Random Panther

RANDOM BLOG PANTHER!

Why?

Because black panthers are the most spectacular creatures on the planet, hello (and I not-so-secretly am jealous I’m not one myself!) 😉 

I mean…just L O O K!

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Nature is astounding.

PS…did you ever see that Geico panther ad?  🙂

Gothiness – Goth Garden

I’ve always had an affinity for all things darkly-hued.  I couldn’t even say why, save that there is a richness born of the depth of the color (or “absence” thereof) that woos my heart (and sight!)

I bought my mother a spectacular black pansy plant for Mother’s Day one year – nothing “morbid,” nor dreary about it!  She was delighted knowing that those velvety black blooms with sunny centers and a burst of violet were my way of smiling at her each day. ❤

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Black pansy

I also have a tradition of sending 50 Black Baccara roses to my parents for Halloween.  This year, my wedding in on the 29th (as close to Hallows as I could manage!) but I will still be sending them their gloriously, decadently-hued blooms all the same!

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Black Baccara rose

“BLACK?!” people say?  Well…not necessarily 100% pitch (there are some flower varieties that are pretty darn close, though!)…but very much “blackened” and beautiful most of the time.

There are countless varieties of black’ish blooms, and one day if I DO have a garden, I will endeavor to plant as many as I can.  “Queen of the Night,” “Black Magic,” “Mystic Dreamer,” “Raven’s Wing”…for me, those names alone have me full swoon.  Strange?  Maybe…but we are all entitled!  I love a brightly-colored bouquet as much as anyone, and in fact one of my favorite flowers are the Pascali rose – an angelically white bud, fresh as driven snow – that my mother planted in our garden in my honor as a child.  My skating coach still calls me “Pascalli” and the memory of those striking, moonlit petals will be with for always.

Pascali rose

Pascali rose

Perhaps, then, I will add a Pascali plant…and some red varieties…since red is also a favored shade…  Osiria, naturally, speaks to my Egyptian-Pagan-heart… ❤ 

Osiria rose

Osiria rose

And “Hearts” would work so nicely…

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What would you plant in your garden…?

Goth Garden

 

“Smelling The Roses”

I’m definitely one of those go-go-go! people… I’m always running around, and pushing myself hard.  I’m not *quite* as bad as some of the Fashion folks I worked with – for them (and good for them if it made them happy!) “chaos mode” was not only okay, but they way they preferred to be!  For me personally, it was too much, but I do have a habit of running from one thing to the next to the point of exhaustion sometimes.

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Fortunately, I DO take time to appreciate what’s around me – I am aware of the weather, the temperature, the scents in the air, the sounds…  I don’t go about my day paying no attention to those details because they are all blessings in their own right, and I don’t want to miss them because I was too busy to lift my head away from my phone.

I needed to drop some things off at Good Will this weekend so I decided I’d take a leisurely stroll there, and back – I opened my mind and senses to the experience.  Just a walk?  Not really.

I felt the cobblestones underfoot through the soles of my boots, and the sound I made as I touched each one.  I noticed the runners who were out with their dogs, and the couples casually walking by… I took in the scent of Spring that came in gently-windy waves, admired how green my favorite creeping ivy had become, and the sound of people outside enjoying their lunch and friends…

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Even just a decade ago, I’d have had to remember the color of the petals on the trees, or the shade of blue of the water without a photo to remind me – which, I have to say, I DO feel is an important exercise (if nothing else, cerebrally!)  Nowadays, we phone cameras with which to capture some of those moments.  While I like to ignore my devices sometimes, I also appreciate that I have a camera at my fingertips – It’s still important to soak in the experience in order that our mind (soul, spirit etc) has an opportunity to form those impressions as richly as possible – but I also love that I can refer back to that “gorgeous sunny day” if I want to.

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It doesn’t matter when you take the time out – nor whether it is one minute, versus thirty.  ANYTHING is a start, and it really is vital to our experience as human beings.  Life moves far too fast- when you hop on the rollercoaster and only look ahead, you will miss the beauty around you.  

Our blessings are countless, truly – take a deep breath and just look around.  The World will become infinitely more astounding right before your eyes…and it was there the whole time!

H2O Of The Future

I occasionally get some odd looks when ingurgitating my bag of seaweed chips – they’re absolutely delicious, despite what skeptics may think!  But I imagine if I held up a jelly-like sphere, crystal clear as could be, to imbibe my thirst…and then, I devoured the skin in a gulp!

