Thornton Wilder’s Our Town Teaches You to Appreciate Life

Recently, I re-read Thornton Wilder‘s Our Town. I read this play when I was in high school. But like most teenagers, I never really paid attention to it. I rediscovered Our Town by watching an episode of My So Called Life on Netflix. Rayanne, Angela Chase‘s party animal of a friend, tries out for their high school production of Our Town and is cast as Emily and delivers a remarkable performance. It was a tear-jerker.

Synopsis of Our Town

Our Town is introduced and narrated by the Stage Manager who welcomes the audience to the fictitious town of Grover’s Corner, New Hampshire on a May morning in 1901. The stage is sparse and the Stage Manager introduces the characters; they pantomime their activities and chores throughout the play. The ‘big event’ of George Gibbs and Emily Webbs wedding happens in Act II. The ‘bigger event’ of Emily’s death in childbirth happens in Act III. The audience sees the town gathered in the cemetery for Emily’s funeral. They also see the deceased residents of Grover’s Corners at the funeral who try to warn Emily not to go back and observe her childhood. Emily realizes they were right after she sees her and her family and how they really weren’t ‘present’ in each other’s lives.

What Our Town Can Teach You about Life

It’s in Act III where Emily realizes that the residents of Grover’s Corner don’t realize life while living it. They hurry through their days without noticing what’s happening around them; they brush-off their children because they’re too busy preparing meals or cleaning. They don’t stop to savor their food and drink, clothing, sleeping, etc. They won’t know how much they missed until they die and then it will be too late.

Today, most people waste time in various ways from being couch potatoes to hurrying about from one place to the other. They play video games instead of getting outside in the sunshine and exercising. They waste time worrying about this and that; they waste time being lazy. To quote Simon Stimson, “they move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those … of those about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million of years.” I couldn’t have said it better.

Our Town may have been published in 1938, but its message is applicable today. If people don’t realize what a precious gift life is, they’ll have regrets on their deathbed. They’ll have wished they did this or that; wished they would have taken more risks; wished they would have taken a job opportunity in another state or country; and so forth. Don’t allow this to happen to you! Pickup a copy of Our Town and learn from the people in Grover’s Corners. Allow Emily’s spirit to teach you that life is in the here and now. Once it’s gone, that’s it. There’s no coming back and rejoining the human race.

Amandah

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How Pets Can Heal You

tabby cat

Image via Wikipedia

My Fellow Students of Life,

I love animals! I grew up with dogs, rabbits, fish, and birds. I never had cats until my adult life. I adopted my black and white cat Benny from Mixed Up Mutts who partners with PetSmart. I adopted my tabby cat CeCe from The Arizona Humane Society. They are a joy to have in my life. More importantly, they’re a good way for me to get and stay grounded. If I’m having an ‘off’ day, I’ll pet one of my cats and immediately shift my energy. The focus is off of me and my issues and onto my cats. Before you know it, my troubles melt away and they aren’t important anymore.

Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. ~George Eliot

An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language. ~Martin Buber

Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills. ~Voltaire, letter to Count Schomberg, 31 August 1769

It often happens that a man is more humanely related to a cat or dog than to any human being. ~Henry David Thoreau

If you’d like to get a pet, consider adopting an animal from your local animal shelter. They usually hold special events to promote the adoption of animals from shelters — some accept donations in lieu of an adoption fee. It’s a win-win situation! All shelter animals deserve loving, forever homes. Adopt one today and watch how your new friend will add joy to your life. Adopting a pet can be a life saver in more ways than one.

Rebecca

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What Does Sarah Palin Have Against Wolves?

Sarah Palin has ordered the aerial killing of wolves. Could you imagine if she and John McCain won the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the U.S.?

Eye on Palin is dedicated to exposing Governor Palin and her vicious attacks on wildlife in Alaska. What does Palin have against conservation and the conservation of wildlife? Who knows. Maybe the wolves will receive a reprieve because she’s too busy belly aching about David Letterman’s jokes which were taken out of context!

Rebecca

What do you think about Palin’s aerial hunting of wolves?

Black and White Cats Have a Mind of Their Own

Who else has a black and white cat? My little Benny just turned 1-year old and still acts like a kitten. I caught him chewing on my AC Adapter cord, again. He hasn’t done that since last year. Now I have to buy a new one. Needless to say, he’s been banned from the office. Maybe I expect too much from Benny because I’m used to having dogs. I do miss having a dog.

This is my first and LAST cat! Benny is not independent (clingy), he likes water, climbs on everything, and has debunked every myth about cats that is out there. He’s a cute little guy, but he’s close to being shipped to OH to live with my mom!

