Posted tagged ‘Cats’


December 5, 2016

(Integrity  –  the quality of being complete or whole, without any missing parts ):


Yeah.  Sometimes you think you can make an improvement by jettisoning the “old things.”      “Let’s do it a new way.”       “Let’s free ourselves from the restrictions of the past.”  

Whoever gave us “whiskers”  didn’t understand the new, improved, modern ways of doing things.

I’m speaking, of course,  of our recent presidential election.

Politics, or “how to get your man elected.”

I frequently hear our  “new and improved, modern-minded”  Progressives talk about our “democracy.”     Democracy this, democracy that.   The Barack Hussein person recently went out visiting other countries in imitation of a final Victory Tour, and everywhere he went he talked about  the American “democracy,”  and what happens in our “democracy.”

Problem is,  the United States of America is NOT a democracy.   Our Founding Fathers were too smart for that.      They knew that any “democracy”  quickly becomes  a “tyranny of the majority,”   so we don’t elect our president by counting  a majority of “democratic votes.”

So they devised the Electoral College.  

It’s as important to us Americans as  —   as whiskers!




September 21, 2013

 You wouldn’t think the ending of a day could present such peace and beauty.


I paused a few evenings ago at twilight,  just standing on my deck,  noticing that the darkening sky created a beautiful shade of blue.   Really, really beautiful – so I ran in and got my camera so I could remember it.

I looked downwards.   The deep blue was reflected in the pond too.


I was thinking about twilight for that day that was ending. . . and endings of everything.

Usually sometime in September I write about how many NEW  things there are:   new season of Fall coming;    new school year;   my birthday gives me a whole new year of life to anticipate;    and I’m usually congratulating my Jewish friends at Rosh Hoshanna, the Jewish New Year.   Beginnings, not endings.

I even took a picture of my deck flowers that evening, trying to stay cheerful and upbeat,  trying to think of “new things” and not “endings and twilights.”


I’m pretty sure I once wrote a big blog posting on all that, but I’ve gone back in the archives for every single September and couldn’t find the one I was looking for.  In fact I didn’t find “new  beginnings at all, but it turns out I unexpectedly  bumped into a lot of life’s twilights.

In glancing over all those September posts,  I found all the “endings”  of my past five years, endings that I didn’t know were so near.   Twilights in my life.

One September I didn’t know that it was Suzy’s last few months of life.  Suzy…my little “companion” who parked herself inside my mind and “bossed” me around, her little mind accompanying me wherever I went, whatever I did.  I am still as lost without her as though I had lost an identical twin.  And I can’t bring myself to post another picture of her.

The next September I didn’t know it was the twilight of my life with Hubbie.  I didn’t know it was his last few months to live.    The ending of so many years together.

By the next September it had been my own father’s last time on earth.

This September I find myself experiencing a kind of “twilight” in my health…It’s the “end” of taking my health for granted, but I’m fighting, and I think I’ll live to fight another twilight later on.

All these endings.

All these twilights.

You’ll have them too.

My blog tells me that this is my 1200th posting here at the Spruce Tunnel today.  I’m not going to say something “philosophical”  like:  “For every ending there is a new beginning.”   Or:  “There has to be an ending to make room for a new beginning.”   Or maybe:   “You can’t make an omelette without bringing some eggs to an end”  !!!

But I know for sure,  you can’t stand outside during a beautiful twilight and not stop and think for a moment about the ending of the day, and then try to find all the beautiful things that were in that day . . .  all the hopes and possibilities that day had . . .  knowing that you did the best you could with that precious gift of time. . . .

Here’s some philosophy:   “Don’t worry about tomorrow;  God is already there.”    You are noticed.   You are loved.

What follows a twilight might be even more peace and beauty.


January 21, 2010

I probably should put up the other two photos I got in the mail with my Mom’s picture.  Here is my Dad nowadays, also 83.   He’s the one behind the guitar in the back row.  They’re playing for a Community Center Christmas dance.  

