Saturday, 26 April 2008

Adelaide and Adams

I’ve been thinking during the past three weeks that a cat might be good company. So I took myself to the Humane Society yesterday, and looked at many, many cats, all up for adoption.

I knew that I did not want a kitten, and that my future cat should be short-haired.

“Marguerite” took my eye. She came right to the front of her cage, and allowed me to tickle her face. We went to the play room, and she allowed me to caress her, without protest.

Joyce was the volunteer who was with me. She told me that this week the Humane Society was offering cats “two for the price of one”.

I rose to the bait, so Joyce left the play room to fetch “Bubba”, “Marguerite’s” room mate.

“Bubba” could not be enticed of his shelf. He was shy/nervous beyond all belief.

So I went into “Bubba’s” cage, and he allowed me to pet him without protest.

So I decided to adopt both cats.

The price for cats at the Humane Society is $55, so I thought that I’d be getting two for $55. But lo and behold, there was a $50 discount, so the cats cost me $5.

But the bill came to $80 once I included litter and litter boxes, food, dishes and a crate. Still a bargain.

So home the cats came. But I had to give them new names. I did not want a “Marguerite” and a “Bubba”.

So “Marguerite” became “Adelaide”. I had decided a few months ago that Adelaide would be a perfect name for a female cat. She will be four years old in August.

Any Yankee, even an adopted one such as I, could not live with a cat named “Bubba”. So he, less than a year old, needed a name change. I thought of another name beginning with “Ad”, hit upon “Adam”, and then decided that he would be “Adams”, in honour of John Adams of Massachusetts, Second President of these United States.

Adelaide is very adventurous. She has explored my home (bedrooms off limit), and found a place where she can look outside. She will follow me anywhere. Already when I open the front door she comes rushing to meet me. She loves to be caressed, but on her own terms. She alone decides when the time is right.

Adams is so shy. (Joyce and I think that he has been previously mistreated). He’s been with me for 24 hours (as of the time of writing), and has not left the cage. But he will allow me to reach a hand in to caress his head and neck. And when I’ve left a few bits of dried food in the crate, in due course he has eaten them .

I’ll give him time. For now, the crate (with an open door) is his safe place.

Don’t we all need to be caressed?

Don’t we all need a safe place?

Friday, 25 April 2008

Possible Answers to Prayer

by Scott Cairns

Your petitions—though they continue to bear just the one signature—have been duly recorded.

Your anxieties—despite their constant,
relatively narrow scope and inadvertent entertainment value—nonetheless serve to bring your person vividly to mind.

Your repentance—all but obscured beneath a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more conspicuous resentment—is sufficient.

Your intermittent concern for the sick, the suffering, the needy poor is sometimes recognizable to me, if not to them.

Your angers, your zeal, your lipsmackingly righteous indignation toward the many whose habits and sympathies offend you—
these must burn away before you’ll apprehend how near I am, with what fervor I adore precisely these, the several who rouse your passions.

Scott Cairns, “Possible Answers to Prayer” from Philokalia: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Scott Cairns

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Into the darkness

I thought that “every one feels this way”, until a few years ago, after twenty four hours of intensive testing, a psychiatrist and a psychologist told me that I was clinically and chronically depressed.

Certainly my life has been filled with periods of deep darkness and overwhelming sadness. They come and they go.

It’s been like that for about a month now, though I felt the approach of this darkness as early as last December.

The darkness does not come alone. With it come additional unwelcome guests.

A feeling that one’s life amounts to nothing

A belief that previous achievements and accomplishments have been worthless

A constant mental rehearsal of all one’s previous failures

A sense that one is a fraud

A desire to be alone, as “people are no damn good”, they’ll always let you down

A struggle to accomplish normal activities

An increased need/desire for sleep

A desire to go to sleep, and never wake up

Wanting to weep, but being unable to do so.

I’ve tried various antidotes

Alcohol was the worst, as it was in itself a depressant

Constant snacking

Prayer - but this is not a helpful option when the very question of G-d is moot


Medication (I’ve been using Citalopram for four years, but sometimes it does not kick-in)

Talk therapy. This is the best provided the therapist listens more than she/he talks

Physical exercise - a very helpful antidote

At the moment I am eating very wisely, not snacking at all, and exercising daily. I probably need talk therapy, but it can be quite expensive.

I do know that depression comes as an uninvited guest, and in due course chooses to leave. This too shall pass.


Many years ago a very astute woman came to see me in my office in Pittsfield. She was facing many problems - none of her own making.

She began, and after a few minutes, I rushed into my “male mode”, and began to give her advice.

She drew herself up in her chair and said “Michael Povey, I did not come here for your advice. I can figure these situations out on my own. I came here because I wanted you to listen to me”.

Point well taken.

So I have written this with four hopes

First - that you do not give me advice

Second - that you do not say “I am praying for you” That’s not what I need

Third- that if any readers of this also endure depression you will know that you are not alone

Fourth - in the hope that you have “listened”, but that you do not feel the need to say anything

Just as long as you have heard me.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

And today is........

… of course you knew. In the Western Calendar it is April 23rd 2008.

