July 4th fireworks

Does Your Cat Hate July 4th Fireworks Or Not?

By Clyde, feline editor and author with quirky Independence Day/July 4th cat art and practical safety advice from a straight-shooting old black cat.

You’d think a hard of hearing cat like me would not mind fireworks, but I hate them. They go off here and there in the neighborhood. KaBoom and startles me because my world is calm and quiet.  I’m vigilant at the top of the stairs for any sights or sounds like the food servants. Or seeing Odin sneaking up every morning to steal my food.  I have everything worked out and comfortable and detest surprises, or worst, our annual display in the park nearby which is as loud as thunderstorms on steroids. We’re written about why and how to keep your cats safe during July the 4th festivities

My brother Domino scrambles under the bed to hide. We make a point of not letting him outside at all on July 4th. In previous years, he got so spooked, he’d hide for days. It must have been compounded by past traumas from his feral years outdoors.

Odin and Nou Nou are curious about the fireworks and not disturbed in the slightest. Out cat household is 50% afraid of 4th of July fireworks and 50% not afraid. How about you?

Did you know we feature cat art every Monday at our BlackCatsofIG group on Instagram? This week, there is a giveaway.

It’s the long weekend of the Canada Day holiday and Independence Day in the U.S. on July 4. If you have to work today, it’s annoying not having a long weekend but to amuse you, here is a fun card designed by Katie Ruby. She designed our Instagram logo and known for her punny greeting cards.

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My humom Layla, tweaked these old cards with her odd sense of humor.  She is after all an ex-pat Canadian. Whatever you’re celebrating this week or not, stay safe and enjoy the July 4th fireworks. Let’s make America purrfect again.

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This is generic and could be shared or Pinned for other occasions. July the 4th is Uncle Sams’s Birthday but it could be for anyone.

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Cat Wisdom 101 Wins Book Awards For Black Cats Tell All: A Global Awareness Win for Every Black Cat.

by feline editor Clyde and contributor to Black Cats Tell All.

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Welcome to my first blog post of summer 2018. It’s Clyde and if I was younger or more athletic, I’d be jumping for joy. I have several reasons to celebrate. First and foremost, I’m feeling pretty darn good for 18 and a half. I think all cats should celebrate half birthdays once they reach their senior years. Do you agree?

Whether you’re feline or human, good health is everything. Material things like fancy food, expensive toys or treats are nice, but I prefer being loved and cared for. Okay, a little spoiled. I adore my creature comforts like the cooling pad and personal air conditioner my folks got just for me. Unlike most cats, I don’t enjoy the heat. My fursibs are furry heat-seeking missiles who reveled in our recent heatwave. I’m lucky to have humans who cater to our individual well being. That’s love, compassion and awareness rolled up in one purrfect package. Speaking of packages, a special one arrived the other day.

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My other reason for celebrating is our book, Black Cats Tell All:True Tales And Inspiring Images won another award. Actually two. We’d already won a certificate of excellence from the CWA (Cat Writers’ Association) but it took top honors to win the coveted MUSE Medallion award and an unexpected special award from the Catalyst Council. It arrived after we posted but we’re thrilled and honored. They have excellent resources for vets, shelters and cat owner, so do check them out.

The awards are truly a win for all black cats.

We’ve worked hard to create awareness for black cat adoption and this book with its extended global communities are making a difference. Since we launched our Black Cats of IG on Instagram, black cat accounts have doubled with serious black cat lovers. There is still much to do but we accomplished what we set out to do. The rest is up to the ever growing network of black cat lovers and advocates like you.

My mom Layla, thought I deserved the award since I’m her muse and I’m a contributor of one of the stories. All the stories in our nonprofit book are narrated by the cats and mine (in case you want to read it) is “The Catnip Made Me Do It”. Of course I’m tickled to be bestowed this honor. I mean, I’ve never won anything before but I didn’t understand why Layla thought I should pose with the award. As you may know, the camera and I are not best friends. I’m a rather reserved fellow and besides, I’m a muse not a model!

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This is our first MUSE win for a book but we’ve previously won three for photography. Odin is more showy than me and didn’t mind wearing his award. I’m inclined to agree with the late, great Gris Gris who preferred adoption advocacy to accolades. Most humans on the other hand do thrive on recognition by their peers for achievement.

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For several years Layla has served a judge the book category for the CWA but not this year. She did judge in another category but did not submit any photos, articles or our blog for awards considerations.

We can now share the three judges’ notes about our winning book.

Judge #1: What a wonderful book this is! Even if Wilde was not to focus specifically on black cats, the photography and stories in the book stand on their own as works of art. The cats tell their stories themselves, and while often poignant and heartbreaking, they never cross the line into melodramatic. Indeed, some are quite entertaining! I loved Prince Buddha’s story of he and his siblings out-hiding everyone, and their observations of the too-dirty apartment and the horrid cat sitter.

The photos in this book are remarkable. First, black animals are notoriously difficult to photograph and not have to look like silhouettes. The definition of body and fur is very clear. Most photos are of very good quality, which is also difficult to achieve in a series of candid photos. So, high marks for technical achievement! Then the subjects and poses. I could laugh at Leopold’s curvy tongue activities every day. Sophie is quite the striking model! And the photos of many cats out for adventure are just a delight!

 

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Layla Morgan Wilde has indeed accomplished her mission of making the case for including black cats in our lives, and I hope that her work will help more black cats find their new owners.

Judge #2: The photographs are beautiful. Each cat has their own story. Interesting to read and look at the photos. Easy to read online. It would be a great gift for any cat lover.