I’ve seen the dancers…they sure don’t act like they’re in their 80s either.     Aerobic tangos.   Aerobic polkas.   Aerobic two-steps.    Last time hubbie and I were down there in the hyperactive South, we requested a waltz.   Sheeeesh.

Well, no family is complete without one of these.

I can tell it’s my Dad’s house.   Wall to wall guitars and electronics.   And ever-present cats.      Interesting home.

SUZY: MAY 1996 – DEC 2, 2009

December 2, 2009

Shepherd of us all:

Suzy lost her battle with scar tissue and sinus tumor today.   Here she is, today, hunching over, struggling for breath.   Occasionally, she and I panic when she can’t get the air in….

She takes refuge in this down comforter, making tunnels that keep her warm and dark.   Her sore head is deep inside the “tunnel.”

Pretty kitty.   Constant Companion.  

I’ll be back here later….this may take some time….

Deo gratias….for such friendship.


November 18, 2009

The “whole” story is that her first vet a couple months ago really, really did injure her – badly.    He tore cartilage, he ripped ligaments off of muscle, and the scar tissue forming is preventing her left eye from moving.  She is blind, now, in that eye, and her throat and tongue don’t work quite right.

She is now learning how to eat without choking and how to get around with out depth perception.  I don’t know what discomfort she is feeling but my job is to console her, make her feel safe, encourage her to try to eat – and find things that will make her want to eat and drink.    

Soon she will be strong enough to take care of herself.   Right now she is preparing for winter up here in the north.    She tells me every time her timed heating pad turns off.    But if I don’t come quickly enough, I noticed today that she can remedy the problem on her own.

Suzy stuck out an ear for me:

I have great hopes for her future.   Do you know what St. Jude, St. Philomena, and St. Rita all have in common?     So  holy were they here on earth, that they are now known to intercede successfully for those who can hardly overcome feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.  

Suzy is part of the “natural world”  – that natural world that awaits its own redemption, according to St.Paul in Romans.     No living thing in the natural world is too small for Our Dear Lord.    Not even a sparrow that is falling.


October 5, 2009

Suzy Under

We’ve found a Safe Place to get better in.    (The little black lump under the bedside table.)

The little stinker STOPPED eating on Friday and we spent three days trying to get an ounce or two of water and broth down her for the next three days.   It’s all those stitches in her mouth.    I was reluctant to call the vet on a weekend  but wishful thinking and praying got ME through the weekend all right enough.   

Suddenly, this morning, after unsuccessful attempts with water, chicken broth, chicken baby food,  things I could get into her before, out of desperation, I opened an old, old can of something beef flavored and took out the juice.  

That did it.   She sucked down the juices – by herself, mind you – like some pathetic victim of starvation.   Serving after serving.     I gave her a rest and ran to the store for more beef.  Noontime brought about FIVE helpings of this slippery, semi-thick beef juice they add to the cat food cans.   

She’s sleeping it off now.

My husband says, Remember when you used to cook all my favorite foods to get me to eat and I just couldn’t?   (He had severe heart failure then, uncontrolled.)   He said he “felt sorry for me” trying to cook up dishes he would possibly like.   He tried them, but after two bites, he couldn’t eat.   So he can relate to Suzy’s (possibly temporary)  anorexia.

If you go by my cooking, I like them equally well.

: )


September 26, 2009

Cloud  PeopleThere is blue sky again, filled with many, many things.   Yesterday it was many brilliant little clouds, which I photographed.    It’s an image that I hope I’ll always carry with me, reminding me of the many “clouds of witnesses”  (Hebrews 12:1)  that we have around us all the time.   

And in the past 2,000 years and probably before that, we’ve been taught that there is a common link of love and concern between them and us, between the saints and angels in heaven and the people here on earth.

