My Pet Tag: Kira & Seffi

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Oooooh, I’m so excited for this! I love talking about my chinchilla girls! I saw the tag on Sarah’s blog @dragonsandzombies where she talked about her adorable bunny Randy. I decided to put both of my chinchillas in one post because they live together and do almost everything together, so it’s kind of fitting to keep them in the same post. 🙂

Dear people, meet my chinchillas!

1. What is your pet’s name?

The older girl is named Seffi, which is short for Persephone. (It should probably be Sephie, but I preferred this spelling.) The younger one is called Kira, which is short for Valkira (Croatian for Valkyrie). I wanted their names to sound cute, but to have a powerful, mythological background at the same time, because that’s what they are – cute but powerful. 😉

2. What kind of pet is it and what breed?

They are standard grey chinchillas.

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Kira and her food.

3. How long have you had your pet?

I’ve had them since 21st April this year, which means for a little less than eight months.

4. How did you get your pet?

I’m from Croatia and this year our government legislated a new animal protection law and made fur farming illegal. Animal Friends Croatia, our animal protection group, managed to persuade some farmers to give them their chinchillas since they could no longer sell them anyway, and they managed to save 45 chinchillas from certain death. They made sure the chinchillas are healthy and then gave them for adoption. I adopted Seffi and Kira. The rest is history.

5. How old is your pet?

I don’t know for sure, when I got them they said that Seffi is about two years old, and Kira was about nine months old. So, by now, Seffi is probably about three, and Kira is about one year and a half.

6. What are some quirky things about your pet’s personality?

Everything about them is quirky! They are crazy little fluffballs! XD They like to eat and chew everything (literally everything!), so I have to cover things when I let them out of their cage. But, they always climb on my legs and chew my clothes.

Kira like to hide in dark places. She’s always trying to find a place to hide, and she even tries to dig. Her new obsession is a tube I bought for them. She also likes to let her head hang from it. She finds it comfortable for some reason.

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Kira in her tube.

Seffi is more of a jumper. She likes to jump on something high and just stare. XD It’s so funny, she looks like a statue, just staring into the distance.

They don’t like to be touched, but they’ll allow it if you let then chew on something while you’re petting them. They do, however, like to sniff me and “groom” my hair.

Also, they make the funniest faces.

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Kira: Leave me alone, I want to sleep!

7. What does your relationship with your pet mean to you?

It means so much! They make me so happy, and I hope I made their life happy, too. They make me laugh and forget about problems. I love seeing how they are slowly learning to trust me, more and more each day. They really had no trust in humans, which is understandable. They came from very bad life conditions… They lived in small, dirty cages, and were never let out. 😦

8. What are some of your favourite pastimes with your pet?

Mostly the time they spend out of their cage. They always manage to surprise me with something new. A new mischief, usually. They are very fun! I also love how they’ve learned to beg for treats.

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Yes, Seffi managed to climb on my bookshelf.

9. What are the nicknames that you call your pet?

I usually just add the suffix which denotes something small in Croatian – Kirica, Seffica. My boyfried calls Kira Fatty because she looks much fatter than Seffi. XD

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Seffi on the lookout. Both girls on the lookout. (Also, a representation of how Kira looks like a ball, while Seffi is more elegant). 

And that’s it! Hope you enjoyed this post, I sure did! 🙂

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The Goddess of Winter (A Short Story)

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People think that gods don’t listen. Truth be told, mostly we don’t.

People think that gods are self-centered and vain. Mostly, we are. But so are people. They only see themselves, the mightiest of creatures, in the centre of it all.

How could it be that the Sun does not revolve around the Earth? Surely, there cannot be any other creatures in the universe, at least not beings as intelligent us? Yes, it’s bad to kill an animal, but not as bad as killing a person, of course…

Did gods create humans, or did humans create gods? I don’t know the answer. I exist, in a way, though no one worships me anymore. Vesna exists, too, the goddess of the spring. Of is it Persephone who makes the flowers bloom, when she ascends from her underworld throne?

The only thing that I can tell you, without any doubt, is that Nature exists. Call her any name you want, but she is there, and she rules us all. Yes, even me. It was her who gave me my task. A wonderful task! I was to make frost.

You grin now, and you scoff. Frost? What is so glorious about frost? It’s a task no one will thank you for.

Well, you only think that becuse you’re a mortal. Mortals never see the big picture. That’s why you destroyed it all, unable to see you’re also destroying yourselves. Global warming. It doesn’t sound so bad, doesn’t it? How can warmth be bad?

