Thursday, June 28, 2012

BTT (#25) ~ first teacher

Margaret @ Booking Through Thursday asks, "Who taught you to read?"

Mother used to tell the story about watching me "read" to my baby brother when I was a preschooler I don't know what age we were, but I'm two-and-a-half years older.  As she watched, however, she realized I had memorized the whole book.  Maybe I could recite several books.  I knew the words and turned the pages at all the right places.

Because we didn't have kindergartens in 1945, my first day of school was when I entered first grade.  I was so excited because I wanted to read.  My parents, who read us stories at bedtime, assured me I would learn to read in the first grade.  I came home that first day very disappointed because they didn't teach me to read.

So who taught me to read?  It must have been Mrs. Curry, my first grade teacher.  I remember learning phonics:  blowing breath out "huh" was the sound of H, which was shaped like a ladder with only one rung, my name Bonnie starts with "buh" or B, and so forth.  But I already knew how to write my name, and that means I already had the concept of words and sounds.  Never was there anyone who wanted to read more than I did.  I have always loved books.

This little three-year-old girl, however, seems to be able to read the side of the orange juice carton.  Does she?  Or is that just code for "looking at what's there"?

I Always, ALWAYS Get My Way ~ by Thad Krasnesky, illustrated by David Parkins, 2009, children's, 10/10
When three-year-old Emmy spills juice and her dad’s pants get “orange-hosed,” she takes refuge behind Mom’s knee.  Expecting a reprimand, Emmy is surprised when Mom tells Dad, “Now, sweetheart, you should let it be.  After all . . . she’s only three.”  Once Emmy discovers that she’s too young to be punished, she constantly wrangles her way out of trouble by proclaiming, “I’m only three!” and pulls a handy weapon from her arsenal of manipulative maneuvers.  But Emmy discovers she can’t get away with her outrageous behavior forever and that her actions do eventually have consequences.
This kid goes beyond what I think a three-year-old child could do, but it's outrageous enough to be fun reading and real enough to teach a lesson.  Nancy @ Bookfoolery and Babble reviewed this book today, just in time for me to include it in my BTT post.  Flashlight Press has wisely provided a pdf of the complete book (I'm very impressed with Flashlight Press books), so parents and grandparents can see whether it's what we'd like to order.  And I liked what I read enough to rate this book 10 of 10, my top rating.

Hmm, my great-granddaughter Raegan just happens to be three, and she loves to read.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Salon ~ scouting, shelves, and books


My granddaughter Cady is in Savannah, Georgia.  Back in February, she and her friend Amanda sold a lot of GS cookies to make money for this trip.  One hundred years ago, in 1912, Juliette Low gathered eighteen girls to register the first troop of American Girl Guides in Savannah.  The name of the organization was changed to Girl Scouts the following year.  From the original eighteen girls, Girl Scouting has grown to 2.6 million members.  Cady, age 12, is one of them.  My daughter Barbara, once a Scout herself, sent this photo to my cell phone yesterday.  She's one of the mothers who accompanied the girls on this trip.


This is from Susan, a St. Elmo neighbor:  "I found a cool idea and put in gutters with end caps into my children's rooms, so they can see the books and make a choice.  When they were small and could not read, it was nearly impossible for them to choose."   This is a great idea!  Look how low to the baseboards she placed them.   I could have used this sort of thing in my bookstore.  It would have been even better than a table to display books, maybe especially children's books.


Recently finished
Murder and the First Lady ~ by Elliott Roosevelt, 1984, mystery (District of Columbia), 8/10
Reading now
For All Time: A Complete Guide to Writing Your Family History ~ by Charley Kempthorne, 1996, writing
Up next
Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in Twelve Simple Words ~ by Brian D. McLaren, 2011, religion

Christianity is in crisis.  McLaren confronts how the lack of a simple, doable, durable spirituality undermines the very transformation God is calling us to undergo.  As a result, our religious structures become tools to maintain the status quo and not catalysts for personal and social change.  He presents four stages of the spiritual life:  awakening, strengthening, surviving, deepening.
Visit the Sunday Salon's Facebook page for links to more posts.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Snapshot ~ little bit of lunch

My granddaughter Kenzie holding Raegan after lunch at Little Tokyo Express today.  Raegan was actually looking at the camera for this one...

