How often have we heard that for the best in life, we need to keep everything in balance. Work and family life balance, exercise and rest and of course eating a balanced diet. When I was in Kenya, I saw the limitations on the availability of clean water. I have not been able to turn on the water at home without thinking about how precious this resource is and how fortunate those of us are that take clean water for granted every day.
We know we need water and we also need to eat a balanced diet to maintain our health and this is easier said than done at times. We can select our food choices but our cats rely on us to choose for them and this can be daunting at times.
A Symbolic Gesture for a Principle Beyond Money
Today the United States government will destroy six tons of ivory, which represents a large portion of the ivory the Unites States has seized since the late 1980’s, when a national ban on commercial African ivory imports went into effect.
ONE every 15 Minutes
One elephant is killed every 15 minutes.
Today is the International March for Elephants that is organized by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust through their iworry campaign. The peaceful marches will take place in 15 cities around the world representing the single largest demonstration of awareness for elephants. The ivory trade is an international crisis that must be acknowledged by governments world wide if we are to see any changes and hope for the elephant. At this rate of killing, African Elephants could become extinct in the wild by 2025.
We have the summer blues without you.
It is near the end of July and on this Sunday afternoon my heart broke all over again. We were cleaning the house and it was time to wash the Slankets. It seemed like such a menial task but when I picked them up I remembered how much you loved to snuggle on them and the wave of sorrow crashed over me. I hid in the office so your dad wouldn’t see me and I had a good cry. Later when he saw me I told him that my red eyes were due to allergies. He pursed his lips and nodded.
This first summer without you is also the first summer in four years that I am not heading out into the field. I miss the adventure and learning at the Sea of Cortez, in Kenya and in Namibia. And to make matters worse, this is the first summer that the city didn’t open the swimming pool. The best part of summer for me was being able to swim every morning. Fresh air, cool water and a mile of meditation laps to start the day. But this summer, no field work, no swimming and worst of all no Gracey.
Annie and Eddie are both very sweet kittens and they sure have a lot of energy. They make us laugh and force us to keep up with them and that is a good thing. We are so lucky that they rescued us. Earlier today both kittens were in the office with me and they seemed to be fascinated with Bad Kitty. I think he was telling them a story about you.
Maggie is trying to adjust to her new home but I get the feeling like me, she might think this is the worst summer ever.
The Overview Effect
When I was young, I imagined Africa as a far off land, with endless savannas and wilderness areas that rivaled outer space. I remember lying on the floor in front of the television watching Wild Kingdom, our window on the world, as we traveled vicariously with Marlin Perkins to the far reaches of the world for exciting interactions with exotic animals in their natural habitats.
A lot has changed since those childhood days of packing a lunch with a friend and telling our parents we were setting out to seek the source of the creek that ran through the property surrounding our neighborhood. This creek seemed endless to us as we walked and talked and used our imagination to pretend we were on safari looking for wildlife.
Our World is Getting Smaller
Now, I realize how small this creek is and often times, I might even drive by where we used to play not giving the water rippling over the stones a second thought. And just as I thought Africa was a mysterious land of abundant space for all animals to live and thrive, we know this is not the case. Africa’s wilderness is being squeezed as elephants, lions, rhino and wildebeest all compete with humans for habitat and resources.
Today, our world seems a lot smaller than it did when I was younger. We can visit Africa and watch wildlife right from our homes via Africam and other online sources. There are television programs on 24 hours, 7 days per week allowing us to see the day to day life of people and animals on the other side of the globe. And when you see Africa from the air, you can see the shrinking wild areas and the urban sprawl creeping out into the once wild and open spaces where earth’s animals once lived in abundance and with minimal human conflict.
by Joanne McGonagle
Richard Turere’s “Lion Lights” Save Lives
Maasai, Richard took over the responsibility for herding and safeguarding his family’s livestock when he was only 9 years old. One of the threats to his family’s cattle, sheep and goats is the presence of African lions when they wander out of Nairobi National Park following the path of zebra and other prey animals searching for savannah grasses.
Richard grew up hating lions because at night, lions would sneak in and kill the family’s livestock while the boy was sleeping. Determined to protect the families valuable livestock, Richard knew he had to think of a way to help him protect his animals from lion attacks.
Richard first built a fire, but realized even though the lions are afraid of fire, they were not afraid to go around the fire and snatch up a meal and in fact their path was made easier by the light of the fire. Richard then tried to place a scarecrow to fool the lions into thinking that he was guarding his cattle, but this only worked for one night. Richard said, the lions are very clever, so when they returned the second night, they must have realized this scarecrow is not moving and so were no longer intimidated.
9 Things I Love About Gracey
I am a cat parent! This month Petfinder launched a campaign to help break down the stereotypes about cats and the people who love them. Even though cats outnumber dogs in the United States, feline family members are often thought of as second-class pets. Many people still believe that cats are aloof, not able to be trained and of all things….unlovable!
I say anyone that thinks this about a cat has never shared their home with a cat. Our Gracey and Mercy are members of our family and we are fortunate to get to share our lives with them. I wanted to take a moment to tell you just 9 things I love about Gracey. Of course, there are many many more, but I thought I would start with these.
One) Gracey’s Happy Face Greeting Me at the Door
Even on the most trying of days, when my key hits the door and I see our little girl running to greet me with her tail straight up with a curl, all the day’s troubles just melt away and I feel warm and happy seeing her sweet face.
Two) Chatting About Her Day
First thing I do when I get inside the house is say hello to Gracey and ask her about her day and she usually has a lot to say. Gracey is a talkative cat and I think she is telling me what happened while Paul and I were out leaving her in charge of the house. I love to hear her tales of the day while we walk together into the kitchen.
Say Goodbye to New Year’s Resolutions!
Happy 2014 too!
We wrote this article at the end of 2011 but think it is worth changing the date and re-posting. We hope you do too.
Happy New Year, Gracey and Joanne
As we say goodbye to 2012, why not also say goodbye to making New Year’s Resolutions for 2013? Let’s face it, if you are one of the overwhelming majority of humans, and statistically speaking, you more than likely are, you won’t stick to the resolution anyway and this deviation from the plan can lead you down a path of self-destruction!