Bengal Cats, Cat Convos, Rainbow Hill Meanders

Cat Convo Friday

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Kuri: What is that?

Me: A garment bag.

Hiyu: It sounds like plastic.

Me: It’s not for you.

Hiyu: But I want to try it.

Kuri: What’s in it?

Me: Kimonos, a sari, a parasol and a few other odds and ends.

Loki: Are there mice?

Me: No mice.

Hiyu: It looks nice and thick. Can I try it.

Me: No, you may not. Not a single dental impression allowed.

Hiyu: Why?

Me: These things are in the bag to keep them clean and dust free. That means no puncture holes.

Kuri: Why don’t we ever see this bag?And another bite

Me: Because I don’t usually wear kimonos.

Loki: Can I get in the bag and look for mice?

Me: No.

Kuri: I’ll get in and check for you.

Hiyu: Just one bite.

I brush Hiyu away and extract the twins from the bag. I shoo them towards the door. Hiyu laughs at me and I can see the twins plotting. Hiyu leaps past me towards the bag and as I ward him off, Kuri and Loki jump back into the bag.

Once again, I pull the kitties out and then shut the door.Another Door at Griffith Observatory

Loki: I’m sure I saw a mouse.

Hiyu: Open the door! Just one bite. Please!

I hear Kuri trying to get a grip on the doorknob. I quickly pull out the convention costumes and get the bag away in the closet where it belongs.

The cats are wailing outside the door: Mice! Mice! Mice!

121002-scan133-smallArna grins and gives half a wag of her tail. Let them yell for a while. You spoil them too much.

Me: And I don’t spoil you?

Arna gives me a grin: All the time and thank you.

Mischief averted. ~lisa

Kuri (on other side of door): Let’s go take our drinking fountain apart.

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Bengal Cats, Blogging 101, Cat Convos, Rainbow Hill Meanders

Cat Convo Friday

140412 -  - medium-13Today I inaugurate “Cat Convo Fridays“.

The truth is I talk to cats and they talk back to me. I thought Fridays would be a good day to share the transcripts of those talks. I have translated the cat part for those not fluent in meow.

Loki: Hey, hey, hey.

Me: I hear you, where…oh, there you are.

Loki: Hey, hey, hey.

Me: I heard you the first time. What are you doing in the bookcase?20110905-60d-0209-small

Loki: You need to catch up on your reading. Right now!

Me: Why right now?

Loki: Cause…uh…you remember that poem you read me?

Me: I’ve read you a lot of poems.

Loki: The one by Francesco Marciuliano. You know, the “Forever” one

Me: Ah, yes. “Forever is a very, very long time.” What does that have to do with the bookcase?

Loki gives me what I think is an evil grin and knocks a few books from the shelf.

Loki: I’m very clever and I want a lap, right now…forever

How can I say no to that face? I search the selection Loki has knocked to the floor and pick up the book with the greatest number of pages.

Me: Happy now?

Loki: PURR

And that is all for today because Kuri now wants to edit this morning’s post. See “While You’re Typing” by Francesco Marciuliano

Me: What is it this morning, Kuri? Punctuation or grammar?

Kuri gives me the look. It’s the look that says: Really, Lisa? Do I really have to spell it out for you?

Me: Uh, right. Spellcheck.


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Bengal Cats, Blogging 101, Rainbow Hill Meanders

My Favorite Things

Loki and Kuri

Loki and Kuri

I recently had the privilege of attending a showing of “The Sound of Music” at the amazingly beautiful 5th Avenue Theater  in Seattle. True to form, I now have a song stuck in my head.

Besides “My Favorite Things” the other song stuck in my head is from “The King and I”. Getting to Know You resounds every time I think about all the amazing blogs and fabulous writing I’ve been discovering in Blogging 101.

Now back to “My Favorite Things”.

Musicals are squarely in the middle of my list of favorite things, but today’s post is going to be a tribute to many things at the very top of the list. (See bottom of this post for the lyrics stuck in my head)

School song book

Writing, Reading and Family are at the top of the list, but I’ll return to those in a later post.

