Saturday, February 28, 2009



OK, OK... Ratty the Rascal is pouting.
He did not get any scarves.
People do not tell him how cute he is anymore.
Everybody is fussing over Hadji.
The poor little Rat is feeling left out.
Anna bought him a Fur Real friend, a Chippymonk... It makes noise, moves up and down...
Hadji, asleep on his sofa, opened one eye, watched for a minute while Rascal checked the new toy out...

I mean REALLY checked it out, Eeeeewwwwwwwwwww.....

gave it a whack ot two, then decided if it would not play with him,

he'd just take a nap - but near by - just in case - I mean, well, ya never know, do ya?

Sunday, February 22, 2009



This is Mr. Hadjibektash or Hadji for short. Or Hadj for even shorter! Hadji is a Therapy Cat. Self-appointed.
This is his formal portrait, the one taken for him when he got his degree. Ahem.

His career started several years ago when people would come here to pour out their troubles, cry, vent, rant, rave… whatever it was (is) that they needed to do. One Gal used to come here to learn how to read. She sat on my sofa every morning, 5 days a week for several hours and struggled to learn how to read beyond the 2nd grade level. She was 47 when she started coming here. Whoever came, if they sat on the sofa, they were in Hadji’s territory, and he thanked them for their company by loving on their left leg, side or arm. People soon learned it was a one sided (well, yeah…) deal – they could rub his belly or ears or neck, and he would purr so loud he could be heard in the kitchen – 2 rooms away! But if they tried to grab him, pull him onto their laps, he would leave. Commitment issues, no doubt.
At Christmas, Anna brought home a scarf and set of antlers, cat sized, and, of course, the antlers did not go over very well, but surprisingly, Hadj loved the scarf! He allows people to hold it for him while he puts his head thru it. He begs to have the scarf on. As I said, it is a Christmas scarf; it has the message “Wreck the Halls” on it, which might be appropriate for Rascal, but not Hadj.
So, yesterday, I had to go to Salisbury, MD, for birdseed – the birds refused to eat the seed from Wal-Mart, so I drove 130 miles (round trip) to Sam’s in Salisbury to get birdseed… and PetSmart is across the highway. So, after loading the van with 70 lbs of birdseed, 4 cases of Starbucks Mocha, a couple packs of the best raspberries I have ever had, I headed across the highway.
I was told they did not have any cat sized scarves, that cats do NOT wear scarves. I quietly said mine did, and the woman gave me The Look – you know, the one over the top of the glasses? The one that says Bull****, or Idiot, or both. So I sighed and just kept on looking. I got him a new red scarf… it is way big, but if I fold it over and over and tie 6 knots in it – it works. At least it is clean! And I can wash the other one without him having a fit.
Then I found the Harley display. There was a huge Harley Davidson scarf – it would have fit a Newfoundland, or a small pony. I looked at it longingly thinking of who might be able to cut it down for me and re-hem it… and then I found this little orange one. Now I have to confess, I hate orange, but I thought it might be cute anyway. So when he is in the biker dude mood, he can wear his Harley scarf. I thought about the gal who used to come here to learn to read. She was a biker gal, Harley jacket, boots, t-shirts. She would have loved it. I mentioned it to her last night in my prayers – maybe someone will pass the message along… She really loved Hadji... and I think he was quite fond of her. She used to read to him. He never let on when she missed a word. Bright boy.

This is Hadj in his private office, taking a break between clients. The Rat (Rascal) is waiting his turn. He used to have his office in a Kitty cube - but Rascal peed in it - so that had to go out. sigh.
Hadji sleeps in his scarf, bird watches in it, takes his bath, you name it!
C’mon by, sit on the couch. He will be glad to listen to your troubles.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


From actual church bulletins..........

Don't let worry kill you -- let the church help.
Thursday night - Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
The rosebud on the alter this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.
This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
Tuesday at 4:00 PM there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.
Wednesday, the ladies Liturgy Society will meet. Mrs. Jones will sing, "Put me in My Little Bed" accompanied by the pastor.
Thursday at 5:00 P.M. there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become little mothers, please see the minister in his study.
This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the alter.
The service will close with "Little Drops of Water." One of the ladies will start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in.
Next Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and do so.
The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the church basement Friday.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.
The preacher will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth With Joy."
Today...Christian Youth Fellowship House Sexuality Course, 8 p.m. Please park in the rear parking lot for this activity.
During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when A. B. Doe supplied our pulpit.
The Rev. Adams spoke briefly, much to the delight of his audience.
The church is glad to have with us today as our guest minister the Rev. Shirley Green who has Mrs. Green with him. After the service we request that all remain in the sanctuary for the Hanging of the Greens.
The `eighth graders' will be presenting Shakespeare's "Hamlet" in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Thoughts on a Wednesday Morning

Today was a day for running around the house getting caught up on the chores… the serious “gotta do’s” and as many of the “oughta do’s” as possible. The temps are back in the bottom of the 30s, so that meant breaking the ice on the birdbath and putting in clean water. Ditto with the various animal drinking dishes, funny how they have their favorite drinking places, isn’t it?
Most of the feeders are still pretty full, so that chore can wait. Redbelly is here!

