Monday, July 24, 2017

El Gato Cat Cottage


My friend Lynn and I, both cat lovers, visited Houston's first cat cafe last week.  Actually it isn't a cafe because they don't serve food or drinks, but it's a great place for cat fans to visit.  Located in a small yellow cottage at 506 Pecore Street in Houston's Heights area, it houses about 18 cats from the Humane Society, all of them up for adoption for only $25 at least until the end of this month; then it will be $50.  We found  two rooms where cats were snoozing in the sunshine or wandering around among the visitors.  One cat had climbed up to the ceiling high "bridge" and didn't seem interested in coming down.  Visitors can play with the cats--plenty of cat toys are available.  Cats that don't like to be picked up wear orange collars.  

After visiting with the cats, we stopped in the entryway to look at the cat-themed items for sale--t-shirts, bags, stuffed cats, color-coded litter that indicates if a cat is sick (really!) and even some cat-decorated shoes.  I bought a blue stuffed cat to go in my blue bedroom.  When I showed it to my cat Cassie, she was terrified and immediately backed away.  She's gotten braver now and will sniff at it but clearly doesn't approve of its presence in her territory.

Besides just visiting the cats, you can check the schedules for times to view cartoons with the kitties, do yoga with them or bring your knitting--I'm sure they love the yarn.

I'm not in the market for another cat right now.  Being a loving grandmother and a sucker for cats, I'm keeping my granddaughter's cat while she spends her freshman year living on campus at Texas State.  When the new cat has come for a visit, Cassie hides under the bed, but I'm sure they'll learn to get along eventually.

If you happen to be looking for a cat to adopt or if you just enjoy interacting with cats, you can reserve a spot to visit El Gato.  Call 832 966 3006 or google their website to reserve online.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Books of June

In June I had two attacks of bronchitis so I didn't have much to do except read in bed.  Here are my June books:
I suggested this for my book club after reading positive reviews about its story of the immigrant experience.  What a disappointment.  Amazon listed it as one of the best books of the year so far, but I found it boring.  A young couple from an unnamed Middle Eastern country escape their war-torn city through a magic door.  I didn't care for the characters because I never really got to know them other than superficially, and the door (and additional doors) made the story boring for me.
About Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe and their famous rivalry as well as anecdotes about other tennis stars of the Borg-McEnroe era.  Intreresting read if you like tennis, and I do.

Until Roger Federer came along, John McEnroe was my favorite tennis player, and I enjoyed his previous book, You Cannot Be Serious, but this one was a disappointment.  Not well written and not much substance.

On her sixteenth birthday, Teva "hatches" from the body of her fifteen-year-old self and assumes Fifteen's life.  Her house, locked away from the rest of the world, is filled with former versions of herself, younger and younger.  In a year, a new clone of herself will break out, but Teva vows not to let that happen.  Why all these clones?  Why won't her mother explain?  What happened to Teva's father?  Interesting premise.

This is a true storey aboiut Lonnie Sue Johnson whose memory was completely wiped away due to a severe attack of encephalitis.  We learn about her previous life as an artist, pilot, musecian and about how she copes with a life without a past and her case has contributed to medical science.

Very different from Emma Donahue's book Room, this is the light-hearted story of a non-traditional family coping with the addition to the family circle of their grandfather.

Yes, we've had actors as governors and as president but a comedian as a senator?  From Saturday Night Live?  Surprisingly, I learned a lot about how the Senate works and gained some respect for Senator Franken.  Interesting read, currently on the NY Times best seller list.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Antarctica


I've never been a fan of Anthony Bordain's Parts Unknown series.  The food he raves about sounds barely edible, so I rarely watch.  But when I saw trailers of his trip to Antarctica, I knew I would tune in.  I wondered what he would eat there because for sure there are no restaurants in Antarctica.  So what would it be--penguin sandwiches< seal steak?  I couldn't wait to find out.

He visited most of the bases there and I learned that fresh food was flown in.  Pretty good but nothing as exotic as Bordain's usual fare.  He visited the actual pole--exciting.

For years, visiting Antarctica was #1 on my bucket list.  The far away icy land appealed to me, and for years I suggested to my husband that we do an Antarctic cruise, and for years he would reply, "Next year."  Finally, in 2001 I insisted it was now or never.  So we scheduled a trip on the Marco Polo for January 2002.  I was super-elated.