Bengals and Bubble Baths

Thanks to Kuri, The King of Tales, these two subjects will always be inextricably linked.

I read before I brought my kittens home that Bengals tend to like water. Cute, right?Attentive Bengal I’ve had cats all my life and it hadn’t occurred to me that the water bottle spray to discourage unwelcome behavior might not work. The three Bengals just give me a look like “Interesting, why did you do that?” and “Can you do that again?”

There’s nothing like relaxing from a long day in a lavender-scented bubble bath. Kuri agrees.

In our house a closed door is a closed door. People knock. Kuri, who is always curious, opens the door. Hiyu and Loki will follow. Kuri jumps up on the side of the doorway and surveys the situation. As the other two watch, he makes his decision. He jumps into the water, sits on my feet and gives me a look that says “Now what?”

For me “now what?” translates for me rising quickly out of the bath and firmly telling the inquisitive cat who is sitting in water up to his chin, that “No, I don’t share.”

For Kuri this is not a one-time-thing. If I forget to lock the door, I end up sharing my bath with a cat.

TED TALKS They’re free, they’re great, they’re thought-provoking and they’re inspiring. You can also get TED as a free app on your phone. Ted Talks also help create my reading lists (great ideas), museum lists, and research questions. There is an amazing array of dynamic speakers in almost every category imaginable. (See end of post for a small sampling

Jamila Lysicott: 3 ways to speak English

Other linguistics and lexicography experts: Erin McKean, John McWhorter & Anne Curzan.

Science: Ed Young, Robert Full, Vijay Kumar, Jedidah Isler, Garrett Lisi

Art: Aparna Rao, Margaret Wertheim

Other Favorites: Susan Cain, Amy Cuddy, David McCandles, Tim Harford, Melvin Russell


Jamila Lysicott

Susan Cain:

Susan Cain’s bestselling book. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Erin McKean

Aparna Rao

With thanks to AZLyrics

From “The Sound of Music”

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens Brown paper packages tied up with strings These are a few of my favorite things.”

 With thanks to LyricsMode

From “The King and I”

“Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, Getting to hope you like me. Getting to know you, Putting it my way, But nicely, You are precisely, My cup of tea. Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, Getting to hope you like me. Getting to know you, Putting it my way, But nicely, You are precisely, My cup of tea. Getting to know you, Getting to feel free and easy When I am with you, Getting to know what to say Haven’t you noticed Suddenly I’m bright and breezy? Because of all the beautiful and new Things I’m learning about you Day by day. Getting to know you, Getting to feel free and easy When I am with you, Getting to know what to say Haven’t you noticed Suddenly I’m bright and breezy? Because of all the beautiful and new Things I’m learning about you Day.. By… Day.”

A pari of bengals




Blogging 101

Like Wow!

Starburst on the FourthIt’s true, I am a writer, a collector words, a vocabulary aficionado, and I just titled this blog post “Like Wow!” complete with exclamation point.

Before there is a mass outcry, let me say in my defense that I believe that one should always choose the most accurate phrasing one can come by and in this case “Like Wow!” is it.

As I said in my last post, I’ve started 2016 with a blogging 101 class. Our last assignment was to write directly to our dream audience (You know who you are) and also to try something new. I think the title counts for something new.

I chose “Like Wow!” because it is the best and most accurate description of my fellow bloggers and the amazing writing I’m discovering. They are an incredibly diverse group of people who taking leaps of courage, of commitment, and of challenge as they put themselves out there for the entire world to see.

I have been amazed by incredible polish, amazing pictures and wit that turns on a dime. I’ve been awed by honesty and vulnerability. There are times when I want to give encouraging hugs and pats on the back. Times when I wish they could hear me laugh and even more times when I want to tell them not to worry so much. I can see them writing with their souls as a canvass and I wish I could tell them how well they’re doing and that the words they want will follow.140608 -  - medium-17

Now having said all of that it’s time for cat pictures and an explanation of how this post nearly became titled: The Cats Ate My Homework

Hiyu at a distanceHiyu is a Marbled Bengal.

