We suggest you start reading at the beginning, June 2009. It's much more fun this way!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thank you Santa

Hi everyone

We hope you all had a merry and peaceful Christmas and Santa brought you all the gifts you had wished for. Here at our house the last few days have been really nice. Not that they are not so during the year but sometimes it gets hectic or André and Sue go away or something. But not for the Christmas holidays. We all stayed home and had a great time together. As usual André and Sue would go spend Christmas eve with friends. This has been a tradition (one more) for the last eight or nine years and they always enjoy it very much. This year they didn't come home till 2:30 on Christmas morning! They told us that the grown up kids of their friends had gone to bed long before the adults called it a night. Talk about who's up for some late night partying :-)

The next few days went by lazily, Sue spent most of Christmas and boxing day in her pajamas, reading a book and just enjoying life as did André (not in his PJs). We got lots of treats and pets and a bite of Sue's cookies every so often. All in all we had the most wonderful time. We hope you too had a great week and lots of fun and nice moments. Memories to accompany you throughout the year.

Now the year is almost over - just one more day - and André and Sue are wondering where the time went. They do that every year. Wondering we mean. So far they were never able to figure it out and no matter where we look, we cant find it either. Maybe this is just one of those figure of speeches humans use to confuse the rest of us. We are happy with the time we have now and although there were some really great moments in the past we are looking forward to what the future holds in stock for us. Hopefully there will be many adventures and funny moments we can tell you about in this blog. Like the other night: it was a bit chilly in the house after Sue had opened the windows to let in some fresh air. Trapper was looking for a warm place to snuggle up and found it - in André's T-shirt. Since André has lost a lot of weight this year there is plenty of room for Trapper to slip in with him as you can see in the picture above. Sue made a comment of getting out the camcorder when Trapper started grabbing at André's fingers through the T-shirt. You see, André had lots of fun teasing Trapper and Sue thought this would be a great video to send to Americas Funniest Animals and maybe even have a chance at winning. It was hilarious, I must admit. But before Sue got the camera out Trapper stuck his head out at the collar and so there was just enough time for that one shot you see. You won't find a shot like this with me in it, I tell you that. But I'm sure there will be some funny ones of me too in the future, just wait and see.

Now we wish you all a great start into 2010 and an even greater year. Many happy hours, good friends, good health and don't forget to come read our blog, ok?

Happy New Year

hunter and trapper

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone

Last week we told you that André and Sue had finally decorated the house and set up the tree. We also told you that Sue was going to bake one kind of Christmas cookies - her all-time favorites. You see, when Sue grew up the home-baked cookies were a real treat at her home. The family had to watch their pennies and so they didn't have candy that often. But before Christmas Sue's mom would bake for days and Sue remembers how great the house would smell and how the kids would all be so excited to get the first of the cookies as well as the first oranges of the season on December 6th every year. Why December 6th? It's the day when St. Nikolaus came around to visit and check if the kids had been good throughout the year. Like Christmas here but in Europe St. Nick has his own day and on Christmas it is the Christkind coming. Anyway, St. Nick would bring the first nuts, oranges, mandarins, gingerbread and home-baked cookies.

Sue's mom would bake big batches of up to twenty different kinds and then, together with the kids, make beautiful plates which they would place all over the house. Of course there was so much that the plates could be refilled several times over. What a treat that was! As many cookies as the heart desired.

It's interesting to hear these memories every year and it made us realize that for André and Sue Christmas is not about presents at all. It is about the real meaning of the holiday and traditions. Seems that every family has their own traditions and that they are what will stick with people when they grow up. I mean who remembers what they got at age 4 or 7 or 12? But who could forget the holiday spirit, the traditional meal, having grand-aunt Ida over or how dad would go into the living room, closing the door behind him and then ring the little bell on the tree to let the family know, that the candles on the tree were lit and that they could come in now? You see, in Europe it is as much custom to have a real tree with real candles on it as it is to celebrate on Christmas eve rather than Christmas day. With Sue's family that didn't always work out as Sue's dad was a train engineer and often had to work December 24th or 25th or both days. So the family would adjust to dad's working schedule. The kids grew up knowing that there are people out there working while others are enjoying family time on holidays such as Christmas or Easter. They thought nothing of not having dad around on their birthday - they would just celebrate the day before or after. But when dad was there, they would enjoy it even more.

