Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spider or Crab?

There is a family of spiders, particularly the Thomisidae family, that are known as crab spiders possibly because of their ability to scuttle sideways or backwards and the way they hold their front legs that reminded people of a crab.  They are also known as 'flower crab spiders' because they are ambush hunters, and many are disguised as something resembling a part of a flower.  They can also change color over a period of a few days and match the flower on which they are sitting.  Can you see a spider in this photo?

It's the spider that is holding the bee, not the flower.  Here's a video:

Then there are spider crabs.  Crabs that remind people of spiders.  The largest species is the Japanese spider crab that has a the largest leg span of any arthropod - 12 feet from claw to claw!  And can weigh over 40 pounds.

Here's a video:

So who is imitating who??

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rough Waters

It's been a rough couple of weeks here at Clarke's kitty condo.  I took Sprite and Dolly to the vet's a couple of weeks ago to get ultrasounds for their hearts - they both have heart murmurs.  A few days after I brought them home Sprite started coughing.  Then Violet, then Pugsley, and Tanya.  When I realized it was contagious it was too late because everyone had already been exposed.  They all have at least been sneezing and snorting, but Pugsley and Violet have been the worst.  Whether it was kennel cough or just some other type of respiratory infection/virus, who knows?  Basically, all the kitties had a bad cold, but there for a while I wasn't sure Violet was going to survive it.  I took her to the vet last Saturday who gave me enough antibiotic to treat everybody.  I stopped at the vet's again midweek to see if there was anything else I could do for her because she just didn't seem to be getting any better and the vet gave me a couple of tablets of prednisone to see if that would open up her airways.  She also suggested a vaporizer, which I got (it was going all day both Saturday and Sunday in the bedroom) and a couple of times I even took Violet into the shower with me to get her into the steam and try to unplug her nose.  I didn't get her wet - just held her with my back to the water.  I knew she was indeed improving when I tried it a third time and she ran away from me - twice!  She did seem to enjoy the steam the first couple of times and didn't struggle at all.  The first time I did it she just kind of looked around and then at me as if to say, 'are you sure I'm supposed to be in here?'  When I just held her, she even nuzzled my chin a couple of times. What concerned me the most was that she just didn't feel like eating.  I'd put a bowl of food in front of her and she'd look at me like she didn't know what she was supposed to do with it.  Thank goodness, she's finally feeling much better.  The other night she started snorting again and there was a long string of green snot hanging from her nose!  Hopefully, that was the last of the snot.

Violet and Dolly

Pugsley had a really bad cough and sounded like he had the croup.  He also had laryngitis and couldn't meow very well, which was very upsetting for him I'm sure since he's part Siamese and my most vocal cat.  When he could meow, it was either two octaves lower than normal or at one point he was about two octaves higher.  I told him he sounded like a girl!  Unfortunately for me, he's got his 'singing' voice back, but I still hear him coughing once in a while.  He's also had more issues with his urinary tract infection.  I took HIM to the vet a couple weeks ago and got more meds for him, but since he's had this cold and/or virus, his regular meds just don't seem to be doing the trick.  I'm givng him extra anti-inflammatory meds in a 1/4 cup of water to get more moisture into him and give it to him twice a day so am hoping to see him improve as well.  I'm also trying to wean him off dry food to canned food.  There is always a little extra canned food in a dish by the stove, but I've never seen him even touch it. Now I've taken up the dry food that was available to everyone 24/7 so I have control over how much dry food Pugsley eats while we're in transition.  Wish me luck.

Hopefully, calmer seas are just up ahead.  Soon!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish Blessings to You

May joy and peace surround you, 
contentment latch your door, 
and happiness be with you now
and bless you evermore!

Plains of South Kildare

Fringed rockcress

May brooks and trees and singing hills 
Join in the chorus too, 
And every gentle wind that blows 
Send happiness to you.

Trim Castle, County Meath


Lucky stars above you,
Sunshine on your way.
Many friends to love you,
Joy in work and play,
Laughter to outweigh each care,
In your heart a song,
And gladness waiting everywhere
All your whole life long!

Aranmore Lighthouse

Friday, March 7, 2014

Quotable Quotes and Memorable Moments

"I find my joy in justice and equality; in all creatures having opportunities for enjoyment and being treated with fairness, as we all wish and deserve to be treated."  Lynnea Glasser, game developer

"You're like this little blip of light that lasts for a very brief time and you can shine as brightly as you choose."  Sean Faircloth, author, lawyer, lobbyist

Constellation Orion   Source: Wikipedia

"Anytime I hear someone say that only humans have a thoughtful mind, a loving heart, or a compassionate soul, I have to think that person has never owned a dog or known an elephant."  Aron Ra, Texas state director of American Atheists


"I thrive on maintaining a simple awe about the universe.  No matter what struggles we are going through, the miracles of existence continue on, forming and reforming patterns like an unstoppable kaleidoscope."  Marlene Winell, human development consultant


Angelica flowerhead

Snail shell

Brain coral

Royal Angelfish

Seedhead of sunflower