He loves the crinkling sounds as he bites into paper and plastic. He’d never eat anything outside of tuna or his food, but he is an outstanding thief.

loki 1 30 14

Loki, AKA Lazy Loki, doesn’t know the difference between paper and food. If the other cats are in on it, then he wants a piece of the action. After they’ve caught it.


Kuri plays XboxKuri likes to take responsibility for all of the mischief, even if Loki or Hiyu thought of it first. Hiyu and Loki have their share of stories, but Kuri is the King of Tales.

~ lisa

A-D, Bengal Cat Pictures, Bengal Cats, Mythology

Hug Your Cat Day

“The nature of the universe probably depends heavily on who is the actual protagonist. Lately I’ve been suspecting it’s one of my cats.” ― Wil McCarthy

June 4th  is Hug Your Cat Day

It’s also Adopt a Cat Month and Adopt a Shelter Cat Month – there are a lot of kittens out there who need homes.

Hiyu and feather

If you are bereft of the love and companionship of a cat, think about bringing one of these remarkable companions home. If that is not a possibility, then I’m sure you’ll find someone who will let you hug their cat.

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” – Sigmund Freud

When in Ireland if you say something funny, you may well hear.

“It would make a cat laugh.”
Hiyu at play

Cait Sidhe (fairy cat) from Celtic Mythology is considered to be as large as a dog. I’m assuming since this is from Scottish and Irish Folklore that the dog is the size of a hunting hound and not a Chihuahua.

The Celts also gave us Grimalkin, a gray cat with magical powers. In Shakespeare’s MacBeth, Grimalkin is a familiar of the witches. Ceridwen, the Welsh goddess of wisdom, was attended by white cats.

Is it a coincidence that the Norse goddess Freya also had two cats? Her cats had fur that was white, gray or blue depending on the source cited.

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A group of cats is called a clowder or a glaring of cats.

There’s a clowder of only about 220 million domestic cats in the world to keep over 7 billion people company.

An old Polish black cat named Ovinnik chased away evil-natured ghosts and mischievous fairies.

In Africa, cats not only protect people from rodents and snakes, but also drive demons away.

Also in Africa is Bastet worshipped as a protector cat-goddess by ancient Egyptians.

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The Japanese Beckoning Cat, also known as a Fortune Cat, has been popularized in the west by the “Hello Kitty” brand.

In China, cats ward off evil spirits.

“You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals.”- George Mikes

I adore this Chinese story about cats.

Cats used to be in charge of the world. But the cats were lazy so they gave up talking and delegated all their tasks to humans. That’s why they look so superior when they watch us running around doing all the work.

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“After scolding one’s cat one looks into its face and is seized by the ugly suspicion that it understood every word. And has filed it for reference.”- Charlotte Gray

In the Islamic world, cats are given the respect they think they deserve. The Prophet Mohammed’s cat Muezza once fell asleep on the sleeve of his master’s robe –instead of disturbing his beloved cat when he had to leave, Mohammed cut off the sleeve of his robe.

And that’s how it is our house – never disturb the cat.


Kuri plays XboxCAT Testing

Pet Adoption How, Why & the Urgency therein:

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Cats in Norse Mythology:
Celtic cats:
Cats in Mythology and Folklore

More Cat Myth since there is far more cat myth than could be covered if I only posted on cats every day of the year. Perhaps someday I will write my own book of cat mythology.

When Siamese kings died, their souls would pass on to a Siamese cat so he could be present at the coronation of his successor.

In old Bohemia the cat was a symbol of fertility.

Attentive Bengal

Let us not forget the disappearing Cheshire Cat from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The Pussy Willow plant got its name from an old Polish cat myth.

The Goddess Hecate assumed the form of a cat in order to escape the monster Typhon. Since that worked she made sure of special treatment of all cats thereafter.

Index of Famous cats, real and literary
Cats in Mythology
Cat Urban Legends
Urban Legends about cats
Cherokee myth has the Wampus cat:

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Eagles I

E is for Elephant
The Elephant font was designed by Matthew Carter.  I like this font since to me it has all the heaviness and bearing as the animal for which it was named.
I also, with much glee, found out there is, and this is really cool, a typography museum.