Judge #3: This was clearly a lot of work! I love relating to all the names everyone calls their own cat. There was occasionally a bit of confusion regarding what some cats were doing on a page or spread that had a story about another cat. The pictures are beautiful. The cause is wonderful. I enjoyed the division by seasons – I liked having options for reading and just looking at photos. It sometimes got a little busy and I wondered why some cats were included in more than one place. Overall, it’s a lovely package and I’m sure black cat lovers would enjoy receiving it. 

 

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Thank you, thank you, thank you! Well, that was validating and kind of nerve-wracking since the judges are anonymous. Chances are Layla knows them but it’s reassuring to read comments from a hopefully neutral judge and not a customer.

The MUSE is as large and heavy as an Olympic medal and way too big for me to wear but we also received mini-Muse. Layla thought it would look cute as a tag on a collar. I’m not a flashy, collar-wearing cat but I must say the medallion is handsome. And since I am a contributing writer and editor, I guess I’m now an award-winning writer and editor.  I promise not to let it go to my extra large furry head.

After giving Layla an impossible time in our photo shoot, I finally faced the camera to give my appreciation.

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Now, the award that moved Layla the most was the special award because it was a total surprise.  The fact that the judge is the CEO of a respected shelter made it all the more meaningful.

CATALYST COUNCIL CONNECTION AWARD

Winner: Layla Morgan Wilde

Winning entry: Black Cats Tell All: True Tales and Inspiring Images

Judge: Rich Anderson

Judge’s comments: This was a difficult choice. All three are creative, very well written and effectively educate the reader. However, the breadth of stories, points of education and imagery found in Black Cats Tell All truly sets it apart. It offers so much in terms of not just advocating for black cats but for cats in general and their incredible diversity of personality.

Judge bio: Rich Anderson has worked in the nonprofit sector for nearly 30 years, much of that with animal welfare and rescue organizations, including the Humane Society of Broward County, and as a consultant for the ASPCA; North Shore Animal League; and World Society for the Protection of Animals. Mr. Anderson joined Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League in June of 2011 as Executive Director/CEO. A native of Rhode Island, Rich received his bachelor’s degree in print journalism with a minor in international studies from American University in Washington, D.C. He lives in West Palm Beach with his wife Lisa, two daughters, and three dogs – Rex, Roxie and Minnie.

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To show our appreciation and for READING ALL THE WAY DOWN we have a few autographed copies of Black Cats Tell All for sale directly from our home for less than Amazon. We’ll include a bonus gift and free shipping (U.S. only). Shop quickly and securely from our direct to purchase link

If you prefer to shop on Amazon, this is our affiliate link. 

Thanks again,

Clyde & Layla & Odin & Domino & Nou Nou

catcafe lounge L.A cat cafe cats

We Visit The Cat Cafe Lounge in L.A. And Reveal How It’s Purrfectly Different

Have you ever dreamed of owning a cat cafe? Many cat lovers find the idea irresistible but it’s not all cute kitties and cappuccino. As cat cafes keep popping up in record numbers, there is a downside. We update our extensive cat cafe directory monthly and for the first time, we are noticing closures due to lack of customers or poor business practices.

One cat cafe who is doing it right for all the right reasons is The Cat Cafe Lounge in Los Angeles. A few months ago I spoke with the owner Kristi Labrenz Galvan and she shared her long journey of finding the cat cafe’s heart and home, and why being a nonprofit was important. I couldn’t visit the cafe in person so I enlisted two local friends, Chase Holiday and Connie Cunningham to visit and this is their report.

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Connie Cunningham interviewed Kristi and supplied the exclusive pics and her honest opinion.  Connie is better known on Instagram as @socalconnie and has one of the biggest hearts I know. She volunteers at Milos_sanctuary a special needs cat rescue and manages the social media for @sirthomastrueheart aka Tommy, their lion-hearted spokescat. He survived an acid attack, lost an eye but found his calling. He is even doing a meet and greet at CatCon this summer along with other rock star kitties like Lil Bub.

Chase Holiday, created the video. She is an all around creative known for her clever and funny cat videos Furball Fables and Crafty Kitty Cats. Her black cat Buddha is featured in our award-winning Black Cats Tell All book and Chase did our book trailer video. Both Connie and Chase are serious cat lovers and advocates. Do follow them on social.  Enjoy the cat cafe right meow.

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Stairway to kitty paradise. Please note: the cafe is on the second floor and there is no elevator.

 

The CatCafé Lounge recently opened in Los Angeles California. It’s a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit with all entry fees are tax deductible. This was my first visit to cat café and I was excited to find out what the buzz was about. The cafe is located in West L.A. at 1736 S. Sepulveda Blvd. right off the 405 freeway and Santa Monica Blvd. Parking was no problem, which is a nice benefit in the Los Angeles area. The café is on the second floor with no elevator, so if you have any physical disabilities, call ahead and see if they can assist you.

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Entering the café you immediately see the cat area through a very large window. For health code reasons cats and food prep must be kept separate. In the lobby they offer assorted drinks and snacks and also their own branded t-shirts and cute cat jewelry that you can purchase. 

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Next you enter a double door area to prevent cats from escaping and leads to the large airy cat lounge.

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It’s a nice large spacious area with many places for you to sit, relax and enjoy the cats. The whole area is amazing if you sit back and take it all in. There are catified shelves on the walls for the cats to sleep on perch or to use to travel throughout the room, there are also cat beds, toys and places to scratch throughout the area.

