Monday, January 20, 2020

#MondayMotivation - #Quotes + Words Of #Wisdom 20-01-20

Live one day at a time... And make it a masterpiece.
~Dalai Lama

We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they're called memories. Some take us forward, they're called dreams.
~H.G. Wells

The first indication that we are killing our dreams is lack of time.
~Paulo Coelho

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
~Carl Sandburg

Excuses are a time thief. Have a goal, accept responsibility, and take action!
~Steve Maraboli

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.
~Michael Jordan

If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
~Jim Rohn

Live in the present, or die in your past; it's your choice.
~Bryant McGill

Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you.
~Phillip Sweet

Pause and remember— Every single event in your life, especially the difficult lessons, have made you smarter, stronger, and wiser than you were yesterday. Be thankful!
~Jennifer Young

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging.
~Will Rogers

Mistakes - call them unexpected learning experiences.
~Richard Bach

Friday, January 17, 2020

#FurkidFriday: Of #Dog Puzzles + Lilie The #Westie's Grooming Session And Logan The #Cavapoo's Vet Trip

Hi everyone. This is Logan the Cavapoo.

My big sister, Lilie, is real smart. She can do numbers, and doggy puzzles, and things like that. Even if Mummy and Daddy can't get her to do the numbers when they're pointing the flashy thing at her, which they keep trying to do so they can show you she can do them. They don't know why she won't do it when the flashy thing is pointed at her, because she does it real well when it isn't. They did manage to get her to do the puzzle for the flashy thing though, and she did it super fast too.

But not me. I can't do numbers at all, and find the puzzles real hard. I'm not so good with the thinking thing. It's not because I don't try neither. I try real hard. But I'm best at bouncing, and cuddling, and knowing when it's supposed to be toast and sweetie ball time. I still try though, and sometimes even manage to figure some of it out a little bit, like I'm doing in this video Mummy and Daddy did of me with one of Lilie's puzzles:

See... I try real hard!

Mummy and Daddy say they're proud of me for doing even as much as I did. But I kind of felt sad when I couldn't do it, and Lilie came over and got the sweeties out of the other three boxes quicker than I did the one I managed. But then Mummy filled our sweetie balls, and I can do those, so I felt better after that. She let me try again lots of times too. I still can't do the other boxes though. But Mummy says trying counts.

Anyway, the flashy thing got pictures of me and Lilie too. Not with the puzzle toy, but another time. So I thought you'd like to see them. Here you go:

All of those were taken before Santa Paws came, but I had to wait for my turn on this thing to post them. But I hope you enjoyed seeing all the photos, and watching me trying to do the puzzle, even though I didn't manage to do all of it. Like I said though, Mummy says trying counts. You agree, don't you?

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, me and Lilie were supposed to go to the groomer place. Except my tummy didn't feel good, so I stayed home with Mummy, and Daddy just took Lilie instead. Here's a photo of her that Daddy took after they got home:

My tummy was fine by bed time, but Mummy said I needed to be weighed and have a checkup anyhow, so she took me to the vet a couple of days later. Says she didn't rush, since I was fine other than the upset tummy; other than the upset tummy, I was acting normally, even eating and drinking fine, playing happily, etc. Mummy says since I was fine other than that, she wanted to give it a day or so to see if her suspicion that it was because I ate Lilie's treats as well as mine was the cause was correct. When she told the vet about it, the vet agreed with her, and said maybe I shouldn't eat so many treats. Shouldn't eat so many treats? You can never have enough treats! What is she thinking? I hope Mummy doesn't plan to listen to that nonsense!

They weighed me when I was there, and I weighed 14.75 Kilos (Mummy says she thinks that's about 33 lbs, for those who need it like that). The vet thought I'd be closer to 16 kilos, so was glad I was under 15 kilos. Ha! Take that vet! She did remind Mummy to be careful of me eating too many treats and getting too much extra padding on me though. I'm crossing my paws Mummy wasn't listening to that bit.

Don't worry, I'm not overweight. The vet says my weight is fine for my size, she just doesn't want me being any heavier than 15 kilos unless it's because I did some more growing, and since I love my food, that's why she said about being careful with the treats. Like I said, I'm hoping Mummy either ignores or wasn't listening to that part of what the vet said.

I am however, glad Mummy is planning on listening to the part where the vet said it's not a good idea to get me neutered yet, especially after how Lilie reacted when I told her about it after me and Mummy got home from the vet.

Apparently, though normally any time after about six or seven months is fine - bearing in mind, I'm nine months old now - because I'm two breeds in one, it's a good idea to let me be closer to my first birthday before it gets done. Something about making sure my bones are done developing. Whatever that means. So I'm going to get neutered in a few months time, instead of later this month like Mummy was planning.

I'm not sure what that neutering thing is all about, but Lilie says I had a lucky escape there, and found something funny about the fact I'd be having that done right before my birthday. She wouldn't tell me why it's so funny.

All I know is, the vet and Mummy agreed I'd get the neutering thing done at the start of April (my birthday is in the middle of April) so I had plenty of time to recover from it before I had to get my booster shot thing in June, but will be close enough to being a year old that the vet can be sure my bones are done developing. I know that because I heard Mummy and the vet saying so, and Mummy told Daddy that when we got home too.

I also know we were at the vet for lots and lots of time, but the lady who sits behind the desk there was very proud of me. Actually, the vet was proud of me and told me I was a good boy too. Everyone loved me and gave me praise. I like when that happens. Who am I kidding? I don't like it, I love it!

Anyway, I did cry some, especially when other dogs were getting attention and I wasn't. But I didn't cry much. Mostly I just sat by Mummy's feet and waited, like a good boy. Not only was it good I did that in general, but there were some of those cat things in there, and one was on each side of me, but I ignored them. Well, they didn't have any food, and weren't doing anything fun I wanted to be a part of, so why would I bother with them?

It was a very long wait though. We got seen a whole hour after we were meant to, because the vet had to deal with something the humans called a, "Medical emergency," which made those of us already there have to wait for lots more time than we should have needed to, and some animals that weren't there yet have to be asked to have their appointments another time. Mummy says to tell you the doggy involved was doing fine when we left though, which we're both glad about, and sure you will be too.

Anyway, before I end this, here's one last photo of me and Lilie, which was taken just a few days ago.

Lots of licks,

Thursday, January 16, 2020

#AmReading + #AmWatching + #AmListening - Media Shares And #Reviews 16-01-20

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.
~Jane Austen

Welcome to this week's weekly media shares and reviews post!

*Disclaimer: no matter what's being reviewed, all opinions in this post are entirely my own, and I reserve the right to have them, regardless of who may or may not share them. Feel free to express your own in the comments, but please respect my right - and the rights of other commenters - to have opinions that might differ from yours, and to express those opinions too.

Also, please remember that I read/watch/listen to things in a variety of genres, and for all ages, so you should make sure you check that the book/movie/show/song is suitable for the intended audience before reading/watching/listening to it, especially if children are involved. I take no responsibility for anything which may happen as a result of failing to do so.

If you want to know more about the book, or the author, click on whichever it is you want to learn more about, and it will take you to the appropriate page on Goodreads. Clicking on my rating should take you to my actual Goodreads review for the book in question. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie or TV show in question; the title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.