... but she had her eyes on something else here.  Raegan's fortune cookie (there on the table) never got opened, so I can't report what it said.

And here's Raegan with both her parents, Kenzie and Michael.  Her mind is still on something else, maybe the birthday party for a friend this afternoon?  Unfortunately, that may mean she doesn't get a nap today, and I think she already looked a bit sleepy during lunch.  I took them for Kenzie's belated birthday lunch — very belated, since her birthday was May 28 — but this was the first Saturday that worked.

 (Links to other Saturday Snapshots are here.)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Audio tapes

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path ~ by Jack Kornfield, 2000, six audio tapes
An audio adaptation of the book, this program reveals how the modern spiritual journey unfolds, and the difficulties of translating that freedom into daily life.  Drawing on the experiences and insights of leaders and practitioners within the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Sufi traditions, Kornfield offers an understanding of how the modern spiritual journey unfolds — and how we can prepare our hearts for awakening.
The Practice of the Presence of God ~ by Brother Laurence, read by Bob Tetreault, 2000, one audio tape
Full of realistic honesty, friendliness, and simplicity, Brother Lawrence shows that it is possible to meet God amongst the pots and pans — in the ordinary, daily events of life.  "In the way of God, thoughts count very little," said Brother Lawrence, a 17th century Carmelite monk who spent much of his monastic life in the kitchen.  "Love does it all."
Awakening Compassion: Meditation Practice For Difficult Times ~ by Pema Chödrön, 1995, six audio tapes
For more than 800 years, Tibetan Buddhists have used the principles of lojong (literally, "mind training") to transform difficulties into insights, and conflict into genuine communication.  This is the first audio retreat on the practice of lojong taught by Pema Chödrön herself.  With many techniques for dealing with jealousy, anger, and fear, this is a unique resource for bringing compassion into the world and stopping the cycle of suffering in our own lives.
Radiant Heart: The Radical Teachings of Jesus and the Christian Mystics ~ by Andrew Harvey, 1999, six audio tapes
The desert mystics used the life of Jesus as a spiritual template.  Beginning with an investigation into the original practices of Jesus and ending with a series of transformative meditations for opening to the power of Christ consciousness, Andrew Harvey invites us to look beyond nearly 2,000 years of dogma and distortion to see the path traveled by Jesus — and history’s most influential saints and mystics.
Exploring the Cosmic Christ Archetype ~ by Matthew Fox, 1992, two audio tapes
Fox offers a new, dynamic vision of the creation story, based on his search for the divine in our world today.  Five and a half billion years ago, he says, a supernova exploded and died.  Its resurrective power gave birth to the elements in our bodies.  These elements – fire, earth, water, and air – are celebrated by every native religion in chant, in prayer, in ritual and are the basis ofhis  "Cosmic Christ" theology.  He calls for a return to a joyful form of worship, free of dogma, that speaks to you personally.
The Divine Dance: Exploring the Mystery of Trinity ~ by Richard Rohr, 2004, four audio tapes
Rohr says, "Don't start with one and try to make it three, but start with three and know that is the very nature of the One – and everything there is."  From there, he opens up the central and hidden mystery of the Trinity to show its very practical and pastoral implications for community, family, politics, sexuality, and spirituality.
The Anti-Gospel of Our Time: The Need to Play the Victim and to Create Victims ~ by Richard Rohr, 1998, four audio tapes
Richard Rohr spoke at Shalem Institute's 25th Anniversary Event on October 29-30, 1998.  His topic was this Anti-Gospel.  Afterwards, several participants reflected very briefly on what they heard, and you can read their remarks here.
Wisdom of the Sadhu: Teachings of Sundar Singh ~ read by Al Stone, 2000, three audio tapes
Though known in his lifetime as India's most famous convert to Christianity, Sundar Singh (1889-1929) never accepted the conventions of Christianity, but gravitated instead to its stark original teachings.  His teachings in this collection of anecdotes, sayings, parables, and meditations probe the essence of the Gospels with unusual freahness.
My thanks to Jan @ Yearning for God, who sent me a box of audio tapes, which also included these:
Eat That Frog! ~ by Brian Tracy, 2001 (2 tapes)
The Place of Scripture in Spiritual Formation ~ by Hazelyn McComas, 2001 (5 tapes)
Hebrew Spirituality ~ by Robert Morris, 2002 (5 tapes)
Liturgy and Spirituality ~ by Don Saliers, 2002 (5 tapes)
Christian Spirituality and Cultural Spiritualities ~ by Michael Cartwright, 2003 (5 tapes)
New Testament Communities and Our Community ~ by Robert Mulholland, 2003 (5 tapes)
What in the World is God Doing? ~ by Richard J. Foster (1 tape)
Living in the Now ~ by David Stendl-Rast (4 tapes)
Healing Starts from the Heart ~ by David Stendl-Rast, 1992 (2 tapes)
There Is Only Now ~ by Scott Morrison (1 tape)
Sermons ~ by Gordon Cosby (10 tapes)
Stillness Speaks ~ by Eckhart Tolle (2 tapes)
The Gift of Contemplation and Your Spiritual Journey ~ by Thomas Keating (5 tapes)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