My favorite is the enormous tree in the middle of the room with “branches” that lead to the walls. What a beautiful creative idea! Here’s another view.  Every area is thoughtfully designed by Kristi’s sister-in-law who is an architect.

There are cat tunnels are strategically placed around the space that lead to a private area so that cats can get some alone time, if they feel the need.

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Cats rules the roost and can be found at every level. They prefer when you get down to their level.

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If you don’t want to sit on the spotless floor, you can sit on cushions or chairs.

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The CatCafé Lounge works with local rescues to help cat get adopted. Kristi, the café owner, tells me that she will often request the shyest cats, who often get overlooked so they can get a chance to become socialized and have a better chance of finding their forever home.

It’s all about the cats. And having fun until they find their forever homes.

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I was also shown the future outdoor catio area currently under construction. I can envision the potential of this space based on what they have accomplished inside, I’m sure the catio will be just as impressive.

The café is a great place to study, but they also have special events like cat yoga, comedy night, movie night and you can even hold your own private event there! They offer student and group discounts.

The CatCafe Lounge is a non-profit currently working with Stray Cat Alliance NKLA and SNPLA LA’s largest low cost spay/neuter and wellness provider. 

They are open every day except Tuesday. Reservations are made on and highly recommended. You can checkout their website for more details at catcafe

and meet the current residents of every and any stripe. Cute black kitties too!

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Sign up for their newsletter for upcoming events and follow them across all social media.

We are proud to add CatCafe Lounge to our Cat Cafe Directory.

Do you have a cat cafe near you? Please let us know if someone is planning to open a cat cafe in your town or neighborhood.

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We Decode 5 Kinds Of Cat Dad Styles with Free Father’s Day Cards

We Decode 5 Kinds Of Cat Dad Styles by Layla Morgan Wilde.

Cat moms move over. There are more cat loving men than ever and we embrace all men who adopt and care for cats. Any man who is a committed and loving care-giver deserves to celebrate Father’s Day whether their “baby” has two or four legs.  Over the years, we’ve noticed distinct differences from quiet cat lovers to loudly obsessed. This Father’s Day, we created these fun cards to share. Pick the card which most fits the cat man in your life. Some styles can overlap and if you think we missed a style of cat dad, tell us in a comment below. Which is your favorite cat dad, Father’s Day card?

  1. The Traditionalist. This is the tried and true cat lover without any fanfare. They’re older and have always loved cats. Chances are they enjoyed having pet cats in their childhood and/or adulthood. don’t make big deal about it. You won’t find them wearing t-shirts with cats on them or make overt gestures about being a cat dad. They would never call themselves a cat daddy. Their social media profile pic is not their cat or a selfie with their cat. In private, they will coo, give treats and belly rubs like any devoted cat dad. They know real men love cats. Actually, they all know that’s true but some cat men are more private.

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2. The Newbie. This is usually a younger, first time cat owner of the Millennial age group or younger. They may have had dogs, other pets or no pets while growing up but feel ready to adopt a cat. The newbie is wants to learns about cat care, will watch educational cat videos and is social media and app savvy. Their style is modern and reflects an interest in clean design whether in cat products or decor.  The ones who rally for a cause or choose to volunteer in animal shelters do so with passion and enthusiasm. They rock!

Best Cat Dad Ever!

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3. The Hipster. This cat dad is usually younger but there are older hipster cat daddies. They sport tattoos, creative hair, beards or mustaches and lean towards the arts. The hipster is the most vocal of cat dad advocates and will jump on cat-related causes. They are hip to the need to spay/neuter pets, to micro-chip and feed the best organic food possible. Often vegan, animal rights is close to their hearts. They aren’t ashamed to take selfies with their cat, rock the most ridiculous cat t-shirt, hat or commission a portrait of their kitty.

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Needless to say we think black cat dads are cool.

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4. The Hybrid. This cat dad loves cats and dogs. He may also fancy other pets from reptiles to birds. He loves animals and doesn’t favor one species over another. In his home, the cats are often cuddled up with the family dog next to an aquarium. He is doesn’t go out of his way to advertise his love of animals. He simply is an animal lover.  It doesn’t bother him that there is dog and/or cat hair on his clothes, sofa, bed, car or whatever.

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To the best Cat Dad in the world

5. The Crazy Cat Man. You can easily spot him right away. His cat has an Instagram account and/or Facebook account. If he has a personal account, his cat(s) have more followers. Ditto on Twitter. His phone has more photos of his cat than his family. He can be of any age, race, religion, marital status or identify with any gender preference. He is crazy about cats and proud of it. He tends to bond strongly with one cat but often has two or more. He knows his limits and will do anything to provide for the well-being of his fur babies.

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What kind of cat dad is our cat daddy? This old video or favorite cat dad day post from our archive sums it up best. Happy Father’s Day, Pawther’s Day or Cat Dad Day!

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Why Award-winning New York Cat Expert Layla Morgan Wilde is Celebrating 7 years of blogging With A Rant

We’re celebrating 7 years of blogging at Cat Wisdom 101 with a few surprises. Read on or scroll on. It’s a milestone to be proud of but it’s been a wild ride to get here.

If you’re thinking of starting a blog, I’d think twice. It’s a long slog to create a high authority site. Everything takes longer than expected unless you have a team and deep pockets. The world of cat blogging has changed drastically since we launched in 2011. Instagram and Pinterest didn’t exist then. Facebook wasn’t as mercenary. It was before the “mobile-friendly” move from larger screens, before hashtags, pop-ups, hacks, and a million new things to learn about. I didn’t know much or worry about Algorithms, SEO or WordPress dashboard despite having blogged for two years at another platform.