So here is to the true meaning of Christmas and to traditions. And also, here is to all the good people out there who are working on holidays for the good of others and to the ones who drop everything (such as volunteer emergency personnel), leaving their families in the middle of a holiday to go help where help is needed. Thank you very much!


hunter and trapper

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Finally! Sue has been very slow this year decorating the house for Christmas. We were starting to worry if she's going to do anything at all when last Sunday she and André got the stuff out and put it up. We have to tell you though, they kept it a bit simpler this year. Usually Sue would put up everything she has. Not this year. And we agree: less is more. It looks very festive and nice without cluttering the place. It's our house and we like it to look nice and so we think they did a good job. Fewer decorations but lots of candles and of course our singing penguins. Boy they are just too funny when they're shaking those little bells.

As you can see in the picture they have set up the tree, too. We had to go check it out of course and it smells like our tree and the balls are as much fun to play with as ever. The two only changes there are the tinsels and there are no chocolates on the tree this year. The tinsels used to be gold in colour but this year they are white. Looks like there is snow on our tree and at first we were really concerned. We thought that the roof had leaked and the snow had come in for real! Boy what a relieve to see that it's just decorations! As for the chocolates: they are a tradition in Europe. Small chocolates wrapped in tin that look like pine cones, Santa, bells and other Christmas related themes. Since André doesn't eat them and Sue wants to loose some weight they skipped them. This also goes with the "simpler" thing.

Of course there are no gifts yet and usually André and Sue don't put any under the tree at all anyway. They say they give each other (and us) gifts throughout the year and like to avoid the big rush in all the stores. But this year there will be a little package under the tree for André. We had asked Sue to get him a new key chain for us and rap it up. He had given one of his up and put it in the glove compartment of the car with change for parking in it instead of keeping the change in a cup holder. Sue did as we had asked and the present is ready to go. Now we only need to keep it a secret from André till Christmas. So we count on you not to tell him, ok?

With the tree up and the house decorated, all that's missing is the smell of Sue baking Christmas cookies. She told André that she is going to bake just one kind this year, again since André doesn't eat sweets and she wants to cut back big time. But there is this one kind she just loves too much to pass on them and so she will bake some tomorrow. Somehow the smell of freshly baked cookies is as much part of Christmas as the penguins, the smell of apple and cinnamon and candles, don't you think? And if we get lucky, we'll get to try one too! So we will be really good and hope she will notice and reward us.

With this said, we wish you all a nice week, not too much stress but lots of seasonal spirit.

hunter and trapper

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It all is a matter of taste

Hi everybody

No, we don't mean Sue's Christmas decorations are a matter of taste although they are ;-). We are talking food. Well it's getting closer to the holidays when EVERYONE is going to indulge and also: André and Sue are currently on the road - again - and this means that someone else is looking after us. And that, let us tell you, means trouble. In this case food trouble.

Your choice of words really is confusing today, Hunter. Reading this could easily lead one to believe the people taking care of us when André and Sue are away do a bad job. But this is not the case! We love Rosemarie and Pia. They do a great job and always, always give us a lot of treats to make up for our servants unfaithfulness. Just leaving us alone for days on end and putting someone else in charge of taking care of us - it's an No No, guys! Anyway, the trouble usually starts with us. But what do you expect? I mean it gets lonely in the house and so we have to come up with a way to pass the time, right?

That's right as is the word "usually". The story we are about to tell you was not our fault - it was Sue's although it was not something she did - it was something she didn't do. But before we tell you what it was she didn't do let us tell you how events developed: one day André and Sue went away for a few days and asked Pia to look after us until they would be back. Pia, as always, was delighted to do so and came to our house every day to give us water and food, clean our litter box and spoil us with treats. She spent some time keeping us company but having a busy life herself, she could stay only so long and so Trapper and I got bored. We started exploring the house and looking for some new stuff to play with or to eat. And Trapper found something. The next day when Pia returned, she found our water dishes not just empty, they were right out licked dry! This really puzzled her and even made her concerned when Trapper started drinking like he was dying of thirst as soon as she had refilled them. Something was wrong, very wrong!

