Posted in Monday Blog

What are your Travel Plans this Summer?

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My daughter will be visiting Hershey this summer with Driftwood Day Camp

As the summer races to its end, more people are going on vacation. Some take week-long trips; others, weekends. There are even those who enjoy staycations in their local area. My daughter is participating in a day camp that includes several overnight trips to such pre-teen favorite places as Medieval Times and Great Adventure in New Jersey; Hershey and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania; Mystic, Connecticut; and Newport, Rhode Island. I’m glad she’ll get a chance to see some of the world or at least part of the East coast. We’ll take our own short trip at the end of the summer, before she starts 7th grade, to the Renaissance Faire upstate in Tuxedo, New York. She liked it so much that we decided to go again.

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Me on my honeymoon in Bermuda (1992).

Before we had Holly, we did a lot of traveling on our own including our honeymoon in Bermuda. I have fond memories of many of the places we visited–Chicago, Atlanta, Cape May, The Poconos, the Amish country, Boston, Wahington, D.C., Virginia Beach, and many other places. With her, we’ve only traveled to Sesame, Disney World, a one-day stopover in Canada on a cruise, and the Hudson Valley.

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Me, my daughter, and husband at the Rockefeller Estate in the Hudson Valley last year

 

 

 

 

I’ve always enjoyed traveling, but I’ve also found it can be tiring as much as relaxing and something that requires a good deal of preparation and planning. It’s best to take a few days off before and after a trip. I’m also the type of person who likes to create an itinerary and purchase tickets beforehand. My husband would just wing it if I let him. Like most men, he leaves most of the travel details to me. I’m the one who creates the packing, cat sitting, and emergency lists. I print out the sightseeing info and maps. Even though I deal with all these details, I also leave room for spontaneity. After all, you have to allow for a substitution of activities in cases of bad weather, sights that have closed, or other interesting things you come across as you travel.

mapblogI have some dream vacations in mind for the future. Europe, of course. I’ve only been to England and Wales after college. I’d like to see the Grand Canyon one day and the West. I’d like to see more of Canada–Montreal and Quebec. I’d also like to see more nearby attractions. I’ve been out East on Long Island and to New York City, but these are the types of trips that require more than one visit. I’d love to visit Montauk again, and I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never been to Shelter Island. Now that the city boasts cat cafe’s, I’d love to visit one of those, but seeing another Broadway play or visiting the Statue of Liberty and the New York Public Library would also be on my itinerary.

Also, since I’m an author as well as a librarian, visiting new places can inspire me to feature them in my story settings. However, if I haven’t been somewhere that I’d like to write about, I can always try to plan a trip there. For instance, a novel I’m currently working on takes place in South Carolina. I might have an opportunity to travel to Myrtle Beach next year for a writing conference so that could be ideal timing for my background research. Speaking of conferences, they are a good opportunity to see places you might never consider visiting. If the conference is work-related, it could also be a tax deduction.

Vacation travel whether it’s near or far, affords people a chance to unwind and experience new sights and educational opportunities as they have fun and enjoy a much-needed change of pace from their hectic day-to-day routine.

Whatever your plans this summer, stay safe, and have a great time!

 

 

Posted in Cats, Monday Blog

10 Fascinating Reasons to be crazy About Cats

oliverstripey  According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), there are over 30 million households with cats in the United States. Although this figure is lower than the number of dog households, more cats are owned per household than dogs. Here are the statistics: https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Statistics/Pages/Market-research-statistics-US-pet-ownership.aspx

Why are pet cats so popular, but even more important, why are people so crazy about them? Below are 10 fascinating reasons, but there probably are a ton more.

1. They provide comfort when you’re sad or sick. Your cat can’t catch your cold or flu, so he or she doesn’t mind getting up close with you while you are ill. I’ve always considered my cats furry nurses. Their purrs are quite soothing, and if you’re depressed, there’s nothing like some funny cat antics to brighten you up.

2. They’re good for your health and state of mind. Read this article that shows why cats are beneficial to your heart health and can aid in alleviating other medical and mental maladies. http://pazoo.com/health/11-reasons-cats-make-happier-healthier.

3. They saved the world. Some believe that if it hadn’t been for cats, the Bubonic Plague would’ve wiped out the world. Read this interesting article by Lisa J. Lehr on that topic: http://ezinearticles.com/?Cats,-People,-and-the-Black-Plague—Those-Who-Kept-Cats-Survived&id=161249

4. Many cats have become Internet stars or celebrities. I’m sure you’ve seen the number of cat photos that proliferate on social media. I was stunned at some posts with cat pics receiving 10,000 + likes. Cats such as Grumpy Cat, Little Bub, and others have risen to fame with their own websites, merchandise, and nationwide tours.

2015-11-11 17.08.05-15. They’re written about extensively. Besides all the non-fiction articles and books about cat breeds, medical issues, and other feline topics, there are multitudes of cat mystery books, cat series, cat science fiction, and other cat fiction. There is even a Cat Writer’s Association founded by Certified Animal Behavior Consultant and bestselling author, Amy Shojai(I’ve been a member of this wonderful organization for many years).

stripeycontest6. They’re funny and smart. People who really know cats appreciate feline humor and their cunning yet cute manipulative ways. It’s also true that cats can be trained if you know the tricks to persuading them to participate. Check out Gregory Popovich’s  popular Las Vegas Show, Comedy Pet Theater http://comedypet.com/ and Acrocats.

7. They’re masters of relaxation and stretching exercises. Take a look at this video featuring yoga wth cats. 

handsomeoliver8. Their beauty inspires artists and photographers alike. Da Vinci said of them, “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.”

9. Cats make great substitutes children, but some people consider them better than babies. Consider this comical comparison from “Little Meows.” http://littlemeows.com/comic-is-hilarious/

10. Cats are now being found in cafes throughout the world. Read this article written by Kelly-Jane Cotter about this new feline fad and add one to your trip’s next itinerary. http://www.app.com/story/entertainment/2016/03/16/cat-cafes-coffee-and-kitties-purrfectly-relaxing/80925764/.

Besides cafes, cats have always been popular in libraries. Here’s a map showing library cats around the world.  http://www.ironfrog.com/catsmap.html.

There’s a whole island devoted to them in Japan. http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/japan-cat-island/.

Amsterdam even has a boat that serves as a tourist attraction and cat sanctuary: http://thebestcatpage.com/2016/03/18/amsterdams-floating-sanctuary-cats-called-simply-cat-boat/.

For some reasons, women are stereotyped as cat crazy even though men can be wild about them, too. If you’re a cat crazy lady, you’ll enjoy Allia Zobels’ books: “Women Who Love Cats Too Much” and its recent sequel, “Women Who Still Love Cats Too Much.” If you’re a man, you should like Michael Showalter’s book, “Guys Can be Cat Ladies Too.”

For the furry finale to this blog post. Here are some additional photos of my own feline obsessions, Stripey and Oliver. Feel free to comment with photos of the cats you’re crazy about and why.2016-01-18 08.32.58olivercat