26 August 2016

Feline Friday: Anything for a Treat!

 I've created a monster. 

Actually two monsters. 

I've started giving the girls treats at bedtime. They know that I keep a small stash in my nightstand drawer, and now they wait at my bedside each night!  If you ask me, it's very sweet. Just don't ask Spouse for his opinion on the matter! :)

In order for Tinsel to have her treats in peace, I have to fling Lily's treats across the (still-messy-because-we're-not-finished-with-the-space) bedroom. While Tinsel daintily nibbles her treat, Lily runs, jumps, and dives for hers, wherever they may land. It's more movement than you see from Lily on most days!

  I watched while a treat rolled under the cedar chest, and Lily managed to flatten her ample body enough to fetch it. Her back legs were in full SPLOOT position! :)
Anything for a treat!

25 August 2016

Yoga: A Very Good Idea

The last time I blogged about yoga was back in January. All the credit goes to my daughter for suggesting I try it (hadn't done it since elementary school so yeah, it had been awhile...). She bought me a mat for Christmas and set me up with a couple of free online classes.

I've been doing yoga ever since and can absolutely attest to the difference it has made for me. I feel more flexible and stronger, and I now have a host of stretches and relaxation techniques available to me at any time or place. Just the other day when I was freaking out (as usual) at the doctor's office, I used my yoga breathing to relax.

For the first month, I did yoga twice every day, along with going to the gym every two days. That turned out to a (very) bad idea, as I pushed myself too much and hurt muscles I didn't even know I had. After that, I scaled back to once a day and completed a couple of additional 30-day challenges.

Since then, unfortunately, I've struggled to keep up with it on a daily basis, as is often suggested. I do yoga several times a week but I have yet to figure out the best time of day for me for me to do it (morning or late night), so it's easy for me to miss a day. I think the best way to keep up with a regular practice is to make it part of your daily routine.

Doing yoga at home with an online instructor seems like the perfect set-up to me. I would be completely intimidated to do yoga in front of anyone but the cats! We have several yoga studios near us and I'm sure there is much more to be gained by going to a class but I just don't see that happening. I'm happy with what my yoga "home practice" is doing for me, so I will continue on with it!

Bailey suggested two different online instructors who offer free classes. My favorite instructor is Adrienne of Yoga with Adrienne. 

There are many free yoga videos in her library, plus some free 30-day yoga challenges. I like the 30-day challenges because of the repetition and consistency. Adrienne has a calming style and makes it easy for a novice like me to jump in and get started. If a particular position is too hard, you just skip it or try an easier variation of it. Adrienne is great about suggesting modifications for people working at different levels.

If there is anyone out there who wants to give yoga a try, all you need are comfortable clothes, an elastic band to pull back your hair, and a yoga mat. Click on Day 1 and get started!
 Cat is optional. :)

24 August 2016

Treadmill Running: 5K Done!

-- The blessing is outside of your comfort zone. --

 author unknown

Awhile back, I shared that I was starting (or re-starting) my C25K program for the umpteenth time, with a goal of actually mastering it this time. I am super happy to report that, after considerable time getting there, I've now done the 5K treadmill run eight times!

At each level along the way, I've repeated days until the run length has become more comfortable for me. Then I move on to the next level. This always pushes me just outside my comfort zone, but I just repeat the run until it becomes easy. So now I've been repeating the 5K run each time I go to the gym. That 5K timer always seems a bit daunting when I start but sure enough, it gets easier each time.
Being able to run 30 minutes (the length of time it takes to reach 5K) is one of those "personal victory" things for me.  My elementary school gym teacher drilled it into my head that I was "physically unfit" (yes, he actually told me that) and made me believe I would never be able to do anything remotely athletic. Only in the past few years of going to the gym have I started to think otherwise.

I'm going to keep going with this 5K thing because I like the way it feels. Sure, it's good for my body but I believe that it's even better for my mind. And yep, I noticed that there is also a 10K app. I might just look into that, too.

So take that, Mr. Gym Teacher! It only took me 45+ years to remove the negative label you saddled me with and prove you wrong. :)

21 August 2016

Fall Banner

I've just passed the two-year mark with my case at the antique mall. Overall, it's been up and down, but things have been looking up since I started spending more time on "merchandising" my space. When I first opened my case, I was still in post estate sale shell-shocked mode, just trying to sell stuff without any thought of making my case look more inviting. 

