Sunday, 26 January 2014

Happy New Year, Again!

"Chinese Year of the Horse, 2014", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Once again I have made a greeting card for my Chinese friends and all those other friends who like to celebrate the Chinese New Year! The picture above is the cover of the card while inside is reads "Happy New Year, 2014".  

While I do not believe in the astrological predictions regarding those born in the Year of the Horse or the predictions about what will occur during this year, I accept that this is part of an ancient Chinese tradition and so I respect it and join with them in their celebrating.

One of the many blurbs about the upcoming Year of the Horse says: "The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able."  In Chinese tradition, Horse year is considered a fortunate year that will bring good things.

The actual day of the new year is January 31, this coming Friday. Since I will not be posting again until February 2, I decided that today had to be the day to wish you all Happy New Year, again!

The most common Chinese ways of saying 
 Happy New Year are Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin) 
 and Gong Hey Fat Choy (Cantonese). 
Even though the pronunciations are a little
 different, both are written the same way in Chinese.
Here is a little drawing I did of the traditional Chinese greeting.  Although most people I know in Canada who wish people happy Chinese new year use the Cantonese "Gong Hey Fat Choy", I prefer drawing the Mandarin form -- it just looks a bit more elegant to me.  What can I say!

This year is also known as the Year of the Wooden Horse and many of the drawings and designs you will see for the New Year show a horse that appears to have been carved from wood.  Others, like mine, simply show a regular horse.  I am not sure about the significance of the wooden horse so if anyone out there knows, please tell me in the comments section of the blog.  I would really appreciate it. 



Even though I posted a similar drawing of Campsis grandiflora (Chinese Trumpet Vine) back last July, I felt it was appropriate to post a drawing of this flower again since this is a plant native to China.

Although the two drawings are basically the same, the colours of the flowers and the buds are different -- more red/orange than just orange.  The Chinese Trumpet Vine produces flowers with colours ranging from pale orange to a brilliant "Chinese" red.

"Campsis grandiflora, Chinese Trumpet Vine", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Wikipedia tells us that "The Chinese Trumpet Vine, is a fast growing, deciduous creeper with large, orange/red, trumpet-shaped flowers. It can grow to a height of 9 meters and is native to China, Japan and East Asia. 

To quote another commentator: "When its at its best, the Chinese trumpet vine is a showcase drop-dead, absolutely gorgeous vine. Positioned so the backdrop is a rich green, the plant literally erupts into a carpet of three-inch reddish-orange flowers tinged with yellow and salmon hues. On a post [or trellis], this bright petunia-on-a-stick will shock and awe the most jaded...." [Dr. David Creech, Regents Professor, Professor Emeritus, and Director, SFA]



Photo taken of Suki as she watched carefully 
the play mouse I was dangling above her head!
After taking the photo, I gave her the mouse...
Suki almost immediately pulled off its tail and
ears, leaving her with one more bedraggled toy! 
Well, this week's story about Suki is so intertwined with my story that I simply have to tell the two together!

This past Friday, shortly after noon, I took a pill.  There is nothing very special about that since I take pills every day; however, this pill happened to be a brand new pill that I had never taken previously.  It had been prescribed for me a few days before by one of the specialists I see at St. Michael's Hospital.
Within an hour after taking this pill, I became very sick and remained that way for almost the next 36 hours.

During these 36 hours, I frequently thought I might have to get myself to the emergency department, but I managed, somehow, to get through it on my own.  This might not have been possible had it not been the help of "Nurse" Suki!

From the very first hour of this allergic reaction, Suki stayed close by almost all the time.  Since I was lying down, she often curled up on my stomach. This felt extremely comforting as my stomach was one of those parts of my body that was strongly expressing its dislike of this medication -- Suki was sort of like a large, black, furry heating pad.

Eventually, I would start to get too restless again for Suki to rest comfortably and so she would move to the back of the sofa and sit there watching me -- sleeping with one eye open, so to speak. Whenever I would show signs of settling down again, she would get back on my stomach.  We went through this routine many, many times over as the hours slowly passed.  

