I don’t know how I can ever acknowledge what a joy it has been to have Nigel and Angela in my life. I feel so very blessed. My son and I drove up to Tuscany on Thursday night to enjoy the fruits that came of Nigel’s new pizza stone and his own creativity. As I reflect on my previous posting about ‘good grief’, I have to add to the litany of helpful steps I have taken to journey grief, that the sharing of food and sitting down to the feast table with family and friends, has been invaluable.
Nigel’s close friend, Bassam, was in the circle, as was Angela’s mother, Michele. And let us not forget the most beautiful, Mr. Jones, the cat with the amazing eyes! Conversation and laughter are two very important components to healing. It’s really easy for me to disconnect and more often than not, it takes other people to organize ‘outings’. Just for now, I’m guessing.
I’m including, here, a photo journal of Nigel’s pizza and Angela’s cherry pie…the culinary experience was exceedingly scrumptious. The sharing of time, was so much more.
I’ve put in a request for the dough recipe…apparently, this one has been perfected.
Olive Oil, Romano Cheese and Ground Pepper
Next…Mozzarella Cheese, Home Made Tomato Sauce, Blue Cheese and Pear
At this point, the lattice was being constructed for the cherry pie…nummy!
A moment for a selfie…
Prosciutto, Homemade Tomato sauce, Mozzarella and Olives.
Such a great send off…a filling made from B.C. cherries and a lovely rich pastry! Thank you, Angela!
In 2007 I met one of the most gracious and fun-loving women of my life. There was a huge context there and quite a history, but as of today, we jokingly share that we met in rehabilitation.
My readers will know that I lost my beautiful cat, Peanut Meister, this past year…well, I had to go and visit with Kirsten to get my fill of cat loving and at the same time, eat my belly full of beautiful white chocolate and berry scone!
We shared updates and laughs and took photos of Zebbie and Mitz from every angle, while sipping a home brewed latte flavoured with just a wee bit of vanilla. YUM! It was an awesome start to my day. Thanks, dear Ya Ya!
I am now going to wade through the kazillion photographs of these precious siblings and post a small selection here. I also want you to notice what I was willing to do in order to capture these photo moments. Zebbie is the one who looks somewhat like a zebra because of the markings down her back. Mitz (not to be confused with Mitts) is a chill sort of guy…totally different demeanor as compared to his sister. My purple winter coat became a fascination to both cats, but especially Zebbie.
First… one of the crazy cat ladies. (Because the other one doesn’t like her photograph taken. I am true to my word with people like this.)
(Anything for a picture of Mitz)
Here’s the cat lady who shall remain out of photographs (for the most part).
And here just a couple of the little sweethearts. It’s easy to see why cat videos and cat books are the norm these days. They just put a smile on your face.
Mitz…and in the case that you didn’t get a good look at that black marking under his chin, he will give you a better look.
Can you see it now?
Zebbie just loved the purple coat.
I see you.
Oh, Go Away!
You’re annoying me!
We were thinking you might leave this coat behind.
I had a great morning. Filled up with friendship, good food, good conversation and two beautiful cats, I headed home to my adoring canine, Max. The weather was so beautiful…it was time to play!
My readers knew that my beautiful tabby, Peanut Meister, was sick. I wrote a cat story as I struggled with his health, visits to Dr. Marty and possible outcomes. In the end, Peanut became very sick here at home (I will spare my readers the details) and after observing a list of observable symptoms, I knew that Peanut was struggling. Thirty six hours later and before our Thanksgiving weekend, I made the difficult decision to ‘send him to heaven’, as Dr. Marty puts it. As you likely would guess from my writing and approach to nature and life, I am not in support of the death penalty, abortion or euthanasia…personal views of mine alone. So, when it comes to the decision to have a beloved pet ‘put down’, the decision comes with huge struggle and laboured consideration. It’s a time when it would be great to have a partner to support or argue my decision(s). But, more and more, I realize that decisions have to be my own and I have to make them with my own sense of right or wrong.
Where Peanut was concerned, my daughter informed me that we could have our vet make a house call. This was something I did not know and in a very short time, on that horrible Friday, Dr. Jennifer Hewitt and her beautiful assistant, came to our home. I am grateful for the respect and compassion that were shown to our family on that day. And while it was another very sad time in my life, I felt cared for and felt that Peanut was genuinely cared for in his final hour. Thanks also, to Dr. Martin Lovo, who always cares for my pets with a big heart and to Amanda who is the very best on the front lines.
We are all faced with difficult decisions, every day. I’ve just shared one of mine. Peanut, along with Laurie-dog, Edgar and Piper, before him, will remain in my heart and in the heart of my family forever. As one of our pet-family, he brought 15 years of joy and fun into our lives. Thank you to McKenzie Towne Animal Clinic, under the Horizon Veterinary Group.