Unless otherwise stated, all music videos are via YouTube.

OK. Let's see what I've been reading, watching, and listening to, and which song I'm going to share this week, shall we? After all, that's the point of this post, and why you're here today, right?

  • Reading:
This week I read three books. So, here's what I read, along with my book reviews.

The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Power of Meow (The Dalai Lama's Cat, #3)The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Power of Meow by David Michie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is another excellent addition to this series of books, which manages to be entertaining, while at the same time reminding you of the importance of mindfulness, regardless of whether you're a Buddhist, follow another spiritual path, or follow none at all.

The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Four Paws of Spiritual SuccessThe Dalai Lama's Cat and the Four Paws of Spiritual Success by David Michie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is another wonderful addition to this series, which I was eager to read after having enjoyed the experience of reading the previous books so much. It's an entertaining read, but also carries some serious and thought-provoking lessons, which anyone seeking to learn more about mindfulness may wish to take note of, whether you're a Buddhist, follow a different spiritual path, or follow no spiritual path at all. Not to mention, it's a great one for cat lovers in general.

Deceived (Valkyrie Academy Dragon Alliance, #10)Deceived by Katrina Cope
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was already excitedly waiting for this book, having enjoyed the previous ones, and the eagerness to learn what would happen only increased when I started reading it. It's a gripping read, with a main character you can't help rooting for and feeling for, not to mention wonderful worldbuilding, and a whole load of other fantastic characters. Awesome ending to an amazing series, which fans of dragons and Norse mythology will love.
*NOTE: I was given a free advanced copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This fact has in no way influenced my opinion of the book, nor the contents of this review.

  • Watching:
I watched a little over half of "NCIS" season 12, while enjoying some pet playtime over the weekend. I also watched a new to me movie during the past week, which I've read the book for a couple of times, but hadn't gotten around to watching. So, see below this paragraph for the review for the movie.

The Thirteenth Tale (2013 TV Movie):
As a movie in its own right, this was a pretty good movie - not amazing, but pretty good. The characters and plot are both intriguing, and I enjoyed watching it. However, as a representation of the book, it really doesn't do a particularly great job; there's more suspense in the book, and some of the story threads are changed or incredibly abbreviated. So, while I enjoyed watching it, I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I enjoyed reading the book. Still, I am glad I watched it, and would do so again. As to the rating: I give my movie reviews ratings based on the merits of it as a movie, rather than how it compares to the book. So, with that in mind, I give this movie four out of five stars.

  • Listening:
This week I've been listening to a little country music, but mostly I've been listening to music that arrived in my inbox via YouTube notifications for people I subscribe to on there. With that in mind, here's "Once Upon A December" by seven year old Claire Crosby for your listening pleasure.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

#WriterWednesday: WriterlyLinks And #WritersLife 15-01-20 - #AmWriting

In case you missed my post announcing it last week: "Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes" is now available in audio, narrated by Suzan K Hennen. You can find the purchase links for all available formats via the post I just linked to, or simply go buy the book from Audible.

If you'd like to get to know Suzan a little, you can check out her recent narrator interview, which went live on December 27th 2019.

Poetry is subconscious conversation, it is as much the work of those who understand it and those who make it.
~Soniaa Sanchez

As I mentioned would be the case in my first post for the year, with that announcement officially made, we're 100% caught up with everything involved in making all my books available in the various formats I offer. Which are multiple eBook formats, paperback, and audio, for anyone who might be new here. This means I'm free to let the publisher hat sit on the shelf for a bit while I work on producing new content. Something I'm glad to be able to do, let me tell you. After all, the writing is the best part of producing books. Well, actually, the best part is when someone reads the books, and then I find out they enjoyed them. That's why I do the less fun stuff required to publish my poems and stories after I'm done writing them. But the writing is the best part of the aspects of producing books I'm in control of.

You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it.
~Susan Orlean

I've booked a cover creation slot with one of my cover artists for April though, so I will have to start wearing my publisher hat again in a couple of months. For now though, I get to just focus on enjoying some writing sessions.

Anyway, I've been keeping an eye out for links for you between enjoying writing sessions and doing other things, so let's see what links I've managed to gather for you over the past couple of weeks, shall we?

First of all, does your workspace affect your writing? Short answer: it probably does, though perhaps more so for some than others. Check out the post I just linked to for ways you can make the energies of yours work for you rather than against you.

OK, so you have your writing space sorted out. Now, let's get writing!

What? You want to, but you're struggling to get motivated? Well, perhaps this guide to writing when you're feeling unmotivated, or this (almost) foolproof method for lifting yourself out of a writing slump, will help. If not, why not try these hacks to instantly finding the motivation to write, even when you don't feel like it. You're welcome.

All you need to do is write one word after another. Don’t think about the whole novel, or about what you’ve written, just think about the next word.
~Karen Woodward

Of course, sometimes you just need to hear more stories to make more stories.

Don't forget, if you're stuck for story ideas, there are plenty of great posts to help inspire you in among the posts for StoryStorm 2020. So, if you haven't done so, you should check those out.

When you have your idea and are ready to write, here's a simple writing exercise that might change your craft forever. It does work as well, so could potentially help you get that first draft written.

By the way, it doesn't matter when you're doing the first draft - and definitely doesn't if you're doing the stream of conciousness writing mentioned in the above paragraph - but when it comes to the revisions, don't forget, the start of your story needs these puzzle pieces to hook your reader. So make sure you include them.

Don’t write it right, just write it—and then make it right later.
~Tara Moss

Don't forget to make use of these laws of foreshadowing in your story, and build up suspense for your readers. But use them well, because they can be over used. Everything in moderation, after all.

Next, let's talk about character archetypes, complete with a trick to using them without over-populating your story.

Also, here's an interesting comparison between magical powers and psychic abilities. So, are they interchangeable? Feel free to share your thoughts on the matter.

No matter the kinds of abilities your characters may or may not have, remember that your stories are a mirror, so think about what you see when you look at what you have written, and what others will see when they read it.

Whatever you describe to another person is also a revelation of who you are and who you think you are. You cannot describe anything without betraying your point of view, your aspirations, your fears, your hopes. Everything.
~James Baldwin

Regardless of what your story is about, here's some advice for how to write a strong resolution.

No matter how your story ends, do you know what the hardest thing about being a writer is? The hardest part about being a writer is that you are not 'just' a writer, and have to be other things too. But that's a good thing. After all, what would you have to write about if you weren't those other things too?

Whatever you are besides being a writer, writers: find your light in the darkness, and remember you are not always going to love writing, but that's OK.

Ask yourself in the stillest hour of the night: Must I write?
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Another hard thing about being a writer - especially if you want to be a published author, and want people to buy your books - is marketing. It doesn't help that marketing trends are constantly changing, and what worked yesterday may not work today. So, if you're starting to think about what to do to market your book, you might want to take a look at this post on how to market your book in 2020, and these social media marketing tips for authors.

