Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentines Day www.midweststoryteller.com

Actually, we’re celebrating the anniversary of a beating, stoning and beheading. Also, February 14th is the anniversary of the death of my favorite author, P. G. Wodehouse. Come to think of it, this whole thing could be downright depressing. Let’s try and return to the hearts and flowers side of this story.

I’ve heard various legends concerning Saint Valentine. I just don’t know how many of them are true.

What most believe is that around the year 278 A.D., the Roman emperor, Claudius, banned marriages, believing that strong family ties were at fault for making young men less inclined to enter the military ranks. Valentine, a priest, violated this order and performed marriages anyway.

Valentine was arrested, tortured and beaten to death with clubs before being beheaded on February 14th.

One story tells that he’d written a farewell note to the jailer’s daughter who had become a friend, having signed it, “Your Valentine”.

But, how did the familiar heart shape come into being? I’m not sure anyone knows for sure, because it certainly doesn’t bear much resemblance to that internal organ of ours that goes all-of-a-twitter when we’re feeling the first blush of love.

One story tells us that Valentine was taken away suddenly to prison, leaving him no time to notify his family of his whereabouts. Knowing they must be in a terrible state of fear and worry, he began to reach out and pluck at a vine which grew up the stone wall outside his small prison window. Each day, Valentine plucked leaves from the vine and began to pierce them with small holes that spelled out the words, “Your Valentine”. These leaves just happened to be that familiar shape that we often associate with philodendron and many other plants and now refer to as heart-shaped.

As he dropped these organic messages out the window, they fluttered to the ground below and eventually made their way to those who had been waiting for some word from their dear Valentine.

I love that story. I’d love to believe it’s true – and it might be – even if it does sound like someone like me made it up.

Just knowing that Valentine was a real person who stood up for what he believed is enough to make us want to remember him. Realizing what his suffering and death had to have done to his family and friends is enough to make us want to remember those we value with some token of love on his special day.

It’s not too late! It’s a great day to make someone feel good so stop reading this hop to it! 

Me?  I’m going to go hang out with Smuffy.  I adore Smuffy!  If you want the inside scoop on our Smokin’ Hot Honeymoon, check it out here

Phoebe June would like to leave you with a smile –

Hugs from Phoebe June www.midweststoryteller.com

Awww!  That ought to make your little heart go pitter patter!  Get better acquainted with Phoebe June here.

Top 10 Things You’ll Reconsider Once You’ve Become a “Kitten Mom”

Phoebe June is a delight. We adopted her on December 7th. Later that evening, I saw via Joanna Gaines on Instagram that on that same day, Chip surprised the family with a new kitten! For a moment, I questioned whether I should change Phoebe June’s name to Magnolia, but somehow “Phoebe” had already “stuck”. We do love “Fixer Upper” and the Gaines family and wish them the best with their new additions – the kitten and the soon-to-arrive baby!

I’m sure if you’ve seen any of her innocent-looking photos, you’re assuming that Phoebe June spends her days with her powder-puff paws crossed waiting for someone to stroke her velvet fur.

Phoebe on Adoption www.midweststoryteller.com

The reason for that is that all the action shots I’ve tried to obtain of Phoebe have been a complete blur. When she is not striking a demure pose for the camera, Smuffy and I are taking turns at Wildcat Patrol. Well, I take more turns than Smuffy, but then I also get the most kitty cuddles, so I suppose I can live with it.

Our veterinarian wanted to know if Phoebe was alert and playful. I showed him my scratch marks.

Having a cat in the house is different from having a kitten in the house. Our last two cats, who were two years apart in age, each lived to be 16 years old, so it’s been a long time since we started afresh. Though they remained playful all their lives – Y I K E S ! – it’s not the same as bringing home a charged-up little lightning bolt of energy that is the most playful hunter on earth – a 7 ½ week old kitten.

Phoebe June had an adorable sister. Here they are on the day we met when I was trying to decide which to adopt.

Phoebe June and Sweet Sis www.midweststoryteller.com

Sweet Sister seemed docile and shy – such endearing qualities. Phoebe June, on the other hand, entered the room with an air that suggested that if it were not a fun-filled place, she’d be happy to remedy the problem in three seconds or less.

Having had a couple of truly neurotic cats in the past, I chose brave kitty. I got brave kitty! She’s smart and tries her best to cooperate with the rules, but some things prove irresistible, such as the taking down of the Christmas tree. I should have probably gotten a sitter for that one.

To give you a glimpse of our fun-filled days and a guide should you consider bringing home a kitten, I’m sharing this list that reflects how we’ve acclimated to Phoebe June’s world.

Top 10 Things Kitten Mom www.midweststoryteller.com

Cats are fascinating and each one seems to have strange traits, odd fears and unique habits that don’t have any rhyme or reason and don’t quite fit in with any of the scientific studies on cats. There are just some things the experts can’t explain about feline behavior.

Phoebe June has her share of these quirks already, but the one that is the most puzzling and causes me the greatest loss of sleep is her unexplainable desire to eat my hair! This she confines, annoyingly, to the early morning hours. She’s a clingy sort, but being nocturnal, she roams a bit a night and nods off under the bed between her excursions and a few hops back onto the bed to be sure I haven’t run away from home.

Then, in the pre-dawn, when the stealthy mountain lions of the wild stir and head out for the hunt, Phoebe June stirs also. She hunts for one thing only – Mommy! It’s as though she’s re-discovered me after a prolonged absence and the joy is too much for her.

Climbing onto my head with her purr-box rumbling like a Harley, she wraps all four paws around my head and clinging with all her might, tries to remove my hair! And the question is: Why?

Needless to say, at this point I am awake! As I disentangle her and pull her down to ruffle her fur and give her a snuggle, I can’t help but giggle at the amount of affection that seems to be lavished upon me in this strange act. Though she may be clutching at my head with all her strength, there are no claws involved, only purring, wallowing and (sigh) gnawing.

And then you fall back asleep?” you assume. Nope. Phoebe June’s full affections take a while to dissipate and she’ll make several more attempts at snatching me bald before she gets it out of her system and settles down on my shoulder to flop around until breakfast is served.

Hopefully, this is a passing phase, because one of her favorite times to run amok through the house is around 10:45 each night. These frenzies can last a couple of hours, so if she doesn’t give up one or the other habits, I may be feeling soon, as they say, “a mere shadow of my former self.”

I thought Phoebe June’s story might bring you a smile during the wintry days of January. You can deny it, but I know you’re watching those funny cat videos online!

If you’re a “cat person”, I’m sure you have a story or two to of your own about the cats in your life. Scroll back up to the top of this post and “Leave a Comment” to share them. I’d love to hear from you!

Have some cat-loving friends? Be sure to SHARE!

Want more on how Smuffy deals with cats? Check it out here, but please, cover your eyes!