Friday, July 03, 2009

Guest Blogger: Maggie

Greetings to Mama's hew-min blog friends. This is Maggie, and Psalmist is my new Mama. I thought it was time to come introduce myself.

First, let me clear up something. I'm not a Munchkin cat. Mama thought so at first, because one of my foss-tur mamas told her so, and because I stayed hunched down low to the floor when Mama met me and when I first got to our part-mint. I even inspected the bottom of the loveseat for most of the first two days there, so it took Mama a while to find out that my legs are normal length for a cat my size. I'm just very pet-tite, Mama says. She picks me up and says I'm a feather-weight. Well, duh! A tiny cat like I am isn't going to weigh very much, now is she? Silly Mama!

I'm starting to like my new sister-cat, Molly. Molly wasn't too nice to me at first, though, despite all the grand promises she made here. That was before she found out that Mama would hold and pet me a lot. She had Mama all to herself for a while and she didn't like sharing her. But Molly's better about it now. I know how she feels, because I think Mama needs to hold and pet Molly less and me more. I'm tinier, and I meow softer, and I'm the new kitteh here. Don't you think that makes me deserving of more Mama time?

Speaking of Mama, she has got to get herself to the cat food store and get us some GOOD food. Molly and I are on a hunger strike. No more of this hard kibble for us. Mama said we needed to eat it, that it's perfectly good food. Nuh-uh! Not this fancy feline, nor Molly either. We're fond of Greenies, but cat doth not live by Greenies alone. We'd prefer Fancy Feast or Sheba or some other smelly, 'spensive wet food. We've told Mama this. She needs to heed our wishes.

I keep Mama quite entertained with a game. It's called Keep-Away. When I don't feel like cuddling, I sidle up to Mama and meow at her, tail all up in the air and all, as if I can't wait to be picked up and petted. Then, as soon as Mama bends her pudgy self down to pick me up, I prance away. If she comes after me, I run behind the loveseat. Then, a minute or two later, I start it all over again. Heheheheheh . . . Mama falls for it every time. She says I'm a sassy girl. I wonder what her point is.

Well, Molly is over there, looking kind of scruffy. I think she needs some grooming. So I'll finish up this greeting and go do my sisterly doo-tee. 'Bye for now, hew-mins!


RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: It's All in the Look

Gosh, I haven't done one of these things in ages! This one seems like a great one with which to jump back in.

Sally , as she cleans her wardrobe (what we Americans call our closet), pauses to ask:

1. Are you a hoarder, or are you good at sorting and clearing?
I'm most definitely a hoarder; look up "hoarder" in the dictionary, and there's liable to be a photo of me to illustrate it! I am good at sorting and clearing, I simply don't do it nearly often enough.

2. What is the oddest garment you possess and why?
I'm not certain this really qualifies as a garment anymore, but it's a simple A-line evening dress that looks like it came from about 1972, floor length, short sleeves, jewel neck, and made of an oddly beautiful fabric that features a black background covered with small gold, blue, and green medallions, woven in brilliant metalic thread. (Scratchiest fabric ever conceived, I'm sure.) I've cut a few pieces out of it over the years for craftsy projects, but most of it is still there. And since the fabric is some sort of "space age" acrylic stuff, moths and other destroyers never seem to touch it. I've owned it for over 20 years. It will probably still be intact 500 years from now.

3. Do you have a favourite look/color?
I favor simple, classic feminine lines, being 50, short, and plumpish. I alternate between liking pinks and purples, and blues, and have both in my closet. And since I get compliments every time I wear something red near my face, I try to do that at least once every other week or so. We who bear the "curse of the Celts" (ruddy complexion) seem to do well in the one color that is ruddier than we are, I guess!

4. Thrift/ Charity shops: love them or hate them?
I don't get to them often, but I do like them. I tend to find more decorating items (vintage hats, gloves, hankies, embroidered linens) than clothes that fit me, though. And given my hoarding tendencies, that's mostly a good thing.

5. Money is no object, what one item would you buy?
A custom-made, superbly tailored navy or gray suit, with both slacks and skirt. (And if that counts as three items, I don't care.) We shorties of the plumpish persuasion simply cannot find good suits that fit well on the racks, no matter what store we try. (And no, the Lane Bryant wrinkle-in-a-second separates marketed as suits neither fit well nor look good. A coworker of mine proves that nearly every day, poor dear.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Another Belated Blog Birthday Celebration

The Psaltery (such as it is these days) turned three on Saturday.

Here's to another year, hopefully one in which I get back into the swing of blogging.