Finally, whether you're a writer or not, if you have a blog, don't forget to make your blog user-friendly. Though it doesn't say this in the post I just linked to, this should include making it accessable for disabled readers, such as visually impaired readers who may be using screen readers, for which things like pictures with no description, background music, etc, are a big issue. That's another argument for not using word verification... It's not easy - in fact, sometimes it's impossible - for blind people to do. The only reason one of those word verification things appears on my blog is it won't go away, even though I've told it not to have it on there. As I say in the comments section though, you should be able to ignore it and just hit "publish" for your comment to post anyhow. If I figure out how to actually make it go away, I'll get rid of it completely. Anyone else with a Blogger blog know how to do that? If so, I'd appreciate your help in doing so. Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Random Ramblings - January 14th 2020

Since very little has been happening around here, this post is just for me to share a couple of random things I wanted to mention that I haven't yet due to catching up on goal and holiday posts. Not that there's much, other than what I'll be catching you up on in upcoming "Furkid Friday" posts, but... *shrugs*


Imbolc - which, for those who don't know, is the sabbat that heralds the dwindling of winter and the coming of warmth and new life, celebrating the Celtic fire goddess Brighid - is coming up in a couple of weeks (it falls on February 2nd, for those who don't know) and while trying to decide how to celebrate it this year, I decided to look online for some fun things to potentially do for it, in case something caught my eye that I'd like to do this year.

In my search, I found these Pagan craft projects, many of which sound fun. So I'm giving them a mention here, both for anyone else who might want to check them out, and for my own future reference.

I'm not sure if I'll do any of those this year, but new ideas are always welcome.


Did you know: on Imbolc this year, the date will be 02-02-2020. Take out the dashes, and you have a palindrome. In other words, for those who don't remember learning about those in school, without the dashes, the date will be one of those numbers you can read either way and it would be correct - the number version of words like "racecar" - since it would read 02022020. Just thought I'd mention that, for the benifit of anyone who might find it interesting.

Unlike the palindrome for 2021, which will either fall in February or December, depending on which way around you put the day and month when you write the date, the date it falls on is not in dispute, since it works whether you write the date as day-month-year (like most people in the UK do) or month-day-year (like most people in the US and Canada do). If you're interested though, the 2021 palindrome date falls either on February 12th or December 2nd, depending on whether you write the day or month first when writing the date as all numbers.

So, there you go. There's a random bit of information you probably don't care about. *wink*


My headache is mostly gone now. I'm just getting the odd twinge of mild pain - more discomfort than anything really - from time to time, which especially happens when I'm starting to get tired. Just thought you'd like to know.

Sticking on the subject of medical related stuff for a moment: Kelly's dentist appointment in December didn't go as planned.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say it didn't go at all, since he never had the appointment, despite them confirming over the phone only the day before it would be happening, and him arriving for it in plenty of time.

You see, he went for the appointment, as planned. No problem. At first all was fine, they got him all signed in, etc. Then they announced his appointment was going to be a bit late, and then a lot late. To cut a long story short, they gave him the choice of waiting there most of the day, after which they'd "hopefully," be able to see him, or making an appointment to come back another day. He wasn't happy, but made the new appointment. Personally, I'd have stayed there until they saw me on principle, especially since the reason for the delay was them making a private patient who didn't even have an appointment but demanded to be seen anyhow a priority. But Kelly didn't do that.

He came home with an appointment for January 8th. Meaning he spent the holidays in pain, and by the time he was seen had been trying to get something done about the toothache for two months.

I wish dentist choices for people who have to rely on the NHS and can't afford to be private patients weren't so limited, and we could go find a better dentist. But it is what it is, and this one is at least better than the first one we had in this area. So, all we can do is to be grateful we have the cover at all, while resisting the urge to rant about the unfairness of how the system works. Or at least resist that urge where they can hear us, in case it costs us what little 'care' we have from them, because no dentist access at all would be worse.

Anyway, Kelly's new appointment was this past Wednesday, and all went to plan this time, so he's sorted for a few months again.

I, however, will apparently have to go see the dentist again sooner than planned.

One of my front teeth has been capped since soon after it came through. It's the result of one of my adult teeth coming through before it should have, with part of the enamel not fully formed, because it wasn't really ready. It happened because I had my baby tooth knocked out when I was five and got in the way of my brothers fighting. Anyway, every half a dozen or so years, the cap comes off and needs replacing, which is exactly what it did this past Friday; on Friday, I bit down on something, and the cap came off.

So, back to the dentist I go, I guess. *sigh*

I wasn't able to deal with it at the time, so I called yesterday (Monday) to make an appointment. I hope they don't want me to come in and be looked at, only to come back another day to actually have it done. I hate when they do that! Anyway, my appointment is for next Tuesday (January 21st) at 4:35pm, because it was apparently the only appointment they had available for next week. Good thing I called when I did, or I might have been waiting several weeks.


Papa John's - the pizza place near us with the best vegan pizza options, even if they aren't the best pizza place for price - has some new vegan options. They've always had a couple, but they have a few new ones lately.

Now, I've tried several of their vegan sides, and enjoyed them. I love their vegan tater tots (vegan cheese on little potato pieces) and vegan marmite scrolls. I was brave enough to try their cauli wings (cauliflower with a crispy coating and dipping sauce) recently too, and those were pretty good, though the sauce is a bit hotter than I would generally want, so I won't be having those often, if I even do again. Although, I could add some vegan mayo to the sauce to cool it down... There would be more of it that way, but I could finish it off with something else...

Erm... Sorry... Where was I? Oh, yeah...

When it comes to pizza toppings, I'm more picky. Since I'm not a big fan of most of the meat replacements, generally I ignore the new options, opting to just stick to my vegan garden party pizza (vegan cheese with a selection of veggies).

But when I saw the jackfruit pepperoni, my love for jackfruit won out, and I decided to give it a taste.

I'm glad I did, because it was really good.

It's got enough of the smokey sort of flavour you'd associate with pepperoni to make it clear what it's trying to immitate, and give you plenty of flavour. But, at the same time, the sweetness of the jackfruit is there, making it easy to tell it's not pepperoni, and preventing you from having to deal with the "meaty" taste that puts me off most of the meat replacements.

So, a definite thumbs up from me, and one I'll be considering having again.

Or maybe I'll have the vegan garden party, but opt for some jackfruit pepperoni as an extra topping...

Not for a bit though, since I don't want to be having too much pizza, even if it does taste really good.

Monday, January 13, 2020

#MondayMotivation - #Quotes + Words Of #Wisdom 13-01-20

Learn from the past, prepare for the future, and perform in the moment.
~Mike Van Hoozer

What you seek is seeking you.

You have a clean slate every day you wake up. You have a chance every single morning to make that change and be the person you want to be. You just have to decide to do it. Decide today's the day. Say it; This is going to be my day.
~Brendon Burchard

A problem is a chance for you to do your best.
~Duke Ellington

If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything.
~John Wooden

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.
~Malcolm X

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.
~Jim Rohn

Opportunities are like buses, there's always another one coming.
~Richard Branson

Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.
~Benjamin Franklin

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are
~Bernice Johnson Reagon

Finish each day & be done with it. You have done what you could. Learn from it; tomorrow is a new day.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, January 10, 2020

#FurkidFriday: A Very #Rodent And #Puppy #SantaPaws Time 2019

Hi everyone. This is Lilie the Westie.