Most bloggers back then took the plunge without building an archive before launching or investing in courses. It felt more authentic and organic. We were blogging for fun not profit. Our cat community was small enough to blog hop to visit each other regularly. The digital landscape was less noisy and crowded. Sure we made mistakes and still do. Not a day has gone by in seven years that I haven’t learned something. I could write book about all the awful mistakes I’ve made. All long-time bloggers have horror stories, moments of sheer panic and woe, but it doesn’t stop or define us.

Today there are 30 million blogs in the U.S. alone. Everyone is scrambling harder than ever for eyeballs, subscribers, and followers to grow their numbers. It’s sadly all about numbers and pressure to do more, sell more, buy ads, leverage visibility, hire virtual assistants, auto-posting, be everywhere, sleeker, faster, vying for more clicks. If a blogger can’t keep up the pace with fresh original content, someone else will. That someone is often a person who doesn’t write the content themselves. Never mind the person may actually be a bot. The content might be scraped from another blog or worse stolen, verbatim. Needless to say with our large archive, it’s been compromised and has inspired copycats.

Frankly, I’m re-vamping and editing some of our old evergreen content to be relevant and why reinvent the wheel? Every year, I create a completely new web design to stay current.  No matter what, I keep going, and improving because I love cats and communicating with cat lovers. And I’m as insatiably curious as a cat.

 

Our first post at Cat Wisdom 101 was actually on May 27, 2011

The early days of Cat Wisdom 101 with Layla and Odin from our first blog.

Every year I look back at what I’ve achieved at Cat Wisdom 101 and personally in my career as a cat expert, advocate and writer, but this year is different. I’m still in unplug mode from an extended digital detox.cat_hiss_unplug

What does this mean for Cat Wisdom 101? I honestly don’t know. I haven’t blogged at my other blog since the new year. Seven years ago, I blogged daily at two blogs. Every single day. I couldn’t physically or mentally do it if I wanted to now. Mind you, I did publish a book last year and always have multiple projects on the go. It takes its toll and my brain is less nimble than five years ago. Every time I think of quitting, I tweak, reinvent or simply evolve instead. If cats have nine lives, Cat Wisdom 101 has lived seven.

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Welcome to how we are celebrating 7 years of blogging.

To honor the vast body of work, I thought it might be fun to choose one favorite post from each of the eight years of blogging, but there are over 2000 posts on every possible category. You name it and millions of views later, chances are we’ve posted it. I tried doing random article searches by year and that turned into mind-boggling trip down memory lane. Never mind Google search images by year, topic or name of our cats. Holy mother of cats, I just couldn’t pick 8 favorites. So this is what I did. I picked a random month per year. When you click on the link, you can quickly see the scope from grid of the photos and post titles. I promise you’ll find something that will make your day.

Thank you for reading, skimming or simply glancing at photos. Every visit is appreciated. Every social media share is a gift that paws it forward. Thanks being our friend and for loving cats.

I don’t have my crystal ball handy, but I predict interesting changes ahead. Thanks for joining us on our adventure so far and for following us on social. Extra purrs for our long time subscribers. You know who you are. You have saved our furry behind more than once.

Peace, Love & Purrs,

Layla

And Clyde, Domino, Odin and Nou Nou. Angels Merlin, Radish, Gris Gris and Coco.

The time machine begins right meow. In a hurry? Play kitty roulette. Pick one year at random. It might be your lucky day. Tell us if you find something special.

2011 September

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2012 April

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2013 June 

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2014 July

Summer safety guide for cats

2015 February

Vintage cats winter blues sledding

2016 March

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2017 November

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2018 Cat Holidays & Events Calendar with bonus cuteness.

Since we’re almost half way through the year (can you believe it!?) here is the second half of the 2018 calendar. I hope it helps with your planning or blogging.

 

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catnip for books lovers

Catnip State of Mind: Book Expo and New York Rights Fair

Catnip State of Mind: Book Expo, New York Rights Fair, BookCon

New York was the place to be last week for a trifecta of book events. It was where I ended my 30-day digital detox for better or worse. I’ll share the upshot in another post this week, but I’d relish another 30 days  alone with a pile of books from Book Expo and no WIFI this time. If you must have a kitty fix, scroll down to the end of this post.

When I forgot the pass code to my iPhone last week and no hack worked to re-set it, I knew I needed more time off.  It’s been an intense but insightful time of processing, and writing. After two days of being locked out, I gave up and found balm for the digital soul at the Apple store in Grand Central Station.

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New pass code in place, I headed down to the Metropolitan Pavilion for the inaugural New York Rights Fair, a publishing trade show dedicated to international rights, licensing and distribution of content.  They are the official rights show for Book Expo 18 at the Javits Center. The two events ran concurrently from May 30 to June 1, 2018 and are geared for professionals in the author community. The Book Expo, previously known as Book Expo America or BEA, expanded its public offering, BookCon on the weekend of May 2nd. The following opinions are my own and this post is not sponsored in any form.

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The NY Rights Fair is presented by Publishers Weekly, the international news platform for the book industry, founded in 1872, BolognaFiere and PubMatch, the leading online rights platform.