The bulb burned out in the greenhouse – it is the source of heat on these cold days and nights. I had to turn the controls back on to the 24 hour setting as it is not supposed to warm up to 40 until the week-end. The impatiens were looking a bit droopy so I figured I’d better give them a quick drink while I had the door open. Here it is, the first week in February and they are still blooming! I am glad to have the color as the camellias are mostly brown from the cold. But, there are the buds…
The robins came early this year. The first flock arrived on Saturday, the last day of January! What were they thinking? They never used to come until the 7th of February, but the rest of the huge flock arrived yesterday. Poor things! The air was filled with their sweet music as they twittered to each other, settling in for the day, trying to decide whether to stay or go on tomorrow, looking for something to eat on the cold, cold ground. I wonder if these are MY birds, or just visitors. It is too cold this year for them to find much to eat. Last week the ground was frozen and didn’t thaw until the week-end when it hit 60 on Sunday. I actually sat out in the sun in a T-shirt soaking up as much vitamin D as possible. Sure beats swallowing more vitamins!
The weather has been its usual confusing self. Winter warnings, snow warnings, a flurry of snow flakes for an hour or so, but nothing on the ground. The warnings continue into this afternoon and tonight. The kids get so excited and then nothing to play in… poor things. on the other hand, they see on the computer cams their cousins in Maine digging thru a couple feet of snow, sliding down the mounds piled up by the snow plows and then look out in the yard here at the dead grass and left over leaves from autumn which seems to have been years ago. (current Portland webcam)
As the washer spins to a stop, I look longingly out the window at a moment’s burst of sunlight that disappears before I can even blink my eyes. I am one of those strange ones – I LOVE to hang my clothes outside. I love the way they smell. I don’t care if they are a bit scratchier, the jeans a bit stiffer… there is something that makes them feel better anyway. Maybe it is in knowing Ma Nature dried them for me instead of the local electric co-op and my pitiful social security check. But, I think of the weather forecast.

As I pull the clothes out of the washer to hang in the bathroom to dry or to go in the drier, I think back (I wonder where these thoughts come from) to the days of my youth and hanging clothes out on the line in the middle of a Maine winter. We used diapers then, none of this pampers stuff. At temperatures around or below zero, one had to be fast hanging things out on the line. The trick was to pull out the diaper, snap it open and pin it before it froze. More than once in my early days of learning how to do this, I struggled with trying to find corners in the frozen material that I could somehow pin with fingers nearly as frozen as the cloth. My thoughts then went to using a wringer! Yep, that’s what we had. I thought about that as I threw my jeans in the drier, how we had to fold the clothes just so and sneak them thru the wringer without breaking the zipper. I don’t believe I have thought about that in 50 years!

I had a best friend back then. Holly was her name. I remember hassling her about getting her homework done, going over Latin together, studying for an exam. Holly’s grandmother lived with them and had no patience with Latin or much of anything related to education. She was just the opposite of my grandmother who taught me to read by the time I was 3. I remember Holly’s grandmother yelled at me one night to go home and leave Holly alone. She did not need to know Latin to wash and change diapers. Stupid me, I yelled back (as only a teenager can) “There’s more to life than changing diapers. Holly can DO something, BE somebody.” Granny told me to get out. I had no realization that I had just insulted the woman, I was just looking out for Holly’s future. And hoping for my own…

Suddenly I realized I was standing next to my washer and drier, lost in the past, realizing there was someone else I owed an apology to and could never give it. (Will the list never end?) Shortly after that day back in Maine, Holly and her family moved to a neighboring town. In less than a year, I was living with my father in the Middle East. I never saw or even heard from Holly again. Funny how things go…
My knowledge of Latin stood me well as I traveled the world. Even with languages that were not even remotely related to Latin, somehow I believe it helped me in understanding language structure better than any English classes ever did. I wonder what Holly ended up doing.

Oh, it is snowing. Hard. Maybe…???

Monday, February 02, 2009


Well, it is tough doing the groundhog’s day thing when you don’t have groundhogs. Here on the shore, groundhogs are in short supply – like zero. The reason? As an old timer told me years ago when we were sittin’ under a Mimosa tree one hot summer day discussing the absence of chipmunks and groundhogs, “Ain’t no place for ‘em to sleep. Cain’t dig none. Sleep in burrahs. Cain’t burrah none, ‘cause if’n we have some rain, gonna drown the poor suckers.” So, there ya have it. The shore being as flat as it is and as close to sea level, when you get a good wet spell, the ground water comes up pretty high. There are times I have dug a hole to plant a camellia or a tree, and by the time I got down deeper than a foot, the hole started filling up with water. That could be why the cemeteries here are on the highest ground.

So, in celebration of Ground Hog’s Day, we use the next best thing – a possum. Got plenty of possums. Now most everybody knows, possums are up all night and go to bed just before dawn. So if you want to see if a possum is able to see his shadow, or if you can see his (her) shadow, well, first you have to know where one is sleeping, go wake her up, let her get a few good yawns in before you put your hands near those 50 little but sharp teeth,
take her out in the sun (is this cruelty to animals?) give her a treat, apologizing all the while, and let her go back to bed.
Punkin says that is so stupid. He is not into pagan traditions. He said, “If ya wanna see a shadow, look over here! Leave the poor possum alone.” He probably meant “Is that flounder I smell? That possum is getting flounder? Where is MINE? Look how weak I am, look I am falling over. OK, I am dead… isn’t this how the possums do it? Hey! I am dead! But we might have a miracle for a piece of flounder!”
Animals. don’t ya just love ‘em?

And as for chipmunks? Our chipmunks at our place in Pennsylvania live in the rock walls and teeny chipmunk sized caves on the mountain side. And down here… “Ain’t got no rocks ‘cept for stuff fools (that would be me) bring here.” Well… and now you can buy a pile of rocks at your local garden center. But I always bring one or two back each year from Pennsylvania or wherever I go if they have rocks.