Yesterday, when I took that picture,  it was the longest afternoon I can ever remember having.   Suzy was “in surgery.”  It was supposed to take about an hour or an hour and a half.    And then they would call me to tell me “how it went.”   

“How it went” for a tiny undernourished, very sick little cat who didn’t have a whole lot of reserves for an operation.     Three hours went by and I was no longer optimistic.   The owners of the roofing company, our Banging Company for the week, came by to inspect their crews’ work.    Nice, nice people.  Animal lovers too.  They said I should call the vet to ask “how it went.”

But I couldn’t.    3:00 went by.   3:30.  3:45.  4:00.  4:15.   And then – the dreaded phone call.    “Mrs. R., we’re done with Suzy.   It was a three-hour operation.  We’re giving her oxygen now, and she should wake up soon…”       Only with supreme effort could I squawk out some responses and hear that I should come about 5:00 to “take her home.”   

This is a normal day for most people.  This is a normal day for most people.  This is a normal day for most people.   I could even stop to pick up some “milk” at the store on the way…This is just a normal day.   (We don’t drink milk.)

*          *          *           *          *          *

Suzy Hiding   SEVEN TOOTH EXTRACTIONS  and assorted root canals.    Suzy spends the day trying out hidden places in one bedroom.   I am in there as much as possible – and she comes to me and stays on my lap for a short time.   I try to feed her water or thin chicken-y food with a syringe, but so far she is resisting anything in her mouth.      I don’t blame her.

I’m looking for progress every few hours.  Suzy came to me at the lowest point in my life and indeed ties me to this world;  my life is tied to hers, and her crisis is a time for me to learn.  It’s my time at the Adoration Chapel tonight.  I have much to sort out, many lessons to absorb, many thanks to give,  one of which is gratitude for having access to the Chapel itself.   

And I’m moving out of this phase of my life.  I am responsible for many people now, and it’s no longer “about me.”     Time is so short.    There is a Mack truck bearing down on all of us, and I hope to help people be ready.   

Little things are being taken care of:Roof larger section

The roof is done, and it looks nice.   

It’s time to take care of the “major things”   now that the sun has come out again and the world above us is surely filled with beautiful things.    

(Note to self:   St. Therese of Lesieux said to be so sure of eternity and heavenly glory that this world fades in importance.  When it gets dark again here on earth, it will still be glory where God is.)


September 24, 2009

Here is the little patient today, after a tiring syringe of water:   Suzy yellow towel

Every care is taken.     I’m learning the meaning of “cherish,”   which I have tossed around almost casually in my classes.    

After the antibiotics and the pain medication and some comforting pheromones, she is doing much better.

All God’s creatures have troubles.   And sometimes troubles pile upon troubles.    Suzy should have peace and rest….but this is our house this week:   Rooftop bangs straight on

The Patience of a Cat.   It’s really true.  She is a study in patient acceptance of whatever comes her way.     My teeth are on edge from the constant banging above our ceiling….but mostly I’m on edge because I’m worried how this will affect Suzy.     I shouldn’t have worried.    She’s listening, but she’s okay.   Life goes on – in spite of all the bangs.

And so –  I have decided NOT to cancel class tonight.     A thousand “what-ifs” will keep me home, but one act of entrusting them all to Our Dear Lord will send me out.

Our lesson is wonderful tonight, anyway.  I’m hoping God will step in where I am inadequate to teach this.      Mark 6:53-56 sets the scene.   It’s sort of like “Black Thursday” – you know, the day after Thanksgiving at the shopping malls.

Jesus left the Glories of Heaven, His “Ivory Palaces” as the wonderful hymn tells us;   He had just fed the 5,000 and made sure there were Twelve Baskets left over to feed His people –  and THEN He shows us why they need to be fed.    But  He lets His people demonstrate their need in Mark 7:1-13 and then He teaches them to step onto the right pathway in Mark 7:14-23.         Real life lessons.