Thank you bunches to my little band of readers for hanging in there with me. You mean more to me than you can know.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Guest Blogger: Molly

Hello to my mama's blog friends. I'm Molly, and Psalmist is my new mama. (This picture isn't me, but it sure looks like me. Mama brought me home so fast, the foss-tur peoples didn't get my picture made. That's how we say it here in Texas. Nobody gets their picture taken, they get pictures made.)

My old mama died, and my new mama's kitties died, so she says I'm a gift from God. Silly if I didn't know that! Of course I am! When Mama came to the Pets Are Smart store where I was, God told me exactly what to do, because I was supposed to go home with Psalmist. So I sat on her lap, then snuggled into her shoulder and purred. That's all it took! She cried and hugged me and told me what a beautiful girl I am (again, Mama's awfully silly, saying something so obviously true), and she found out that I like to be petted and scratched almost everywhere. It felt really good. Mama's a good petter. So she got the carrier and a pretty pink blanket, and in I went. I was a VERY good cat; I didn't make a sound the whole ride home. Mama was very impressed with that.

When we got home, I met my sister-cat Jenny. Mama didn't know that Jenny was getting sick with a broken heart, but I knew something was wrong. She didn't want to play with me, and she almost never wanted to even eat anything, even when Mama gave her (and me) some really 'spen-sive yummy wet food. Jenny was missing her sister-cat, Rosie. I didn't meet Rosie, but Mama told me Rosie died, so I snuggled her even more and told her it would be all right. Sometimes it still gets pretty wet when Mama is missing Rosie and now Jenny, too, but I don't mind. My Mama needs to cry, because that's the way God made her. She just misses her old kitties an awful lot. And since I miss my old mama, too, we're very good for each other.

Guess what? Mama says that she met another kitty at the Pets Are Smart store. Mama says her name's going to be Maggie. She's a munchkin cat. Here's a picture of her. I'm glad I will have a sister-cat again. Poor Maggie's old sister-cat got adopted first and they wouldn't take her, too, so she needs Mama and me. Mama says I will have to share her lap with Maggie, but that's OK. She's supposed to be really little, even though she's a grown-up kitty. She has really short legs, so I bet I can jump higher than she can.

Mama says that Maggie will come home on Saturday. I'm already practicing how I'll show her around our part-mint. I'm also going to show her how to beg Mama for Greenies. She's such a push-over! Next to snuggling with Mama and getting my ears scratched, eating Greenies is my very most favorite thing. I just know that Maggie will like them, too.

I'm going to be the BEST sister-cat ever! I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, I think Mama is overdue to rub and scratch me. Duty calls! Bye, hew-mins!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another farewell: My Jenny

My sweet fluff girl died last night. Unlike Rosie's death, however, I was expecting this. Jenny began going downhill not long after Rosie died, and simply lost interest in everything except sleeping. If she hadn't been so absolutely terrified of being put in her carrier and riding in the car, I'd have taken her to the vet, but I really did fear that would scare her to death. So slowly, over these past few weeks, I've watched my poor kitty get thinner and thinner, slowing down, and eating and drinking a little bit, just to please me. It broke my heart.

The loss of both my dear companions in less than two months is simply too much to bear. I see now what a blessing it was that I felt compelled to go find Molly when I did, as I don't believe I would have done that had I waited any longer, with Jenny getting weaker and sicker. Poor Molly didn't know what to make of Jenny and mostly just kept her distance. However, she has bonded fast and firm with me. I'm afraid she's in for a lot of holding and tears and petting on my part.

Dear God, hold both my dear old kitties for me. I trust that they are whole and happy, wherever and however you care for them in your eternity. And hold me too, I pray. This is very hard.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Grief and Love

I miss Rosie terribly. It's been ten years since I lost a pet before this, and I guess I forgot just how much it hurts. There will never be another cat like my sweet, sassy little Rosie Lee.

How strange it is to be feeling love for Jenny with equal intensity, and now, for her new "little" sister, Molly, as well.