That Spring Thing ~ March 20 to June 20 challenge

Spring Reading Thing 2012 was brought to us by Katrina @ Callapidder Days, who has a Mister Linky for all our closing posts.  My original book list had thirteen books for thirteen weeks — and I more than doubled my list.  Here are the 28 books I finished, divided into categories, and how I rated each one.  (Those marked library book are explained below.)

FICTION (16 books)

1.  The Age of Grief ~ by Jane Smiley, fiction, 7/10
2.  Ashfall ~ by Mike Mullin, 2011, YA fiction (Iowa, Illinois), 9/10, (library book)
3.  Before I Go to Sleep ~ by S. J. Watson, 2011, fiction, 9/10, (library book)
4.  The Beginner's Goodbye ~ by Anne Tyler, 2012, fiction (Maryland), 8/10, (library book)
Best of the Bunch #1
5.  The Breath of God ~ by Jeffrey Small, 2011, fiction (Bhutan, India, USA), 9.5/10
6.  Catalyst ~ by Laurie Halse Anderson, 2002, YA fiction, 9/10
7.  Close to Famous ~ by Joan Bauer, 2011, YA fiction (West Virginia), 8/10, (library book)
8.  Dead Asleep ~ by Jennifer B. White, 2011, fiction (Massachusetts), 9/10
9.  Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant ~ by Anne Tyler, 1982, fiction (Maryland), 8/10
10.  The Happy Room ~ by Catherine Palmer, 2002, fiction (Missouri, Kenya), 8/10, (library book)
11.  The Lady and the Unicorn ~ by Tracy Chevalier, 2004, fiction (France and Belgium), 9/10
Best of the Bunch #2
12.  Lone Wolf ~ by Jodi Picoult, 2012, fiction, 10/10
13.  Mary, Bloody Mary ~ by Carolyn Meyer, 1999, YA fiction (England), 9/10
14.  Murder and the First Lady ~ by Elliott Roosevelt, 1984, mystery (District of Columbia), 8/10
15.  Nop's Trials ~ by Donald McCaig, 1984, fiction (Virginia), 9/10
16.  Patience, Princess Catherine ~ by Carolyn Meyer, 2004, YA fiction (England), 9/10

HISTORY (2 books)

17.  The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed  the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels ~ by Thomas Cahill, 1998, history (Middle East), 9/10
18.  The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade ~ by Ann Fessler, 2006, history. 9/10, (library book)