Next week, the very next passage takes us to the wonderful truth that this God-in-our-Hearts is for the whole world, not just the Jews!

And that is why this long section of Mark is bracketed by two miraculous feedings, the first  with 12 baskets left over and the second with 7 baskets left over.   The first, 12 Tribes of Israel and 12 Apostles indicates “who” can be fed.     The second, 7 Baskets, or  the 7 Sacraments, indicating the “how” and “where” we get fed with  spiritual food which gives us eternal life.

I want to go to class for this part of the Bible.


September 19, 2009

My usual morning greeting:

Cat Morning Cartoon



Except I’m not a guy.


And except this is really what I normally see:   Suzy Alarm Clock lighter

It’s hard to see those big eyes amidst the black fur, but she really does stare me awake.  I’m assuming there are “hearts” all around in there too, like the cartoon.

But we have a problem now.

We spent the last two night walking around with a really bad kitty toothache.   She’s a very small cat and has already lost a good percentage of her body weight….She has seen her vet;   she has surgery set for next week.   But she hasn’t eaten or drank anything for many days.

"not feeling so good"

"not feeling so good"

I may have to take her in for some subcutaneous water delivery today.  

If she were a human child, I could relate;  I could comfort;   I could rationalize.    But this little one doesn’t deserve so much pain and I can’t relate and I can’t comfort….and I can’t think much of anything else…

St. Francis of Assisi loved animals….please?


Subsequent postings may be short….nothing like pain and fear to focus one’s attention.


August 15, 2009

I am, that is.   She’s smarter than I am.

Suzy TuckI figured, after a heavily-burdened week or two, I’d better take care of the physical body.   Pretty sure some Comfort Food would be a good idea.

But I forgot the melted butter on the mashed potatoes and Suzy licked all my gravy and tucked herself into a nice soft quilt.

She already knew what to do about Comfort.


June 9, 2009

The Wake-Up Call is NOT gentle. . .

Suzy in the AM

AAAAARGHHHH!     That’s the FIRST thing I see in the morning.    (Nothing in the morning is “gentle” for me, but, even with that look in her eye, I know Suzy is showing enormous restraint – and gentleness with me.)

All day long there are things a cat must do.   Unfortunately for me, a cat like Suzy needs to do them  in the presence of her human “servant.”    Every so often throughout the day (and the night, truth be told) when I’m very busy and concentrating on something, I feel the very gentle touch of a cat’s paw.    It’s like a velvet feather landing on an ankle or a leg or an elbow or an arm.   Whatever is convenient.   

And I respond.   I respond, because if I don’t, I get another touch, a little firmer this time.   I could keep ignoring such a thing, but it will eventually escalate into a little nip….gentle at first.

The PAW is ever ready

The PAW is ever ready

But the main reason I respond is that at that first touch I know I have already missed sensing her attention.   And I have missed sensing her intention.   And further on in time, I’ve missed sensing the urgency in her mind.    By the time I am touched with that soft cat’s paw, the need is urgent indeed, and yet, it is a gentle contact.   

I marvel at this sometimes.   With a different personality, Suzy could go directly from:  “Dumb lady won’t look at me”  to “I’ll just have to pick up her arm with my teeth – now!”

But she doesn’t do that.    I can learn from this.    The people around me are busy with their own tasks and thoughts and feelings too.     It is unlikely they know what I want.     Whether I need to tell them something or get them to do something or teach something,  the best approach is a gentle feathery touch onto another person’s attention.    As many times as it takes.   

 Gentleness and Meekness are related, and even though Meekness is one of the Seven Virtues a Christian needs to learn and cultivate, it is hard for us Americans to really understand what Meekness is.     

You see, “meekness”   means you could  be quite blunt and direct about things.  You are strong and you are right and you need to get things said and done,  but you hold back  for the sake of the other person next to you.    You restrain yourself and treat the person with gentleness, because that person is loved very, very much by God.    