Another thing that really amazed me was Suki's apparent willingness to go for much longer periods of time without asking for food!  I really wasn't aware of it at the time since I was feeling so bad, but as I look back now, I can see that she appeared to only ask for food when she got very, very hungry.  I think I became fully aware of her behaviour only this morning.  By then, it was apparent to Suki that I was feeling much better and suddenly, she was back to expecting to be fed at regular and somewhat frequent intervals, as usual!

Looking back, I am really amazed at Suki's behaviour which is actually more often seen in dogs rather than cats.  Whatever was going on in her head that made her behave as she did, I am truly grateful as I was comforted by her presence.  This drug-related reaction is one I will not soon forget and I will make certain that it is listed on my medical chart somewhere:  DO NOT give me this drug!

Even though I am feeling much better today, I am still a bit weaker than usual and the dizziness remains as well, albeit very mildly when compared to the weakness, dizziness, etc. of the past 48 hours.

Prior to taking that pill on Friday, things had been going reasonably well for both Suki and myself.  The days had been filled with the usual activities with my only trip being the visit to the specialist on Wednesday afternoon -- the same specialist who prescribed this awful medication!

This coming week should be very quiet and I am grateful for that as I think it is going to take a while for me to completely recover from this recent experience.  As for Suki, I am sure her days will be filled with eating, playing, grooming and sleeping, sleeping, sleeping! What a life!

As I am still unable to get out to Mass, I watched the Liturgy on EWTN this morning.  I will be so very grateful when I am able to get back to the Cathedral again even if it is only on Sunday. Meanwhile,  I am trying to stay grateful for what I do have:  Mass on TV each day and the Eucharist brought to me each Sunday. Those are, indeed, great blessings.

My thoughts are very much with all those who suffered personal tragedies this past week -- those killed in shootings, in fires and accidents I pray for particularly.  My prayers are also with all of those who will read this posting in the days ahead.  May God bless you each and everyone in exactly the way you need.

Above all, I wish you peace.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

In Memory of A Friend

Photo of my friend, Karen, taken in May, 2012
I am sure that most of my regular "followers", family and friends will remember the various photos I have posted over the past couple of years from my dear friend, Karen, out in Vancouver -- especially those showing scenes down by the waterfront.  As well, many of you have noticed the cute comments frequently made by "Anonymous" (aka Karen) in the comments section of each posting -- comments usually regarding my treatment of "poor" Suki!

Sadly, I have to report that Karen passed away, suddenly and unexpectedly, on the 8th of January.  Her family kindly contacted me this past Monday and I have been processing the news ever since.  I still cannot quite get it through my head that there won't be anymore of those wonderfully "smart-aleck" comments appearing after each posting.

I first met Karen soon after she moved into a condo in my neighbourhood some years ago. At first, we were both part of a large group that met every morning at a local coffee shop sharing conversation and many laughs. The years passed and members of the group went their separate ways until Karen and I were the only ones left! We continued to meet every morning (and some afternoons) for coffee and conversation. We shared so many confidences over the years and enjoyed the same sort of humour! 

As you may also recall, Karen “introduced” me to her brother, Duane, (quite a brilliant artist, in my opinion) from whom I was able to purchase some of his art.  Photos of these items were also posted on the blog.  

Karen had a gift of being able to befriend street people and those living on the margins of society in a way that made them feel valued as persons. She was so much at ease with these folks and they seemed to value her friendship as well. When I would meet Karen on occasion in the afternoon for coffee, I never knew who else might be joining us! She also often saw to it that the “down and outers” had a cup of coffee or a muffin, especially on really cold winter days.

Karen decided a few years ago to move out to Vancouver in order to be closer to her family.  I really hated to see her go and, obviously, found that I missed her very much -- she had been a part of my daily life for so many years!  Thankfully, she was able to come back to Toronto for a visit some months ago during which time we were able to meet for long visits over coffee once again.  It was a time of renewing our friendship.  I am so very grateful now for that visit.

Although Karen did not ever mention any religious affiliation, she truly exemplified the meaning of the word “charity” in that sense which Catholics use that word, i.e. the action of showing sincere loving kindness towards others – especially those less fortunate.  

May you rest in peace, dear friend.  My prayers go with you. 

