This is Charlie. I've been working for the last few days to rescue Charlie from a kill shelter in NYC. You may had seen him on my facebook page. Yesterday, I drove to Staten Island and brought Charlie home just after midnight. Charlie is a love bug, lap cat and a non-stop purr machine. He is also blind. He is 5 years old and has a lot of cat life (and love) left in him.
I was pretty car sick when I got home last night after trying to navigate the Jersey turnpike with a Garmin that wasn't aware of road work, detours and was about 100 yards wrong when it finally said that we had arrived. But Phil being the excellent Cat Dad that he is slept about half of the short (about 4 hours) night on the bathroom floor to make sure Charlie settled in OK. There will be more about Charlie soon. What a brave little fellow to come through so much and still purr. He reminds me a bit of Tommy Cat, the Zen Master. When I saw Charlie's picture, Tommy whispered to me "save him." And we have.
And special thanks to Louise Harmon who saw his picture and said "we can do this" and then spent the better part of several days supporting the process. You're the best!
~When you save a rescue animal you save two. The animal and yourself.
I have been quiet this week. Processing Katie's passing. While resting (somehow) in sixteen years of her unconditional love. She was such a quiet girl but she filled up a lot of space in our lives & hearts. The good news is that the surgery on Phil's hand went very well yesterday. They removed a pyogenic granuloma on his right hand ring finger. He couldn't eat before the surgery but when he woke up they gave him a cup of coffee and some peanut butter cracker right away and other than a big bandage he's comfortable. Only one pain killer last night. We'll see the results on Friday when they put on a smaller bandage. Breezy is helping his rest by snuggling next to him on the bed. In between things I have been quilting. It's comforting, especially the hand works. I'll process the pictures tomorrow and show you what I have done tomorrow.
"How we behave toward cats here below determines our status in heaven." - Robert A. Heinlein
Friday,I went to St. Michael's Church for Good Friday Service. The Neo-Gothic Episcopal Church has a stunning stained glass window by Louis Comfort Tiffany of the Archangel Michael.
The window is magnificent and if you are going to believe in angels, St. Michael is a good place to start. He's an archangel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. The guy gets around. He's also no wuss, looks great in armor, and carries a serious spear. He wreaks havoc with evil and in his spare time (like he would have any in today's world) is the patron Saint of Chivalry. Maybe that explains its scarcity.
Although I'm not a regular church goer, I always go (if at all possible) on Good Friday. I sit in the small side chapel among the Tiffany glass and 19th century memorial windows and reflect on the years past and the one coming up.
I think about my Great Aunt Fanny and Great Aunt Tish that went to mass every morning. About my maternal Grandmother, who used to talk to God when she rolled pastry dough, reminding him of neighbor who was having problems, or family member who needed a bit of grace to see them through.
My father's mother, Nannie, who walked up the hill to church every day during final exams to pray for her grandson, Drew's passing grades. I remember my mother's last words to me were "I'm ready to go see God now."
They were better at formal religion than I am but some part of me has the gene that draws me there for a quiet hour of reflection and remembering. And gratitude that someone had enought faith in angels to make a magnificent window like this one.
My friend Noriko sent me this angel. And now I am passing her along to you.
Noriko and I met almost 40 years ago when she opened a Japanese food store in Huntington, NY.
I would go in and roam her shelves for tempura mix and sushi nori (seaweed). When the store became a restaurant I became a "regular" sitting at the sushi bar delighted by the freshest fish, perfect vegetables and lovely presentation - and the sake - perfect for chilly evenings.
Noriko's friendship over the years has been a treasure. When I called her one day to say that I couldn't join her that day (on one of our excursions) because I was sick she replied "OK, coming right away."
Although Noriko's English is perfect, I thought she misunderstood me. So I repeated that I was sick and I got the same reply, "Coming now."
And she did come - and took over my kitchen and made me food filled with love so that I would feel better.
When Noriko had a stroke, her family surrounded her. It was an amazing thing to see. (We should all be so lucky.) She was fed and watched and cocooned with love. She's healed amazingly well, despite expectation that she wouldn't come this far. But she has worked for it. I don't think I have known anyone who has worked so hard and with all her heart at everything she does.
And now, she's painting angels. To me, it seems fitting, since she is one.
So click on her and print her out and put her some place where she will catch your eye and remind you that miracles are possible, friendship is a blessing and that you are loved.
It seems to me that Spring has been a long time coming.Maybe it’s because I always feel like I’m waiting for something.When you work freelance you spend a lot of time living in the future.We are always waiting for jobs to start, checks to come, content from clients, deadlines loom – always in the future.