All tickets including my press pass were honored at both venues. Shuttles ran between the event location in Chelsea and the Javits Center.  It’s too soon to say what will happen next year but the consensus of those I asked, found the shuttle inconvenient. It’s a distance of about 10 minutes depending on traffic and the benefits of two locations may outweigh the negatives. Attracting global booksellers for foreign rights is key for industry growth in New York. The closest alternative to the competing London Book Fair in April. I know agents will go to one or the other but not both.

The publishing industry has changed drastically since I began blogging 10 years ago. Frankly, much has changed since I published my first book last year and anyone in the author community must continue to innovate to survive.  The trend for using Bloggers and influencers to amplify author reach is growing. I’m optimistic for new growth in the areas of audio books, streaming film and TV and global rights.  As the collective digital fatigue deepens, the joys of reading a physical book are growing, ironically with the YA audience. My experience with recent publishing research and attending the two book fair had a deep impact on the many hats I wear including author.  Expect exciting changes at Cat Wisdom 101.

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I half-dreaded attending the Book Expo. In the past, I found the scale of the space, the crowds and noise overwhelming, but with fewer vendors it was easier to navigate this year.  The NY Rights Fair paved the way to less stress with a familiar  venue (Cat Camp 2017). There are elevators but I like the wide open staircase for quick access (and exercise) at the multi-story venue. It’s a mix of antique charm with modern tech capabilities. The gorgeous wood floors add to a relaxed vibe of the warm and inviting space. It helped having friendly international exhibitors with joie de vivre.  The moment the day ended at 5 pm, the French contingent cracked open wine and trays of nibbles. Yes to la dolce vita! The continental charm continued with the Italians and their stunning space bursting with live begonias and palms. No surprise since one of the presenters is BolognaFiere, a leading European show organizers and owner of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

Most convention spaces are soul-sucking, skin and eye-drying exhausting. Anything to create wholeness and balance is a win win.  This venue is lovely but I could envision branded yoga mats and balance balls to work out tight muscles from jet lag. Maybe a vendor welcome swag bag of noise-cancelling headphone, eye mask, aromatherapy roll-on for headachy temples and a meditation app. for a quick re-boot and refresh. How about 5 -minute chair massage for free before or after editor meetings. Let the intentional negotiations begin.

 

The roster of 70 panelists with impressive global klout wowed the audience with  high caliber programming and panels.

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What I love about books and the author community is what I love about cats: passionate people. There is no substitute for face-to-face meetings and interaction with book lovers. While in New York, I must have spoken to over hundred people and I learned something from each one. From an excited lit major from the mid-west on her first trip to New York, to publisher and booksellers small and large, complaining or perky sales folks, assistants, bloggers, writers, serious book nerds, jaded editors, young and older rights agents, happy but exhausted librarians, exasperated old school literary agents wondering if they can keep up with the changes. It’s hard to sell anything.  We had a great day. It’s been slow. LOVE that. It picked up yesterday. Where did you get that bag? How did you know?! How can we use hashtags? Changes in author contracts #metoo. A hundred stories. I shared only one.

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#NYRF18 cocktail reception. Lower right: George Slowick Jr.

It was wonderful to connect with fellow Finns and Canadians but equally inspiring to speak with attendees across the globe.  What we all share is the love of books.  So many books, so little time. Being a book cover junkie, I wish I’d had time to attend all the panels and the symposium at the Parson’s School of Design and their book fair collaboration. View the juried awards for excellence in book design.

Welcome to the reimagined Book Expo. Yes, it’s that big. And what a great title for a book.  I wonder if any book with enough money and marketing muscle behind it, be a #1 bestseller.  Absolutely. And unknown books do get discovered and become word of mouth phenomenons.  Yes. They are unicorns but  miracles do happen.

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Harry Potter was the most mentioned book on the inter-active wall.  Twenty years of magic, indeed.

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Books, books everywhere but not that many cat books. At least not ones that stopped me in my tracks.

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Programming highlights included a wide range of topics of panels and round-table discussions on diversity and inclusion.

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Book Expo ended on Friday at 5 PM. Some packed up early while others lingered. As an empath, the collective fatigue, sore feet and backs was palpable, but so was the exhilaration of beauty and possibility.  There was something to thrill everyone. For me, the design must wow as much as the content. That means begging to be stroked, picked up and cracked open.  What makes you want to to pick up a book?

Until next time, keep reading, writing, buying books, sharing social media love for books and leaving author reviews on Amazon, Barnes And Noble, Goodreads etc.

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A few of the catalogs I picked up. I brought home two bags of books (not shown) and several bags.  Every vendor/bookseller has bags to hand out made of  plastic, paper to pricier cloth. Every year there is an opportunity for clever marketing. The prized bags are doled out selectively. My favorite this year is the “Read and Live” canvas tote from LitHub featuring a young Joan Didion. It’s one of the best literary hubs with  in ages. At the rights fair no one seemed to have any bags. Kudos to Quarto for digging up the black cotton “Creativity begins with you” bag for my armful of paper.  Ditto the lovely Finns and Swedes from FILI, who provided a perfect pen when I lost mine.  They patiently explained how The Finnish Literature Exchange provides grants for translation while I tested my rusty Finnish.  Who knew? Sometimes, a little kindness goes a long way.

My professional Cat Writer’s Association membership garnered a press pass. It’s a legitimate organization but strangers often respond with surprise or a quizzical smile when they hear the association exists.  When I met Publisher’s Weekly president, George Slowik at a cocktail party last week he introduced himself as George.  He was very jovial and must have assumed I knew he was the NY Rights Fair co-founder. I had no idea who he was and just tuned into his energy. I felt the fatigue of his very long day and a back ache. We both were feeling back pain and I motioned to move to the wall where I showed him a lower back exercise. We chatted amiably and when I squint to read the name on his badge, but it’s not clear.  We joke about how badges are always hard to read.  Without a trace of ego he says, “I’m the president of Publisher’s Weekly.”