Santa Paws came!

I didn't see him again. Not even with my little Cavapoo brother, Logan, helping me watch and listen for him. It's a bit odd really, since Logan doesn't usually miss when things are going on. Neither do I most of the time, but Logan's even quicker to notice noises than me, so you'd think he'd have heard Santa Paws coming. But no. That guy is super sneaky!

At first I thought it was odd that he came to us when some of my friends were still saying about him coming in a few days, but Mummy explained it's because we celebrated when it was the Winter Solstice, and most people wait until Christmas, which is a few days later. She says she spoke with Santa Paws, and he agreed to come with someone called the "Yule Elf" in time for us to have our presents on the Winter Solstice, instead of waiting until Christmas Eve.

Apparently, though it's not always for the Winter Solstice, Santa Paws often shows up on different days for people who celebrate differently. I suppose that helps with getting to all the homes on time, if he can sort a few before December 24th. Saves a bit of time on Christmas Eve. Not sure how Mummy manages to get to see and chat with him and I don't though. I never saw that Yule Elf guy either. Or are Santa Paws and the Yule Elf the same person? I'm not sure... Mummy might have said he was coming as the Yule Elf rather than with, but I stopped listening after, "Santa Paws is coming." Mummy says it doesn't matter, so I'll just stick with saying Santa Paws came, and you can figure out the rest of how it all works. Or ask Mummy, since she seems to know.

Anyway, I guess even Logan was good enough to be on the nice list. Either that, or Santa Paws gave him stuff as a favour to me. Whatever the case, Santa Paws put some yummy treats and balls in our stockings. Here's me and Logan checking out what he brought us, with some help from Mummy, especially for Logan, since my little brother was confused about what was going on.

Yes, there were balls, just like we asked Santa Paws to remember we liked. Among the treats in our stockings were two of the kind of balls I love best, and some of those little balls that Logan loves best, so we were both super happy about that.

There were other presents too. Here we are unwrapping what turned out to be cuddly squeaky toys of Santa's legs stuck out of a chimney. At least, I'm opening them. Logan's not really sure what to do, even when Mummy tries to help. Watch the video, and you'll see what I mean.

Mummy assured me Santa Paws definitely didn't really get stuck like that, and they were just fun toys. I'm glad, because it would have been scary for him to be stuck upside down in a chimney like he is with our toys. I know I wouldn't like it. Mummy must have been right, because I know my doggy friends who celebrate Christmas instead of the Winter Solstice - like Nana's dog, Izabel - got presents, and he wouldn't have been able to deliver those if he was stuck in a chimney for real.

Anyway, we got these great candy cane rawhides too...

You'll have to excuse the chaos of the puppy pads. We got a bit excited and things went everywhere. Also, as you can see, Logan's still a bit confused about what's going on. He got the hang of things afterwards though, and carried his candy cane around most of the next few days after the confusion of Santa Paws time was over. Even took it to bed with him, which Mummy and Daddy say they wouldn't have minded quite so much if Logan didn't consider the big bed they sleep in to be his bed. Not sure what they're complaining about personally. They could sleep on the sofa if they minded that much, but they let him do it, so it's their problem. Daddy says Mummy's a push-over. Mummy says, "But look how happy he is." I know what it means when she says that. It means Logan can go right ahead and do it, and they won't stop him, no matter how many times they might complain about rawhide in the bed.

Anyway, Mummy and Daddy's complaints aside, the squeaky things in cages got stuff from Santa Paws too. They had sticks and sweeties of some kind in their stockings, which they seemed happy about, and these gnawing toys:

Here's my chinchilla sister, Mollie, right after Mummy and Daddy gave her hers:

The Joshua did get to have his too. It turned out to be lucky Santa Paws came with the Yule Elf, or he'd have missed him, since the Joshua squeak went away right after the Winter Solstice. I don't know why, but we miss him.

If that wasn't enough, two sleeps after Santa Paws came, we went to Oscars, and there was turkey. We even got to bring some home, so we had turkey for dinner a couple of extra days, which we thought was great!

So, that was Santa Paws time. We loved it! Hope you enjoyed hearing about it and seeing the photos and video.

Lots of licks,

Thursday, January 09, 2020

#AmReading + #AmWatching + #AmListening - Media Shares And #Reviews 09-01-20

In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.
~Mortimer J. Adler

Welcome to this week's weekly media shares and reviews post!

*Disclaimer: no matter what's being reviewed, all opinions in this post are entirely my own, and I reserve the right to have them, regardless of who may or may not share them. Feel free to express your own in the comments, but please respect my right - and the rights of other commenters - to have opinions that might differ from yours, and to express those opinions too.

Also, please remember that I read/watch/listen to things in a variety of genres, and for all ages, so you should make sure you check that the book/movie/show/song is suitable for the intended audience before reading/watching/listening to it, especially if children are involved. I take no responsibility for anything which may happen as a result of failing to do so.

If you want to know more about the book, or the author, click on whichever it is you want to learn more about, and it will take you to the appropriate page on Goodreads. Clicking on my rating should take you to my actual Goodreads review for the book in question. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie or TV show in question; the title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.

Unless otherwise stated, all music videos are via YouTube.

OK. Let's see what I've been reading, watching, and listening to, and which song I'm going to share this week, shall we? After all, that's the point of this post, and why you're here today, right?

  • Reading:
This week I read a lot. I ended up reading four books. So, here's what I read, along with my book reviews.

Besieged (Valkyrie Academy Dragon Alliance, #9)Besieged by Katrina Cope
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was an amazing addition to the series, with some beautiful moments, and some really entertaining ones too. I highly recommend this book, along with the rest of the series, especially if your a fan of dragons and Norse mythology.
*NOTE: I was given a free advanced copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This fact has in no way influenced either my opinion of the book, or the contents of this review.

The Dalai Lama's Cat (The Dalai Lama's Cat, #1)The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is an excellent book, which will give you plenty to think about. Whether you're a Buddhist, follow a different spiritual path, or have no chosen path at all, it's a great reminder to practice mindfulness. What better way to be reminded to live in the moment than through the eyes of a cat?

The Dalai Lama's Cat: Guided MeditationsThe Dalai Lama's Cat: Guided Meditations by David Michie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
These are excellent. They take you through a few simple yoga stretches and meditations, which would be an excellent starting point for anyone new to either practice, but could also be benificial to those who have some experience with yoga and meditation.

The Art of Purring (The Dalai Lama's Cat, #2)The Art of Purring by David Michie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is another excellent and thought-provoking book, purrfect for those who want a reminder to practice mindfulness, regardless of any spiritual path you may or may not follow. So, what makes you purr? Perhaps, by the end of this book, you'll know the answer to that question.

  • Watching:
This weekend I had some quality time with the furkids and my DVD collection, and binge watched all of "NCIS" season 11 (much to Mollie's delight) and also watched a new to me movie. See below for details and a review for the movie.

