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Archive for July, 2017

Here is a follow up on establishing White Cat Appreciation Month! Sent by Susan F. A lovely lady from the poetry club.

Subject: RE: Templeton’s White Cat Manifesto

“Marvelous! I was one of the Ladies in Waiting for my girlfriend, Elena, as we prepared for a family reception for the fiancé of their daughter’s family arriving from England. Snowball, the white, blue-eyed kitty,  was grooming herself in preparation for the family dinner, as we peeled, chopped, drank wine, and nervously chattered. You see, daughter, Rachel, had fallen into commitment with the son of an Irish aristocrat, studying to be a pilot at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Sean’s family was arriving for a week of festivities prior to THE wedding! Thomas, the Father-of the Bride, had picked them up at the airport, and delivered them to a car rental depot. He was unusually subdued this evening, watching ESPN, as he waited for the show to begin.

The doorbell rang, and it was as if a fire alarm had sounded. Instinctively, we smoothed our dresses and hair. Elena looked at me for approval, and I nodded, as I took her apron. Finally! The years of watching “Upstairs Downstairs” on PBS with my mother was going to pay off! Tom opened the door, and polite exchanges were expressed. Snowball had taken her place in the living room picture window, and looked as charming as she could, blue eyes checking out every detail for her family. Everything was going perfectly so far, except when Elena ushered the family into the sparkling living room. “Oh my God! A Ghost Cat! “ screamed the strange lady from across the sea. The Yanks, shocked by the outburst, nervously exchanged glances in wonderment. I scanned the room for renegade spirits. “There! There! “ pointing at Snowball who was frozen in fright. “It’s a bad omen, for sure!” “Our Snowball? She’s a member of the family.” “ Get her out of here! Too much bad luck!” Sister ran to the rescue of Snowball, and removed her to the bedroom, soothing her dander.” “Here, Mother, sit down and have this drink.”

The marriage lasted two years.

Snowball tried to warn them. She nestled into Rachel’s new husband’s lap the minute he sat down on the couch!”

 

 

 

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A Tale of Cats

Templeton’s White Cat Manifesto
As told to Dikki-Jo Mullen

“Meow! Oh no. On the calendar it is again
August 16, Black Cat Appreciation Day
The thought makes me leap to fend
Off those so quick to agree and say
Those confounded black felines deserve
A whole holiday
I, Templeton, proclaim and implore
A celebration of white cats
Whose merits are so very much more
Than that of all the black cats who claw my door.
Meowing in protest it is said and done,
White Cat Appreciation Month is a point well won.
Of a hundred random felines throughout the land,
Thirty three of black there will be
Twenty two of grey will follow in their band
Next another forty three, felines all of marmalade, tiger stripe and calico
Overwhelming the neighborhood together these ninety eight cats will go.
At last the lone white cats number only two and wander,
As none will their love and attention squander
On the most beautiful and brilliant of all, barely
Two percent of kittens are born purely white
And we are never honored with an Appreciation Day or even a Night.
A whole month we surely should have
It is time. Proclaim White Cat Appreciation Month
With cream, tuna and treats would be sublime.”
#
(The story is that August 16 has been designated as Black Cat Appreciation Day, an annual holiday honoring Black Cats. The history refers to a lady who loved black cats having this day established in tribute after her passing by her brother. Templeton doesn’t buy it. Of all the cats born 22% are grey, 33% are black, 43% are tiger stripe, orange and calico, while only about 2% are pure white.)

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Wonderful horse a race
Shadow swept
Away
From daily pace
Prancing deep self
Dismay
Promises not kept
By Dikki-Jo
(This original water color and poem reflect thoughts on a grey and quiet Sunday. The background is meant to suggest the ordinary, mundane and familiar, while the horse is the secret inner psyche racing through a colorful and imaginative framed landscape of secret dreams.)

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Faerie Tree At Sunset

By Dikki-Jo
Water color with black sumi ink. Shadows of evening gather observed by the fey ones. Eagerly they point to other dimensions, This mysterious landscape blends the past, present and future and the sun sets.

