Kitty is now at the Lexington Humane Society where he will first be examined by a veterinarian. If his FIV is not too advanced and his health otherwise okay, they will neuter him and try to find him a home that takes in FIV cats.

Thanks to all who offered advice and helped us see this through.


2018-03-12 002 new yin yangIn a recent blog I introduced “Kitty,” the black and white feral cat who slipped into our lives last summer via our backyard, under-cover deck, or attached garage. Soon after that post, I introduced our newly adopted, black and white, part-Affenpinscher puppy, whom we dubbed “Pepper.”

I’m sad to say that Kitty’s blood work shows he has FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) .

(FIV) is often referred to as kitty AIDS, but it must be borne in mind that it is not contagious to humans or other animals…. Like AIDS, cats can be FIV positive for years before showing any signs of clinical illness. Fortunately, it is not as easily spread as feline leukemia virus, nor is it as common. Although no cure exists, it does not present an automatic reason to euthanize cats in shelters. Appropriate adoptive homes may be found, and they can be held safely in the shelter until rehomed if certain precautions can be taken.

FIV is caused by a retrovirus (lentivirus) that is similar to HIV in that it breaks down the immune system’s ability to fight off disease. The virus does not persist in the environment outside the cat’s body for more than a few hours and is readily destroyed by most disinfectants, which is good news for shelters that decide to hold FIV positive cats.*

*Click here for more information:

Over the winter and up to now, Kitty has come “home” three times with face and neck wounds. The transmission of this virus is primarily through bite wounds, and is more common amid male cats who fight. It may also be spread from mothers to kittens. Cats may be safely housed individually without endangering the lives of other cats in the shelter.

As one may imagine, the first step is to neuter the male cat. I am told that the male cat will then settle down and able to be housed/sheltered. That is my first step. However, now that we have little Miss Pepper inside, we cannot take in Kitty.

I researched FIV and discovered a foundation in Lexington that houses and shelters feral cats for adoptions. I was immediately told that they cannot take in an already infected cat, even if he is neutered. I totally understand.

I have a wonderful Mobile Vet whom I first met in l983 when husband, Joe, was ill with pancreatic cancer. “Rascal,” our family dog, was over twelve years old when he developed hip dysplasia. During the months that Joe was at home while I worked and the children were in school, he and Rascal bonded.

The day Joe called me at work saying Rascal cannot get up was the day I found the Mobile Vet. While Joe was at a routine appointment with his Oncologist, the Vet came out.  He let me hold Rascal in my arms on the patio, and gently put him to sleep. I was forever grateful.

On the other hand, when I shared it with Joe, he became very emotional, and he asked if that was what I’d do to him. I knew he was sad and would miss his companion.

My plea to find a home for Kitty is going out to many people. Please share this blog with whomever you think might be helpful in passing the word. Feel free to share your thoughts or possibilities for Kitty at my personal email :

Thanks for listening.


Percolation is a slow process in the hard head of the worldly wise.~Waiting for Daylight  by Henry Major Tomlinson

This quote is far from representing coffee beans strained through a filter; nor is it an example of a boil, a seep, or a simmer. Can you guess to what it refers?

Here are more hints: percolation occurs when one considers, chews over, foresees, meditates on, ponders, or speculates. Such percolation does not drip, drop, flow, or leak.

To percolate means to bubble, exude, ooze, permeate, pervade, saturate ones brain while in the process of writing one’s thoughts for a book, a review, a letter.

Now that’s the life of a writer!

002_cropI am grateful to Bonni Goldberg for penning “The Importance of Percolation” in her 2002 book, Beyond the Words. I was introduced to it while scripting my own book, Gypsy Journey, published in 2016. With the assistance of percolation, I eventually admitted to and enjoyed being an author. Inspirations permeate out of the blue when one sets sail.

Here is a peek into Goldberg’s thoughts on percolation as inspiration:

… an inspiration is an intimate moment  … the more you notice flashes of inspiration, the less you’ll need to rely on techniques ~ such as, automatic writing ~ and the more you’ll trust your own senses. … Once you decide to follow an inspiration, there are lots of ways to percolate.

Percolation usually whisks into mind and heart when I absorb sights and sounds from Mother Nature, or listen to relaxing music, or marvel on the wonders of my life in the Universe. Gratitude is a precursor to inspiration; on the contrary, critical vibes adhere to negative thinking.

Procrastination is a myriad of excuses for not writing, but percolation isn’t procrastination. The psyche is at work. Our senses are attuned inward. We’re feeding our idea.

How does one enter the percolation process? One way is to spend time watching clouds. Notice how they float and constantly alter their shapes; the wind’s velocity is their paint brush. Be sure to connect your thoughts to the experience.

Bud and I spent an entire day watching clouds pass over the Ridge (my home at the fav clouds 003_btime). We perched on the deck overlooking the valley below.  Although, once our eyes focused upward, the limelight was the sky. Besides the clouds, we found streaks of jet streams and pondered where each jet had flown from and is flying to. The experience is transcending, in that the clouds keep changing, as do our thoughts. Cloud-watching sessions are good for getting back into an inspiration mode.