It’s hard for me to make frost these days. The gods are not all-powerful after all. I want to sing in the white snow, underneath the gentle snow flakes. Let me spread my arms and dance! Think of the winter creatures, creatures like me, creatures you destroy! Think of the creatures completely unlike me, those who will perish next!

The time has come for the gods to beg for the mercy of mortals.

Quote(s) for Thought: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

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As told by Kafka’s close friend Max Brod:

“Suddenly he began to speak to the fish in their illuminated tanks. ‘Now at least I can look at you in peace, I don’t eat you anymore.’ It was the time he turned strictly vegetarian.”

To be honest, I’m writing this post for myself. Because I want to put some of Foer’s thoughts on paper. Because I don’t want to forget.

I’m in a similar position as Jonathan Safran Foer was before he completely gave up meat. I wanted to become a vagaterian, and I did, several times, and then always somehow stopped. Now, I don’t want to promote anything here. And I don’t think that is the intention of the book, either. I just gives you facts, facts I think everyone should be aware of. Even if you eat meat, don’t you deserve to know where it comes from?

Let me just start by saying that I think Jonathan Safran Foer is an amazing author. I’ve read Eveything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and loved both of them. I love his writing style and I think it also shows in this non-fiction book. It is well-researched and it gives a great amount of information, but it is also very interesting. The author talks about himself, his family, his experiiences, as well as about his research. And research he did! He even spent time with both farmers and activists.

Some of these facts have become more videly known – for example the fact that the meat industry is responsible for about 40 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships in the world combined. We are aware of the dangers of factory farming, I thin, but no just how deep these problems go. And then, some things most people are not aware at all.

Foer deconstructs some ideas people use to ease their shame. One of the notions he deconstructs is that vegetarianism is a form of sentimentality – which would basically mean valuing emotions over reality.

Two friends are ordering lunch. One says, “I’m in the mood for a burger,” and orders it. The other says, “I’m in the mood for a burger,” but remembers that there are things more important to him than what he is in the mood for at any given moment, and orders something else. Who is the sentimentalist?

And, yet, he asks himself if vegetarians actually are sentimentalists (idealists) if they believe everyone would follow their path. People are obviously not willing to do that. Yet, we know that eating is a group activity. We mostly eat with someone. We can influence some people, or at least contribute to the small progress that is being made. Big changes often come from small actions.

Another thing Foer touches on is the fact that most people don’t care for birds as much as they do for mammals. And even if we do, most of us don’t really care for fish. We tell ourselves that those animals are not as intelligent, which has lately proven to be false. And fishing is basically destroying fish:

For every ten tuna, shars, and other large predatory fish that were in our oceans fifty to a hundred years ago, only one is left. Many scientist predict the total collapse of all fished species in less than fiftly years – and intense efforts are under way to catch, kill, and eat even more sea animals.

The average trawling operation throws 80 to 90 percent of the sea animals it captures as bycatch overboard.

…sea horses are one of more than one hundred sea animal species killed as ‘bycatch’ in the modern tuna industry.

Even if some animals do get a “clean” death, fish never do. All fish suffer since there are no regulations as to how they should die. However, slughterhouses often neglect all the regulations, or the regulations just get changed. I won’t go into detail about what happens at slaughterhauses. I guess most of people are aware of that, and if you’re not, then let me just say it’s much worse than you think it is. I really don’t want to talk about it, because it makes me sick, so I’ll move on to farming. This is, actually, one of the most important issues this book speaks about.

Jonathan Safran Foer really looks at farming from different perspectives and leaves it to the readers to come to their own conclusions. He gives his own opinion, talks about his lifestyle and the reasons behind his decision to give up meat completely, but he lets other people speak, too, and share their worldviews. He also gives an example of a man who is a vegan but constructs slaughterhouses. How is that possible? Because there seem to be no more slaughterhouses that provide a “clean” death. The farmers that take care of their animals cannot find a slughterhouse that would’t make their animals die a horrible death. And that’s why good slaughterhouses seemed important even to someone who refuses to eat animals.

This book doesn’t really speak against eating animals as much as it speaks against factory farming, overfishing, hormone and antibiotics fed, mutated and deformed animals. Many animals are left to suffer and die, because it would cost more to heal than to lose some of them (and there are much more animals that die before it’s the time for them to be illed than you could imagine). Many are born deformed.

In the world of factory farming, expectations are turned upside down. Veterinarians don’t work toward optimal health, but optimal profitability. Drugs are not for curing diseases but substitutes for destroyed immune systems. Farmers do not aim to produce healthy animals.