Mortified but without skipping a beat I say, “Of course you are.”  He seems amused and I felt like an idiot but an honest idiot. At least I didn’t shove a business card in his face,  ask a favor or generally suck up like someone else did later.

He bends over to read  the name of the media outlet printed on my press pass. “Cat Writers’?”

Here we go again. He’s never heard of it. I imagine an arched brow. “Yes, it’s real. The pet industry is about hit 7o billion annually.”

He nods. He gets it.  We talk about changes in the digital landscape, social media and then the event planner shows up.  Allen Lau, a presenter and co-founder of Wattpad walks over to say thank you and bye. We chat for another couple minutes and the party is over. The room empties. It’s only when I upload the images from the day, I notice George is in three of them.

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Black Cat magazine 1898-June

You know I can’t leave without posting at least one cat image.  Hello June, welcome to summer.

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Layla Morgan Wilde Tells All On The Purrrcast Podcast

 Layla Morgan Wilde Tells All On The Purrrcast Podcast

 

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Full confession: I didn’t understand what podcasts were all about until last year. Then all of sudden, they seemed to be everywhere and I understood their charms.  I discovered the top three pet podcasts according to Oprah included The Purrrcast and found it cat lover catnip. So much so, I ended up interviewing Sara Iyer one of the co-hosts. She has a black cat, Samba whom we featured. I’m naturally chatty and joked about starting a podcast with a girlfriend months ago. That’s up in the air but you can listen to me yak at length with Sara and her co-host Steven Ray Morris today.  It was recorded a few weeks ago just before my digital detox began and sorely in need of a vacation.

I really do tell all for better or worse on episode 144 on The Purrrcast.

To keep up with their latest episodes and news, follow The Purrrcast on Facebook. 

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The Purrrcast is often recorded on location from people’s homes but since they’re in L.A. we did it on the phone not unlike some radio interviews I’ve done (remind me to post about that) but way more unstructured and relaxed. Think chatting with a good friend over coffee. They did an awesome podcast at the Cat Lounge cat cafe as did last week’s episode with Peter Cohen of Cat by Zen and best known for his amazing home designed for his 24 cats. Read our interview with cat man Peter Cohen.

What’s different about podcasts vs. radio?

  • Podcasts tend to be very niche and aren’t broadcasting to a wide net.
  • Radio is more random. You may tune in at any point but you tune in at the beginning with a podcast. You can fast forward if you like.
  • Podcasts have the flexibility of time. They can be short but or super chatty and long.
  • Radio is here and gone but podcasts are forever. The episodes are archived and can be accessed any time.

What I love about listening to podcasts is you can multi-task while listening from driving, cooking or cleaning the litter box. But these days, what’s more meaningful is simply listening. Get comfy on the couch or snuggle with your cat in bed eyes closed to give your eyes a rest from digital screens and your hands from endless tapping and swiping. And yes, my digital detox continues but I feel like I’ve barely made a dent.

It may be Kind to Animals Month but please be kind to your own sweet self.

Thanks and purrs,

Layla

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The Cat Is Out of The Bag: How To Sleep Like These Kittens

How To Sleep Like These Kitten Nursery Cuties by feline editor Clyde and sleep hygiene expert, Odin.

Hello cat lovers, it’s your feline friends Clyde and Odin here today with some good news and cuteness to get you going. If you’re feeling less than perky maybe it’s because you’re sleep deprived. Those pesky blue and LED lights are monkeying with melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.  I can sleep anywhere as you can see but I eat healthy and get a lot of fresh air and exercise. Nature is my healer. When was the last time you hugged a tree or looked inside a flower? Plus cats don’t have opposable thumbs and can’t use a cell phone and or anything requiring tapping, clicking, swiping. Okay I can swipe things off the counter with my paw but cats don’t get tendinitis or carpal tunnel or anything horribly painful like stiff necks.

Go on. Move your neck slowly to the left as far as you can go. Count to five and then slowly move to the right and repeat. Did it feel tight? Neck stretches from side to side from various angles helps to release tension.

Oh Odin, you look ridiculous lying there all squished unlike the two feral rescue moms at Tiny Kittens, the rescue near Vancouver, BC. They have 9 kittens between them. Wowsa. The black one is lovely pantherette, I wonder what the dad’s looked like. A  tabby most likely. And these are two good moms wh0 will wean them and let’s hope all the kittens will be adopted. It’s kitten season and only 3 out 4 make it.

Look at the cuties anytime on the LIVE kitten Cam.

This may be silly vintage fun it’s easier to save lives preemptively.

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Speaking of educational fun, the cat is out of the bag. Whaaa? No, not that bag. We’re going to be on The Purrrcast Podcast. Yes, Layla is their next guest. The show airs LIVE on Wednesday but you can listen anytime after. Wow, Purrrcast on Oprah’s list for top pet podcasts I hope Layla talks about us but doesn’t embarrass us. Tune in at The Purrrcast 

The current podcast is with Peter Cohen, Zen By Cat, who lives  with 24 cats in an amazing catified home. Layla interviewed Peter a while back when he had 18 cats and before he became a FIP advocate. Meet the Ultimate Cat Man,The Cat’s Meow of Designer Homes & His 18 Lucky Cats

Odin, are you responsible for this broken robin’s egg?

