I met some new friends on my recent trip to Kentucky and Ohio. . . And our acquaintance was not entirely satisfactory.
There was the toad on the road that completely snubbed me.
And the turtle who refused to receive my house calls.
Meeting these somewhat unreceptive fellow travelers reminded me of all of the great blogging friends that I’ve met over the past months. Some of these I’ve featured on my Blogger Buddies web page. Some of them are new and haven’t yet been added to the list. Now that I’m back from my spring break, I’ll be introducing you to some more of my favorite reads. Whether it’s through eye-catching photography, witty and informative writing, insightful comments, or their charismatic stars, these blogs are sure to find their way onto your must-read list.
In a world filled with furry bloggers and their computer-literate parents, the Kame & Kroten Blog is a website about two red-eared slider turtle gals with outsized personalities. If Kame is the obedient and loving first child (who enjoyed having her mommy all to herself), Kroten is the “step-daughter” who had to grow into her role as good little turtle sis. I love Kame & Kroten’s quirky posts, like the cosplay turtle fashion show in the post, When I was the Only One, or the entertaining yet educational posts, like Turtle Fact # 1, We Are Not Hermit Crab. Bookmark this site. It will become a cult favorite in your bookmarks list!
SJ and Miss Maple from Happy Bark Days is also one of my favorite web destinations. I can’t recommend this blog more highly – it hits all the high notes: gorgeous photos, an adorable and personality-filled poodle with auburn hair, exotic location, and a mix of humorous and helpful content that always leaves me with a new fact or perspective on whatever topic is being covered.
I was so smitten with Happy Bark Days that I’ve been meaning to profile this blog for quite a while now. I caught up with SJ some weeks back (thanks for your patience!) with some questions about how she got started with her blog, and her life in Singapore. Our Q&A session is below. For your reading pleasure, check out some of her recent posts, for example, the impressively cute birthday hat in The Birthday Girl, Miss Maple’s adventures with raw food in Make No Bones About It, or a dose of local color in This Little Piggy Went to Market.
How long have you been living in Singapore? Do you mind sharing what subject you are studying?
I’ve always enjoyed observing and participating in all the commotion and life that unfolds on the gritty streets of a city. So, (surprise!) I ended up with a career in urban planning. Singapore is often heralded as the model citizen for cities, which is the main reason why I moved from Canada to this cosmopolis. What I’ve learned in my 6 years in Singapore, however, can be summed with this quote by Alice Walker: “In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect.” I believe the same applies to human-made environments. I recently returned back to school with the personal quest of earning a Ph.D. in Architecture so that I can dabble in my curiosities about this place that we call the ‘city’.
What was the main impetus (besides adopting Maple) behind starting a blog? Have you ever written a blog before?
When Maple entered into our lives, I was simultaneously thrilled and terrified of being a first-time dog owner. I frequented dog blogs, pet forums, and online pet columns just to learn more about dog ownership. My husband knows how much I enjoy writing, so he suggested that I start a blog as a way to document the joys and pains of raising our first puppy together, as well as to share our stories with others who may be in the same boat. Blogging is a totally new form of communication for me, and never did I ever imagine myself to be a blogger! It’s been a huge learning curve and I’m still learning the ropes!
How did you get into photography?
Hmm, I think I enjoy viewing other people’s photography more than I enjoy creating my own! Appreciating the talented works of others inspires me to hone my skills (at least some basic ones for now) in photography. . . . If there’s a scene with a lot of activities going on, I’ll often W-A-I-T until that precise moment when all the elements seem to fall into place and then…SNAP! Henri Cartier-Bresson calls this the “decisive moment”. With Miss Maple, however, it’s a little more unpredictable! As for post-production editing, I only recently started doing this for the Happy.Bark.Days blog and have found it to be incredibly therapeutic–the process usually involves my handy-dandy Photoshop Elements software, a cup of freshly-brewed decaf tea, and jazzy elevator music playing in the background. It’s how I sometimes wind down my day 🙂
What’s the dog culture like in Singapore?
I think I can safely say that Singapore, for the most part, is a pet-loving nation. From dogs to cats, birds to guinea pigs, and reptiles to fishes, Singaporeans dote on their pets and some will spend exorbitant amounts of money and time to ensure a good life for these special members of their families. If we look at the dog scene in Singapore, for example, there are endless opportunities to engage in both formally- and informally-organized doggie fun: obedience and agility classes, championship shows, public awareness events, breed meet-ups, BBQs, pool parties, spa parties, birthday bashes, festive events (e.g. Chinese New Year, Halloween, Christmas, etc), and the list goes on. As much as my husband and I would love to have Maple join everything, we often need to prioritize and be selective of the events that we can attend. Although there is certainly a fast and growing dog culture in Singapore, it has created a few negative repercussions, which include: puppy farms, inexperienced home-breeders, and abandoned dogs. With the help of some very vocal animal welfare organizations and activists in Singapore, hopefully we can one day eradicate the abuse of dogs–and all animals for that matter!
[Note: For more on this topic, you can check out the recent Happy Bark Days post: A Second Chance.]
Does Maple have any Singapore-specific treats that she likes to eat?
One of our favourite pick-me-up drinks to have after a long and active day out is a chilled cup of fresh coconut water. Coconut water is rich in minerals and electrolytes, which helps to replenish lost fluids after strenuous exercise. The only hassle with coconuts is that they are a really hard nugget to crack open! When my husband and I share a coconut, we’ll often save a bit for Maple. Coconut water has easily become Maple’s favourite local beverage!
Mmmm. Sounds yummy!
Thanks for the mini-interview SJ, and thanks to all of my fellow bloggers and readers that make blogging fun!