Modern factory farming is destroying our environment in more way than you think. Fighting this kind of farms is crucial for the environmental sustainability. Crucial for our planet. Factory farms are nothing more than the product of human insatiable greed – it’s exclusively about money, not about feeding people. And family farms cannot fight them. Bill Niman, the owner of a family farm who cares about the treatment of his animals, was driven out of his company because the board wanted to do things more profitably and less ethically. Though his ranch is an example of good (or at least much better) treatment of animals, he said that he would no longer eat Niman Ranch beef. Not under the new conditions.

Factory farming hurts humas as well:

People who live near factory farms are rarely wealthy and are treated by the industry as dispensable. The fecal mists they are forced to breathe usually don’t kill humans, but sore throats, headaches, coughing, runny noses, diarrhea, and even psychological illness including abnormally high levels of tension, depression, anger, and fatigue, are common. According to a report by the California state senat, “Studies have shown that {animal waste} lagoons emit toxic airbornee chemicals that can cause inflammatory, immune, irritation and neurochemical problems in humans.”

The meat from factory farms hurts us and is responsible for many disesases from more people suffering from asthma and allergies, to flu. Factory farms are also known for horrible working conditions of their employees.

And factory farms hurts other animals besides those confined inside of them and unable to move of their entire lives (again, I don’t want to go too much into the cruelty that happens there) :

In only three years, two hundred fish kills – incidents where the entire fish population in a given area is killed at once – have resulted from factory famrs’ failures to kkeep their shit out of the waterways.

All of this also deconstructs the idea that animals have better lives on farms than they would have in the wild, where many would be killed anyway. These animals do not live happy lives before their slaughter.

This is becoming a more and more talked-about topic, which is definitely a good start. Some laws are being changed, though not as much as they should. Newspapers are writing about it (The New York Times was the first to do so), and Whole Foods was the first supermarket chain that committed to a systematic program of animal welfare labeling. There’s hope (dare I say it…) and everyone should contribute.

Yes, this is a long post and I don’t now if anyone’s going to read it, but it is very important to me, and I think it should be important to everyone. Eating Animals is a must-read. We must act – for animals, for our planet, and for ourselves.

If we are at all serious about ending factory farming, then the absolute least we can do is stop sending checkks to the absolute worst abusers. (…) We know, at least, that this decision will help prevent deforestation, curb global warming, reduce pollution, save oil reserves, lessen the burden on rural America, decrease human rights abuses, improve public health, and helo eliminate the most systematic animal abuse in world history.

 

 

Update and a Microtale

Hi, dear bloggers! I just wanted to let you know that I will be absent from my blog for a week. I’m spending the next week in Vienna, and I will celebrate the New Year’s Eve there! I can’t wait! 🙂 

Before I go, I decided to post the cutest photo from my previous trip, to Ireland and Northern Ireland, and a microtale that I made up for it. Wish you all great holidays! :*

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Sea Happiness

He jumped. The sea spattered around him. He had just an hour, or even less, before the sun set and the boring half of his day began. Then the sea would suddenly start to feel cold, and his limbs too weak to swim as fast as he would want to. Even the fish won’t taste good.

A long time ago the curse was spoken. He was to spend the day as a seal, and during the night he would take the human shape. An annoying curse, indeed. What was one supposed to do as a weak, two legged creature who doesn’t know how to enjoy the simplest and most beautiful things?

Spirit Animal Award

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Thank you, Dear Kitty. Some Blog for nominating me for the Spirit Animal Award.(HERE is the original post.) I really appreciate it, especially since I love animals. And the logo is so cute. So thank you very, very much! 🙂

Here are the rules:

1.) Thank the blogger who nominated you, and link back to their page.

2.) Post the award picture on your blog.

3.) Write a short paragraph about yourself and what your blog means to you.

4.) If you could be any animal, what would it be?

5.) Pick and notify ten nominees.

About myself and my blog:

It’s always the hardest to write about yourself, isn’t it? XD Well, my name is Irena and I’m currently working as an apprentice Croatian teacher. The job’s been taking quite a lot of my time, and that’s why I don’t write as often as I used to, but even when I don’t have the time to write, I try to find some time to read other bloggers’ posts. There are so many interesting people here, and they make me want to come back, look for more posts and more people to follow. I started this blog because I wanted to share my thoughts on the things that interest me. I also wanted to put some of my short stories “out there”, wherever that may be. I didn’t expect anything much, but for reasons not completely known even to myself, I wanted to try it. I’m really happy I did. 🙂

If I could be any animal…

…I would be… Oh, this is even harder! XD There are so many animals I love, but I have to be smart about this… Maybe a crocodile? They seem chill. XD If it weren’t for the stupid people hunting them for their skin, they’d have quite a nice life. But for some reason, I want to say – wolf. They’re beautiful. And they seem so free. So, in the end, I’ll chose a wolf, even if may not be the smatrest choice. (Why do I make these things so complicated???? :P)

And in the end, nominations… these lovely bloggers: MWtheMermaidA Little Bird TweetsMusings of a Whimsical SoulCandice Louisa DaquinElisabet Regina, Lovely Cursestuckedintoacornerj matthew waters.