The Lion King (2019 movie):
Being a big fan of the 1994 version of this movie - and a fan of lions in general; lions are one of my absolute favourite animals, after all - I've been eager to get to watch this movie. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. It's just as good as the old one I know and love, with only a few minor tweaks to how things are done, which are enough to give it a new freshness without taking away the elements that made me love the other version. So, I give this movie five out of five stars.

  • Listening:
This week I've been listening to very little music again, and am having trouble picking a favourite from the few I have listened to. With that in mind, I decided to pick one connected to the movie I watched this week, so... Here's "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" by Elton John, from the 1994 version of "The Lion King" for your listening pleasure. Yes, I'm sharing the song from the 1994 version, even though I watched the 2019 version this week.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

#Pet Themed #Poetry #Book - Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes Now In #Audio!

A collection of poems of various lengths and styles, all written for some of the various pets my hubby and I have had.

The pets mentioned in this collection include 4 degus, 2 rats, 2 chinchillas, and 2 dogs. All poems are captioned with details of the pets they are about.

Previously made available in eBook and paperback, "Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes" is now also available as an audio book, read for you by Suzan K Hennen.

You can buy the audio version from Audible, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, and iTunes.

Or, if you prefer, you can grab one of the multiple eBook formats or the paperback version.

If you're on Goodreads, you may also be interested to know that the book has a Goodreads page.

Reviews help authors sell books, so if you grab a copy - regardless of the format you grab it in - it would be great if you could take a few moments to leave a review, either where you brought it, on Goodreads, or wherever else you post reviews. Thank you!

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Celebrating The #WinterSolstice And #Christmas 2019,, Followed By #NewYearsEve's #Fireworks

Somehow we're already about a week in to 2020. How's it treating you so far? Good, I hope.

So, let's catch up with how I spent the holidays, shall we?

On December 18th, I decided I was going to have a go at making some shortbread, like I'd been considering doing. So, that's just what I did. The big one is a plain spiced shortbread, and the little ones are an attempt at giving shortbread a caramelized coating. The spiced shortbread worked really well, but I wasn't so happy with the caramalizing thing... Definitely need to work on that. See for yourself:

With the spiced shortbread, I could have done with adding a little more butter, to compensate for the fact I was using a vegan butter, which wasn't as creamy. Other than that though, it turned out pretty well. Kelly agreed, having been willing to help me taste-test it, despite it being vegan shortbread. Even Lilie - who's as picky as Kero used to be about shortbread quality, and usually won't eat anything but "proper" scottish shortbread; I'm starting to think it's a Westie thing - deemed it worthy, and decided it was an acceptable shortbread. It goes without saying that the food crazy Logan was happy to sample it, and would have been happy to have more had I allowed it. No point using Logan as a food tester, since I actually have yet to find a food we're willing to allow him some of that he doesn't like. Seriously, the dog will even eat lettuce. I kid you not!

Anyway, I need to work on my caramel making skills a lot though. Oh well, I tried, and will keep trying. I'll get it right one of these days, and don't worry, because I'll be telling you when I do for sure. *wink*

In the meantime, I also made some cranberry cookies that day, just because I could. So here's a photo of those too:

The official time and date of the Winter Solstice this year in the Northern Hemisphere was at 04:19am on Sunday December 22nd 2019. I didn't stay up for it, since I decided the main thing I needed this holiday season was some rest and recharge time. We tend to focus most of our celebrations on the 21st though, since that's most often when the Solstice occurs, and it's easier with so many others we know not sharing our beliefs to fix a solid date on the calender. Either way, since I wanted that recharge time, I spent most of the 21st and 22nd of December enjoying the company of my furkids while watching and reading things, which is my idea of a good way to spend the holidays if I'm honest. Thankfully, Kelly feels the same way.

As I mentioned in Joshua's post near the end of December, though I've gotten out of the habit of mentioning it on here for fear of offending people, so those who don't know me wouldn't know it, Kelly and I consider ourselves to be celebrating the Winter Solstice rather than Christmas. Because of that, and the fact most people we know celebrate Christmas, when we celebrate the holidays has varied over the years. Some years we've celebrated both on the Winter Solstice and on Christmas Day with nothing holiday related happening on the days between the Solstice and Christmas, other years we've spread the celebrations across the days from the Winter Solstice to Boxing Day so that we end up celebrating for a week. However, this was done mostly for the sake of others, so this year, we decided enough was enough, and that we would just celebrate over the weekend of the Winter Solstice, with our planned holiday meal out being the final part of our holiday celebrations, and the days when others were celebrating being perfect days to catch up on things we'd been neglecting while having a restful Yule.

Of course, "Santa" still visits our house, regardless of when we celebrate, whether he comes as the Yule Elf, or the more traditional Father Christmas role, and this year was no exception. We were obviously all good this year - unless he just wanted us to feel good this holiday season, and was being more generous than normal about avoiding putting people on the naughty list - since there were nice full stockings all around...

The first photo is the one for Lilie and Logan, and Kelly's stocking. The second is the one for Joshua and Mollie (or was... I guess it's just Mollie's now) and my stocking. Mine and Kelly's were filled with candy canes and chocolates (vegan friendly chocolates for me, of course). "Santa" was a bit excited by all the vegan friendly options available for me, so after providing me with enough vegan friendly orange chocolate Santas and reindeers, mint chocolate snowmen, chocolate coins, fudge, marshmallows, etc, that my stocking wouldn't hold them all, brought Kelly a few extra treats for his. Next year, Santa will try not to get so excited by the fact vegan holiday treats are starting to become as common as non-vegan ones. In the meantime, I think we're good for treats for a while. *wink*

Anyway, I'll let Lilie tell you what Santa Paws put in the furkids' stockings, since I'm planning on having her do a holiday themed Furkid Friday to share the photos and video we got of Mollie and the dogs - well, just photos of Mollie - over the holidays. That post will go live this coming Friday.

Yes, we opened all our gifts that day, including ones from family. Kelly had gaming stuff a few books, and some money. I had a new external hard drive, some DVDs, a couple of audio books, and some money. We also had some little bits my Dad had sent us, including some little figurines and such. He usually sends some little novelty type gifts. Officially they were for the stockings, but since we'd already arranged more than enough for the stockings ourselves, we opened them as actual gifts. Mine included some Mickey and Minnie mouse figurines, a little spinning top, a little purple car, a mini T-Rex, some air dry clay, and some chattering teeth. I don't remember everything Kelly had, but a figurine of Mr Incredible, a mini dinosaur of some kind, and some heavy-duty paper clips were involved. Anyhow, here are most of my gifts (the external hard drive and DVDs aren't in any of the photos):

Again, I'll let Lilie tell you in her upcoming post what the furkids got.

Part of what we do each year is to set our own personal intensions - or goals, if you will - for the year. Some people do goals, others do hopes and wishes. We go with goals. But I shared those in the posts I did last week - like I usually do - so I don't need to tell you about those. I only mention it, because I asked Lilie and Logan what theirs were, and Lilie fetched a toy and started tossing it about, while Logan started bouncing and rolling about being cute. I'm taking it to mean their intensions are to play as much as possible, and be as cute as they can be. In other words, keep doing what they've been doing in 2019 (or most of it, in Logan's case, since he was only born in April). So far, so good. *wink*

Other than that, I also brought a herbal tea labelled as "Christmas Tea" to try, along with a new holiday mug to try it out in, just because I could, I don't drink alcahol, and because I didn't want to be drinking too much hot chocolate, but wanted something holiday themed to enjoy during the Solstice. Here are a couple of photos, so you can see my "Let it snow" mug. The second one gives a close up of the image and writing on the mug.