And it all runs around as chatter in my mind.What if we don’t get that job?What if the check doesn’t come?What if they don’t like the job we did?All the questions asked over and over again as if the answers will appear merely by repeating the question just one more time.
It’s sort of like opening the refrigerator every time you walk through the kitchen to see if the perfect food (champagne & caviar?) has magically shown up to solve your problems.Unless someone from Vive Clicquot or Petrossain has been wandering through your kitchen unnoticed, it’s probably still leftovers from last night’s dinner.
After listening to Oprah’s live web event with Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth) talk about how we need to get past the whining liturgy, constantly repeated, that takes up most of our mental energy and separates us from being able to experience peace—I was willing to give it a try.
Now let me say that I do meditate (not enough) and have read his previous book The Power of Now but it’s easy for me to forget to do things that will make me feel better because when I am worrying about the future I don’t seem to have time to enjoy the now.
So I sat…still…on my living room couch…with no agenda…with no expectations…listening to the purring cat on my lap.I just sat there and breathed—in and out, aware without naming—of the warmth of my body, the rise and fall of my chest, the soft light of the room.The “what if” questions slowed down, quieted, and stopped.Pretty soon is was just me and peace sitting there together in the present moment.It was bliss.
Right there, right then, everything was perfect.
What I needed was more of this present moment living…
I took off the next day—the first one is what seemed like weeks—and set off with my friend Richard to look at a building in Winsted.It’s an old brick building, long ago abandoned, its use hidden in history.We like unusual buildings, especially old factories, haunted by ghosts of a different time.We talk about what we would do if we owned them, could renovate them, and could make them useful and proud again.We walk around them and make up stories of what might have been and take pictures so that they will be remembered.
When we had our fill of climbing around the building we were long over due for lunch and headed for a little restaurant on the main drag that had great food and a very pleasant atmosphere.Anticipation whetted our appetites and we were disappointed to find out the restaurant had closed and had been replaced by a coffee shop.The coffee shop owner was lovely and suggested a diner and a pizza place they didn’t sound appealing.
I could feel the disappointment mounting and the voice in my head starting to whine.The restaurant was closed, now lunch would be terrible, they wouldn’t have anything I liked, the ladies room would be dirty…we might as well go home… Oh what was I doing!Stop whining… deep breath, deep breath.
We were heading for the door when a customer called out asking us how far we were willing to travel for lunch.
“There is a good place about five miles down the road.” he said.“It’s a tea shop (I love tea) and they have great food (right up my alley) and they have an herb store attached (how interesting).It’s Passiflora.”
“Passiflora!I’ve always wanted to go there!”I turned to Richard.
“I guess we’re going.”He said.
It was easy to find, less than five miles, a beautiful drive, and the minute we walked into the shop, I felt at home.
We sat at the perfect table right near the window.Sunlight streamed in, banishing the chill of the not-quite-spring day.The waitress was cheerful and accommodating, the food was delicious and they brewed tea in a pot just like my British Aunt Dobbin used to do. There were also boxes of angel cards on each table. Angel cards are the new age tarot like decks that give you a spiritual message when you draw a card.
We placed our order and while we were waiting for our meal we opened the boxes of cards and looked at them.Richard held out the deck for me to draw a card.“Guardian Angels” it said were watching over me.Well, I thought, maybe they are.
The place was so pleasant, the window so sunny, I started to be glad that the restaurant had closed (no bad intensions directed toward the previous owner and best wishes for the new coffee shop). How lucky I stopped to take a breath instead of bolting for the door the gentleman could tell us about this place.
Richard ordered a smoothie, which we were told was made by “the smoothie queen”—it certainly seemed like it.The staff was so pleasant and the shake so good, we had to agree.
I ordered peach tea and curried chicken salad. When they arrived the tea was herb tea and I had wanted black tea with peach flavor.Seeing my disappointment waitress whisked it away and brought back a teapot with exactly what I wanted…cheerfully, as if it was the most natural thing in the world to want her customers to be happy.
“It’s a perfect day.” I said picking up the Guardian Angel card to make room for my carrot cake.“We’re surrounded by angels.”
Richard looked up as the waitress set down an amazing piece of apple pie and cup of fresh brewed coffee.
“Speaking of angels…“he said, nodding toward the door.
“The girl has wings.”
I had to laugh; it seemed like the perfect comment on the day.
So spring is here, at least by the calendar, we don’t have to wait for it anymore.Now the trick will be to be present for it, to savor it, to breathe deep and enjoy it.