Friday, June 13, 2008


Happy Birthday, Grandma!!!

Today is MY grandma's birthday.........she is 87 years old. Is that cool or what?! :)

I feel it is such a privilege to have my grandma with me for this long. Such a blessing!
She lives over on the Northern Californian Coast......we love to visit her often.
My kids love having a GREAT-grandma. They just call her "Grandma" because I do.
I have mentioned it before.....but she is the reason I started this blog. I know she checks my blog pretty regularly......and is probably the only one :)....and I feel bad sometimes that a week....or a month goes by, with no posts. I do the best I can. Sometimes it is all you can do to LIVE your life, much less blog about it. :)
In the meantime..........
I have some photos to share.....they are old.........because even though I have a great recent photo that someone was able to sneak and take......I think she would get "mad" at me if I post it :)
So, here is the past:

My grandma with her class.....she is the one on the far right.

I bet Clare is enjoying these dresses! :)

My grandma and her two sisters. She is the middle gal.

The three sisters, grandma is sitting in the dark dress.

My grandma's senior picture.
My grandma......cute!
My Grandma and Grandpa.
I am sorry, Grandma........I got a card out to mail to you.....but it did not get in the mail in time.
So, this is it....your card! :)
God bless you now and always!
We all love you........all eight of us!!!!
With love,

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Happy birthday from your family,

Aunt Sue,

here in Northern California!

We miss you lots and wish we could see you more! We think about you often and pray for you, too.

Aunt Sue is my dad's oldest sister. He only had sisters......and he only had one older sister. They have a lot of memories together........and talk on the phone together almost every day. I also have wonderful memories with and of my Aunt Sue. We spent a lot of time together when we were in Tahoe....and I played her private home nurse after a few of her surgeries.......who knew then?

Anyway, I realized I would not get a card to her in, I thought, aha! The blog!

I do not have very many digital photos of my Aunt Sue, but here is what I could find..........
Aunt Sue as a baby.....and my Grandma.
Aunt Sue as a toddler and my dad, George, as a baby.
Aunt Sue & my dad, with their Grandma, Charlotte, who died the year before I was born.
My dad named me after her.........sort of. :)
Aunt Sue was the oldest of four:
She stands holding my Aunt Nancy, who still has to fight the curls. :) My dad is the only boy (Georgie) and their younger sister, Aunt Joanie a very red red-head......who has been missed for a long time, as she died when she was 18 years.
The three siblings: George (my dad), Aunt Sue and Aunt Nancy in the late 1980's.
Aren't they sweet?
So, Aunt Sue........we have a gift for you for your birthday............
a bouquet of prayers.
Love, chari

Sunday, June 8, 2008

For My Friend Aidan: The Cats of Our Hearts' Haven

My little friend Aidan was enjoying the photos of my dogs on the last (and first!) Haven Heartbeats and has asked for the kitties.....but first, let me introduce you to Aidan.......

Here is a photo of my children (minus the two oldest) and Aidan & his family (minus two of their kids), taken in Spring of 2007. All of the missing children were together visiting at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Clara, California for almost a week. We stayed in the Sierra Mountains, awaiting their return. Aidan is the wee fella with the white sweatshirt. He and I are good friends.......we go WAY back. :) His little brother is in the red sweatshirt and two of his four big brothers are here, Kieron in blue stripes and Brendon, the tall one in the hat. The two girls here are mine, Sarah in back, Maddelyn in front. The lady in the light blue is Aidan's mom......and one of my favorite people on this earth. :) Our family is so glad, and privileged, to have them for, if we could just see each other more than once or twice a year.........sigh.

Okay, now......onto the history of......THE CATS of OUR HEARTS' HAVEN.....

Ever since we moved into Our Hearts' Haven over 15 year's ago, we have had cats......

The first pair were good kittens who came from our cousins home. We named them Buddy & Kelly. Kelly was meant to be an Irish-sounding name.......and Buddy was named by an almost 3 yr old boy. Buddy was scared and never let anyone near him........and eventually disappeared after about four years. Kelly was with us about ten years.......and then was just gone. We were broken-hearted. We loved that cat.........he was the best. I am sure I have photos, but they are not digital......or available right now......