We bought ski masks, heavy gloves, silk underwear, thick socks.  I borrowed a pair of boots from a cousin.  We bought wrist bands with vibrators to ward off seasickness.  I read the travel book from cover to cover.  Finally we were on our way.

We met our group in Miami, all of us crowding into a conference room.  Most of the people seemed friendly and interesting.  Everyone but one lady expressed their excitement about the cruise.  She said, with a mixture of boredom and condescension , "This will be my seventh continent."  If we were supposed to be impressed, I wasn't.

We flew to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world.  We strolled along the oceanfront and came upon a store selling every kind of fudge you can imagine.  I don't eat chocolate--it triggers migraine--but I could certainly enjoy the chocolate smell.

On our ship we did the usual lifeboat drill, unpacked, ate dinner and headed out to sea.  Each day there were lectures about history, sea birds, penguins, science--all very interesting.  The ship gave out thick orange parkas.  Mine was too big but we eventually got that straightened out.  On deck we watched albatross flying above us.  They are huge.

Our first landing, on Deception Island, was cancelled because of high winds but our second, not a landing but a Zodiac cruise, at Courverville, was great fun.  We watched the gentoo penguins--adorable but smelly.  We saw them stretching their necks, expanding their chests like bellows  and squealing when they were excited or maybe just showing off for the tourists, watched them slide into the water.  Icebergs were all around.  It felt like another world.

That night several British scientists from Port Lockery told about their primitive living conditions.  The next day at Paradise Bay we saw more penguins, glaciers, icebergs (some at least 100,000 years old)  We saw a Weddell seal sleeping on shore.  Later, back on board, we passed a large whale.
At Half Moon Bay we saw chinstrap penguins--sooo cute but also quite smelly.  That was our final landing, and soon the ship was heading north across the Drake Passage.  The trip south was pleasant but the return was miserable.  The ship rocked constantly and you felt as if something was pressing down on your head.  Once we rounded Cape Horn, the water was smooth again.  What a relief.

In Ushuaia we visited the park where we saw the end of the Pan American Highway.  Soon we were on our way back home.  That was one of the most memorable trips of my life.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Books of May

Written by the author of The Emperor of All Maladies, a book about cancer, this book is about the history of our knowledge of genes, beginning with Mendel's pea plants and continuing through the successful mapping of the human genome.  It's very long, but it reads like an adventure story and is well worth the reader's time.

Not long after the publication of her successful book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg's husband died suddenly.  She said, with no more Option A, she was left with Option B, and her book takes us through her grieving process.  As  a long-time widow, I was interested in adding this to my collection of how-to-survive-widowhood books.  It was interesting but it didn't tell me much I didn't already know.  Okay for a new widow but not so much for someone like me, who's been around the block.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

quote for the week

How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.
                              Annie Dillard

Monday, May 29, 2017

Who Am I? Guest blogger, Paula Kelman


Paula Kelman is studying to be a yoga teacher with two amazing mentors, Richard Boustany and Sharon Kapp.

Paula is a graphic designer, mother to two amazing children, daughter Anat and son Avi, and grandmother to two precious granddaughters, Noa and Ella.  She lives in Houston, Texas, surrounded by art and wonderful memories and close enough to the grandkids to see them very often!  She no longer runs half marathons or does cross fit because yoga and meditating are better for you.

Her husband, Uri Kelman, passed away May 25, 2015.

Here is Paula's answer to Who Am I?

I am FEARLESS, because the worst thing that I could possibly accept into my life, the loss of my precious husband, has already happened, and I did not break or die.

I am FREE of sadness, only filled with gratitude and memory.

I am CREATING my new self and creating who that person is by releasing practices that no longer serve my higher health, spiritual development and physical preservation of the body.

I ENJOY companionship, including the intimate sexual kind, but I am not interested in sacrificing myself to have a man in my bed.  That may be the biggest part of letting go.

I am creating Moments and Memories and Love, not attachments and possessions.

I am part of the One whole, part of the universe but I can stand on my own.


My thanks to Paula for this inspiring piece.
                     Thelma

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Quotes for the Week: About Birthdays

Today is my xx birthday.  Enjoy these birthday quotes:




 

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