Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Icon"The Pharisee and the Tax Collector", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

Today's Gospel is one of my favourites -- the story of the Pharisee and Publican (tax collector) who went up to the temple to pray.

This is such a powerful story told by Our Lord. So, even though I am pretty sure I have used this icon previously, I wanted to use it again just so that I could say a few words about what this story (and the drawing) mean to me.


First of all, let me comment on the "icon".  This is, obviously, not a traditional icon as it includes the Scripture passage written across the drawing itself.  Rather, this is a drawing I did after looking at a number of different drawings and icons portraying this story from St. Luke's Gospel.  I felt that this was the only way that I could portray this incident and do it justice.


Now, as to why I am so drawn to this story.  It's because it was this story that enabled me, by God's grace, to finally begin to really understand that I am always a sinner in need of God's mercy and forgiveness.  Apart from Him, I have nothing, I can do nothing, I am nothing.


For many years during my journey with the Lord, I kept having a lot of trouble with the idea that I was a sinner.  I mean I knew I committed sins -- these were the things I repented of when I went to Confession -- but, deep down, I really thought of myself as better than a lot of people because I was not committing any of those grave or serious sins that I so often saw others committing.  My sins, for the most part, I considered to be not too serious and, therefore, I assumed that God must be pretty pleased with me!


I really was too much like the Pharisee in what I thought about myself and my relationship to God and others.  It took a profound moment of grace for God to finally let me see just how much of a sinner I really am.  In that moment, I saw all the pride, the arrogance, the self-love, the envy, the jealousy and other vices that actually resided in my inmost being.  I remember being so overwhelmed by my unworthiness before the goodness of God that all I could do was cry out, just like the tax collector, "Lord, have mercy on me a sinner."


Sadly, I find that it is an ongoing struggle for me to remember each day that I am a sinner in need of mercy.  What was the original sin that caused the fall of humankind?  The desire to "be like God".  I find that only by taking the words of the tax collector deeply into my heart can I remember, daily, that I, too, like all the rest of mankind, am a sinner in need of mercy.


So often the so-called "Jesus Prayer" comes to my mind.  It is based largely on this passage and goes:  "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."  In the eastern Churches, especially among those in religious life, you find people who pray this prayer over and over again until it finally settles into their hearts and their very breathing repeats these words throughout the day and even when they are sleeping.  


"But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'"  Luke 18:13



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ART SHOW 


Do you recall my telling you about my artist friend, Rose Marie?  I have posted notices of art shows she was participating in previously in my blog.  As well, I have posted some of her paintings.  You may recall her painting of an Arbutus tree of which I am so fond. It has been sold as well as the more recent painting shown below.

Anyway, Rose Marie and other art instructors from Beaux Arts Brampton are having an art show starting today and running until November 2, 2013.  If you live in the Greater Toronto Area and are thinking about taking an art course, then this would be a great opportunity to see the actual work of the instructor before signing up.  I have found over the years that we often sense a kindred spirit when observing the output of any creative person.

If you are interested, go to www.beaux-artsbrampton.com and get the details.  


Poster for an art show in which my art instructor friend is participating.  
It starts today, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013



My friend with a painting of hers that recently won an award -- before being sold!




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SUKI AND SALLIE

Suki pauses mid-bath in order to look closely
at my wiggling finger!  I was using my wiggly
finger to try to get her to look up!
Suki has had a very difficult week!

When Joycelyn arrived on Monday morning of this past week, I informed her that I had decided that the living room furniture needed to be re-arranged so that certain items could be moved from the bedroom into the living room area.  The reason behind this decision was simply that the bedroom was too crowded and it was beginning to really bother me.

So, after some discussion about the best place to put everything, we begin the process.  Suki was, fortunately, resting in her crow's nest bed at this point so she, bed and all, only had to be moved slightly during the re-arranging.  However, it was easy to see that she was rather upset and unsure about what exactly was happening.

After a few hours, Joycelyn and I had everything in place and had just sat down for a moment to admire our handiwork.  At this point, I heard Suki give a mournful meow and I said to Joycelyn: "Oh, no, here comes trouble!"

Indeed, here came Suki -- more distressed than ever -- sniffing, looking, meowing and then sniffing, looking and meowing some more! 