Another way to contemplate is to sit near running water. The melodic tones of moving water add to the beauty of nature, not to mention a plethora of birds and animals that come for refreshment. I prefer trickling rather than rushing water for the sake of slowing down. While on the Mississippi River, I enjoyed hearing the slow-moving dribbles from the weary barges hit the land, especially at night when the spot lights from the tow-boats passed over the banks.

This last quote from author Bonni Goldberg summarizes my brief writing on percolation.

I’ve come to view all creativity as an extension of the world, an act of making love with it. And it’s impossible to make love with the world separate from us.

By all means.

Thank you, Bonni.


Late last night, into the dawn … what a conglomeration of creatures!

Pepper 005_cropI’ve introduced you to Kitty, the neighborhood feral cat, who comes and goes to eat and rest on our back deck. Black and white as can be, he’s been around since last August and has acquired scars, scratches, and a serious injury during the winter, one that demanded medical attention.

This time I want to introduce you to Pepper, a four-month-old wonder dog we recently adopted from the Humane Society. She likewise is black and white—more pepper than salt, hence the name. She is part Affenpinscher, Pepper 002_cropknown to be a terrier type dog of small stature with a big attitude. Kitty and Pepper have met: Kitty acted with caution, Pepper with a yearning to play.

After a long winter that kept us inside, Bud and I favored adopting a dog. Be that as it may, we did not anticipate a puppy. Little did we know how wide our hearts would open as soon as we laid eyes on her. She and her brother were brought in the week before. The male was in process of being adopted when we noticed the female. She was quietly sitting in her cage and easily overlooked. She had been spayed the day before and melted into our arms. That didn’t last long.

Almost immediately upon entering her new home, her sedated nature turned into JOY! Each day thereafter she has licked us profusely, begged to be held, darted around the yard, and slipped out of her harness twice, and, fortunately, never ran away. We aren’t apathetic anymore.

Nonetheless, last night just about did us in.

kittykitty 003_cropSince Pepper is not yet potty trained, Bud and I decided to make a change and move her into the kitchen for the night, with the help of a spring gate. Pepper didn’t want to leave Kitty, who was high on a bench camping out on the deck due to interminable rain. When I headed back out at midnight to retrieve the dry cat food, Kitty was laying low after jumping into a chair. I quickly noted and then heard the thump of a big figure jump off the counter and scramble. It didn’t take long to recognize a raccoon, with its black mask and a fluffy tail encircled with black rings, who obviously likes cat food.

Speaking of which, we also have a variety of birds who like Kitty’s food. The Mockingbird usually flies onto the deck, eats three to four pieces, then flies away. The Blue Jay eats much more, and the male Cardinal rarely shows up. However, they stay away when Kitty’s around. Therefore, Bud started carrying a small can of cat food to the garden wall where the birds are more free to imbibe.

The topper of this post follows.

We store cat and dog food above the washer and dryer in the kitchen. We’ve been noticing damage to the plastic containers, plus bits of dry food in the washing machine. Bud had previously set mouse traps in the laundry room, none of which worked, until now. This morning Bud found two dead mice, one having dropped to the floor. He had to pull out the machine to retrieve it, but guess who got ahead of him? Yup, Pepper came out carrying the mousetrap in her mouth!

What a menagerie, what a night!

Visit this website for more information,

Polar Bear
Hallelujah! They have risen!
Snowdrops, crocus, bearded iris.
Exult and throw your happy arms upward!
The trillium carpet the forest floor.
rise up singing “our cups overflow.”
The creatures dress in their feast-day finest,
the loons and penguins in black tie and tux.
Hallelujah ushers forth from lips and beaks
as quacks, warbles, howls and hoots
fill the forests and fields with hymns of joy.
Let the Earth be glad and the sky shower praise
for the riot of color in her cloak of glory:
 Purple Martin, Scarlet Tanager,
Red-winged Blackbird, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher,
Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret,
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Indigo Bunting.
It is right to give thanks for the endangered,
relatives among us but not for long:
Bengal Tiger, Blue Whale, Leatherback Sea Turtle,
Asian Elephant, Javan Rhinoceros, Mountain Gorilla,
Snow Leopard, Red Wolf, California Condor.
It is fitting that we mourn our relations now extinct-
though the list is long, let us name a few:
Chinese River Dolphin, Japanese Sea Lion,
Caribbean Monk Seal, Cascade Mountain Wolf, Sardinian Lynx,
Bali Tiger, Mexican Grizzly, Eastern Cougar, Black Rhinoceros,
Koala Lemur, Barbary Lion, Laughing Owl.
For all that dies and rises, we bend our knee.
As creatures of the Cosmos, progeny of the Universe,
we give thanks and rejoice for the Flame within us.
With the bald eagles and hairy frogfish,
with the furry kittens and spiny hedgehogs,
with the runny-nosed bison and red-nosed reindeer
we stand in awe as Earth spins, tides change,
hearts beat, eyes see, hands comfort.
We who believe in Life give Life.
This feast marks the life of a prophet
who said more than once,
“What you see me do, you can do, and more.”
What rises today and every dawn
are these words that remind us:
There is nothing in the world we cannot do.
Let us take this suffering world into our arms
and heal what we can.
Jan Phillips 2018
Visionary Thought Leader

Are you able to recall how you felt…

…when you woke up and witnessed your first snowfall?