MEMOIR (4 books)

19.  Girl Meets God ~ by Lauren F. Winner, 2002, memoir, 8/10, (library book)
20.  Into the Tangle of Friendship: A Memoir of the Things That Matter ~ by Beth Kephart, 2000, memoir, 8/10, (library book)
21.  Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis ~ by Lauren F. Winner, 2012, memoir, 8/10
22.  Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story ~ by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor, 2009, memoir (Greece, Turkey, South Carolina, France), 9/10


23.  Between a Rock and a Hot Place: Why Fifty is the New Fifty ~ by Tracey Jackson, 2011, psychology/aging, 7/10

RELIGION (4 books)

24.  God Is No Laughing Matter: An Artist's Observations and Objections on the Spiritual Path ~ by Julia Cameron, 2000, religion, 8/10
25.  Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings ~ edited by Marcus Borg, 1997, religion, 7/10, (library book)
26.  Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived ~ by Rob Bell, 2011, religion, 9/10, (library book)
27.  One Hand Clapping: Zen Stories for All Ages ~ by Rafe Martin, illustrated by Junko Morimoto, 1995, YA religion, 9/10, (library book)

WRITING (1 book)

28.  I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory ~ by Patricia Hampl, 1999, memoir writing, 8/10, (library book)


I'm in the middle of two other books that were on the list, but since each is nonfiction (religion) and I'm studying them, I decided I wouldn't hurry just to complete them "on time" for this Spring Reading Thing challenge.  I haven't been writing reviews for many of the books I've been reading, and these two will require some thought before I post anything.  The first one was on the original list, and I added this second one after reading Breath of God by Jeffrey Small.  Both of these are excellent:
29.  Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus ~ by Robin R. Meyers, 2009, religion

30.  Living Buddha, Living Christ ~ by Thích Nhất Hạnh, introduction by Elaine Pagels, 1995, religion
Books read and original goals:
16 of 4 fiction
1 of 1 psychology
1 of 1 writing
4 of 3 memoir
4 of 3 religion
2 of 1 history
28 of 13 books 
Ratio of my books read to library books read:
My goal was to read at least two of my books for every library book, which explains why I made note of them above.
16 of my books
12 library books
16/12 ratio, which means I didn't make it 
Summary of books removed:My goal was to "get rid of a lot of books," and this isn't really a lot.  At least I got rid of some of them.  This will probably be a never-ending job.
4 to friends
30 to used book store
3 to the senior center
37 books total 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Library Loot ~ June 20-26

Nop's Trials ~ by Donald McCaig, 1984, fiction (Virginia), 9/10
"Early Christmas morning ... On account of the holiday, Lewis would feed the stock special this morning.  Instead of fine orchard grass, he would feed the thick-stemmed green alfalfa, normally reserved for she-woollies with nursing lambs and for he-woollies before they were turned out to breed." (p. 3).

"The cows usually ate silage augered directly into troughs from the silo, but this was a holiday and today they were to have alfalfa as well" (p. 9).
What is it about us, that we do this sort of thing for our animals?  I gave Kiki a bird feeder for her birthday, so she could watch birds fluttering outside our bedroom window, but I also fed her salmon that day, because it was her favorite food.  On the day before she died, I went to the store specifically to buy salmon for her.  It was her last meal, eaten or rather, tasted and nibbled at, since she was not well on her last night.  Later, I was so glad I had made the effort to provide her that special food, even though I didn't realize we were into her last few hours.