The meowing continued, along with the sniffing, as she got up on and off of each piece of furniture.  I knew that it was going to be difficult for her to accept so many changes at once so, after a few minutes, I picked her up, put her in my lap and begin to scratch her chin in the way she loves.  I talked softly to her about what had happened as I continued to scratch her chin and her ears.  Slowly, she begin to settle down a bit, beginning to purr in spite of herself.

After a while, though, I knew that she needed to continue her investigation and so I encouraged her to get up and start sniffing and looking again.  She did so, but this time she did not appear to be quite so frantic and, thankfully, there were no more mournful meows.  

A couple of hours passed before Suki was able to settle down once again and rest.  She had not asked for food for quite a while so I knew that she must still be rather upset.  It wasn't until about supper time that she seemed to start behaving a bit more normally.  She was hungry and finally asked to be fed.  

After eating, she was able to settle down in one of her favourite living room chairs, give herself a good after-dinner bath and begin her evening napping.  The TV was now in the living room so I stayed there as well watching a couple of programs.  Every so often Suki awoke and checked to see if I was still nearby.  When she saw that I was, she closed her eyes again and went back to sleep.

Thankfully, by bedtime, Suki seemed almost back to normal.  Since the bedroom was relatively unchanged (except for the removal of the TV and the recliner), she was able to settle into her usual bedtime routine and in no time at all, we were both sound asleep.  

The following morning found Suki still a bit agitated and spending a lot of extra time checking out the location of various pieces of furniture. Gradually, as the day progressed, she seemed to forget about the changes and by late in the day, she appeared to be almost back to normal.  This conclusion, however, proved to be untrue.  

Instead, this process repeated itself each day for about the next 3 or 4 days.  She begin each morning appearing rather agitated and concerned about the changes in her environment, but, as the day passed, she would settle down again.  

Finally, on Friday morning, I noticed that she simply went about her usual business without any extra sniffing or meowing or such behaviours.  This has been true of the past two mornings as well so, at last, it seems that she has accepted the changes and is comfortable in her home once again.  Truly, cat do not like for things in their world to be changed!   

As for me, there is, once again, very little news to report.

I did have a doctor's appointment this past week, but it was just to discuss possible changes in my regular medication and to get new prescriptions for those that had run out of repeats.

There may be an issue brewing, but I am still uncertain as to whether it is actually a problem or if it is simply my own fear acting as a self-fulfilling prophecy!  Let me explain...

I think my sleep attacks may be becoming less well controlled once again.  This thought is frightening and rather distressing so I am trying to tell myself that it is just my imagination -- or that perhaps I haven't been sleeping as well lately and so that is all that is really going on.  However, since I did find that the first medication I tried worked well for a while, but then became ineffective, I guess I have a legitimate reason to be concerned that possibly the same thing could be happening again.

Only time will tell.  Meanwhile, I am trying not to let myself worry. I am also being extra cautious about standing without holding onto something when I am feeling tired.  And, if I feel extremely sleepy all of a sudden, I am trying to make myself just go and sit down and wait until the feeling passes before continuing with my regular activities.

I have an appointment with the sleep specialist at St. Mike's coming up in November some time.  I will be able to discuss my concerns with him at that time if the problems persist.  Meanwhile, I would ask for your prayers that I may stay safe, not have any bad falls and, most of all, trust God to take care of me no matter what happens!

Let us pray that we may all learn to trust in the Providence of God. This will truly enable us to know that peace which passes human understanding.


Pax vobis


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Cape Primrose

"Streptocarpella saxorum, Cape Primrose", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

A popular house plant, Streptocarpus (subgenus Streptocarpella), is an African-tropical genus of flowering plants in the family Gesneriaceae. The genus is native to Africa in the central, eastern and southern areas, including Madagascar. The flowers are five-petaled tubes, related to the African Violet family, almost orchid-like in appearance, and arch over the plant.  In the wild, species can be found growing on shaded rocky hillsides or cliffs, on the ground, in rock crevices, and almost anywhere the seed can germinate and grow. Although generally referred to simply as "Streptocarpus", or "Streps", one common name is "Cape Primrose", referring to the several species of Streptocarpus found in South Africa.


Fruit of Streptocarpus
The most unusual feature of this plant is that its flowers often seem to be floating 
gracefully above its leaves. 
The common flower colour is purple although various other cool-coloured shades do exist. The Cape Primrose is a perennial that grows to a height of 12 to 18 inches (about 30 to 45 centimeters).  


