Rain, Rain, Go Away

So, in the good news department, Mike went to Emory today and was told that his blood counts are back to normal. He has been cleared to go out without a mask on, although he will continue to try to avoid people with colds and flu. He will return to work the week after next, and start going to other activities that he has been avoiding which is practically everything. He had been told that he would be restricted for 100 days after the Big Chemo, and it is now only 58 days. We are very happy about his speedy progress. Next week he goes back to Emory for tests to determine if he is in full remission or not. The hope is that the big dose of Chemo that he got will put him into a prolonged remission. This would be a good time for everyone to continue praying. While you are at it, please also continue to pray for Brenda, Ellis, Carl, Bob, Mario, Mike L., and all the other cancer survivors in Mike’s world. And for everyone else in need of prayer. That would be everybody. Thanks.

You may or not know this, but it is much easier to start a business than to end it. (This is true of marriage as well.) The annoying details are endless. Mike closed his office about 5 months ago, but failed to notify his workman’s compensation carrier. A couple of months later, they sent him a notice that they had cancelled his policy for failure to pay the premium. So Mike called them and explained that he had closed the business, and forgotten to call them to let them know. This week Mike got a letter from them saying that they had reinstated the policy. So, he called and explained, again, that he had closed his business. The person he spoke to explained to him that they had to reinstate the policy so that they could cancel it again. What???

Yesterday Mike watched 3 hours of his 6 hour set of Joseph Campbell being interviewed by Bill Moyers. The interviews were held in 1983-84 not terribly long before Campbell died. He was an expert on mythology, and became famous after the publication of his book, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” in 1949. Campbell saw recurring themes in the mythology of peoples from all over the world. He concluded that the stories reflect fundamental truths about the world and about human life. The book isn’t that easy of a read, but Mike is currently reading it, I think, for the third time. Campbell is one of Mike’s heroes, and he has heavily influenced Mike’s thinking. One of the things that Mike has learned through his own experience in life is that everyone has to follow their own path; that what is true for one person is not necessarily true for the next person. Campbell says his advice to everyone is to “Follow your bliss.” Find out what is important to you, what your path in life is to be, and then do it.Robert Frost wrote about taking the less-traveled path, the one that is yours alone to follow. Mike is reading a lot and enjoying it immensely.

Happy Meadows has been a wet, wet place recently. It started raining around 5 o’clock this morning and hasn’t stopped yet, almost 12 hours later. And we had already had 16 inches of rain since the beginning of January. This is putting a crimp in my prowling around the neighborhood. The water is high everywhere around here, and trees are falling over because the soil is so saturated. I hope you all are safe, wherever you live. Not much more to tell right now. So, until next time, be well, be safe, and don’t forget to pray for world peace. So long from Happy Meadows!

It’s Time to Quiet the Silence

So, yesterday Mike and Judy celebrated Valentine’s day. Never mind that the actual day is tomorrow. They celebrated by having a catered meal prepared and delivered by Instead of Flowers, and gifted to them by their good friend, Julie. Judy got out the good table linen and china, and they had dinner by candlelight. They exchanged sweet cards, and the cats gave them cards as well. You may wonder why they celebrated 2 days ahead of time. It all started about a week before Christmas. Mike was scheduled to be in the hospital on Christmas day, so along with Michelle, we celebrated both Christmas and Chanukah week early with a nice meal and exchange of gifts. Next, because he was still in the hospital on New Year’s Day we were unable to have our traditional Hoppin’ John meal, so this was enjoyed 2 or 3 weeks ago. It only seemed right to round things out with an off-calendar Valentine’s Day celebration. A word of advice, though, Mike: You would be wise to hit your wedding anniversary and Judy’s birthday on the nose.

Mike continues to tire easily, but otherwise seems to have no ill effects from his Big Chemo, other than some moderate hair loss. He sees Dr. B. next week, and hopes for a plan to resume more normal activities, including work. He continues to walk every day, a mile or more, and wants to start hitting golf balls when the weather is more permissive. We have had a warm, wet winter, although it did snow steadily for 2 hours Saturday morning. Mike and Judy went out at 2PM for a walk in the snow, but it had almost all melted already. I must admit I enjoyed myself quite a bit in the snow, as typically we get only 1 snowfall per year; and I had started to despair of seeing snow this year. We already are seeing daffodils, and many early flowering shrubs and trees are in bloom. In fact, as I look out the window as I write this I can see the buds on our Japanese Magnolia starting to open. And whenever I go outside I can tell the birds are in love, as they sing their own Valentine’s day tunes to their mates.

So, Mike has entered my blog, “Georgia Cat Speaks!” in the Cat Writers Association Annual Contest, under the category of: Blog, Entertainment and Humor. It would be fun if we win. They announce the winners this summer. I will let you know.

In other writing news, Mike has written the forward to a recently published book called  “#Quieting the Silence: Personal Stories” The book is published by the Blue Dove Foundation, an organization that was created to address the awareness of issues of mental illness and substance abuse in the Jewish community and beyond. Especially with regard to substance abuse there has been communal denial within the Jewish world about the fact that Jews are just as vulnerable to this classification of diseases as any other group of people. “#Quieting the Silence: Personal Stories” contains the personal stories of 20 individuals who courageously share their stories in the interest of helping others who may need help in dealing with their own mental illness, substance abuse, or that of a loved one. It  also contains some resources for people who wish to learn more about these issues, and for how to find help. Anyone who is interested can order the book on Amazon. The Amazon ISBN Number is 9781077509443. For more information visit www.quietthesilence.org or www.TheBlueDoveFoundation.org.