Actually, I read my own copy of the book, but borrowed the book from the library to get these page numbers.  Notice I have already given the book a rating of 9 out of 10.  Here's a synopsis of the novel:
It’s Christmas Day when we meet Lewis Burkholder, a West Virginia livestock farmer and sheepdog trainer, and his ­talented young border collie, Nop.  The usually happy holiday is shattered when Nop is stolen from his owner.  Nop’s Trials is the story of Nop’s fate, the abuse and brutality he suffers, and his incredible resiliency.  It’s a touching tale of a border collie’s undying desire to do his job and serve his master, and it explores the depth of love and devotion that a dog and a human can feel toward each other.
Beekeeper's Apprentice: On the Segregation of the Queen ~ by Laurie R. King, 1994, mystery (England)
Long retired, Sherlock Holmes quietly pursues his study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs.  He never imagines he would encounter anyone whose intellect matched his own, much less an audacious teenage girl with a penchant for detection.  Miss Mary Russell becomes Holmes' pupil and quickly hones her talent for deduction, disguises and danger.   But when an elusive villain enters the picture, their partnership is put to a real test.
For All Time: A Complete Guide to Writing Your Family History ~ by Charley Kempthorne, 1996, writing
Synopsis:  This practical and accessible guide details the many forms of family history writing.  With writing topics throughout the book, you will have the opportunity to write several sketches that can be used as a beginning to writing your family's history.
When I flipped it open and read the short first chapter, I was suprised to find two mentions of Manhattan, Kansas.  It's a small town and the only place I visited the one time I went to Kansas, so that surprised me.  And then I read on the back cover that the author lives in Manhattan, Kansas.  It's a small world, don't you think?

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share titles of books they’ve checked out of the library. To participate, just add your post to their Mister Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries this week.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cady's dance recital

This is Cady, who is now twelve, after her dance recital this evening.  My daughter, Cady's mom, hates to be in photos, so I wouldn't be surprised if she deliberately closed her eyes so I wouldn't use this next photo.

I didn't get a second chance, so here 'tis!  As one of the moms who helps out, Barbara was given a lei.

Here's Cady with her other grandparents before the show, wearing her first costume beneath the robe.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Five ~ Dreams

Jan @ RevGalBlogPals said, "I have just started studying Jung and dreams with a group of friends.  I am hearing about lucid dreaming and imagining, which have opened me up to wondering about dreams in general.  So how about wondering with me?"  Here are Jan's five questions.

1.  Everyone dreams:  Do you remember your dreams?  How often?
Yes, I nearly always remember my dreams.  I started studying dreams 40 years ago, in the early 1970s.  One of my friends actually taught dream workshops, and I probably first heard about lucid dreaming — being aware that I'm dreaming — from her.  When I started writing down my dreams upon awakening, I began to remember more and more each time.  Eventually, it took too much time to record my dreams, so I would simply be aware of dreaming and make a mental note of whatever seemed important for me that day.  I also think about any odd things in my dreams and ponder them during the day.
2.  Did you or do you have a recurring dream?  Share it, if you'd like.
Like most people, I recall dreams about running from someone.  Those used to be scary, when I was young.  When I learned to control my dreams and was aware of dreaming even while I was still asleep, I had fun in my dreams — and rarely, if ever, have had nightmares since.  When whoever was chasing me in a dream was just about to catch me, I would laugh, speed up slightly, and dodge the reaching hand.  My dreams became playful and joyful, and I would wake with a smile on my face, feeling like I could run forever.
3.  Have you ever had recurring themes or images in dreams?  Examples?
Besides running, flying in my dreams was always fun, even before I knew about lucid dreaming.  I *knew* flapping my arms couldn't make me fly like a bird, I knew I was dreaming, and I flew anyway, rising off the ground and hovering there, with a smile on my face.
4.  Do you day dream?  About what?
Sure, I daydream.  I remember writing out a daydream many years ago, when my three children were young and took all my time.  It was all about what I'd do when I "had the time."  I shared it with my mother, who laughed and explained why running away to a place with nothing but books and cushions and a reading lamp wouldn't work for me.  "You'd need your piano," she said.  Oops!  She was right, and running away with a piano would be a bit hard to do.
5.  What are your dreams/hopes/goals for the future?
Another recurring theme in my dreams has been the church I grew up in.  I called to mind with no effort at least three times I dreamed about East Lake Methodist Church.  Once I ran into my dad on the sidewalk in front of the church, long after he had died.  I asked him, "Does Mom know you're back?"  (Now THAT is an interesting concept to ponder!  I knew he had died, but I was simply joyful that he was "back.")  In another dream, I exited the side door of the church onto the front porch of my childhood home — also a very interesting thought.  But it's the third dream that gives me pause.  I drove by the church (in the dream) and noticed it was hollow like a cave, deep into the fellowship hall beneath the sanctuary (see the "cave" under the stairs on the left).  A hollow church.  Something was missing.  The church was dead, long before I preached the last service there in 2010, and it was closed.  A year later, I returned to celebrate new life as a Presbyterian congregation began worshiping there.  My dream is for new life and transformation among dying congregations, which (in my opinion) will come only with major changes in thinking about the purpose of "church."
I think it's a fascinating coincidence that today's Quote of the Day, which appears on my sidebar, is this by Anais Nin:
"Dreams are necessary to life."