The genus is defined by having a spirally twisted fruit (from Greek via Latin, where strepto = twisted, carpus = fruit - Greek: Στρεπτόκαρπος).


I struggled with this drawing because I wanted so very badly to show the lovely, velvety appearance of these blossoms.  This is something I once was able to do easily with oil paints but which is almost impossible, I find, when using such simple computer software as I do.  As I have said so many times previously:  I know that sophisticated "art-work" software exists and I am sure that I would enjoy learning to use it; however, I simply cannot see how to fit such a course into such a restricted life as mine!  This is not a complaint, but, as you know, it doesn't take much activity before I find myself unable to do anything else but rest and rest and rest some more!

Ah, well, maybe I will suddenly discover new ways to use my current software that will give me the sophisticated results I so desire!  "All things are possible....."



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BRADEN'S VISIT

Last Sunday I was delighted to receive a visit from Master Braden! I couldn't believe how much he had grown over the past few months.  He is such a delightful young man -- it is no wonder that the girls all make such a fuss over him!

Oh, yes, he did bring his parents with him and it was wonderful to see them as well.  We had a good visit, but, as always, it seemed much too short.  Sadly, the two photos below are the only ones from the visit that are halfway decent.  I think I must do something bad to my godson's cell phone camera!  Anyway, at least I have these two that I can show you.



Sallie and Braden -- Braden has his cap on in preparation for the trip home




Braden on first seeing Suki appear

It was truly wonderful to watch Braden when Suki decided to make an appearance.  As you can see from the photo above, Braden was, for an instant, unsure about this big, black cat.  However, it only took a moment before Braden was trying to pat Suki.  I placed her on my lap and held her so that Braden could observe her carefully before petting her.  The look on his face as he reached out to touch Suki's head was so beautiful -- so filled with wonder and amazement -- that it almost made me cry.  No one tried to take a photo at this point as it might have disturbed the moment, but it was a moment I will never forget.



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SUKI AND SALLIE

Suki with her dolly, "Raggedy Ann".
(I had to hold up a toy mouse with one
hand while trying to take the photo to
get a look of interest on Suki's face!)
Last night as I was preparing to go to bed, I went around turning off various lamps that had been turned on much earlier in the day which was very grey and overcast.  As I did so, I happened to notice that I had left my umbrella open and sitting on the floor in the entryway.  I had left it there to dry after going out to do some errands earlier in the day. 

Initially, I started to just leave the umbrella as it was, but, knowing that by then it must be dry, I forced myself to turn back in order to put the umbrella away properly.  (I am just too well trained to be able to leave something like that undone!)


This looks something like
Suki did as she hit the floor
and began her run to safety!
My thoughts were elsewhere as I reached out and grabbed the opened umbrella from the floor.  Had I been paying more attention, I probably would not have been frightened so badly; however, several surprising things happened almost all at once:  as I grabbed the umbrella from the floor, Suki, who, unbeknownst to me, had been sleeping soundly under the umbrella, leapt about a foot into the air as only a startled cat can do which caused me to scream loudly.  The scream caused Suki to take off running at full speed towards the closest safe place which was under the wingback chair in the living room!

I actually had to sit down at this point (thankfully there was a cedar chest with pillows close by) as I felt somewhat weak in the knees. So there I sat, still holding the opened umbrella in my hand.  As I looked toward the living room, I could see two bright cat eyes starring at me intently from under the dark safety of the wingback chair.

After my pulse rate began to settle down, I saw the humour in the situation and began to laugh.  As I laughed, Suki seemed to understand that, whatever had happened, she was not in trouble and so she crawled out from under the chair, walked towards me and then sat down to give herself a short bath.  I closed the umbrella and put it away in its proper place.  As I walked back towards the living room, Suki gently began trying to shepherd me towards the kitchen, reminding me that she always gets a bedtime snack!

From this point on, the rest of the "getting-ready-for-bed" preparations continued normally with no further surprises.  By the time I was ready to crawl into bed, I was reasonably calm and ready for sleep -- as was Suki.  However, as I was falling to sleep, I found myself smiling at the memory of Suki leaping into the air.  It was an image fit for Halloween!