And finally, this is the last I think we will hear from Donald Donck and the Fowl Party. I was down at the Donkle’s pond this morning when I ran into Waldo, now former spokesgoose for the party. He said Donald was disgusted with the raising of only 37 cents from the bottoms of the neighborhood ponds, and he has left Happy Meadows for parts unknown. He didn’t say what his plans were, but I don’t think he will be missed all that much. It won’t be long at all before people and the 4-leggeds and winged ones will be saying Donald Who? Otherwise, not much to report from Happy Meadows. I hope the season of love is kind to all of you. Until next time, be well, be safe, pray for world peace and whatever else moves you; and, so long from Happy Meadows!


Before and After

So, I promised to put up before and after pictures of Mike, relating to his recent encounter with Big Brother Chemo. He expected to lose all of his hair, but not so fast, my friend. These aren’t perfectly posed for exact comparison, but you will get the general idea. I have a “before” of Mike’s wayward eyebrows, but no exact follow-up pose. Nevertheless, you will see that his eyebrows remain pretty much intact, possibly a little more civilized.






Unruly eyebrows (before).




This is an “after” photo of Mike and Judy. Are they not adorable?

So, as you can see, Mike is a little thinner on top, and his beard is somewhat motheaten in appearance. He is no longer losing hair, so he hopes to get back to his former self eventually. You will notice that his nose did not get any smaller. You may have also noticed the red mark in the middle of his forehead, what he refers to as his “Mark of Cain.” (See “The Mark of Cain, Feb. 25, 2018.) If Mike wants to glorify himself with a Biblical reference, so be it. In my opinion it is just a hemangioma.

You may also have noticed in the profile pictures that Mike has a rather prominent supraorbital ridge (the bony ridge above his eyebrows) and a somewhat sloping forehead. He credits his 2% Neanderthal ancestry for this feature.  As you may know, the Neanderthal species of humans only disappeared about 40,000 years ago. However, there was sufficient interbreeding between homo neanderthalis and homo sapiens that their genetic remnant persists. Mike thinks that they persisted in mythology as well. He says that the Biblical story of the twins, Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac, tells the story of the smooth man (Jacob, representing h. sapiens) and the hairy man (Esau, representing h. neanderthalis). In this story the smooth man prevails, because he had greater cunning than the hairy man, who was more of a wild man who enjoyed hunting more than tending to flocks of goats and sheep. It is interesting to speculate about this, not that it is provable one way or the other.

So, Mike continues to make good progress. We thank all of you for your continued prayers and love. Have a safe and healthy week, and don’t forget to pray for world peace. So long from Happy Meadows.

World Peace

So, happily enough, Mike continues on his adventure in cancer recovery in a good way. He says he never imagined he would feel this good only 5 1/2 weeks after his bone marrow transplant. We are grateful to all of you for your support, love, and prayers. Thank you.

So, on January 23 in my post entitled “Charmingly Goofy,” I suggested that we all pray for world peace, and that if everyone did it daily, it would surely come about. I also said that Mike and I have been praying for world peace ever since he was in the hospital, but that I wasn’t sure how we got started. Well, now I know. Mike had started reading while he was in the hospital a book by Marcus Borg, a liberal theologian in the Episcopal church.  The name of the book is Conversations with Scripture: The Gospel of Mark, Morehouse Publishing, 2009. It is one of the books given to Mike by Brenda T. after her husband and Mike’s dear friend Warren T. died almost 2 years ago (The Kaddish, April 1, 2018). Mike started to read it but his eyes were burning after a few days from Brother Chemo, so he had to stop at that time. He just finished it this morning, and now we remember where the idea of world peace came from. Dr. Borg says that in his view the Kingdom of God referred to life here on earth. I will quote a passage from his book (pp 28-29).

“The kingdom of God is about the transformation of life in this world–of individual lives and of the world itself. It is ‘the dream of God’ for the earth, to echo the title of a recent book. (Verna J. Dozier, The Dream of God: A Call to Return, New York: Seabury Classics, 2006) Grounded in the Jewish Bible, God’s dream–God’s will, God’s passion–is a transformed world. The two main features of God’s dream are justice and peace. Justice means distributive justice–everybody should have enough of God’s earth, not as the result of charity but as the product of justice, namely, the way the world is put together. The other primary feature is peace–a world in which to echo Isaiah and Micah, the instruments of war become implements of agriculture: the nations shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, and nation shall not make war against nation anymore. (Isa 2:4, Mic 4:1-4).”

Making peace requires the letting go of resentments, of wrongs, real or imagined, suffered by individuals, families, tribes, and nations. These are not problems experienced by cats, so I have to rely on Mike about this. He says people won’t give up their resentments until they are convinced that the cost of holding on to them outweighs the price of letting them go. It’s a lot like giving up an addiction. As long as the addict thinks he derives more power than pain from his/her drug or behavior of choice, he/she is not ready to stop. And the cost can’t be material, it has to be spiritual, at the core of one’s being. Logically, then, in order to achieve world peace everyone would have to “hit bottom” at the same time, and be ready to be transformed into a new personal space. This seems highly unlikely, and could only happen in my view as the result of the power of prayer. I see no harm in trying. We encourage you to join us.