I WAS dying of thirst! At least that's how I felt. Boy what a nasty feeling and no water to be found anywhere. Good thing Pia had paid attention and started investigating while supplying more water. She knows us and so she looked everywhere, not just the obvious places, for a clue. Her thoroughness paid off: she found the wrapper of a stock cube with some crumbs of the cube still there and that solved the problem. That was what I had eaten. Can you imagine all that concentrated salt?

Pia put the remaining cubes in a save place and made sure Trapper had stopped drinking before she left that day. And ever since, when André and Sue ask her to take care of us, she asks them if the stock cubes are in a place we can't get at them. I mean, I have exquisite taste: I love my coffee in the morning and both Trapper and I don't mind a little piece of bread, dip sauces, cheese, nuts and some other delicacies. But stock cubes?! Only Trapper, my friends, only Trapper would eat something like this! So what didn't Sue do? She didn't put those cubes away.

Till next week when we hope to give you an update on the Christmas decorations

hunter and trapper

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

O Christmas Tree

Hi everyone

We know it's only three weeks until Christmas and everybody is busy shopping for gifts and everything else needed to make it the best Christmas ever. But there is something Sue wants to bring up. It is a cause close to her heart and so we decided to give her space on our blog to do so: Is a kitten or a puppy a good Christmas gift?

Thanks a lot, guys, I appreciate it.

You probably heard or asked yourself this question before. Christmas time is supposed to be joyful for everyone and I (and I'm sure Hunter and Trapper agree with me) like to include pets in that. Sadly for many animals what starts out as a nice and exciting thing turns out to be all but that. They will end up back at the shelter or even left out in the cold for someone else to care for them a few days or weeks after being given away as a gift. The poor things don't know what hit them: one day they are welcomed as a new member of a family - finally having found a loving home - and the next they are being discarded like a pair of old shoes. This is not fair! Not to the person who received the pet and even less so to the animal.

I think there are a few things one should consider before choosing a cat, a dog or any animal as a Christmas gift.

If you consider giving a pet to an adult (like your mom for example):
- talk to that person first to make sure he or she actually wants an animal
- ask the person what kind of animal they would like or better yet take him or her along when choosing their future best friend

If your kids ask Santa for an animal friend:
- make sure the kid is ready to take responsibility for a pet. You can read in some earlier blogs, that having a pet involves more than just giving it a name
- maybe talk to the child and agree on what's involved and which chores will be his or hers once the pet is there
- if you have doubts about the kid's readiness, maybe put the pet up for next year or a birthday. Give the child some chores for the time until then so he or she can proof that he or she is ready and committed. If you do that it might also help to grade the kid's performance on a weekly basis (together with the kid) and mark it down on a calendar. This way come the birthday or next Christmas there will be no big disagreements on how they did

In any case:
- don't forget to make sure the landlord of the person who gets the animal allows pets
- if not sure which animal you should buy, get help from a specialist (human society, breeder or vet) to find the right one. This is especially important with dogs: choosing the right breed (size, temperament and energy level) is very important
- consider possible lifestyle changes the new pet owner may make in the near future. Will the pet still be welcome or even be allowed (say in a retirement living environment or if the kid goes off to university)?
- can the new pet owner comfortably afford that pet? Food costs and vet bills can put a burden on someone on a tide budget
- what is going to happen to the pet if the new owner can not or no longer take care of it (who is going to take it)?

Once you have decided to go ahead with a pet for a gift, please consider the local humane society (that is where Hunter and Trapper come from) to get your present. They always have cats and dogs in need of a loving home and work hard to place those animals. You can read about them in some earlier blogs.

So if you are considering putting a pet under the Christmas tree for someone or if you know someone who is planning to do that, please take a few minutes to think or talk to that person about it. No living being deserves to be shoved around because it turned out to be a "mistake". If we can prevent this from happening to even one animal, we've done some good.

Thanks Sue, we agree. As much as we wish for every single one of our fury friends out there to find a loving home, when in doubt you might wanna stay away from giving a pet for a gift.

See you all next week

hunter and trapper