My dear friend, Karen, driving along the street in Vancouver, B.C. this past summer.
This photo, as you may recall, was part of a blog article about the lack of proper "curb cuts"
and other driving difficulties for scooters and wheelchairs in the City of Vancouver.  The entire article was posted, along with this photo (grabbed from a video), in my blog on September 29, 2013.  Photo shows Karen riding her scooter which she had named, affectionately, "Sissy Baby"!



"A Weekly Ritual -- Mother and Son", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014 

As I mentioned recently, I have been trying to re-learn all the little I ever knew about perspective and the placement of figures when they are bending over, their their gaze is downward or they are gazing or reaching upwards.

"Presentation of the Jesus in the
, icon by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009
After all these years of drawing mostly icons, I am having to really work on the various techniques used in trying to show figures in a natural manner.  As most of you are aware, icons are not meant to show normal reality -- they are considered to be "windows into things Heavenly -- the things of God".  That is why there are no attempts in icons to show normal shading and shadows or to give any real sense of perspective.  Icons are an attempt to show things which are not of the normal and mundane and so they are drawn unlike what we normally see.  You can easily see what I am talking about in the icon shown above.  As a matter of fact, in this icon, drawn when I was first trying to learn the technique, I have incorrectly shown the platform on which Sts. Simeon and Anna are standing -- the perspective should be the opposite:  narrow at the front, widening as you "look" towards the back of the scene -- the very opposite of what we normally experience when looking into the distance. 

I still have a lot of work to do on my efforts to re-gain the ability to give that sense of depth and perspective that enables us to think that what we are seeing on a flat surface is really three dimensional -- just as we normally view things around us.  Hopefully, you will be patient with me as I attempt to master something at which I have never been very good!

As usual, any helpful comments -- kindly phrased, hopefully -- would be greatly appreciated.



It is sometimes difficult for me to remember that this is Braden's first winter where he is actually walking around, experiencing the sounds and sensations of boots on snow!  As you can see in the photo below, cold weather doesn't seem to bother him at all.  Not surprising since he is, after all, a Canadian.

Like every Canadian child, Braden must learn to walk while covered in many
layers of clothing.  He certainly appears to have the knack of standing in snow,
but should he happen to fall, all that padding will keep him from feeling a thing!

Waiting for Santa to appear.  Where is the big guy anyway?  Doesn't he know that 
I'm new to all this Santa Claus stuff?  If he doesn't appear soon, I may begin to doubt 
that he even really exists!



Add caption
Well, Suki has developed something new in her repertoire of strange and unusual behaviours -- she is beginning to talk like a Siamese cat!

I am sure that most of you have been in close proximity to a Siamese cat at some point in your lives.  If so, you know what I mean when I refer to Siamese "talking".  Now, for some unknown reason, Suki has decided that she is part Siamese!  I do not know how this occurred since she has never even met a Siamese cat (or almost any other kind of cat for that matter)! However she managed to learn the Siamese cat language, she is definitely speaking it fluently now.

If I were more skilled at computer things, I would post a video of Suki talking so that you could actually hear her for yourselves. Unfortunately, I don't know how to do that so you will, for the time being, just have to take my word for it.

I think I have mentioned to you previously about how Suki, when she awakens from a nap, has to meow until she finds me.  Only then will she quieten down, settling down to sleep somewhere close by. Until recently, however, she simply meowed in a normal cat fashion while searching for me.  Now, however, she has begun to make that sort of yowl that I assumed could only be made by full-blooded Siamese cat!  Truly, it is a mournful and disturbing sound coming from a cat that is truly just a domestic shorthair, not Siamese.

The "yowling" begins just as soon as Suki awakens from a nap.  She makes this sound all the time she is finding me -- even if I am in the same room and she has been able to see me from the moment she awoke!  My proper response, I have learned, is, immediately upon hearing the first yowl, to begin saying, "I'm here, Suki.  Come on, baby.  Get on my lap.  It's going to be OK."  I am to continue saying variations of the above until she jumps into my lap and settles down for a brief nap.

I have learned through difficult and disturbing experiences that if I do not say such words to her in the proper tone, Suki's yowls will become louder and louder until I am even unable to hear the TV over her cries!  I have never known a cat to do this before -- and I have been acquainted with a great many cats over a lifetime of befriending them.  

I really do need to learn how to post a video to my blog as I simply cannot adequately describe the experience.  Perhaps this will be my next project.  