No way, I’ve never killed a robin or stolen eggs. It was a raccoon. We all have to eat. It’s nature’s way. There’s a whole big beautiful world out there when you get up close in person away from a digital screen. I’ve loved spending more time with Layla in the garden. Everything is so fresh, alive and finally GREEN! And YES, Layla is still on a digital detox.

Yes, agreed. I’m more analog. It’s why I love books like ours. The lowest price for Black Cats Tell All: True Tales And Inspiring Images is $18.49 on Amazon (affiliate link) or you can get one purrsonally from us with free shipping and bookmark 

 

 

 

 

 

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Merlin The Feline Muse Back From The Grave

Merlin The Feline Muse Back From The Grave

Two years ago today we buried Merlin, our feline muse, in the garden. He left such a deep paw print on this blog, it’s as if he never left. Merlin Memorial

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Leave it to the wisest, old cat to ascend to the heavens when the wisteria was in bloom. Wisteria is the traditional flower of love, comfort in times of mourning, long life and immortality. It blooming like crazy now; its vines climbing down the driveway, twisting 30 feet up in tree tops and even up on our roof.

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Last week I made a flower essence of wisteria and it’s good for humans or pets. More about that another day.

For the past two years, I’ve regularly cataloged Merlin’s mossy memorial mound and adjacent grave of Gris Gris in all four seasons. It’s been a form of meditation and reminder of the transitory nature of life. In recent posts, you can see the transition from drab, winter weary browns to the first signs of life.

Objects like crystals, candles and mementos come and go with the seasons but the original terracotta marker has cracked and Merlin’s name faded. It’s symbolic of change and it remains unclear what I’ll do. I added his name in ink for now. And his healing crystals collar.

Merlin, forever Zen would say:

Why do people
Lavish decorations
On this set of bones
Destined to disappear without a trace?

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As of yesterday, the lily of the valley poked its ivory heads above the emerald moss, living proof of resilience. Merlin would approve.  He would also agree with letting go. I felt his presence for the first time in awhile and the depth of residual grief surprised me. His loss was enormous but he made it so easy for me.  That was before my mother died and now May is forever a death anniversary of my dad, Merlin and Mother’s Day. The intermingling of pet and human grieving is a complicated stew.

All three are the dust of skeletons and in the words of 14th century Zen master Ikkyu: “What is not a dream? Who will not end up as a skeleton? We appear as skeletons covered with skin — male and female. When the breath expires, though, the skin ruptures and there is no more high or low. Underneath the skin of the person we fondle and caress right now is nothing more than a set of bare bones. Think about it — high and low, young and old, male and female, all are the same. Awaken to this one great matter and you will immediately comprehend the meaning of “unborn and undying.”

It’s time to let go, accept change but no one said it would be easy.

Our digital detox continues and that means unplugging as much as humanly possible. I’d recommend listening to Odin. Unplug yourself and get out in nature. Cats know best. Merlin was a huge fan of “hammock time” picnics in the garden, and daily walkabouts right until the end at age 21 years, 5 months and 9 days. I’ve never known any cat with more joie de vivre and a will to live. He was grounded, wise and ethereal all at once. If I ever second guess about going out in nature I ask: what would Merlin do?

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Rain or shine, have a riotously blooming week. See you soon. Thank you for your continued good wishes.

Love and Merlin-sized purrs,

Layla

Purrfect Mother’s Day For Pet Moms, Cat Rescue Moms, Kitten Foster Moms +

Purrfect Mother’s Day For Cat Rescue Moms, Kitten Foster Moms and black cat moms by Layla Morgan Wilde.

You don’t need to gestate for nine months or give birth to be a mom. Anyone who who nurtures, cares for or raises another living being deserves to be called a mom. Whether you’re a step-mom, cat rescue mom, kitten foster mom or any kind of pet mom, happy Mother’s Day. You are the cat’s meow or cat’s pajamas in our book! Our gift for you is a selection of cards. If  Pick one to share wherever you enjoy sharing. Want more? I create new cat mom cards every year. Some of my other favorite shareable Mother’s Day cards

A special shout out and purrs to volunteer cat rescue moms. There are so many cats in need.  Thank you to all foster moms, whether kitten or adult foster providers. Kitten season is in full swing, shelters are full and they need all the help they can get.

This is my first Mother’s Day without my mom. She died six months ago and the holiday has shifted it’s meaning for me. If your mother is no longer alive and don’t have kids, how do you celebrate Mother’s Day? My fur kids are more important than ever but I don’t have any new rituals or traditions this year, at least not yet. Enjoy these with our love and purrs of gratitude,

Layla

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9 Purrfect Kindness To Animals Quotes Illustrated

9 Purrfect Kindness To Animals Quotes Illustrated Be Kind To Animals Week continues from yesterday’s Love  Kindness post

When things go wrong and we’re pushed to the brink, the smaller, weaker ones suffer first. It’s a trickle down effect familiar to victims of spousal, elder, child or animal abuse.  The same trickle down effect can ripple out in a positive way with acts of kindness and compassion.  It’s why I believe the best way to help animals but especially pets is by teaching children responsible pet ownership.  It’s wonderful to see kids volunteering at pet adoption events and learning about cat care.  Not all kids have nurturing parents to help grow compassion but we all can play a part. You never how small act of thoughtfulness may have saved a life. It means speaking up and intervening if a child is being mean to any creature. Excellent resource on teaching kids empathy and compassion.

