Thursday, December 24, 2009

Groucho The Cat

Groucho The Cat showed up at the cat feeder at Jolico Farm in the cold early winter of 2009. She was a fearless young, 'in-your-face' feline who promptly became pregnant, probably during her first heat in early February. She gave birth to a litter of kittens around April 1st. Unfortunately, only one of those kittens survived to become weaned. She became pregnant again when that kitten was about 2 months old and she delivered her second litter of 6 kittens on August 1, 2009. All of these kittens survived due to human intervention – twice-daily food and water carried up to the barn for them.

I took a real liking to this gutsy cat and I named her because of her resemblance to Groucho Marx. However, her name fit her 'grouchy' personality as well, as she is a vocal scolder to her kittens and even growls at me when I pick her up if she does not want to be held. She has never tried to bite or scratch me. She puts up with my handling, brushing, kissing and stroking, but rarely asks for affection. However, she will follow me around like a dog, and she tends to gravitate to the room in which I am working or sitting, making herself comfortable on the floor or on a nearby couch so as not to miss any of the household action.

I figure that Groucho was born in the spring of 2008. I also figure she was a drop-off, or she had been born at one of the nearby farms as a wild, or feral, cat. The fact that she has such moxie and has such a brave and fearless nature has endeared her to me. I resisted allowing her plight to affect my better judgment but, because she was such a demanding cat, crying at me through the windows when she wanted food for herself and for her kittens, I became like putty in her paws………and, I fell in love with her…………

When she weaned her last litter in mid-October 2009, I took her to the vet and had her spayed, vaccinated and de-wormed. I brought her home from her surgery and kept her in the house for 3 days to recover and then I let her back out to the barn. Two weeks later I returned her to the vet to have her sutures removed. She tolerated these procedures and intimate handling with vocal outrage but without any attempt to harm anyone.

While she was in the house she got a taste of the “good life” of a housecat, and she quickly adjusted to the litter pan and the rhythms of the household. When the weather turned bitterly cold this winter, she began to cry at the windows to be let into the warmth. When we ignored her insistent crying, she persisted and would cry all night long to be let in. We finally caved and allowed her indoors to become our pet.

She has no desire to go outdoors. She adjusted immediately to life in our home. She is quiet, clean and independent, but alert to our movements. She interacts with us and with our big dog Moses, who used to be her arch-enemy when she lived outside.

Our only problem lies with our older housecat “Kitty” who has never gotten along with Groucho. This dislike has escalated since Groucho moved indoors into Kitty’s domain. There has been fighting between the two cats, prompting us to banish Groucho back to the barn. However, this is breaking our hearts and we have decided we need to find Groucho a proper, loving home, even if it means losing our bond with her.

I hope and pray that whomever takes responsibility for her will love her as we do; and if they do not or cannot love and care for her, that they will return her to us. I hope and pray that we will find a very lucky person who needs the love of a very fine cat.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Parties, Family and Some Loving Thoughts........

It's been a while since my last post but we've not been idle! A wonderfully joyous occasion we attended was the wedding celebration dinner of Samantha Ginsburg and Steven Streibig on 11/14/09 in Pittsburgh. I swiped this picture taken at their wedding ceremony in Maui on 10/3/09 from their friend MJ's album because it shows their happiness and their beauty on their wedding day.

Dinner at the Fischer's is always an epicurian delight! Bruce cooks and Elaine bakes and we all eat too much. We moved from a table laden with appetizers, to the dining room where we consumed mass quantities of salmon and leg of lamb this year and to top it all off, Elaine's famous chocolate cheesecake and a homemade pumpkin pie! With Heidi and Joe growing older now, they have built an addition off the farmhouse kitchen with eventual retirement in mind, or a cozy apartment for an elderly family member. It includes many handicap accessibility features and even a ramp! I guess we could all use a ramp entrance, no matter how old or young we are......a ramp entrance and a grocery cart would do me just fine, I'm thinking!

The week around the Thanksgiving holiday was savored in a haze of company and food and lots of laughter and love. Mike, Connie and their dog Maggie came up from Pittsburgh on the afternoon of the 22nd for a pizza party. Brother Hank and his dog Maximus came up on Wednesday the 25th and stayed through Thanksgiving until Friday the 27th when he departed with bags of leftovers for his freezer. We decided we had much to be thankful for in our lives this year, not the least of which are our close family ties.

On Sunday the 28th our table was graced for brunch by our sister and brother-in-law Arlene and Robert Alfred and dog Charlie, and nephew Bruce and his wife Rachel, and their boys Joe and Michael Sheinbart who were visiting Pittsburgh from Florida for the long holiday weekend. We had a loving and heartfelt time introducing the youngest generation to "the farm" where Bruce spent much time during his 'growing-up' years. We laughed as we reminiscently told the old stories about the time when Kim fell through the barn floor into the cattle pen, and the time when somebody splattered a drop of red barn paint into Princess the Poodle's eye! The solution to that problem was Aunt Max running for the gets the red out!!

Last evening Harold, Hank, Ros and Steve, Art and I met for dinner in Pittsburgh at Hokkaido Seafood Buffet and ate like there was no tomorrow! This was Hank's recommendation for dining as it is an all-you-can-consume Japanese seafood restaurant and we were not disappointed. I know they lost money on us as I watched the males of my family make repeated trips for heaping platters of Alaskan King Crab legs, shrimp, sushi, frog legs, name it! We ate for two solid hours; ate and laughed and enjoyed just being together. Steve left to drive their car back to Florida very early this morning, and Ros is due to depart next week. Their trip to Pittsburgh kept them occupied with a whirlwind of events shared with family and friends. We were glad the weather cooperated so we could sneak in to see them too!

All this togetherness lately has given my fertile mind some food for thought. I have been pondering my priorities and trying to pinpoint what is truly important in life. Imagine, as I have, that time is growing shorter. What could potentially give us cause for regret? Would it be trips not taken, or money not made, jewelry not acquired, fine wines and food not consumed, recognition not awarded? Or, would it be the friendships we didn't nurture, the time we spent in anger and not communicating with loved ones; the opportunities we passed up to say, "I love you", causing us not to hear those most precious words repeated back to us?

Do you find there is something your heart and soul craves, something that is missing from your life, leaving you feeling incomplete and empty inside? Could it be love? Could it be a reconnection to family ties? Could it be that you've lost your pathway to The Divine?

Do we appreciate or curse each new day? Do we speak or maintain silence? Can we live in peace and love, or must there be dissention? Can we find forgiveness in our hearts, then take the next step and express it?

Attachments, rigid boundaries, inflexibility, anger and frustration prevent transformation.

Change is an aspect of love moving from the present vibration to a higher vibration in an upward spiraling pattern.

Love is energy; it sustains all form and formlessness; it is our true identity. Love lives in the heart. It is the Glue of the Universe. It is a soul quality. We need more of it in our lives. Love is all there is.