Meanwhile, I can report that only moments ago I went through the experience described above... Suki had been sleeping soundly in a chair by the front door while I am back in bedroom office.  It is quite a distance from the front door to the back of the apartment and Suki doesn't walk quickly while yowling.  So, it was over a period of about 2 minutes or so that I had to keep saying sweet things to this yowling cat as she got closer and closer.  Since I am busy on the computer at this time, however, I did not allow her to get into my lap.  Instead I scratched her head for a while, still talking to her softly, and then pointed her in the direction of her bed which is where she is now, sound asleep once again.  What a life!!

As for myself, I continue to be about the same as I have been for the past week or so ever since my potassium levels returned to normal.  I continue to have the same problems as usual with nothing new to report.

However, I will be having a number of medical appointments in the weeks ahead so I will keep you informed of anything of import I may learn.  I expect that, as usual, these latest problems will once again be blamed on the chronic pain issues resulting from my broken neck and fractured spine.  I don't hold out much hope that the medical community will be able to make anything better -- but I will, once again, allow them the pleasure of trying!


So, I come to the end of another Sunday's posting.  My thoughts are full of Karen and other friends who have already passed on from this earthly life.  I do believe that I will see them all again some day. God is love and He has loved each one of us into existence.  Love cannot stop loving -- its very nature is to love -- and so, I believe, we will continue to exist in that Love which is God.  As St. John of the Cross put it so well, "In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone."  In the end, there is only love.

I pray that we will, in the coming week, daily know that peace which is given by the Spirit -- that peace which always brings with it joy, kindness and love.  Amen.  

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Erythrina crista-galli

"Erythrina crista-galli, Cockspur Coral Tree", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Erythrina crista-galli is a flowering tree in the family Fabaceae, native to Argentina, Uruguay, southern Brazil and Paraguay. It is widely planted as a street or garden tree in other countries, most notably in California although it is also widely naturalized in the south-eastern USA (i.e. Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia). 

It is known by several common names within South America: 
ceibo (in Argentina), seíbo (Spanish), corticeira (Portuguese) and the more ambiguous bucaré, to name a few. In English it is often known as the Cockspur Coral Tree. There are, as well, as whole host of other common names used for this tree.  These include: Brazilian coral tree, cockscomb coral tree, cockspur coral tree, common coral tree, cry-baby tree and fireman's cap tree.

The ceibo is the national tree of Argentina, and its flower the national flower of Argentina and Uruguay. I couldn't help but think about our current Pope while working on this drawing as he is undoubtedly familiar with this beautiful tree.

Erythrina crista-galli characteristically grows wild in forest ecosystems along watercourses, as well as in swamps and wetlands. In urban settings, it is often planted in parks for its bright coral/red flowers. It is a small tree, the girth of its trunk measuring 50 cm (20 in). Normally it grows 5–8 m (16–26 ft) tall, although some individuals, such as those found in some of the provinces of Argentina, can grow up to 10 m (33 ft). 

The tree flowers in the summer, from October to April in its native South America and from April to October in the northern hemisphere. The manner in which each of the coral/red flowers is arranged makes it obvious that the plant has similarities to other legumes like common beans/peas which explains why this plant was placed in the Family, Fabaceae. The genus name, "Erythrina" is derived from the Greek word ερυθρóς (erythros), meaning red. The words: "crista galli" (Latin: "crest of the cock") refer to the shape and folds of the flower.

Sadly, it seems that in may of the areas where the Cockspur coral tree (Erythrina crista-galli) has been naturalized, it is now sometimes listed as an emerging environmental weed.  As so often is the case, when plants, animals and birds are taken from their natural habitat and placed in an "unnatural" setting, they can indeed become a nuisance and worse!

I was first attracted to this flowering tree when I saw the colour of its blossoms.  As usual, colour came first for me and then the desire grew to try to capture the plant in a drawing.  As I stated previously, the blossoms vary from coral to various shades of red. I, personally, prefer the coral colour.

Many of the botanical details were taken from Wikipedia.



I just can't resist showing you a couple of new photos of my favourite little boy.  As always, he is adorable whether awake or sleeping!

Here you see Braden working on his skills as a train engineer!