  Hold back, calm down, take a deep breath, and smile.    Let the urgency fade a bit.  A gentle touch makes a big impact!




April 1, 2009


Even if you don’t have the language that Roman and Western Civilization was founded upon, and even if you don’t have the official language of the Christian Church, you will still recognize the meaning of that saying,  post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Here’s what it means:   Miss Suzy the Regulator has found a new patch of sunlight that “regularly” appears on the bedroom floor, now that Spring is here.

But today is a windy, partly cloudy day.     This is not easily understood.   Sometimes sunlight is not where it should be.

suzy-in-patch-thanksGo get Mom.   Mom sits on the floor near the patch.  She pets and comforts the kitty. The sunlight returns.   Kitty rubs and kisses and thanks the skirt of the Mom who made the sunlight come back.


Mom comes;  sunlight returns.   Mom comes;  therefore sunlight returns.   After “mom,” therefore because of Mom.   (post hoc ergo propter hoc — “hoc” being the Mom in this case.)

I can’t explain this to her.  It’s going to be a frustrating afternoon trying to locate the sunshine every time it goes behind the clouds.

We know that sometimes, things don’t happen because of something else.  And sometimes they do.

Easter followed centuries after the first Passover.  because Passover “causes” Easter.  Or more accurately, more truthfully, Easter caused Passover.  Redemption was in the Mind of God before the foundations of the world were laid.

Cat Ball – With Appendages

March 24, 2009


Cat ball.




Cat ball with appendages.


She heard me.   I got an ear and a leg.    She might be deep into her power nap, but I’m never far from her mind.   A gentle presence is all she needed.   She’s not going to stop what she’s doing, but that’s okay.   She had a hard day, and I just wanted her to know I’m near.

God comes to us like that, a gentle Presence, just so we know He’s near.   He usually won’t break into our lives or break us just to “make” us do His will.   Isaiah 42:3 – “The bruised reed He shall not break;  the smoking flax He shall not quench.  He shall bring forth judgment according to truth.”

He’ll gently tell us what He wishes to  bring forth in our lives.   All He wants is an ear and a leg . . .

Suzy knows this.




March 21, 2009



I’ve never paid much attention to how the light changes in our home from season to season, but this bright bar of light caught my attention yesterday.  It was not there before, but it is there now because of the recent time change and because of the change of season.   Those two changes brought this beautiful light into our home.

I keep working over in my mind the two concepts of light and change.

Change can bring less light, of course.   But fundamentally, for Christians,  Christ is our Light.   Every Sunday, before we leave church, the Last Gospel is read to us and we hear these words:   “In Him was life and the life was the Light of men. . .That was the True Light which enlightens every man that comes into the world….”   (John 1:4…9)

So for a Christian, to live is to live in that Light and to grow and change and become more and more spiritually conformed to the Light Who is Christ.   And, for a Christian, to die is to change from living here in semi-darkness to being welcomed into the fullness of Light.  (As we hope for our friend who died this week.)

suzy-furball-gatheringSuzy has an instinct for these things.  We’ve just spent a frustrating few days this week as she led me from room to room asking me if I’d put the sunshine back in the places where she expected it to be.  She spent an hour one day looking pathetic and abused, sitting in a tiny patch of sunlight which mostly extended at an angle under the bed.  Well, she found some here in this photo (which also illustrates where those  inevitable hairballs come from. )    Light is important to her.

Today our Faith directs us to remember and learn from St. Benedict.  It is the anniversary of his “change” into the realm of Light.   He was the servant of Christ and great mind who even the secular historians credit with laying the foundations for Western Civilization in Europe – based upon Christian principles.  Many people still read daily his prescriptions for living a life of faith and common sense and balance which will best foster our spiritual growth.  