 

One Lovely Blog Award

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So, I was nominated by lovely Nicole.Ilene over at Sorry, I’m Booked. Her blog is great and you should check it out! And here is her post. Anyway, I decided not to do the award thing, but I did want to make this post. So I won’t be tagging anyone.

Here are the rules:

The Rules!
1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. List rules and display award.
3. Give seven facts.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and notify them.
5. Display award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you!

And now I’m suppored to share seven fact about me. Hmmmm… This is kind of hard. XD Anyway, I decided to share some facts that have nothing to do with books, since I write about books all the time anyway.

1. I don’t like coffee.

At all. Yes, I know, shocking, but I really don’t like the taste or the smell so I never drink it. Tried it once, and that was it for me.

2. I love animals.

All animals. You don’t have to be fluffy to be cute… Snakes are actually among my favourites. I also don’t believe in the cat-person and dog-person distinction. I love them all! My dream is actually to have a cat and a dog but that’ll have to wait a little longer…

3. I love Disney films.

And no, not even the older ones. I’m not really a fan of Snow White, Cinderella etc. My favourites are Tangled, The Emperor’s New Groove (so funny!) and Mulan. And I liked Frozen. When I’m feeling down or want to relax I often watch one of those. 🙂

I also like some Dreamworks and other animated films. How to Train Your Dragon was amazing!

4. I’m a little bit obsessed with vampires.

From Disney to vampires, well that escalated quickly. Yes, I could say “I liked them before Twilight” but I won’t (except I just did). I like vampires my way. I don’t care for mindless monsters, I don’t find them interesting at all. But I also don’t like the washed-down, goody-two-shoes versions. I think they should be mean, but also have certain human qualities. Nothing is black-and-white.

5. I love The Sims.

I have these periods of Sims-obssession when I play the game all the time, then I stop for a period and don’t play at all. I think it has to do with my love of creating characters, I always have an entire backstory for all of them in my mind, and an idea where it may lead.

6. But my favourite game is Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines.

See 4. XD It’s just such an interesting game and an intriguing world.

An honourable mention are Spyro the Dragon games which I played as a child but also later on. My entire familiy loved them, and my mother was actually the best at it. XD And the main character is a cute purple dragon, you just have to love him! And his firefly friend Sparx! Adorable.

7. I’m very, very introverted.

I love spending time alone. Of course, I need and appreciate my friends and family, but I don’t like being in large groups or being surrounded by people I don’t know. I’m also anxious when it comees to phone calls. If I have to call a doctor or order a pizza it’s almost a torture to me. But, I’m working on it. Getting better each day. XD

So, those were some little facts about myself. I hope I made myself look at least a little less boring than I actually am. XD

Quote for Thought: Life as Compromise

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George’s son had done his work so thoroughy that he was considered too good a workman to live, and was, in fact, taken and tragically shot at twelve o’clock that same day – another instance of the untoward fate which so often attends dogs and other philosophers who follow out a train of reasoning  to its logical conclusion, and attempt perfectly consistent conduct in a world made up so largely on compromise.

I started reading “Far from the Madding Crowd” yesterday. George’s son is a young dog who does not know when to stop when chasing sheep and he is sure that the more he runs the better job he’s doing. He therefore tragically leads all the sheep to death. I knew this was going to happen and that the dog is going to be shot so I prepared for it. I can’t cope with animals dying even in fiction, it’s something that really makes me sad. (I actually ignore the books with animals sometimes, if I don’t want to be drowned in sorrow XD) And then, it was described like this. It wasn’t even an extremely important event for the story, but Thomas Hardy wrote this wonderful sentence about it.

What can I add? People who try to do something different really are seen as crazy and even dangerous for the society. And sometimes the truth that only a few can see can be dangerous but does it mean that it should be ignored? I was impressed how Hardy introduced this theme in only one sentence and then continued with the story, leaving the reader to think about it more by him/herself. I don’t want too talk too much and now I’ll just leave the quote as it is.