It’s also the (reputed) birthday of Wm. Shakespeare.

AND St. George’s Day.

St. George, a dubious Saint indeed, is the “Patron Saint” of England, and many other places.

His “cross” is the flag of England (not the same as the Union Flag of the United Kingdom, which includes the English cross of St. George)


When I was a kid, the flag of St. George might be flown from the towers of Church of England Parishes on April 23rd.

These days it has become a symbol of a resurgent English nationalism.

And the flag was hoisted over 10 Downing Street this year.

I am not a great fan of flags, nor of various nationalisms.

But I was happy to be in Greece on St. George’s Day in 1999.

The tour group which I’d joined was at Delphi, that wondrous and mysterious place which had me longing for the old gods (much more exciting than the Christian

Our tour guide mentioned that a Village named St. George was nearby, and would we care to go there for the Festival.

Of course we cared. And it was fun.

The young men and women paraded themselves in beautiful Greek national dress.

The middle aged men and women busied themselves with crafts and by spit-roasting whole lambs (complete with heads).

They brought trays carrying the innards - livers, kidneys etc, (the first part of the animal to cook) and I sampled them with great delight.

The old women sat in their widow’s weeds and, toothless (for the most part), and clearly gossiping, surveyed the scene.

The old men were already wonderfully drunk. They “danced” in the middle of the street, but also took time out to shoot rifles into the air.

This was a St. George’s Day celebration, much to be preferred my me, than Evensong in a chilly English Cathedral.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

School misery (5)

I soon discovered at Fairfield that I was not good at many things. I was a weedy little kid (aged 11), and P.E. (physical exercise) was clearly not my thing. And the weekly out door sports led to more misery.

We would be ‘bused across town to the school playing field at Combe Dingle. There we would change in old Nissen (Quonset) huts, one for the girls, one for the boys. In the autumn we played football (soccer), or rugby. In the spring it was track and field. In the summer, cricket was offered.

But I could not (and still cannot) kick a ball, hit a ball, throw a ball or catch a ball with any modicum of skill.

Cricket terrified me. I tried for Rugby - a foolish choice for me. So in the autumn I kicked a soccer ball around with the dozen or so other klutzes, not really playing football. I was dismal at track and field, and feared cricket, so in the spring and summer was set at running laps around the field.

A huge sign hung over my head, and that of my fellow nerds. It read “failure”.

Then there was the miserable shower in the cold and rickety hut, and a long journey home, by city ‘bus or by bike if I had cycled.

When I left school I vowed “no one will EVER again make me play an organised sport.

To this day I am but marginally good at our ten pin bowling outings.

(When looking for pictures for this entry, I discovered that Nissen huts were developed by the British in World War I, and that the American Quonset Huts were based on that design).

Monday, 21 April 2008

Kicking ass; being too soft; a job well done.

J. is a certifiable “con”. He wanted to jump ahead of the shower list at Res. House today, as, according to him, he had not showered in 5 days, and had a Court appointment at Noon.

I pushed him ahead of 20 others, at 11:00 a.m. He showered. At 11:55 a.m. he was still in the building. That pissed me off. That pissed me off. He had taken advantage of me. So I (verbally) “kicked his ass”.

That seemed to amuse him, for he knew that he had “won”.

He’ll not con me again! Am I too tough?

J. J-B asked me to lend him some money, pending a cheque from his mother. I did so. Not a huge sum, but enough for a month’s groceries.

He promised to meet me last Saturday at Noon to repay me. He did not show.

We “re-negotiated” so that I would meet him at his Venice apartment after the 8:00 a.m. service in Englewood last Sunday.

Of course he was not at home that morning.

So I took his unlocked bicycle as an earnest

He called me in a panic and said that he would meet me at the ‘bus station in SRQ at 3:00 p.m., to regain his bike, and to repay me.

He shewed up, but he had no money. He had spent every penny from his mother’s cheque (if it ever existed!). Of course I gave him his bike. He promised that his mother would repay the loan.

“Fat chance!” Am I too soft?

M.B and C.T - a heterosexual couple, are regulars at Res. House. I like them and we “kid around” a lot.

Last Thursday they mentioned that M.B. can “detail” cars. (Clean inside and out, shine, polish etc)?.

I said that they could work on my car today.

Bless them. They showed up on time. And they did a wonderful job, leaving my car to look as if it were new. Even the tyres/tires were polished.

They “charged” below the going rate, and I paid them with more that they had asked, such was the quality of their work, and their genial spirit.

I asked many of the other volunteers to look at their great work, and already they have a new client for next Monday.

This time I was neither too tough, nor too soft.

A homeless couple and I had a fair business transaction.

And so it goes…………

Sunday, 20 April 2008

A lazy blog entry today.

A lazy blog tonight!

( I am weary today after trying to chase down a Res. House guest, who owes me money. I am the fool for making the loan in the first place!).

But please check out two of my favourite “religious” blogs.

One is

Read the article “If Only”, even if you are not a believer.

The other is from one of my fav. Priests, Elizabeth Kaeton.

Her blog, “Telling Secrets” is always worth a read.