After asking for some constructive criticism from the mall manager, I realized (light bulb moment...DUH!) that as a "dealer" in a mall, I'm competing with every other dealer for attention, and anything I can do to make my space look good will cause shoppers to at least stop and take a look. 

So I've been spending much more time staging items by color and adding seasonal elements to show how various treasures can fit into your home decor.
I've also learned that you need to "re-set" your case seasonally, but in advance -- when people are shopping for that next season! You'd think this would have dawned on me since I teach so many seasonal classes at Memory Bound but when I first opened my case, my mind was a muddled mess and I wasn't connecting A to B!

Now that I have a little more clarity of thought (LITTLE being the operative word!) I've got dates marked in my planner for seasonal case re-sets. Soon I'll re-set the case for fall with a simple banner and some dollar store flowers. It's amazing how much better the case looks these days, and it's resulting in improved sales. 

Here's hoping that positive trend continues! :)

19 August 2016

Feline Friday: Expensive Cat Basket

 Lily has recently taken to hanging out a LOT in her Expensive Cat Basket. I bought this basket out of Extreme Guilt at the last (ever) cat show Lily attended when it became abundantly clear that she wasn't happy to be there. Kinda like a parent who buys their child a treat to keep her happy while they're out doing something the child doesn't want to do. So when you count the entrance fees and all the other paraphernalia that went along with that cat show experience -- plus the cost of the basket -- it was indeed expensive!

 But it suits her so well! Tinsel occasionally gets to nap in it, but only if she's sneaky about it.

It's Lily's basket. She worked hard (ahem) for her cat basket and deserves to lounge in it.
 If you're not familiar with the story, you really should read about it HERE. :) You may find it hard to believe that the sweet little thing working her angles in these photos is indeed the same feline who participated in that dreaded cat show! Now, many years later, I'm glad we have the Expensive Cat Basket to show for it!

09 August 2016

Whisker Fatigue: Who Knew?

  If you've been following my blog, you probably remember my posts about Tinsel's food issues. As she has aged, her appetite has fallen off fairly dramatically. I give her an appetite stimulant (which works well) but I still have to try all kinds of different foods, elevate her food on boxes, sit with her, and sometimes stand on my head (okay, not really but almost!) to get her to eat. It's an ongoing struggle!
The one thing I hadn't done was change the dish she uses, a shallow dish with two sections for food. Then one day -- instead of just washing it and putting it back out for use -- I put her dry food on a small plate. BINGO! Tinsel ate like a CHAMP! I haven't used the old dish since and although she still has her big appetite fluctuations, she is eating much better overall. I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me that she might be objecting to the dish -- duh!

 Last night I was chatting on Facebook with some other cat moms who have kitties with appetite issues. We were all sharing tips for getting the kitties to eat, and I happened to mention that I had recently switched to a plate. Someone commented that Tinsel might have been experiencing WHISKER FATIGUE, something I hadn't heard of! Here's more about it:

Because whiskers are highly sensitive, if they are over-stimulated the cat can experience whisker fatigue. Contrary to what the name might imply, whisker fatigue doesn’t mean the whiskers become tired. A better way to describe it might be whisker stress.

The most common cause of whisker fatigue is from something a cat does every day – eating. That charming little bowl you serve their food in could be allowing the whiskers to touch the sides of the bowl. A high-sided water bowl can contribute to whisker stress as well. At best, it can annoy your cat to have his whiskers repeatedly come into contact with the dish as he chows down his food or takes a drink. For some cats, it can be quite painful.

 Some common signs of whisker fatigue are:
• the cat leaves food in the bowl, but is still hungry -- YEP!
• the cat pulls food out of their bowl with their mouth or paw, then places it on the floor and eats it off the floor (this can get messy) -- YEP!
• food aggression toward other animals in the house -- NO!
• standing by the bowl before eating for a period of time, pacing around the bowl, or being hesitant to eat, though hungry -- YEP, all the time!

So of the four signs listed, Tinsel has three! I wish I'd known about this long ago. I don't think whisker fatigue accounts for all of her appetite issues, but if changing food dishes helps her eat even a tiny bit better, I'm happy!

I hope this little bit of information helps some of my fellow cat-loving friends!

05 August 2016

Feline Friday with Rory

Why yes, this is a cat in a dress on an ironing board.

Hope Miss Rory brings a smile to your face! :)
Happy Feline Friday!