“May you soar on eagle wings, high above the madness of the world.”: – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Eagles are a large bird of prey found in myth around the world. The eagle is found on all continents except for Antarctica. For most the eagle is a symbol of power and strength.   Not for all though – see the aborigine version.

“Celebrate your success and stand strong when adversity hits, for when the storm clouds come in, the eagles soar while the small birds take cover” – Napoleon Hill.

The USA is not the only country that uses the eagle as a symbol.

Many countries use the eagles of various types on their coat of arms including Albania, Armenia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Iceland, Indonesia, Iraq, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Navarre, Nigeria, Palestine, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Syria, Yemen, and Zambia. The Great Seal of the United States is, of course, an eagle.

(And…deep breath)
The eagle has also been used by Egypt’s Ptolemaic pharaohs, Napoleon I, the Persian Empire, Charlemagne, Byzantine Empire, Ottoman’s Turks and many more. They were also used on the standards for the Roman legions. That’s it for the book report section.

“Eagles don’t flock, you have to find them one at a time” – H. Ross Perot

Eagle at the zooNow on to the myth.

It is an eagle who carries the Sumerian king Etana to the heavens to look for the tree of life. Where else to find better information than typography?

In Vedic mythology, the eagle is Garuda (half-man, half-eagle), the serpent-swallower. He is the king of the birds and the destroyer of snakes.

In Norse mythology Thiassi, the storm-bringer, often takes the form of an eagle. Thiassi is a frost-giant who convinced Loki to steal the Apples of Immortality (Odin told Loki to put the apples back).

Just wanted to break this up with a picture of a cute cats –TLC, Bengal style Now back t0 eagles.

The patron animal of the Greek god Zeus is an eagle.The Ganymede myth is one of the best known wherein Zeus took the form of an eagle to abduct Ganymede.

A gigantic eagle was set by Zeus to feed on the ever-regenerating liver of Prometheus after he was chained to the peak of Mount Kaukasos as punishment for stealing fire from the gods.

And Jupiter (the Roman equivalent of Zeus) believed that the Eagle could look directly into the sun.

I love the fact that among the Australian Aborigines the eagle is not the symbol of strength, but a type of bogey-man used to threaten children into good behavior.

Finally, in astrology the eagle is the highest aspect of the sign Scorpio.

Take this as a little motivation to unfurl your eagle wings and fly as high as you can.  We can all catch the thermals and fly above the crowds (clouds) if we try.

” You cannot fly like an eagle with the wings of a wren. “– William Henry Hudson.

“Don’t quack like a duck, soar like and eagle.: – Ken Blanchard

And for those of you who can’t wait for the next blog installment of eagles and myth here are some great sites to visit.

– lisa

A-D, Bengal Cat Pictures, Bengal Cats

Books and Bengals


B is for Baserville Old Face

Baskerville Old Face is a font that was designed by John Baskerville in England in 1757.

Bing has some great images of this font at

I found this great site for fonts. Besides giving information on an incredible array of fonts, this site will identify fonts for you. Totally cool.


I have a pile of books as tall as I am stacked up beside the bed.  The books in this pile are my “read now” choices.  There are other piles of books scattered through the house also  awaiting their turns to be read and treasured.  And lastly there are a few piles of “wow, these are treasures and I’m going to find a place for them  on my overflowing shelves.”  I’ve been accused of inhaling books faster than they can be printed, but alas that’s not true.  I read often and read well, but not  faster than the industry can publish.

I’m also  always looking for more books. Do any of you have recommendations for “Must Reads”? What should I add to the top of my reading pile? I’m always interested in discovering the next great book. In future blogs I’ll be talking a fair amount about authors and books. Send me your suggestions and I will try to include them.

To start off here are a few of the non-fiction books I’ve recommended in the past.

QUIET by Susan Cain
I cannot say enough good things about this book. I’ve been trying most of my life to overcome shyness and the label of being one of those “introverts”. I find this book incredibly inspiring and affirming. It’s a good challenge to common assumptions about the value of different personalities. SPOILER ALERT: They’re all good and all have equal worth. See also

My most favorite poem in this collection is “Forever”, followed by all the rest. Seriously, if you know cats, then you know that there isn’t a single poem in this book that misses the mark. Thank you Francesco!