Otherwise, I am continuing to do reasonably well.  The news continues to be good in the sleep department as I am still free from any major "sleep attacks".  I do continue to have small ones but I guess these will just continue to be a nuisance indefinitely. Fortunately, this problem is something I can live with as it is now a problem which no longer endangers my life.

As well, the restless leg problems continue to be mild and intermittent -- quite unlike the suffering they were causing only a few months ago.  This is something else to be grateful for. Unfortunately, I am having more migraines once again, but this, too, seems to be a problem which is cyclical.  I can only hope that this very uncomfortable problem will settle down again during the next few months as well.

There are still other concerns under investigation, but no news of any definitive diagnoses yet.

I am able to continue doing my art even though I no longer have the stamina I did only a year or so ago -- but at least I am able to continue drawing.  I seem to have lost my focus somewhat except for the flower drawings.  Something happened to cause me to stop being quite so captivated by icons.  So, as you are aware, in an effort to expand my field of interest, I began drawing images of Our Lady and the Holy Child as they have been depicted in the western tradition.  This has kept my interest for a time; however, lately I find that I am no longer satisfied with this type of drawing.  So what is next?  I know the flower drawings will continue, but what else? If you have any suggestions, please pass them along for consideration.

It is almost time for the folks to come from St. Michael's Cathedral. They kindly come each Sunday and bring Our Lord to me in the Blessed Sacrament.  What a wonderful gift God has given us in the Holy Eucharist and how blessed I am to be able to receive Him even when I am unable to attend Sunday Mass.  What a blessing!

May the peace of God be with us all.  Amen.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Our Lady, The Good Shepherdess

"The Good Shepherdess", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013


Recently, I came across some drawings of Our Lady with a lamb. The best know of these images shows Our lady holding both her young son as well as a lamb in her arms.  While this painting is quite lovely, I find that it bothers me because I keep thinking about the weight of those two in her arms.  This thought keeps me from being able to look at the painting with pleasure!  

I also found a number of drawings showing Our Lady with a lamb at her feet or following along behind her.  These sometimes have the Divine Son in her arms and sometimes she is alone.  The only image I found of Our Lady actually holding only a lamb was on a lovely, old-fashioned holy card with a lace border.  This drawing is the one that inspired me to try to do my own version.

As I worked on this drawing, I begin to think about what I might name it.  Somehow the idea of Our Lady as the "Good Shepherdess" came to me.  At first I rejected the idea as somehow kind of hokey and maybe even theologically incorrect.  However, the idea just wouldn't leave me alone.  So, gradually I began to try to unpack it just a bit more.

At this point I decided to see what an Internet search would reveal. I put in the search terms: "Virgin Mary Good Shepherdess" and, surprisingly, got a number of hits!  The listings ran the gamut from the Good Shepherdess character in Dungeons and Dragons (certainly nothing to do with Our Lady!) to a message delivered in recent years to a visionary in the U.S. -- a message supposedly from Our Lady under the title of the Good Shepherdess!  Let me just share with you some of the information that was revealed by this search.

[The following "vision" of Our Lady is, to the best of my knowledge, simply a private revelation, not Church approved and used here only as an example of the use of the term "the Good Shepherdess" and for no other purpose.  S. Thayer]
Message from Our Lady, the Good Shepherdess, to the world, November 2, 2010 through Chris Courtis, a visionary in Maryland, U.S.A.

"I am the Good Shepherdess. My children, it is God’s desire that I come to be with you today to call you back to my Son. He wishes to establish in the world devotion to Me under the title of Our Lady the Good Shepherdess. I am also here with my Son herding His flock and moving the sheep and shepherds to one goal, and one goal only: Jesus and His sacrifice. I desire and wish that every year on April 25th that you dedicate this day to the Good Shepherdess which I am. I will lead you to my Son with the care, simplicity and ease of a child. Surrender yourselves completely to me and live the messages that I am giving to you. My heart is burning with love for each and every one of you. Will you not, dear children, offer me this one day? Will you not allow me to enter into your hearts? Yes, this is what I want on April 25th, that you continue to renew and dedicate yourself to the holy Church and to me, your mother. I love you, and I am Mary, Our Lady the Good Shepherdess."
More information about this visionary and other messages can be found at www.movingheartfoundation.com

As well, I came across a number of Biblical references to women shepherds. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

In Genesis 29:9, at a well, Rachel appears with a flock of sheep, to the great interest of Jacob -- who will eventually take her as his wife - Rachel is a shepherdess.
In Exodus 2:16, Moses meets Zipporah for the first time, at a well where she is watering a flock of sheep with her sisters - she and her sisters are shepherds. Moses also becomes a shepherd once he marries Zipporah.
In the Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) 1:7, 8, we read -- "(7)Tell me then, you whom my soul loves , where will you lead your flock to graze, where will you give rest to them at midday? Why should I be like one wandering after the flocks of your companions? (8)If you do not know, most beautiful among women, follow the tracks of the flock and pasture your lambs near the shepherds’ tents."