Beginning ~ with a strange question

Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus ~ by Robin R. Meyers, 2009, religion
"Am I a Christian?"  What a strange question for an ordained minister of the gospel to ask.
Yes, it's a strange question, but I'm interested in reading the book because of the contents, as shown by these chapter headings:
1.  Jesus the Teacher, Not the Savior
2.  Faith as Being, Not Belief
3.  The Cross as Futility, Not Forgiveness
4.  Easter as Presence, Not Proof
5.  Original Blessing, Not Original Sin
6.  Christianity as Compassion, Not Condemnation
7.  Discipleship as Obedience, Not Observance
8.  Justice as Covenant, Not Control
9.  Prosperity as Dangerous, Not Divine
10.  Religion as Relationship, Not Righteousness
I wrote about this book when it arrived in the mail in March.  It's dedicated to me.
"I dedicate this book to all the men and women who have chosen the parish ministry as their life's work, and yet do not wish to be considered harmless artifacts from another age.  May all those who labor in the most misunderstood, dangerous, and sublime of all professions be encouraged and inspired by the possibility that one's head and one's heart can be equal partners in faith.  Lest the church end up a museum piece whose clergy are affable but laughable cartoons, we must once again dedicate ourselves to this wild calling — one that led us away from more comfortable lives and into the only profession where radical truth-telling is part of the job description.  May we fear no man and no creed, save our own timidity, and may we encourage and support one another in pursuit of religion that is biblically responsible, intellectually honest, emotionally satisfying, and socially significant."
With people like the Westboro Baptist Church haters out there, the good done over the years by socially-minded churches (founding hospitals and colleges, feeding and clothing the poor, advocating for civil rights) is often overlooked and anyone labeled "Christian" lumped in the pool of ignorance with literalists and bigots.  That's not where I stand, and I don't have time to be timid.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.
Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A boy and his tiger — me and mine

The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book ~ by Bill Watterson, 1989, cartoons
Calvin has a tiger, a stuffed toy tiger.  Calvin also has an imagination, so his toy tiger is — for him, at least — as big and as real as a REAL tiger.  They do things together, all sorts of adventures.  I have this book, and I rate it 9 of 10, simply for Calvin's imagination.
Sometimes though, his imagination gets out of hand. Like in these cartoon panels I found online.  (Click to enlarge them.)

Click to enlarge illustrations
Calvin says, "I go to school, but I never learn what I want to know."  When his teacher asks what state he lives in, Calvin says, "Denial."  She can't argue with that.

Calvin's parents don't know what to do with his imagination.

But Calvin's got a heart.  In this panel, we see how small Hobbes is compared to Calvin's mother.  He is, after all, a stuffed toy animal.

Calvin and Hobbes run and play and hug and ... hug?  Where've I heard that before?  Oh, yeah, Jane gave me a tiger to hug, and I'm trying to name that tiger.