I couldn't shake the thought Monday afternoon and early evening that I wanted to go "see the kitties" at PetsMart. Therefore, after work I decided to go and just take a look. All the cats there (about 9 or 10) have been fostered out of a neighboring county's Humane Society, and most had very sad stories, such as a woman with 15 (!) cats having had a stroke and needing to find homes for all of the cats, and at least one other cat who had lived with Molly when their human died, back in November, and they'd been in a foster home ever since. I talked to and picked up several cats. One of them looked so much like Rosie that I cried. She didn't like that too much, poor thing! But Molly stole my heart. It was as if my lap was made for her, and she took it over, purring and play-rolling and gazing up at me with her brilliant green eyes. She's mostly black with very plush fur, with white whiskers and a tiny white chin, white socks, and darling bikini markings on her tummy. I've always had either ear kitties or chin kitties before (preferring to be scratched on one but not the other), but Molly likes both. In fact, I haven't found anywhere yet that Molly doesn't like to have scratched! And it's been years since I had a cat who really liked lap-sitting, but Molly has let it be known that my lap is her favorite seat in the house. She and Jenny are getting to know each other, though Molly did hiss and growl a bit when Jenny took that to a too-personal level. I think the two of them have the potential to be much better companions for each other than Rosie and Jenny were. Rosie was so strongly an alpha cat that Jenny was constantly on the defensive, though occasionally I would find them on the recliner together, almost touching, catching a nap in between epic battles.

I have been reminded once again that one never gets a new pet to "replace" one who dies. If we love our pets, they come to occupy a unique place in our hearts, I think. So I have to figure out how to both mourn Rosie and welcome Molly at the same time. So far, Molly has made that much easier: it's a great comfort to have a warm furry little creature on my lap, needing much petting, while I cry for a cute little brown-and-white tabby who left this world far too soon.

Rest in peace, sweet girl Rosie - your mama misses you and hopes to see you again someday. (In the mean time, do try not to intimidate the other kitties at the Rainbow Bridge, OK?)

Welcome to your new family, my beautiful Molly, and thank you for choosing me to come home with.

Both of you are gifts from God, and I'm grateful.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Good-bye, Rosie

I'm again breaking my blogging hiatus, this time for a very sad reason.

My little Rosie, one of my two feline companions for the past ten years, died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday. I don't think I've fully grasped yet that her little chirps of happiness won't be greeting me when I get home anymore, nor will her little body twine around my feet almost to the point of tripping me when it's mealtime, or just "mama time."

Jenny seems quite upset by her death, and has already taken to talking a lot more, as if to ask where her sister-cat is. They may have fought like the proverbial cats and dogs, but they kept each other company during my long hours away from home. Every so often, detente would break forth and I'd catch them napping together on the recliner, almost touching.

I haven't figured out a pat theology of how our pets will figure into eternity, but my head keeps telling me that Rosie is just fine now and forever. My heart simply misses her terribly.

To those inclined to prayer for this kind of grief, I thank you for it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I just had to share this story!

I'm still frightfully over-committed and under-completed on some important tasks, but I simply had to relate a story I heard tonight. However, to appreciate it, I probably need to give you a little background. (If you're easily made queasy, you might want to skip down to the "SAFE" spot.)

We lost our Mr. M., one of my dear children's choir assistants, due to some very sad and painful issues last summer, which I will not go into. So it's back to "Miss M." and "Miss [Psalmist]" working with the young musicians right now. And while the children and she and I miss Mr. M., we have a great partnership; I honestly do not know what I'd do without Miss M.'s generous, supportive presence each week.

Now back on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, a day upon which much churchitivty was scheduled, I woke early and felt a little "off." So what? You just go and serve anyway, right? the end of the early service, I knew that my digestive system was badly out of sorts. By the time the late service began, I knew I was in trouble. I had already warned the adult choir that I might have to step out fast and a vague explanation of why. They said they'd be in prayer for me. Thanks to those prayers and some stern self-talk, I kept it together through the early part of the service. The first anthem of the morning was a very lovely one, which featured three young sisters (as in, three girls, ages 7 - 12, from the same nuclear family -- dressed in Christmas red taffeta dresses and white sweaters...what could have looked sweeter?) singing the solo part together. I wish I could say I remember every beautiful nuance, but it's mostly a panicked blur to me. When we reached the end, I managed a cut-off of sorts, but before I could express my thanks and pride to the girls, I was already past the point of no return. I left the adults to seat themselves while I fled to the closest restroom to be as sick as I've ever been in my life. My one conscious thought was gratitude that I made it to the restroom without disgracing myself.

Did I mention there was a stomach bug making the rounds, both at my day job and at church?

One of my altos, a retired RN, came to help me. I did feel wretched, and probably looked worse. It would have been wise to go home at that point, except that there was another anthem to conduce and I was scheduled to sing "O Holy Night" near the very end of the service. So I coughed and rinsed and did other unfortunate but desperate things to clear out my throat, then touched up my face and lips. Amazingly, due to some primal urge to protect my vestments while, uh, "doing the sick thing," there was no sign of my incapacitation on my choir attire. By this time, it was nearly time for the second anthem; it was then or never about leading it. I led it, then made my way to the hallway to pull myself together a little more fully. My innerds were still protesting, but less violently. I remember praying hard that I could make it through the rest of the service before hurling, passing out, dying, or any combination thereof.