Of course, the tradition of women and girls shepherding sheep is not just limited to Old Testament times. Remember, the seers at Fatima were two girls and a boy who spent their days looking after the sheep herds of their two families. It was among the "sheepfolds" that first the Angel of Portugal and then Our Lady appeared to them.

So, after all this interesting information, I felt quite comfortable in keeping the title of "Our Lady, the Good Shepherdess" for this drawing of the Virgin Mary.  As well, I liked the idea of Our Lady shepherding us towards her Divine Son.  It made me think right away of the beautiful teaching of St. Louis de Montfort "to Jesus through Mary".  

Let me know what you think about this idea, this title, for our Blessed Mother Mary.




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SUKI AND SALLIE


Following are some photos showing Suki's expressions as I make her aware of the presence of a crinkly-type plastic bag (the kind Sears uses, for example).  This type of plastic bag is something that Suki seems to consider to be a real threat to her and all of creation. I do not think that she is an environmentalist or any such thing, but, rather, she just doesn't seem to believe that crinkly-type plastic bags should be allowed to live! 

 
Suki becomes instantly alert when she hears the crinkling sound of a plastic bag which I am crumpling behind my back.  Crinkly-type plastic bags are one of her greatest enemies and, according to Suki, must be destroyed at all costs!



I hold the plastic bag above her head for just a moment and watch as Suki immediately gets ready to jump!  I move away quickly as I know how surprisingly high she can jump and just how sharp her claws and teeth are!  I do not relish the idea of having either sinking deeply into my arm as Suki seeks to destroy another one of those dastardly plastic bags!




So, before Suki can jump up and grab my hand and arm along with the plastic bag, I bring it back down.  For just a brief moment, I hold the bag even closer to her, crinkling the bag loudly.  I can see her muscles tensing for the big attack and so I quickly move the bag away from her again.




At this point, Suki is beginning to reach a point of absolute frustration.  I can tell because I hear a low growl emerging from her throat.  I know from experience that I had better quickly remove the plastic bag or else just let her attack it.  I decide to let her attack the bag.  

I did not take any photos of the actual destruction of the bag as this is a family-type blog!  No violence allowed!!

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As for me, I am continuing to do reasonably well with both good days and bad days.  Thankfully, at the moment, the good days slightly out-number the bad!

Actually, I expect today to be a very good day as I am currently awaiting the imminent arrival of Braden!  I am so very excited at the prospect of seeing Braden and his parents.  They could be arriving at any moment now.

In preparation of this visit, I have moved almost all my nick-knacks to a level higher than Master Braden can reach.  Even though his mother said that this wasn't necessary as she wants him to learn to respect other peoples' property, I just felt that I wanted to make things a bit easier for him by removing temptation!  

I also baked a batch of "Thanksgiving" cookies -- just simple butter cookies sprinkled with sugar.  I hope he likes them.  I also put out some delicious dark chocolate for the grown-ups to have with their coffee!

I told Suki about the visit this morning and she immediately went and got into her bed in the back of the closet!  I told her that I might have to drag her out for a few minutes as I know Braden will want to see her.  

Last time he was here, he was fascinated by Suki and kept following her around, trying to touch her -- much to Suki's dismay. Thankfully, thus far, I have never seen her get angry with a child -- not even when they were pulling on her tail!  She usually manages to find a way to disappear into one of her hiding places if the child's playing gets too aggressive.

Well, I want to get this posting published before Braden gets here and so I will end it now.  
I wish all my Canadian readers and followers a very happy Thanksgiving Day tomorrow.  
I pray that all those who read this posting may know the peace of God which passes all human understanding.  
May our  hearts be filled with gratitude for all that God has given.
Our Lady, the Good Shepherdess, pray for us. Amen.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Can't Stay Away from Calla!