A barn cat moved into our garage after a few years and began producing kittens. We fed her and her kittens..........could never catch her........and every other litter had a tragedy of some sort......and the rest of the kittens were mostly brought up to stay away from us. A few did become pets.......just cannot remember who at the moment. All of our cats (and all of our pets) are outside only.

At one point, we were down to about two cats.......maybe just Kelly. Malachy still was not here, yet. I looked in the paper and found three kittens for free. Called the number to get two........found out they live up the street from me, and brought all three home because the third one was so sweet, too, and I could not stand to separate it from its siblings. These were the first, I think, of our literary-named cats. We wanted something Irish. Having just finished The Fighting Prince of Donegal ( an EXCELLENT book, by the way), we named one male Donegal. We looked on a map of Ireland to find other "D" names. We found Dublin and Dunlaven. There were no females-sounding names, so we called the female kitten: Little Miss Dainty of Dunlaven, and called her Dainty.

Eventually Dainty, and then Dublin disappeared. Donegal stayed on for about seven years......and we loved him like we loved Kelly. They were both such magnificent specimans. And, they loved us, too. Donegal moved himself into the woods when we got our last set of Golden retrievers. Not sure why, as they did not come into the garage where he could live without being bothered by them. Our hearts were broken yet again. He eventually stopped coming around. Sad.

Marty brought home two kittens from someone at his work. One grew to be a gorgeous tiger cat, named Bingley. His sibling was named Darcy. (I know you Pride and Prejudice fans know where these names came from.....) Not sure when Darcy disappeared, but the kids decided it was mountain lion-related, and named the mountain lion Wickham. :) Darcy was kind of stand-offish (surprise) but Bingley was an easy-going, dear cat. He loved to follow us around when we were outside. After about seven years of living with us.......he just never was around again. The kids are sure that Wickham was at it again.

Here is Bingley......Anne was taking photos of Mount Shasta & the moon, and he stuck his head in....he liked to get into your business. I miss him. This photo is kind of painful........but, one of my favorites.

One year at Christmas..........I found Bingley sleeping in the stable. A stable made for me by my nephew Daniel, way back when.....

When I was pregnant with Malachy in 2001 and spending the day at the hospital in out-patient surgery while Matthew got his tonsils and adenoids out, a very tiny, maybe three-week old kitten walked across the lawn toward the house. It was completely white and fluffy. He needed to be bottled-fed and we kept him with us everywhere for three weeks, raising him. We even took him to mass with us twice, because he could not be left alone. And, as it was WAY too hot in the car, we had to bring him in to mass. Thankfully he slept through mass with very little peeps. And, we took him on a trip with us to the coast. It was crazy. He got the name: Alexander the Great Small White Cat.......and was just called Baby. We had Baby for about a year, when he came to a very tragic end. Our cats have taught us many lessons.......and plenty about death. :(

One week while I was camping, Marty went to the grocery store and found one of our friends who sometimes attends Mass at our church trying to give away some kittens. He reserved one for me. He could not resist...........she was SO beautiful. But, he did not bring it home. He gave them my number and said to call me on the day I returned home. Well, I was laying on the couch, exhausted from camping, surrounded by two other large & exhausted Catholic homeschooling families (we were all laying around, including Aidan, maybe?) when she called and said she would be right over, with TWO cats. I told her we were only having one.....and could we wait a few days. She said she was leaving for Reno in two hours and needed to give the cats to their new home. I said I would baby-sit the extra cat for her. Of course, you know that I ended up with both of them. These became Davy & Dora, named for TWO Davy & Doras in literature: from David Copperfield and from the twins in The Anne of Green Gables series. Davy was kind of a loner. He let us pet him sometimes. Dora ended up being our best female cat EVER. The admiration seemed mutual (she was a cat, you know). She gave birth to the best kittens ever. We allowed her to make kitties because she was such a great cat, as were her off-spring. We used to get our cats neutered/fixed, but after spending all of that money, they would just disappear (you may have noticed- -we live in the country near mountains and there are predators of cats around here), so, no long as there are not too many cats.......and the balance of nature takes care of things around here. Dora was probably one of these Ragdoll cats. The description of temperment on the first page describes her well, and her kittens, too. The kitten page has kittens that look like our cats.