This week was a tough one, for a whole lot of reasons…but this is one that I can write about. We adopted Peanut from the Calgary Humane Society when he had been there for weeks and was scheduled to be put down, along with his sister who was sleeping in a corner of their shared cage. Ironically, I was drawn to an old tabby (looked much as Peanut looks now) who was curled up in his small kennel space, quite peaceful…a tabby that had found his way into this situation when his forever-mother had passed away.
My daughter had other ideas. That day we met Peanut, a seven week old tabby who was literally climbing the walls of his cage and crying out to my daughter, Cayley…”PICK ME! PICK ME!” I walked Cayley over to the older boy and said, “Look! We need to save this beautiful boy!” Her head was cranked over her shoulder and obviously making eye contact with this crying baby, literally dangling from the cage by his claws. He had chosen her.
There was no way that I was leaving the building, without him. That’s what happens when you visit a place that harbours lost and forgotten pets; your heart strings require a decision of you. And so, you leave with your arms filled with love, a forever-love.
We picked him.
That was in July of 1999. As I look at his adoption contract, I notice that we listed as his date of birth, May 8, 1999, my birthday. He was scheduled to be euthanized, along with his sister, 7 days from his adoption date. Our Peanut is now 15 years old and at times, experiencing survivor’s guilt, as are we. Often we have been challenged about leaving his sister back at the Calgary Humane Society on that day, so long ago.
Peanut has been with us through so many of our personal struggles, heart aches and joys. He is family. Our dear border collie, Laurie-dog, took him under his wing and Peanut learned to groom his dog-friend regularly and rarely did they sleep alone.
As a kitten and young cat, he spent much of his recreational time finding and then hiding in plastic bags and pop boxes. Even when his body had outgrown his mind, he nested in the funniest places. Peanut has given us much to laugh about when we take ourselves too seriously and he is the go-to guy to pick up and curl into hurting arms when sobbing begins over illness, loss or hopelessness.
A part of every celebration, Peanut has never been any sort of problem or demanded anything from us. He is flopped on his basket chair where he can watch the action at the bird feeder or curled on his red couch while family is hanging about. When his dearest friend Laurie-dog passed, he lost his greatest companion, but at the arrival of Max Man, he quickly re-assigned his loyalty to this crazy boy, that, in no way, demonstrated the same calm as Laurie did.
I wrapped Peanut in a bath towel and deposited him in a Soby’s re-usable bag a couple of weeks ago and took him over to Doctor Marty on High Street in McKenzie Towne. Dr. Marty has been taking care of our boys for years. I had asked for a geriatric exam for Peanut because I felt, in my bones, that things just weren’t right. For a short few days, I agonized that we were losing our Peanut Butter (immediately, right now, this moment) and could hardly breath for the remembrance of losing Piper, Edgar and Laurie-dog.
These pets become a part of us, our families and in some way, our identities. Doctor Marty, in his compassionate and knowledgeable way, gave me confidence in his diagnosis process and in his treatment. He also assured me that he would give me the knowledge to recognize whether or not Peanut is feeling unwell, discomfort or pain. In the end, Peanut has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism (on the day of his initial exam his heart beat was sitting at 210). With follow up care, I will have to diligently monitor for the onset of kidney failure. Presently, my sweet man is being treated with medication every twelve hours and I am hopeful that this will give us more quality time. Thank you, Marty, Jennifer and Amanda.
So, why am I writing? Morning coffee always tastes better with writing. Also, I wanted to write my love and gratitude…for what it means to be a pet owner. Owning an animal that requires our care and concern, takes us out of our selfish place, at a very personal level. There are lessons to be learned in caring for a pet that we can apply to our larger lives. We must be vigilant in our concern for how animals are treated because it is a reflection of how we treat one another.
My beautiful niece placed the body of a wee sparrow into a pink tissue lined box for me today. Winter has hit all things hard. It causes me to feel self-absorbed. The idea of writing poetry comes to mind as I listen to Joe Nolan music, again tonight.
On my bedroom floor, sorted little piles of bric-a-brac that I think I might ‘deal with’ in one way or another, but each object causes me reflection and instead of pitching or placing, the story becomes too precious for parting and so I move onto the next object. I love my mother and I miss her.
I wondered today how I could save all of the animals. I am in awe of the challenges that nature sets upon the little beasts and the big ones, also. I feel like one of the big beasts today. It will pass and tomorrow the alarm will ring and another day will spin. God be with you in your lives.
Max has fleas. I’m tired of doing laundry. I sawed, with a hand saw, two branches off May, weighted down and broken from the snow. I picked all my tomatoes in the dark. Peanut is sixteen years old and struggling.