Braden asleep -- could there be anything sweeter than a sleeping child...



Suki pondering what mischief she should get
into next!
I am sure that many of you are aware of the famous quote attributed to U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt: "speak softly, and carry a big stick."
Well, I have also recently adopted the "big stick" policy!

No, I am not beating poor Suki with a big stick; however, I have started keeping my cane (walking stick) close by my bed at night in order to remind Suki that I need my sleep more than she needs to be fed!  Please allow me to explain before the Humane Society starts investigating on my treatment of Suki.

As I have told you previously, Miss Suki strongly believes that when she is feeling hungry, she should be fed, right then, right there.  Suki demonstrates this belief by finding ways to makes repetitive noises that awaken me in the expectation that I will meekly get up and give her the kind of food she prefers.  These noises, by the way, are not loud but since they are created by using something close to where I am sleeping, they never fail to awaken me.

So, I realized recently that if I had a stick of some sort nearby when Suki starts making these noises, then I would be able to point the stick towards her which would cause her to stop and go elsewhere for a while (Suki, like most of us, doesn't feel quite safe when someone is pointing a big stick in her face!).  

When I first started this "big stick diplomacy" last weekend, I really wasn't sure if it would be effective or not -- and, truth be told, at first it did not work very well.  All that would happen was that Suki would stop the annoying noise for a short time, but just as soon as I drifted off to sleep again, she would resume the noise making.

Finally, however, after a week of practice, I have developed a technique that seems to be working relatively well.  Suki is actually stopping this behaviour for up to 20 minutes at a time after I have pointed the cane at her and told her authoritatively to cease and desist!  I mean, 20 minutes may not seem very long to you, but the 20 minute segments mount up until I have gotten quite a bit more sleep before my normal wake-up time of 6 a.m.

Suki doesn't seem any the worse for waiting an extra hour or so to get fed (remember, she has her dry food available all the time anyway).  This seems to me to be a much better plan than locking her in the bathroom when she begins her shenanigans each morning. When I close the bathroom door, she cries so piteously that I can't get back to sleep and finally have to get up and let her out.  I know, I know, I am just an old softy and Suki knows very well how to use this "softiness" to her own advantage!  

Of course, no matter what she does, all is forgiven when she climbs up in my lap and starts purring.

As for myself, I actually have some good news this week -- when I visited the doctor this past Thursday, I was told that my potassium levels are now back within the normal range!  My doctor was very pleased.  

Of course, when I told him that I was continuing to feel unusually fatigued, he was no longer pleased.  I will never understand why doctors seem to dislike being told that there are still problems right after they announce that they, through the miracles of modern medicine, have fixed everything.  I mean, they really shouldn't take things so personally!

Otherwise, I guess I would have to say that things are not too bad at the moment.  I still do not feel well enough to return to the gym, but maybe in another month or two I will feel stronger again.

Thankfully, I continue to be able to do my art although not for such long periods as previously.  Of course, working on a drawing for 4 or 5 hours straight isn't really good for me anyway.  

I have actually been experimenting lately with drawings that involve much more difficult perspectives than previously.  As you will see when I post these new drawings, my skills in this area are rather diminished -- I seem to have forgotten everything I ever learned about creating perspective on a flat surface.  I am re-learning many things, however, and enjoying the challenge.

"Baptism of Our Lord"
by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

Today is the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord.  This is the feast that ends the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany season and so the Church returns to the week days of Ordinary Time tomorrow, Monday.  

These coming days will lead us to Ash Wednesday (March 5th this year) and the season of Lent.  How quickly the time passes.  A month ago today, I was thinking of a young friend whose birthday is on December 12th and looking forward to the celebration of my own birthday on December 14th.  Christmas and New Year's were still to come.  Now here we are ready to return to Ordinary Time.

So, let me wish you all many blessings on this feast day.  Whatever your individual beliefs may be, I pray that we all may experience that peace which is beyond human understanding -- that peace which God alone can give.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Our Lady of Korea

"Our Lady of Korea", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

It is my opinion that our Korean Catholic brothers and sisters have a deep love of Our Lady. During almost 200 years (1590-1790) while Korea was truly a country closed off to the outside world, the prayers which comprise Our Lady's rosary kept thousands of Korean believers faithful to the teachings of the Church.  Is it not just like Our Lady to care for her adopted children in this way? 