THE CITY IN HISTORY  by Lewis Mumford.
Erudite, comprehensive, thick and challenging. This is a must for anyone who wants to understand the form and function of cities; their histories from prehistory to today and their potential. It also provides long convoluted sentences that are a delight to break down into component parts and have the fun practice of diagramming sentences. Not for the trepid.

RATS by Robert Sullivan.
A creepy, but enlightening book. I may understand rats better, but think I’m more scared of them now than I was before. To call a human a conniving rat, is far more of an insult than I originally imagined.

It is a touch didactic, but inspiring. Makes me wonder if anyone has written any dog or cat equivalents addressing the subject for them. I would guess the answer for our beloved four-footed friends is probably play and play some more.

THE SECRET LIFE OF SLUGS AND SNAILS: Life in the Very Slow Lane by David George Gordon.
Did you know that slugs have 27,000 teeth?

IN THE COMPANY OF CROWS AND RAVENS by John M. Marzluff and Tony Angell.
I will never again look at crows the same way. It is a witty narrative that tells you everything you ever wanted to know about crows and everything you never knew. There are over forty species and they all mate for life. These are highly social birds that communicate and demonstrate some social learning. And here I thought they were all just the carrion crows of Tolkien’s worlds.


And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: The Bengals
“B” for Bengal = “B” for Busy… very busy. Most cat experts would say that Bengals are not for inexperienced cat owners.  I would tend to agree.  Bengals are active and expect their companions to be equally active and engaged. These cats will find ways to entertain themselves such as: TP unraveling or rabbit kicking it into a snarled tube of inseparable paper, wall-climbing, the floor-is-lava games, bottle cap hockey, feather stick jousting, cupboard opening, dog-riding, bathroom yodeling (great resonance in there), house galloping, paper or plastic chewing, houseplant taste-testing, poltergeisting (“Really, they did, the shoes moved all by themselves.” & “Keys? What keys?”), shelf vaulting, knick-knack soccer, and the list goes on. This is what my cats do when bored and we have play sessions several times a day besides having their Bengal companions to keep up with them. I firmly believe that Bengals should come in twos. Their appetite for attention and stimulation is quite large.
I have seen my cats go downstairs without touching the stairs, but instead bouncing cartoon-style from one side of the wall to the next with a rain of pictures falling in their wake. That said, my Bengals are the sweetest, most-attentive companions and joys to be around. They are very very smart, maybe I should toss in a third ‘very’ to emphasize that. They help with everything and will try to mimic you (typing, opening doors, taking baths, answering the phone). Did I mention that the majority of Bengals sort of like water? They will play in their water dishes, and jump into the bath with you — until you start locking the door for privacy. And you start locking the door for privacy after you find out they can open an unlocked door on their own. I was warned that Bengals are companion cats, but not cuddle cats. They get bored with being held and don’t like their freedom restricted. That works for me, but somehow I have three very talkative Bengals that are quite happy spending the whole day on my lap, especially if one of their brothers is already there. These are big, leg-numbing cats (mine range from 12 to 16 pounds). I love that they are so affectionate and involved with my life, but it takes a fair amount of patience to adopt this breed and adapt to each cat’s unique personality.

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On a final note because anytime you talk about Bengals you need to put it in, Bengals are hybrids of domestic cats and Asian leopard cats. They have to be at least fourth generation down from the wild cat to be counted as domesticated. And one more endearing quality: like proverbial dragons, Bengals like shiny objects and other stuff they for some reason label as treasure. They will steal and hide these treasures from you or bring them to you as rewards for your good behavior.  There are many rewards for having such constant wonderful companions.  There will most certainly be more Bengals in future posts.




Life Lessons

As I said, I’m no Pollyanna, though I wish like Eleanor H. Porter, I could write a character who is so vividly portrayed that their name becomes a part of the language.