It’s why no matter what is going on, try to show kindness toward the animals. I get it. Some days are hard. On those days, I could use a boost of inspiration. These are my favorite nine quotes about kindness to animals. Which one is your favorite?

 

Odin reminds me of the duality of nature. Earlier, he’d smugly pranced around after killing a mouse. Then sleeping like an angel and probably dreaming of more hunting.  I’m not crazy about it but cats are hard-wired to hunt and kill so I accept and always treat him with kindness. Humans have evolved from caveman killers and no longer need to hunt. We have the choice to be kind or cruel. To be thoughtful or thoughtless in everything we do.  I’ve selected a few favorite vintage kindness quotes from our archive. Share and enjoy!

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1. “ If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs …[they] are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no right to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty.”

~James Herriot

2. “Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

~ Albert Einstein

3. “The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.”

~George Bernard Shaw

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4.  “We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.”

~ Albert Schweitzer

5.  “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

~Mahatma Gandhi

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The late great Merlin and inspiration behind Cat Wisdom 101.

6.  “We patronize the animals for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they are more finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other Nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

~Henry Beston

7.  “Animals are the bridge between us and the beauty of all that is natural. They show us what’s missing in our lives, and how to love ourselves more completely and unconditionally. They connect us back to who we are, and to the purpose of why we’re here.”

~Trisha McCagh

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Merlin on tongue out Tuesday in 2012.  Recent studies prove being kind makes us happier.

8.  “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

~ Dalai Lama

9.  “ No act of kindness to cats, no what how small, is big-hearted and cat lovers have the biggest hearts.”

~Layla Morgan Wilde

#bekindtocats. A cat rescued from a hoarder.
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Feline Love Blossoms During Be Kind To Animals Week

Feline Love Blossoms During Be Kind To Animals Week and Month by Feline Editor Clyde.

Well, I’m not the most talkative cat but I have so much to meow about, this post will continue tomorrow. It’s Be Kind To Animals Week and all month actually, but it’s easier to be kind when humans aren’t stressed. This fab cat and mouse illustration by Hugo Horita sums up how we’re feeling. The need to cooperate, communicate in loving kindness while fighting non-animal battles.

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So, my mom Layla embarked on a Digital Detox last week and you’d think it would free up time for important things. How relaxing to unplug and connect with nature. More me time. More snuggling cat time. That would be idyllic, yes? While it’s true about some of the above happening but it’s also been lava-spewing volatile. The weather is schizo with a 40 degree yo-yo. There is a mysterious leak in the fridge, glasses shattered, we found worms in the lox (no more sushi for Layla), the car broke down, tempers flared and Odin went on a killing spree. Layla pulled her back out over a week ago and it’s another reason she’s been a grouchy gremlin. Domino was ill, hiding under the bed with a touch of diarrhea, Layla’s email auto-reply worked but a massive amount of spam and other emails piled up. Web maintenance, renewing URLs and other odds and ends meant you know who is not fully unplugged.  Granted, it’s at least 70?% less but still. What she really needs is an unplugged vacation or the mythical Swedish sleep cure at a spa for six months.

I really had to put my paw down about those wretched digital devices. The phone is not the issue. Layla drained the battery and didn’t even bother looking for it one day. She can go all day without a glance. Yes, she has not spoken on it once, only texted twice and briefly checked social accounts. Not bad but as Layla is journaling daily about the unplug experience. It’s clear the time/energy/brain suck addiction is the laptop and Google. Ironically, social media while a huge time suck is not her addiction. She does not miss any of it. The clickety click insights are whirring in her ADD addled brain which is good but not good. It will be very interesting what the next week will bring. Bast knows I have my work cut out for me.

Clyde_digital_detox_catLayla is reading more for mindless fun like magazines so that’s progress.  She more curious than any cat I’ve known and when she sees something in a newspaper or magazine, or while watching TV or a movie, she’ll Google it.  Yes, there are two screens up but only because the password with one was acting wonky. Sheesh, you’d think it was Mercury in retrograde. The up side is she’s spending more time with me and I quite like it when she long phone calls with her girlfriends on speaker so I can hear. I like to chime in and make everyone laugh. It’s a landline so Layla does not consider it a digital device.

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The really big up side is seeing everything turn green. Layla is doing daily garden and nature time meditation. And I must say, seeing this after the endless winter is worth the wait. They don’t call it the magic hour for nothing. My advice to anyone reading is to slow the hell down. I do know Mother Nature heals and so does love. I mean, how can you look at these blossoms and not feel a surge of love in your heart?

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Cherry blossoms are tiny wonders but magnolia blossom sat 100 times larger are magic. You can smell these beauties from 100 yards. In fact, right from my window. Ah, breathe…

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We all need more love and for trying times, we try just about anything including crystals. It’s not as woo woo as you might think and even if you do, they are pretty. I’m fond of sleeping with an old amber necklace Layla bought from Egyptian Bedouins twenty odd years ago and a rose quartz sphere a friend gave as a wedding gift in 2001. It has a soothing vibe and goodness knows we can use all the love we can get.

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The Japanese, who celebrate cherry blossom or sakura season with viewing and hanging out under and near the sacred trees, believe they have tree spirits. More about that another day. I’ll end with this 1940 Japanese magazine cover of cherry blossom love. Did you know the Japanese love black cats and some single women believe a black cat will make them lucky in love. Sounds good to me. How about you?

Much love of all kinds to you this week! See you here tomorrow for more love.

Clyde 

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