Late Summer Sunflowers

Sunflowers of late September. (Photos by Jaz Primo, Sept. 2014)

Sunflowers of late September. (Photos by Jaz Primo, Sept. 2014)

Fall is my favorite time of year. While enjoying the cool early-autumn breeze during one of my recent neighborhood aerobic walks, I welcomed the long-overdue cooler temperatures and overcast skies. Then I caught sight of some sunflowers in the waning stages of bloom and it generated a momentary wave of nostalgia. While I’m no fan of my state’s oppressive summer heat and humidity, I appreciate the beauty found in those vibrant sunflowers. They reminded me of Vincent Van Gogh’s iconic and mesmerizing sunflower paintings.

 My reflections were accompanied by the realization that with autumn’s arrival, everything was preparing to go dormant in anticipation of the winter. Though, at least in my portion of the country, winter is more than what the majority of the nation calls autumn. Honestly, this is a state of hard weather that matches the hard character of many of its residents; hard and unrelenting. But, I digress. Nevertheless, I considered the passage of time and how, like the sunflowers, our lives are marked by the increasingly swiftly-passing seasons. Then it reminded me how quickly time passes and how we should savor beautiful moments when they occur. As such, I savored the view of the sunflowers as I reveled in the early days of fall.

Sunflowers of late summer. (Photo by Jaz Primo, Sept. 2014)

Sunflowers of late summer. (Photo by Jaz Primo, Sept. 2014)

And now for a quick update on how my new kitty, Tabby, is doing. My little furry tyke is taking nicely to her new home, complete with toys, multiple carpeted places to perch, and no less than two healthy dry kitten foods. She also made her first visit to one of the best cat specialty veterinarians in the central part of our state. Dr. Edwards and her kind staff were immediately smitten with Tabby, who seemed to appreciate the attention. Oh, and as with all kittens, Tabby has a curiosity streak a mile long. As you can see from the photo below, she has a strong affiliation toward recycling. In fact, she inspects the basket’s contents herself to ensure that it’s appropriate for recycling. But then, that’s kittens for you.

Tabby in the recycling basket. (Photo by Jaz Primo, Sept. 2014)

Tabby in the recycling basket. (Photo by Jaz Primo, Sept. 2014)

Enjoy autumn, and take a moment to gaze at the waning summer flowers.

Tabby…My Newly Adopted Furry Companion

Life can be filled with amazing surprises, don’t you agree?

Speaking of surprises, I’m happy to announce the adoption of my new furry companion, Tabby! She’s a two month old gray tabby cat that I adopted from my local animal shelter. She’s SO CUTE and ADORABLE! (Cray-cray adorbs!!)

Jaz and Tabby on adoption day.

Jaz and Tabby on adoption day.

Some of you may recall that my long-lived kitty, Selina, passed away last October. I’ve been mourning Selina for nearly a year, and was recently inspired by my dear friend, Jessica, to seek a new furry companion through my local animal shelter, thereby saving the life of an innocent kitty in need of a family.

We proceeded to the shelter where there was a meet-and-greet room containing numerous kittens and young cats. As soon as we walked into the room cats walked over to us to inspect their newest guests. While squatting on the floor petting a couple of young cats, a small gray female kitten quietly walked over to me and sat between my feet. I looked down at her and she gazed back up at me with endearing greenish eyes, quietly staring at me. I reached down to gently scratch her head and stroke my finger under her chin. She rolled her head slightly and I sensed she liked me, so I cupped her in my hand and lifted her close to my chest. She took to me immediately, nestling herself against me and purring, so I knew she was ‘the one.’

Jessica kept her company as I completed the adoption process, and I learned that only the day before she had been spayed. The shelter provided me with excellent medical information on her medications and post-operative care instructions, as well as a nice cardboard box to carry her home in. Of course, she was quickly in Jessica’s lap as we drove away. Following a quick stop at Petsmart to acquire some high-quality kitten food, we came home and got her settled in. It was on our drive to my home that the name Tabby came to mind. I think it really suits her.

It's Tabby!

It's Tabby!