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Butterfly Awakenings
By Dikki-Jo Mullen
One Twilight Zone hot and sultry July in Florida day I attended a class about butterfly and hummingbird gardening. It was offered at the historic Nehrling Gardens in Gotha, Florida. Just West of Orlando, this small village is home to an incredible collection of rare plants, books and old time structures dating back over a century. Much as the butterfly bursts from its cocoon into another world and assumes another form, this memorable visit offered some new thoughts and perspectives. Astrologically butterflies are ruled by Mercury, Neptune and the sign of Gemini. The hummingbird, a symbol of happiness, as a small bird,  is also ruled by Mercury and Gemini. Alert, quick and in constant motion, these lovely creatures carry an aura of enchantment. The quest to glimpse their world has universal appeal, judging from the large crowd which attended the event.
Elusive and fragile, the butterfly seems to flutter between this world and the next. Since early times this powdery creature has been a symbol of rebirth and esoteric wisdom, emerging from being imprisoned in a dark chrysalis to fly forth in beauty and freedom. The Greek word “psyche” means both soul and butterfly. Primitive people believed that butterflies were human souls searching for reincarnation. In Irish-Celtic tradition colorful butterflies were seen as baby spirits seeking a mother, so swallowing a butterfly was once thought to ensure pregnancy. In Cornwall, Siberia and Mexico the white butterflies were viewed with awe. They signified the souls of the dead visiting. In China wedding grooms once sealed the wedding of two souls by presenting his beloved with a jade butterfly on the wedding eve.
Regrettably pesticides and ecological slovenliness are taking a toll on butterflies, some species are becoming endangered. They were more plentiful during my childhood in a lonely part of Northern Wisconsin. I would attract hordes of these otherworldly visitors by offering them a delicious snack. The recipe is: stale beer, mashed over ripe bananas, molasses and dark rum. Paint this mixture on old tree stumps, bushes or fences. Soak a sponge in some and hang it from a bird feeder or tree. Recently I tried this time honored technique again and delighted local children in Florida. It worked almost immediately to attract the winged visitors. Beyond this particular butterfly feast you can entice the little creatures into visiting frequently by planting a little area as a butterfly garden. The same plants which attract butterflies also appeal to humming birds. A bird bath filled with fresh water will be appreciated and some damp sand or soil will offer salt and other nutrients.
Begin with the right food plants for the larvae (caterpillars). Then add food as well as nectar sources for the mature creatures. The right choice of plants depends somewhat on your area. Observe butterflies where you live, the native plant species they like are your guidelines. One admirer of butterflies from Maine noticed during a visit to Texas that lantana was surrounded by a cloud of butterflies. The enthusiast returned home and purchased this plant, but the New England butterflies ignored it! Red clover, however, is a plant that is a sure-fire hit with butterflies everywhere.
Butterflies are remarkably sensitive to light and color. They perceive a wider spectrum than any other known creature, being able to perceive ultra violet waves sowing a variety of colors at a distance. Roses and tulips, two favorites of many gardeners, tend to leave butterflies cold. Their choices might not be on your list for an ornamental garden. The butterfly takes into account the shape of the plant, which must provide a comfortable perch while it sips. The lovely monarch butterfly, a favorite, has a larvae that eats only members of the milk weed family. Unfortunately milk weed is very hard to transplant, so if you have some take good care of it. The range of feeding is a potluck. It includes garden flowers, herbs, wildflowers, vegetables, bushes, berries, fruit and nut trees. All of the species of butterflies are gorgeous. It’s a visual and spiritual delight to keep them fluttering by to visit your home territory.
Planting the Butterfly Garden
Food Sources, enjoyed by many butterflies as nectar sources too are: Hawthorn, dill, carrot tops, parsley, wild parsnip, aspen, dogwood, oleander, phlox, foxglove, alfalfa, birch, walnut, New Jersey tea, Queen Anne’s lace, passionflower, cherry, plum, lantana, cauliflower, oak, bergamot, cabbage, blueberries, clover, broccoli, strawberries, common and swamp milkweed.
Nectar Sources: Daisy, poinsettia, zinnia, candytuft, sunflower, goldenrod, ragwort, dandelion, thistle, verbena, mint, buttercups, rosemary, bleeding hearts, geranium, black-eyed Susan, aster, Bermuda grass, marigold, bee balm, lavender, yarrow, honeysuckle, boneset, petunia, flowering tobacco, lilac, morning glory, bougainvillea, lilies, hibiscus, bellflower, arabis.

“Flutterby” was an old time nickname for “Butterfly”.

Please see the post above for a look at  some of my paintings of butterflies for meditation. Signed limited edition prints are available for sale, Please inquire if you would like to order one.

 

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