Do you think my new tiger looks like a Hobbes?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A tiger to hug

People have been so good to me, following the death of Kiki Cat, sending dozens of condolence cards, emails, Facebook messages, and now a tiger.  Kiki usually curled up with me to sleep, sometimes hugging my arm.  Jane decided I needed something to hug, but the only "cat" she could find was a tiger.  I need help naming her, so what do you think would be a good name for a tiger?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My grandson is in the news

Kendall, in December, giving children rides on the fire engine.
"A Hixson woman survives a house fire Monday, thanks to members of the Dallas Bay Fire Department. ... firefighters Adam Ward and Kendall Jacobs rescued the woman and her two dogs from the second floor, while Firefighter Tiffany Gensemer put out the flames..."
Wow!  Just "wow" is all I can say.  Read the whole Channel 3 News article and a similar article from the  Read my blog story about children at the firehall.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Snapshot ~ Kiki's obituary ~ on Caturday

The moon is visible in the morning cky (click to enlarge)
All I was able to write yesterday was R.I.P. ~ Kiki, but she was so much a person that it feels like she should have an obituary and I should be planning a big memorial service for her friends to attend.  And she did have friends.  When people came to visit, she would join us in the living room and mingle with the crowd.  She truly loved people.  When Donna and I opened a bookstore, Kiki took seriously her job as bookstore cat.  She would wander around and visit with customers and book club participants.

Kiki working on her blog post
Unlike other cats, she would look at me when I spoke her name.  Sometimes, she would respond with a meow, as if saying, "Yes?"  She was a talkative kitty, but seemed to know we take turns.  She let me talk, then would answer.  When I said "treats" with a question in my voice, she would widen her eyes and say "Meow!"

Need I translate?  (No, I didn't think you'd need any help.)

She loved to be outside and would often sit at the door waiting to go out on our patio.  Yesterday morning, hours after her crying in pain woke me at 4:30 a.m., I sat on the patio with Kiki dying on the cool concrete at my feet, rubbing behind her ears and waiting for the vet to arrive at her office.  And I noticed the moon still in the sky.  Kiki didn't look up, didn't move when laughing neighbors walked within a few feet of us as they passed on their way to work, didn't turn her head to see chirping birds in the grass, didn't look at the squirrel chattering at her from the tree.  She didn't see the moon as the sun crept higher toward 8:00 o'clock, 8:15, 8:30 when we left for our 9:00 o'clock emergency appointment with the vet.  We were early, but Kiki died on the table at exactly 9:00 a.m.  She was revived, but couldn't make it.  When the vet said some vital organ had burst within her, I said, "Let her go."  Because they had "shocked" her heart back to life, the vet had to euthanize her, a few minutes past 9:00 a.m.  I was with her to the end, and I loved her so much.  She was the most loving cat I have ever known.

The vet and the assistant each hugged me as I cried.  And for two days now, condolences have been pouring in for Kiki from her friends.  Here are some who knew her in person:
Ginnie:  "Bonnie, i am so sorry. She was a very special person, and I do mean person. She loved you and comforted you and entertained you through twelve years of dramatic changes in your life. She will be missed."

Emily:  "Oh Bonnie, I miss her too. She was such a special kitty. Sending hugs to you, but can't help crying with you too."  (Then Emily called to cry on the phone with me.)

Ellen:  "I'm so sorry to hear this, Bonnie. I'm thinking of you."

Martha, a great lover of cats:  "Bonnie, I am so sorry about Kiki. I know how much you loved her and what a great companion she was. I DO understand what you are going through."

Card from our roommate Donna:
"In their eyes, we see a loving soul,
and in our hearts,
we know we'll never have a finer friend."
Donna wrote in that card:  "She loved so freely, but especially loved you.  You were her soul mate.  I loved her ... for so many things, but one truly large reason was the fact that she taught Sammy how to love to the best of Sammy's ability.  Sammy has lost much of her feral nature because of watching you and Kiki's so very special relationship. ... Kiki died knowing you loved her.  Remember that and savor her gentleness."