Benny is an indoor cat. He has cat trees and a condo. He’s also a traveler. We flew to OH for Christmas 2008. This was a great holiday for him. He received a lot of cat toys from my mom along with a bunch of treats. He also met Harriet (Yorkie-Poo) and PJ (Parakeet). Harriet was good enough to put Benny in his place. After all, he was in HER house! Benny has a good life, better than some kids!

I’ve found out that cats, unlike dogs, are not that trainable. Not-to-mention the fact the lack of obedience classes for cats. Why is this? You can find a ton of programs for dogs, but nothing for cats. It’s very disheartening and frustrating. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have cat training classes?

I would like to hear from you if you have a black and white (Tuxedo) cat. Did your cat chew your cords? If they did, what did you do? If you sprayed the cat with water that won’t work with Benny because he LOVES water! Plus, I don’t believe in this type of training.

Let me know if you have any advice on how to handle/train Benny. I don’t want to take him to the shelter. I guess I could call the organization that I got him from. Of course, they were supposed to check up on us within 90 days of my adopting him. That never happened — it’s now 2009. I adopted Benny in August 2008! If you have any advice, it would be greatly appreciated. Please help us….Thank you!

Shocker! Halo Purely for Pets Canned Spot’s Stew is Actual Stew

Not only is Ellen DeGeneres a queen of comedy and talk show host but she’s also part owner of Halo Purley for Pets. Halo touts itself as having the “world’s best natural pet care products.” Their entire line of products for cats and dogs are made with the highest quality ingredients. They are also made with real ingredients. For the skeptics out there, Halo puts their money where their mouth is!

Pet lovers who buy canned food for their cats and dogs usually receive a product that is processed into a brownish/pinkish mush. The ingredients are listed on the label, but can you clearly pick them out? In most cases the only ingredient you see is the broth.

Halo’s canned cat food is not your average cat food. Spot’s Stew Wholesome Chicken Recipe is the “original,” with natural ingredients. That’s right folks. The label reads something like this: chicken, zucchini, yellow squash, celery, chicken broth, carrots, green peas, and other natural ingredients. Can this be canned cat food? Yes, it’s a very healthy and natural meal for your cat or kitten.

Spot’s Stew looks like the stew grandma used to make for Sunday dinner. It even smells like it! Your cat or dog will wipe the plate clean and will bark or meow for seconds! If you want the very best for your best friend, then pickup a couple of cans of Spot’s Stew today. Cats and dogs everywhere give it two “paws” up!

How Pets Can Teach Us Empathy

Pets are great companions and teachers. They love us unconditionally just as we are and do not expect us to change. One lesson pets teach us is empathy. The following excerpt is from Buzzle.com: “In one study, we found that 3- and 4-year-olds with pets were better able to understand the feelings of other children than those without pets,” Poresky says. He also says there are life lessons to be learned from taking responsibility for a pet. “A dog or cat won’t always do what the child wants them to do, and that can be very important,” he says. “This helps kids learn that there are other perspectives and ways of looking at things.”

Perhaps the world would be a better place if all of us were given a pet to care for when we were kids. Studies show that children who are given pets learn how to understand the feelings of others, learn responsibility, and life from different perspectives. They also learn loyalty and how to selflessly give of themselves. Sometimes these lessons need to be re-learned when we become adults.

My kitten Salem taught me how to practice non-judgment and empathy. Even though his life was short, he will always be with me. Salem had a rough start in life. God only knows how long he sat on the patio of the first floor apartment that is below me. He probably was there at three weeks old; I took him in when he was five weeks old. It was not easy for the both us. The poor thing had issues and so did I. [Read more…]

5 Secrets to Prevent Your Kitten From Biting!

If you just purchased or rescued a kitten, good for you! Depending on how active your kitten is he or she may be a biter! To be fair its normal for kittens to claw and bite. But, it hurts like hell when your precious little one is climbing up your leg or gnawing at your foot! OUCH!

Kittens and cats are predators so its instinctual for them to bite. Even though you provide your kitten with toys, food, and water its instinct is to hunt. Your kitten requires an outlet as it hones its hunting skills. Play time is necessary. Your kitten may like play time to last from 15 minutes to a half hour, three times a day. Do anything you can to burn up the kittens energy. The “fishing” toys are popular. You can drag it in front of your kitten so he can “stalk and play attack” the toy. Consider sock puppets. This way your kitten can distinguish between “flesh” and “non-flesh.”Shop at PetSmart.com for all your kitty toys.