She seems to be settling nicely in my home and her frequent little mews melt my heart. She has an entire room in my home for her use, as well as various cat climbing structures, scratching posts, a variety of kitty toys, and an easy-to-use mini-kitty litter box, which fortunately she took to immediately.

I anticipate many happy years ahead of us, and it feels really nice to have a new furry member of my family. Already, my home feels much warmer with her residing there. If you’re considering a new addition to your family, I strongly encourage you to go to your local animal shelter first. You’ll not only be saving the life of an innocent animal, you’ll be adding a grateful, loving new furry member to your own family. That’s something that has already enriched my world in heartfelt, satisfying ways.

Arachnophobia

[PHOTO BY Suprijono Suharjoto - LEGAL USE LICENSED VIA DREAMSTIME - AUGUST 2014]

[PHOTO BY Suprijono Suharjoto - LEGAL USE LICENSED VIA DREAMSTIME - AUGUST 2014]

I killed a large spider in my bathroom today. *shivering*
Some of you might know about my fear of spiders and may well wonder if I’m exaggerating or not. But yes, it really was a large spider...at least in my estimation it was. With its legs spread out, it was about the size of a fifty-cent piece. I don’t care what anyone else has to say, that was big!

One might well wonder how I can fear spiders when one of my all-time favorite comic heroes is Spiderman. For one, Spiderman wasn’t a real spider; he was a human who had been infused with spider-like qualities and abilities. I mean, Wonder Woman wasn’t really a wonder—wait, no, she really was, actually. But there’s always Superman, who really wasn’t all that super—no, he really was pretty super, wasn’t he? *pausing*
Hm, this analogy is really much harder than I first considered. *contemplating*

Okay, analogies aside, the real issue is that I’m afraid of spiders. I realize they’re quite useful, essential creatures in the overarching ecosystems around the planet, but I find them intimidating and quite terrifying. So, I’m happy to let them have the run of the outdoors, including barns, storage buildings, and occasionally, a small corner of my garage. But inside my house, the premises are wholly off-limits to spiders! All I need is a little postage stamp-sized spider-free zone in my life from which to seek refuge and I’m quite happy.

Going back to that comic heroes theme, I’m a big fan of Spiderwoman, too. In fact, I might like her slightly better than Spiderman because…well, she’s quite an attractive woman. *shrugging* What red-blooded man wouldn’t be interested in her, right? But I digress.

Now, where was I? Did I mention that I killed a large spider in my bathroom today?

The Frogs of Summer

[Legal use of this photo licensed and secured via Dreamstime - July 2014]    
  
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[Legal use of this photo licensed and secured via Dreamstime - July 2014]

I’m a big fan of frogs, especially Kermit the Frog, but that’s another thing altogether. Sure, they’re handy little critters for eating insects, but according to biologists they’re also an excellent source of gauging environmental impact to an ecosystem. Apparently, frogs and their behaviors react quickly to abrupt changes or contamination in their ecosystem, making them excellent to serve as “Nature’s Detectors.”

However, I’m also fascinated by the various body types and colors in the frog community. It’s true that many are quite alien-looking, but some are quite colorful and artistic looking while others are actually somewhat cute and endearing. Yes, it’s an unusual way to describe frogs, but hey, I have an affinity for them. They can actually evoke a sense of personality in a certain light.

Around my house, frogs are a common sight. Not only do I live across the street from a neighborhood pond (stocked with fish, though that’s another story for a different day), but I have a number of flowerbeds around my home which are very hospitable for frogs. They’re fun to watch and they help keep the bug population down around the house. I’ve noticed that the annual June bug infestation is much more manageable with frogs around.

Part of the soft spot in my heart for frogs was formed as a child via Kermit the Frog on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. However, that affinity carried on into adulthood, as well. A few years ago, I helped a small, ailing tree frog through the winter after he was caught in a freak ice storm early in the season. I put him in a small aquarium in my den and simulated his habitat, complete with a warming lamp and food such as crickets from the local pet shop. He appeared quite pleased and I released him back to the wild early the next spring. Needless to say, I felt really good about our time together.

Are you also an avid frog fan or supporter? Drop me a response, and if you have your own frog story, please share it with me.