Feeling as I do about this matter, when I came across a drawing of Our Lady of Korea this past fall, I strongly felt a desire to make my own version of this image.  This also meant that I needed to do a bit of research on the history of the Church in Korea.  I already knew something of the tortured beginnings of Catholicism in that country as I had read some of the history when I presented to you my drawings of two of the Korean saints back in 2012, but now I wanted to know the whole story -- and what a story it is.  I came across a truly graphic explanation of what occurred during the great persecution of Catholics that started in 1801 culminating in the Catholic Persecution of 1866. Thousands were killed, but the Church survived.  Religious freedom finally came to the Church of Korea in 1883.

From about 1590 until 1790, Catholicism in Korea begin to develop as an underground church. The first Korean contacts with Catholicism came through Korean diplomatic envoys who were regularly sent to China where they met Jesuit priests.  The priests gave them some Catholic books which the envoys took home with them. A group of Korean scholars became interested in the books and began to study the new religion, comparing it with the Neo-Confucianism which was the traditional philosophy in Korea. The study of these writings and the secret baptisms of a few of the Korean nobility in 1592 combined with the power of the Holy Spirit gave rise to a hidden church run entirely by lay people.  The teachings were those of the Catholic Faith, but for almost 200 years, the Church grew without its members ever having seen a priest or receiving the Holy Eucharist.

There is a story, perhaps a legend based on some real experiences, that tells what happened when those first Catholic priests arrived in the "Hidden Kingdom" around 1790.  It is said that as the priests began to explain some of the basic beliefs of the Faith, they were amazed to discover that these "interested and excited" people already knew of these teachings.  They were especially aware of such prayers as the Hail Mary and the Our Father.  They already had a love for Our Lady and her Divine Son!  True, they had much to learn and some things to re-learn correctly; however, the Faith had truly already been established in Korea -- a faith which would enable many of these first Korean Catholic Christians to face martyrdom by some of the most sadistic means of killing ever devised by man.

"St. Paul Chong" drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

From the beginning there was hostility towards believers in strongly Confucian Korea. As I told you in my posting of September 23, 2012, during the persecutions of the mid-19th century, over 10,000 Christians were killed. Included was Korea's first native-born priest, St. Andrew Kim and St. Paul Chong, a catechist and seminarian. In 1984, Blessed Pope John Paul II canonized these two men along with 101 other Korean martyrs including clergy and lay, young and old. Their memorial feast day is September 20th.



As many of you are aware, Braden is only about 19 months old. Thus, I was quite surprised to learn recently that he has already been in training to become a Master Chef!  

Now, you might think that this is just a made up story written by a family friend (me) who thinks Braden is just the most clever, most handsome and charming young man she has ever known.  However, knowing that you might be skeptical, I procured photographic evidence!

Here we see Chef Braden is stirring
up his famous Sweet Potato Delight

Cutting each cookie with precision,
Chef Braden prepares his world famous
Shortbread-Rum Cookies  -- Yum!
Here we see Chef Braden hard at work in his kitchen
stirring his special Sweet Dressing.  (The recipe is sought by many, but the Chef has
it memorized.  He allows no one in the kitchen while he is putting the ingredients together.
The only written copy resides in a bank vault in Switzerland and the only other person who knows the recipe is his Mom!)



Friends, I am asking you to excuse me today from writing about Suki or about myself.

Neither of us have anything of import to relate.  We are both doing as well as usual but I have reached the point where I just cannot write anything more today.  I have run out of steam you might say!

Anyway, there are a couple of photos that I hope will suffice.  I promise that I will give a full report on both of us next time.

Happy Feast of the Epiphany (transferred here in the Archdiocese) and Merry Christmas to all our Orthodox brothers and sisters on Tuesday, January 7th.

May the peace of God be with us all.  My prayers are with you. Please pray for me.

Here is Suki making a nuisance of herself by sitting on the
room divider counter top while meowing.  She must believe
that being up higher will somehow influence me to feed her!

This fuzzy photo was not meant to be soft focus.
Rather the result is caused by the fact that the
"smart" phone my godson was using has been
dropped one time too many!