Somewhere in his Rule 4 he tells us to “keep death daily before our eyes”  and the measure of our preparedness for death is the measure of our openness to change.  We sometimes fear change because we are really fearing our readiness for death.  There is much more wisdom there, but enough here.   His Rule is freely available on the Internet for anyone interested to learn from him.

Living is change.   Death is a change.    Just be sure to follow the Light as we change.


March 17, 2009


In search of more greenery,  Suzy wears a green shamrock necklace in honor of St. Patrick, who found his own “spruce tunnel” of solitude among the misty skies and green rolling hills of  the Emerald Isle.

St. Patrick did not go in search of these green hills.   In fact, as a young man of 16 years he was captured and thrust rather abruptly  into Ireland.   Coming from a fairly well-off life of  the young heir of a noble and Christian family of Britain,  he was enslaved by pagan Irish warriors and sent to tend the flocks of his new master in County Antrim (today), Ireland.

With no companionship, little food, little shelter, little comfort, he spent years by himself tending  the sheep.     Six years alone.

And yet – not alone.   Here are his own words, written after this experience:  “. . .the love of God and of His fear increased in me more and more, and the spirit was aroused, so that in a single day I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same, so that whilst in the woods or on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer and felt no hurt from it, whether there was snow or ice or rain;  nor was there any slothfulness in me as I see now, because the spirit was then fervent in me.”

The great saint saw “slothfulness” in himself while he worked so hard in his later years as missionary, combating the errors of Pelagius in England with his great intellect and converting the Druids to Christianity, writing, organizing, civiliizing , educating the Irish chieftans and their people?


Here is Suzy being “slothful.”   Or maybe just warming herself over the heat vent, contemplating peacefully.   This is an activity that produced the fervency of spirit that St. Patick wrote of, that strengthened his faith and prepared him for his coming fruitful life.

I think it is a necessary activity for everyone who claims to have faith in God and to know Him.    It is only in silence, rest, and contemplation that we can allow God to teach us the sense of our lives and to prepare us for what He has planned for us in the time He will yet give us.

Thanks, Suze, for your reminder; this is what formed the faith and joy of St. Patrick too.  Happy was St. Patrick!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

(Information about St. Patrick from his “Confessio”  as quoted in the Catholic encyclopedia, volume 11, 1913)


March 10, 2009


This is the first thing I see on most mornings.

If you can’t make it out, I have a hard time making it out in the morning too, but it is the beautiful profile of Suzy the Regulator. Oh, yes, it’s her duty to keep us well-regulated, neat and orderly, and above all, on schedule.

It takes me a while to call her “beautiful” in the morning.

I have never been a Morning Person. I know that can be a lame excuse; it can be. But after a quite a few decades of experience, I know beyond a doubt that it is physiological.

After years of “practice” getting up early for all the years of schooling and after getting up early for all the years of teaching and of “jobs outside of the family” — you never “get used to it.”     There is “discipline” but there is not change.    Assisting at Prime is about as disciplined as I can get.

I know I’m far more productive the way I am. I don’t have a mid-morning slump. I never have the need for a mid-afternoon nap. I never have an early evening winding down. A graph of my daily activity looks like a slow, gentle climb upwards – all day long and far into the night, where I lie down because it’s the decent thing to do at one or two in the morning.

Which brings us quickly to the above photo. At the first lying down in the early morning hours, there is a gentle massaging of my collar bone, neck, chin, ears…whatever is ticklish and sensitive. Kitty love. A few hours later, the process is repeated, I think, with claws included this time. And wet spots on the chin, ears, neck, and cheekbones. That’s my impression anyway; I’m not quite awake.

Then after a few “huffs” of disgust and when all is still and quiet again, I awaken to a gentle weight, roughly distributed between clavicle and sternum, about the weight of a bag of flour. Not too bad really. Breathing is possible.

And when I finally open my eyes, the above photo is what I see – on one of these gentle mornings.   I am gifted with friendship, and the morning isn’t quite so bad anymore.

Deo gratias.