"Callas in Glass Vases", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Well, I am sure that no one is too surprised to see some new drawings of Calla Lilies.  Anyone who has been following my blog for any length of time now can't help but be aware of my weakness for these flowers.  I, quite honestly, could just draw them over and over again -- partly because I have never yet been able to capture the delightful elegance I see in their simple lines plus the fact that they "make my heart sing"!

The first drawing "Callas in Glass Vases" was rather difficult to complete since the software I use does not have a true opaque or overlay functions.  Thus I have to find sneaky ways to try to give the impression of transparency, for example.  I am not really satisfied with the results, but I know that I have done the best I can do with this software.


"Art Nouveau Calla Lilies", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

This second drawing "Art Nouveau Calla Lilies" is my first attempt to copy the actual style of Calla Lilies using the Art Nouveau technique.  I found a similar drawing online which I used as my guide.  I think that, possibly, the online drawing I used as my model might have been a design for a stained glass window -- that is what this drawing reminds me of.

I remember years ago (in my 20s) seriously considering trying to apprentice myself to a stained glass studio in order to be trained in the technique of stained glass.  Even at that time what I really wanted to accomplish was stained glass work in the Art Nouveau style.  I am not sure why the style has such a strong appeal for me -- it is probably related to my love of simple curving lines like those found in Calla Lilies!

At any rate, I hope you enjoy these latest artistic efforts and I promise not to present any more Calla Lilies for at least another few months.


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A COUPLE OF CUTE PHOTOS


There is really nothing new in other areas of my life at the moment so I thought I would show you a couple of cute photos that I acquired recently.


I have no idea how someone trained this cat to stand this way.  He really does look like a penguin, doesn't he?  I mean, even his tail is curved upwards.  Normally, no cat keeps their tail curved unless they are sleeping.  I am not sure why but I find myself grinning every time I look at this photo!  




Braden the Flirt is what I am calling this photo of my favourite young man!  I believe that this photo was taken when Braden and his parents were returning from their recent trip down south.  True to form, Braden was always "picking" up new girlfriends wherever he went.  I predict that his poor parents are going to have to get him his own cell phone by age 5 just so that they won't have to keep answering phone calls from his girl friends!  What a guy!!



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SUKI AND SALLIE

Here she is -- ever ready to play or to get
into some sort of mischief!
Well, Miss Suki came close to getting herself permanently banished to the balcony this past week!

This is what happened.

On Thursday I did not have any appointments scheduled and so I was spending the morning doing my various activities at a much slower pace than normal.  In fact, when I was finishing praying Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, I noticed I was feeling just a bit sleepy and so I decided to take a short nap.  I was comfortably ensconced in my favourite chair and so I decided to just allow myself to drift off.

Meanwhile, Suki was in her usual position that she assumes whenever I am sitting in my chair early in the morning .  She hops up into my desk chair which is nearby and proceeds to sit and stare at me while digging her claws into the arm rest.  Every so often, I am required to stop whatever I am doing and scratch her chin and cheekbones.  Normally, if I stay seated for some time, Suki settles down on the cushion and goes to sleep. 

I noticed on Thursday, just before I drifted off to sleep, that for some reason Suki was still awake and sitting there looking at me.  I may have mumbled something like, "why don't you settle down now?" just before I fell asleep, but maybe I just dreamed it.

Anyway, after sleeping for about 15 minutes, I awoke suddenly with a feeling that something was not quite right.  As I began to search around the room for the possible cause of my uneasy feelings, my eyes were drawn to my computer.  [The computer is located just to the right (your right) of where Suki is sitting in the above photo.]

At first I could not believe my eyes so it took me a moment or two to react, but then I suddenly gave a loud shout which startled me as well as Suki -- especially Suki as it was directed towards her and my garbled words included her name!

What was it I saw?  Well, as unbelievable as it sounds, I saw Suki stretched out full length on my computer keyboard!  I really could not believe she was doing this and when my frantic shouting failed to get her to move, I struggled to my feet, grabbed her up like a sack of potatoes and dumped her unceremoniously onto the floor!
During all this time, I was shouting all sorts of unpleasant comments about what I planned to do with this cat just as soon as I checked to see what damage she had done.