Skipping Rocks Lab

Skipping Rocks Lab

That’s right! So much for piles and pits of plastics!

Ooho!, designed by Skipping Rocks Lab, has been created as an environmentally safe solution, making portable water more sustainable.  

To add to the monumental benefit of such a feat, the Company’s use of sodium alginate and calcium chloride (derived from seaweed) has also brought the cost substantially lower from traditional plastics – to approximately one to two pennies per capsule!

Mother Nature inspired the sphere, which I can’t say surprises me – the Universe is pretty remarkable.

 

 

Visiting Avalo

I recently took a much-needed trip to my best friend’s farm – what a departure from the nuttiness around here! Avalo Cat Sanctuary is an official non-Profit (501c3) created to “make the world a better place for Cats through Care , Compassion and Companionship.” Animal lovers of any ilk will appreciate that foundation. ❤

Avalo’s goal is simple:

To be the best guardians possible for domesticated hybrids and small
exotic felines that have particular needs, require medical attention or
can not stay with their human guardian for whatever reason.

I’ve mentioned Avalo before...a few times…and I no doubt will again – it is, always has been, and always will be my second home.  The one place I can actually sleep better than when I AM home (which, for me, is incredibly noteworthy!)  

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Kemisi’s enclosure (outdoor portion)

My friend Michelle is hands down one of the most amazing people I have ever met – she would feed any of her 114 cats, or 13 horses, before feeding herself…and, minus her husband a student or two, she does this by herself!  (She also teaches Parelli Natural Horsemanship, at which she naturally excels, hence the horses!)  

While I have no knowledge of the goings on (regarding horsemanship) myself, I am a former competitive figure skater, a competitive ballroom dancer, classically trained / performing ballerina, and a current martial artist and lifter – so I can see the difference(s) a mile away.  I see her with her students, and I see her with her horses – it is like watching a dance. 

She has no idea that I’m writing about her, by the way…she would never ask.  Michelle and I are the kind of people who don’t like pushy individuals – neither of us can stand proselytizing, imposition, or sycophants.  But I like to share what she is doing because it is truly, sincerely, AMAZING.  And I just had the fortune to be there – at a time when I REALLY needed a break.  

Avalo is home to my beautiful F1 Chausie, Kemisi – as mentioned in other posts, I had to rehome her (to my great devastation) along with my male, Khonsu, some years ago.  My career in Fashion was soaring…but the more-and-more frequent trips to China were frankly painful for my felines – they wouldn’t eat, they’d get depressed and lethargic…it was awful.

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The process of finding the RIGHT guardian(s) was arduous, felt nigh impossible, and is far too complicated to get into here… But let’s just say, Michelle was the light at the end of my tunnel!  

Khonsu and Kemisi have an indoor and outdoor enclosure that Michelle and her wonderful husband, Steve, put together.  We worked on the outside, which was emotional and fulfilling at the same time – it is a perfect space for them and, minus a few large Southern spiders, I LOVE hanging out in there! 😀

My little man would have been ten and a half – he passed in September last year.  Kemisi is also ten and a half, and I was overjoyed to see her – she looks as beautiful as ever.  The wonderful thing about the outdoor portion – at Avalo – is that there aren’t just snazzy little bugs flying about, or varying weather to sniff at… There are tons of cats running about!  While she is never particularly thrilled – Kemisi always was a bit territorial! – she loves to see who’s running by, and what antics are taking place in neighboring enclosures (with other Chausies and Jungle Cats), or with the outdoor “kids” as they fly by.  

I managed to hose down my iPhone while filling Kemisi’s fish pond (fear not, she never troubles the fish, but rather prefers to drink from a pond than a bowl! 😉 ) But in a way, having less connection and down time was a GREAT thing! I have always been a believer that time in Nature is one of the most rejuvenating things a person can do for him or herself – no devices, no social media…just good friends, quiet time, animals…and the natural world around us.  It isn’t only for us Empaths and energy people either – I sincerely believe ALL human beings need that “down time.”

I scheduled a bunch a posts prior to leaving…enough to carry me a day or two after I got back.  Technology allows us to stay on top of the more hectic Life of 2015, if absolutely necessary…but we can do that without taking away from our recharge time.