Chili is cooking on the stove, making the house smell good. Max is bathed and soft as can be. Peanut is curled up and sleeping on the red couch. The tomatoes are in a popcorn bowl in the kitchen.
Early morning was magical. Max and I took a stroll of the neighbourhood…checked out the recent blooms and took our time honouring the beauty of the quiet and the light spilling over everything. The magpie babes are growing in independence, three of them at one point, lined up on a garden fence squawking at us. Even as we stood still, they stared us down and in tandem, belted out their annoyance with us. Their tail feathers are growing longer.
At our own nest, the first siting of at least two young ones. They bopped their heads out of the nest to meet the offerings of Mrs. She astutely pushed them deeper into the nest again and again.
A cat was sitting boldly on our front door step, but Max quickly took care of that. The neighbourhood is alive with energy, struggle and beauty. Life is a marvelous thing.
(by 2 in the afternoon, I had seen a line up of two fledglings being fed by both Mr. & Mrs, but only caught two at any time in photographs)
It felt cozy in the studio while listening to Dave Matthew’s Band on the stereo. It’s always wonderful to be in that space when it’s grey outside. It just feels so warm and bright. I noticed before I began my sanding that the birds were in a bit of a frenzy at the feeder. I wanted to belt out a warning to them. The neighbour across the way has an ‘outdoor cat’. I woke this morning to watch as the cat pitched a bird up in the air over and over again, batting it viciously and then tossing it again, over and over until it lay lifeless…the cat walked away…its owner, in bathrobe, sipped from a Tim Horton’s cup and smoked a cigarette while watching. Seems like torture to me. She was probably saying to herself, “This is what it’s like in nature.”
I kept from talking to her about it. I try not to razz the neighbours. I also had to change my mindset. I remembered Mom and Dad singing this one in the station wagon. We all laughed about the ‘wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside ‘er’ part…guess it’s the lighter side of the predator story.
Back to the birds…they seemed to be getting a good feed before the storm!
I heard a chickadee in the tree, but of course the little thing had to wait for the sparrows to fly off in unison at the bark of my dog and then it had its chance.
All this activity happening at the front of the house, I went out to the studio to get some stripping and sanding done.
Grey clouds were gathering, but the studio looked welcoming and the music was set to playing.
Good physical work, music and a glass of fizzy ice water…a perfect combination for time well-spent!
I came inside to find my ‘indoor cat’ jumping off the red couch to greet me. Life is good.
The fat cat on the mat
may seem to dream
of nice mice that suffice
for him, or cream;
but he free, maybe,
walks in thought
unbowed, proud, where loud
roared and fought
his kin, lean and slim,
or deep in den
in the East feasted on beasts
and tender men.
The giant lion with iron
claw in paw,
and huge ruthless tooth
in gory jaw;
the pard,[note 1] dark-starred,
fleet upon feet,
that oft soft from aloft
leaps on his meat
where woods loom in gloom–
far now they be,
fierce and free,
and tamed is he;
but fat cat on the mat
kept as a pet,
he does not forget.
My readers don’t truly believe that the cat is here, do you? You are also wondering how I can possibly keyboard and write while a Peanut-Meister is curled up in my arms. I will publish proof…not staged. As I’ve been reading some remarkable and entertaining novels lately, it is sometimes a thin line, that line between what’s ‘real’ and what is fiction. From where you sit, you may never believe that the cat is here, but in the case that you don’t… right off the bat, I want to leave you with an image. This will cause you to doubt yourselves.
I pressed the PUBLISH button for the entry, Write On, and Peanut glared at me.
I’m less enthusiastic about blogging lately. It goes like that. However, this evening it’s spitting rain…it’s grey. There is no looking, no matter the desire to do so, at the transit of Venus across the sun. We can only pretend that the sun is there. My cat is cradled in my arms, just slightly in front of the keyboard…purring. I’ve poured a glass of red and I’m sipping. Skype is turned on and I anticipate a call from my Mom and Dad but; presently, they are off line. I consider the placement of the comma before the word ‘presently’, having removed it from ‘before the word but’. And now I question the apostophes around (before the word but). I’m in a writing/editing mood. Writing is like a good word puzzle…great entertainment.
I’ve just eaten a pork chop and spinach and feel so contented. The hail storms and thunder storms pounded the landscape last night and there are threats of the same tonight. I worked in the garden, but now am pleasantly comfortable in pyjamas, with my cat. I’ve three books on the go…but don’t want to pick one of them up right now. So, I’m going to write. Move-pen-move. Much has happened recently and it is good to sandwich these moments between a keyboard and a monitor and spew the sandwich out to the universe for much of time, whatever that is. Some days I just like to ‘chill’ with words. Write on! So, here we go.
I know! I paid the deposit, but I really should have returned that folk festival plate!