For those of you who don’t know, a Pollyanna is a person consumed with irrepressible joy and a tendency to find good in everything. This person is also someone who is often unreasonably and illogically optimistic.

I like to think that I can be just as sarcastic and cynical as the next person. I admit, I like to find good in everything and everyone, but not to a point of illogic. Sometimes things suck canal water, and that is what it is. As Alicia Hall (my brilliant daughter) says “When shit hits the fan, you have to accept the existence of both fan and shit and just deal with it.” She also says “You have to save the freak-out until it’s taken care of.” I find these very wise words to live by.

I’m also more capable than anyone I know to have a total, volcanic, hand-wringing, tear-laden, stress melt-down. Of course, up until now that has always been my secret.

For a full dose of optimism check out Pollyanna (1913) by Eleanor Porter. You can also find several versions of Pollyanna in film. I’m most familiar with Disney’s 1960 version starring Hayley Mills, but I just learned there is also a 1920 version with Mary Pickford. Now that’s a film I need to track down and watch.


So where does one find the balance between optimism and realism, humor and helpfulness? I could start quoting a whole array of philosophers here and many other wise people who have a much better grasp of the issues involved, but where is the fun in that? This is my version:

I often feel like my life is careening like an overloaded bus (you know the pictures of those that are five times past their capacity with people hanging off of every edge) making speed trials on a winding road overlooking ragged cliffs that drop off into a tumultuous ocean. I also sometimes envision a rowboat with two holes in the bottom in the middle of rough seas surrounded by sharks. Welcome to the rat race.

So my rat race might not equal the mind-numbing, exhausting, unremitting activity of the typical human in a pointless maze of commercial one-upmanship, but I think it all boils down to about the same angst.

IMG_0439 The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” – This quote is how Lily Tomlin popularized the paraphrase of this quote from William Sloane Coffin – “Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.”

 “Often, people work long hard hours at jobs they hate to earn money to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.Nigel Marsh

I know I said I would not bring in any experts, but I found this talk to enjoyable not to pass it along.

And on to Ted Talks.  I have not yet waxed eloquent on these wonderful talks. TED is a brilliant, educational, global community of thinkers and doers. There are so many good talks by so many leaders in so many fields. It’s a cornucopia of learning.

 Back to the rat race and life/work balance. I hate that term. Okay, not supposed to use the word hate, but intensely dislike works too. This always makes it sound like the two are supposed to be polar opposites with no overlap. I’m all for overlap. Perhaps it is overly optimistic of me, but I like to believe that everyone can find work that so matches their passion, their sense of being, and their true calling in life that it no longer seems like work. That it is simply an extension of the whole of what their life is and integrates into all the other parts of their lives without having to choose. Okay, maybe I am a little illogically optimistic, but believing in things often makes them possible.

Lessons I have learned:

  •  Get out of bed and say “This will be a great day.” Don’t believe it? Change the day to where you want it to be.
  • Enjoy the coffee, tea or meditation with which you start your morning.
  •  Exercise: Even a little can improve your mood, and your health. Though first thing in the morning it often makes me more than a little cynical and cranky.
  •  Relax the muscles. Unclench the hands, unfurrow the brow, and breathe deep.
  •  Enjoy the little things: blowing dandelion seeds onto the grumpy neighbor’s yard, kicking fall leaves, writing/painting/composing something beautiful.
  •  Enjoy the cute: puppies, kittens, ferrets, cars, seaweed, whatever your fancy is.
  •  Use your senses: Listen to the laughter of children or the songs of birds, smell all the flowers and the exotic perfumes of life, or feel something as simple as the softness of a blanket or a cool breeze on a hot day.
  • Change what you can and leave the rest. You can always get to that tomorrow.

Today’s favorite FONTS: Traditional Arabic, Algerian, & Kalinga. Unfortunately I’m not yet skilled enough to portray all of them in their full glory on this page, but I do encourage you to look them up.

Another INSPIRATION is a man who most certainly found his calling: Sir William Osler.  I especially like the prankster part and the fact he wrote under the pseudonym “Egerton Yorrick Davis.”.  How can one not love that name?

QUOTE: “We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from it.” – Sir William Osler.