In 2004, Dora gave birth to four kittens. We named them Rum Tum Tugger, Mister Mistopholes, Jenny Anydot and Skimbleshanks, after TS Eliot's cats in his Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, which is where the Andrew Lloyd Webber's Broadway Musical "Cats" comes from. When we returned home from a Disneyland trip, our neighbor informed us that Jenny had been captured by her dog. Two of the boys lasted a year or so more......and then disappeared, leaving only Rum Tum Tugger, who is our main male these days. He is a good boy........and huge. All of our main males have been manly. He is probably the sire of most of our kittens these days.....not that we have a lot........just a few a year........which makes up for the few a year that get devoured.....I mean, disappear. :)

Mama Dora, with the four kittens mentioned above. I always just called her MAMA, because she was such a good sweet mama.

A young Malachy holding a young Rum Tum Tugger, the sole survivor of the the quads above. Dora is watching from behind. Gotta love Malachy's fuzzy hair.....he was famous for that hair. :)

In 2005, Dora gave us four kittens. The two that looked like her went to live with a friend. We kept the tortise-shell kitten, given the name of Huck, and the gray and white cat, given the name of Tom. Well, turns out Huck was a female, and she is called Huckleberry now.

Tom, as a kitten. Cute?

And, our sweet Huckleberry.

In 2006, Dora gave birth to some kittens........and after a week was acting funny........I thought maybe she had an infection or something, and gave her some herbs to help her, and some arnica. She perked back up and seemed herself......till just before we went out of town. She stopped taking care of her kittens........and when we returned home from another of our Disneyland trips, we found she had died, behind our garage refrigerator. Broken hearts, yet again, maybe more than any other time. She was simply the best. But, she definitely lives on in her offspring.........we can see it........

We had to hand raise those kittens (actually the burden fell to Sarah and she did a great job) and lost one. I had named them Holly & Ivy, because my noisy friend Holly ( :) ) was visiting and one of the kittens was very noisy, too. Holly had died. Ivy was renamed Ivanhoe when we saw he was a male. You can tell that Ivanhoe is a human-raised cat. He just loves us. He follows us around wherever we go..........runs to meet us at either door when we come outside. He is SO good.

Holly and Ivy, before their eyes opened. Beautiful?

See how much Ivanhoe loved Sarah? He knew where his food came from! :)

It was below freezing last winter.....and I found these critters keeping warm in their drawer. There had been another cat in there, too, but it had jumped out while I went to get the camera. Rum Tum Tugger is the dark face in the middle, Tom and Huckleberry are here, too. The black and white cat looks just like Davy.......but we are pretty sure it was not Davy, because SHE had kittens in our garage........and the little gray kitten in back was hers. He was found dead of unknown reasons when I was down in LA recently.

Huckleberry brought us two kittens (well, four, but two died pretty quickly) and Anne, then Sarah, had to raise them for about two weeks. These were named Viola and Sebastian, after the twins in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

Viola is above, competing with Ivanhoe for love. Ever since Viola gave birth, she has been super affectionate. Ivanhoe has always been so......this photo was taken this week. We could not get them to look at the every time we got near to them........they wanted to be pet.

Viola just gave birth a week and a half ago to two kittens. Two very adorable kittens.......we are currently trying to think of names for them.........maybe Jane & Lizzy.........or, Jeeves & Wooster.......or Gussie and Madeline......we shall see.

Do you have any ideas?

Viola and one of her kittens, in Anne's lap.

The two kittens, with Viola begging love from Anne, yet again.


I bet you know that we have NO mice in the, to figure out how to get my cats to the storage where there are mice........

I am not sure if I got the cat history all sorts of begins to blend together. But, this is the gist of it. There is certainly enough of it! :) The dog history is WAYYYYY easier: we had two Golden Retrievers. They died of old age. We have two more Golden Retrievers. They are still young. :) Now that was EASY to write about!!


There you go, Aidan......hope you enjoy the photos!
We miss you, and your family!
With lots of love and lots of prayers,