    5 Secrets to Your Kitten Biting Less

  1. Teach your kitten to enjoy being handled or petted. Scratch your kitten behind the ears. Pet your kitten gently on its head.
  2. Redirect the kitten’s attention. Have many toys on hand.
  3. Yell OUCH and stop playing!
  4. Hire a pet behavior specialist. Visit Web Trail-Pet Behavior to learn more.
  5. Get another kitten! If your kitten has a playmate, he will leave you alone. This is the best solution and it always works.

Useful Links

  1. Perfect Paws. A great resource on how to train your kitten. Good luck!
  2. Pets.ca. “Pet forum for dogs, cats, and humans!”
  3. Cats.About.com. Good information on how to stop your kitten from biting.
  4. KittyKind. Is a not-for-profit, no-kill, all volunteer rescue located in NY. Offers advice on how to curb your kitten’s biting.

On a personal note, my kitten is very active. Forget about three 15 minute sessions, he can play morning, noon, and night! He likes to run around my apartment. He begins in the living room, runs to the bedroom, goes into the bathroom, and out the other door that leads from the bathroom; it’s a “Jack and Jill” bathroom.

Trying to get him to go to sleep is a challenge. Yes, I know cats are nocturnal creatures. I began to leave the bedroom door open so he can go out into the living room and climb on his “kitty condo.” I’m glad I bought the kitty condo. He loves his “fishing” toys. I have the one attached to his kitty condo and he plays with it. The other “feather” toy on a stick is the one I use to “tickle” him and have him chase it. Also, he loves paper! I give him napkins which he rips apart. He loves his “crumpled” up paper towel which he kicks around like a soccer ball. I did buy him two “spongy” soccer balls which he kicks back and forth. He would probably make a good mascot for a soccer team!

Stop! Are You Ready For a Kitten? Better Think Twice!

Check out the response from Halo Animal Rescue in Phoenix, AZ:

“We are unable to take your pet in at this time. If you need a home for them immediately, you’ll need to take them to the AZ Humane Society or Maricopa County Animal Control but unfortunately they may be euthanized due to the overwhelming number of dogs and cats brought to the shelters daily. We highly recommend you consider consulting with a pet behaviorist such as petbehaviorsolutions.com if you are having any sort of behavioral issue to see if there is the possibility of finding a solution that makes you able to keep your pet. We can post your pet on our website with a few photos and a write up to help you find a home for him/her if you’d like but the pet would need to be spayed/neutered first. If you’d like information on free spays and neuters, please visit http://www.halorescue.org/spay.html or call 602-265-SPAY. Once the pet is fixed, please email up to 3 photos in a JPG format and a paragraph about the personality, likes, dislikes and the ideal home for your pet including your contact information you’d like posted to courtesylisting@halorescue.org if you’d like us to put your pet on our website. Please ensure you properly screen applicants and charge some sort of adoption fee. We would be grateful if you sent HALO Animal Rescue a donation for posting your pet (suggested donation is $10).”

Not only is the temperature rising in Arizona but so is the cat population! Why do people have pets without having them spade or neutered? Duh! Is not enough for that one. A pet is a responsibility just like a child. But then again most people cannot discipline or take care of their children!

If you are new to the state of Arizona, good luck trying to find a “no-kill” shelter. Apparently, they do exist but trying to locate one is like looking for a “needle in a haystack!” When you do stumble upon an animal shelter, the people who work there act as if you are bothering them. They must be understaffed and underpaid. In Arizona, there is much emphasis on “rounding up” all of the illegal immigrants that come into the state from the Mexican border. You can solve the border issue by temporarily closing the borders of the USA! This way the USA can take time to straighten herself out, but that’s an article for another time. How about focusing on the out-of-control pet population? Furthermore, make it mandatory that your pet is spade or neutered. If not, then you pay a fine! And, if you are a breeder, then you better have a permit. If that law does not exist, it would be a good idea to implement it.

The bottom line is a kitten is like having a newborn baby, who knew! If you adopt a young kitten or rescue one from somewhere, make sure you are up for the responsibility. Patience and time are two key factors when training the kitten. Love and attention are required as well! Avoid reading everything on the internet because no two kittens are the same.

You may consider hiring a pet behavioral specialist. If you live in Arizona, please visit Pet Behavior Solutions. Sometimes a little professional help is necessary. Believe me, I know. Sam Kabbel, the president and owner of Pet Behavior Solutions came to my home and “enlightened me about kittens and cats. The information I received has been a tremendous help. I never had a kitten as a pet. Plus, I received personalized instructions to help me train my kitten. He was a stray and had a rough start in life like so many others. So far so good. Thanks to Sam at Pet Behavior Solutions, Salem and I are doing much better!