I made it through the next anthem, "O Holy Night" (though that one, I know not how), and leading the final hymn and benediction response. Only my choir members, the pastor, and the pianist knew what was going on, though I could hardly have looked very good to the congregation. After the response, the choir filed out, wisely keeping their distance. I sat, foggy and exhausted, in my assigned "psalmist's" seat, while the pianist completed her postlude. That's when she went to work on me. My next gig of the day was supposed to be to direct the children's choir Christmas program at 5:00 p.m. and I had given none of the children any indication that I might not be there. However, the pianist insisted in the strongest terms that she did not want me there; in addition to wanting me to take care of myself, I should also protect the children and the attendees from whatever plague I was suffering from. The pastor concurred. So, after another sojourn into the poor unfortunate restroom, I headed home, with a brief detour to the local supermarket to get sugar-free sports drinks and popsicles and some chicken broth and saltine crackers. I made it home without mishap (surely only by the grace of the Almighty). By the time 5:00 rolled around, I had gotten into my coziest nightie, up-chucked once more for good measure, forced down some strawberry Zero, and was fast asleep. Forgive me, dear children and beloved colleagues and volunteers, but I did not spare you much thought.

Did I mention that Miss M. is an angel?

She, the pianist, and the pastor made the program happen. Miss M. explained to the children that I had to go home because I was very sick from a tummy virus, and I couldn't be there. By all reports and some sweet pictures, it went quite well. The children's Christmas gift of a snappily-dressed teddy bear I still don't exactly understand, but it touched me when I got it on Christmas Eve the following week.

It's safe to start reading again now.

Did I mention that Miss M. also teaches Sunday School to the 4th - 7th graders?

After we said good-bye to the children following tonight's choir rehearsal, Miss M. told me about a conversation she had with K., a 5th-grade member of the choir, the night of the program. It went something like this:

K. asked Miss. M. who was taking care of me while I was sick. (Choking up here. . .) Miss M. said that I was taking care of myself. He opined that that was wrong, that somebody ought to be taking care of me. He asked if I had a husband to help me (answer was no), and then if I had any children to help (again, no). Miss M. assured him that she and the pastor and I are very good friends and that the two of them would be checking with me to see if I needed anything, but that when someone has a stomach virus, they probably just want to be left alone to get well. She tried to assure him that single people are used to not having someone else living with them. He asked if she thought I was happy being single. Miss M. said that I seem very happy and content with my life. She did mention that my two cats were probably very good company; he reportedly frowned a bit; he and his brothers do love their dog and treat cats with suspicion. K. then asked Miss M. whom I was going to spend Christmas with. Miss M. reminded him that I was going to help lead both Christmas Eve services, so I'd have time with all kinds of church friends. He wasn't buying it, though. She assured him that single people get lots of invitations from friends, and I would probably be going to someone's house for Christmas dinner. And while she said that didn't really satisfy K., he agreed to pray for me to get well soon. And Miss M. thought that was the end of it.

It wasn't. Now, a month later, in Sunday School this morning, K. brought up the subject of my singleness, relative to my having no designated care-taker if I get sick again. She told me the child was extremely concerned about this problem. Apparently they had a repeat of their Christmas program discussion, sans the "Where's she going to spend Christmas" question. And again, K. said that something ought to be done so I never had to be sick all alone again. He said something about "She needs somebody."

(From your mouth to God's ear, child! I kinda, sorta got "somebody," but pretty soon he'd better decide if he's going to fish or cut bait. This "somebody," however, is not being discussed with any except my closest friends, and won't be unless and until we're seriously dating. He is NOT a topic of conversation with the choir children!)

Now mind you, I was in tears throughout most of this story. The child in question has only recently come back to choir after over a year away (he was "King A." in our Esther musical). He has had a great attitude, but he and I haven't ever talked a whole lot; he's a firstborn introvert -- something I know a bit about. And he wasn't at choir tonight. I'm not to let on to K. that Miss M. and I had this conversation, and I won't. And no, I won't set his mind at ease by explaining I have "somebody."

But dang! Isn't that a great story? Who wouldn't melt at a youngster having such genuine concern and empathy for oneself -- or for anyone?

My choir children sing like angels, but K. has earned his wings for sure. And my child-loving Wesleyan heart has been warmed a bit extra tonight, thanks to a fifth-grade boy's and a grandmotherly choir assistant's love. I only hope they and my other young musicians perceive something of the love I have for them, too.

Sometimes, you just know that life this side of the veil couldn't possibly be much sweeter.