Owning and maintaining a farm is HARD work, but for Michelle, taking care of all those animals is her “peaceful time.”  Cats are sent to her because they have behavioral issues, injuries that others would euthanize over (I’m sorry, but the handful of three-legged cats around?  They are having a BALL – loving Life, enjoying their surroundings, and managing just as well as the others!!)  

She also has more hybrids, like my babies, some of whom are larger and unhandleable (There are Asian Leopard Cats, a Serval, a Caraval, Bengals, and other Chausies, as well as a feral cat or two.) But for her, it is a joy – to know she has touched the lives of those animals, and been a guardian to them for whatever time they have, is the biggest gift in the world.  

Avalo is a Sanctuary not only for the animals there…but for her…for me…for anyone blessed to spend time there.  

And blessed is exactly how I feel when I am there.  ❤

 

 

Animal Kingdom

When I was a little girl I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up…  Some children said “fireman!”  Some said “my mom!”  Others said “ballerina,” or “hockey player.”

I said I wanted to be a watersnake.

Yes, you read that correctly… A watersnake

I was born a dancer . . . a child who loved movement so much that it became the predominate “language” by which I could express myself.  Watching the deliberate and dodgy flight of a bird, the calculated gaze of a feline, or the way a snake would gracefully…silently…maneuver through a sylvan stream…was, to me, as a flat screen would be to a child today.  You couldn’t pull me away.

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I was born and Empath and an intuitive . . . a child who saw the World through a broader, infinitely magical lens, behind which the nuances of the animal kingdom were felt…not only seen.  I wouldn’t only see a mother feeding her babies…but I’d feel a sense of devoted nurturing.  I wouldn’t see two animals fight over territory or food, but feel a sense of power, and final sovereignty and submission.  Those things were palpable.

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I was positively captivated.  

Paralyzed by the beauty, inspired by the strength and perseverance, I was born with unmeditated love for animals as far back as I remember.

One of my dearest friends – truly a sister – manages a beautiful farm in Aiken, South Carolina.  Avalo Farm and Cat Sanctuary are home to at least 100 felines, several German Shepards (and, at one time, eight puppies!), a dozen horses, chickens, hens…and rather a lot of aquatic life! 

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Michelle deserves her own post altogether (and I have mentioned her in the past) – she touched my heart from the first moment we exchanged words, and now cares for my gorgeous baby girl, Kemisi, an F1 Chausie.  Michelle is the epitome of an “animal person.”  Every aspect of her Life is shaped by these beautiful creatures…the reward for which is only their love.  For her, that is enough.  

The love of an animal, ANY animal, and particularly one who is feral, is a gift beyond words.  

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If an animal has a “tiff” with you…you have a few moments of working it out and then it’s over.  (Kemisi and I had countless staredowns!  I’d not recommend it, particularly with a Chausie, but communication for us was an artform! Her averted eyes let me know that we could move on.) 

If an animal is hungry, it will let you know, and it will eat as it needs to.  

If an animal doesn’t feel well, it will often remain stouthearted…even heroic.  It will manage itself and do what it has to.  

If one of the clan is threatened, the others will rise up in its stead. Mankind could learn a great deal, the way I see it…myself very much included!  

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After going through quite a bit of trauma in my early 20’s, I had the opportunity to become the guardians of two extraordinary wild felines – Kemisi and Khonsu were only a few weeks when they came to me, and we were inseparable – loves of my Life. ❤ The gifts I received from the blessing of their love and friendship is well beyond measure… 

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The devotion, the compassion, the lessons about my own nature, and about theirs…these two impacted my Life far more than I’d have ever dreamed.

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My two precious rescues, whom I currently have the fortune to love, have been a beacon of hope and light in their own ways.  In truth, I’m not sure how I lived so long without animals in my home – it was a difficult few years…and lonely in such a way that only an animal’s presence could alter it. 

I’d find myself talking walks, periodically…listening to the songs in the trees above me, the silly, playful pants of dogs running in the park…even the symphony of crickets in the Night.  Anything to be around Nature…and to be exposed to the Life it bears, meant so much.

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There’s something about the animal kingdom that flares my alexithymia… I literally have no words to describe the majesty of what it offers humankind.  Even if owning a pet isn’t possible...being outside and truly noticing the sounds, perceiving the movements, basking in the splendor of the creatures around you…and really FEELING all surrounding it…will enrich Life like you cannot imagine.