing a memory foam, king-sized mattress for our bedroom, if we happen to sleep anywhere else it’s a bit of an adjustment. But this bed topped them all. The bed was supposedly a double, but I’m calling that bogus, based on the fact that after we both got into the bed and lied down, we had to hold on to each other to keep the other person from falling out of the bed. Maybe you need to consider putting in seat belts for added safety. 

I have also never stayed in a budget motel that had drainage issues. Thankfully it was confined to the sink and didn’t affect the toilet. But it’s still frustrating when the water from the sink doesn’t drain properly and who knows how long the water had been in the sink before we arrived, and who else had their hands in it. I had to reach into the questionable water and try to manually lift out the drain plug and leave it out. Otherwise, our water usage would have surely caused the sink to overflow.

Speaking of water, we had wanted to shower in the morning before leaving so we’d arrive somewhat fresh at our final destination. After going into the bathroom and discovering there were NO towels on the shelf, we contacted the front desk. Their response, “All our towels are currently in the dryer-sorry.” Um, say that again?? I’ve NEVER stayed in a motel that didn’t have clean towels available when needed. Come on guys, this one is a no brainer. 😛 

Now, you may be thinking that we should have done more homework before booking our motel by perusing reviews on sites such as yelp.com. Here is the problem, we did. I found a few reviews that were very unflattering, but a few more that were complimentary and had been written after the unflattering ones. 

Maybe it’s a crap shoot. Maybe you really do get what you pay for. But is it too much to ask that what you pay for is a clean, fresh smelling room with an actual double bed and no standing water? What would Tom Bodett do? We’ll, at least you left the light on for us. **Even if it was flickering and hanging off the ceiling from exposed wires. 

Cheers! 

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*meme depicting how good options are in searching for lodging appears courtesy of: Pinterest 
**creative license has been taken in depicting actual events

PS: In a bit of good news, Motel 6 did refund us part of our room fee for the inconvenience caused during our stay

Post Vacation Blues

Have you ever come home late at night from a week-long vacation, driving a long distance to do it, and wake up the next morning  afternoon with the following symptoms: headache, sleepiness, difficulty forming coherent sentences, listlessness?? No worries, you don’t have the flu. You have a classic case of a post vacation hangover (PVHO). While a PVHO can occur without consuming a drop of alcohol, there is a solution……go back on vacation. 😀

Cheers!! 

internet-meme-of-cat-at-spa-with-cucumbers-on eyes and wearing a bath robe

*Actual photo of me on vacation (yeah, so I turned into a cat for a few hours last wednesday. It’s a long awkward story that I’d rather not relive**shudders**) appears courtesy of: www.casino.wildjack.com