We got a whole load of cards too. One from my Dad and Nan, one from the people who live in the flat downstairs, one from my Grandma, and some from various online friends (Kati, AliceKay, Deanna, and Heather). Here are photos of them for anyone who wants to see:

We didn't end up sending out cards. I'd planned to right before the Solstice. Then it was the 23rd, and I realized we hadn't, so was going to when we got home from our dinner, since at least they'd then be on their way before Christmas Day (in theory). But what happened with Joshua made me forget, and then Christmas was over, so there didn't seem much point. Sorry to anyone disappointed by that. I was going to say this is the last year I'm doing it anyhow. But I guess last year was the last year I'm doing it instead. Again, sorry to those who might be disappointed.

Anyway, since we didn't want to be eating a three course meal out on the weekend, especially not a weekend right around the holidays, because it would potentially be too crowded for Lilie and Logan, the 23rd of December was our holiday dinner at Oscars - as you might have guessed from the previous paragraph, and I might have mentioned on here before. We'd arranged a turkey dinner for Kelly, a vegan alternative for me, and even some turkey for Lilie and Logan, since we couldn't leave them out, could we? Our furkids are always included when possible.

Our meals were three course meals. We both had soup as our starter. It was tomato and pepper, and delicious. Served with sourdough bread. Kelly's main was turkey and vegetables with the trimmings, while mine was a nut roast. It was when we had our main dish that Lilie and Logan had their turkey, though they ate very little of it at the time, since there was too much going on and they were too busy being nosy. So we brought most of their turkey home.

As for dessert: I can't remember what Kelly's dessert was called, but it was some kind of tart thing, and he enjoyed it. Mine was officially meant to have been a vegan Christmas pudding, but they hadn't been able to arrange that, so had provided a vegan friendly rhubarb thing that was somewhere between a crumble and a chilled fruit compot, and very tasty, though I can't remember what it was actually called either. I enjoyed it though, and they even let me take the extra one they had home, so I had some to enjoy the next day as well. I think they were worried I'd be upset by the lack of Christmas pudding. But I appreciated the effort they went to ensuring I had a vegan friendly meal, so how could I be? Plus, I love rhubarb! Rhubarb crumble is my favourite dessert ever, and this was essentially a cold rhubarb crumble. I had no problem with that at all.

The weather was pretty bad over that weekend, but thankfully nice - though cold - on the Monday, which meant we had a pleasant walk too and from Oscars. At least, the walk there was pleasant. The sun was getting quite low by the time we were heading home, and the temperature seemed to be dropping with it, so it wasn't quite so pleasant out by that time. But at least it wasn't raining. Plus, my cut toe had healed well by this point, so it wasn't too uncomfortable or painful walking on it either, which I was quite relieved about.

Anyway, that's how we celebrated this year.

The only other holiday related thing we did was to call various family members to wish them Merry Christmas - and in some cases talk to them while they opened gifts from us, since they wanted that - on Christmas Day, which was how we decided to celebrate Christmas itself this year. To be honest, that's just fine with me. I really enjoyed doing things the way we did this year, more than how I've enjoyed the way we've done things in the past. It felt much more relaxed, was far less stressful, and I really felt like I was making time for family properly on Christmas Day, since the whole day was set aside for them, with time to just do whatever we felt like at a relaxed pace in between phone calls.

We don't bother doing anything to see in the new year. In fact, many years I haven't even bothered to be up for it. But we did end up staying up, because of the fireworks. No. Not that I wanted to hear the fireworks. OK, maybe I kind of did. Though I might have been more enthusiastic if my head hadn't been hurting a lot, which it was because I hit it the Saturday before, hard enough to cut it, give myself a lump, and possibly give myself a mild concussion (though we're not sure about that last part). If you're wondering: I still have a slight headache, but it's only a very mild one now. Also, the lump has gone (it had almost gone by New Year's Eve) and the cut is mostly healed now.

Anyway, back to the New Year's Eve fireworks, and the fact I was mostly only up for them because there had been a few fireworks throughout the evening, and we knew from a combination of past experience and neighbours gathering on the seafront that there were going to be a lot of fireworks going off around midnight, which meant we - OK, I - needed to be awake to comfort Logan, who really hates fireworks.

Mollie and Lilie didn't need comforting. The girls are fine with them. Lilie gets excited and wants to watch them, and Mollie ignores them. I guess it's because they're so used to them by now. Logan is finding it harder to move past that, "Fireworks are terrifying noises," stage though. So he needs cuddles and reassurance, and even then is crying and trembling the whole time. It was not a fun evening for him, and meant I saw in the new year in the middle of our bed, attempting to comfort one very scared eight and a half month old puppy.

Meanwhile, Kelly and the girls were in the living room, and Kelly got some videos of the fireworks for me - since we were up, and then I could get to enjoy them with headphones afterwards, as well as sharing them with you guys - while Lilie bounced about excitedly trying to watch the fireworks with him, and Mollie played on her wheel. You can hear the sounds of Lilie's bell and Mollie's wheel in the clips. Especially Lilie's bell. Here they are:

So, that's how we celebrated the holidays.

What about you? How did your holidays go? If you did anything, did you enjoy your holiday celebrations? If you didn't do anything to celebrate, did you get in some rest and relaxation time while everyone else was celebrating? Or maybe you did a bit of both? Either way, I'd love to hear about it, and how it all went, so tell me about it in the comments.

Monday, January 06, 2020

#MondayMotivation - #Quotes + Words Of #Wisdom 06-01-20

Each moment is a place you've never been.
~Mark Strand

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start
~Nido Qubein

Accept the past for what it was. Acknowledge the present for what it is. Anticipate the future for what it can become.
~T. McNair

Your beliefs affect your choices. Your choices shape your actions. Your actions determine your results. The future you create depends upon the choices you make and the actions you take today.
~Roy T. Bennett

If you are still searching for that one person who will change your life, take a look in the mirror.

Learn from your history but don't live in it.
~Steve Maraboli

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.
~C.S. Lewis

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

We know what we are, but know not what we may be
~William Shakespeare

Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
~Desmond Tutu

Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.
~Mark Twain

The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.
~Kalu Ndukwe Kalu

Friday, January 03, 2020

Friends Of #FurkidFriday: Mithril

Hi everyone. This is Mollie the chinchilla.

We still need to tell you about Santa Paws coming to visit. But one of us will tell you about that next week, because today I have another friend I'd like you to meet. Today's guest is our first feathered friend to be interviewed. Isn't that exciting? So, let's meet our first ever feathered Friend of Furkid Friday, shall we?

Hello, feathered friend, what’s your name? If you have an unusual name, or there’s an interesting story behind it, I’d love to hear about what your name means, or the story behind it, so please share if applicable.