If you are in the market for a pet, please do your research. It is not fair to the animal or you if it’s not a good match. All pets, like children, deserve a caring and loving home. Be sure that your “new addition” is the right one for you!

The Secret Healing Power of Pets

Oprah’s Soul Series can be the first step you take to begin your journey of personal transformation. Each week, Oprah will sit down with leaders in the area of spiritual thinking. Various spiritual teachers and authors share their insights about matters of the soul. Oprah shares her own insights into her own life with listeners who are encouraged to “reflect on their own spiritual journeys.

Recently, Oprah sat down with Eckhart Tolle author of “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth,” to speak about “the power of living in the moment and about discovering your life’s purpose.” Eckhart mentioned how millions of people love their pets. He said this “is the only area where people realize they can relate and communicate to another being and that being is not judging them.” Pets will love you unconditionally. Eckhart is correct, pets love you know matter your circumstance or look. It does not matter if you are tall, short, thin, or fat. Your race and religion is not a factor. Whether you are rich and famous or not so rich and famous is of no concern to your pet. The list is endless. A pet is one the greatest and truest friends a person can have.

According to Tolle “people communicate and relate to their pets and experience a sense of freedom because they are not being judged. Animals are at a state prior to thinking; they are a simple, natural presence. When a human being is there, the human has moved beyond thinking and that’s the state of awareness. Both states are free of definitions and judgments.” Isn’t this the truth!

When we are with our pets we can be ourselves. No need to “wear a mask” or “false persona” to win over your pet. You do not have to flaunt how many degrees you hold, the kind of car you drive, or that you live in a multi-million dollar home. Of course, there is no reason that you have to do any of those things when you are around people. You could choose to be yourself. But, the ego likes to make its presence known.

Alas, in the end it does not matter how many material things you possess or how many times your written work was published. All of the egos out there are in for one rude awakening! Make a decision today to experience your awakening sooner than later. To purchase Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” or “The Power of Now” visit Barnes and Noble. Purchase a copy today, start living tomorrow. While you’re at it, you may want to show your pet how much you love him or her by visiting Only Natural Pet Store. Fido may not need a new toy, but perhaps an all natural diet will benefit him!

A Marriage of a Traveler and Animal Lover

If you like to travel and love your pet, ask yourself “will my pet be comfortable and happy on this trip?” Some animals, like humans, prefer to stay at home. A “homesick” and possibly motion-sick pet will ruin your trip. You may consider leaving your pet with a friend, relative, or hire a pet-sitter. If you have a dog, consider boarding him or her at a clean, reputable, well-run kennel. If you have a cat, consider boarding him or her at a clean, reputable, well-run cattery. Check your local listings and the internet to find a boarding place that is right for you and your pet. Before you commit to a kennel or cattery, ask for and check references. Your “best friend” will appreciate it and you will have peace of mind.

If you decide to travel with your pet, plan for your pet’s trip as your own. Are you traveling by plane, train, vehicle, RV, bus, or boat? Do you know if you pet will be a welcome vacationer? Are there specific reservations and transportation arrangements to be made? If you stay at a hotel, motel, or campground, check if animals are allowed or if kennels are available. If you will stay with family or friends, make sure you pet is welcomed. You could find yourself in the “dog house” if your pet is not a welcomed visitor!

Pet Travel Tips

Make sure you pet ALWAYS WEARS a collar with complete identification and a license tag. You may consider having your pet implanted with a microchip. To learn more about microchipping, visit Home Again – Always Looking Out For Your Pet.

Pack your pet’s favorite food, snack, and dishes, toys, a cooler of water, litter and litter box, and leash.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian before your trip. Before you book that flight, make sure your pet is well enough to be your travel companion. Have your pet examined and vaccinated, if necessary.

If your pet will travel in a crate or carrier, make sure it is strong, large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around, has a place for food and water, and a litter box. Look for a crate or carrier that is well ventilated, has a leak-proof bottom, and closes tightly. Find a crate or carrier that is right for your pet at Only Natural Pet Store or you can Shop at PetSmart.com.

If you are planning a trip abroad, check with the consulate or embassy of your destination by visiting them online or ask your travel agent for advice. Health and vaccination regulations vary greatly.

Traveling with your pet can be a rewarding experience. Do your research and contact your veterinarian with any questions you may have. That’s good advice; I’ll use it when I take my kitten to the veterinarian on Saturday.

Happy travels,
~ Rebecca