…how the ground, trees, bushes, house tops, and telephone wires were ablaze with glistening virgin snow?

…when you donned your snow suit, hat, boots, gloves with clips attached to your coat sleeves, and ventured into the freezing zone?

Do you know how long you stayed outside in winter wonderland? I think I lasted a bit longer outdoors than it took to get me dressed, but I was just as eager, if not more so, to get back into our warm, heated house; and then, getting undressed and shaking the ice off my winter coat and leggings, not to mention dealing with the boots.

Dutch Snowman

Dutch Snowman 1953

This is a picture of our childhood escapade after 30-plus inches of snowfall hit Cleveland in 1953. No, I’m not in the picture, but I watched with glee as my Dad and brother built it. It is a Dutch Snowman, complete with accessories: cap, bow tie, carved vest with hands in pockets, bow legged, and wooden dutch shoes with pointed toes. The outstanding work of art towered over my Dad. The picture is a faded memory, one that we still hold dear.

I awoke this morning to another glistening surprise. Ten inches of wet, heavy snow fell in Lexington overnight and converted our lovely backyard into a fairyland. My renewed energy as a child exploded and off I went with my camera. Come, play with me!

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Our front yard is pure, unadulterated snow, pristine to be exact. Unfortunately, the trade off of heavy snow is the loss of tree branches. However, our loss is more like a snip.

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We are up before the sun, gazing out the windows at a blue covered backyard. The heck with getting dressed; at our age we just throw our coats on and don the boots. We may stay that way for the rest of the day, too (sans the boots, unless one of us has to shovel snow)!

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We are in awe of the beauty and silence of our backyard, and so are the silent chimes.

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Ah, Brother Sun is touching our deck; our iced table will soon thaw.

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What is this? It looks like a giant dwarf!

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It is a dwarf, and it is eyeing the garden gate! Let me out! he yells.

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Our yin yang symbol guards the gate and reminds dwarf of its meaning:  Two complimentary principles of Chinese philosophy: Yin is negative, dark, and feminine; Yang is positive, bright, and masculine. Their interaction is thought to maintain the harmony of the universe and to influence everything within it.  ~British Dictionary

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Kitty is our other yin yang symbol. His meaning is to sleep all day!

Thanks for playing with me!

To bring your attention to a stone, a tree, or an animal does not mean to ‘think’ about it, but simply to perceive it, to hold it in your awareness.*

*Stillness Speaks, by Eckhart Tolle


Solar Eclipse 2017

This is what happens to Bud and I when Kitty walks nonchalantly into our back yard. His furry, black and white coat immediately beguiles us and holds our attention. He promptly ambles over the yard and plants himself on our meditation chair inside an open hut. Kitty  quickly sprawls out and soaks in the sun. It is August 2, 2017, during the solar eclipse, when Kitty makes his first appearance.

Only when you are still inside do you have access to the realm of stillness that rocks, plants, and animals inhabit.*

kitty kitty 003_bOur backyard, filled with greenery, canna lilies, ferns, boxwood bushes, small trees, a huge evergreen, etc., is Kitty’s domain. We feed the birds and are entertained by the chipmunks. Kitty finds a new spot to lounge every day; sometimes under the ferns, or beside the boxwoods, or on the wall. Come sundown, he is ready to hunt.

Fall begins and Kitty takes over ourkittykitty 017_crop_crop back deck. He reminds me of Goldilocks fairy tale where she tests every bed in the house until she finds one “just right!” The deck is also where Kitty eats. Being a feral cat, he does not like being enclosed; however, he prefers us to keep company with him while he eats.

In November and onward, Bud and I find ourselves incapacitated with health issues. We take care of one another and are very happy to have Kitty around to keep us upward bound. His quiet playfulness and stillness, plus a lovely purr, keep us in awe.

Bring awareness to the many subtle sounds of nature–the rustling of leaves in the wind, raindrops falling, the humming of an insect, the first birdsong at dawn. Give yourself completely to the act of listening.

kittykitty 001_cropDecember is a really decisive month. We start winterizing our deck for Kitty and learn that this stray cat is unabashedly picky. He simply ignores our generous gift of a heated cat house, and when temps are below freezing, he quickly disappears under our neighbors’ crawl space where their furnace resides. Smart cat. Plus, he knows when its feeding time; he hops over the fence and jumps on top of the counter, where we stand, bundled up, to keep him company.

December also holds the honor of designating IMG_3110_cropBud and I husband and wife. A small, simple ceremony in our home gathers more light into our lives. We slip outside to take more pictures, and lo and behold, Kitty is waiting for us! The shining sun and the upward temps reveal nature at its best. Be still and know.

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