Hello, my name is Mithril. That’s an Elvish name and it comes from Middle Earth – as in JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Mithril is “Moria silver” and it was chosen to be my name because next to the silmirils, there is nothing more precious than Mithril. When you look at me, you will see why. But it’s not just about my feathers. I was the runt of my clutch and I wasn’t expected to survive. Matter of fact, the man who owned my parents didn’t want me to survive because he didn’t want his wife to simply give me to the writer lady who is my forever mommy – not after he saw my feathers grow in. He wanted to sell me for lots of money. Horrible man. I’m glad his wife kept her promise to give me to my writer mommy. I wouldn’t be alive today with anyone else.

Ah, I know the ones. My human caretakers are fans of those books. The Mummy human is especially fond of those hobbit creatures in them. Anyhow, we all agree that's a great name, and... WOW! What a story to go with it! Yes, he sounds like a horrible man. I'm glad you did survive, and that his wife kept her promise and gave you to your writer Mommy. It sounds like you really are as precious as your name claims. So, Mithril, I know you're a bird, but what species and breed are you exactly?

I am a whiteface lutino cockatiel. That means every one of my feathers is white, I have red eyes, and my beak, legs, and feet are pink. Even my toenails! In mammals you call that “albino” but birds are different. In birds different colors in feathers are controlled on separate genes. You’ll learn all about that when mommy writes one of two sequel books to her popular “Preparing For My First Cockatiel” guide book. That one will be called “Preparing For My First Egg,” but it is likely she will finish “Preparing For Maturity and Old Age” first.

Fascinating! Thanks for sharing that with us. I love when we get to learn new things about different animals while doing these interviews. Tell us more about yourself. For a start, describe your appearance. I know you and your Mommy sent a photo we could include in this post - which I'll show everyone in a moment - but please describe yourself too, for the benefit of those who can’t see the photo.

I am all white in my feathers. But being a girl, I still have the banding on my tail feathers that girl cockatiels are supposed to have. I have a bald spot behind my crest which is a birth defect common to lutino (pale yellow and ivory) cockatiels. In lutino breed, the normally grey feathers are replaced by yellow. But I’m all white because I’m also a breed called whiteface which means there is no gene for red in my feather and therefore no orange circles over my ears like cockatiels are supposed to have. If I wasn’t lutino, my face would be grey (white if I were a boy), but because I’m BOTH whiteface AND lutino, I’m all white.

See! Mommy does her homework. That’s why her books about cockatiels are the best in the whole world! If you want to know about cockatiels, she’s the person to ask.

Such a beautiful bird! Also, I'll bear that in mind about your Mommy's knowledge. My Mummy human's better with us rodent types, and not so good about bird knowledge, though the Mummy human says she doesn't feel confident enough in her knowledge to be making a habit of giving others advice even about us rodent types. It's great when they at least try to do their homework properly though, regardless of the species they know about most, since it makes things much better for us, and improves our quality of life. That brings me to my next question: what sort of place do you live in? Who do you share it with?

I live on the 15th floor of a tenement apartment complex in western Pennsylvania, USA. Just outside our small window near my cage we can see a mountain – but only because we live on the top floor of the tallest building in town and probably the tallest building in the whole county. It’s a small apartment – I’ve lived in much bigger because I’m over 16 and I’ve lived many places—but right now it’s all mommy bird can afford. She doesn’t want to live here and wants to move to some place she keeps talking about called “Scotland.” No idea where that is, but it sounds far away. Always this talk about a big aeroplane and how hard it will be to take a taxi cab hundreds of miles back to New York City (we lived there too) so we can reach the aeroplane that goes to this Scotland place.

Besides mommy bird (the writer), I have a friend named Arwen. Whereas I am two breeds at once (this is a good thing with birds), she’s THREE. Arwen is a whiteface (like me – but whiteface with grey because she’s a girl) pearl (means a special pattern on her back and wings) pied. Pied is where the feathers that should be grey are white instead and it can happen anywhere. Mommy says her feathers are interesting – but never fear because she always wanted an all-white bird!

Arwen was born in a strange place called Pittsburgh. But I’m proud to be a JERSEY bird. Jersey as in New Jersey; I was born near somewhere called Newark. Can’t believe Arwen is five now. I didn’t like her at first – even though I was horribly lonely after getting my divorce three years before. But after I got used to her, I like her. Still, Arwen forgets who is boss so I show her sometimes. I’m in charge! No matter how many other cockatiels come to live with us, I am always in charge!

I've heard of Scotland. It's somewhere North of us. I don't know about all those other places though. Still, it sounds like you live in a great place. Nice you have birdy company again too, after having lost your mate, and good that Arwen accepts you're in charge. So, Mithril, when you're not reminding Arwen you're in charge, what’s your favourite thing to do?

I like to sit on mommy’s head if I can get away with it. And poop there of course. I don’t know why mommy minds that one. Where else am I supposed to poop? My cage? My play gym? My perch stands? The nerve of mommy expecting me to poop from a piece of wood like the birds outside do!

When I’m not taking in the view from mommy’s head, I like to nap from my favourite perches in my cage. I’m getting old now. Some say 16 is very old. But mommy insists that we have many more years to go, that I can reach 30 if I am good and love her to never go away. I love my mommy. I’ve been sick many times, but always pulled through because the Mithril and mommy show is forever. I believe that, don’t you?

Well, yes, if you have to poop, you have to poop, and if that's a comfortable spot to do it in, she'll just have to put up with it. Also, yes, I'm sure the Mithril and Mommy show will go on for a while yet. It's the same for chinchillas: though some of us don't make it to those advanced ages, we can easily live to be 20 or older, and many of us do, playing and thriving until the last. Speaking of playing, doo you have a favourite toy? If yes, what is it?

Even though everyone tells me I’m too old, I like to lay eggs and sit on them. I sit on the eggs Arwen lays too. I’m told that’s unusual, but I like eggs and Arwen lays more than she can sit on sometimes. So we made a bargain to share the nest box, lay all the eggs there, and we can both sit as much as we want whenever we want.

For some reason mommy doesn’t like it when I lay my own eggs. Something she keeps worrying about called “egg binding” which is when the egg gets stuck coming out. Egg binding will kill unless you have a good doctor who knows a lot about birds who has an office close by. We had that when we lived in New York City (the world’s best doctors for birds), but in Pennsylvania, none of the doctors know anything about birds. In fact, when Arwen needed a physical to show she was healthy enough to share my cage after she first arrived, the doctor here said she was OVERWEIGHT. Stupid lady didn’t know that right after you give a baby bird her food she weighs a lot because it’s a custard similar to milk that is very heavy. If doctor doesn’t know about what infant birds eat, she certainly can’t help me if I have a problem laying an egg. That’s why mommy doesn’t want me to lay any more eggs.

I'm glad your Mommy knew better than the vet, and hope she found you guys a good vet afterwards. I have to have a specialist vet too. Most vets just don't understand about the "exotic" pets, so the human caretakers had to find us a special one who does. Also, I can see why she'd worry about you with the eggs. Maybe leave the laying up to Arwen, and just sit on hers from now on? Just a thought. Anyway, what’s your favourite food?