Sammy looking for Kiki, bewildered.

Sammy, Donna's cat, keeps searching for Kiki and wandering to the love seat where Kiki chose to rest during the last days of her life, saying, "Meow?" as if asking, "Where is she?  Where?"

Sylvia:  "I am very sorry, Bonnie. I know she was a faithful companion through many ups and downs and all the in-betweens."

Carol: "I'm so sorry about Kiki, love you!"

Laura:  "Oh, no!  So sad, Bonnie. You all had lived together a long time. Peace for you both."

Paula:  "Bonnie, I am so sorry to hear about Kiki.  You must be quite sad about this."

Lex:   "So sad, kitties are the best companions and some of the most precious personalities in our lives."

Card from the vet:
"Good friends leave paw prints and fond memories in our heart ... Our Sincerest Sympathy ... We share in your sadness and understand the loss you are feeling."
And here are some who knew Kiki only online:
Madge:  "Sad to hear but she came to the right house. She was loved and loved back."

Susan:  "oh no! so sorry to hear this, thinking of you today Bonnie {hugs}"

Margreet, in the Netherlands:  "Honey, I'm so sorry for your loss.  I know how much Kiki meant to you.  Love you."

Brenda:  "So, so sorry, Bonnie."

Nancy, another cat lover:  "Oh, no! I'm so sorry, Bonnie. I know how much you loved Kiki. (((HUGS))) "

Kathryn:  "Aw Bonnie, I am sorry to hear this. Such a beautiful cat and fine companion. Hang in there."

Jeannie:  "So sorry, Bonnie!"

Margaret:  "So sorry that Kiki is no longer with us, but she's needed elsewhere to give light, love, hugs, and soft paws for the universe.  I know you miss her sweet presence."

Jan:  "I am so sorry, Bonnie."

Helen:  "Oh Bonnie, I am so sorry to hear about Kiki! I know how much she meant to you and will miss her presence on your blog. I hope you doing alright."
"Her presence on this blog," Helen said.  You did know, didn't you, that Kiki was a reader (aren't photos proof of that?) and reviewed books on some Caturdays.  She wrote about Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron, but Kiki's favorite book was The Silliest Cat by Gilles Bachelet click on the titles to read her reviews.

And this obituary wouldn't be complete without mentioning that Kiki's hobby was bird watching.  Look carefully in the photo below to see the baby bird on the windowsill.

Click to enlarge, and look for a little yellow beak.
Do you remember Kiki wanted a bird feeder like Sammy's?  She told the whole world, so I got her a double feeder for her birthday in April.  It has a hanger for birdseed on one side and a hanger for suet on the other.  Kiki's eyes would dart to the fluttering wings as birds arrived to feed outside our bedroom window.

In Kiki's introduction to this blog in 2008, I called her a con artist who could lie for a good cause.  That single paragraph was the introduction to a book review, but my favorite part is what I wrote in a comment below that post:
One of KKi's frequent kisses
Today a friend sent me an email about how loving dogs are, while cats aren't ... because they believe you are there to serve them. I wrote back and told her about this time from Kiki's early years with me:

I had been out of town for 3 or 4 days. I had left plenty of food and water, which works for a cat, who eats what she needs and saves the rest. When I got home and opened the door to the kitchen, Kiki ran past me like crazy through the garage to the driveway, happy to be outside again. But she stopped suddenly, turned around, ran back and "kissed" me by licking my chin. Then she felt free to run out into the glorious sunshine.

You may laugh about cats ignoring you, but Kiki loves me and remembered to welcome me home with a kiss before she went outside to smell the fresh air and play. As I've said before, she is the most loving cat I've ever had. I feel blessed to be loved by Kiki.

~~~ Kiki's best friend, Bonnie
Kiki had her own way of ending her Caturday posts.  Here it is, one last time, and it's even a Caturday.  (Oh, shucks, now I've made myself cry.)

Kiki Cat, signing off

(Links to other Saturday Snapshots are here.)