Truly, I was frantic with worry about what might have happened to all the information and files stored on my computer.  I knew that there were at least 5 different programs running on my computer at that very moment, including my art file.  I simply could not imagine that all those programs had escaped some sort of corruption resulting from a 14 lb. cat walking and lying on the very keyboard used to give these programs their commands.

My first efforts to discover what might have gone wrong were very disconcerting as I simply could not get the computer to respond to any keystrokes -- it was like there was a complete disconnect between the hard drive and the keyboard!  I quickly tried a couple of tricks to see if I could get any sort of normal response, but when nothing worked, I decided that my best bet was to reboot the computer.  As most of you know, this is where you almost always begin when your computer is acting up.

As I sat waiting for the reboot to take place, I spent my time directing imprecations of the worst sort towards poor Suki who, by now, was sitting just under the edge of the bed watching me closely. I was just reaching the point of describing how I was going to tar and feather her and drive her out onto the balcony when the computer finished rebooting.  I had noticed, gratefully, that the reboot appeared to be occurring without any error messages.

Finally I was able to try to check on all my programs and as I checked each one that had been open during the time that Suki was lying on the keyboard, I found that each and every one of the them had come through OK -- including the one with the drawing I had been working on!  

Now, I began to settle down and to think about how Suki must be viewing this whole episode.  I still was not feeling very kindly towards her as I have tried to teach her over the years to never get too close to my computer.  I had started these lessons after the episode during her first year with me when she had managed to turn on the computer during the night and jolted me out of my sleep by holding down one key which caused the computer to start "screaming".  Up until last Thursday, the lessons seemed to be working.  I realize now that it was probably not my lessons that kept her from bothering the computer, but rather her lack of interest!

So, what can I say... all is well that ends well or something like that. I asked Suki to forgive me for calling her such bad names and she seems to have forgotten the episode entirely -- maybe.  Knowing her as I do, it is quite possible that she will still find a way to get back at me for all that shouting, threats and name calling.  You never really know what cats, do you?


A new autumn photo I came across on the Internet
which shows so clearly why I love this time of
year so very much -- all those glorious colours!
As for me, other than the stress of the Suki episode described above, I have had a pretty quiet week.

I had an appointment with my family doctor but that was just a routine visit -- mainly to discuss prescription renewals.

The only unusual social event was the retreat day I attended with the St. Michael's Seniors Group at the Queen of Apostles Retreat Centre in Mississauga on Tuesday.  

Other than the bus being over an hour late picking us up, we had a very pleasant day.  The staff at Queen of Apostles were all very kind and helpful and the speakers did a good job.  We finished the day with Mass in the lovely chapel there and then had a fairly easy and uneventful trip home.  

My main problem with the day, however, was how tired I found myself by the time I arrived back home.  I had left home at about 7:30 a.m. in order to get to the Cathedral on time and by the time I arrived back at my place, it was almost 5 p.m.  I can't recall spending that much time away from home during one day for a number of years now.  

I realized as I tried to get some extra rest during the following day that I had stopped trying to push myself through a day without time for rest periods for a good reason.  My body has to pay too high a price for doing so and this "price" includes increased pain and fatigue for the next day or two afterwards.  So, as much as such activities may appeal to me, I will now make more of an effort to refrain from such strenuous activities in the future!


This is one of last year's photos but it remains one
of my favourites.  These colours, it seems to me
simply cry out to be painted on good canvas using
all those lovely shades of oil paint.  How I wish
my poor old fingers would still co-operate!
Of course, one really nice thing that did happen this past week was my awareness of how the trees are beginning to change.  I also have seen a number of new photos online of the colours of this glorious season:  the yellow-gold and orange-red of the leaves combined with the clear blue of the sky.   These are my absolutely favourite colours and these colours, just like the curving lines of Calla Lilies, make my heart sing.  

There is just so much in this old world that is incredibly beautiful and simply defies the attempts of those without faith to explain the world with a Creator.  I mean, if there was just a simple need to have things evolve so that they functioned optimally, then adding beauty to the mix would be totally unnecessary, even wasteful -- especially beauty that has no conceivable function other than to delight the eyes of mankind.  How good God is to His creation and how badly we treat all that he has given, including each other.  Let us pray that we, like St. Francis whose feast day we celebrated on the 4th of October, will one day be able to honestly say:

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To You, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and You give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which You give Your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom You brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve Him with great humility.  Amen.

May God's peace be with us all.