Sunflower seeds, spray millets, and nutriberries. It’s taken years, but now I also like the zupreem brand of pellets – the expensive stuff that mommy started feeding us because the bird store in Manchester, England (what’s England?) and the pet stores in Glasgow all sell it.

I also love popcorn and bread –bread is the best, even though it makes us sick. Pasta is wonderful. So is rice. Raw chicken and beef is delicious – but don’t tell the V-E-T I steal some, especially when mommy is putting it away from the store. Birds aren’t supposed to like meat, let alone raw meat, but I can’t help myself. I’d rather have some raw steak than the fresh fruits and vegetables cockatiels are supposed to eat. It’s very hard for mommy to get me to eat healthy.

I know about England. I live there. Anyway, I've never been tempted by meat myself. But, to each their own. I'm with you on the pasta and sunflower seeds though, even if I don't want to be anywhere near meat - regardless of whether it's cooked or raw. I mean, we have meat-eaters living in this house, even if half of us here don't touch the stuff, so we're happy to let everyone eat what they want to be eating. It's just not for me. But if you like it, that's up to you. I promise not to tell the vet, though I hope your Mommy is OK with you doing it. Hey, on the subject of your Mommy, what’s the one thing your human does that you love most?

Mommy gives us anything we want any time we want. I am rarely confined to my cage (as spacious as that is – I can fly in it, it is so big and Arwen does sometimes when she’s upset). I almost always get anything I want to eat and many fresh things I still find yucky are offered as well. Mommy is always very attentive to what I want and need. She even gave me Arwen as my bird day gift for my eleventh bird day! What a gift to have a friend come live with us!

I love to give my mommy cuddles and head rubs. Lately because it hurts too much to reach some of my feathers for preening, mommy has been helping to scratch off the sheaths of any new feathers I can’t reach anymore. I should bite her because NO HUMAN EVER touches those feathers – but I know she’s just trying to help me. She loves me.

That's great! A friend is a fantastic gift. I hope you guys have had plenty of other great gifts since, and that you both got something nice for Christmas too. And, no, you mustn't bite. We're not supposed to do that, even when they do things we don't like. Speaking of which, what’s the one thing your human does that you hate most?

She has this horrible obsession with new feathers that are grown in but not preened out of their sheathes. She KNOWS I don’t want her to touch my back, primary flight feathers, or tail feathers, but when I cannot reach them she keeps trying to grab them and scratch the heavy sheathes (heavy because these are my biggest feathers) for me. I ought to bite her fingers off for that (and I know I can bite her fingers off), but I know she loves me and only wants to help me.

Oh, you mustn't bite her fingers off, even though you could if you wanted to; you must resist the urge to bite, even when she's doing things you don't like. Good thing you know she loves you, since I'm sure that helps you resist the urge. Anyway, speaking of your Mommy, as you mentioned earlier, your human is a writer. So, has she written anything about you? If yes, can you tell us about it? If no, do you think she will in the future? Wait... I think you did mention something earlier, right? Can you tell us about it?

In 2014, right about the time Arwen came to live with us, she wrote a guide book to cockatiels that has stories about me and pictures of me from across my life. It’s called “Preparing For My First Cockatiel” and it is mommy helping other people know what life with cockatiels is really like. She tells people very honestly what cockatiels need—like the details of the cages we need (three cages: main, travel, and hospital), the kinds of perches we sit on, even what we eat. It’s a very good book and I’m glad to be its star. It was recently updated to new information for 2019 and recorded into an audio book. Take a listen to it on Audible and UK Audible. There’s also a supplement to the audio book you get for free when you download it. Lots of photos of me in it, but also some neat ones you won’t find anywhere else. You can also read “Preparing for My First Cockatiel” in digital and paperback editions in English, French, Spanish, or Italian. Links to each of those are at

As wonderful as all this is because, well, you know I’m the best cockatiel in the whole world, she’s not done writing about me. Mommy has two more books planned for the series. One is “Preparing For My First Egg” which is all about baby cockatiels and some of the different breeds of cockatiels. She is waiting for Arwen to get married in that Scotland place before she writes that one. The third book will be all about me again. It’s about how to help your cockatiel live a long and healthy life after she turns ten years old. I plan on giving mommy lots of advice for that one.

That's fantastic! Actually, now that I think about it, the Mummy human listened to the audio version of “Preparing For My First Cockatiel” a few weeks ago, and said it was excellent, and she'd highly recommend it. We're sure plenty of people will find it useful, and I bet you have plenty of things to teach your Mommy for those other books. Also, I hope all goes well for Arwen's Scottish wedding when the time comes for you guys to go there. In the meantime, what do you do while your human writes?

I like to sit on her head and make her lose her train of thought. I mean I’m the star of everything. Mommy must give me 100% of her attention all the time. Of course I reward her for giving me attention by letting her touch me –sometimes I’m even so generous as to tolerate her preening forbidden feathers. She likes that one.

Well, how could she not? It's so generous of you to allow her to give you all that attention, and reward her for doing so. Anyway, Mithril, I've taken up enough of your precious time today, so we should probably end this. Before we do though, is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?

They say that cockatiels over ten are “senior birds.” Don’t believe it. We cockatiels can live to be over 25 if we have the right relationship with our human slaves and if we have proper access to everything we need to be both physically and mentally healthy. I know we are demanding and we have a lot of requirements to meet to stay healthy and strong. But you know what? It’s worth it! I’m worth it!

You're definitely worth it! Getting any pet is a long-term commitment, especially ones with longer lifespans, but we're worth the time and effort it takes to care for us properly. Thanks for giving everyone that reminder. Also, thanks for coming over for a chat today. It was great getting to know more about you, and learning more about Cockatiels in general.


Author bio:
Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller is author of over twenty-five books published and self-published since August, 2012 with editions spanning across ten languages and counting. A dedicated scholar and biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education and improving history literacy worldwide. With her lyrical writing style, Laurel's books are as beautiful to read as they are informative. In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels, travelling to historic places, and watching classic motion pictures and classic television series. Favorites: Star Trek, Doctor Who, Stargate SG-1, and Babylon 5

Laurel is a proud supporter of Foster Parrots Ltd., The Arbor Day Foundation, and Health in Harmony.

Website: or

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“Preparing For My First Cockatiel” is available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and audio editions. For complete links go to

English language editions:
USA Audible:
UK Audible:


I hope you enjoyed meeting Mithril, and getting to know more about her, her Mommy, Laurel, and Cockatiels in general. If so, why not show them how much you enjoyed the post by sharing it around, or leaving a comment. Better yet, do both. It would make them very happy, and make me and the Mummy human happy too. You want me to be happy, don't you?

By the way, we're always eager to make new friends, and looking for guests. Doesn't matter if you're furry, feathered, or scaled, we want to hear from you. So, if you're a bird, cat, chinchilla, degu, dog, gerbil, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, rat, or other non-human creature, you share your home with a human calling themselves a writer - yes, blogging counts - and you'd like to be our guest, please get in touch. To find out how, go to the "Friends Of Furkid Friday" page, where you can not only learn how to get your turn in the spotlight, but also meet all the friends we've introduced you to in the past. In the meantime, don't forget to share this post around, and invite your friends to get in touch with us too.

Squeak soon,